In a prior post on the SEO benefits of using social media today, I addressed the changes between the past, present, and future ranking-factors of Google’s search-engine algorithm. In a nutshell: a site’s backlinks will likely become less important in the determination of SERPs while its amount of social-media sharing will become more important.
On-page keyword optimization (through tools like the popular All-in-One SEO Pack), however, will remain important (but only as long as one does not imitate black-hat SEO software and overstuff pages with them or use terms that are not relevant to the content of the page or site in question). (For more information on keyword research, take a look at my prior posts on keyword price, the dangers of using more-general keywords, and advice on the Google external-keyword tool.)
Whether you are creating a website yourself or offering SEO-consultant services to clients, it is of primary importance that the so-called “back end” of the site be created and administered effectively. Too many web developers, unfortunately, know little about search-optimization software — they may know everything about how to create attractive websites, but they may know nothing about how search engines crawl, index, and rank them. (I recommend a blog post published by my marketing company entitled “5 Reasons to Hire an SEO Before You Develop Your Website.”) A webmaster, perhaps, may not have thought to create a meta-title and meta-descriptions field in the back end so the business owner can write what he specifically wants to appear when people see his site in search results in contrast to the page itself.
This is the reason that I love WordPress. Admittedly, I need to brush up my web-development skills to improve this site’s design, but in the meantime the company’s open-source platform is extremely simple and user-friendly. Anything from a basic blog to a complex corporate-website can be created easily — and there are numerous plug-ins that have been generously created by users to provide nearly any desired functionality, including those for search-engine marketing (SEM). One of the most popular WordPress plug-ins for SEO is the All-in-One SEO Pack by Michael Torbert of Semper Fi Web Design (available here). Semper Fi’s site has a release history, FAQ, and forum, but I wanted to offer an introduction here as well.
Using the All-in-One SEO Pack
Once one installs the All-in-One SEO plug-in, it is important to go through the main settings. The first ones are pictured in the image at the top of this post:
- Home Title — The meta title of the blog (and not the on-page title of the blog itself) — in other words, what will appear in the headline when the home page appears in search results
- Home Description — The meta description of the home page when it appears in search results
- Home Keywords — The targeted keywords associated with the main page
- Canonical URLs — Whether the site should use canonical URLs (explained here)
- Rewrite Titles — Whether the titles of posts, pages, category pages, and archive pages should be written as determined by the next six bullet-points
- Post-Title Format — As you can see in this post, the meta title is [post title] | [home title]. You can set the layout as desired.
- Page-Title Format — I have set one of the pages here so that its meta title is “SEO-Software Reviews | SEO Software” [page title | home title]
The next fields (pictured directly above) are:
- Category-Title Format — Every Category page can have a specific type of meta title
- Archive-Title Format — Every Archive page can have a specific type of meta title
- Tag-Title Format — Every Tag page can have a specific type of meta title
- Search-Title Format — Every search-result page can have a specific type of meta title
- Description Format — The format of the meta description of a post or page
- 404-Title Format — The 404 page can have a specific type of meta title
- Paged Format — This is relevant for multi-paged posts and entries
- SEO for Custom-Post Types — Click this box for the below option
- Custom-Post Types for SEO Column Support — Specific styles can be set for these types of pages
The next fields (pictured directly above) are:
- Use Categories/Tags for Meta Keywords — As you can see at the bottom of posts here, there is a string of keywords below each post. I have chosen tags for them.
- Dynamically Generate Keywords for Posts Pages — Check this if you want this option.
- Use noindex for Categories — Check this if you want the Category pages not to be indexed by Google.
- Use noindex for Archives — Check this if you want the Archive pages not to be indexed by Google.
- Autogenerate Descriptions — Select this if you choose this option.
- Capitalize Category Titles — I prefer to capitalize them since I am a former journalist who believes in grammar. But that’s just me.
- Exclude Pages — List specific pages here that you do not want to be indexed by Google.
Once the general settings have been, well, set, then each page and post can be individually optimized further. When an administrator is in the “edit” function for a post or page, the field pictured above will be below the main field in which one writes the text of the post or page.
- Title — The meta title for the individual post or page.
- Description — The meta description for the individual post or page.
- Keywords — The targeted keywords for the specific post or page.
- Disable on this page/post — Choose this if you want to disable the entire plug-in for this specific post or page.
The HTML-code snippet I have pictured above is how the plug-in appears in the back-end. Enjoy!
Samuel J. Scott, a former journalist in Boston turned Internet marketer in Israel, is the founder and publisher of My SEO Software and Director of Digital Marketing and Communications and SEO Team Leader at The Cline Group. You can follow him at Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. His views here and elsewhere do not necessarily reflect those of his company and clients.