Hey guys! Let me introduce you to one of the best SEO plugins for WordPress.org websites. This plugin has a 4.5 start rating and 3+ million active downloads in the WordPress plugin library. Today I will be reviewing the All in One SEO Pack and giving you an in-depth look at how to set up and use the plugin, which will help your decision and allow you to hit the ground running after you install it.
It is crucial for websites to be able to configure their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) settings in order to help them compete for rankings and drive more traffic to their pages. SEO plugins help with this process and the All in One SEO Pack provides all the necessary settings for you to optimize your website. The plugin also comes free with additional features like sitemap generation, social meta settings and bad bot blocking.
If I Were to Summarize, I Would Say This…
The All In One SEO Pack is an all-inclusive plugin to help your website rank higher in search engines (like Google, Bing, Yahoo).
The plugin is easy to install, simple to use and straight-forward to set up with either a little SEO knowledge or my set up recommendations below. It integrates hassle free into the WordPress system and provides handy features to adjust settings at the post or page level.
Please use the linked contents menu below to navigate to the sections most relevant to you. If you are here for a bit of an overview, then the first two sections will be most helpful. If you have already installed the plugin and are looking for help on how to use it, please check out the ‘how to use’ sections.
The who, what, when, where and why of things…
What is the All in One SEO Pack: One of the best and most installed SEO Plugins for WordPress.org websites.
Who is it for: Everyone who runs their website with WordPress.
When can it be used: No restrictions.
Where can it be used: Only on WordPress.org websites.
- Simple to configure.
- Free to download and install.
- No compatibility issues with WordPress.
- Integrates seamlessly within the dashboard and in edit post settings.
- Comprehensive online user guide with direct links to the relevant topics next to each settings field. Talk about convenience!
- Requires a set up guide or some basic SEO knowledge to optimize settings (I have included this guide in this post for your convenience)
How it helped me and Why I recommend it: This plugin has helped me by doing exactly what it was designed to do, without any hassles or issues. Don’t you love when things just work!
In its standard form the All in One SEO Pack is free, however it does come with the option to upgrade to the Pro Version. The extended features include:
- Video Sitemaps and SEO Module.
- Premium Support and Forums.
- Access to the Semper Plugins Knowledge Center.
- Additional settings for Categories, Tags and custom taxonomies.
- Advanced eCommerce SEO
You can check out the latest pricings below, for annual license fees across one, ten or unlimited sites
How to Use the All in One SEO Pack – A Detailed Guide
This is the often daunting bit, where you are met with a plethora of options, fields and tick boxes. Shall I tick it? What happens if I don’t? Some people say this, some people say that!
Let me cut through the clutter and provide you with a baseline you can work with. These options work for me and I have researched some in great detail to make the best choice for my website. I have provided explanations and most importantly, screenshots of my settings for you to compare to yours.
I will give you the recommendations, and explain options for different scenarios it they exist (and if I am aware of them). If you come across something that may conflict with what I recommend here, please give me a shout and refer me to the source. I would like to clarify it for you and correct my post if required… continuous improvement is the key! Your feedback is valued, so don’t be shy if your have a differing opinion, there are varying schools of thoughts out there.
Right let’s get into it!
Install the Plugin
Installation is very simple. Just search “all in one seo” in the Add Plugins module of your WordPress dashboard and it should be the top hit! Install it, activate it and then you are ready to get configuring!
The first stop is the General Settings area of the plugin.
Here you will be able to optimize settings at the entire website level starting with Canonical URLs. Ensure this box is checked as it reduces the risk of duplicate content resulting from multiple versions of URLs, which all end up at the same destination. An example is ‘mydomain.com/index‘ is typically the same as ‘mydomain.com‘.
Home Page Settings
In this section you set your home page Meta Title and Meta Description. Try to keep your entries within the recommended character limits, otherwise there is a chance that Google (and other search engines) truncate it when displaying it in search results.
Ensure your meta description is relevant, reads well, contains keywords relating to your niche and a call to action. This is your one shot to explain what your website is about and convince someone they should click through. But don’t trick them into visiting your site, otherwise they will turn around just as quick as they came in!
Here you specify the format of your titles for your home page, posts, pages, taxonomy pages (categories, tags) and archives. It may look a little daunting with all the % signs and code, but the changes are simple.
First, I personally like ‘hyphens’ between the parts of my titles. The default setting is “My Awesome Post Title | My Website Name”, however I prefer “My Awesome Post Title – My Website Name”. As a result, I replaced all the bar ‘|’ with a hyphen ‘-‘.
The second is also a personal preference, and you can go ahead and leave it as is if you like. I removed the second part of the title for Post Titles (i.e. deleted the “- %blog_title%”. As a result, my posts appear like this on Google searches “All in One SEO Pack Review” instead of like this “All in One SEO Pack Review – Inspire Entrepreneur”.
I do this for two main reasons! First, I often write longer more captivating titles like How to Start Your Online Business – Embark on an Amazing Journey in order to capture attention. Second, when people are searching for information, they are typically more interested in whether the information is relevant to them, than where it comes from. So to make my titles more relevant and I removed the name of my website, which visitors can anyhow see in the URL below the title.
Custom Post Type Settings
This section allows SEO settings to be configured on individual posts and pages, so it is recommended to leave it enabled.
The boxes you tick here should match the boxes ticked above in Custom Post Type Settings. It effectively allows you to see the Meta Titles, Keywords and Descriptions in your Posts module of the WordPress dashboard.
This section allows you to enter the verification codes for various webmaster tools. When you are adding your website to Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools, you are required to verify ownership of your website domain. These tools will give you a verification code which you place in here, and after updating your options, you can straight away verify your ownership.
The Google Settings allows you to add website traffic tracking using your Google Analytics ID. You can learn more about how to create an analytics account or how to install analytics with WordPress in my separate posts.
However, for now you can add in your Tracking ID (if you already have one) and configure the settings as shown. This configuration will ignore your own traffic on your site and enhance tracking data. Else, you can keep it in mind for later in your journey!
There are many schools of thought around what to ‘noindex’ (prevent Google from indexing) or what to allow Google to see. I have done some extensive research and decided that the following settings are best for my website structure.
I activate noindex for Categories. On other websites I leave this box unchecked, but on Inspire Entrepreneur it is checked because I have created separate category pages with enhanced content, and therefore I prefer if Google indexes those instead of the default WordPress category pages.
For most websites, it is recommended to activate noindex on Date Archives, Author Archives (unless your have multiple authors), Tag Archives.
The remaining settings I leave untouched as they are less important.
Here I leave most of the fields untouched, except for the Redirect Attachments to Post Parent. Checking this box instructs all media attached to your website (like images and videos) to redirect to the parent post they are attached to.
The way WordPress works, is to create an individual media attachment page for each piece of media. These pages typically don’t have any content on them, therefore do not provide much SEO value (some people say it even hinders ranking). As a result, it is best to have them redirected to the piece of content you attached them to in the first place.
There are cases where you would want to have this box left unchecked. In the case of websites which sell art, images, or have a lot of media content, and the author writes descriptions for each of these pieces, it is typically best to have them as independent pages.
This is a section which does not bear a great importance in terms of SEO value, however I have decided to enable the use of keywords, with Meta Keywords being automatically generated from post Tags.
Most sources argue that Meta Keywords no longer provide any impact to SEO, however having them does not harm. Just keep tags down to a reasonable number, otherwise is becomes ‘keyword stuffing’.
Optimizing SEO Meta for Individual Posts and Pages
It is just as important to optimize SEO at a post and page level, as it is at the site level. The All in One SEO plugin provides this ability seamlessly within the edit post area. After you complete a post or page you should fill in the Meta Title and Meta Description fields at a minimum.
Meta Title – The title which is displayed when your post appears in the search engine results. Keep the character count to 60 or less.
Meta Description – This is the description of what your post is about and appears below your title in search engine results. On occasion this field is shown at the search engine’s discretion, as search engines may choose to display a different description to provide a more relevant search result for the user. It is important to fill it in none-the-less as it gives you a chance to “sell” your page and convince the user to visit.
Ensure you are clear on what you post is about (no tricking the visitor or they will simply leave, and probably never come back!), include some keywords relating to the post, but most importantly ensure it is readable for a human. A call to action is also handy to simply ask the person to check it out!
Keywords – This field is automatically filled in from the post tags if you applied the settings above (Keyword Settings). I would just leave it blank in other cases.
The next few check boxes allows you to control specific instructions to search engines when they visit your page. In most cases it is fine to leave these as is and unchecked, because you want your page to be discoverable.
NoIndex – Prevent search engines from indexing your page in their search database. You may want to noindex policy pages are there is typically no value in them being discoverable in search results, and you are required to display them clearly on your website anyhow.
NoFollow – Prevent search engines from following the links on your page. This means the search engine will find your page, but won’t follow and register any of the outbound links. You may also want to nofollow policy pages are there is typically no value in following links out from these pages.
Exclude from Sitemap – In some cases you may specifically want to exclude your page from your sitemap. This may be useful for restricted access pages.
Disable SEO – You have the option to disable all search engine optimization settings for this page.
Additional Features – the Feature Manager
The All in One SEO Pack comes with useful additional features that you can activate to enhance you sites performance and functionality.
I recommend the following features to be activated:
- XML Sitemaps – allows you to automatically create sitemaps for submission to search engines.
- Social Meta – allows you to add social metadata to your site for better control and integration with social media platforms.
- Bad Bot Blocker – prevents misbehaving bots from slowing down your website. These bots come to visit mostly for indexing of your site into search results.
- Performance – optimizes SEO performance.
More advance features that you may need to activate at a later date:
- Importer & Exporter – activate this if you are migrating the plugin’s settings.
- Robots.txt & File Editor – allows you edit your robots.txt file, which is a file that search engines look at when they visit your site for specific instructions about what to do with your site and its pages.
I go through each of the recommended feature below.
Just having this feature activated is enough. There is no requirement to modify settings in this area for typical use of your website.
Simply activating the XML sitemap feature is sufficient.
However, from this menu you can view your sitemap to see what pages have been mapped, as well as other metrics such as number of images on the page, change frequency and last change date. Priority gets automatically adjusted depending on the change frequency.
There are also advanced settings that you can modify if required, such as specifically excluding or including post types, taxonomies and archive pages. I typically don’t modify any settings here.
The Social Meta module provides enhanced functionality for your website to more easily integrate with social media platforms. It allows you to specify titles, descriptions and images that are extracted from this metadata when someone attempts to share a page on your website. This gives you better control over what is extracted from the page and is less reliant on the platform’s interpretation of your page.
Similar to the SEO settings, the Social Meta specifies Home Page settings. Here I simply enable the Title and Description (specified previously) to pull through. I specify my site name and an image which I would like shown when someone shares my home page.
An example of a Facebook share with these settings is shown below.
If no image is found in a specific post or page, you can specify a default image which is uploaded in its place. I typically make this the same as the home page image.
The remaining settings in the Social Meta module for more advanced optimization, as well as adding in all your social profile links. This is useful if you would like to have Google’s Knowledge Graph appear with your social profiles when someone searches your business. I have not filled in this area at this stage as it is typically targeted for higher profile websites or brands, therefore does not often show up.
An example of Google’s Knowledge Graph in action is shown below for the IBM website.
Optimizing Social Meta for Individual Posts and Pages
Similar to the SEO settings for individual posts and pages, you can set your Social Metadata. Here you should specify the title of your post, and a description. The character limits are more generous so you can add additional content.
I recommend you keep the title the same as the Meta Title, and the first part of the description the same as your Meta Description in the Main Settings tab. However, you can add a bit more information or interesting content regarding your post to extend the social description. With the increased character limit, you might as well say more, as long as it is valuable of course!
The final step is to specify (select one) or add a custom image for when you post is shared on social media. I like to create individualized social images for each of my posts. Here is an example of a Facebook share of my post.
Bad Bot Blocker
Simply activating the Bad Bot Blocker feature is sufficient here. I do not modify any of the settings for my purposes.
The All in One SEO Pack plugin forms a crucial part of your website’s success in search engine results. With a little tweaking it provides all the necessary SEO settings to increase search engine rank and as a result, organic (free) traffic. A simple interface and hassle free integration with WordPress means you don’t have to go to numerous places to adjust settings, and most are set and forget in the first place!
I hope this plugin review and in-depth set up guide was useful for you. If you share some differing opinions on the settings, please write a comment, as I am keen to learn and discuss. Also, you can contact me if you have any questions, feedback or get stuck along the way, I am here to help!
Are you ready!? Yes! Then get pumped, get inspired and let’s create a remarkable business!
There is no Motivator better than Progress, and there is no progress without Action! – Tweet This
Let’s Do This!
Download and install the free All in One SEO Pack plugin to your WordPress website.
Activate it and configure the settings as recommended.
Ask me any questions you might have.
Continue your journey through the online world.
Please leave me a comment or question below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Explore More from Semper Plugins
Michael Torbert is the creator of the All in One SEO Pack and you can check out the Pro Version or his other plugins on his website, Semper Plugins.