Questions and Answers

Last sunday evening I started taking questions on my Facebook page, and I promised to answer them in a blog post here, so here we go:

  • If I have just made changes to my WP site, does it help to toggle the cache plugin?

    Absolutely. My SEO plugin force refreshes the cache because otherwise people start emailing me that stuff doesn’t work when it works perfectly. On sites with more traffic though, you could also just leave the cache as is and wait it out a bit.

  • How do I move a WordPress site, changing its permalinks but keeping the social numbers counts (post tweets/likes/shares)?

    The answer to this is an unfortunate but resounding: you don’t. I’ve written a tutorial on moving WordPress to a new domain quite a while ago, but you simply can’t keep those stats. All the more reason to think long and hard about moving domains…

  • My buddy Richard thought he was funny, and asked: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a wouldchuck could chuck wood?

    The answer is simple, of course: a woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

  • Will you be focusing on wordpress for the rest of your life? If not what do you think will be the reason why you change your focus?

    I might be smart, but I’m no sightseer. Also, while I work with WordPress a lot, a lot of my time is also spent on consulting and website reviews (which we do for all sorts of sites).

  • What is the best practice to SEO a site? Is it even possible?

    Of course there are things you could do on a site, some themes there are better than others and you can do a whole lot content wise. The minute you start asking questions like that though, you should really consider getting a self-hosted install and taking control of your own destiny. You’ll reach a point where you’ll want to do more and doesn’t allow you to do that and the longer you wait, the harder it is to move, so, move now.

  • When do you think that WordPress is going to completely rewrite their code base so it’s an actual CMS instead of a hacked together glorified blogging system?

    I find I get that question quite a lot and it annoys me. WordPress is being rewritten all the time. Check out the development that happens on Trac. Most of the people who ask questions like that haven’t had a decent look at the codebase for ages. WordPress IS way more than a glorified blogging system already and if there are specific issues you have with the way it’s coded, patches are welcome!

  • If you start working on a WordPress blog for a client and there are no plugins installed, which ones do you always install?

    A couple: my own WordPress SEO & Google Analytics plugins, W3 Total Cache and usually Gravity Forms. Of course each site is different so there’ll be more plugins after that depending on that site’s and site owners needs and wants.

  • What do you think has more value? A good domain name or good link building?

    Good link building, any day, every day. You see, domain names, especially so called “exact match domain names” are bound to be devalued at some point. Good link building will always create traffic to your site, just from those links alone, so that’s always worth while. Those links also bring in rankings but in really good link building, that’s often just a side effect. I recently talked about Eric Ward’s mailing list, you should check out that post.

  • Your SEO plugin places a canonical tag on every generated page and I have an ongoing argument with a co-worker about that. He says that this tag should only be on pages that contain duplicate content and that it is intended to ‘tell’ the searchbot where to look for the original content. Googling around doesn’t clarify a lot. Could you please tell your reasons behind placing it on every page?

    I get this discussion a lot. The thing is, if I was 100% sure that a URL could only be accessed through that specific URL with no query parameters added, I might not add a canonical. There’s nothing against it, but it’d just be a bit cleaner. However, these URLs:

    Are essentially the same for a WordPress install in 99% of the cases. However, they’re not the same for Google and other search engines. So, if I wouldn’t add canonical, the link value of the second URL would be waisted and, in fact, you’d have a competing duplicate content URL in the search results. That’s why I add it to all pages.

  • I noticed you don’t use a comment system like disqus or intense debate. Would be nice to hear your thoughts about whether we should or should not use a comment system in WordPress.

    If I were to use a comment system, I’d use Facebook comments. The benefits of that and the fact that it gets way less spam are quite high. So far I’ve decided not to do that yet because a couple of my regular visitors and active commenters actually don’t have Facebook accounts. Also, my comment redirect plugin doesn’t work with those systems, which I think is a pity.

    I’ll say one thing: the amount of work I have to do to keep this blog spam free is nothing short of ridiculous. Read this post to see what I mean.

That’s it, what do you think, should I do this more often?

Tags: runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis theme frameworkThe Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Whether you're a novice or advanced developer, Genesis provides you with the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

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42 Responses

  1. HollyBy Holly on 1 November, 2011

    Hi Joost, I’ve noticed your plugins for awhile now and am very impressed with your skills. The one thing you mentioned that it seems you haven’t tried is the Facebook comments. I had Facebook comments enabled on my blog about mobile websites, and the majority of comments came from web developers who wanted links to competing companies. There was no easy way to moderate them so I removed Facebook commenting. I found more spam (not less) but it was individually generated spam. These people should have bought ads instead of offering no content and just looking for traffic. They didn’t mention anything at all about the stories and I doubt they even read them.

  2. JonathonBy Jonathon on 1 November, 2011

    Definitely repeat. Great insight to not only the common queries Yoast-aware level web developers have but also concise answers.

    Thank you

  3. MattBy Matt on 1 November, 2011

    Thanks for opening up for questions and taking the time to answer them. Helps clear things up for me. Would love for you to do it again sometime. I missed getting to ask this round!

  4. IpstenuBy Ipstenu on 1 November, 2011

    How do I move a WordPress site, changing its permalinks but keeping the social numbers counts (post tweets/likes/shares)?

    I think your answer means to say ‘If you change your URL path, you lose social numbers.’ You DO NOT lose them if you move your domain, but you do lose them if you change the URL structure (even if it’s to ).

    Minor clarification. Moving and keeping all URLs the same, you keep your social stats.

    • Rajesh NamaseBy Rajesh Namase on 9 November, 2011

      By using Export function of WordPress.

  5. Lyena SolomonBy Lyena Solomon on 1 November, 2011


    On the subject of canonical URLs, Barry Schwartz mentioned in his article that Bing and Google treat canonicals differently. Google does not care if you have the tag on every page. Bing, however, prefers blank tag rather than pointing to the page:

    Perhaps, the friend of the person who asked the question is following Bing’s practices regarding canonical tag.

  6. Rajesh NamaseBy Rajesh Namase on 1 November, 2011

    I have one doubt what is the best permalink structure:
    I have read one blog saying if we used permalink same as yours site /%postname%/ then it will take time for database quires, so please tell us what is best permalink structure.
    If we used /%postname%/ permalink structure then will it affect site speed.

    • K.C. WhiteBy K.C. White on 8 November, 2011

      WordPress 3.3 is supposed to address %postname% and its effect on database queries.

      • Rajesh NamaseBy Rajesh Namase on 9 November, 2011

        Okay, thanks for your reply.

  7. RednightsBy Rednights on 1 November, 2011

    Facebook commenting? Ough, that’s a future I don’t want to live in.

    These types of posts are very good btw, keep it up.

  8. John ClayBy John Clay on 1 November, 2011

    Thanks Joost, yes, please continue doing this more often!

  9. MikeBy Mike on 1 November, 2011

    I moved domains recently and lost all my tweet/like counts — but not for long.

    It’s a bit of a hack, but the solution mentioned here in the ‘A tale of two URLs’ section has worked brilliantly and is surely much better than just losing all the tweets built up before a move.

    (Incidentally, the whole Google side of the domain move was silky smooth — kudos to Mountain View — and the only part that has been slightly disappointing is Alexa, which seems to be treating the new domain as a new site despite a request to merge the data for the two domains.)

  10. B. MooreBy B. Moore on 1 November, 2011

    Haven’t heard you discuss anything about Magento in a long while…. how come?

  11. Daniel AntunesBy Daniel Antunes on 2 November, 2011

    For FAQ, use the plugin Apiki WP FAQ WordPress Plugin

    Thanks for asks

  12. DavidMBy DavidM on 2 November, 2011

    Please continue with the Q&As. I’ve been using your plugins for a while and appreciate the insight on other issues as well.

  13. VincentBy Vincent on 3 November, 2011

    regarding the last question on comment plugins (Diqus, Facebook etc), I believe it’s best to keep it all in WP for longevity sake – who knows if any of them will be around in years to come?

    But, I do believe there is some value in giving users the ability to use their Facebook login and maybe LinkedIn as well. We could do with a plugin like Janrain that doesn’t need a 3rd party membership.

  14. Thomas GauckBy Thomas Gauck on 4 November, 2011

    I included WP-Table-Reloaded. Table contents are shortcoded and can not be considered by page analyses – or is there any way?

  15. Jos van EssenBy Jos van Essen on 7 November, 2011

    I think the answer to question 2 is not full; at least for Facebook I think you can use the Graph publisher to update URLS you created, so you can also alter the new URL? I did not quite had the time to check this out, but in theory this might work perfectly.

  16. RaoulBy Raoul on 7 November, 2011

    I have 2 questions :
    1. Which is better to index : categories or tags ? I’ve been looking at your source and i see noindex neither to categories and tags.
    2. How to load themes from subdomains ? Like you cdn.yoast….

  17. NishadhaBy Nishadha on 8 November, 2011

    Of course you should do this more often and thanks for clearing things up

  18. Mark BrownBy Mark Brown on 8 November, 2011

    I appreciated the tips on basic plug-ins for new sites. The tips on Gravity Forms was very helpful. The information on toggling the cache plugin was also helpful. It’s tips like these that keep me reading your posts.

  19. BalwinderBy Balwinder on 9 November, 2011

    Sir we are using your plugin for sitemap but post_tag-sitemap.xml is not showing any url in site map please tell me solution.
    Our site name is


  20. TerenceBy Terence on 9 November, 2011


    Do you have any plans to and type micro-formats to your plugin any time soon?


  21. ChrisBy Chris on 10 November, 2011

    oh… my website is http:/


  22. Richard MyrickBy Richard Myrick on 11 November, 2011

    I have a news category on my blog Mobile Cuisine is there a way to have this category’s url have a number system that is still SEO friendly?

    I would like to add this section/category so it is listed under News in Google. The only way they will allow this to happen is if you use a numeric url system. I just don’t want to have to ruin all of my sites SEO by doing this to any other category.


  23. BobBy Bob on 12 November, 2011

    I just wanted to take a brief moment and Thank you for all the insight and information. I have narrowed down the many sources for SEO to only a few, and you are one of them. Thanks again.

  24. Cass EwingBy Cass Ewing on 14 November, 2011

    Hi Joost,

    I’ve just downloaded your SEO plugin, so thanks for that!

    Question: In my Profile section I now have two boxes called “Title To Use For Author Page” & “Meta Description To Use For Author Page”. What do they refer to; how do I use them; what do I enter in to them; and where does/will that information show up?

    Many thanks,

    • Tim GriffinBy Tim Griffin on 17 November, 2011

      Hey Cass,

      In case you missed it, here is the post you want to read and get yourself up and going with Joost’s amazing SEO plugin: WordPress SEO Plugin – Joost

      RE: the Author Page details. This refers to the title and description on the author archive which WordPress automatically creates for you – click the Joost’s name above to see the link: and you can then see the title/meta he has input to the two fields you are asking about)

      Welcome to the crowd of people who enjoy this plugin Cass!

  25. MicheleBy Michele on 18 November, 2011

    Hi Joost,
    Yes please continue to do this! I have learned so much from you. Thank you so much for all of your hard work and time, it is greatly appreciated.

  26. NellyBy Nelly on 19 November, 2011

    Hello! I love your plugins. However, I couldn’t find how to change edit the homepage Tittle, metatags, etc.. So yes, I use wordpress and I can’t see the homepage SEO section..

    Thanks for your helps..

  27. ashBy ash on 19 November, 2011

    Hi Joost

    just wanted to drop you a message, your plugin is magic,and your advice has been invaluable. i just wish the seo industry would be charted so we can cut out so many false claims made by bandits claiming they can work wanders, it gives all seo consultants a bad name . i look forward to future updates. Thanks for you help


  28. DavidBy David on 20 November, 2011

    Nice article for new SEO developers, thanks for share.

  29. JonathanBy Jonathan on 20 November, 2011

    Hi Joost,

    I installed the plugin Simple Urls to mask my affiliate links as you wrote in a previous post. . I also disallowed /go/ in Robots.txt – as you instructed.

    Google is showing all those /go/ links in the index. How can I remove those links from the index?

    Thank you,


  30. Henk OverbeekBy Henk Overbeek on 20 November, 2011

    I recently installed your SEO plugin. Posts like this are very useful for me. Keep it coming!

  31. OlafBy Olaf on 22 November, 2011

    Great Plugin!

    I have a custom post type in my website and would like custom data like “location” to be included in the standard meta keywords like the way you include the title by using %%title%%? Is there a way to do this?

  32. Otho TilbyBy Otho Tilby on 23 November, 2011

    I installed the SEO plugin on my wordpress site and have encountered something I do not know how to deal with. Here is what happened: Piano ong>Chordsong> – ong>Makeong> ong>Chordsong> on Piano – Fun With Piano ong>Chordsong>Jun 20, 2011 … ong>ong>Makeong>ong> ong>ong>chordsong>ong> on piano fast and easy. No chord chart or dictionary required. ong>ong>Makeong>ong> any basic chord in seconds. Then play it for fun on piano!>makeong>-ong>chordsong>-on-piano/

    Following is what happened after the post was deleted and completely redone. I even cleared WP-cache before doing this thinking it might be picking up data from there.
    ong>Makeong> ong>Chordsong> on Piano – Fun With Piano ong>Chordsong>
    Nov 23, 2011 … Piano ong>Chordsong> – ong>Makeong> ong>Chordsong> on Piano The technical language for making ong>chordsong> has been omitted and the focus here is simply on counting the>makeong>-ong>chordsong>-on-piano-2/

    This is what the SEO by Yoast did to the snippet on this particular post. I do not know why this happened nor how to fix it so I had to delete the entire post and start over. The 2nd and 3rd remake of the post turn out the same way. The 3rd time I cleared the WP-cache first but it made no difference. Perhaps you can help me understand how this happens and what I need to do to prevent it from happening again. Needless to say this destroys the position of this page on search engines. Could one say it is broken?

    Thanks for any help you can offer.

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 23 November, 2011

      Which version of WP SEO do you have?

  33. NelyBy Nely on 23 November, 2011


    Please let me know how to edit homepage SEO?


  34. BjörnBy Björn on 23 November, 2011

    Hey fellas,
    does anybody know if it´s possible to expand the meta-tags in the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin, like “author,audience” etc.?

  35. Marty RogersBy Marty Rogers on 24 November, 2011

    Hi Joost!

    Since you’re taking Questions, I thought I would drop you one if you don’t mind… Since Yahoo! Site Explorer is now dead and buried, what tool would you recommend for checking up on our backlinks?

  36. Mike Henry Sr.By Mike Henry Sr. on 27 November, 2011

    Joost, I was a longtime user of your WordPress SEO until a few days ago. I have a BuddyPress site and I’ve also added a couple of other sections that use templates rather than pages. I’d go back to your SEO plugin if I could understand how to extend the titles to include the BuddyPress parts of the site. Can you tell me how I might do that or would you please let me know when you add that feature to your plugin?


  37. KimBy Kim on 1 December, 2011

    Hi Joost, I have your SEO installed on my site and am led to believe it is the reason my homepage title is appearing twice? Have you heard of this before? When I checked the settings in wordpress admin it only appears once? Is it something with the plug-in?