The core version of WordPress offers basic SEO functionality such as pretty permalink structures, the ability to change the post slug and the ability to change your website title and description. Our themes come with some great SEO Settings in ePanel, however, we also made sure that our themes are compatible with some of the most popular WordPress SEO plugins as well.
Additional search engine optimization can be added by installing an SEO WordPress plugin. There are hundreds of search engine related plugins in the official WordPress plugin directory.
Today I would like to give you an insight into how these plugins work and what they can do for your website. Specifically, I would like to show you how these plugins handle search engine optimization differently.
Navigating the Plugins
WordPress SEO offers much more functionality than All in One SEO Pack. This becomes apparent when you compare the main menu for each plugin.
It is worth noting that the plugins do handle menus a little differently. All in One SEO Pack places the majority of its settings in its General Settings page, whereas WordPress SEO separates everything into different pages and tabs.
Configuring SEO For Posts and Pages
Both plugins allow you to configure titles and meta information for your posts, pages, and custom post types.
WordPress SEO splits this section into five different parts. The general tab lets you force rewriting of titles and add additional meta tags to your page such as meta, noodp (DMOZ), and noydir (Yahoo). It will pull your website title and description from your main WordPress settings area; however these can be modified using the home tab.
The plugin lets you change the default output for page titles and descriptions. You can also disable Noindex, rel=”author”, snippet dates, and the WordPress SEO meta box underneath posts and pages.
You can customize all of this information for posts, pages, media, categories, author archives, and more (fields are split between the post types ,taxonomies and other tabs).
The plugin adds a “WordPress SEO by Yoast” box underneath the post editor for all your posts, pages, and post types. The general tab is where you define your focus keyword, SEO title, and meta description. The preview shows in real time what your article will look like on a search engine results page.
The Page Analysis tab gives you feedback on how your article performs against suggested search engine optimization settings. For example, it will warn you if you do not have <h2> tags in your header or if your article is too short.
The advanced tab contains multiple robots options such as excluding the post from indexing or excluding from directories like DMOZ and Yahoo. Authorship and sitemap settings for the article can also be controlled here.
The final tab allows you to define the Facebook description, Facebook image, and Google+ description. If these fields are not completed, the plugin will use the meta description you defined in the general tab.
All in One SEO Pack
Whereas WordPress SEO splits title settings into five tabs, All in One SEO Pack places all settings on one page. From this page you can configure your home page meta information, exclude pages, verify Webmaster Tools, connect with Google Analytics, and more.
The default title settings for all post types and taxonomies are displayed in the one area. I found this to be a quick and practical way of quickly adjusting title settings.
All in One SEO Pack also displays a meta box underneath the post editor. It works in a similar way to WordPress SEO.
At the top of the main settings tab are fields for defining the article title, description, and main keywords. Various settings are underneath such as excluding the page from being indexed, excluding it from your sitemap, and disabling it from Google Analytics.
Social media settings can be added through the second tab. You can define the social media title, description, image, and image size.
Social Meta Details
Social meta information relates to the way your posts and pages are displayed when someone shares one of your pages on a social media service.
WordPress SEO has good social media integration options. You can add Facebook Open Graph meta data, Twitter card meta data, and Google+ specific post meta data.
All in One SEO Pack
All in One SEO Pack has Facebook Open Graph meta data too. In comparison to WordPress SEO, it offers more customisation options. This is good news if you want more control with how your posts and pages are shown on Facebook updates, though I believe most people would prefer the simpler way that WordPress SEO handles things.
The plugin also has support for Google+, but the options for this are not displayed in the social meta page. Instead, they are located in the Google Settings area of the General Settings page.
WordPress plugins such as Google XML Sitemaps can be installed on your website in order to generate an XML sitemap and help search engines find your content more easily. This is not necessarily if you use WordPress SEO or All in One SEO Pack as they include an XML sitemap generator.
WordPress SEO allows you to exclude specific post types and taxonomies from your XML sitemap. Additional sitemap options, such as priority, can be controlled via the SEO box underneath the post editor.
All in One SEO Pack
Just like WordPress SEO, All in One SEO Pack can set up your XML sitemap instantly; however it offers a lot more settings for those of you who do want to customize your sitemap.
In addition to excluding post types and taxonomies, All in One SEO Pack also allows you to include date archives and author pages. The filename of your sitemap can be changed too.
Pages that were not created by WordPress can be manually added to your sitemap in All in One SEO Pack. All you have to do is specify the page URL, priority, and update frequency.
The priority and update frequency of your home page, posts, and taxonomies, can also be adjusted. Categories can be excluded too.
As I noted earlier, WordPress SEO offers more functionality than All in One SEO Pack. This is clear when you start looking at the additional features that it offers:
- Permalinks – Miscellaneous permalink settings such as removing stop words from page slugs and removing the ?replytocom variables from URLs.
- Internal Links – Enables breadcrumbs on your website for better usability and improved on-site SEO.
- RSS – Place content before and after your posts in your RSS feed. Links are automatically added underneath posts to deter scrapers and help search engines detect your website as the original source.
- Import and Export – Export your WordPress SEO settings to another website. It also allows you to import settings from plugins such as All in One SEO Pack using SEO Data Transporter.
- Bulk Title Editor – Edit multiple post titles on one page.
- Bulk Description Editor – Edit multiple post descriptions on one page.
- File Editor – Edit your Robots.txt and .htaccess file directly through the admin area.
All in One SEO Pack
Sadly, All in One SEO Pack does not currently offer any of the features noted above. However, what it does have is a performance page that lets you change the memory limit and execution time that is used by the plugin.
The system status box on this page gives information about your server and a list of active plugins and inactive plugins.
Premium options exist for both plugins. WordPress SEO Premium retails at $89 for a single website for a year. It costs $169 for up to five websites and $329 for up to twenty websites.
In addition to receiving premium support and upgrades for a year, WordPress SEO Premium features a redirection manager for redirecting old URLs. It also integrates with Google Webmaster Tools and allows crawl errors to be pulled to your website and then fixed immediately through the redirect manager.
All in One SEO Pack Pro is more affordable. At the moment the premium plugin retails at $39 (though it normally sells for $79). Premium support is available for $49 per year.
The premium version of All in One SEO Pack features a Robots.txt generator and validator, a file editor for editing Robots.txt and .htaccess, an import and export option, and much more.
WordPress SEO vs All in One SEO Pack: Which is Best?
Asking which of these plugins is best is a bit of a loaded question. The reality is that they are both capable plugins that will help you improve your search engine presence.
Without doubt, the free version of WordPress SEO offers more options than the free version of All in One SEO Pack; but does this make it better?
I am not so sure.
I personally use WordPress SEO on my websites, however I can see why others prefer the simpler approach that All in One SEO Pack adopts in many areas. That is why I recommend trying out both of these plugins and seeing which is best for you.
If you enjoyed this article, I encourage you to subscribe to the Elegant Themes blog so that you get notified of our latest news and tutorials 🙂
Article thumbnail image by Maglara / shutterstock.com