Comment on WordPress SEO Tutorial 2014 Anchor Text by Erik.

WordPress SEO Tutorial Anchor TextHi Dave,

I have just been thinking about the sitewide links I am displaying on my Stallion theme sidebars. I wonder if you had any thoughts on an optimum combination of sidebar widgets for SEO purposes.

I feel like I’ve been featuring some extraneous links that aren’t really helping me in the big picture. I looked through some of your sites, and it seems you use different combinations of sidebar widgets on different sites.

Here is my sidebar widget breakdown and how I see things:

Recent Comments— I am a big believer in this one, my site gets 20-50 comments/day and I think this helps keep people aware and involved and coming back to the site. So I’ve always used it. I have even got it high enough to where it is partially visible above the fold.

Recent Articles— I use this one as well, as I think there is benefit from the dynamic content aspect? (I post 5+ times/week). However I have wondered if having 12 sitewide links to recent posts doesn’t dilute too much link benefit on other, more keyword-focused pages.

Most Commented Posts— I like this widget because it “proves” you have a popular site if you have a lot of 100-200 comment posts. However I don’t necessarily want sitewide link benefit flowing to these particular top-commented posts because they’re not especially important to me, or even that well optimized to begin with. I have even had this set to feature 15+ posts, but have whittled it closer to 10 now. Having a lot of posts in this widget also takes up a good bit of sidebar real estate. Maybe cutting it closer to 5-6 would be better, mainly to get the “popularity proof” benefit and not much else?

Categories— I’ve been using the Categories widget (I have 8 categories) but I’m not really convinced the ones I’ve chosen are great keywords. They don’t get a lot of search traffic, however they are good for navigation, as they are low exit %. At the same time, they aren’t getting a lot of views on the whole.

Tag Cloud— I’ve been using the tag cloud, but after analysing it, I deleted it this morning. It was featuring 18 tag links, which really weren’t great in terms of traffic (only 2 of the tag pages featured were in my top 20 tag pages traffic-wise). I also don’t think the Tag Cloud was getting used much in terms of navigating (at least not from the sidebar position; there is more evidence people navigate by tag pages via the tag on the actual post though). Also, since the widget selects top tags based on how many times you’ve used a given tag, there is not a lot of control over which ones you want to feature. All these factors led me to believe the Tag Cloud wasn’t really helping, so it got the axe.

If you add all of the above widget links up, they could be adding 50-60 or more sitewide links to the sidebar (depending on the settings you’re using and numbers of categories you have, of course). I am wondering if it isn’t wiser to cut these down (which I assume would result in higher concentration of link benefit over all existing posts–posts in which I have already done a lot of work inserting keyword-specific anchor text links). And if need be I could also select my own links to feature in the sidebar in place of these widget links.

Maybe that’s a no-brainer, but I am wondering if you had any thoughts on these conclusions, and in general on the best use of these sidebar widgets in terms of optimizing link benefit.

By the way, I just bought another copy of Stallion theme as a present for someone. It’s going to be used on a Polish-language site, so hopefully the Stallion magic translates into Slavic languages :)