Traffic Getting SEO? Really?

wp-blue-320x480There’s been a lot of hype about the new ‘Traffic Getting SEO blog software’, released (or marketed) by Jeff Johnson.  As a result, I was asked by several clients for my opinion and whether it would help their blogs receive more traffic.

Admittedly, it has taken a bit of time for me to evaluate the software – but I have and I’m going to share my observations and thoughts here.

As an avid WordPress Blogger – I was fairly intrigued about anything that will help traffic to my site.  However, I was wary – I’m really only interested in getting targeted traffic to my blog, not just ‘any old traffic’.  After all, I would rather 100,000 visits and 1 sale than 1 million visits and nothing.

I installed this plug-in on one niche blogs that is doing fairly well and ran through the process.  I really was less than impressed….

The plugin – Traffic Getting SEO reviews your blog settings and gives you a rating for the level of SEO you achieved.  In the version I tested, it did not give any reasons for the level – it prompted me to allow the SEO changes to be made though….

Word of Warning: Back Your WordPress Installation up before running this process.

Not that the plug-in stopped my blog working – I just have no idea all the changes that are made.

One change that is made by the plug-in is the permalink structure.  The permalink structure is modified to:

/%post-id%/%postname%/ - putting the numerical post id into the permalink (url) of the blog post.

This immediately rang alarm bells for – for two reasons:

1. It had modified my urls for ALL of my blog posts.  As my site is existing, a number (all) of my posts are indexed by Google.  Changing the permalink structure means that the links in the search engine results WILL NOT work…

There are plug-ins available that help you migrate your permalink structure – care needs to be taken.

2. This is not a recommended permalink structure, by many blogging and SEO gurus.

Let’s look at this… one of the key tips for SEO is to ensure that your keywords are included in the url for your stie / post.  Therefore, including the postname as part of the link is wise.  The inclusion of the post-id seems to extraneous and just adds to the length of the permalink.

Checking the SERPS myself – looking for the term – which permalink structure is best to use with WordPress? – I found several interesting posts.

AUBlog:  from 2007 in a post titled Choosing the Best URL Permalink Structure for your WordPress Blog states:

5/29/08 update: After having used the above formatting (id added to end or beginning, I would not recommend it. Use just the post id OR post name, don’t combine them).

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers recommend using the “/category/postname” structure
/%category%/%postname%/

but from experience, one potential issue to think about is if you ever want to reorganize or edit your categories, you’ll need to redirect your existing posts to the new category structure. I recommend avoiding this situation – redirecting tons of posts can be a pain.

Therefore this is the permalink structure I recommend 9 times out of 10

/%postname%/

A small thing to note: you can use a trailing slash at the end or you can leave it off. Personally I think it looks nicer with it off, however, it does give a very tiny boost to your webserver’s performance and is technically the right way to specify URL’s.

At Wordcamp 2007, Matt Cutts shares that youshouldn’t include the post date in your URL.

The SEO Blogger also recommends only using /%postname%/ as the permalink

Sure, these pieces of advice are dated and we know that the search engine algorithms change from time to time – but if the impact of your Permalink was a factor, there would be more recent information available….

This factor alone caused me some concerns about the effectiveness of the plug-in.

The second ‘function’ of the plug-in is to find ‘SEO’ plugins to improve your blog.  The report lists the fact that I wasn’t running specific plugins – Sociable, MaxPressBlog Pinger, Auto Tags, Backup and Captcha.

O.K – this was somewhat helpful, but I was running a Ping Updater and a Social bookmarking tool – I think that the Share This bookmarking plug-in coupled with an embedded ‘Bookmark With Onlywire‘ link is just as effective and a better use of space on my pages.

Overall, I didn’t consider the ‘Traffic Getting SEO Plugin’ to be all that helpful.  You still have to manually configure the plug-ins it recommends you use and the modification of the permalink structure on a live blog is a major concern.

Optimizing your blog for SEO is important – and there are any number of great plug-ins available to help you out.  I’ve listed my fave WordPress PlugIns here

If you really want to ‘pull traffic to your site’ – certainly optimize for SEO but also remember that you need to have content that is of interest to your Target market.

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10 Responses to “Traffic Getting SEO? Really?”

  1. A colleague of mine asked me about this plugin just last week. I appreciate your taking the time to try it and author a review. Your findings are interesting.

    From a “sniff test” point of view, the plugin description failed. I couldn’t imagine any software what would “drive traffic” to your site. As you have noted, nothing removes the need to understand you audience’s needs and how they are searching for content online. Once you have gained this perspective, you can create content and target words and phrases that permit your content to be found.

    So many people effort to avoid what seems arduous to comprehend and do. All things being equal, if the same amount of time was spent gaining a limited understanding about how search engines work, much greater value would be received.

    Marj Wyatt aka Virtually Marj

  2. Hi Charly,

    great article. Your information and articles safe me lots of time.

    The technical with emotion mixed driven description of technical things makes it hard to decide what is really neccessary or usefull.

    Your way to write about them really points on the important things.

    I just want to understand enough to improve my results.

    So I think good basics will do and the extras are better done by professionals.

    Larissa

    Larissas last blog post..Train your Brain!

  3. Great review Charly!

    I do have to chime in on /%post-id%/ portion. We have started implementing this as default on EWP installer package and for one good reason – performance!

    It doesn’t hurt you from SEO perspective and while Mutt Cuts is absolutely correct – there is a technical bit that we became aware recently.

    Because all permalinks re-writes are stored in your database – unless it has numerical value before text – it greatly increases load to processing time since it has to compare the url against ALL posts that have similar words/ letters / phrases, which is inevitable in older blogs. This is true for busy blogs and blogs with many posts mainly and was described in detail by one of the developers.

    On your note – NEVER apply new permalink structure to existing blog – you are absolutely right about that one and I can’t believe they didn’t warn people about this huge chance that can kill you previous SEO efforts. Great point there!

    Alexs last blog post..Want To Make More Money Blogging? Broadcast Your Blog!

  4. Alex,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to address the %post-id% issue – there is little written about it and a lot of the information I found is dated.

    Numerical indexing certainly makes sense! I always appreciate that you take time to comment on my posts and provide such great feedback.

    Charly.

    Charly Leethams last blog post..Business Plans and The Collective Wisdom

  5. If a plugin modifies the URL structure of a website, this is a big warning that whoever created it has no idea what he is doing. Changing the URL of every page on a website and without any warning is a huge mistake and should be an initial warning for everyone. It doesn’t matter the new structure of the URL, you just can’t trust a plugin that does that.

  6. Hi Charly,
    Though I don’t trust magic traffic softwares, I liked the WP plugins you listed on Squidoo. I use a few of them and I will install the other ones and see what they can do.
    Stan

  7. You’ve explained important matters very clearly. I also find your WP plugin list useful for SEO. It’s great that you also cited the possibility of changing algorithms from time to time. This makes us aware that effective method of today doesn’t automatically mean that it will be that effective tomorrow.

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