Better Search Engine Optimization with WordPress: WordCamp Vancouver Presentation Video

Here is the video of “5 Tips for Better Search Engine Optimization with WordPress” – presentation by Mark McLaren at WordCamp Vancouver 2010. Special thanks to Justin at Carlson Media for the awesome video production.

Get Found Easier and Grow Your Business: 5 Tips for Better Search Engine Optimization with WordPress

Slides for the WordPress SEO presentation are available here.

Comments: 12


Hi Mark, just wanted to say you’re a great guy. That video (like most of your blogs & tips) is really useful. Thanks. Time for me to get to work!

Just one question: I’m curious why you recommend using the year & postname in the permalinks. Is that the best URL for SEO? Wouldn’t it be better to customise them with some keywords instead?

Thanks again.

@Ian Davies
Thanks, Ian! You make an excellent point. If I do this presentation again, I will be sure to address it by at least mentioning the fact that it is possible to customize URLs when the custom permalink feature is selected. By putting keywords in a post title, you ensure that you’ll automatically get keywords in your URL, but as you note, you can edit your URL to make it whatever you want, removing words like “the”, “and”, “a”, etc. It’s kind of an advanced topic, well worth discussing.

Your thoughts?

Think I may have stumbled across why using the custom permalink feature is not as dream-like as it first seems. Yesterday I spent ~6 hours (no, really, I did!) trying to figure out why no comments box was showing in my post pages. Tried tweaking the codes, themes, everything. In the end I found that having the custom permalink selected was causing the problem. Went with a default and everything works fine again.

Don’t know why it should be so but it seems using custom permalinks prevents you having a comments box for your posts. Which is a bit of a drawback for a blog.

Ah well.

That is painful. Based on my own experience, I can (unfortunately) easily believe that you spent 6 hours looking for the source of your comments problem. But you are not talking about the blog at , right? There you use custom permalinks.

I can’t think of why custom permalinks would prevent comments from working. I’ve never seen it before. Supply the URL and I will take a look. It has to be a conflict in the theme.

The presentation above is too short to allow for discussion of custom permalinks, but there are several good reasons to use them over the default ?page_id=

Sorry about the delayed response Mark. You know how it is. is indeed the blog in question. I’m using the “month & name” as the permalink option. However if you click on any of the individual posts, the post _number_ shows up in the address bar, e.g my latest post is called “Singing For England” but the URL is .

Beats me.

@Ian – Custom permalinks can tricky. I’ve seen this before but can’t recall the issue. The URL you cite has the post id number after the year and month. The equivalent default URL would look like (works just as well). If you are intent on getting English words into the URL, you can copy and paste the contents of the post into a new one and give it the same name or a slightly different name. Then delete the current post or make it a draft. You might want to set up a .htaccess file for redirects so you don’t lose traffic to the address. There are WordPress plugins for redirects, but it looks like the most popular one doesn’t work very well! Too bad.

By the way, it looks like you got your comments working.

Don’t worry too much about that permalink thing Mark. It’s working well enough for me. But I’d really appreciate your thoughts on an interesting situation I have:

I’m planning on getting my eStore up Google by using the right methods, i.e. having good, original, relevant content on my blog that people want to link to.

But I was just looking at the top site for my keywords (on It’s a pretty lousy site that sells football merchandise. He claims to have an “articles” section, but googling a chunk of the text reveals he’s just stolen them from other websites.

So I checked his backlinks. He’s got loads & loads, pretty much all inane comments (e.g.“great blog!”, “I agree!”, etc) on lots of unrelated blogs, with his URL buried in his username. He’s also on lots of tatty-looking directories. And he has a number of pointless, nonsense articles scattered about on other blogs, with links buried in a nice bit of anchor text.

Admittedly most of the links have a pagerank of 0, but there are enough of them to count.

It’s obvious he’s gaming the system. Yet it’s working. He’s number 1 on for some pretty valuable keywords.

Then I looked at number 2 on google and found they’d done much the same.

As someone who wants to do things properly I find this all very depressing. I’d rather be ethical about it, but why should I let the cheats have it all their own way?

I’d be very interested in your thoughts on this.

Do Google have any sort of mechanism for reporting sites that thrive on spammy backlinks?

Thanks, Ian

Here you go Mark…this is the sort of blog article he’s set up around the place (with plenty of links anchored in the text). It would be funny if he weren’t number 1 on …..

“Gifts are necessary items for all occasions. Gifts provide pleasure to our hearts. Football gifts are also more appreciable to the football fans in comparison to others. As these gifts are comparatively new variety, they add additional charm to our life. If you are looking for a gift for football fans, then you must select beautiful football gifts for them.”

Naturally it has a Pagerank of 0. But he must be doing something right.

Thanks Mark. You’re too nice.

Hi Mark
Just found your SEO video.

Agree with you about not getting bogged down in all that html / CSS.
Wordpress and wordpress themes cut through all that.

Got as far as you mentioning the All in one SEO plugin, I use that – will watch the rest tomorrow.

Google analytics?
Need to sort some analytics out.

BTW – great voice you have.

@Keith Davis – There are plugins that add Google Analytics, although these days there is a new “asynchronous” GA code that goes in the <head> section of your page, not the footer. I haven’t seen any plugins that insert the new code in the <head>, though they may exist. If you can use a text editor and FTP software, you can easily insert the code yourself. And, in fact, you can add it using the Appearance > Editor in the Dashboard – without FTP.

By the way, there is another, more recent search engine optimization talk here. It’s a good follow-up to the Vancouver SEO presentation.

Thanks Mark
I’ll take a look at the other talk.
Thanks for the link.

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