Using tag_description() in WordPress To Create Unique Tag Pages

Something I’ve been testing on You’re Supposed To Be At Home is WordPress’¬† internal tag function. Tags are largely unused on blogs nowadays, and with good reason – tag pages create duplicate content. Often people just block them from search engines, but instead of blocking them, you can turn your tag pages into marvellous search engine friendly pages with rich content.

To do this, you need to make a few changes to your template. Open up tag.php and begin editing!

Switch Posts To Exerpts

Double check your site & see if there is a line that looks like the following:-


 <?php the_content(); ?>

Replace this with the following:-


 <?php the_excerpt(); ?>

Most templates do have the_excerpt() function, but double check it!

Add tag_description() above the Post Loop

Within the template, above the WordPress Loop, add the following:-


<?php 						if (tag_description() != "")

						{

						echo tag_description();

						} ?>

This will add on a paragraph or two onto the top of the post if there is anything located in the tag_description(). You add things via the “Post Tags” in WordPress’ Admin section.

Do I Have To Add A Tag Description for Every Tag?

No, only your most popular pages. They make great “sneeze pages”. Landing pages that get people looking at a selection of your posts. In the Tag Description, link to a range of your best posts related to that tag.

Thoughts?

Do you use tag descriptions? Say so in the comments!

What Is The Most Accurate Search Engine Rank Checker?

In the past few weeks I’ve been testing a bunch of software packages for rank checking. It’s a cornerstone of an SEO’s arsenal of tools, and there’s a number of them out there.

But which is the best? After all, whilst it isn’t the most important metric for an SEO campaign, it is one of the most important and one that many SEO workers are judged on. Knowing the ranking of sites as well can help you spot new opportunities. I decided to test a few of the most popular – SEOBook’s Rank Checker, Link Assistant’s Rank Tracker, SEOMoz‘s Rank Checking Tool & Advanced Web Ranking.

A Small Section of the Spreadsheet

To test this – I tested over 300 keywords over a number of sites, comparing with their original manual ranking.

Test Data

  • I have tested this data on 360 of keywords split over 22 sites.
  • This data was collated over two days. Although each ranking is checked on the same day (so for example “Keyword 1″ was tested using the four packages on the same day). If any other keyword ranking tools are added at a later date, I’ll do a manual check, followed by testing the tool.
  • The results will be split into two fields. The first is the pencentage accuracy of the reported rank compared to the actual rank checked (which was checked on Google UK straight after with personalised web search disabled). The second test was on average how close was the ranking to the actual ranking.
  • The test was done on Google UK for UK keywords.
  • The results tested the top 100 rankings. If the keyword is reported to be missing from the top 100 placing it will be marked as 101.
  • I also checked the time it took to do the check on a standard broadband connection. Two of the tools (Rank Tracker & Advanced Web Ranking) do note the time taken to generate the report. Of those tools that don’t give a timescale I used a stopwatch. Not horrendously accurate but it does give an indication.

Results

Accuracy of Rank Reported 95% 88% 86% 96%
Average Difference Between Rank Check & Actual Result 0.20 6.15 1.77 0.19
Time Taken to Check 10 Keywords 0:02 1:08 5:17 0:33
Price $99.75 / $249.75
(Year)
Free $99-$599
(Year)
$99 – $2000 (Month)
Free Trial Feature Limited N/A 30 Days 30 Days
System Windows, Mac & Linux Firefox Based Windows, Mac & Liniux Web Based
Website Link Click Here Click Here Click Here Click Here

Explanation For Inaccuracies

One thing I noticed throughout the report was the innacuracies of 1 or 2 on page 1 rankings. After doing a bit of research, I found out why. Imagine if I was the SEO for allwwewrestlers.com & wanted to check my rankings for “Hacksaw Jim Duggan”.

As you can see, although we have the Image & Videos in the search results, the natural search rankings are showing up as second. These image/videos/places/shopping etc. result change all the time, so I can imagine that SEOMoz probably spends time & the resources including them in the rank checking algorithm, whilst Link Assistant’s Rank Tracker doesn’t. Please don’t hold me to this, as I don’t know.

Other Thoughts

  • SEOMoz‘s tool was the most accurate tool.
  • Easily the fastest at doing the searches was Rank Tracker.
  • Advanced Web Ranking did only check the top 50 rankings by default. I’m pretty sure you can test more but I can only found out how to set it by the top 50 rankings. With that said, it’s by far the slowest check so you may want to leave it at 50 checks.
  • Rank Tracker can only test upto 60 keywords in a project. There can be inaccuracies at times when you check a number of rankings over a period of time.
  • Rank Tracker can only check one domain at a time.
  • SEO Book’s Rank Checker is the least secure, as you cannot backup your data generated (bar a CSV spreadsheet).

Conclusion

In paying for SEOMoz just for the Rank Checker it’s like paying for a Manchester United season ticket just for the Wolverhampton Wanderers game. In the $99.95/month you get a lot of other tools to help you market your site. If you’re serious on SEO, then it’s the best package.

For everybody else, I did prefer Rank Tracker. It was quick and easy to check rankings, accurate and reasonably priced. It struggles when you run a lot of checks, and useless if you want to compare rankings accross multiple domains. Update: Rank Tracker has seemingly been having problems recently. I’ve had misreported rankings. As a result, I can’t really recommend Rank Tracker at the moment.

Advanced Web Ranking is great as a comparison tool. By default, it only handles the top 50 results but this can be increased, but if you want to compare keyword rankings over times across multiple domains, it’s probably the best. However, it is very slow.

Where To Get Each Rank Checking Tool

For each of the products on here, you can get them from the following places.

Comments?

Comments will be permantly open on this entry, please leave your thoughts on any of these tools below.

Have Your Own Rank Checking Tool?

If you have your own rank checking tool, please contact me. I’d happily run a few tests & add it to the list above!

61 Things To Take Away From Think Visibility March 2011

Think Visibility’s March 2011 was a great way to spend my 27th Birthday. Full of like minded individuals, copious amounts of beer and general learning and merriment. Thinkvis (as the cool kids call it) is a one day conference full of interesting presentations and discussion.

Rather than writing a long blog posts (as I’ve stared at my notes and thought “eh?”), I’ve gone through them and come up with a list of 61 things that you should takeaway from Think Visibility. I’ve bolded things which I like:-

Peter Cooper (@PeterC) – Self Promotion For Geeks

  1. Thought Leaders are people who are successful & do things now. Examples include Tim Ferriss, Gary Veynerchuk & Justin Biebler. Each of these were successful in a niche before obtaining mainstream success.
  2. Often people come up with ideas, very few people act on them. All the advice to be successful is out there and usually free, you just need to act on it.
  3. Don’t be like Susan Boyle – she should’ve been more successful earlier on in her life.
  4. Recognise Blocks in strategy and kick them in the arse.
  5. A great strategy to beat blocks is by giving them names. By naming something you name the problem and can easily find the best way to beat it.
  6. 70% of people suffer with some level of Imposter Syndrome – they are the ones that slipped through the net and don’t feel like they belong.
  7. Keep pushing tools and products out.
  8. If the lion doesn’t tell his story, the hunter will.

Stephen Pavlovic (@conversionfac) – Using Brainwashing, Psychology & Cults to Boost your Conversion Rate

  1. Conversion Rate Optimisation isn’t just changing buttons – making big changes to the website and measuring success.
  2. You’ve two hemispheres of the brain – left is logical and analytical, right is creative and linked with unconscious.
  3. New information is checked by the left hemisphere against existing beliefs. To be successful you have to change people’s beliefs and assumptions.
  4. It’s nothing new – Jesus for example used pyschology to convert people.
  5. Yes that last statement may be a bit controversial!
  6. Use letter spam for a great example of something that has been optimised for maximum conversions. Learn from it.
  7. People do want to win. Examples include Take Me Out (women can win a date, even if they don’t like the date) and eBay (items can go for more expensive than on Amazon). Create scarcity to get people to convert.
  8. Read Influence: The Psychology of Persuasionby Robert Ciadini.
  9. Create Authority – Use titles/social status as well as names with testimonials.
  10. Social Proof – A lot of “unauthoritative” people that like a particular product can help drive up conversions.
  11. Create a Cult – People want to be part of a cult and will do anything, such as buy products, to remain in it (a great example will be Apple).
  12. Use your organic search data to create reports to incentivise people to subscribe.
  13. A/B Test whether forcing people to give an email address or a reciprocation request works well.
  14. Don’t force people to sign up during the checkout process as it’s stressful and you could lose sales.
  15. Customer feedback is great at seeing where you’ve gone wrong.
  16. The only conversion rate you should be happy about is 100%.

Paul Madden (@pauldavidmadden) – Adventures in Outsourcing

  1. Paul’s favourite tools for outsourcing include oDesk, Elance and V Worker for Coding and Admin, Code My Concept for Design, Free Agent for Business Admin. Crowd Flower and Fiverr for humans and fun stuff, and 80 Legs for Crawling. Of them, oDesk is Paul’s favourite.
  2. English of 5 out of 5 rating is required for oDesk and a feedback score of 4.5 to 5.
  3. The oDesk tests aren’t really worth the time of day. Paul did the WordPress test after a night out and scored a pass mark!
  4. Providers that are affiliated with larger companies are a lot easier when undertaking outsourcing. You don’t want to rely on just one person.
  5. Get your outsourcer to sign an NDA. You’ll rarely act on these but it makes them think and you get a good idea on how a future relationship could go with them.
  6. Don’t interview individuals, instead give them a small paid task which you can see how they work.
  7. Spell everything out when you write emails. That way you don’t get their interpretation for a task, rather you get your interpretation of a task.
  8. Set outsourcers an hourly limit as your budget.
  9. oDesk has an iPhone app to track projects, but also track them in other ways (Paul uses Basecamp).
  10. Outsourcing isn’t exploiting – at least in Paul’s case. Companies he works with are well set up.
  11. Generally speaking: India and Pakistan have the best general coders at around $9/hour, whereas specialist coders are around $20/hour and are better to get from the UK, USA and Canada.
  12. Design and content should be outsourced to the UK only, nuances and other are best explained and understood by the same or similar cultures.

Twitchiker (@paul_a_smith) – Sharing Not Selling

Bit of a light hearted relief this talk, but with some great takeaways:-

  1. There is no bar in Barcelona that Christopher Columbus last drunk in before going to the new world. Well, there probably is, but the one that claims it is, it isn’t.
  2. You’ve got to be the guy that does things, as they are the ones that get the press coverage and people talking.
  3. Connections are great. You may think you’re a hub but in truth you may be on the side of the conversation, rather than the middle. This isn’t a bad thing, as it can be helpful when you need a bed for the night, for example.
  4. Engage with users on twitter, don’t sell to them straight away.
  5. Twitter isn’t the same that it was a couple of years ago. To attempt something like Twitchhiker nowadays will be a lot harder.

Gary Taylor  (@garyptaylor) РOne Domain, One Hundred Days, One Result

  1. Gary’s favourite places to buy domains include Sedo, Acorn Domains, Your Main Domain, Deal A Site, Sitepoint Market and the A4U Forum.
  2. The most important thing when picking a niche is by having an interest in it. When you begin you’re doing it as a 5-9 job, so by having a niche you’re interested in you save money and it feels less like a chore.
  3. It may be better to buy a website rather than start from scratch. May be worthwhile exploring this option with clients.
  4. You should look for a domain also that has product availability, rankings, traffic, potential to grow.
  5. To really grow revenue, you should stay away from Adsense and Amazon affiliates.
  6. Gary doesn’t think that the domain exact match bubble will burst. It was introduced by Google to give a weighting for branded domains, but what’s to say that a brand or a word (for example – Apple).
  7. Put a price on your time if you want to profit.

Dave Naylor (@davenaylor) – Dave’s Den

  1. Dave uses the following tools for website analysis – Xenu, Screaming Frog, Microsoft IIS SEO Toolkit, My Playground Tool and Majestic SEO.
  2. Don’t include a lot of links in the home page.
  3. Footer links shouldn’t appear to be keyword spammy links – try to include keyword rich links in the content.
  4. No page should appear to be a thin affiliate page. Content can be sourced dirt cheap now so you can throw together pages that are lacking content.
  5. Title tags shouldn’t include “Keyword | Keyword | Keyword”. They lose clickthroughs as they confuse people.
  6. Get your mother to read through your site and your search engine snippets. If she’s confused with them, then rewrite your copy.
  7. Using CSS Image Replacement you can have textual links and more dynamic image links.
  8. There’s no point nofollowing internal links. If you don’t want it followed, don’t link to it.
  9. Make sharing items easy with large icons.
  10. Keeping other items on your site (such as Javascripts, CSS, etc) on subdomains (such as cdn.domain.com) helps improve the speed of the site.
  11. At least show some of large content (such as PDF’s) – for usability purposes mainly.
  12. Internal links should be changed to new pages.
  13. And finally – Infographics for the sake of infographics are pointless!

On A Personal Note

I was lucky to win the first even Jaamit Award at the event. I’ve shared my thoughts already on what it meant to me winning it on my personal blog, but once again – thank you!

I’m Off To Think Visibility This Weekend

This weekend, as the title exlaims, I’m off to Think Visibility!

I went for the last one in September and had an amazing time – meeting a lot of amazing people, learning a lot (which I shared on my old blog) and most importantly had an amazing time. Although I was talking about going to Wrestlemania XVIII, instead Thinkvis won (don’t worry! I’ve not forsaken wrestling, going to Monday Night Raw in Richmond Virginia on my travels later this year).

I’m not sure who I’m going to see (there are some amazing speakers, and a few clashes). I may also live blog it as well, it’s my birthday the day before and depending on how much I drink/how many birthday beats I get, that may go out of the window. I’m learning to write quickly at least.

Would love to see you there if you’re going! If you’re not, follow up on the #thinkvis hashtag on Twitter.