Improve search results for your visitors

We have reviewed WordPress plugins that help return better search results for your WordPress site like the Relevanssi plugin. But how about helping your users fix their spelling in the search box before they hit “submit” – like Google or major search engines do?

We just noticed this relatively new plugin called “Proper Spell.” We haven’t tried it yet but it’s supposed to auto suggest the correct spelling while the user is typing in something into your search box. It requires a bit of intermediate knowledge as you’ll need to plugin a code

Get it: Proper Spell

Google to fight webspam and improve search engine results

One of the toughest challenges running a web site is to get traffic and attention to your site. As we keep emphasizing, relevant content is the way to get visitors to your site. But what if other people are cheating at using important keywords and sending visitors to low quality spam farm websites? You know the ones with that lead visitors on an endless click spree with pop up windows and signup prompts.

Once Google was the king of clean and relevant results but now these days, Google search results are filled with spam sites which are designed to trick the user into looking counterfeit goods or other nefarious activities. These sites trick Google into thinking they’re relevant with various methods. Fortunately, in a recent official blog posting, Google’s anti-spam team is responding and employing un-disclosed changes to turn back the tide to show relevant content, spam free websites.

So while Google is doing their job, you should keep writing relevant content for your website as much as possible. Use a combination of creating relevant content, Scribe wordpress plugin, and sending out Twitter tweets will drive traffic to your website. You can use tools like PixelPipe to speed things up but there is no substitution for hard work.

Further reading:
How Organized Spam is Taking Control of Google’s Search Results
This article has detailed examples and analysis of spam sites results as of January 2011.

Via: Google Changes Algorithm To Penalize Site Scrapers

Reprinted from

Quick Tip: Add excerpts to search results page

If you’ve tried searching for a keyword on a WP site, you may have noticed that the search results don’t always include an excerpt of matching page(s). While you’re at it, have you tried the search function on your site? The missing excerpt is not WordPress’s fault, in reality the theme designer neglected or chose not to include that feature in the theme.

Here’s how to quickly add an excerpt to your search results page by hacking your theme. Important: make sure you have a copy of your original theme and/or backup the existing search.php page ready to restore in case you get in trouble. We’re not responsible if you muck up your site.

In WordPress admin, select Appearance -> Editor -> Search.php (screenshot below) Add the following tag after the end of the headline tag, usually </h2>:

<?php the_excerpt(); ?>

And hit “Save” and go try a search on your site!


Another tip, now that you’ve improved it with excerpts,  why not improve it further by trying Relevanssi plugin? Relevannsi will help bump up the quality of matching results. You’ll still need to  do a bit of work tagging your posts or pages but it’s worth it.

DIY SEO: Scribe Plugin & Service

What’s the best way to get traffic? It’s the old adage, lots of hard work. Simply build the best and most relevant content on your WordPress site. The second best bet is to use a search engine optimization (plugin) for WordPress that will help you fill out the required fields to get a search engine to properly crawl your site.

The third step is to get some advice and research on the best practices and what relevant keywords to use. Usually hiring an “expert” is going to easily cost you hundreds of dollars. So for many of us, we’d resort first to the Do It Yourself model.

So we were excited when we heard the team that brought us StudioPress and the Genesis theme framework recently introduced Scribe, which is a self-service Search Engine Optimization (SEO) web app with a complementary WordPress plugin.

We were also fans of Brain Gardners’ earlier commercial WordPress offerings (the predecessors to StudioPress), so we had high hopes for Scribe. Was this anticipation well deserved?

First the numbers, Scribe starts at $17/month and includes up to 15 evaluations and 35 keyword searches. According to Scribe, it takes about 3-5 evaluations per web page to fully optimize it. Evaluations are every time you scan a web page.

Let’s get started. After signing up with a credit card on, they’ll assign you an API key. The installation process is fairly straight forward, you’ll install their suppplied plugin and paste that API key into a field.

Next you’ll have to have install one of the many WordPress SEO plugins. The one that we like so far is All in One SEO pack. Scribe will detect available SEO plugins and adjust its status indicators for each post depending on which SEO plugin you’re using.

When you open an existing post, you’ll see 3 check box status in the right side widget area: Title Tag Ready, Meta Descriptions, and Content Ready. Think of these as check list to help you figure out where the page stands in terms of search engine readiness.

There’s also a widget called Scribe Link Building which won’t show any data until you scan / analyze the page.

This review will be on going so we can’t really answer whether or not it works but so far we like what we see. The only drawback so far is that there’s really little hand holding once you’re signed up. I hate to say it but you’re kind of your own to figure this out as we didn’t see any “Getting Started” tutorial.

The Welcome email gets you up to installing the API key and a link to the support pages but there definitely needs to be a little bit more TLC for new users.

Stay tuned as we optimize real world sites. One test case will be this site and another will be a biotech services web site. Let’s see if Scribe becomes an indispensable SEO tool or not.

Get it: Scribe

Plugin of the Week: Google XML Sitemaps

Here’s our Quick Tip of the week and Plugin of the Week rolled into one. If you have not signed up for Google’s webmaster tool, we highly encourage you to do so ASAP. First like most of Google offerings, it’s free. What will it give you? It will give you some insight into the way your web site is seen by search engines, namely Google (of course), in terms of navigable pages, keywords, speed, and overall catch any problems that may prevent your site from being included in search engine results. Of course Google webmaster tools plays nice with Google other webmaster tool, Google Analytics too.

One of the things that you’ll need to take advantage of  are the webmaster tools is to submit a sitemap to help search engines make sure all your content is indexed/crawled. There’s not much rocket science in choosing a WordPress plugin to do that, we like the aptly named Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator for WordPress. It can be automated to generate a new site map whenever your site is updated.

Some SEO experts swear generating and submitting a Google XML sitemap is a standard best practice item, we can’t argue against since it takes you only about 10 minutes or so to do this.

Quick Tip: Tag pages to get better search results page

You know that search field on your WordPress site? Have you ever tried looking for certain keywords or phrases that your readers might try typing in? Chances are that quite a few common keywords aren’t showing the most relevant posts or pages that you want them to do. Sure, you can easily add tags to posts. But how about pages? Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t currently allow tags on pages, but you can use a simple plugin called “Page Tagger” to add tags to important pages. It adds a sidebar widget on the pages editor just like posts.

You can team up Page Tagger plugin with a tool like Relevanssi to fine tune your search results so you give your audience what they’re looking for!

Get it: Page Tagger

Another search plugin for power search: Relevanssi

If you need something a lot more powerful than Better Search, check out Relevanssi (Finish for Relevance). It installs just like any other WP plugin but when you take a look at the control panel, it is truly mind boggling.

It even has a Google style “do you mean” search suggestion as well as Fuzzy matching so it helps users find results better. Like Better Search you can log your visitors’ searches. You can also exclude certain words from being included.

I have decided to give it a whirl here on this site versus Better Search. Let’s see how it does.

WP Plugin of the Week: Better Search

Have you ever had a visitor to your WP site complain, they couldn’t find what they wanted? Especially when they typed in a keyword into your search field and the search results were not what they were looking for? I’ve actually been looking for a plugin like this, called “Better Search“. It will give you search statistics and a heat map of search terms. Using these stats, you can fine tune your categories and tags to help the search engine do a better job of returning results.

Another choice is using the Google powered WP site search plugin. We’ll take a closer look at that in the future.