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.
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 Google 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.
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.