Comment on WordPress SEO Related Posts Plugins by Erik.
I have been trying to optimize my related posts the last couple days, and came up with a few ideas that might be helpful for those who are running this plugin.
Some of these may be obvious to people who have spent more time with this plugin, but for others who maybe never paid as much attention to the settings (that was me :) ) these may be helpful.
1) Set cutoff period to later (the “Related posts should be newer than” setting). I noticed lately that some of my pages were showing less than the 4 related posts that I have set as a maximum. Some were even showing one or zero. In the “General” settings I had this set for a 1095 days cutoff time (3 years) which I believe is the plugin default.
However I created a lot of evergreen content 4 years ago which generally gets a lot of views, and which I realized was now being excluded from related posts since it was beyond the 3-year cutoff period. By setting the cutoff period longer (in this case, 1825 days or 5 years), posts which had few related posts before began showing the full 4, and those evergreen posts were now included again. I guess I’ll have to remember to set this back later, or maybe even just increase it to something like 10 or 20 years to make sure these posts stay in the related posts circulation.
2) “Find related posts based on content as well as title.” I had this off, meaning the posts which were being generated as related posts were sometimes only lightly related to the primary post. By switching this on, I believe the related posts now generated are more closely related to the primary posts and thus potentially more engaging for the reader looking for something to click on after finishing the article.
3) “Cache output.” Related to 2), I did not have the cache output enabled. The plugin author recommends enabling this if you are going to use the “find related posts based on content” setting mentioned above. After checking before and after, after enabling all of these settings, both the queries and time each page requires is now the same or lower than what I was getting before I made these 3 changes.
For those that are running this plugin and haven’t dug into the options, maybe this will be useful. It does seem that the cache output option helps. I am also running a general cache plugin (Hyper Cache) but may be switching to Total Cache.