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Duplicate content can be a killer for websites, especially blogs and news sites, if the organization is not handled correctly. Often websites such as blogs and news sites are organized into categories and are then interlinked by other means such as sidebar widgets, related post plugins, and tags in WordPress. With all of the different ways of organizing sites, though, and the reality of pagination, we can quickly get into a hot mess of closely identical pages across our site that do not add value to the user experience and could be treated as duplicate content by the search engines.

So how do we decide what content we want the search engines to index and rank, and once we decide how do we make this happen?

In this post I am going to introduce you (or remind you, if you already know about them) to a few meta tags, placed in the <head> section of your site, that will help you with dealing with duplicate content. At the end, if you’re using WordPress, I’ll show you how to do it using Yoast’s SEO plugin.

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A few weeks ago I was talking with some fellow SEOs about websites (shocker, right?). Somehow we got onto the topic of the flyout plugins that you see on a lot of news websites such as the New York Times and tech websites like Mashable.

During the course of the conversation, a couple of them remarked that they “always click that thing, man”. I noted that I always see it, but that those flyouts tend to annoy me. This conversation got the wheels turning in my brain, though, so I decided to run a little test on you guys.

I apologize. Not really, but I thought I’d try to make you feel better for being my unknown guinea pigs. So I thank you for your participation.

I installed a Flyout Plugin

This site is built on WordPress, so I decided to see what would happen if I found a flyout plugin and installed it on the site. I decided to use the nRelate Flyout Plugin since it does not hide the links behind Javascript (I also use the nRelate Related Posts plugin on this site, which recently released a non-JS version as well. Update granted).

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Google Website Optimizer is a fantastic tool. For those of you who are not familiar with GWO, it is a free tool provided by Google to use to test elements of your website in order to increase traffic and conversions, or even to A/B test completely different layouts. Many people say that A/B or multivariate testing WordPress sites is a pain.

I found some resources that might be helpful to people who want to A/B or multivariate test their site.

Steps to A/B or Multivariate Testing Your WP Site

Step 1: Decide what you want to test

This, I think, is the hardest part of multivariate testing. What do you want to test? You need to decide what the goal of your website is. Is it to increase leads? Up your conversion rate? Get RSS subscribers? Figure this out, then move to Step 2.

Step 2: Build your site so that you have a final conversion point

Google Website Optimizer requires that you have a final place for your visitor to land in order to consider an action a “conversion.” If you want to increase signups for your service, you should have a final page where the person arrives after completing the action. For example, if your goal is to have someone complete a form to send you a lead, send them to a “Thank You” page after they submit the form.

Step 3: Create a copy of your page that you want to test

Continuing on our example of a contact form to gather leads, now you should create an alternate version of your Contact page. In WordPress, what I would recommend is creating a new page, with its own unique URL, that contains the changes you want to test. Save this page, but don’t link to it from anywhere. Also, make the URL something that you would not be ashamed using as your Contact page URL, or be prepared to implement the same changes on your existing page and redirect the better performing page to that URL.

Step 4: Set up your GWO account

Before you can start testing, you have to set up your GWO account. Go here to sign up using your Google account. You are allowed up to 10 tests at a time.

Follow the steps to setting up your experiment. They’re pretty straight-forward.

Step 5: Install the Google Website Optimizer for WordPress plugin

Now you are ready to install the Google Website Optimizer for WordPress plugin (which I use on this site also). What this plugin does is install a box on each post and page in the admin section of your site. It will look like this:

 

 

Step 6: Enter the scripts provided to you by GWO into the correct box

The Google Website Optimizer website will provide you with the scripts for your Control (the original page, most likely) page, the Tracking Script for both the Control AND Variation pages, and the script for your conversion page. Follow the instructions for each section in the plugin.

Step 7: Monitor through GWO

GWO offers tracking for you. Once you validate that the scripts are correctly involved, sit back and allow data to collect. You need to get at least 100 conversions to have valid numbers off of which to base decisions. The more traffic you can get, the quicker and better your data will be.

Conclusion

I’ve only really talked here about A/B testing, which is good for testing while new layouts, and forms. You can also multivariate test, which means that you can test individual elements on your page, such as the color of buttons. This is more involved, and I will not explain it in this post. Unfortunately I have not yet found any good resources for multivariate testing WordPress. I plan to write about it in the future.

If you know of any good resources for WordPress multivariate testing, please leave them in the Comments. I’d also love your feedback.

Recently a lot of talk has been going around SEO circles about the new Google Analytics ability to track the time it takes for your page to load.

Tom gave this little tidbit of help

I use WordPress for this site, and I got curious about how to add in the PageLoadTime part of the script using my WordPress Admin.

I have installed Google Analyticator on my site to help with the Analytics validation. It makes everything really easy. Here is how I added the PageLoadTime script to my site:

Easy Steps

Step 1: Log into your WordPress admin area.

Step 2: Navigate to Google Analyticator. It will be in your sidebar under “Settings -> Google Analytics”:

Step 3: Navigate down the page until you find “Additional Tracking Code (after Tracker Initialization)”:

 

You want the code after GA has initialized, so that the data is tracked.

Step 4: Enter this code into the box:

_gaq.push(['_trackPageLoadTime']);

Step 5: Look at your site to make sure it has entered correctly. Your tracking script should look thus:

The bottom line is the line of code we just added. My UA number is redacted.

*Note* Numbers will not start appearing in your Analytics right away. According to this post by Optimisation Beacon, data will begin appearing after a few hundred pageviews.

Wait, where do I find this in Analytics?

First, make sure you are using the NEW Analytics. I believe it has been rolled out to everyone.

You can find Site Speed on your site’s Analytics Dashboard under Content -> Site Speed. This is where it is, visually:

Happy optimizing!

Other articles about PageLoadTime

OptimisationBeacon

Webmaster Forum help page from Google

I recently developed this website, my first with WordPress. After working as an in-house SEO for a few months, I decided it was time to develop my own site, to practice what I preach.

One feature I knew that I needed to have was a way to interconnect my posts, not only for SEO purposes, but for usability purposes. So I did some research and thought that LinkWithin would suit my needs. Boy was I wrong.

The issue with LinkWithin

Once my Distilled Stole My Page Title post got some exposure, I was digging into my Analytics to see what was going on behind the scenes. I wanted to see how well my site was keeping users on the page. I was looking at Referring Sites as well, and started to see this:

LinkWithin Redirects

"Widget.linkwithin.com" redirected people through their site.

I thought that was strange, and I had never really clicked around my own site to see how well it flowed (lesson learned). Much to my chagrine, I clicked on one of the “Related Posts” on the LinkWithin widget, and I was redirected through the LinkWithin site back to my own site.

Sigh.

LinkWithin is a parasitic widget. It redicts your traffic through their own site, effectively linking to themselves from all over your site and then 301 directing you back to your own site, thus effectively stealing your internal link juice. Ouch.

What I Switched To

I did some more research, and decided to change to nRelate Related Content. I found it easy to activate (others took some coding and I did not want to deal with it). Once I installed and activated the plugin, it took approximately 30 minutes (too long for the number of posts I had at the time, in my opinion!) to index and cache all of my posts and pages.

Why I Like nRelate

I like nRelate for a number of different reasons.

1) nRelate is a highly configurable plugin that uses a cool patent-pending (apparently) algorithm to associate your post with other posts on your site.
2) It requires no coding to activate on your site.
3) You have the option to show featured images of your posts, or only text links. If you do not have associated photos with all of your posts, they have stock photos that will show.

What I do not like

I was a bit disheartened to read Joost’s review of nRelate where he pointed out that because of the scripting used, the plugin does not pass much internal link juice. However, he did point out that it would be possible to do, and that the code overall is pretty good.

Maybe next I will try YARPP (Yet Another Related Posts Plugin), which requires a bit of coding to implement, so I hear, but is also highly recommended by other SEOS.

But for now, don’t use LinkWithin, whatever you do.

*Update* – I hear rumors that LinkWithin no longer redirects through its own internal pages. I am still seeing it, however, on a lot of websites. Use at your own SEO peril.