alex sysoef

Why “More” Is Better?

An inspiration for this post was recent conversation with one of my friends, who is brilliant internet marketer but blogging, using WordPress as platform of choice, is rather recent for him. It made me realize that what many of us bloggers accept as common knowledge might have the learning curve for him and many others.

In this post I want to describe – Why “MORE” tag is a must have on blog and how to implement it. And as always – this post is based on my personal opinion and something that I use and has proven beneficial to me.

Why You Should Use “More” tag?

Do you enjoy “Duplicate Content” penalties? Not sure?

Well, allow me to explain. By default WordPress is extremely Search Engine Un-Friendly! And by that I simply mean that SAME post you publish can be displayed in several different locations, accessed by search engines and indexed. Let’s take for example a post written with name – Post Name, by default you can find it in several locations:

  • www.domain.com – your home page has it initially
  • www.domain.com/page/2 – as more posts published it will through pages and than last number will continue to change and be indexed by Google, showing duplicate content
  • www.domain.com/category/ – your category page has it in its entirety
  • www.domain.com/tag/tagname/ – each tag you assigned to the post will have its own page and your new post will be indexed from there
  • www.domain.com/2008/11/ – your archives will display the post in full glory
  • www.domain.com/?s=post – your search results pages have your post full content
  • www.domain.com/feed – even your RSS feed, accessible by search engines will show you post
  • www.domain.com/post-name – and finally you actual full post view page will have it

As I have just shown above search engines will see that SAME content published multiple times on your blog and to avoid it been indexed – they will place all but one page into what is known as “supplemental search results” (it used to be true couple month ago, and I hope it didn’t change as I write it). Why is it bad? Read the Google definition:

A supplemental result is just like a regular web result, except that it’s pulled from our supplemental index. We’re able to place fewer restraints on sites that we crawl for this supplemental index than we do on sites that are crawled for our main index. For example, the number of parameters in a URL might exclude a site from being crawled for inclusion in our main index; however, it could still be crawled and added to our supplemental index.

Supplemental results will only be shown to searchers IF regular Google SERP’s have very few pages to answer the search query and in currently competitive market chances of that happening are next to nothing. Problem you have now is that you can’t control WHICH page is INDEXED to be shown for regular searches unless you take some measures.

Let’s Discuss the Cure for The Dupes

What I will provide here is what I personally use and what works for me – your results can’t be quite different. Improper implementation can be also quite destructive to your existing blog – by using guidelines I provide, you take full responsibility for your own actions.

1. Use MORE tag on ALL your posts.

Using more tag allows you to split the main post content into small part of the post that is shown in all the index, archive, search results, tag, etc pages and while it gives access to people to content they need – it is not showing it in its Entirety and will not be seen by search engine as duplicate to what is placed on your main Full Post view page, assuming you didn’t split it in such a way that most of your content goes before the more tag.

Adding the more tag is very simple, just click the MORE icon on your visual editor, shown below or use MORE in html editor

That will effectively split your post in exact location this tag is placed.

2. Change your theme templates to display Excerpt

This is a more drastic measure as you loose control to great extent over what is shown on the pages that aggregate your posts, such as main home page, archives, etc. Excerpt will take predefined number of characters from your post and display it on those pages, after the theme is edited IF you don’t provide other text in EXCERPT field in your post.

But first, edit your index.php, archive.php, archives.php and any other pages responcible for displaying content of multiple posts (don’t do it on single.php – that is the file we need to display full content on) and replace:

<?php the_content('Read more'); ?> with
<?php the_excerpt(); ?>

Doing the above mentioned will effectively replace full post content on all of the aggregation pages with an excerpt of the post instead of full content and will help you prevent the Duplicate Content penalties to some extent. You can still control what is shown on those pages by using this Advanced option while writing post:

Use this ONLY if you don’t want to use MORE tag in each post.

3. Use a Plugin to Avoid Indexing Of Pages You Don’t Want in SERP’s

I personally use the All In One SEO plugin to exclude all categories, tags and other supplemental pages on my site from been indexed by search engines. What that plugin does is places the code into the HTML head section of those pages that tells Google to Not Index the page itself but Do Follow link to the posts shown on it:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow" />

I have also seen people mention WordPress Duplicate Content Cure as good option to use for same effect. Its up to you which plugin you decide to use, as long as you find a way to NOINDEX on categories, tags, etc pages to avoid the duplicate content.

4. Use robots.txt to Exclude Certain Pages From Indexing

After some trial and error I have ended up with a robots.txt file that works quite nicely for me and helps me to exclude all the pages I don’t want to be indexed, such as FEED and TRACKBACK among the few more important.

If you like – you can copy my robots.txt file and adjust for your own blog. Simply place it into your blog root folder and BE SURE to verify it using Google Webmaster Tools. try accessing some of the more important posts and pages on your blog using tool they provide to verify that robots.txt doesn’t stop indexing those pages.

Using option  have shown above, simply provide the url and check it, see image below:

That will verify you file is correct and will not break your blog.

All the options I have outlined above should help you avoid the duplicate content penalties and also help you display MORE of your content on main home page and other aggregation pages while keeping the page load speed down to normal.

MORE tag allows you to display same 10 (or however many you choose) posts on your main blog page while showing slightly less text, less images and help your page to load faster!

MORE tag is in this case allows you to keep MORE of your visitors on your page reading, instead of the leavign the page after waiting for several minutes. More Is Better!

Filed under Blogging, SEO
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40 Responses to “Why “More” Is Better?”

  1. Bill says:

    Thanks for this post. As a new blogger and WordPress user, these tips help a lot. Thanks again.

  2. Clement says:

    Thanks for such a thorough writeup on this interesting topic. In my case, I prevented search engines will seeing duplicate content on my blog by changing my theme.I got some PHP code from the net which I inserted in some of my theme’s PHP files. I, however, started using the MORE tag because I wanted to optimize the placement of adsense units on my blog. I like inserting one adsense unit in each and every post on my blog.Besides that, I have two site wide adsense units which always show up whenever someone visits any page on my blog.By using the MORE tag just above the adsense unit, I hide it such that it only shows up when someone clicks the individual post.If I do not use the MORE tag, the some adsense units do not show up on my home page leaving ugly spaces because adsense only shows a maximum of three units per page.I had to choose the MORE tag in order to fix this problem because using the MORE tag is very simple.

    Clements last blog post..Congratulations to Barack Obama:Change has come to America!

  3. Great tops on getting used to WordPress. I used to build my own sites, whether in just HTML or PHP. When I went to WordPress, I too had some learning to do.

    Stephan Millers last blog post..Clickbank�s New YouTube Channel

  4. Deanna says:

    Alex,
    Great post! I’ve used the ‘MORE’ tag almost from the beginning but not for that reason. For my it was just because my articles tend to be very lengthy and I use a lot of pix so rather than have a ton of content on the main page, readers can browse through and is they read an except of an article and it interests them, they can choose to read the whole thing. If not, they don’t have to spend ten minutes scrolling to get past it.

    Nice to know that I was doing something so beneficial without even knowing it. Was going for looks and got something that was good for me in the process.

    Thanks!

    Deannas last blog post..Dog Hitchhikes Ride in Car Grill after Being Hit at 70 mph

  5. Barton says:

    Thanks! An excellent tips. In the quest for high rankings, many often forget how much duplicate content works against them.

    Bartons last blog post..Idaho SEO

  6. Well I am a dissenter here on the more tag but do agree 100% with changing the tags for following for categories, tags etc but then I use my blog as a landing page for my email list quite often.

    If you are using it like that I prefer people to not have to click anywhere because they will continue to read down the page the first article may not have something they want but if they are enjoying the content they will continue to read.

    For search results and staying out of the supplemental index it works well but I prefer to keep people reading my blog until they find something they want preferably to buy ;)

    Very few people will click to come back to read the second and third article which may have the item they are interested in.

    Also to the best of my knowledge Google will list one version in the regular index so I personally don’t feel I get hurt there and my stats show a lot of my traffic comes from Google.

    Course just my opinion on this.

    Mike Paetzolds last blog post..Proper positioning matters

    • TheSpotter says:

      Hey Mike,

      Thanks for commenting, we all have our own opinions here but if you get a lot of traffic now – does it make you wonder how much of the traffic you might be loosing due to not been able to rank well because your best page ended up in supplemental result?

      …just a thought.
      Alex

  7. Sebastian says:

    Very useful information!
    Gotta bockmark this page.

    As a customer of your
    products i already have the
    All in One SEO Plugin…
    but now i understand what
    it does. :D Thanks for that.

    And now i finally understand
    what this icon (MORE) does.
    That’s what i’ve been looking
    for. ^^

  8. Wow, I haven’t read anything this important on a blog for a long time. I’m heading over to my blog right now to start using this “More tag” feature, as duplicate content can be quite debilitating and I do not want that working against me.

  9. Wow, Alex! This is a wonderfully thorough explanation. As someone else mentioned, because I’m using the stuff you put together for those of us who purchased your Web 2.0 Wealth VIP program, you had me already nicely set up. But it’s nice to have this additional explanation beyond what you gave there.

    Also, most interesting to me: to find out how many times posts are duplicated on my own site! . . . I had NO IDEA.

    John

    John Holzmanns last blog post..Four asset classes for the growth of true wealth

  10. TheSpotter says:

    Thanks guys,

    Glad my post on sharing something I have personally considered common knowledge provides information to my readers. Perhaps I should re-evaluate a few other things I take for granted…

    Alex

  11. Dan says:

    Hi Alex,
    Wouldn’t changing the Frequencies on the XML control panel to Never accomplish the robots from indexing the extra pages? IF so which pages should be marked never? Everything but Posts?

    or as it states the engines may ignore the Never and search anyway?

    • TheSpotter says:

      Dan,

      Well… XML sitemap is accessed by search engines but it is not The Only way they learn about your content. I personally use default settings and it seem to work fine for me.

      But You Do Raise Interesting Question.

      I will have to research this one and get back to you.

  12. ThatsBlog says:

    Thanks for your submission to the Twenty-Eighth edition of the Blog Carnival: Blogging. Your post has been accepted and its live: http://thatsblog.com/?p=168

    -ThatsBlog.com

  13. Eric says:

    Hi Alex, I had forgotten where the more button was. Do i have this right? The
    “All In One SEO plug-in” takes care of the dupe’s problem. I still want to use and think it’s a good idea to using the “more tag” to save load time and shorten the content. It’s hard to remember where you’ve seen the information before. That’s another good reason to read your newsletter. Thanks
    Eric

  14. Dennis Edell says:

    I agree you must split the post on site, however the “more” tag also disallows a full feed…bad idea and there are several ways to enjoy both.

    I use the post teaser plugin.

    Dennis Edells last blog post..2 NEW BLOGS Unveiled! FINALLY!!

    • TheSpotter says:

      Dennis,

      I have to disagree with you on Full Feed. Check this blog – I provide full text rss feed and use more on each and every post.

      You are correct that this used to be issue with WordPress but it was fixed by dev team since I think 2.3 version. All you have to do is set your Feed to display full text in settings. Double check it please.

      Alex

  15. Clare says:

    Thanks for the useful post – I only cottoned onto this a few weeks back and have been running several WP sites for about 11 months now. I use the Excerpt and All in One SEO plugins to try and keep duplicate content from appearing or being viewed by google.

    Clares last blog post..Get festive this Christmas with a play, performance or concert

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