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Shade Tree Sites |Building Better Websites

SEO Without Using Plugins

Normally, I’ve used the All in One SEO Pack  plugin to improve search engine optimization on WordPress sites – however recently came across 2 separate cases where I needed to be able to improve SEO without using a plugin.  

  • In the first situation a heavily customized WordPress had a built in conflict with the plugin (ie.  it already had a custom field named “description” and the plugin would have overwritten all the existing fields)
  • The second case involved a few sites I manage that were migrated to a new server with less allowed php memory which required me to give up some plugins in order to avoid fatal errors on the site.   

Here are a couple things I found from folks who know much more than I do about SEO, helped me, hope it helps you:

From WordPress.org on hard coding meta tags in your header if you have a very targeted site / blog and do not require dynamic capabilities (basically the same meta will appear for all post and pages), change the filler text accordingly and include in your header.php file:

 <meta name=”resource-type” content=”document” />
<meta http-equiv=”content-type” content=”text/html; charset=US-ASCII” />
<meta http-equiv=”content-language” content=”en-us” />
<meta http-equiv=”author” content=”Your Name” />
<meta http-equiv=”contact” content=youremail@youremail.com />
<meta name=”copyright” content=”Copyright (c) 2011 Your Name / Company. All Rights Reserved.” />
<meta name=”description” content=”Description about the contents of your website.” />
<meta name=”keywords” content=”list of keywords here each separated by a comma” />

From Smashing Magazine - using  custom fields for SEO.  Create a custom field called “description” (can be used for other meta tags as well) place below code in header.php:

<?php if (is_single() || is_page() ) : if ( have_posts() ) : while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>
<meta name=”description” content=”<?php $description = get_post_meta($post->ID, ‘Description’, true); if ($description) { ?><?php echo get_post_meta($post->ID, “Description”, true); ?>
<?php } else { ?><?php the_excerpt_rss(); ?><?php } ?>” />
<?php endwhile; endif; elseif(is_home()) : ?>
<meta name=”description” content=”<?php bloginfo(‘description’); ?>” />
<?php endif; ?>

Here’s an improvement for the title tag from admindaily - just replace your current title tag in your header.php file with the code below:

<title><?php wp_title(”); ?><?php if(wp_title(”, false)) { echo ‘ | ‘; } ?><?php bloginfo(‘name’); if(is_home()) { echo ‘ | Your Short Catch Phrase Here’ ; } ?></title>