Yoast

[Only Available on VIP Go]

Yoast SEO for WordPress

Need an SEO plugin that helps you reach for the stars? Yoast SEO is the original WordPress SEO plugin since 2008. It is the favorite tool of millions of users, ranging from the bakery around the corner to some of the most popular sites on the planet. With Yoast SEO, you get a solid toolset that helps you aim for that number one spot in the search results. Yoast: SEO for everyone.

Yoast SEO does everything in its power to please both visitors and search engine spiders. How? Below you’ll find a small sampling of the powers of Yoast SEO:

Taking care of your WordPress SEO

  • The most advanced XML Sitemaps functionality at the push of a button.
  • Full control over site breadcrumbs: add a piece of code and you’re good to go.
  • Set canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content. Never have to worry about Google penalties again.
  • Title and meta description templating for better branding and consistent snippets in the search results.

Write awesome content with Yoast SEO

  • Content & SEO analysis: Invaluable tools to write SEO-friendly texts.
  • The snippet preview shows you how your post or page will look in the search results – even on mobile. Yoast SEO Premium even has social media previews!

Keep your site in perfect shape

  • Yoast SEO tunes the engine of your site so you can work on creating great content.
  • Our cornerstone content and internal linking features help you optimize your site structure in a breeze.
  • Integrates with Google Search Console: See how your site performs in the search engines and fix crawl errors.
  • Manage SEO roles: Give your colleagues access to specific sections of the Yoast SEO plugin.
  • Bulk editor: Make large-scale edits to your site.

WP-SEO

WP SEO is designed for professionals who want to build a solid foundation for an SEO-friendly website.

It allows you to create templates for the title tag, meta description, and meta keywords on your posts, pages, custom post types, archives, and more. The templates can be populated dynamically with built-in formatting tags like #title# or #author_name#. You can even allow authors to create custom title and meta values for individual entries.

Meanwhile, it leaves other features like Open Graph metadata and XML sitemaps to more-specialized plugins.

For developers, WP SEO is welcoming. It applies filters all over the place, and extending the plugin with your own custom formatting tags is a cinch.

Usage

WordPress SEO allows you to customize the default format of <title> tags, <meta> descriptions, and <meta> keywords for your home page, single posts and custom post types, taxonomy and date archives, and more.

Most of this customization happens on the WP SEO settings page, which you can access in the Dashboard at Settings > SEO.

Basic usage

The settings page has headings for each group of fields you can customize. Groups are hidden by default; click the heading to expand it.

For example, to customize the defaults for your Posts, use the fields under the heading “Single Post Defaults.” To customize the default for author archives, use the fields under the heading “Author Archives.”

When you’re done editing fields, save your changes using the button at the bottom of the page.

A “format” can be regular text. For example, you could set the <title> tag of all date archives to be “Posts from our time machine.”

Formatting tags

The power of formats, though, is in formatting tags, which create dynamic text that responds to the content of the page.

A formatting tag looks like #site_name# or #author# or #archive_date#.

With formatting tags, setting the <title> tag format of your date archive to “Time machine set to #archive_date#” would display something like “Time machine set to September 2014” — and the date would change automatically based on the archive the user looked at.

Some more examples:

  • If you wanted to include the author name and tags by default in your <meta> keywords for all Posts, you could go to “Single Post Defaults” and, under “Meta Keywords Format,” use “#author#, #tags#.”
  • If you wanted to use category descriptions in the <meta> description field, you could go to “Category Archives” and, under “Meta Description Format”, use #term_description#.”
  • If you had a custom “Review” post type and wanted the <title> tag to include the date each review was last updated, you could go to “Single Review Defaults” and, under “Title Tag Format,” use “#title# Review (Updated #date_modified#).

These formatting tags are available out-of-the-box:

  • #archive_date#
  • #author#
  • #categories#
  • #date_modified#
  • #date_published#
  • #excerpt#
  • #post_type_plural_name#
  • #post_type_singular_name#
  • #search_term#
  • #site_description#
  • #site_name#
  • #tags#
  • #term_description#
  • #term_name#
  • #title#

More details about each tag are available under the “Help” button in the upper-right corner of the settings page.

Per-entry and per-term fields

The WP SEO Settings page allows you to set global defaults. But WP SEO also supports setting custom title, description, and keyword values for your site’s individual entries and taxonomy terms.

You can enable these fields on a per-post type basis under the “Post Types” heading on the WP SEO Settings page. Check the box next to a post type to enable the fields, and the fields will appear on the “Edit” page for each post type.

You can enable the fields on a per-taxonomy basis under the “Taxonomies” heading on the WP SEO Settings page. Check the box next to a taxonomy to enable the fields, and the fields will appear in the “Add New” form for each taxonomy and the “Edit” page for each taxonomy term.

Custom meta tags

In addition to the core support for <meta> description and keywords, WP SEO allows you to set custom <meta> tags that are used throughout your site. These are managed under the “Other Meta Tags” heading on the WP SEO Settings page.

For example, if you wanted to add a Google Verification <meta> tag for your site, you could go to “Other Meta Tags,” add “google-site-verification” under the “Name” field, and the value under the “Content” field.

Use the “Add another” button to add as many custom <meta> tags as you need.

Use the “Remove group” button, or just remove the field content, to remove a custom <meta> tag.

WPCOM Legacy Redirector

The WPCOM Legacy Redirector is a plugin on WordPress.com VIP that allows you to set up redirects for legacy content on your WordPress.com site in a scalable manner.

Redirects are stored as a custom post type and use the following fields:

  • post_name: contains the md5 hash of the “from” path or URL
  • post_title: contains the “from” path or URL (without being hashed)
  • post_parent (if we’re redirecting to another post ID) OR post_excerpt (if we’re redirecting to another URI or absolute URL)

All interaction with this plugin is done via the command line, and all data about redirects needs to be bulk-loaded via wp-cli commands.

Redirect data can be stored in a CSV file OR in a post meta field. With the post meta field method, the resulting redirect is then attached to an existing post (and follows the post through future updates) whereas with the CSV method, the redirect is attached to a hardcoded URL.

This plugin will not redirect valid URLs. If the URL does not return a 404, the redirect will not trigger, which means it won’t redirect live pages.

If you have questions about how this plugin will work on your site or if you’d like to have us review your redirect strategy, please contact us before using this plugin.

Activating the Plugin

WPCOM Legacy Redirector can be activated through your site Dashboard like other plugins, but it’s preferable to instead add the following to your theme’s functions.php file:

wpcom_vip_load_plugin( 'wpcom-legacy-redirector' );

Activating the plugin will make its wp-cli functions available on the command line but does not otherwise make any changes or create menu items or settings in the Dashboard.

Adding Redirects from Post Meta Fields

You can add redirects from post meta fields using this command:
wp wpcom-legacy-redirector import-from-meta --meta_key=my-post-meta-key

The plugin will search for all posts that have a post meta field named “my-post-meta-key” (or whatever key name you decide to use) and create a redirect from the address found in the meta field to the post that has that meta field. The meta field can contain relative or absolute URLs, but we recommend specifying absolute URLs where possible.

So, for example, if you wanted to redirect all requests to http://old-domain.com/old/legacy/path/ to post ID 5, you would set the value of the post meta field named “my-post-meta-key” to http://old-domain.com/old/legacy/path/ on the post with ID 5.

If you only want to process a certain number of posts at a time, you can add these optional command line parameters:

[--start=start-offset] [--end=end-offset]

where, for example, start-offset might be “1” and end-offset might be “1000”.

Adding Redirects from a CSV File

You can add redirects from a CSV file using this command:
wp wpcom-legacy-redirector import-from-csv --csv=/tmp/my_redirects.csv

The CSV file (in this example, /tmp/my_redirects.csv) should consist of the from url (without domain, and including preceding slash), followed by the destination address:

/old/legacy/path,/shiny/new/path
/another-legacy-path,http://my-other-domain.com/other-path

The plugin will create a redirect from each source/legacy path to the destination address specified.

Destination Addresses

The destination address in the CSV import method can be one of: a Post ID, a relative path, or an absolute URL.

The destination value is passed to wp_safe_redirect internally, so be sure it’s a valid local address. If you want to redirect to other external domains, you can whitelist that domain by filtering allowed_redirect_hosts in your theme:


add_filter( 'allowed_redirect_hosts', function( $hosts ) {
    $hosts[] = 'my-other-domain.com';
    $hosts[] = 'www.my-other-domain.com';

    return $hosts;
});

Testing and Production Runs

Before creating redirects on your production WordPress.com site, please test out the legacy redirect import process in your development environment to ensure the redirects are created as expected.

Once you’ve verified that the process works as expected, you can request a run of the redirector import command of your choosing by opening a new support ticket with WordPress.com VIP. Please make sure to include:

  • the URL of the site where you want to run the import
  • the CSV file containing your redirects (if using the CSV import method)
  • the name of the meta key containing your redirect destinations (if using the post meta import method)
  • Confirmation that you’ve run the import as a test in a development environment
  • An example URL on your site that is not currently redirected, and where it should redirect to when the import is complete (for testing)
  • Your desired timing for when the redirects are created

Once we receive your support request with all of the above information and have resolved any questions, we will proceed with running the import command.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Shouldn’t I just use the Safe Redirect Manager for redirects?
A: The Safe Redirect Manager allows you to create and update up to 300 redirects via your Dashboard. Above that number the redirect management becomes too slow for optimal performance, and so for redirect creation above that amount, you should use this plugin, which can handle as many redirects as needed.

Q: Can I create redirects for only a certain post type? 
A: At this time, the redirector plugin operates on all post types. But, in the case of adding redirects from post meta fields, it will only create redirects where it detects the existence of the specified meta key.

Q: Are there performance implications when running the import on a production site?
A: When we create a redirect for an existing URL, we clear the cache of any content that existed at that address. Importing thousands of redirects can temporarily decrease the performance of your site while that caching is cleared and then rebuilt. In general, creating redirects has a small performance impact on your site.

Q: Will the redirector automatically detect “from” URLs with and without trailing slashes?
A: No – you will need to add a redirect for each version of a “from” URL that you want to redirect, e.g. one with and one without a trailing slash.

Q: Will the redirector handle domains/URLs not mapped to my WordPress.com site?
A: The redirector can only handle “from” URLs that use one of the domains mapped to your WordPress.com site. If you want to set up redirects on domains hosted elsewhere, that would be configured where those domains are hosted. Alternatively, you can point and map the domain to your WordPress.com site and then set up redirects for it.

Q: Can I use the plugin to dynamically create redirects (e.g. for a custom promotional URLs, link shortening, etc)?
A: Yes. The plugin has a basic API with two functions you can use: WPCOM_Legacy_Redirector::insert_legacy_redirect( $from_url, $redirect_to ) and WPCOM_Legacy_Redirector::get_redirect_post_id( $id ).

 

Comprehensive Sitemaps

Site-wide sitemaps on WordPress.com includes 1,000 entries by default. This plugin allows you to include all the entries on your site into your sitemap.

Installing the Plugin

The plugin needs to be installed via your theme code:

wpcom_vip_load_plugin( 'msm-sitemap' );

Setting up Sitemaps

Once you’ve committed the code change to activate the plugin, please open a ticket so that we can generate the sitemap for you. We need to run a one-time process to generate the full archive; it’s rather resource-intensive and something that we can help run in a smooth manner.

Note: if you’re using custom post types and want to include them in the sitemap, you need to explicitly include them via the msm_sitemap_entry_post_type filter.

SEO Auto Linker

What does this plugin do?

SEO Auto Linker is an update to the much loved SEO Smart Links plugin.

The plugin automatically links words and phrases in your post, page, or custom post type content. Unlike with SEO Smart Links, you no longer have to try and guess what links will appear — you specify them yourself.

How do I set it up?

After activating the plugin, you’ll see a new “SEO Auto Linker” tab in your Dashboard’s sidebar menu:

SEO Auto Linker

There, you’ll see options to add new links.

For more information, please see the full plugin documentation.

What features does the plugin offer?

This plugin lets you set the keywords in a comma separated list, type in the URL that the keywords will link, and set how many links you’ll allow per post. That means you can set auto-links upon first mention of the word, but subsequent mentions will not be linked.

You can also blacklist certain posts or pages where you don’t want the links to appear at all. Finally, once you’ve set up a link, you can easily disable it later without deleting it altogether.

Frame Buster

What does this plugin do?

The frame buster plugin for WordPress will thwart any attempt to load your site in a frame.

If you’ve ever seen your site trapped within a frame surrounded by ads, you certainly know why such a plugin can be useful.

How do I set it up?

Simply activate the plugin — that’s it! For more information, please see the full plugin documentation here.

Add Meta Tags Mod

What does this plugin do?

The plugin automatically adds various HTML meta tags to your site, meant to help search engines better index it. We use a modified/improved version of the Add Meta Tags plugin that is available for download at WordPress.org.

This is a replacement for All in One SEO Pack, which isn’t a good fit for the WordPress.com environment.

How do I set it up?

Activate the plugin and then go to Settings→Meta Tags in your Dashboard’s sidebar menu. The plugin adds meta tags automatically when activated, but this screen will give you options for modifying the tags that are used:

Meta Tags

Additionally, you’ll now see an SEO module when editing your posts and pages:

SEO

For more information, please see the full plugin documentation here.

Importing from Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin?

Upon import, WordPress.com VIP automatically uses the meta from the Yoast plugin on your existing site (if it exists) and puts it into Add Meta Tags Mod’s custom fields, so you won’t have to worry about converting the data.

What features does the plugin offer?

  • Customize your site description, site-keywords, and site-wide meta tags.
  • Control which meta tags are added to single posts and pages.
  • Default meta tags are automatically added for your site, posts, and category archives.
  • Reset all options with one click.

Ready to get started?

Drop us a note.

No matter where you are in the planning process, we’re happy to help, and we’re actual humans here on the other side of the form. 👋 We’re here to discuss your challenges and plans, evaluate your existing resources or a potential partner, or even make some initial recommendations. And, of course, we’re here to help any time you’re in the market for some robust WordPress awesomeness.