When you’re setting up your WordPress site for SEO, or search engine optimization, there are a few plugins you will want to install. One of them is going to be either the All in One SEO Pack, or the Platinum SEO Pack. For quite some time, we were installing the All in One SEO Pack, but then found several advantages to the Platinum SEO Pack that made us switch over.
Both plugins are relatively easy to install – the usual click of a button with most WordPress plugins. However, both require some SEO knowledge before you start clicking on all of the endless settings. Let’s go through some of those:
For the All in One SEO Pack, you start by configuring what you want your homepage tags to have. It will become the defacto tags throughout the site if you don’t modify them on your individual pages and posts, or set the option to “rewrite titles,” which is generally set to %post_title% | %blog_title%. All of this is nearly exactly the same for the Platinum SEO Pack, except for one thing: the option to “automatically do 301 redirects for permalink changes”. This is a HUGE deal because most site owners are going in and changing page names (i.e. URL’s) and fail to realize they created a bunch of duplicate content by having multiple versions of the same page indexed in Google.
Both the All in One SEO Pack and the Platinum SEO Pack have the canonical URL option, which allows you to tell the search engine what your preferred version of the URL should be. While rel=canonical works well, you still want to “noindex” a lot of the duplicate pages WordPress will produce from a single post. For example, if you create a single post with one tag that is only assigned to this post, and in one category that is only assigned to this post, you will inadvertently create several duplicate pages:
plus the comments and RSS feed pages that could also spawn off of this one post. What the Platinum SEO Pack offers in terms of options to thwart this kind of activity are much more controls for noindexing that will be useful to the 95% of websites who don’t post often, or categorize and tag properly. For instance, I can easily no index categories (unless you have an SEO strategy for these pages), date based archives, tags, comment pages, RSS feed pages, search results pages, sub pages and author archives. All In One SEO Pack only lets me noindex tags, archives and categories.
Also, have you ever wondered where Google is getting the meta description or title tag for your website, and it’s not one you’ve written, or you changed it? Sometimes Google pulls those from the ODP (Open Directory Project, or DMOZ), or from the Yahoo Directory. In the Platinum SEO Pack, I can choose to add a “noodp” or “noydir” meta tag, which tells Google not to get my meta data from there, and to use what’s on the site instead (note however, Google still may override you and create their own meta description tag if they don’t like yours 🙂 – I can’t do this in the All in One SEO Pack.
The rest of the options are generally the same, but keep in mind you can’t have both of these plugins installed because they will not work properly. You will have to uninstall one of them.