Play the audio introduction
Actually your SEO is probably already suffering with an out of the box install of WordPress (your self hosted version) but what usually happens is a user installs an SEO plugin and either they simply do not use it (thinking it will somehow magically do all the work for them) or/and they fail to go back and use the plugin on existing posts.
If you do not use one of these plugins you should. Otherwise how are you controlling your SEO? Do this experiment. Go to your WordPress site and find any single post then view the source. Then search for “<meta name=”description” and see if you find one. Chances are you will not. So how are search engines supposed to call your site “search engine friendly”? Search engine friendly, by the way, means human reader friendly.
The title of this article is actually a little sensation but it’s also a warning to you that neither All-In-One nor Yoast make SEO an automated event. You still need to work with them. I recently consulted with a prospect who insisted they were okay in SEO because they had one of these plugins installed. When we did an SEO evaluation on a couple of single posts they thought I was somehow faking the results. What we were looking at was a still blank description meta tag.
The nice feature of Yoast is it allows you to setup a template. The downside to this is your descriptions are all the same and your pages surely contain variations on your topic.
Many people assume the description meta tag has no bearing on Page Rank and that may well be true. We know keywords has no bearing but even if description has no bearing on the Page Rank it does, most certainly, have an effect on the human reader. If you do not include a description the search engine will choose its own snippet from your page and display that in the search results to the searcher.
Another thing both of these SEO plugins do well is to override the post name as the page title. Title, as Matt Cutts has told us many times, is very important to the search. If you are writing about spinach recipes and the title of your blog post is “Grandma’s remedy for the blues” do you think you’re going to rank well for “spinach recipes”?
This post is a warning to USE the plugins not just install them. Without them you’re on your own. With them installed and you not using them on every post, including going back in time to your pre-installation posts, you are simply doing yourself a disservice.
If you have too much to do I offer a service where an admin can go in and make the changes for you on an hourly or per post basis. Just contact me and I’ll get you a quote and turn time estimate.