Welcome to first part of Best WordPress Plugins series where I am going to introduce most popular and useful plugins for WordPress. If you are not sure what I am talking about please check out our introduction to WordPress plugins. Today I would like to talk about one of the most popular SEO plugins: All in One SEO Pack.
The main purpose of All in One SEO Pack is to optimize the way your blog is visible to Google search engine and to make it more search-friendly. Plugin achieves it by adding user defined META tags into blog content on per page basis. All you have to do is to configure few global settings and then write title and excerpt for every post you write.
On above example you can see how Google uses description and title data from All in One SEO Pack on search results pages. Adding this information is very simple and can significantly increase your blog’s visibility resulting in bigger traffic.
How to configure All in One SEO Pack WordPress plugin?
Once you have the plugin installed you should configure global options. You can access them in via Settings / All in One SEO. Let’s take a look at these options (by clicking on option name in your settings you can see some short help).
Plugin Status – it should be enabled of course.
Home Title – this is gonna be title of your blog used for SEO. By default All in One SEO Pack uses Blog Title as your Home Title.
Home Description – it’s gonna be put into your blog’s source code as META description tag, informing search engines what your blog is all about. Put something short and informative here.
Home Keywords – put here a SHORT list of most important keywords for your site (do your keyword research first), separated by commas.
Canonical URLs – should be ticked, so search engines know that one page with different parameters is still technically the same page – this will avoid penalties for duplicated content.
Rewrite Titles – if checked, All in One SEO Pack will rewrite post titles displayed in browser bar according to the rules below. I use this function. All in One SEO Pack has some default settings prefilled, you can change them – for full list of macros just click each item’s name.
Post Title Format – title used by your posts.
Page Title Format – title used by your pages.
Category Title Format – title used by your categories.
Archive Title Format – title used by archives.
Tag Title Format – title used by tags pages.
Search Title Format – title used in search result pages.
404 Title Format – title used for Not Found pages.
Paged Format – title for post where you use paging feature.
SEO for Custom Post Types – if you don’t have custom post types (I think you don’t), this can be unchecked.
Custom Post Types for SEO Column Support – by default posts and pages are used, if you use other types you can select them here.
Google Plus Profile Sitewide Default – if you want to link your site to your Google Plus profile, you should paste full link to it here.
Google Analytics ID – if you want to track your site in Google Analytics, you should put here your Analytics ID. I prefer to use other plugin for this purpose, most WordPress themes have this functionality as well.
Use Categories for META keywords – if you check this categories the post is assigned to will be added to it as META keywords. I leave it unchecked by default.
Use Tags for META keywords – if you check this tags assigned to the post will be added to it as META keywords. I leave it checked by default.
Dynamically Generate Keywords for Post Page – I use this function as it generates META keywords based on posts that are currently displayed on the page.
Use noindex for Categories – I leave this checked to avoid penalties for duplicate content.
Use noindex for Archives – check to avoid penalties.
Use noindex for Tag Archives – as above.
Autogenerate Descriptions – if checked, All in One SEO Pack will try to autogenerate excerpts if there is no user defined description. I leave it unchecked so Google can autogenerate it for me.
Capitalize Category Titles – checked.
Exclude Pages – you should enter here page you don’t want to be optimized by All in One SEO Pack, e.g. forums. Just enter the list separated by commas.
Additional Post Headers – you can put here some extra posts information for bots. Some time ago Google introduced snippets which are displayed instead of your excerpts – to turn them off you should put <metaname=”robots” content=”noodp,noydir” /> here.
Additional Page Headers – as above but for pages.
Additional Home Headers – as above but for home page.
Additional Front Page Headers – as above but for front page.
Log important events – turning it on will make All in One SEO Pack plugin to save logging information to all_in_one_seo_pack.log file in plugin directory (has to be writeable).
Once we have main options configured, all we have to do is to fill some extra fields every time we write a post or add a new page. We don’t have to do it, but it is why we installed All in One SEO Ppack in first place, isn’t it?
When adding new post there are three new fields added by All in One SEO Pack:
Title – what title should be displayed by Google on search results pages.
Description – what description (excerpt) should be displayed by Google on search results pages.
Keywords – keywords related to the content, it is not used by Google right now, but it appears in the source of the page and it is used by other spiders for sure. So it is good idea to fill it in. If you don’t know how to find these keywords, please check introduction to Google Keyword Tool.
Please notice one thing – it is not guaranteed that Google is gonna use this options in their search result pages. Sometimes (quite often actually) they are rewriting the descriptions and title using their snippets. It may be bad thing or not – depends. Google tries to optimize both texts, and it may result in better amount of traffic than would be generated by your own description. If you want to make sure your own descriptions are displayed, add <metaname=”robots” content=”noodp,noydir” /> to your META keywords.
Disable on this page/post – ticking this will disable adding META tags on this entry.
Let’s take a look at the fields displayed on adding new page – except Title, Description and Keywords there are two extra fields:
Title Attribute – this allows you to customize mouse over message which appears when user hover mouse over the link.
Menu Label – if we want to shorten page name that appears in navigation menus, we can use this function.
That’s all – now you know everything about this excellent WordPress plugin. It can really improve your Google rankings if you use it wisely. Which I really wish you!