Better WordPress Search

Monday, November 28th, 2011

One of WordPress’ weak points is its search.  Whenever you search for a phrase, it will just return all posts with that word in reverse chronological order.  People are used to the power of Google searches, these days seemingly having the ability to guess exactly where you want to go before you even finish entering the search query.  So, prompted by our Streetsblog editors, I set about to try and improve upon the WordPress default search.

Each time I look into this problem, the landscape is different.  Different plugins are available and Google offers different ways to hook into its API.  This time I was pleased to find a perfect way to offer Google search results on our blogs.  Using Google Custom Search, I created a search engine for each of our sites that restricts its results to just those from the site.  I then customized its look and feel via css in the Streetsblog style sheet.

I ended up with a solution that integrates closely into our blogs:

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SEO Developments at GothamSchools.org

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

The initial research into Search Engine Optimization of GothamSchools.org was discussed in this post.  Since then, I have made some changes to the site:

  • I changed the <title> tag on the home page of the site to read “GothamSchools – Breaking News and Analysis of the NYC Public Schools”

  • I changed the text inside the <h1> to read “GothamSchools — daily independent reporting on NYC public schools”.  I’m not sure if this text will have any effect on the rankings since the CSS makes it invisible.

These changes were made on December, 19, 2008.  Within a day or so I noticed a change in our ranking for some of our keyword phrases.  The new rankings fluctuated a bit over the last few weeks.  Today, this is how GothamSchools is ranking:

  • nyc schools (37)
  • schools in nyc (32)
  • nyc public schools (33)
  • new york schools (> 50)
  • school nyc (> 50)
  • nyc education (> 50)
  • new york city schools (> 50)

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SEO on GothamSchools.org

Friday, December 19th, 2008

In order to increase the traffic and impact of GothamSchools.org, I’ve been doing some research into Search Engine Optimization. I want to increase the search engine ranking for relevant keyword phrases.  The first step was to identify the keyword phrases that we want to rank highly for.  I used Google’s Keyword Tool to do this research.  I came up with a short-list of keyword phrases:

  • nyc schools (inital rank: > 50)
  • schools in nyc (> 50)
  • nyc public schools (> 50)
  • new york schools (> 50)
  • school nyc (> 50)
  • nyc education (> 50)
  • new york city schools (> 50)

By contrast, we can look at the rankings for insideschools.org, a similar site to GothamSchools. It ranks in 3rd for “schools in nyc” and 25th for “nyc schools”.  All other keyword phrases have it ranked above 50.  (I am tracking these rankings using this tool.) (more…)