Note: I re-read this article recently and found it needed updating, so I’ve added the update at the end.
Also: please read through the comments – there are specific, step-by-step set up instructions there, more detailed than in the article itself.
I got a question from a friend the other day on how to set up the All-in-One-SEO plugin for WordPress. I figured that if she needed to know maybe others do too, so here’s how I replied:
“… I wouldn’t presume to tell you the right way to do it, but this is how I do it:
When you first install it you need to fill out these fields in the All in one SEO settings: ‘Home Title’ (this would usually be your blog title), ‘Home Description’ (a description of your blog) and ‘Home Keywords’ (your primary keywords for your blog) in your All in One SEO settings.
Keep your ‘Home Title’ to less than 80 characters, your ‘Home Description’ to less than 160 characters and your ‘Home Keywords’ to around 12 keywords.
You can see the settings for the All in one plugin under the ‘settings’ link – click ‘Settings’ and then ‘All in One SEO Pack’. My suggestion is that, apart from the Home Title, Home Description and Home Keywords, you leave the settings as they are for now. We can play with those later.
Note: recent new installations of the All-in-One-SEO-Pack have not included the default settings I just referred to. So in the comments area I have set out my suggested settings for all the other fields Read through the comments to see them.
Then, whenever you post, you need to give the All-in-One some information so it can do its stuff. So each time you post, click the All-in-One-SEO link below your post window and fill out these fields:
Title field: Just use the title of your post, or a shortened version if your post title is long.
The title field is what appears in the blue bar at the very top of your browser when you’re looking at a web page and you don’t want that to be more than 80 characters long.
By default the All in one SEO plugin will automatically place your post title first and then your blog title (Home Title) in that field and the total length should be less than 80 characters.
Google places a lot of emphasis currently on page titles so this is an important field to fill out.
Description field: This is what appears under the page title in the natural search results.
The blue link describing each result in the natural search results is the page title – that’s why it’s important to fill that out featuring your keyword for the post. The words underneath the blue link is what the description field contains.
You need to write something in the description field that will encourage people to click through to your page from the search results page – think of it as an Adwords Ad! Remember you have no more than 160 characters in total and I try to get it into 150, because some search engines give you less space.
Keywords field: I just copy my tags into this field and maybe add a few more keywords if they come to mind. But don’t put too many keywords in. 10 to 12 is enough.
So… when you publish a new post you need to make sure all these fields are completed:
In WordPress: Tags and a category. Only use one category per post. Also – make sure any links you need are there.
In the All in One SEO plugin: Title, Description, Keywords
Hope that helps! …”
Leave us a comment with your thoughts and suggestions.
Update 9th May, 2009:
On re-reading this I found that, with the benefit of experience and a bit more knowledge, I do some things differently now than I did when I originally wrote this. Here they are:
In the Keywords field I do not now just copy my tags, as I wrote earlier.
Ideally you should only be using 2 or 3 tags per article and they should be used to link closely related articles together within their category.
For more detailed information on using tags (and categories) this post is useful.
So in my Keywords field I search for and use keywords that are closely relevant to the post topic. And I don’t use too many – usually no more than 4 or 5.
I write my Title field to be short and eliminate unnecessary words – like adjectives.
Also – I try to make sure my primary keyword appears first.
These days I use a format like this:
“Primary Keywords: How To Use Them In Titles”
Titles don’t need to be perfect English, but they do need to include your keywords and be closely relevant to the topic of your article.