In this session, we discuss when to use the Thesis Home page SEO settings and how these are affected by the WordPress home page and front page.
Rick: Good morning Christian. How are you doing?
Christian: Good morning. I’m fine. How are you doing?
Rick: I’m doing great.
Christian: Good. Rick, my question is about SEO and I followed your tutorials about how to optimize a page for SEO. And what I did, I went into a specific webpage and I’ve done this for each of my webpages and there is a section in the WordPress page called SEO details. And I completed various sections in there like the homepage title tag, the meta description, meta keywords. And then today, I stumbled across Thesis Site Settings and I noticed that there is a section there called homepage SEO. And that allows you to setup your SEO details, specifically for the homepage. And I started filling it in and I thought, well hold on a minute. If I put stuff in the homepage SEO in Site Settings, am I going to use Google or does this override what I’ve actually entered in SEO details on the webpage itself? So I was a bit confused and… so that was the first part of my question. The 2nd was… you know, only if time allows but I’m really not sure about what sort of information I should be including in the title tag, the meta description, the meta keywords. And I know there are some limitations on numbers of characters but I wondered whether you could do a quick sort of reminder of what stuff needs to go in those boxes.
Rick: Sure. Okay so the 1st question is you know, when you should use homepage SEO. And what this does is this speaks to the question of what WordPress calls your homepage. WordPress calls your blog page your homepage. And if you have a static front page, for example, like my site does, if I’m referring to my homepage via WordPress, it’s not referring to my static homepage. It’s referring to my blog page. And so in WordPress-speak, the homepage is always the blog page or the Posts page and whether it’s the front page or not. And the term ‘front page’ applies to a static homepage and what you traditionally would refer to as the homepage. Because in typical web-speak, the homepage is the page that you go to at the root of the URL. So byobwebsite.com homepage is the one that you get to when you go to byobwebsite.com. That’s the way everybody in the world thinks about it except that WordPress thinks about it as if that is not my homepage or it does not refer to that page as the homepage. It refers to that page as a front page and refers to my blog page where my blog posts are displayed as my homepage.
Okay now, the mechanics of that are important, unfortunately, because when the blog page is being called or the homepage is being called, it ignores everything that is in your ordinary page template. And so, if you took a page that you called ‘blog’ and made it your Posts page and then you put SEO information in there, it’s not reading that because it is… while you’ve given the name and you’ve said it was the Posts page, it’s not returning any information about that page. It is returning what it considers to be the homepage. So if you want a specific title and meta description for your homepage, this is the only place you can do it. And if you did it on the page that you called ‘blog’, it’s being ignored. It’s not being used. That is the only example of this which is why homepage SEO sits here so that you can set the information for the homepage.
Christian: Sorry. I was just not… whether I’m muted or not but I’m just thinking, goodness gracious. How could I make such a glaring omission? I feel like an idiot. I thought I’d you know, I had paid a particular attention to all my SEO and it’s frustrating because probably, if I had attended this earlier, I would appear higher in the search rankings, possibly.
Rick: Well, what Thesis does automatically, if these are blank, is it takes your page title… well no, what it does is it takes your tag line and makes that the title and then it grabs text from the 1st post and makes that the meta description. So Thesis has been substituting the blank space with real stuff but this is your chance to make it say what you want it to say.
Christian: I see because I had noticed actually that when I’d done some tests using Google, it seemed to be picking up the tag line from the… in the General Settings. So if you just sort of scroll down in the left column, you’ll see General Settings and there’s a tag line in there and it was picking that up. Okay, which was obviously better than nothing but I always input stuff specifically in these boxes here.