WordPress SEO Tutorial updated February 2014

WordPress by default does not include the ability to automatically link related posts together. It’s unfortunate because the vast majority of Related Post WordPress Plugins I’ve tested (tested a LOT) get it wrong, not from an SEO perspective per se (most aren’t great SEO wise, but they are OK), but inefficient in the way they generate the related posts (poor PHP coding/database management) which means we can’t use them since page speed is an important SEO metric and most related posts plugins slow a site down.

If the WordPress core team added a related posts feature it would be efficient, maybe that’s why there isn’t a WordPress core related posts feature?

One related posts plugin I used to use on almost all my WordPress sites added around 20 database queries on Blog Posts and Static Pages (where the related posts are output) and over 100 database queries on archive sections of the site (home page, categories, tags etc…) even though the plugin didn’t output anything on those sections of the site (archives don’t have related posts).

One WordPress Plugin adding 100 database queries for no gain is BAD for your visitors experience and for your Google search engine rankings because it will slow down the loading of your site.

Google was dropping hints as early as 2010 that page speed (how fast your site loads) would be an important SEO factor in the future. As I write this it’s 2014 and the future is NOW, Google is taking page speed into account.

With Google search rankings moving towards page speed being an even more important factor in the future (especially for mobile search results), WordPress site owners have to look at their sites speed performance.

Stallion Responsive Pagespeed Insights Desktop See my Google Page Speed Insights Rating using the Free Google Page Speed Insights Tool.

At the time of writing (February 2014) my home page scores in the 90s which are very good results (see the screenshot to the right). My site runs under the Stallion Responsive Theme (I develop the theme) and a few select plugins.

Best Related Posts WordPress Plugin

Been meaning for sometime to rewrite the related posts plugin I used to use to make it more efficient, but haven’t got around to it and as I’ve updated my WordPress sites I’ve stopped using any related posts plugins (as I’ve maintain a site I turn the related posts plugin off). Since page speed is important to Google had to turn the related posts feature off until either someone develops an efficient SEO related posts plugin or I fix one.

So for now I don’t have a recommended related posts plugin :-(

Instead I try to link related posts together both internally and externally (I link related articles on other sites I own together) manually. Manually adding links to related posts is very time consuming, but from an SEO perspective it is almost always the best option. More time you put into something, better the results usually.

Link Related Posts

You can see at the bottom of the main content of this post (before comments start) a set of links to the other WordPress SEO Tutorials. The theme I develop includes a widget area there (that widget area only loads on Posts and Pages) and the ability to select which posts/pages a particular widget should load on.

The tutorial links are added via a Text Widget and it’s set to only load on posts under the WordPress SEO Tutorial category. Load a post from another category and those links won’t load. When I get the time I’ll probably setup a similar set of links linking the posts in the WordPress SEO Plugins category together.

WordPress SEO Related Posts
The above isn’t the only way to add links to related posts manually, I just added two text links to the WordPress SEO tutorial category and the WordPress SEO plugin category above which though not posts, are related pages on this site.

When linking to related posts (pages) the idea is to try to use anchor text (this is a link to a related post, another section of the WordPress SEO tutorial) that helps the page you are linking from and/or the page you are linking to.

The keywords of the link above “anchor text” aren’t very important to this pages SERPs, but they are very important to the page the link above is linking to (it’s a tutorial about anchor text).

No WordPress related posts plugin can do a better job linking related posts together than a human as long as you don’t mind putting the time in. If you have the time do it manually and if you do it via text links (or image links) it will not have a negative impact on your sites page speed metrics.

If you lack the time and MUST use a related posts plugin check your Google PageSpeed Insights results both before and after plugin activation, if the related posts plugin slows your site down, stop using it. Like I said early I haven’t found a well written one yet :-(

Also check how many database queries it adds to different sections of your site, with the Stallion Responsive Theme I added some basic query tracking code to the footer (built into the theme) that only loads for logged in users (no reason for all visitors and search engine bots to see it) so I can view the results quickly when testing new plugins etc… The home page of this site for example tends to use 50-60 queries.

Not a Stallion Responsive user, edit your footer.php file and add this above the closing body tag.

<?php if (is_user_logged_in()) { ?>
<p class="aligncenter">
<?php echo get_num_queries(); ?> queries in <?php timer_stop(1); ?> seconds <?php if (function_exists('memory_get_usage')) echo '(Memory Usage ' . number_format(memory_get_usage() / 1024 / 1024, 2) . 'MB)'; ?></p>
<?php } ?>

Only your logged in users will see it’s output, you’ll see the database queries used and memory usage. It’s a really quick way to check if a new plugin is poorly written and generating a lot of database queries: a lot of queries can cause a site to load slowly.

Related Posts Plugins to Other Sites

Avoid using related posts plugins that link to other WordPress blogs, if you install a plugin that automatically links to related articles and they link back, you’ve just created a link farm!

Google bans sites that are considered link farms, so don’t use plugins that automatically link your articles to related articles on other sites. There’s lots of services that offer this sort of linking, there’s a lot of reports in the various forums how their users have had their sites banned or penalized in Google. It’s not worth the risk on an important website, and those willing to risk it are probably not running quality websites: do you want to link to low quality websites?

David Law

David Law > AKA SEO Dave
: 20+ Years Experience as a Freelance SEO Consultant, WordPress SEO Expert, Internet Marketer, Developer of Multiple WordPress SEO Plugins/SEO Themes Including the Stallion Responsive Theme.

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