April 16, 2021

Two Plugins to Help Search Engines Read Your Content

The one thing to keep in mind when thinking about how Google and other search engines index your content is that it is a program (“robot”) written by people that is trying to find out what your content is about and to categorize it.  Unlike the visitors your have to your site who can read the content and make sense of it, the robot may not know the difference between sidebar content and the main content.  Therefore, it is your duty to help it along by providing it the best clues you can.

Today we’ll focus on two plugins for WordPress that can help you do just that.  Later, we’ll talk about some things you can do to your theme to help.

Add Meta Tags

In the older days, the way that robots knew what your content was about what mostly by the tags in your HTML located between <HEAD> and </HEAD> that told them keywords and descriptions.  The problem was that this is like documentation– and many programmers don’t like writing documentation.  Oh, and that pesky thing that it’s hard to keep up with dynamic content.

Enter Add Meta Tags.  This Plugin takes an excerpt of your post to put in the description tag, uses your categories for keywords and is configurable.  This is great for making your search results look better, and giving the robots more to work with.

Google Sitemap Generator

The other plugin that will help the robots know more about your site is the Google Sitemap Generator.  This plugin produces an XML file for all of your posts and pages on your site.  You can then go to Google and register your sitemap and every time you publish a post, your sitemap is updated and Google will know about it.

The usual method for Google to find pages on your site is by following links– and this may lead to the robot not finding all your pages, which is why the Sitemap is a great thing for bloggers.

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3 thoughts on “Two Plugins to Help Search Engines Read Your Content

  1. Good question. It has been a while since I have installed them.

    As far as my sitemap, I have noticed that when I check my Google site for webmasters that I can see that the indexing of my site is going along much better than it had previously. Meaning that the robot is now finding all of my content (and even some of my bad links) which I can then fix.

    And the meta data is harder to track. I know that it’s better to have more detailed information on your page– the more that’s unique to the page the better.

    To be honest, my page with the best page rank is my homepage because it’s on blogrolls around the web. The others just aren’t as popular. When I figure out how to get people to write about my posts on other blogs with some regularity I’ll let you know! 🙂

    I’ve really only had one post that got that viral, and it was a short one that was controversial.

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