Meta tags are used to embed data into your website page. Examples of this are titles, descriptions, alternate text and keywords. There’s always a healthy debate going on among SEO (search engine optimization) specialists on how important meta tags are to your search rankings (in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo). Bottom line, the general consensus is that meta tag data helps both the search engines and users to determine what your site is about. So, what happens to this data if you change your WordPress theme?
WordPress Themes & Plugins
Most premium WordPress themes have SEO built into them. If you’re using a theme that does not have this capability built into it, you can install a plugin to do this for you. The two most popular SEO plugins that come to my mind are the All in One SEO Pack and the WordPress SEO Plugin by Joost de Valk. (Feel free to add your favorites in the comment section or weigh in on these.)
Regardless of how you’re capturing meta-tag data, what happens to that data if you decide to change your theme? How do you transfer that data so that you don’t lose it?
Recently, I migrated a static website with a WordPress blog into a new site built with Thesis. All the SEO data had been entered using the All in One SEO Pack. When I researched for the best solution, I kept coming up with posts recommending using the MetaThesis WordPress plugin. The problem is that this plugin has not been updated in over 2 years! (So, if anyone is even considering using this, my advice is don’t.)
The SEO Data Transporter Plugin
The solution that I used and recommend (at least at the time that I’m writing this) is the SEO Data Transporter Plugin. It is amazingly simple to use. Simply install and activate the plugin and then run it. (You’ll find it under “Tools”.) Of course, backup your site before you begin.
Step 1: Select the platform that you’re converting the SEO data FROM.
Step 2: Select the platform that you’re converting the SEO data TO.
Step 3: Analyze your data.
Step 4: Convert your data.
After the conversion process is completed, you’ll see how many records have been converted and ignored. For me, the process went very smoothly and I was very pleased with the results. (If anyone wants to see the client site that I used this for, please check out www.EveLazarus.com. The design is by Lydia Avsec from CoPilot Design. Eve, Lydia and I are very happy with her new author site.)
I hope you find this helpful. It’s amazing to me how there always seems to be a solution when I’m searching one. I want to give credit to Studio Press, the developers for SEO Data Transporter. (Remember, it’s important to support developers who offer us these solutions for free with our donations.) What do you think? Have you ever used this tool or one like it? Feel free to share your ideas, thoughts and experiences with us. Not all conversions go smoothly and we can all learn from each other.