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Metadata in Your WordPress Thesis Blog

What is metadata? Technically, it’s data about data or, in the case of blogs, it’s info that describes what your audience wants to see and helps give a context for your content. As search engines crawl your site, they gather information from various metadata sources, compare then, and rank the site depending on how well the information matches.

As far as your blog is concerned, there are only a few things you really need to know, and they aren’t complex. The first bits are the WordPress categories and tags you already learned about. Easy, right? The few others you should understand are the custom title tag and meta description. These apply to posts and to pages in WordPress.

Custom Title Tag

The custom title tag is the text that shows up in three important places for your readers.

  1. The title bar of the web browser
  2. The linked title of search engine results
  3. The default bookmark title

This is an important bit of information! You want it to be intriguing to draw viewers to your site, but you also want it to be accurate! No one gets warm fuzzies by being tricked into coming to a site. You want targeted traffic — the people who are really looking for the info you provide.

Because Thesis is designed to make search engine optimization easy, it has everything you need built in! To set up your custom title tag, follow these steps:

Go to: http://www.YourNewDomain.com/wp-admin

Login using the username and password provided you by Win with 1.

Go to “SEO Details and Additional Style.”

In the “Custom Title Tag” field, put a short, descriptive phrase that will entice people to come to your site and that uses some of the keywords you are targeting on that page. You can use the same text you used for your post title or something more suitable for a search engine result.

Meta Description

This bit of data is used in search engine results. After a search engine shows a linked titled (that comes from your Custom Title Tag), it gives a short description of the page it’s linking to.
This info usually comes from your meta description.

These few sentences should be, once again, very descriptive, accurate, and intriguing. Tell searchers why they want to read this page on your site!

Go to: http://www.YourNewDomain.com/wp-admin

Login using the username and password provided you by Win with 1.

Go to “SEO Details and Additional Style.”

In the “Meta Description” field, type in a few interesting sentences that describe what your page is about and what benefit readers can get from going to it.

Home Page Meta Description

As you can set a meta description for each post and page you create, you can also give a meta description to your home page. Since the default home page on a WordPress blog is a collection of your most recent posts, you set this meta description up differently.

Go to: http://www.YourNewDomain.com/wp-admin

Login using the username and password provided you by Win with 1.

Click on Thesis Options>Thesis Options in the left navbar.

Click on the + button next to Home Page>Home Page Meta.

In the “Meta description for your home page” field, add a general description of the purpose of your entire site.

Add keyword if you are so inclined. (As below, I generally don’t bother.)

Click on the giant “Save” button at the bottom of the page.

What About Meta Keywords?

The next item you’ll see in the “SEO Details and Additional Style” section, as well as the “Home Page” section is “Meta Keywords.” In my opinion, it’s not worth your time to add keywords. In theory, this space is a place for you to enter words and phrases that relate to your post. But for years now keywords have been abused. Unscrupulous webmasters (whose goal is to generate traffic, not to serve the real needs of web surfers) have stuffed the keywords with all sorts of non-related, but popular, garbage: names of celebrities, vulgar terms, competitors’ product names, etc. Over time they have become useless as a means of determining what content is really on a page.

Inexplicably the WordPress Codex makes this claim:

Keywords meta tags, on the other hand, are still used by Google and other important search engines to categorize and rank your website.

Google itself, however, says just the opposite. Google, wisely, does not use keywords. And any search engine that does is basing it’s decision-making algorithm on faulty data, to say the least.

So, again, I suggest you spend your time writing great content for your blog, instead of trying to master the fine art of keyword stuffing.

Now your site and post/page metadata is up and running. Your target readers are more likely to find the great content you’re producing!

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • vbCruiser November 19, 2009, 8:02 am

    When you set a page to static home page in Thesis, the title uses h2 tags. On all other pages Thesis uses the h1 title tag, but not when you set the static page. How do you change that so the static page so it uses h1 tags?

  • Paul November 19, 2009, 10:35 am

    Great post this will really help me.

  • Alison Moore Smith November 19, 2009, 12:29 pm

    Thanks for asking. It’s an interesting issue. It tags them H2 but uses H1 styling. I’ve got a question into the developers to find a reason and/or fix for it.

  • Alison Moore Smith November 19, 2009, 6:04 pm

    Thanks, Nicolas. 🙂

    vbcruiser, I have an answer to your question.

    Thesis uses the tagline as the h1 tag on the front page. The tagline on Win with 1, for example, is “Start Blogging in 1 Week for 1 Amazing Low Price with 1 Sweet Setup.” This is true whether your front page is the default home page with most recent post titles or a static page you set up (as with this site).

    When you use a static page for the front page, it’s no longer like all other static pages because it’s been “elevated” to its position as the front page of the site. This “elevated” page now represents the entire site and so the more descriptive tagline data is used for the h1 tag.

    While this logic is used to better represent your page to search engines, you’ll note that the styling remains consistent on all pages. So that home page title tag that is LABELED as h2, is still styled like the h1 title tags on all the other pages. Subsequent h2 tags on the home page look like h2 tags on all other pages, and so on.

    Please let me know if you have anymore questions. I appreciate the chance to clarify anything about your site.

  • Bornmaple January 5, 2010, 11:31 am

    Great article! Well stated!!

  • KentG January 15, 2010, 6:49 am

    This stuff is so confusing. Really I just want to write and not mess with all this. But at least there is a concise and easy to understand tutorial. I had no idea what people were talking about. Now it makes sense.

    Make some more of these and maybe someday I’ll really be up to speed with wordpress.

  • Stick Bills January 22, 2010, 5:56 am

    Hi

    I have problem with category page and tags page meta description. If i add meta description for categories under wordpress admin, Description overides the category name, and meta description shows as Meta title in my thesis theme.

    How can i add meta description for category and tags archive pages?
    .-= Stick Bills´s last blog ..Is this Really True or Fake? =-.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 23, 2010, 12:48 pm

    Stick Bills, when you say “meta description for categories” do you mean adding a description on the Edit Category page? Tell me where you are entering this overriding information and I’ll try to find a solution. Also, are you using Thesis or another theme?

  • sumer cpa marketer April 4, 2010, 3:50 am

    Hi Alison,

    Great post. I want to ask is there any fix for h2 tags in static homepage. I want to use h1 tag in my static pages because I want to style it along with SEO.

    You can see my other pages and the main page to find out what I am trying to say>

    Regards,

  • Alison Moore Smith April 4, 2010, 5:34 am

    Sumer, there isn’t a “fix” because Thesis was designed to work this way.

    Your home page h2 tag is styled like the h1 on other pages — as it’s supposed to. The home page will have your tagline as the h1 priority tag.

  • Rachel R. July 23, 2011, 2:18 pm

    Thanks for this simple explanation!

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