If you get to the point where you think you know enough to stop learning, then you’re too stupid to know that you’re finished. That might be crass, but over the past year with a book and a half under my belt I’ve figured out that I have a ton left to learn in this world.
Every time I thought, “Yeah I have a good handle on this, but I’m just going to double-check something…” found out that I didn’t have a good handle on it and I learned far more than I knew just minutes before. Today is no different.
I’m working on the chapter on tuning WordPress for SEO. As most of your know by now, WordPress is pretty darn well tuned for SEO to begin with, so a lot of what we do is bringing the site from 90% there to 100%. Okay, I’m going along, confident in what I know, then I get to the section on Google Webmaster Tools. Whenever I hit a section like that I always go to the site to double check things. Sites update and add features all the time, so I just want to be sure there isn’t something I’ve missed.
If you’ve ever used Google’s Webmaster Tools, you know that you can easily become immersed in the wealth of data there. As I was going through and saw errors I realized that I wasn’t getting the automatic meta descriptions I once was.
Okay so, I wanted to change that. So I wandered to DIYThemes to check out the Thesis forum.
So, the meta descriptions aren’t generated automatically. Maybe I could find a way to do that. But as I read more I realized that putting in a custom meta description would really be better.
There was the problem. As all of you know I prefer to post to my blogs with an offline blogging client or editor. I’ve been doing it this way for years and I’m not planning on changing anytime soon. As far as I read, Thesis descriptions and keywords were set through the WordPress post editor.
I didn’t really want to write, post, then edit and update. I’m not a big fan of workflows like that. I suspected, however that when putting the info into the areas that Thesis provided that I was really just using custom fields.
After a quick test, yep I was right. The description is in thesis_description and keywords in thesis_keywords. Why was this cool and important?
Because Blogo, my editor of choice, let’s me set custom fields within the editor.
In this whole process I learned that Google will use the meta description in the output of search results (even if they don’t carry search weight), Thesis doesn’t generate the descriptions automatically, keywords are set automatically using tags, and I can tune my posts for search engines even more finely if I use custom fields.
That is a lot for answering one question.
Man I wonder what I’ll learn about WordPress tomorrow…