There is one very popular plugin that I often see site owners fail to configure properly. Doing so severely hurts the site’s popularity and reach.
And I bet you’re using this plugin too.
Which Plugin Is It?
Okay, I’ll end the suspense for you.
It’s the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
Default Settings Don’t Cut It
This plugin has a lot of options. And way too many site owners just go with the defaults.
In the summer of 2016, a setup wizard was added. It still leaves too much not set right because there is no one-size-fits all with the settings.
You’re missing all the best SEO parts if you don’t configure it!
Page Analysis Tool
What I see far too often in Site Audits are bloggers only making use of the SEO page analysis tool.
Let me tell you a secret about that tool.
I was doing an SEO webinar at a time when I happened to have a post on the first page of Google. Told the attendees a little of what the post was about and then asked them to search for any key phrases they liked.
Every single person said my post came up in the second or third spot on the first page, regardless of what they searched.
Then I showed them the post. In the Page Analysis Tool, I typed in the same keywords and/or phrases they used to find me on the first page of Google.
Every one of them returned a red dot, meaning I had not done the on-page SEO properly, according to it.
And yet, there was my post on page one of Google!
So now you know what I think of that tool.
If you ever do get a green dot, you’ve probably keyword stuffed the post in a way that will likely draw a penalty, not a perk.
The Real Power of the Plugin
The super powers are hidden in the configuration settings.
- The Social section sets the necessary tags for ensuring that the posts you share on Facebook and Twitter pick up the correct title, image, and excerpt.
- The XML section provides you with a super XML Sitemap to submit to Google Webmaster Tools.
Both of these features can conflict with other plugins that offer the same options. That’s another thing I see too often in site audits.
If you configure the WordPress SEO plugin for these features, you could drop two other plugins.
And we all know, the less plugins, the better!
Candy for Google
The settings of this plugin also affect all of the critical schema markup that Google can index (and eats up like candy) for each post.
- has meta data and title templates that are formatted properly for Google too
- helps you avoid duplicate content getting indexed for categories and tags
- has a feature to add special links to the footer of your RSS feed to foil content scrapers
All of these settings are so important that I dedicated 7 videos to this plugin alone in my SEO Video Course to help folks maximize them properly for their site and niche, and because the plugin changes often to keep pace with Google changes.
Yeah, that means you have to keep up too, but I always feature those changes in my free YouTube videos for you. (Here’s the latest tour of the changes in version 2.1 of the plugin.)
What Other Plugins Are Killing My Site?
My free ebook What Every Site Owner Should Know has a whole chapter dedicated to plugins.
It includes plugins that site owners skip configuring properly, as well as plugins that are super resource hogs and kill your site performance.
Plus, you’ll find chapter after chapter with info that helps you put your site, and hosting account, on a solid foundation and helps you avoid expensive pitfalls.
What Every Site Owner Should Know is a must-have, must-read. Doesn’t matter if you’re new to site ownership or have been running a site a while. I guarantee you’ll find something you didn’t know that will help you.
Did I mention that it’s free?
Need SEO Help?
You can and should do your own SEO, and it’s way easier than you think!
I’ve got a whole DIY SEO course for you.
And it’s way, way cheaper than what others will charge to set up this plugin (including the Yoast team)!
Plus, every time Google moves the cheese (and you know they always do) you’ll be able to easily keep up with it yourself and not have to pay anyone.