I got a major kick out of writing the title to this post.
What wasn’t a major kick however, was fixing atrocious WordPress taxonomies on a large corporate blog that I recently took over SEO work on.
Good SEO’s know that the bane of search rankings, especially on blogs but really on any web site, is duplicate content. Well, as good as WordPress is out of the box for SEO, one thing it needs a lot of work with is handling the duplication of content across taxonomies.
“Bury it, I won’t let you bury it.”
What are these taxonomies I speak of?
WordPress has fun ways to slice and dice your content, grouping your blog posts by date, by category, by author, by tag or by page. Unless you take the time to modify your archive.php template, you will find yourself drowning in duplicate content.
This particular site that I’m cleaning up had each post assigned to a number of different categories (sometimes up to 20) and assigned to an unreal number of tags (sometimes, up to 50!) When you have the same article spread across hundreds of pages, it can be quite confusing to Google as far as which page is the one you want to rank. So what happens? None of them rank well!
“I won’t let you smother it.”
So as I re-assigned all of these posts into their own distinct categories (350 categories assigned down to just 5) and removed all but contextually relevant tags, one of my favorite songs came on iTunes. MUSE’s “Time is Running Out.”
It made me think about the smothering and burying of this site under its own weight of unnecessary, overly spammy keyword driven category and tag names. It made me think of the supplemental results this site was finding itself unceremoniously dumped into, and what might have been. The site itself has great content, but doesn’t rank for much at all. Such a shame. Time it seems was in fact, running out.
“I won’t let you murder it.”
So my first order of duty in recussitating this site from SEO near-death was to get things properly organized. Next, I created new templates in order to handle the few new category pages I now had. Each category page now shows an excerpt, not full-text of the blog posts – a proper step in removing duplicate content. Then I went into Yoast’s SEO plugin, created new site maps and excluded both tags and post-format taxonomies.
It’s going to take a while, but this process has been under way for a few weeks and I’m already seeing cleaned up SERPs. In the meantime, while I wait, I think I’ll enjoy some more of my favorite band, MUSE.
Enjoy Time is Running Out!