If you’re like me and running a WordPress blog, sometimes as soon as you see an update to a plugin you probably go ahead and update it, not thinking much about it. That’s certainly been the case for me.
This is no longer used either
The biggest changes came when WordPress updated to 5.0 and gave us blocks instead of the theme editor we were all used to, then back in August when another change they made messed up my theme to the extent that I had to switch to another theme, which ended up being the WordPress Fourteen theme.
You’d think I would know better after two major changes within the last couple of years, but I obviously don’t learn things that easily. Another recent change threw me off to the extent that I finally decided it was time to stopped using it, that being the latest update to All In One SEO.
It was a drastic change that threw me off so much that I decided it had to go. I messed up and uploaded the new version of all my plugins before taking a look at what it changed when it came time to write a new blog post last week for this blog… which I ended up not writing at all because I was so irked.
I’m not going to leave you hanging. If you’ve decided to try using the updated version and you’re having problems, check out this video by a lady named Melissa Kane (she’s not on Twitter and she hasn’t written on her blog in a while, so if you comment let her know I shared her video):
What’s funny is that I went to YouTube looking for that very thing to see how complicated it might be but it didn’t come up first. Instead, this video by a guy calling himself the Passive Income Geek. I’m only linking to his video because he seems to be another one without a Twitter link; what’s that about? Anyway, here’s the link to the video, titled Stop Using SEO PLUGINS – This Brings More Traffic!. I decided to watch his video first, and let me just say I found it extremely intriguing. I’ll let you decide whether or not to watch, but I’m only going to touch upon one specific thing he said.
That one thing… the last 4 words in his title: “This Brings More Traffic!” He showed how his traffic has grown since he removed his plugin, Yoast SEO, and what Google did when he stopped adding a description as well as allowing the plugin to create its own title based on the content of the article from its perspective. I found that interesting enough that I decided to go to Google and look at the last 5 articles I wrote here to see how it handled the description when I was using the AIO SEO plugin.
I’m not going to lie, I was deeply disappointed with what I found out. Seems that even though I was writing a description telling what the article was about, Google ignored the plugin and still posted the first 160 characters of the article instead. I then went back to test an article from last April to see what was showing; once again, the first 160 characters instead of the description.
Now, someone might say “hey, you did shut down the plugin a week ago”, but the truth is I didn’t shut down the plugin until last Friday. Even though lately I’ve gotten more Google traffic than I have in a long time, even they wouldn’t have gotten rid of my description from a plugin I removed 2 days ago (I’m writing this Sunday) that fast.
The other thing he mentioned (go see the video! lol) was that by not writing a description via a plugin, Google will go through your articles and decide what it feels the article is about and what it feels are your best keyword descriptors. By them doing that, it opens your article up for being found by things people are looking for that you might not have considered. Not only that, but it’ll also post the description around the keyword it decides to highlight, which we all know isn’t always in the first paragraph.
Frankly, it sounds pretty good to me because of one last thing I don’t have to worry about. As a lot of people who commented on his video said, the plugin relied on us to pretty much do all the work on our own, and until recently it also left us guessing on how good a job we were doing unless you had the paid version. But it’s only ranking you on its perception of what your keywords are, not what Google’s perception of your keywords should be and in which context.
At this point I have nothing left to lose, but I do have to go back and add a plugin I’d removed because it was redundant. That plugin is Google XML Sitemap, which was a part of AIO SEO, which I didn’t learn until 3 or 4 months ago. Truthfully, I don’t know if it was actually working since nothing else seemed to be working how I thought it should. Oh well…
Something else that’s ironic is that I actually tested the AIO SEO plugin back in 2008, and I found it lacking. No idea when I decided to give it another shot, but I do know I was using it properly because I went to their page on WordPress.org and followed their directions. It’s also interesting that an article on Search Engine Optimization came out last week talking about this same plugin, and it wasn’t complementary; seems I’m not the only one who’s irked, though for a different reason that was actually also bothering me.
In any case, I’ll be taking a look at my traffic over the next 3 months, as well as seeing how Google’s treating me. I’ll still be adding my own tags to each article because I’ve been doing that for 11 years; some habits are hard to break, plus it helps me when I’m doing my Twitter marketing. I’ll keep you informed of how things are going for me. In the meantime, if you check out the videos, or if you’re still using any SEO plugin or have decided to eliminate it, let me know your thoughts on whatever you do.