Updating Permalinks when moving to WordPress 2.5

Tonight I updated WordPress from WordPress 2.0.2 to WordPress 2.5 and ran into some issues with permanlinks. Turns out that Yahoo! Web Hosting does not allow you to do Permalinks the standard way with WordPress and you have to use the Yahoo! Plugin for this.

Essentially what happened was that standard permalinks in WordPress go 404 and Yahoo! Permalinks Plugin continuously re-directs with the following error “The page isn’t redirecting properly.”

So, here is what I did to get Permalinks working:

1. Active the Yahoo! Permalink Plugin

2. Download the Disable Canonical Redirects Plugin. (which i probably should have had installed a while ago)

3. Upload the file to your wp-content/plugins folder

4. Activate the Plugin from your Plugins Menu

5. Customize your Permalinks!

Done, done and done! All my permalinks issues were resolved! Just a reminder, this is a Yahoo! Web Hosting issue and not a WordPress 2.5 issue.

Internal Link Architecture for your website

Part of any link building campaign should always include the internal Link Architecture that you have within your domain and off the domain for link building activities. I tend to use the term Link Architecture because it is similar to the Information Architecture (I.A.) that is used within your site. The Link Architecture will give you a naming convention for text links and image alt text used for links on your domain or for any other link building.

To preface, I would say that it is important to have some sort of I.A. for your site prior to building out your pages. This can be done quickly by writing the information down on notecard(s). That being said, I would always recommend to create a formal I.A. and Link Architecture documentation. The benefit of creating formalized documentation is that you can pass it around within your organization to creative and development teams or an agency that could quite possibly be working with your organization.

Documenting your Link Architecture and link text and/or image ALT text will provide a frame of reference.

When a search engine crawls a web page it associates the link text to the page it is linking to, which then associates link value to your page. An example of this is using the link text “web design” that points to “web-design-services.php.” Doing so will tell a search engine that the page you are going to is specifically about “Web Design.” These are the types of associations that should be created, documented and implemented for any and all link building in order to get the most link value possible for the associated keywords or key terms.

The naming convention used also applies to the image ALT text that are linked as well. All images that are linked should contain the contextual text within the ALT tag. For example, if you have an image that has a link pointing to a developer referral program page, the image ALT text should be example that, “Developer Referral Program.”

Something to look out for is using the terms “click here” and “this” for link text, which is a bad naming convention. Using this type of link text will not provide any context to the user and also to search engines, and along with that, it does not offer any link value to your domain.

The crucial thing to remember is that associating keywords to the link text when performing any link building or submitting to directories will pass the link popularity and PageRank value to the keyword you have associated to a web page. This in turn, makes your pages more relevant to search engines and will most definitely increase your rankings.

Related Article(s):
Sculpting PageRank using rel=”nofollow” for your internal Link Architecture

Being prepared and doing research pays off

Over the past week I have seen two of the most horrific examples of why research is so important. It is what we base our decision making on in our work lives, it is how we evangelize our expertise on to others, etc. Doing the right amount of research sets you up for success.

Here are some examples of how little to no research and/or bad research can leave you in a very sticky situation.

Speaking at a conference:
At the SXSW “Social Media Metrics” panel, there were 5 so called industry experts attempting to speak to this. The problem was 30 minutes into the panel, all that was talked about was CXO level buy in without providing any concrete examples or case studies about how to do so. Social Media properties like Twitter, Digg, etc. were brought up, and the panel had nothing to talk about. Also, questions were brought up in regards to “customer sentiment” and one panelist mentioned that there was no way to do any measurement on this, when there are a multitude.

The Panel really had no industry expertise. One panelist barely signed up for any social media properties, and other panelists, didn’t even have a web presence for their own name. Finally, when they were asked questions, they had no answers.
This was a horrific example of why not doing any research, providing any research or even being prepared for your audience can leave you in a very awkward situation. It makes you look like a completely unprepared, unprofessional and also devalues your professional expertise.

Writing Articles and Blog Posts:
On Search Engine Land, Shari Thurow wrote You’d Be Wise To “NoFollow” This Dubious SEO Advice (which I have nofollow’ed). She talks about how SEO’s are using this as a tool to build one thing for users and another for engines, similar to that of cloaking/IP Delivery.

Where did Shari make the mistake? Well, she failed to do the proper research on whether rel=”nofollow” was a form of cloaking or if it was just used to sculpt page rank. Also, she talks about the usage of “nofollow” as fake information architecture too, which since that seemed to be her focus, would have been a better title for the post.

There was a lot of backlash within the SEO world via twitter posts, comments, blog posts, etc. Shari derived a conclusion without proper research and therefore was made to not only look bad, but if writing for a major brand cause a lot of harm to the brand as well.

Research within the Community:

This is a very important part of being engaged in a community and not having your research can really hurt you personal/professional and even corporate brand. Things like Q&A Sessions, informal meetups, blog comments, and interviews can reflect you negatively, if you are not prepared.

An example of this was on Sunday at SXSW, there was a barrage on my twitter feed of people criticizing Mark Zuckerberg about his interview. You can also see this in multiple blog comments, informal meetups, conferences, etc.

Final Thoughts:
Being prepared and knowing your industry is very important when committing to any of the above items and will reflect on you, remember that! Be prepared and do your research, this will extremely benefit you and your brand.

Sculpting PageRank using rel=nofollow for Link Architecture

Over the years I’ve been practicing a lot of different techniques with my internal link architecture. One of the things that I have been doing more and more of is evaluating when to use the rel=”nofollow” tag on the internal links.

Why is this important?
Well, in order to make the content within your site more relevant, you need to tell the search engine what is and is not relevant. Using rel=”nofollow” within your internal link architecture is a great way identify links that you do not want ranked well within the SERPs.

For example, contact us pages, FAQ pages, help pages, etc. are really not pages that most people want to be ranking well. By using rel=”nofollow” on those links, you are telling the search algorithm not to pass any link juice or PageRank (google specific) to the linked page.

How do you do this?
Start by establishing a listing of the types of pages that I talk about above. Next, you are going to want to do a site wide update of your links. For example, its as simple as updating your markup to the following:

Now that you have all the major ones out of the way, I recommend taking a few minutes to analyze your links on a page by page basis to see where you want to distribute the link value within your web site.

That’s all!

It is a fairly simple process, but one that I find especially crucial when I start looking at the Information Architecture and Link Architecture of any website.

Related Articles:
Website Link Architecture for link text and Image ALT text