Step 4: Sitemap
Sitemaps are essential for your WordPress site. Normally I recommend you add a plugin like Google XML Sitemap, however this feature is included in the plugin. By default it is unchecked, so make sure you check the box to enable it. Once you check the box, a bunch of features will appear as shown in the image below:
Make sure you allow images in your Sitemap. After sitemap generation, it is good to notify the search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc., so be sure to check those. If you do not want to add any post type in your sitemap, then check those to exclude them. The majority of you guys will only see Posts and Pages, and both should be included (thus unchecked). Same with the taxonomies. Once you are done with these settings, click on the Big blue save button at the bottom.
Step 5: Title Settings
Under the SEO tab, you should see the section called Titles which has a way for you to set Titles and Title templates for all of your pages on the site. If you have no idea what I mean by title templates, then please follow along and you will learn something new. First you need to make sure your titles can be rewritten on each of your pages. Go inside your theme’s header.php file, and make sure that the title section of your site looks like this:
If you do not want to modify your theme, or you are afraid that you might break something, then simply check the box that says Force rewrite titles.
Now let’s work on defining the title for our homepage, and then define title templates for post, page, and attachments. (Still with me?)
In instances like your home page, you may want to create a static title, description, and keywords. But for posts, the title will vary from one post to another. So you define a way that the title and other meta information is pulled and organized, that is called a title template. Let’s take a look at the image below for the settings.
As you see in the Homepage Area, you are defining your own static title. Keep your titles under 70 characters, and your description under 160 characters. Because search engines are limited to these characters. Now for posts and pages, you are using these weird shortcodes like %%title%% or %%excerpt%% etc. Joost has attached a full guide at the bottom of the Title Settings Page that explains all of these individual tags, so I will not explain them in this post. If you want to know what these settings are doing, refer to that guide. If you are a complete novice, simply follow along and leave everything like the image above shows.
The next section defines title templates for Taxonomies. In general, taxonomies are used to arrange, classify and group things. By default, taxonomies in WordPress are tags and categories that WordPress is using for the posts. Apart from these two, WordPress makes it possible for theme developers to create their own taxonomies. My recommendation is to define this section as illustrated in the image below.
I told you this is the most complete all in one SEO solution for your WordPress blog…
let’s move on to the Special Pages section such as Author Archives, Date Archives, Search Pages, and 404 pages.
Notice in the image above, I left the date archives section blank. Joost has already set it to show Month Year Archives – Sitename.
This concludes Step 5 for title settings. Whew! Talking about settings takes much longer than editing the plugin settings.