In the first part of this article series you read about Google Webmaster tools keyword significance. Today, we are going to touch upon the Webmaster Tools HTML Suggestions topic and learn how to quickly turn your WordPress blog into a site that Google likes a lot.
One of the reasons why your site content doesn’t rank well in Google is due to poorly rendered HTML content via CMS (Content Management Systems) like WordPress. By poorly rendered, I meant not exactly badly formed HTML but something that cause Webmaster tools to report duplicate content without you even realizing it. Sites with duplicate content is often demoted by Google and let me explain how to fix it pretty easily.
Webmaster Tools HTML Suggestions
In order to check your blog’s HTML errors, you have to go to the Diagnostics -> HTML suggestions section in your Google Webmaster tools account. For most of the WordPress blogs, you will see a screen like the one given below.
Basically this page lists the summary of your duplicate content, ill-formed meta description and title tags. You have to use the information on this page (and hyper links there in) in order to:
- Fix any long or too short meta descriptions of your posts (Do it in your SEO plugin such as All-in-one SEO)
- Fix any long or short title tags, using either your SEO plugin or if you are not using one, the post or page title itself. Usually, there may not be any missing title tags in WordPress based blogs and hence no need to worry about that section
- Correct any non-indexable page if you have done so by mistake (i.e. robots meta with value noindex)
- Fix duplicate title tags and meta description – This is the most serious offense of all that can bring your search ranking down dramatically. Read below to learn how to fix it quickly and effectively
Webmaster tools duplicate title tags – How to fix?
When you click on the ‘Duplicate title tags‘ link from your ‘HTML suggestions’ page, it will take you to a page like the one given below (after expanding some ‘+’ links there in)
This page lists all duplicate titles that you typed in by mistake (for example ‘HostGator coupon code for December‘ which you repeated as a post tile for the month of December for say 2009 and 2010) and all unintended duplicate titles rendered by WordPress. For instance, in the above picture, for the post titled ‘Thesis Affiliate Woes & Common Problems with Affiliate Schemes‘ there are three duplicate pages due to the structural issue of WordPress threaded comments. However, there is an easy way to fix it.
1. Go to your Site Configuration -> Settings
2. Add new parameters such as ‘replytocom’, ‘postcomment’ and ‘comments’ (all of them underlined with red in the picture below) and set them to ‘Ignore’. This tells Google to stop indexing all sub comment pages (used for post, reply etc) and hence not count them as duplicate content.
3. Fixing this here via parameter handling will also take care of duplicate meta descriptions.
Note: The one in yellow (especially p) is set to ‘Don’t Ignore’ automatically. I am still experimenting with it. So is the case with the comment-page-1 etc. Comment pages are not exactly using any parameters and hence ‘Ignore’ won’t work on them. I am working on a mechanism to add robots meta ‘noindex’ to comment pages. Let me know, any of you have a solution for this, in the meantime
Majority of your duplicate content will be removed one time using appropriate ‘Parameter handling’ within your site’s Webmaster tools settings. Further, by having appropriate settings in your All-in-one SEO plugin, you can avoid more duplicates. E.g. You must have noindex on Categories, Archives and Tags Archives using this plugin settings.
I hope the second post in Webmaster Tools optimization series was interesting. Let me work on the next post in this series.