As I continue using OnPage, I was able to make some pretty fast gains. All the work I did with Yoast and CPTs immediately saw me picking up higher rankings for some of my keywords. That meant I had successfully optimized the pages for shows and characters.

The hard work happened next. See one of the terms I wanted to rank for was “dead lesbians” and if you look at that right now, we’re not in sight. We own the domain deadlesbians.com which sends you to https://lezwatchtv.com/cliches/dead/ but how do we amp that up?

I don’t want to have to customize every single taxonomy and, initially, I had the default titles set: %%term_title%% Archives %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%%

This translated into “Dead Archives – LezWatchTV” and that’s pretty good but it could be better. Since I’m talking about character clichés here (characters have clichés and shows have tropes you see), the title could be better as “Cliché Archive: Dead Queers” and that takes two changes. First I rename the taxonomy to “Dead Queers” and second I changed my default titles to be prettier. But that made me think of a couple things.

Meta Titles: Rated Orange

If you look at the above screenshot, it shows that I only have an ‘orange’ for a good title. After some fiddling, I determined that Character Cliché Archives for %%term_title%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%% gave me green results, though not a full bar. The reason here is that the length of what you’re using matters. Meta descriptions should be around 160 characters (Yoast’s crew have seen 135-250) but meta titles are a little odder.

Before I get too far into that, I have to explain that there is one annoying thing about keywords when it comes to taxonomies. If you have the premium version of Yoast SEO, then you can pick multiple keywords for posts and pages. You can’t do it for taxonomies. That means even though my page is named “Dead Queers” I was going to have to manually give it a custom keyword and handcraft the title.

I do not recommend this in the long run for everything. And in fact, this is the only place I plan on doing this. I manually made the keyword ‘dead lesbians’ and worked from there. Doing that gave me a different sort of direction, since I got the following message:

The SEO title contains the focus keyword, but it does not appear at the beginning; try and move it to the beginning.

Of course. That made perfect sense and I changed the title to start like this: %%term_title%% Character Cliché Archives

Once I had done all that, I went back and changed the focus keyword to “The big list of dead lesbians.” Now this is not a keyword. But it lets me do this: %%focuskw%% A collection of all queer female TV show characters who have fallen prey to the cliché of %%term_title%%.

Originally I wanted to make a custom term meta and variable (like I made for %%actors%% and %%shows%%) but I couldn’t get it to output. Since the focus keyword is there to help me optimize things, I don’t see anything wrong with this but …

Warning: the variable %%focuskw%% cannot be used in this template. See the help center for more info.

That’s what happened when I tried to set that on the Taxonomies page. And I can see why. It’s frustrating though, since I really do want it just not to show if I don’t have it set.

In the end, I had to make that page the one with a super custom meta.

The big list of dead lesbians. A collection of all queer female TV show characters who have fallen prey to the cliché of %%term_title%%.

We’ll just have to see how that goes. I would much rather make it as flexible as possible, and lot of this would be easier if I was using a specific page and not a custom taxonomy listing. But there are still some limitations when you’re working differently.

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