I’ve talked to several bloggers who spend a lot of time working on optimizing their websites for search engines, and often without good results. This can be attributed to several things, but often times it is the result of a lack of SEO knowledge, or to many SEO plugins that overlap and conflict with each other.
If you have more than one SEO plugin installed to do various functions for your blog, you have to many SEO plugins installed. WordPress users actually have free access to a very well done plugin called All-in-One SEO Pack, which currently does everything out of the box. I don’t pretend to be an SEO expert, but then again I don’t have to be with this plugin.
What does All-in-One SEO Pack do exactly? I don’t know how better to describe it than to just say that it does everything! And the best part is that it doesn’t require any coding work. You can actually control everything from the Options panel of your WordPress dashboard.
Here is a screen shot of what my options panel looks like:
By default, Wordpress will use your blog’s tag line for the description and keyword tags. With this plugin, simply enter your homepage information once (name, description, keywords, etc.) and it will automatically add the information provided to your homepage’s meta information. This determines what search engines will display when your blog’s homepage shows up in search results.
For your individual posts, you will want your meta information to be customized to each individual post you do to help get the most optimal indexing with search engines. This plugin allows you to set everything up to happen automatically, or you can do it manually on certain posts if you wish.
Here is a look at the menu placed on your Write panel to enter your individual post information:
- Titles Tags – By default, WordPress will add your post title as the title tag for the individual post, but this is not always ideal. One thing a lot of successful bloggers do is target their title to their readership, but use a different title tag which targets search engine traffic. When the search engines spider your blog, they pull the meta title tag, not the post title. With this plugin, your Write panel will now display a field to enter a custom title tag that the search engines will use, but your readers will never see your meta title unless they view your pages source.
- Meta Keywords – By default, WordPress will use your category assigned to your post as the keyword, but we all know this is often not a great indicator of what the post is about. All-in-One SEO Pack also provides a keyword field that you can enter in your own keywords, but it also allows you to automate this process if you wish. Because you can integrate it with the Ultimate Tagging Warror plugin, and UTW allows you to automatically assign your categories as tags, you can actually have this plugin insert your UTW tags (which includes your categories) as your meta keywords automatically. (Be sure to set UTW to not automatically use tags as meta keywords because you will then have duplicate keywords). This will also go through and update your older posts with keywords.
- Meta Description – The meta description is the description that the search engines will use when displaying their search results, so this can be just as crucial as your title when it comes to getting web surfers to click over to your website. In the Write panel, this plugin gives you the option of inserting a custom description of your post, but that could be quite tedious very quickly if you write a lot. This plugin also offers another solution that I haven’t found on any other SEO plugins, and that is the ability to automatically insert the first 160 characters of your post as the description.
Other features include the ability to automatically exclude your sites categories and archives from being indexed (to avoid duplicate content being indexed) without the use of Robots.txt. This is extremely useful for bloggers that don’t know much about making a Robots.txt file to guide the search engine spiders through your blog. You can also set your title formats to look exactly the way you want them to (posts, tags, pages, search results, archives, and even categories).
How do I set up the All-in-One SEO Pack plugin? It couldn’t be easier. Just upload the plugin and activate it and you’ll be all set to start using it. This also means it is incredibly easy to update the plugin as well, which will be extremely handy because the author releases updates regularly (sometimes several a week). Some may not like that, but I look at that as an author who is committed to making his plugin the best one available.
I have to say that I couldn’t be any happier with this plugin as it is. It is constantly getting new features and more integration added each week it seems, and it already combines the best of other SEO plugins while and some unique features as well.
If you aren’t already using it, I recommend you deactivate your SEO plugins and give this one a shot for awhile. If you are using it, I recommend you upgrade to the newest version, as the one you have is probably outdated.