Why I Use The WordPress SEO Plugin?
Like you, I have been trying for several years to properly market my business on the internet and when I first started the first thing I learned was search engine optimization. The lure of all the free targeted traffic that you can get with a properly optimized site was just to good to pass up. But it wasn’t as easy as everyone had made it out to be. There were so many factors that needed to be taken into account, on-page and off page.
So we as search engine marketers need to find tools that help us make our business work in the most automated way possible in order to maximize the time that we have. Being a part time marketer is tough and these tools, plugins, and other such things help to do that. The WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast is one of those tools that I found and put on all of my websites. But it wasn’t my first choice originally.
All-In-One SEO Professional was actually the first on page seo plugin that I used on my sites. After all when I started it was the most highly recommended plugin out there. But I did find it to be a little limiting in the things that I wanted to do. And with all the changes that search engines were making, including Google and Bing, I needed something that I knew would keep up with all the new Webmaster Guidelines that Google was putting out. The WordPress SEO plugin was just getting started and proved early on that it was just what I was looking for.
But I will admit that it really can be a bear to set up the first time. There are so many options and features to this plugin and the WordPress SEO plugin is updated a lot. So I searched far and wide to find the best settings that provided the best results. And since I did the research and the testing to make sure the WordPress SEO plugin gives you the best bang for your time lets just get to getting yours up and running.
WordPress SEO Plugin Installation
I created this video that walks you through installation and set-up of the WordPress SEO Plugin. I have also provided you with images and my recommended WordPress SEO plugin settings.
SEO Plugin General Settings
Plugin Title Settings
Title tags and meta description settings are probably the most important feature of this plugin, get this right your 90% there with your on page SEO factors.
Take notice that I didn’t use the the keywords meta tag.
Google used to use them but of course people went all crazy with it and spoiled it for everyone else so now they really mean nothing. Unless of course your Bing.
Bing has gone on public record saying that they use them to help identify spam. Basically if you use them and your page is over-optimized for a particular keyword, your spam. So save yourself the trouble and skip them all together.
I personally only use the title in my title tag which gives you more characters to put in when your trying to get people to click your links.
My thought process behind this is that the title tag is the first impression a potential visitor has with my site. And if its filled with nothing but keywords then they most likely won’t click.
I don’t like that WordPress naturally creates duplicate content on my site. This absolutely has the potential to hurt your overall on page seo.
So I don’t use tags on my websites.
I would use them if I had a set of them that I only used, but who has the time to manage those every time you post.
I do use categories to help my readers navigate through a specific topic however. Thus why categories are indexed.
I have a single author sites which negates the need for author archives.
If your site has several authors though I would keep these enabled in case your readers want to discover more from that particular writer.
You will notice that the date archives are disabled, again it’s nothing but more duplicate content courtesy of WordPress.
Social integration of your site is a major factor in getting traffic.
And in the coming years its going to continue to grow as a major factor in search engine optimization which is why the Yoast SEO Plugin has this feature inside of it.
Let me caution you though, if you already have a plugin that adds the Facebook meta tags and the Twitter card tags to your site. Skip this section all together.
The plugin will create duplicate data and it just ends up making your site load slower.
This has some advantages if your looking to add Facebook Insights. To connect your account just follow the simple instructions, it doesn’t take any time at all.
Also I recommend you populate the default image and description.
That way if you forget to add an image on your post or forget to add a meta description for some reason that default one will be used.
Really this just makes your link show up better on Facebook when shared rather then some plain ole link box.
Twitter cards are awesome.
Having the ability for your default image on your site show up when someone tweets your links really does increase your click through rate.
Since I started using them, I received a 130% increase in traffic from Twitter.
Again, if you have another plugin don’t use this one.
Google authorship is considered important, kind of.
You see when it was first introduced Google summarized that by having it employed content creators would be rewarded with their picture in the search engine results.
This proved to be an awesome way to improve click through rates. But I would venture to say that that resulted in fewer clicks for them on their ads so they are cracking down on when and where they are shown.
One thing that is does do is help you establish your authority in a your market.
Plus it integrates with their social network. And since Google is trying to take a major bite out of Facebook and their ad revenue that network is very very important to marketers. If you don’t have a Google+ account and your not active, mark my words, your not going to rank very well in a matter of time.
Google will make shares on there network a valuable signal in the search results. Don’t get left playing catch up with your competition.
The site map is the number one way I let Google and Bing know what is going on with your site. There are several plugins that create them for you. But since you have this option available with the WordPress SEO Plugin why not take full advantage of it.
You will see the exclude post types there.
It’s recommended to exclude either your categories or your tags.
Your theme will dictate post types to exclude as well.
Make sure that whatever you do you don’t accidentally check pages or posts.
Permalinks can be complicated if you let them. Long story short this option lets you have your keywords in your URL’s which helps the search engines and people figure out what that particular page is all about.
Internal Links Settings
Internal linking is an important aspect of SEO. It helps the search engines not only determine what your whole website is about. It helps the engines find and index all of your content.
You will notice that I don’t use them.
Since my sites are silo’d using categories and the menu are available on every page of my site I don’t need breadcrumbs.
Plus I do a pretty good job of interlinking my content on my own.
If you don’t want to be bothered with it turn them on. But if your linking to other posts on your site within your content, have a related posts plugin, and use a recent posts widget there really is no point.
I use this setting to ensure that if there are other websites out there using my content on their websites by pulling my content off of my RSS feed. That they give me a back-link to my site as well.
In your main settings you can edit whether you want your RSS feed to contain your entire article or just an excerpt.
When using the entire article you put your content at risk for being scraped and put on other sites.
Generally, unless your the possessive type, this is not a horrible thing if you have the RSS settings set up the way I do. But most scrapers are douche weasels and will remove all your links from your content. So I always set my RSS to excerpt only and fill it with links. That way they don’t get much from the feed other than that.
Import & Export Settings
You almost done. Now up to this point you have done a lot of work to get the plugin settings just the way you need them.
I HIGHLY recommend that you export your settings in case something happens to your site from this point forward.
With that backup you can just import the file and your settings will all be back to normal.
Or if you decide to create or upgrade to the WordPress SEO plugin on more that one site. You simply use this backup file to get all your sites setup really quick like.
Ok so you have made it to the end and your settings are all complete.
But your not exactly done.
If you didn’t have the ability to import your previous meta tag settings and you are already installing this bad boy on an established site your going to need to go in and update all your posts settings.
This took me about two hours, completing 100 posts, but if your using one of the premium themes like Genesis, Thesis, or some other, more than likely you were able to pull in the settings automagically.
Remember the WordPress SEO Plugin is a powerful tool with ever changing and updating features. Use it to its full potential and you can’t go wrong with all your on page SEO.