Hello, I’m MaAnna with BlogAid and in this
quick video I’ll show you a new feature that came turned on by default in a recent
update to the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. It’s a little thing but it could have a
big impact on your SEO, including getting you found in search and whether or not your
post gets the click. So let’s dive in and show you what it is.
We’re on the Post Editor where we can create a new blog post.
I’m going to input a title so you can see the change that Yoast put in his plugin.
Now, of course this is a bit nonsensical, but it will help me show you the change.
When you type a search into Google, one of the first things it does is drop what are
called stop words. These are words like a, the, of, and so on.
To gain SEO brownie points with Google, some bloggers have also been removing stop words
from their permalinks too. That has become popular to the point that
a few developers have created plugins to automatically do it for you. Well, now Yoast has incorporated
it into his plugin. Let’s take a look at how it works.
You can see the words I input into the title of post. And the permalink is naturally derived
from those same words by default. It’s something that WordPress does for you based on the permalink
structure you chose in Settings. When I scroll down, I can even see that the
Snippet preview from the plugin shows all of the words in the title, but it’s got
this goofy preview on the permalink now. It used to display the permalink WordPress had
created for me. Now, when I publish this page, look what happens
to the permalink. All of the stop words were automatically removed.
All what’s left of the title is words, removed, post, title.
If we scroll down and have a look at the snippet, we see the abbreviated permalink.
Here’s the problem with this plugin feature and all other plugins that drop stop words.
You can’t have two instances of the same thing in a database. So, if you create two
pages or posts with the same title, one of them will automatically have the number 2
at the end. That also happens if you delete a page or post and then create another with
the same title. Deleting takes it out of the list, but puts it in the trash. You have to
empty the trash to get it out of your database. So, I’m going to create another post.
And I’m going to use the same title, but this time I’m going to change the order
of the first two words and one other a little further down.
I’m going to let it create the permalink. Now, I’m going to hit Publish.
And look what happened. Even though I changed the order of the words, left one out, and
changed another, they were all stop words and they all got dropped. So, that created
a second slug, which is what the end of the permalink is called, and it is exactly the
same as the first post in this video, so it had to put a 2 after it.
Now, let’s jump over to our list of posts and see if we notice this problem there.
Nope. No problem here. The titles are shown with all of the words.
Okay, let’s have another look at the last post we created to see another caveat.
I’m scrolling down to the snippet preview provided by the WordPress SEO plugin.
Look at that permalink. Would you click that if you saw it in a list of Search Engine Results?
Remember, when your post comes up in search, it’s sitting on a page right next to other
results from other sites. The title and meta description will hopefully pull traffic into
your site. But, to me, that permalink looks spammy.
Now, I’m saying that knowing that Joost de Valk is the dude when it comes to SEO.
And, some pretty big content marketing folks have been using this strategy for a couple
of years. Basically, their permalink looks exactly like the query Google is using to
search. Another thing to consider is that having a
plugin do this for you decreases the chances that you will make a typo in your permalink
when you manually remove the stop words. I don’t know about you, but I’m prone to
the habit of putting a space between words. That will really goof up a permalink.
So, you’ll need to decide for yourself whether you want to keep this feature turned on. Let
me show you where the checkbox is. Go to SEO>Permalinks.
It’s this third checkbox to Remove stop words from slugs. It was checked on the minute
it was added to the plugin a couple of updates ago.
So, if you want to turn it off, uncheck the box.
And then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Save Settings button.
Also, if you have another plugin that is specifically designed to remove stop words from your permalinks,
you’ll want to turn this setting off. You don’t want two plugins fighting to do the
same thing. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video on removing
stop words from permalinks via the WordPress SEO plugin. Be sure to visit BlogAid.net and
click the Video Tutorials link at the top to see the full SEO and AuthorRank video course
library where I take you through every setting in the WordPress SEO plugin, plus on-page
SEO tips, and also help you make all 14 authorship connections.