If you want your website to be found by any and every web surfer, search engine optimization is an important consideration. The good news is that Headway does some of the work on its own. Headway includes default SEO settings designed to improve the rankings of your site in search engines. It also works nicely with WordPress SEO plugins, such as All-in-One SEO Pack. Headway’s settings supersede plugin settings where redundancy exists.
Note: If you are switching to Headway Base from another theme with SEO options, such as Thesis, there won’t be any negative impact on your search engine rankings.
In addition to automatic settings, Headway provides SEO options for each template, or type of page, on your website and for individual pages and posts.
Automatic SEO Settings
Some settings improve your search engine rankings by default:
- Canonized URLs.
Headway canonizes your site’s URLs so that redundant URLs like http://www.mysite.com and http://mysite.com don’t compete for search engine rankings.
- Tagline Visibilty in Search Rankings.
In the default WordPress setup, the tagline has very little, if any, impact on SEO. Because the tagline typically conveys what your website is all about, potentially much more than the blog’s name, Headway places greater importance on the tagline for SEO purposes by placing it in each webpage’s <title> tag. (You can remove the tagline from <title> by customizing the SEO templates, but it’s not recommended.)
Tip: Typically, you have certain search terms that you want search engines to associate with your website. It is recommended that you put keywords in your tagline that match those search terms to increase the probability that your site will appear for those searches.
Template-Level SEO Settings
With Headway, an SEO template corresponds to a type of webpage on your site. To view and change the SEO settings for a template, or type of page:
- Click Options in the Headway menu.
- Click the Search Engine Optimization tab.
- Select a template above the SEO settings. (The default selection is Blog Index.) See the illustration below.
The following items describe template-level SEO options:
This is the text that will appear in the <title> tag for a given page, and it will be the largest text in search engine result pages (SERPs).
- <meta> Description. This text appears in SERPs beneath the title.
- Advanced Options:
- Page Indexing.
Enabling noindex makes pages with this template not findable in search. The idea here is reducing the number of unique URLs per page or post that are recognized by search engines. You may want to check this box for the category template unless you include the category name in post permalinks. Similarly, you may want to check this box for the author template unless the names of post authors are included in permalinks.
- Link Following.
Check this box only if you have a specific reason for not wanting search engines to crawl the links in pages with this template.
- Page Archiving. Check this box if search engines shouldn’t save a copy of pages with this template.
- Snippets. nosnippet tells search engines not to display excerpts of the page or the meta description in search results.
- Open Directory Project.
Check this box if you prefer that search engines not use the title and description contained in the Open Directory Project for your site’s pages. Checking this box maintains your control over the text displayed in search results, particularly if you are taking advantage of Headway’s SEO options.
- Yahoo! Directory. Similar to NOODP, enabling this tag ensures that the titles and descriptions you craft in WordPress are used instead of the Yahoo! Directory title and description.
- Page Indexing.
- Comment Authors’ URL.
The only reason you may want to check this box is if you have a lot of spam comments. Checking the box will ensure you’re not increasing the spammers’ SEO for their sites. If you use an effective spam plugin and don’t have spam comments being posted on your site, leave this box unselected.
Page- and Post-Specific SEO Settings
These options give you more control over your search engine rankings and display. Configure a page or post’s SEO options below the text editor (see the image at right). See the following descriptions of page- and post-specific settings:
- Title. If you want the <title> tag for the page or post to contain something different than what Headway will put there based on the template settings, or you want the title to be something other than the post or page title, type the custom title here.
If you want the <meta> description for the page or post to contain something different than what Headway will put there based on the template settings, type the custom description here.
- noindex. See Page Indexing in the Template-Level SEO Settings section in this article.
- nofollow. See Link Following in this article.
- noarchive. See Page Archiving in this article.
- nosnippet. See Snippets in this article.
- noodp. See Open Directory Project in this article.
- noydir. See Yahoo! Directory in this article.
- 301 Permanent Redirect.
Occasionally, you may need to retire a page or post, but other sites link to it. Instead of asking people to update their links, you can put in the permalink you want to redirect visitors to when they try to visit the old page or post.