If you are powering a WordPress site or blog, if you want to optimize your site using SEO best standards, then this post might be worth a read… I happened to stumble across both these plugins at different times in my SEO career and given the workload I’ve had since joining Cardinal Path, I haven’t had a chance to test and look at the functionalities of both these plugins until now. I did not find a complete guide/direct comparison between these tools anywhere on the web. If you do know of one, please share it with me and if it’s worth noting and adding here as a link, I will do so.
SIDE NOTE: Through the years of working on the WordPress platform and in the SEO space, I soon realized that the best tools are those that are continuously supported and updated to reflect the change in demand for SEO tools. Way to go guys/gals!
Last night, I decided to give Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin a shot. Previously, I had the All in One SEO pack on my site. It was a great plugin, and it did the trick. The WordPress SEO plugin did look much more user friendly (some nicer visuals too), with some additional SEO features like XML sitemap creation, page analysis, permalinks, and more. The only concern for me, was how smooth the transition from one plugin to another would go. Well, let’s uncover the sheets and show you some of the things to keep in mind if you decide to move over to this plugin…
First, if you’ve installed and activated the plugin, you will find the settings here:
My goal here is to explain and share the process of switching over from the All in One SEO plugin to WordPress SEO. Depending on what theme you may have installed, the mods will be different, but I’m sure you will figure it out. Here are the items to be discussed…
- Core On-Page SEO Elements (title, description, headings)
- Other settings that may be important to you…
The migration process was quick and smooth. Depending on how big your index is, it might take more than 10 seconds, or even minutes for the migration to happen. Let me know if you’ve experienced a longer migration process.
Sorry, this was a very short review, but I didn’t have much to say… but that it did what it was suppose to
Core On-Page SEO Elements
Some of the things you may want to know is how Yoast has set up the on-page configurations in behind your pages/posts.
NOTE: You will need to modify your title tag code in your header.php file. Simply replace it with
(if you don’t change it, your homepage title will be ‘Blog Title – Tagline’)
- Right off the bat, you are provided with a count on the number of characters that SEOs see as best practices when it comes to title tags and meta descriptions. The number will count down as you add text to the fields, and turn negative and red when you go over the recommended length (aka don’t drive over the cliff)
- You can set your own template in your SEO settings for your Homepage, Posts, Pages, Attachments and more. I truly believe in the manual process of writing your titles and descriptions, but I’ll leave it up to your discretion on what you decide to do.
- Generate SEO Title button – this allows you to automatically generate a title using the ‘heading you gave your article – blog name’. This could get messy, write your own.
- I wouldn’t even bother with the Focus Keywords field, often this is an opportunity for competitors to come and scrape your keywords. All that time researching keywords, you just gave it to your competitors! Don’t use it. Search Engines don’t look at the keyword field for ranking pages.
Other settings that may be important to you…
- Indexation > Indexation Rules – this is probably the most important area to specify what you want indexed in the search engines. If you are not familiar or have never touched your robots.txt file to blog irrelevant pages, then this might come in handy. I often hate seeing pages in the /tag directory indexed because they provide little to no value to a use. It’s even worse when you add 100 tags to a single post (a bit exaggerated here), that in turn creates 100 additional pages in your index (wow!). I index my category pages instead.
- XML Sitemap – I currently use a Googe XML sitemap generator plugin, but WordPress SEO seem to handle the XML sitemap generation quite well… here is how I set mine up:
I excluded the Post Tags because… well… you heard me before, I just don’t like them :p
This is how the XML sitemap looks like, it is located http://example.com/sitemap_index.xml.
It is clean, and separates your pages, posts, and categories into their own XML sitemap. The index is used to refer to all these sitemaps you have, which means the only updating you need to do is (if you had an XML sitemap already) to update your webmaster tools by resubmitting this sitemap, and removing the old one. BONUS TIP: You will also want to specify in you robots.txt file this new sitemap’s location.
- Permalink – there are some exciting features in here… the first is the No /category/ slug. I discovered the WP No Category Base plugin for WordPress a while ago, fixing the problem of having a irrelevant /category/ directory in between your domain and the category page name/slug. In the permalink settings, you will find that you no long need this plugin.
- Finally, you got your .htaccess file by your finger tips. This is often used for when you need to write a redirect. I recommend if you are not code savvy, that you install the Redirection plugin, it’s simple and quick to use without needing to learn code
- Final thing I want to mention is that WordPress SEO has integrated the rel=”next” and rel=”prev”, assisting with Pagination. Google introduced this in September to allow you to specify the relationships between 2 URLs. Glad to see WordPress SEO supports this.
So, there you have it. This my day 2 with WordPress SEO, and so far I’m impressed with what it offers. One item I would like to developed, and it appears to be in production, is the local SEO portion; geo-sitemap and KML file generator, support on microdata markup using Schema, and Google Maps integration.
If you have any additional points or comments you’d like to add to this review, please speak up in the comments section below Share this with anyone you think would benefit from this review, cheers!