Apr 282013
 

Word Stats is a free plugin for WordPress which can help find problems with the content and quality of posts on a website. Webmasters who have suffered from Google’s Panda algorithm penalty (or who wish to avoid it in the future) may benefit greatly from the statistics the plugin provides.

It is a simple but effective reporting plugin, highly configurable and includes these key stats:

Spammed keywords – any post with a keyword count greater than 20 per 1000 words (2%) is flagged as having keyword spam. Keyword spam (also known as stuffing) is usually regarded as bad practice for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) i.e. it may lower the site ranking with Google etc.

However there is no agreed limit – some SEO experts recommend a maximum of 1-2% whilst others go up to 5% or more. You can change the default value of 20 in the plugin Options to set a different percentage – if you have been hit by Panda and are struggling to understand why, checking for and reducing keyword spam may be a useful recovery option.

Each individual post identified in the reports has a clickable link to open the post directly into the WordPress Editor where you can update and republish it more quickly.

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Spammed keywords report with links to WP Editor

Word Count – posts with less than 150 words are reported as too short and posts with more than 1500 words are reported as too long. Again, there are no agreed SEO friendly limits for the length of a post but it is widely believed that having too many short posts can harm site ranking.

You can change the default values of 150 and 1500 in the plugin Options to set different limits – the minimum acceptable length of post will vary depending on the site but, for me, 150 is far too low – I’d use at least 300 word limit as the shortest post. [Note: the word count for this article is about 300 words right here…]

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Posts too long/short report

Other Diagnostics – the plugin also reports on the readability of posts (those which are too easy or too difficult are flagged, options to change the limits), the top 20 keywords used within a user-specified timeframe (default is last 6 months), total word counts and live stats which provide data whilst editing a new post.

Using Word Stats – Download and install the plugin from within WordPress or from the official site here.

After activating the plugin it starts collating the data from your site and may take a few minutes to produce its report – available under your WP Dashboard in a new Word Stats link and, by default, displays data from the last 6 months. You can change this date period and/or the post author then click View to display other stats.

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Example Word Stat report

To change Options, go to the new WordPress Settings \ Word Stats panel and check/change any settings as required – press the Save Changes button at the bottom when complete and the plugin will start to recalculate the stats. Again, it may take a few minutes to display the new reports if your site is large.

If you have a very large site and encounter any slowdowns, the plugin author recommends disabling Live Stats and/or Total Word Counts to reduce potential server load – I didn’t notice any delays after installing the plugin and my reports were produced in just a few seconds.

Conclusion

Word Stats is an easy to configure diagnostic and reporting tool to help webmasters identify thin content, spammed keywords and readability issues. Those sites which have been Panda-ized may find it especially useful to quickly find published posts that may have contributed to the penalty.

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