Housewife SEO

For you uninitiated, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. There are whole books written on the subject, but I never took that much time with it. Instead, I did a little internet research in the beginning, and it seemed to help. This site has always had strong success gathering hits from the search engines.

There are two ways to go at this. First there are the plugins – the extra code someone else has written I put into the site. You never see it, but I do believe some of it helps. These are for WordPress, but they might have modifications for other types of code out there.

1) HeadSpace 2 – I always used the global settings, but I’m sure the per post settings would help even more.

2) XML-Sitemap – It’s set to build on request, but every once in a while I go in a rebuild it manually. It helps get those little category things up under your site name on Google.

3) Ultimate Plugins Smart Update Pinger – One of WordPress’s dirty little secrets is that it pings the bejeebers out of the search engines. Every edit – every correction of a typo – sends a ping. This lets you set the parameters so you ping upon post, and then leave it alone. I believe, and I’ve read but don’t know that it’s something one can verify, that over pinging can slay your ranking.

It’s a just-in-case move on my part.

4) Content slugs (url’s) that show content! No “post=1234” url’s; you need words to describe each post. In WordPress the easiest way is to set PERMALINKS in the dashboard menu to “day and name” or “month and name.”

The downside on this one is if you change your post title (typos are my enemy because for some reason my browser doesn’t spell check in my title area) you need to go in and retype the permalink.

Sometimes my permalinks will have typos in them because I’ve posted, the search engines have been pinged and the post is drawing traffic, but then I notice the typo. I’ll change the title, but don’t change the permalink because you lose the traffic registered by the search engine. (Hence she will always be “JessicaL” McBride in one link.)

Now, the really great way to manage your SEO is with your content. I never messed with using content words, but I probably will with the new site. (There was a great article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel a few months ago about a couple who had made the investment and scored big time!)

I title important posts in exactly the same way I would search them. I don’t think it through for posts I know I’ll never rank on – say “night sky norway”, but I have made an effort for some local and state stuff. “Governor Jim Doyle heading to Copenhagen” uses “governor” as well as Doyle’s full name. I’ve been getting hits from Jim Doyle fans as well as those looking for governors heading to Norway. “Brookfield Mayor Jeff Speaker” has returned similar love.

Also, use lots of internal links. Highlight and link words of real content (the map of Brookfield Wisconsin) instead of adjectives and pronouns. (“Click here” is the kiss of death, but I do use it.)

Finally, I’m convinced, and again I’ve read supporting opinions, that my method of using very small parts of a published article instead of the whole article helps my ranking. It gives the site more validity by allowing for more independent phrases – ones a search engine won’t have identified as originating from another site. What started as a pet peeve of mine, the rotten habit of full-copy plagiarism by some bloggers, probably helped in the end.

(My exception, as I’ve shown before, are the articles the MJS hides when it pertains to some of our elected or candidates. Once it’s into their archives, those articles fall off the search wagon and what was pertinent information is lost forever. It won’t really matter much, because this site is going down soon and it will all eventually evaporate in search land.)

The other thing that helped is to have a niche and work it hard. I’m thinking once you rank well with a few pages, it helps your site overall.

By the way – most political candidates new to the field are doomed for this kind of thing. The incumbent’s site – if the incumbent is clever enough to break a rule in politics and use their opponent’s name – will always search better than the newcomer candidate’s site. Four months, about the length of an average campaign, is too short a time to make it all work.


  1. Wow, these are greats tips. Thanks!

  2. Snow plow woke me up and I get this too! It’s one hell of a way to start the day …. 🙂