How to Configure SEOPress for WordPress Websites

For this guide, we will be working with the free SEOPress plugin, as well as the SEOPress Pro plugin, which should be on every WordPress website, in my opinion.

Any time someone puts up a “what’s the best SEO plugin” poll within SEO-based communities, SEOPress is always the top recommendation, and it is my recommendation as well.

SEOPress competitors (Rank Math, Yoast, etc.) are either bloated, not innovating or a combination of both. 

The good news is that SEOPress includes a simple onboarding wizard, so you can easily migrate away from other SEO plugins.

SEOPress (FREE)

Titles & Meta

  1. Install and activate the free SEOPress plugin.
  2. Run through the onboarding wizard.
  3. Post Types > Double check what you are going to index.
  4. Archives > Double check what you are going to index.

I completely disable the Author and Date archives. If your website has a very active blog that involves a number of authors, it may make sense to keep the author archives in place.

Author pages have little-to-no content, and can actually do more harm to your SEO than good, as you are using part of your crawl budget to index pages with no value.

  1. Taxonomies > Double check what you are going to index.

XML - HTML Sitemap

General

  1. Enable XML Sitemap > Enable
  2. Enable XML Image Sitemaps > Enable
  3. Enable XML Video Sitemaps > Enable (Note: If you don’t plan to add/embed videos on your website, you don’t need to enable this.)
  4. Enable Author Sitemap > If your website has a very active blog or a solution that involves a number of authors, it may make sense to enable this.
  5. Enable HTML Sitemap > Enable

XML Sitemaps are for the search engines, whereas HTML Sitemaps are for humans, to help them navigate your website.

With the HTML Sitemap enabled, you can take the shortcode the SEOPress gives you and drop it right into a page of your choice.

Once you see your HTML Sitemap displayed on the page, you may or may not find you need to adjust its settings to suit your needs.

  1. Click the ‘View Your Sitemap’ button just to ensure it’s pulling up without any issues.
  2. When your website is starting to get valuable content (maybe it does already), circle back and click the ‘Ping Google Manually’ button, if you want to get a jumpstart on indexing your website.

Social Networks

  1. Knowledge Graph > Your photo/organization logo > Upload a high-quality image that shows off your brand.
  2. Your Social Accounts > Add the info for any of the social accounts that you have.
  3. Facebook (Open Graph) > Select default image > Upload a high-quality, 3280 x 1712 px image, that shows off your brand.
  4. Facebook (Open Graph) > Facebook-related Settings > Refer to my Facebook Open Graph for WordPress Websites guide.
  5. Twitter (Twitter Card) > Default Twitter Image > Upload a high-quality, 800 x 418 px image, that shows off your brand.
  6. Twitter (Twitter Card) > Image size for Twitter Summary card > Select ‘Large’.

Analytics

  1. General > Enable Google Analytics tracking > Enable
  2. Using my Google Analytics for WordPress Websites or Google Tag Manager for WordPress Websites guide, configure the remaining settings.

Advanced

Image SEO

Redirect Attachment Pages to Post Parent

Every time you upload a media file to your website, WordPress will automatically generate a new “attachment” page for that file, and the generated page has such thin (i.e. virtually nonexistent) content, that it can hurt your SEO.

Enable this setting.

Automated Image SEO Optimization

Unless you are entering and managing all of the media that gets uploaded to your website, the settings below are important.

Otherwise, as the website owner, have no control over the SEO-related meta for media that your users might upload.

Enable all of the following settings.

  • Cleaning Media Filename
  • Automatically Set the Image Title
  • Automatically Set the Image Alt Text
  • Automatically Set the Image Caption
  • Automatically Set the Image Description

Advanced

  1. Remove WordPress generator meta tag > Enable (Note: If you use Perfmatters on all your websites as I do, I prefer to disable this setting and the ones listed below, from there, that way optimization-related settings are more centralized.).
  2. Remove WordPress shortlink meta tag > Enable 
  3. Remove Windows Live Writer meta tag > Enable 
  4. Remove RSD meta tag > Enable 

For the remaining settings that have to do with search engine verification, fill those in if they pertain to your particular business, and if you haven’t already verified your website on those platforms.

Appearence

As the title of this section suggests, the settings here are mainly a matter of preference, but there’s also back-end performance to think about. I’ll give you my thoughts, below.

  1. SEO in admin bar > Remove SEO from Admin Bar in backend and frontend > Enable. (Note: This is a waste of resources and space.).
  2. SEO in admin bar > Move SEO metabox’s position > Set to Low Priority. (Note: The SEOPress settings box that you see in every post type (Post, Page, Listing, etc., does not need to be placed at the very top of the screen.).
  3. Hide SEO News > Hide SEO News in SEO Dashboard page > Enable. (Note: If you want SEO news from SEOPress, simply subscribe to their newsletter, which I recommend anyway.).
  4. Hide Genesis SEO Metabox > Remove Genesis SEO Metabox > Enable. (Note: Only consider having this enabled if you use the Genesis theme.).
  5. Hide Genesis SEO Settings link > Remove Genesis SEO link in WP Admin Menu > Enable. (Note: Only consider having this enabled if you use the Genesis theme.).
  6.  

Security

This section only applies if your website is managed by multiple people.

If you will have a number of people logging into the back-end of your website, you may want to take a look at these settings.

Instant Indexing

This feature allows website owners to directly notify Google and/or Bing when specific content (Posts, Pages, Listings, etc.) are added or removed, triggering a fresh crawl which can lead to higher quality user traffic.

For MyListing websites with many short-lived pages like Job or Events Listings, the Indexing API keeps content fresh in search results because it allows updates to be pushed individually.

Google Search Console (GSC) allows you to do something similar, but there are two downsides compared to SEOPress.

GSC only allows you to specify one URL at a time and obviously, you have to visit GSC, whereas SEOPress allows you to do everything right from your website.

For MyListing websites with many short-lived pages like Job or Events Listings, the Indexing API keeps content fresh in search results because it allows updates to be pushed individually.

Please note that Instant Indexing does not replace sitemaps. You should have both.

In the steps below, we will cover how to set up Google Instant Indexing and you can use those steps to set up Bing if desired.

Google Indexing API

  1. Visit the Google Cloud Platform.
  2. Select your project and click ‘Enable APIs and Services’.
  3. Search for the word ‘indexing’ and select the ‘Indexing API’.
  4. Click ‘Enable’.
  5. From the left-hand menu, click on ‘Credentials’.
  6. Click ‘Create Credentials’.
  7. Choose ‘Service Account’.
  8. Service Account Name > Enter the name similar to ‘MyListing Club Google Indexing API’.
  9. Click ‘Create and Continue’.
  10. Click ‘Done’.
  11. Click on the link for the new Service Account that was just created.
  12. Click the ‘Key’s menu item and choose ‘Add Key’.
  13. Choose ‘Create new key’, choose ‘JSON’, and click ‘Create’. (Note: This will download your Key to your local workstation.).
  14. Close the dialog box.
  15. Click on the ‘Details’ tab.
  16. Copy the email address shown, to your clipboard, or keep this browser tab open so you can reference it as we proceed.

Google Search Console

  1. Visit the Google Console.
  2. Pull up the property for your website or add one if you haven’t already, using my Google Search Console for WordPress Websites guide.
  3. Click ‘Settings’.
  4. Click ‘Users and permissions’ and click ‘Add User’.
  5. Paste in the email address from the Google Indexing API section above.
  6. Click ‘Add’.

Configure Instant Indexing Within SEOPress

  1. WordPress Dashboard > SEO > Instant Indexing > General > Toggle ON ‘Instant Indexing’.
  2. WordPress Dashboard > SEO > Instant Indexing > General > Select Search Engines > Check the boxes for ‘Google’ and ‘Bing’.
  3. Save changes.
  4. Open the downloaded JSON file with your preferred text editor (Pro Tip: I use and recommend the free ‘Visual Studio Code’ app.).
  5. Do a ‘Select All’ to grab the entire contents of the file.
  6. WordPress Dashboard > SEO > Instant Indexing > Settings > Google Indexing API Key > Paste in the contents of the JSON file.
  7. WordPress Dashboard > SEO > Instant Indexing > Settings > Bing Indexing API Key > Click the ‘Generate Key’ button.
  8. WordPress Dashboard > SEO > Instant Indexing > Settings > Automatically Notify Search Engines > Enable.
  9. Save changes.

Submit Your Content for Indexing

  1. WordPress Dashboard > SEO > XML – HTML Sitemap > General > Click ‘View Your Sitemap’.
  2. Click on the link for the desired sitemap, such as the Listings sitemap (job_listing-sitemap1.xml), and drill down until your Listings are shown.
  3. Copy the links for all of the newer Listings (up to 100 at a time and max of 200 per day) you would like to ‘Instant Index’ to a text file and strip out the dates (i.e. everything after the last trailing ‘/’).
  4. Copy all of the links again.
  5. SEO > Instant Indexing > General > Select search engines > Check the box for ‘Google’.
  6. Save changes.
  7. Submit URLs for Indexing > Paste in your links.
  8. Click ‘Submit URLs to Google & Bing’.

Microsoft Clarity

Use Microsoft Clarity to capture session recordings, get instant heatmaps and powerful Insights for Free. Know how people interact with your site to improve user experience and conversions.

  1. Configure your Microsoft Clarity account by following the Microsoft Clarity For A Better Understanding Of How People Use Your WordPress Website guide and have your Project ID ready to reference.
  2. WordPress Dashboard > SEO > Analytics
  3. Ensure the ‘Analytics’ toggle is turned ON.
  4. Enable Microsoft Clarity > Check the box.
  5. Enter Your Clarity Project ID > Paste in your Project ID from step 1 above.
  6. Save changes.

As my Microsoft Clarity guide states, it may take up to 2 hours before you start seeing data populate. In general, that guide will serve as your primary reference once you have the settings in place on the SEOPress side.