Links and SEO

The one downside of switching over to WordPress (and my SEO guru changing link urls to optimize searchability) is that a lot of links have now become broken.

Please be patient. We are methodically going through and fixing the links …

Interestingly, Google Analytics shows that the lion’s share of traffic on this site (since we switched to WordPress) comes from referrals from other sites and from readers going straight here. The traffic from search engines is miniscule – less than 4% of all traffic:

Does that mean (1) SEO is a scam, (2) not that important for a site like this, or (3) we just haven’t optimally tweaked the site yet to maximize hits from search engines?

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  • Eric

    SEO is a game. You figure out the playing field, try to get a top rank (which is hardest to do in English) and wait to get wiped out whenever Google updates it algorithm every 4-8 months. If you have an extremely solid brand and/or strong impact for a particular demographic… Google might like you. It might not. People don’t realize how convoluted and assbackwards things get when you are the size of Google or Facebook.

  • Greg

    SEO has it’s place, but not for a site like this.

  • Let me get this straight. Your previous blog host was Blogspot, which is run by Google. Search engines, dominated by the Google search engine, were finding you. You were analyzing your traffic by means of Google Analytics. Then you pulled the plug on and thumbed your nose at Google Blogspot. And now you say suddenly the search engines are no longer finding you? This is definitely a tough one. I need more time to figure this out. 🙂

  • Rob

    Hi Washington

    As someone who works as a web developer and runs an alternative news site over at I can tell you that having good SEO definitely helps with sites like this and it doesn’t have to be a pain to sort out.

    Because you are now using WordPress you should be able to install a multitude of plugins that will help you in this regards including something like “Quick Redirects” which lets you redirect traffic to old popular articles to your new URL’s. This way you won’t get broken links (which search engine BOTS like googlebot hate) and you can ensure that people going to old links find their way to the pages they want.

    You have a good site here with lots of linked articles and a Google PageRank of 6 (which is pretty good). Therefore you want to ensure that any old indexed articles that have changed their location/ URL are accessible by the old URL by doing a redirect to the new URL. This way you won’t loose “Google Juice” (as SEO experts call it) and keep your high PageRank score.

    Also you are doing well if most of your content comes from direct visits or referrals (links from sites like mine that reference your articles) but you have plenty of scope to improve your standing in Google, Bing, Yahoo, Blekko… search results and gain new traffic from searches and people “stumbling” across your site.

    Having easy ways for people to add social bookmarks is also good (as I see you are doing) and you should add the new Google Plus One button as that enables people to rank you higher to their friends in Googles new social network.

    Also I would recommend doing the following (being a web developer myself these are standard tricks of the trade)
    -Ensure you have a Google XML Sitemap set up (use one of the free plugins like Strictly Google Sitemap or Google XML Sitemaps to do this)
    -Set up a Google Webmaster Tools account (BING has one as well, I think Yahoo may have stopped theirs since they are linking up with BING) and utilize their free tools that track popular search terms, manage crawl rates, check out 404 and other errors and much more.
    -Set your Robots.txt file up to include a reference to your sitemap with the Sitemap: [URL] directive – most sitemap plugins offer this feature and it means new search engines that you haven’t submitted your Sitemap to can still find it.
    -Ensure (through the plugin) that every new article posted is pinged to Google, BING, ASK, Yahoo so they know you have new content available. They probably already crawl your site a lot anyway due to your high PR ranking but you don’t want them to crawl all the time (costs you bandwidth charges) only when content has changed – so submitting your sitemap to these companies when new content is added tells them to come and crawl only the content in the sitemap not the whole site.

    -Also (and I am not trying to plug my own plugins here but) plugins I have created like Strictly AutoTags and Strictly Tweet Bot will allow you to
    a) add on page SEO by finding, adding and then highlighting key tags (words related to your article),
    b) submit tweets to your Twitter account automatically with #hashtags (made from categories or tags) whenever you post an article.

    You can find my plugins on the WordPress Plugin site here >> WordPress Plugins (the top 4 are mine)

    You might not have a Twitter account yet but I suggest getting one as I have found the majority of my traffic comes from either Twitter OR search results.

    You don’t have to spend all day on there and with a tool like Strictly Tweet Bot you can basically set up one or more Twitter accounts and post to them automatically with different Tweet formats for different content. E.G if you post an article about finance it could have a different format to a Tweet about 9.11 or Politics. You will gain a lot more traffic from Twitter even if its purely automated and you can always add your own tweets on subjects whenever you can like I do at @darkpolitricks.

    You have a good site here and whilst there are a lot of “SEO Gurus” about (I always make little quote signs whenever meeting someone calling themselves a Guru as it’s such a con to get money for things you can easily do yourself) you shouldn’t knock it as it could make your good site into a very good site and if you appear on the top page of Google for trending search terms you will gain many more readers.

    If you want any more details let me know or send me an email.