A colleague of mine recommended a very useful SEO plugin for WordPress to me a few weeks ago. The Yoast SEO plugin is a very robust tool for any blogger and ever since I installed it, I’ve been nothing but impressed.
Previously I had been using HeadSpace 2, which I have to admit, I was perfectly happy with.
However, Yoast offers so much more, including easy import/export features (the switch from HeadSpace was made very easy by making use of the ‘import from HeadSpace’ feature). It also supports features like Google Webmaster Tools authentication, XML sitemaps and dynamic breadcrumb links to name a few.
One of the most important features of the plugin, for me, is the ability to control indexation for things such as tags, archives, and attachments. Yoast allows you to bulk edit meta information to allow you index/de-index large sections of your website, something which has been very helpful for me after the recent Panda update by Google.
There are also features you wouldn’t expect to see from an SEO plugin. For example, a few months ago I was searching high and low for a way to remove the ‘category’ base from my permalink structure (I know for a fact there are a lot of you out there looking for the same thing).
When you’re using the /%category%/%postname%/ URL structure, WordPress automatically adds ‘category’ into your web address for any top-level categories. So, if you have a top-level category called ‘apples’, WordPress will display your category URL to http://www.yoursite.com/category/apples/.
This can be annoying if you’re wanting to keep a consistent structure for your website’s content such as http://www.yoursite.com/apples/a-post-about-apples/.
With the click of a check-box, Yoast will remove the ‘category’ base from your top-level category URL, giving you a nice, consistent structure for all of your posts and categories.
These are just some of the features I have found useful but there is plenty more I haven’t covered. Yoast is Definitely worth a look in my opinion and I’d recommend it to any of you WordPress fanatics.
Now, I have to tell you that at the time of writing this article that the plugin is still in BETA and you should take every precaution to backup any important data before you go ahead and install Yoast. Once you’ve done that, head over to the Yoast website and download the plugin, I guarantee you’ll love it.