As a new blogger, SEO can sound like a huge word. Everyone says that it is important, but not many people will tell you exactly where to start. Well, if you are already using WordPress, your website is the best platform to learn about this powerful web element. In this blog tutorial, I am going to walk you through the process of setting up All in One SEO and show how it affects your blog performance.
What Is All in One SEO?
All in One SEO (AIOSEO) is a WordPress plugin created by Semper Fi Web Design. It specializes in optimizing websites to boost their rankings on the search result page. The process is not automated so you’ll need to get your hands dirty with some technical stuff. But once you understand the basics, it’s not that difficult.
Note – The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the key points of setting up the plugin; not to compare its functions with other SEO plugins.
How to Set Up All In One SEO?
Right after installing, you should be able to see the plugin features on the left column of your WordPress dashboard. The first thing that you want to get started with is the settings. In the current version that I am using, there are 10 types of settings out of which, I would recommend that you tweak these three.
(1) Home Page Settings
Home Page Settings aim to optimize the front end of your website as it appears on the search results. 3 parts contribute to this – the home title, the home description, and the home keywords.
For the home title, you can use the original title or assign a unique title/slogan to represent your site. Either way, it shouldn’t exceed more than 60 characters, otherwise, the search engines will truncate the rest. This is how a home title would affect the appearance of the browser tab.
A home description is a summary of what your website is all about. It is often the next thing that viewers will read after the home title and you can make it more inviting by including words such as ‘discover’, ‘learn’, and ‘create’. The limit for this setting is 160 characters.
Here’s a handy tip – For both the title and the description, you might want to display them in a camel/title case format. This is not compulsory, but it will improve the viewer’s readability. I use an app called ‘TitleCase’ to help me generate this, especially with longer sentences. It’s so much easier than sorting it out myself.
And here’s after – in a single click;
Lastly, there are ‘home keywords’. Of late, Google no longer considers this a strong ranking factor, so you can choose to ignore this column.
Right after you tweak this setting, this is how your site will appear on the search preview.
With this snippet, a webpage gets to show viewers the gist of what it is all about and renders more click if the information matches what they are searching for online.
(2) Title Settings
This setting is entirely optional. You can change the title format, either using a dash ‘-’ or a pipeline ‘|’, depending on what you think it’s good for the viewers’ readability. For example, I prefer a dash so my page title will look something like this.
(3) Webmaster Verification
This setting is important for two reasons 1) Allowing search engines to gather data about the visitors coming to your site and 2) Providing insights on how to plan your content strategy and improve your site’s SEO. To do this, the search engines need to know that the website belongs to you through several methods of verification.
For Google verification, go to Google Search Console, add a property, and enter your website URL. When asking for verification, select the HTML Tag option. Copy the code, paste it into the Google Webmaster Tools column in AIO SEO, and then update the options.
Repeat these steps with Bing Webmaster Tools too.
For Pinterest, you need to create a Pinterest account, type in your website URL and when you click to verify, a line of code like the one below will be generated. Copy and paste the code into your Pinterest Site Verification.
As for the other settings, you can just leave them as is.
Next is the SEO settings of your individual post/page. This can be found at the bottom of your article dashboard known as the ‘Main Settings’. Similar to the Home Page Settings, writing compelling Meta Title and Meta Descriptions, sprinkled with some targeted keywords, will attract more viewers to that particular page.
There’s been a lot of discussion about whether to use Meta Descriptions or not and I think Matt Cutts sums it up the best in this video.
The other thing that you want to be doing is to optimize your post for social sharing. In AIOSEO, go to the Feature Manager and activate the Social Meta tab. When you do this, you’ll also be activating the Social Settings of that post.
Similar to the Main Settings, you should fill out the Title, Description, and select an image that best represents the post. If you want all your social posts to be consistent, you can also use the same image as the featured image.
For example, in this article about promoting music online, you can see the difference.
The latter post that includes a description and the right image dimension is likely to get more social clicks.
How Much Does It Cost?
AIOSEO is a free plugin that is available to all WordPress users. Although there is a Pro (paid) version, I find that the free one is more than sufficient for most beginners.
Let’s Hear What Some People Say About This Plugin…
So, Is AIO SEO Worth Using?
When you create a website, one of the main goals is to achieve top page rankings on Google. With AIO SEO, you can do this entirely on your own without having to pay exorbitant fees to professionals or buy into any hyped software out there. So, this plugin is not only worthy of your time but for your money too.
The message I want you to take home is this. No matter what you read or hear online, SEO is not something automated. You need to get your hands (a little) dirty doing the work yourself so that you’ll learn what it takes to achieve better web rankings and conversions.
AIO SEO is a very simple plugin to use so I would encourage you to give it a try as you master the world of SEO. Here’s a step-by-step training from Wealthy Affiliate shows you how to set up this plugin. Just click on the image below to watch for free.
Do you have any questions or comments about AIOSEO? Please leave your comments below and I’ll get back to you. Also, if you find this article helpful, please share them with your friends. Thanks!