A Bit of Housecleaning

Or maybe it’s more fixer-uppering?

Came home around 7 p.m. tonight after a long day at work. I’ve been putting in time after hours, trying to get more stuff done. It’s an eerie feeling, really, to be the last employee in the building with the office lights shutting off all around you since the motion detectors aren’t sensing any movement. Oh, the trials and tribulations of the salaried writer. Anyway, we’re gearing up for a huge upcoming show in the new year, which is why we’re so busy. While I enjoy being the only real writer on staff (my manager is also a writer, but she’s so tied up in meetings all day, she hardly has time to write), it also sucks because all of the wordsmithing falls squarely on my shoulders. That means I’m responsible for business letters, brochures, fliers, the Web site and basically any marketing collateral that comes my way, which is a lot. There isn’t enough time in the work day to get all of that writing in, especially with all the distractions around me. I’m one of those writers that likes it quiet when I write. Is that just me?

Anyway, I’d typically come home and hit the gym at my apartment complex and cook a decent meal, but considering how late it was, I decided I’d take it easy and boil up some Ramen. I like to add peas and drop in a couple of eggs for good measure

Then I spent the rest of my night optimizing my site for search engines. I figure, hell, I do this for the company Web site, why not do it for my personal one? Typically, that’s pretty hard to do with a content managing system like WordPress, because you can’t change the Title or Meta tags or even specify Keywords, though admittedly, Keywords are kind of passé. Fortunately for me, a kind person created a really cool plug-in called All in One SEO Pack, which lets you edit the aforementioned elements on every page.

Title tags are probably the most important tag to edit for search engine optimization. Search engines will typically disregard pages that have the exact same Titles, which is why you want to keep them varied. The more pages you have indexed with any given search engine means a higher chance of getting a hit when someone searches for something that appears on any of your pages. Granted, it’s not as simple as all that. Even with the easy-to-fill-out fields of the plug-in, there’s a bunch of other considerations, like adequate keyword density in your text, backlinks, internal links, anchors, etc. Then, of course, there’s trying to guess what the algorithm for a search engine is like. Does it just want page hits? Does it want your page to be a particular age? It’s usually different for each engine and they don’t publish their algorithms for obvious reasons.

Finally, there’s always the danger of over-optimization. Underhanded tricks like keyword saturation and hidden text where the font color is the same as the background will get your site blacklisted and taken off a search engine’s index. When that happens, your site will never come up, so keep your SEO reasonable.

The best advice I can give anyone trying to optimize is to simply have good content. If you write well and have something that people will want to stay and read, you should be fine.

But also take my advice on the Title tags.

It’s pretty solid.