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Google's being a ratbag!

(30 Posts)
2under2blog Wed 03-Oct-12 12:20:02

Hi there everyone,

After the initial sage advice I received here, my blog has been going from strength to strength and now I get at least 100 hits a day, which I am utterly thrilled with.

However, having delved deeply into my stats, I see that most of this traffic is coming from social networking. Nobody is finding me through Google despite my best efforts in SEO. Which frustrates the hell out of me as I've never failed at SEO before

I heard somewhere that Google isn't a fan of Wordpress sites - is that right?

I would be so grateful of any advice for getting my site to find favour with Google. I mention my key phrases (2 under 2, two under two, baby and toddler) as much as I can in H1 tags and descriptions but still a search for these terms never brings my site up.

The results that do come up are great but they're out of date and contain nowhere near as much info as my site (and others that I also think are great).

Help!

www.2under2.co.uk

2under2blog Wed 03-Oct-12 12:21:04

Oh also, any honest feedback would be gratefully received. I have fairly thick skin smile

DebonaireDad Wed 03-Oct-12 12:33:28

Dumb question, but I take it you have submitted it to google? I'm assuming you have, so next question would be how long ago did you do it - I've heard from some people (their own experience, not mine) that it can take several days sometimes (or even a week or two) for them to pick up sites. Also, have you played around with header/robot texts that crawlers look for?

Personally I've not heard of of any actual examples of Google treating wordpress sites unfairly.

Will have a look at your blog after I've done the washing-up (oh for a dishwasher)

2under2blog Wed 03-Oct-12 13:26:11

Hi DD, many thanks for your comments.

Yes I submitted around 6 weeks ago and have loaded up page headers with my key phrases.

This approach has resulted in me getting first page positions on my other sites - all built from scratch. That's what makes me think Google may look unfavourably on WP sites, but I could well be wrong.

DebonaireDad Wed 03-Oct-12 13:32:21

hmm, sounds strange - what about meta tags etc? Were your other sites non-wordpress? Now a really dumb question (as it's the sort of thing I've done in the past) - you have set your blog to "discoverable/public" and not private (or whatever the wordpress equivalent is)? Sounds like you know what you are doing so I'm not sure what it could be then. Do you not get any search results back at all, or just very low positions?

2under2blog Wed 03-Oct-12 13:42:02

Yes the other sites I built myself just in HTML and they get generally good rankings. I've double-checked the privacy as you suggest and that's all fine.

I get pretty shoddy positions for 2 under 2/two under two which is a commonly-searched phrase. The IMDB pahe for "The Genie from Down Under 2" comes up before I do!

Interesting point about the meta tags though - I will have a look at those.

Thanks again, really appreciate your suggestions. No such thing as a dumb suggestion, it all helps!

Tee2072 Wed 03-Oct-12 21:07:13

I was curious so I just Google 2 under 2 and Two under Two.

All of the top hits are major parenting sites. So I think that's part of your problem. The phrase Two Under Two just isn't unique enough to your blog. You're up against sites with the money and the experts to push their stats up.

So maybe find some unique keywords?

2under2blog Thu 04-Oct-12 08:50:42

HI Tee,

I just double checked and suddenly I'm position five - hooray! That's for 2 under 2. For two under two I'm still not on page one but still, happy with that.

You're right, it's no mean feat to compete with such massive websites. I certainly don't expect position number one but it would be nice to creep up over blogs that seem to have been resting since since 2011.

Still, looks like things are progressing. I added the 'metatag manager' widget for Wordpress yesterday after DebonaireDad's suggestions. I wonder if that's helped?

Many thanks for your comment smile

borninastorm Mon 08-Oct-12 18:08:30

My blog is with wordpress too, how do you set your page headers and titles, and also get the meta tags widget?
I'm pretty new to blogging, been doing SEO on my own website for years but stupidly didn't even think of it for my blog blush
So any advice on how to do this on Wordpress would be much appreciated.

borninastorm Mon 08-Oct-12 18:58:26

Just gone and searched in Wordpress and got some good info on how to do SEO, so I'm going to get started on it tomorrow.
Thanks for talking about SEO or I'd never have thought about it!

2under2blog Tue 09-Oct-12 11:25:11

Borninastorm - I must recommend two plugins to you:

1. Meta Tag Manager
2. All In One SEO

It was shortly after loading these plugins that I started appearing on page one.

Can you post a link to your blog? I'll have a look and see if there's anything I can spot that might help.

borninastorm Tue 09-Oct-12 22:49:19

Thanks 2under2 I'll download those tomorrow.

My blog is mumtoteens

2under2blog Wed 10-Oct-12 11:12:19

haha I love your header! Yours is a very honest blog, I like its tone.

The only thing I can think of to help your SEO is to use more specific, wordy titles (though not too wordy). So for example your post about teenboy going to uni might be of interest to someone going through the same thing - so if the URL contained 'eldest-leaving-for-university' (as an example) it would be far more likely to be picked up by Google. Also be sure to use those words in the post - perhaps in a slightly different way (i.e. 'our eldest is leaving for university tomorrow'). I hope that helps!

Very sorry to read about your daughter's friend. How awful for you all.

VeganBody Wed 10-Oct-12 11:18:53

Hi,
I'm reading with interest as I've been having the same problem completely, so will follow your advice 2under2, thank you.
Loving your header too!
Here's mine, just incase you're vaguely interested!
www.veganbody.net

2under2blog Wed 10-Oct-12 11:23:25

Hi VeganBody, I will admit to being a TOTAL carnivore. But I'll be trying your Thai Slaw - looks yummy! Great pics too, do you take them yourself?

VeganBody Wed 10-Oct-12 15:41:49

Hi 2under2, my dh is a total carnivore too. Yes to the photos, not my forté at all, but v kind!
My 3 dc's are still small, but I have two dss's who are just at the point that you are now. Love your blog!

pebbles77 Wed 10-Oct-12 17:13:11

Hi everyone, very interesting thread, i'm just a newbie too and hadn't really thought about all of this (although I did an IT degree!!! - but 15 years ago now)

2 under 2 - I'm a huge fan of your blog and am sharing it with friends who are in same position - and a few with 3 under 3 and one with 4 under 4 (bonkers!!!!) - am following you as you know smile

mumtoteens - wow, you write amazingly well, i haven't been able to read too much cos doing kids tea but will definitely go back and read more tonight - have followed

veganbody - your food looks amazing, my husband is the cook in the family so I will definitely be forwarding him some of your yummy recipes.

I know what i'm going to do tonight - try and understand what you've all written above and see if i can add it to my wordpress site smile

2under2 - i'd love for you to look at my blog and see how i can improve with regards to SEO - can you talk in layman's terms please as i don't understand tech talk anymore!!!!

my blog is www.pressiesbypebbles.com

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 10-Oct-12 17:35:22

Hi 2under2blog - I'm a professional SEO and happy to take a look at your site later when LO is asleep (that's not a plug lol I've got an in-house SEO job but love helping with other sites).

I tried looking on my phone but couldn't display the metadata to take a proper look. Just on-page though, are you confident you are following up your htags and metadata with appropriate density of keyword phrases throughout the copy itself? Just on the first blog I landed on, I wouldn't have been able to say what your key phrases were just from the copy itself (if it was removed from the rest of the site template). That's fine if you're trying to rank each blog for a different phrase & just your homepage for those phrases. If you ARE trying to rank every blog for the exact same terms you may be experiencing an SEO issue called 'keyword cannibalisation' - ie all your content is competing for the same couple of terms. The older pages (which you state rank higher) are likely to out-compete the newer ones as they have had longer to build link authority & climb the rankings. Generally, all pages should optimise a slightly - or completely - different keyword variation.

On the other hand (can't tell without checking on PC) could you be guilty of 'keyword stuffing' in your metadata? This didn't used to be too much of an issue but the latest algorithm updates to dish out the penalties for this...especially if you're using the 'metakeywords' tag & cramming loads in there? Have you also checked with a SERPchecker tool that your page titles & metadescriptions show up the way you expect? Google recently changed the rules do that title & desc limits aren't governed by length/characters but pixel width. Basically, a title with 'wide' characters (like W and B will take up more pixel width & be allowed less characters than ones with lots of I and J characters). If your titles / descs are falling outside this pixel width limit, Google is often substituting them with its own variations, randomly taken from copy on the page. If your pages don't have enough of your keywords in the copy, the titles & descs allocated may be far less relevant than you expected.

Wordpress as far as I know is still v much in favour with Google - when optimised properly and without excessive use of subfolders.

Will take a proper look later smile

pebbles77 Wed 10-Oct-12 19:11:18

wow BoyMeetsWorld you really really know your stuff smile

Can anyone recommend a website or a book (is there a SEO for Dummy's!!!) that i should read to help me get the hang of all of this

Thanks

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 10-Oct-12 19:23:48

Best recommendation I have is to sign up for the blog at www.seomoz.org : they're the group that most professional SEOs follow / look up to. Some of their stuff is too in-depth if you're just dabbling but a lot of it is grassroots level & very well explained so anyone can apply it. The Mashable app is good too...

borninastorm Wed 10-Oct-12 19:41:59

Thank you for your kind words about my blog 2under2 and pebbles.

There is an SEO for dummies book, that's what I used to optimise my business website and managed to get it ranked no1 in google for some of my terms. So it's worth it. But any websites with free info and advice are great also.

For some reason I thought SEO for blogging would be very different! I don't know where I got that idea from confused

I've just signed up for Blogfest in the hope that I'll learn lots and lots of new things to help my blogging along.

pebbles77 Wed 10-Oct-12 20:00:35

Thanks BoyMeetsWorld - i've just signed up for that blog and will look at app too

borninastorm - i think i might head to library tomorrow to see if i can take out the dummy's book - i quite like books as easier to read ... if that makes sense.

I'll see you at Blogfest - i'll be the one looking really scared and gormless smile

borninastorm Wed 10-Oct-12 20:00:36

PS, thanks for the SEO advice 2under2 I have began to take your advice re headers already.

borninastorm Wed 10-Oct-12 20:01:53

well pebbles that'll make 2 of us looking scared and gormless!

The SEO for dummies books is great, it does it step by step and you can just work through it, by the end you feel like you're an expert.

And it's easy to read!

pebbles77 Wed 10-Oct-12 20:12:45

borninastorm - i've just gone and bought it!!! decided i'd need it for longer than a week. can't wait to get it so i can start working my magic smile
Thanks

2under2blog Wed 10-Oct-12 20:35:21

Yikes BoyMeetsWorld you put me to shame! What an amazing skill to be so up on SEO. I know it - but far from inside out. Thank you so much for your suggestions, I will work through them tomorrow.

Pebbles thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing my blog! I am so grateful, I really want to reach as many parents in my boat as possible. Especially those who are just about to enter the world of two under two!

I really hope the SEO book helps you out, let us know if you learn any fab little tricks and tips!

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 10-Oct-12 21:01:04

Definitely not putting anyone to shame lol - your blogs are all fantastic & I'm seriously impressed how much you all know about SEO seeing as its presumably self taught? I did a degree in digital marketing, only to essentially realise that it's 85% luck of the game - all you can do is keep trying & testing (Analytics Experiments is fantastic for that btw - you can set up 2 variations of the same page & split test them to check which keywords or design works better for conversions) ...& accept that every time you 'crack it', google moved the goalposts with a new algorithm update grin

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 10-Oct-12 21:42:25

Ok, just taken a proper look at your site...

* keywords metatag definitely stuffed ;) I know in Wordpress they do offer this field option, & earlier SEO guides may suggest using it but Google are soooo bolshy about keyword stuffing penalties these days that many prof SEOs advise not to use the meta keywords field at all. If your page is optimised correctly, it should be simple to pick out the keyword anyway

* as suspected, your titles & descriptions are often very long. I just googled a few of them and found a lot of truncated ('cut off') titles I.e in the 'If it weren't for my husband' one, you've lost the keywords 'baby and toddler' due to the title being cut and the description is identical to the title tag so Google has decided its not really adding any value & replaced it with the first 2 lines of copy on the page. These cut off at 'I'm at the end of five days....' so don't really inspire people to click through. It's better to write a unique description for each blog with a few keyword variations (not too many!) which describes what the reader will find on the page. Descriptions, however, only help your click through rate (how many people decide they actually want to visit the page) not your ranking. For ranking, it's page title which is golden. Looking at your page titles, they are all just the name of each blog plus your site title & slogan. Titles are your main, main place to put the keyword of each page. With a title like 'These are a few of my favourite things | two under two - coping with a baby and a toddler' (as an example but same applies to most pages), my first thought = what's the keyword for the PAGE, not the overall blog? 'two under two' or 'baby and toddler' as phrases do not appear anywhere in this blog - so those title keywords don't match up with the page content - & 'my favourite things' is such a broad phrase (plus is going to be competing with lots of Sound Of Music sites!) I'd need to specifically google 'my favourite things two under two' to get this: & anybody doing that already knows what they're looking for so you don't need organic SEO to catch them wink .
Also don't be afraid of abbreviating or creating shorter, snappier titles. If the main title on page is 'a few of my favourite things' the page title could be My Favourite Things - Two Under Two Blog. But I'd really try to aim for more specific / relevant keywords than that in your titles. If your SEO set up on Wordpress is automatically taking the blog title as the page title, look into plug ins which let you manually alter this.

I always recommend envisioning every single blog or page on a website as an entirely new mini SEO project. Song just name it after the site itself or give your blog titles which do not have keywords in that you hope to rank for. If a keyword does not appear on your page & isn't something you're trying to rank for, I'd avoid using it in your title tags (at least 80% of the time).

* when picking and using your keywords, always use the Google Adwords Keyword tool to check out: competition & search volume. The poster who mentioned that you are trying to rank for highly competetive phrases is spot on. You can use the Keyword Tool to look for less competetive variations of the same phrase. Alternatively, if a term has less than 500 (ideally less than 1000) recorded for search volume, I personally would find a different option...unless you're going for very niche & specific keywords. Always set your search to 'exact match' - broad match etc show all combinations for a keyword scattered about. For example, a broad match on a keyword like 'sneakers' might return results for football sneakers, golf sneakers, sneaker pimps etc etc - not very helpful if your site is specific to only one type. Similarly, I notice that in quite a few places, because your target phrase is 'two plus two', you've scattered the keywords about - so there may be a few mentions of the term 'two' on a page but not the specific whole phrase. Whilst it is good to break things up a bit to avoid the keyword stuffing issue, you do need 2-3 mentions per page of the EXACT key phrase you want. One of these should appear in the H1 heading with, perhaps an alternative version or a phrase which describes the content of the page as your H2.

*finally, as guessed - lotta lotta keyword cannibalisation happening on this site! Pick out unique keywords or variations for every single blog. Don't let SEO rule your content, but do keep it the front of your mind and write blogs around keywords if you want them to really rank well.

Ok, must stop now & finish the article I'm writing!! grin always happy to help if you do have any q's...SEO for Dummies is a brill starting point. & your content is very readable by the way, I really enjoyed it smile

pebbles77 Wed 10-Oct-12 22:02:34

BoymeetsWorld - wow, i'm in awe

2under2blog Thu 11-Oct-12 09:04:56

holy carps! Thank you so much boymeetsworld, I can't believe how much effort you've gone to for me! I am away from tonight for the whole weekend but I plan on sitting down and applying all of your advice next week. I'll be fascinated to see the results.

Thank you again, so kind of you to spend so much time on this. And it's great for me, I need to really brush up on my SEO for my business so this is priceless.

And thank you for the compliment, I love to hear that it's very readable smile

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