For the past few months we have been working non-stop on the next major 3.0 version of All in One SEO Pack. We have added exciting new features and made quite a few changes. Here’s an overview of what this release is bringing to the table. This is the biggest release since 2.0 eight years ago and resolves 117 issues (most are closer to 15-30). Full changelog here.
Over the past few years, the amount of features and settings in All in One SEO Pack has grown significantly, and so has our user interface. This update comes with some much needed UI changes which will undoubtedly improve your user experience.
Denser menu structure
If you are just like us and spend countless hours on tweaking your SEO settings, then you have surely realized by now that some of our menus (the General Settings menu comes to mind) are lengthy. We do not want you to sprain your wrist whilst scrolling through the vast amount of features that All in One SEO Pack has to offer, so we have cut down on whitespace and trimmed a few redundant settings to achieve a denser layout.
New modern user interface
It was also about time for us to give our UI a fresh lick of paint. This release comes with numerous CSS changes. We restyled our menus so that they integrate better with WordPress 5.0 and the minimalist, modern look we are all yearning for in 2019.
Tooltips instead of inline help text
Lastly, we have replaced our inline help text with tooltips so you no longer have to click each setting to find out what it exactly does.
We would love for you to tell us your thoughts about our new UI in the comments!
The focus in this major release and many of our other recent releases has mainly been on improving our sitemap functionality so that search engines always have the latest and best data at their disposal.
Noindexed pages excluded from sitemap
Excluded posts, pages and custom post types are no longer included in the sitemap when they have been set to noindex. This should resolve many errors in Google Search Console and other webmaster tools where noindexed pages are submitted for crawling through the sitemap. This means you also no longer have to check the General Settings menu to see what content types you have marked as noindex.
Excluded Terms setting
The new “Excluded Terms” setting is replacing the “Excluded Categories” setting and allows you to exclude any taxonomy terms and all posts that are assigned to them from the sitemap.
We worked hard on an intuitive user-interface for this setting so that you can effortlessly search for taxonomy terms and keep track of the terms that you are excluding.
Yandex and Baidu verification
Did you know Yandex and Baidu are the largest search engine providers in Russia and China and outperform Google by a huge margin in their local markets? We have added two new fields in the General Settings menu and published two guides on our website so you can easily verify your website in their Webmaster Tools.
Improvements to existing features
With v3.0 also comes a number of improvements to existing functionality.
New and deprecated title macros
The existing %blog_title% and %blog_description% macros have been deprecated (but still work) and have been replaced by the %site_title% and %site_description% macros. WordPress originally started out as a blogging platform but has grown into something that is much more than that and now our plugin reflects this.
We also added the %current_year% macro which displays, as you might have guessed, the current year. This comes in handy when your site has a lot of “best … 2019” and “top 10 … of 2019” lists that are suffixed with the current year. You no longer need to manually adjust these when a new year arrives.
Default to sitemap indexes and pagination
The XML Sitemap module now defaults to Sitemap Indexes. We also decreased the default number of URLs per sitemap from 50,000 (maximum) to 1,000 URLs. Both of these changes were made to improve the performance of the XML Sitemap module on large sites.
Our 2.9 release from last year added a number of new features, such as the including of images, to the XML Sitemap module and had a rather significant impact on the time it takes to dynamically generate your sitemap files.
Sitemap now lists URLs in reverse chronological order
Previously, our XML Sitemap module would write new posts to the first sitemap file and push existing URLs to the next file once it was filled up. This is not efficient especially for sites that add or update content frequently.
We have reversed this order so that existing URLs remain within the same existing files and search engines only have to look at the last file in order to discover new posts.
OG:title & OG:description
Autogenerated OG:descriptions have been trimmed down from 1,000 to 200 characters since this is now the optimal amount for most social media sites. Also, the OG:title and OG:description fields for the homepage in the Social Meta module now have character counters.
We have also removed some features from the plugin because they were deprecated. Here’s what and why:
We no longer support sitemap compression. Many years ago when bandwidth was limited, compressing sitemap files used to be much more important because it helped reduce the data that had to be transferred between web servers and search engines.
Today this issue is no longer relevant. In fact, sitemap compression only increases the time it takes to dynamically generate your sitemap, so we have removed this functionality entirely.
If you have only submitted the compressed version of your sitemap in Google Search Console or other webmaster tools then we strongly recommend you change this to submit the standard (uncompressed) URL. All in One SEO Pack will automatically redirect the old URL for your compressed sitemap to your uncompressed sitemap but there may be some instances where this redirect does not occur due to server issues.
Google+ is no more. The platform was permanently shutdown in April, so we have removed all relevant settings and features. You can read here why this happened.
All of the above is just a small selection of the numerous improvements and changes that All in One SEO Pack 3.0 includes.
Want to benefit from even more improvements? Upgrade to the premium version!