Performing search engine optimisation for WordPress is a joy. The system has been built with such loving care and with so many features and plugins available that you can do just about anything you want to in terms of SEO, quickly and easily.
Sometimes however you can go too far, and can make SEO tweaks that actually cost you rankings. When this happens it’s important to identify the problem and rectify it quickly.
For example, the WordPress plugin All In One SEO offers many wonderful options for customising the way Google indexes your website and blog. One of the features it offers is a ‘noindex’ for categories. This means that Google, and the other search engines that obey the noindex rule, won’t index the content on the category pages. This would be done to prevent snippets of duplicate content appearing throughout your website, and is often a good idea within SEO.
However… should your categories be very keywords focused you may actually want them to be indexed. If your website is about a specific subject and each category relates to one aspect of that subject, the sort of aspect that people would search for, then you will want your categories indexed so that the pages rank within Google.
For example, your website could be about Premiership Football, and each of your categories could be a team name, showing articles about that team. You will want these categories indexed!
Your website could be a video games website, and each category could be a different platform – such as PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. You will also want these categories indexed.
Selecting noindex for your categories, when you run a website such as this, would affect your rankings for those keywords. This is why you should always make small SEO changes when you have a well optimised website so that you can monitor the effect of each change, and reverse it if necessary.