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In SEO, less is often more. There are certain Search Engine Optimization (SEO) WordPress options, Themes and Plugins which significantly enhance SEO. These same factors may also work against visits from Search Engines.

SEO is so much more than purely links to your site and content. SEO is qualitative more than quantitative; the quality is much more important than the amount of optimization performed. It is also about making it easy for the Search Engines to understand your content.

Help, SERP Descriptions are Wrong!

I was recently asked to assist a new client as they had employed an SEO consultant who had performed a mass of SEO tasks however visits from Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask were falling fast. The SEO basics were certainly in place; inlinks, meta elements (description, title and keywords in the HTML head section of the page / document), fresh content etc. But something was wrong! I then looked at the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) on the main engines and noticed that the description of the pages and posts were not what it should have been. The major Search Engines do occasionally use text from the page itself as well as from DMOZ and the like for the SERP descriptions however it is most common that the description meta element text will be used if available on the page or post.

Why are the Page and Post Descriptions Incorrect?

So why was the wrong description text in the SERPs? For this we need to understand the architecture of the Website itself; the Website is running WordPress with a popular Theme framework.

There are also numerous active Plugins (most are very widely used Plugins). Looking at the WordPress options and general setup all appeared fine. Investigating the variables on the numerous Plugins and the Theme also proved that the options were acceptable (and enhanced toward optimal SEO). Taking a more thorough look at the HTML of the pages and posts revealed why the SERP descriptions were incorrect; there were at least two description meta elements on every page and post.

Multiple Description Meta in WordPress

Google and some other Search Engines take notice only of the first description meta element so if the text in that element is incorrect then the description in the SERP will likely be incorrect. What was happening on this particular Site was that the head section of the HTML page / document was attaining multiple description text from the numerous SEO WordPress options, Theme and Plugins. Some of these are better than others at auto-creating description meta element text so whichever was the first description text in the HTML head section became what the appeared in the SERPS (for example, the ‘related posts’ text was often being populated as the description meta text).

WordPress, Themes and Plugins Creating Bad SEO

It was obvious that the Website had been over optimized and the SEO consultant didn’t fully understand how the technology / architecture fits together; WordPress, the Theme and the Plugins need to be considered as a comprehensive whole rather than individually. Individually, the SEO aspects of the Website were optimized however once each of the ‘bits’ (e.g. the WordPress Options, plugins etc.) were working together they actually caused more SEO harm than good. If the SEO consultant had disabled all SEO options he or she didn’t specifically need instead of enabling every SEO option available then the destructive SERP problem wouldn’t have occurred.

Problem Resolved – SEO Paying Dividends

The end result is that the damage has been reversed. Through focusing on SEO objectives and SEO quality, the number of visits directed from the Search Engines is improving. The damage however was totally avoidable.

As a note, I intentionally haven’t named the theme nor plugins being used as the SEO deficiencies were caused through inadequate Site setup and testing and not through WordPress or the theme or Plugins.

Gary Eckstein is an IT Efficiency Consultant specialising in adding value to small and medium size businesses. Gary also manages various client websites such as Xbox Game Sites.

Article source: http://seo.ezinemark.com/wordpress-plugins-and-themes-can-work-against-seo-4f422fb0f58.html.

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