Matt Cutts Hates WordPress

written by BlogEx on September 1, 2010 in Blog Optimization and SEO and WordPress Wednesdays with 10 comments

Why does Matt Cutts hate WordPress? What is it that he just can’t stand about this popular CMS and blogging platform? Well here it is…

Matt Cutts can’t stand it when webmasters DON’T take full advantage of ALL the features WordPress affords its users.

HE HATES IT!

But don’t worry…He did recently share several tips and strategies for maximizing your WordPress site’s presence on Google so you can take full advantage of all that WordPress has to offer.

I’m going to outline them for you here (and I’d like to point out that I started this article by using one of Matt’s tips for successful blogging: create a controversy – more on that a little later).

First off, did you know that Google looks at over 200 characteristics when ranking sites? Most of us get caught up in the big three: keyword density, inbound links, and pagerank – when in reality there are many other features Google takes into account when ranking sites.

Throughout this article we will briefly cover just a few of the topics that Cutts touched on when speaking about WordPress a few months back.


Permalinks Matter

We all know the standard link structure for a fresh WordPress install where the end of your pages look something like this in your browser: http://mysite.com/?p=123. Matt contends that this is a complete waste of an opportunity to use relevant keywords.

Since keyword density in your title tag, meta description, and body are so important, it lends us to believe (and confirmed by Matt) that actually adding the keyword to your URL so that instead your site reads: http://mysite.com/my-keyword-article-here will be much more beneficial than NOT having it listed there. Again, so much of what ranking well online is about is doing more than the next guy, and surprisingly enough, many people don’t take advantage of the permalink settings in WordPress.

Thankfully, this is an easy fix. Go to Settings > Permalinks and do the following:




Use Different Verb Tenses In Title & URL

Instead of putting your article titled Setting WordPress Homepage at the link: http://mysite.com/setting-wordpress-homepage consider changing the verb tense for the link to: http://mysite.com/set-wordpress-homepage.

Notice the use of the word SET in place of SETTING. This shows Google something I’m sure they are already smart enough to figure out, but YOU are taking the initiative in doing it which is an important point to remember in SEO.

This is not a game of sit back and wait, it’s a game of take charge and go. It’s a guarantee that some potential visitors will use a different verb tense when searching Google, and this way you show Google your interested in THAT keyword as well. It’s a small change, but small adds up.


Use Good Keywords As Categories

Again, don’t waste an opportunity to TELL Google what you are trying to rank for by giving your category some obscure names.

Also, keep in mind that dashes are best (my-keyword), underscores are second best (my_keyword), and no spaces is the worst (mykeyword).

If I’ve messed up and not used dashes or even underscores, should I go back and reformat each post?

Matt emphatically replies…

“No. Focus on creating better content. The search engines do a relatively good job of doing separators.”


For the last half of this article, I’d simply like to share some important quotes from Matt Cutts’ discussion on WordPress, and where appropriate, share some of my own thoughts and feedback.

MATT: “Find something you’re passionate about, write often, pay attention to the mechanics, and don’t overdo it.

MATT: “Start in a small niche then build up, build up, build up, build up.”

Matt then went on to reference Katamari. I assume the takeaway is that here was a game developed with a relatively small budget by gaming standards that went on to achieve huge success and spawn the creation of subsequent games because they focused on simple fundamentals not hype, cutting edge graphics, etc (things that other game developers probably thought were MUST HAVES).

We all know how that line of reasoning can carry over to the web. In the end it always comes back to quality over quantity.

MATT: “If someone tells you there’s a shortcut and you can be the number 1 gadget blogger in 3 days and you can beat engadget and gizmodo, laugh in their face and send them packing because it doesn’t work that way. If you want to be the best gadget blogger, start off by writing about a particular type of phone.

Matt goes on to say…

Provide a useful service, do original research, give great information, find a creative niche, write some code, live blogging, make lists, create controversy.

If I had to sum up what it takes to become a successful web entrepreneur or blogger that last quote would be it.

Matt touched on so many of the characteristics of those who are successful online in that one little sentence. Read it, then re-read it, then read it one more time!


MATT CUTTS ON VIDEO: While discussing another topic, Matt slid this comment in that I thought was important to share: “Videos tend to rank really well on Google.” Take that as you may, but it comes straight from the horses’ mouth.

MATT CUTTS ON ADSENSE: Matt shared the following code for Adsense users.

<!-- google_ad_section_start -->
<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

He went on to say that, “This will target Adsense ads to the meat of your posts. Ads will be more relevant to your visitors. You’ll get more clicks, and you’ll make more money.”

MATT CUTTS ON ERROR PAGES: Google.com/webmasters will show you the 404s on your site. If you notice a link coming from a reputable source, email them and ask them to update the link to the correct page (and you now have another link you didn’t have before or you THOUGHT you had before)

MATT CUTTS ON WORDPRESS HACKS: To protect your /wp-admin folder, Matt shared the following code. I will caution you that I am not a doctor and this should not be taken as serious medical advice. Seek a professional’s opinion.

He said to add a .htaccess file in /wp-admin and insert the following:

AuthUserFile /dev/null
AuthGroupFile /dev/null
AuthName "Access Control"
AuthType Basic
<LIMIT GET>
order deny,allow
deny from all
# whitelist ohm IP address
allow from 123.45.67.89
# whitelist work IP address
allow from 123.45.67.98
</LIMIT>

Remember that you have to change the allow IP address to your IP and one major point of caution is that if your IP changes this could potentially create a problem. Done correctly, this makes it so that only YOU can access your /wp-admin folder.


So there you have it…a little bit of controversy mixed in with what I hope was helpful information that you can act on today to get your WordPress site ranking better on Google. Feel free to share your thoughts and feedback below especially related to some of the code segments as I by no means am a programmer :)