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Yoast SEO Hidden features

There are many choices on how to optimize your site. When we develop our Yoast SEO plugin, we don’t translate all these choices into settings. In fact, we try to make as few settings as possible! If we think something should always be on, it’s on. We call these features ‘hidden features’ because as a user you’re not necessarily aware of their existence. You might think we don’t have certain features because there’s no setting for it. While in fact we just do it for you! In this post, we’ll dig a little deeper into these hidden features.

First, you might want to check out this video! We’ll explain which hidden features we have, why we have them and how they help you optimize your site!


Canonicals were introduced six to seven years ago as an answer to duplicate content issues. In a web shop, for instance, a product can be in three different categories. Therefore you can have three different URLs with the same content. Or, in another case, you might have a URL with a campaign tag and one without it, showing the same content.

You don’t want to confuse Google nor the user with these different URLs. The solution for this is the rel=canonical link element. The canonical URL lets you say: “Of all the options available for this URL, this URL is the one you should show”. You can do so by adding a rel=canonical tag on a page, pointing to the page that you’d like to rank.

Yoast SEO does this for you, everywhere on your site: single posts and pages, homepages, category archives, tag archives, date archives, author archives, etc. If you’re not a technical person, we understand the canonical can be quite confusing. Or something you don’t want to think about. So we don’t make you think about it! We add it by default and hide it.

Read more: rel=canonical: the ultimate guide »

rel=next / rel=prev

Another hidden feature in Yoast SEO is rel=next / rel=prev. It’s a method of indicating paginated archives to search engines. This way a search engine knows certain pages are part of an archive. A rel=next / prev tag in the header of your site tells search engines what the previous and the next page in that archive is. Nobody else than people looking at the source code of your site and search engines see this piece of code.

Keep reading: Pagination and SEO: best practices »

Login & registration

Yoast SEO also tells search engines not to follow links for login and registration pages. If you have a WordPress blog, you probably have a login link and a registration link on your site. That’s not something that’s very useful to search engines. A search engine would never have to be on your admin page. It will never need to register for your site. So Yoast SEO makes sure that search engines will never follow these links. It’s a tiny tweak, but it saves a lot of unneeded Google action. 

Noindex search results

The last hidden feature is based on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google says that you have to noindex your search results on your site. This prevents a user from going from a search result in Google to a search result on your site. Google considers that as a bad user experience. So we noindex these pages. This means that the links on these pages can be followed and counted, but they will never show up in the search results.

Read on: Which pages should I noindex or nofollow on my site »


WordPress has a replytocom feature that lets you reply to comments without activating JavaScript in your browser. For every comment it creates a separate URL with ?replytocom variables. If you get a lot of comments search engines have to index all those URLs, which is a waste of your crawl budget. Therefore we remove these variables by default.

Keep on reading: Why you should buy Yoast SEO Premium »

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16 Responses to Yoast SEO: hidden features

  1. Jen Nichol
    Jen Nichol  • 3 years ago

    Should be more transparent like Ghost.org.

  2. Wrighthost
    Wrighthost  • 3 years ago

    Excellent article. Does google penalize if it indexes search result pages?

  3. Channa Yoeurn
    Channa Yoeurn  • 3 years ago

    Very nice instructions! I have many choices on how to optimize my site.
    Indeed, I’d like to hide somewhere on the website so we can use hidden features. Thank you!!!?

  4. Pete
    Pete  • 3 years ago

    Okay, I went ahead and added this code to remove the rel=canonical tag on all pages since the rel=canonical tag was being included on archive pages pointing to the /page/.*/ page instead of the original page:

    /*remove canonical*/
    function remove_canonical() {
    add_filter( ‘wpseo_canonical’, ‘__return_false’, 10, 1 );
    add_action(‘wp’, ‘remove_canonical’);

    • Joost de Valk

      Yeah so that’s not a smart thing to do at all. Trust me, we got it right :)

      • Pete
        Pete  • 3 years ago

        Do you suggest me removing my code and just making the /page/.*/ archive pages noindex? I guess I’m not sure anymore. I’d love your advice.

        • Joost de Valk

          You could do that, but it’s not needed. What we do in our default state truly is the best way of handling this.

  5. Vikash Sharma
    Vikash Sharma  • 3 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this hidden feature of Yoast SEO Plugin. This is really helpful

  6. Pete
    Pete  • 3 years ago

    I think there might be an issue with the Yoast Plugin creating Pagination issues (inefficient canonical tags). Let’s look at an example on my site:

    example: https://www.findtutorsnearme.com/city/new-york/page/2/

    The page has canonical attributes, but I think they were implemented wrongly. See, I have these types of rules on each of my paginated pages:

    link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.findtutorsnearme.com/city/new-york/page/2/” />

    I see 2 problems here. You should either use just the rel=”prev” rel=”next” tag or if you want to apply both tags at the same time, they should look like this

    link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.findtutorsnearme.com/city/new-york/” /> –> this is the original page, not /2/ or /3/ etc., which are paginated pages

    I think that right now these rules contradict with each other which make them be inefficient and your duplicate content issues stay intact.

    Yoast – can you verify and let me know on this thread if I’m understanding this wrong?

    • Joost de Valk

      Hey Pete,

      looking at that page I don’t actually see canonicals at all. You’re wrong, the canonical for page 2 SHOULD be pointing to page 2 :) They’re different pages.

  7. Angelina Grey
    Angelina Grey  • 3 years ago

    Can you please explain no index search results..?? May be via any example..!!
    Thanks in advance

  8. Corbax
    Corbax  • 3 years ago

    Hi: I think another hidden function that would be interesting to add is that the crawl frequency in the sitemap.xml to the main page out “Daily” instead of weekly because although I know that does not improve the robot indexing visit our site more frequently . Or to do it manually. Thank you!

  9. Abdul Haseeb
    Abdul Haseeb  • 3 years ago

    Nice post!
    I was aware of only 1-2 of the above features. Yoast SEO is amazing and must-have plugin. :)

  10. Joynul Abedin
    Joynul Abedin  • 3 years ago

    My site title doesn’t after changing title how can i fix them . My title also related for my business .

  11. Matt
    Matt  • 3 years ago

    How does Google find internal search pages? I thought the Google Bot couldn’t do form posts?

    • Joost de Valk

      It can, but someone else could also be linking to it.