My Number 1 Problem With WordPress: the Lack of Control. We’re solving it for you, myself and 125,000 other people.
I will structure this email into 4 Chapters, to make it easier for you to follow:
– 1) The SEO Tactic You Should be able to Use on All Website Builders
– 2) WordPress Users Currently Miss Out On a Lot of SEO Power. See why.
– 3) My Personal Experience with the WordPress Problem
– 4) The Way to Control Your Rankings and Control Your Digital Brand.
1) Website Builders and Identifying the SEO Tactic all Website Builder Platforms Should Use
Me and Calin (my co-founder and CTO of Squirrly) have worked together for over 10 years already. It’s getting harder and harder to keep track. I can’t remember a time when we didn’t work together or collaborate on projects.
In our time working together, we’ve created and managed TWO different website creation platforms such as WordPress. Of course, what we worked on was cloud-based (just like wordpress.com, NOT wordpress.org where you download and host yourself).
I hope this email finds you well and you have some time this weekend to read the story. Maybe if you do what I’m doing right now it will get you in a reading mood. A cup of coffee near the laptop, some good music playing in the background. I’m trying to become a DJ, so currently songs from DjCity.com are playing in the background. You can try that out, along with the idea of a hot beverage, like coffee or tea.
In our time with the platforms I mentioned earlier (we call them: website builders, and I’m going to use this term moving forward) we’ve learned a lot about SEO. It was during that time that we gained most of our knowledge in the SEO field. Especially because on our website builders you could build Online Stores and Community Sites. Plus, we had a Community site ourselves for one of the website builders we created. There, we show-cased some of the best user-generated content that came up on the platform.
We had to choose from new posts created by over 16,000 people. First we did it manually, but then we automated this.
We had a great pool of sites on which we could experiment SEO techniques and get all of these sites ranking better than other websites which were not created on our platform.
We’ve tested many tactics. Some of them aren’t relevant to talk about today, because they don’t work anymore. However, there is one tactic that Always worked and will always work. It’s something that doesn’t make sense only for search engine bots. It makes tons of sense for Human readers as well.
This is the Tactic: Optimize every single URL of your site: every /tags page, every /category, every /archive, every /author, every custom post type. Don’t cut corners. Do it right. Do it manually, to ensure that each URL has META information that makes sense and is original.
In our website builders you could easily do this. We knew that the user had to do this in order to be successful with SEO. Back then, there was no Open Graph, no Twitter Cards. Sadly there was no way to optimize for Social Media. You could only optimize for SEO. But this was one of the vital elements that made all pages created on our platform rank much higher than anything published to WordPress.com, Tumblr.com, Wix.com, etc.
Now, when we switched over to WordPress (I’ll mention why in the next email), you should imagine that I was pretty pissed off that I couldn’t customize every single URL as I was able to before.
It felt like downgrading. Like moving to something that was much lower in terms of available tech. This was not progress. I was going to the stone age.
I don’t want to exaggerate. It’s just the way I felt at the time.
2) Why WordPress Users Miss Out on a Lot of Great SEO Because of WordPress
Look, WordPress does have some okay-ish things for SEO. The problem is that wordpress.org is built by volunteer developers, not by product people or people who can have a holistic vision over what needs to be in a website builder.
If the end user tries to build an e-Commerce store on WordPress, fortune isn’t really on their side.
Also, if we’re talking about blogging, I need to mention that I hate rented media (you know, when you create a blog on a platform, but you do not own that platform; it’s very risky, because they are the real owners, not you). This being said, Medium.com has 10x times more and better SEO options than a basic WordPress site. IF the WordPress site doesn’t run Squirrly SEO, of course. I’m talking about a basic WP site that has no plugin for SEO.
Even with a SEO plugin, the tactic that I’ve mentioned above can’t be currently achieved in the WordPress environment.
Every kind of website that uses /category, /tags, /authors and even custom types of URLs has an immediate SEO advantage. More inner-links, more inner-linking. Google cares a lot about websites which have many pages. Of course, they also want the pages to be high quality, not just random mumbo jumbo. Which is the reason why the SEO that you do for these special types of URLs needs to be original. Not something that you set up once with some weird automation rules. Such as: if the page is a /tags page then make sure the title is [Name of the Tag] – [Name of the Website]. This used to work 6 years ago. It doesn’t work anymore and it’s stupid. As I said: we can’t cut corners here.
Remember that Google only ever cares about the person using the search engine to find content. If that person gets the best possible experience and results, it will keep coming back for more, which then turns into money making opportunities for Google, due to their Advertising platforms.
So the only thing you need to do is help Google help that person find awesome results on search engines. Now imagine that Jim (an imaginary character) searches for: VR gear on google and google returns website.com/vr-gear. Let’s say that VR-Gear is a category in the website.com website.
Do you think Google would want Jim to see: “VR-Gear Website.com” or would Google want Jim to see: “Modern 2017 VR Gear That Professional Gamers Use” ?
Google needs Jim to see the second option. If your website.com helps google make Jim see something awesome, like in the second option, Google will make sure that your site gets ranked higher.
And remember: we’re talking about a /category page here. The content itself will get generated automatically by the posts, pages and products that you include in this category. Yet, Google can rank it or at least consider it relevant content for Jim. You create 20 categories and BOOM! You have 20 more pages that get constantly updated (if you update your store, of course). 20 more pages that are valuable for users. Google will like this and your score will increase.
This is what all WordPress users miss out on. It pisses me off. This is what I’ve never liked about WordPress.
3) My Up-Close Experience with this WordPress Problem.
In 2014 I had an online store where me and my brother sold computer games from the Steam Marketplace. It was a WooCommerce-powered WordPress site and it was powered by Squirrly SEO as well.
Let’s see what I did and what happened.
So, what I did:
– made my SEO settings ONLY with the Squirrly SEO Plugin
– found the best keywords for which I could rank my site, using the Keyword Research tool from Squirrly
– kept checking my SEO Audit from Squirrly to improve my score
– used the See Google Rank option from Squirrly’s performance analytics.
– Optimized ALL the possible pages and URLs using the SEO Live Assistant.
– i out-ranked the Steam Marketplace itself and everybody else for a lot of game titles, including: “Counter Strike”, “Need for Speed”, “Need for Speed cheap”, “Need for Speed PC”, etc.
I need to mention: we were also building links to this store. Just ON-PAGE SEO alone will not get the job done. Valuable links are also very important.
The problem still remained though: for some keywords I could not out-rank the others. I became obsessed with this. I studied the problem. The only thing they did better was: They were not on WordPress, so they could customize the special URLs from their site, which gave them the boost in SEO that my site did not have.
The Squirrly Snippet can not load on pages which WordPress does not allow you to edit. So I couldn’t edit my special URLs. Duplicates appeared and I had no control over my SEO.
It felt horrible. I was stuck. All because of WordPress and the fact they didn’t allow us users to customize things as we needed to.
I felt lost. With Squirrly SEO 2018, however, I’ll never feel lost this way again.
4) Squirrly SEO 2018. Control Your Rankings. Control Your Brand.
You most probably can tell my level of frustration regarding the inability to optimize every single possible URL in WordPress.
All this frustration will soon be a thing of the past. One of those things when you’re all like: “Man, that sure was the stone age of the Internet”. Haha.
Yes, it’s true. In the future, you’ll be able to gain 100% control over each URL: each page, each article, each product, each author page, each tag page, each inventory page, each category page, each [anything you can think of] page.
That’s the beauty of Squirrly SEO 2018. You’ll never have to be worried again that someone will see your listing in the Google search engine and ignore it because it looks ugly or doesn’t make sense. You’ll get to know exactly how they see it and optimize it until you’re sure they’ll love it.
This stands for people finding your site in search engines but also in social media feeds. Most category pages look amazingly ugly and low-quality when shared on Facebook. With Squirrly SEO 2018 you’ll be able to control Exactly what it will look like when shared to someone’s feed.
I am so happy that we’re finally doing this. There will be a couple more features that help you control your rankings and your brand. More about them soon.
Thanks for reading this and spending your time learning about my story. I appreciate it. I appreciate you being here.
Founder and CEO
the Squirrly Company