The Stallion WordPress SEO plugin is NOT a replacement for WP SEO plugins like Yoast WordPress SEO or All In One SEO Pack title tag features. Those plugins include title tag and meta description tag features (and other features) the Stallion plugin does not cover. The Stallion plugin covers one aspect of onpage SEO, preventing sections of a site being indexed by Google without wasting valuable link benefit via the noindex robots meta tag and rel nofollow links.
As you’ll discover below the Yoast/All In One SEO plugins noindex/nofollow features damage a WP sites search engine rankings by wasting valuable link benefit (PR/PageRank) which is why I built the Stallion SEO plugin to replace those damaging SEO features.
If for example you currently use Yoast SEO or All In One SEO for title tags etc… AND use the plugins noindex/nofollow features you would continue to use Yoast/All In One SEO for title tags, meta descriptions etc… but use Stallion as a replacement for the damaging noindex/nofollow features. You would still have the useful title tag and meta description features without the SEO damage of using Yoast/All In One SEO noindex/nofollow options.
Stallion WordPress SEO Theme
For Stallion WordPress SEO Theme users, the Stallion WordPress SEO Plugin described below is a stand alone plugin that doesn’t need the Stallion theme installed.
The plugin features below are also part of the Stallion Responsive WordPress SEO theme package under the options page “Stallion Theme” >> “SEO Advanced Options“.
Stallion theme users do NOT need the Stallion plugin as well. The Stallion SEO theme includes hundreds of important SEO features, this is not one of the important features. Yep. I’m an awesome sales person!
For WordPress users who are SEO savvy you will already understand using noindex/nofollow or any technique to block sections of a website from being indexed is not a very good SEO idea and won’t be using the Yoast/All In One SEO damaging SEO noindex/nofollow features and won’t need the Stallion SEO plugin to replace them. I developed the not-index features (see later) and I don’t really use them, I want my entire WordPress site indexed, but if I don’t want something indexed, I don’t add links to it so have no need for not-index features.
For example WordPress by default creates monthly archives which are useless SEO wise, if you link to them they waste valuable link benefit, so don’t link to them (don’t add the monthly archive widget). All these archives exist, but I don’t link to them with a clickable link, so Google etc… does not know they exist:
http://stallion-theme.co.uk/2014/ - Yearly archive 2014 http://stallion-theme.co.uk/2014/01/ - Monthly archive January 2014 http://stallion-theme.co.uk/2014/02/ - Monthly archive February 2014 http://stallion-theme.co.uk/2014/01/28 - Daily archive January 28th 2014 http://stallion-theme.co.uk/2014/01/29 - Daily archive January 29th 2014
Every WordPress post you make generates a yearly archive, monthly archive and daily archive.
There are hundreds of these URLs on every WordPress site, as long as you don’t link to them (via archive widgets) search engines don’t know they exist. Even if Google finds the URLs and spiders/indexes them, who cares, if you don’t link to them you aren’t wasting valuable link benefit on them: Google tends to ignore orphan webpages (orphan pages are ones not within the sites link structure), it will spider and index them, but they tend not to rank for anything (links are important for ranking, no links = no rank).
My advice, don’t link to dated archives and forget about them.
On the other hand when I create categories and tags I want Google to spider and index them, the last thing I want to use on a category or tag is to noindex/nofollow or even the Stallion not-index feature (see later)!
Looking to protect your sites valuable SEO link benefit, read on.
WordPress SEO Plugin Download
Stallion WordPress SEO is hosted at the WordPress plugin repository at Download WordPress SEO Plugins.
Also see my other WordPress SEO Plugin, the WordPress SEO Comments Plugin that turns comments into post like pages: now that’s a useful SEO plugin for any WordPress site with a lot of comments.
WordPress SEO Plugin Features
Any WordPress plugin that uses noindex and/or nofollow on your WordPress sites has the potential to damage your sites search engine rankings by wasting valuable link benefit (PR/PageRank) and should be avoided or at least used with extreme care.
Stallion SEO vs Yoast SEO vs All In One SEO
The popular WordPress SEO plugins including Yoast WordPress SEO and the All in One SEO Pack WordPress Plugin use nofollow and noindex : Yoast WordPress SEO uses noindex and nofollow, All in One SEO Pack uses noindex. Even if you decide not to use my plugin, take a read of the two plugin reviews above so you know which Yoast and All in One SEO features to avoid using.
It’s a real shame the WordPress SEO plugin developers haven’t explained the potential SEO damage their plugins can do to a website in the hands of SEO beginners not aware of the information below, both SEO plugins have some interesting SEM and social media marketing features that can help a sites search engine rankings.
Why you shouldn’t use WordPress SEO Plugins that use Nofollow
WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast SEO and Squirrly SEO should not be used because nofollow deletes link benefit, it’s as simple as that.
Google changed the way nofollow works some years ago (2008), unfortunately many WordPress SEO experts either don’t keep up to date with changes in SEO techniques or they don’t care: it’s an easy way to gain traffic touting a WordPress SEO plugin even if it is flawed/SEO damaging: see Is Yoast the Best WordPress SEO Plugin? for details.
Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin SEO Damage
It’s not just Yoast using rel nofollow and noindex that causes SEO damage, look how much SEO performance damage the Yoast SEO plugin causes (or to be more precise the Yoast plugin doesn’t prevent) on Yoast’s own website:
Plugins like Yoast SEO should be avoided. The above is a screenshot from Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool Results.
Don’t believe nofollow deletes link benefit, do some research and find what Matt Cutt’s (he works for Google) had to say about Google’s change to nofollow back in June 2009:
So what happens when you have a page with “ten PageRank points” and ten outgoing links, and five of those links are nofollowed? Let’s leave aside the decay factor to focus on the core part of the question. Originally, the five links without nofollow would have flowed two points of PageRank each (in essence, the nofollowed links didn’t count toward the denominator when dividing PageRank by the outdegree of the page). More than a year ago, Google changed how the PageRank flows so that the five links without nofollow would flow one point of PageRank each.
Source: Matt Cutt’s PageRank sculpting
That’s straight from Google, nofollow deletes link benefit, DO NOT use NOFOLLOW.
Or what about from Rand Fishkin at Moz:
This is a disappointing move from Google on many fronts:
It allows malicious operators to actively hurt a site by adding nofollowed links in comments, forums and other open submission arenas.
It removes the protection webmasters thought was afforded by nofollowing links (you may not get hurt for linking to spam or paid links directly, but you’re now indirectly hurting your site’s PageRank flow)
Source: Google Says: Yes, You Can Still Sculpt PageRank. No You Can’t Do It With Nofollow
Note how Rand Fishkin (respected SEO expert) considers adding nofollowed links a malicious SEO act!!! Yes, you could actively damage your competitors rankings by commenting on their WordPress driven sites if the comment links are nofollow!
Why you shouldn’t use WordPress SEO Plugin features that use Noindex
Although noindex is not as SEO damaging as nofollow (doesn’t delete link benefit), noindex does waste link benefit. When a webpage has a noindex robots meta tag the link benefit that is flowing through the page does NO SEO work on the noindex page!
All good SEO experts know when link benefit flows through a page (via links) a proportion of the link benefit is used on that page: estimated 15% is used, it’s the dampening factor within the original PageRank formula, it’s probably not 15% today (the PR formula Google uses will have changed), but there is definitely a dampening factor otherwise PageRank would be infinite and you’d be able to create a PR10 page with just internal links.
The perfect SEO setup is ALL webpages on a site target one or more keywords (SERPs : Search Engine Results Pages) so ALL the link benefit flowing through the site generates traffic from search engines like Google through relevant SERPs.
Few websites are perfect, we have Contact, About, Privacy, Disclaimer, Shopping Basket and other pages that though important to our visitors have little to no SEO value. Noindex can block these pages from being indexed, but noindex does NOT recycle the link benefit (the ~15% that’s lost), there is little value in noindexing a webpage when the link benefit is wasted, OK the page isn’t indexed, but the link benefit is still used.
If anyone can explain in the comments below the SEO benefit of adding a noindex robots meta tag to a Privacy page or About page for example, I’m listening? How does Google indexing your About page harm your rankings? What about when search engine users search for your company, do you not want your About webpage as a potential entry point to your website?
The Stallion WordPress SEO Plugin is Different
The Stallion WordPress SEO Plugin doesn’t use nofollow or noindex, but can do the equivalent of noindex (not-index) a set of pages whilst redirecting the link benefit (the ~15%) back to the home page (or other page) by using canonical URLs.
This is what the Stallion WordPress SEO plugin can do:
- Equivalent of noindex login pages redirecting link benefit to home.
- Equivalent of noindex admin pages redirecting link benefit to home.
- Equivalent of noindex date archive pages redirecting link benefit to home.
- Equivalent of noindex category archive pages redirecting link benefit to home.
- Equivalent of noindex paged category archive pages (pages 2,3,4 etc…) redirecting link benefit to the first page in the category.
- Equivalent of noindex tag archive pages redirecting link benefit to home.
- Equivalent of noindex paged tag archive pages (pages 2,3,4 etc…) redirecting link benefit to the first page in the tag.
- Equivalent of noindex search results pages redirecting link benefit to home.
- Equivalent of noindex paged search results pages (pages 2,3,4 etc…) redirecting link benefit to the first page in the search result.
- Equivalent of noindex paged home archive pages (pages 2,3,4 etc…) redirecting link benefit to the home page.
- Equivalent of noindex single blog Posts and static Pages (Privacy, Disclaimer pages for example) redirecting link benefit to the home page.
Main WordPress SEO Plugin Options
By using the Stallion WordPress SEO Plugin you can add monthly archives, categories, tags and paged home archives (4 types of archives) for your users AND recover link benefit (via canonical URLs) from the archives that have little to no SEO value: monthly archives (no SEO value), home paged archives (very little SEO value) and paged categories/paged tags (SEO wise you shouldn’t need both).
I will add all because you can not-index parts of a website using the Stallion SEO Plugin always ask yourself WHY do you want a section of site not-indexed? Monthly Archives for example have little to no SEO value and very little user value, therefore it can be argued a monthly archive shouldn’t be indexed.
With the above in mind why would you even have a monthly archive in the first place? With this example I strongly advise if you wish to save the link benefit going to your monthly archive widget, delete it from your site: your sidebar will no longer be linking to the monthly archives, so no reason to noindex/not-index them.
Should I Not-Index Categories and/or Tags?
Categories, Tags and Home page archives have SEO value. Categories and Tags have the potential to generate search engine traffic in their own right IF you SEO the naming of your Categories and Tags and so ideally would NOT be blocked from indexing (do not block them both completely search engine spiders may have difficulty passing link benefit to deeper content).
Here’s an example of a Google search result for a category on this site. The Google search is “Stallion Responsive Tutorials” which is the name of the WordPress category that I put the Stallion Responsive Theme tutorials in.
I’m not going to pretend it’s a difficult Google SERP by any means, but it shows WordPress categories can rank for Google SERPs. Why would you noindex or nofollow large sections of a site that has the potential to generate search engine traffic?
Another example is the Yoast WordPress SEO Tutorial category, which is just outside the Google top 10 for the “Yoast WordPress SEO Tutorial” search result (it’s a weak SERP, remember these types of SERPs fluctuate). If I noindex my WordPress categories I wouldn’t have a potential top 10 Google SERP in the future.
Categories, Tags and the Home Page archives are a useful navigation tools for search engine spiders, they allow for easy spidering of your blog Posts while passing link benefit through your WordPress blog to deeper content.
The Home page, paged archives have no SEO value beyond a navigation route (a sitemap) for search engine spiders (page 3 of your Home archives isn’t going to generate much search engine traffic), so as long as you have fully indexed Categories and/or Tags you don’t need paged Home archives (block them using the Stallion WordPress SEO Plugin).
Search engines need at least one way to find your posts naturally (through links), the best way is through well thought out Categories and/or Tags. My recommended settings for full search engine spider access are marked ^^, but each site has different needs. I rely heavily of Categories for passing link benefit through a site (and for gaining relevant traffic to categories) so they are very important to my sites SEO (I’d never block them).
If you use Tags as the main way to allow search engine spiders access to your deeper content fully index Tags instead of Categories or fully index both Categories and Tags if you use them both.
Whatever you do, do not block both Categories and Tags completely using Stallion. This is also true for users of Yoast WordPress SEO and All in One SEO nofollow/noindex features, the last thing you want is Google not being able to easily spider your site.
Who is the Stallion WordPress SEO Plugin Author?
My name is David Law AKA SEO Dave, I fell into search engine optimization over a decade ago when I started an online business (selling adult toys and lingerie, awesome markup), but had no money to pay for traffic (had no money for anything!).
Had to learn search engine optimization and within a year my site was receiving over 8,000 unique visitors a day mostly from Google organic search. Saw the potential of SEO and became an SEO consultant a couple of years later (stopped selling products).
I recently stopped offering SEO services to clients (slowly faded the service out over years by not taking on new SEO clients) and make a living from a network of sites I own (95% run WordPress with the Stallion Responsive SEO Package), ALL my traffic is organic, I haven’t paid for a website visitor in well over ten years, so rely completely on SEO techniques to generate traffic (and a living).
Want to know more about damaging Yoast plugin features, see my review of Yoast’s SEO tutorial and plugin.