Meta Data customisation

GD SEO Toolbox Pro generated meta data tags for title and description. To do so, the plugin uses custom rules for different types of pages, and each rule can use meta data tags that will be replaced with actual values.

Introduction

To configure meta data rules, start from the Meta Data page in the SEO Toolbox menu. This panel shows main meta data settings and rules for different types of pages. It includes special rules related to bbPress and BuddyPress. Start with the Settings for the Meta Data:

Before starting with meta data customisation, you should check out the WordPress top page Help tab. When you open this tab on any of the Meta Data pages, you will see the help area with all the available meta tags and their description. This will help you get to the needed tags quickly. If you want to have an external reference of available tags, here is the article with the list of all available meta tags:

Rules Overview

Now, let’s see one of the rules. To get started, open the SEO Toolbox -> Meta Data -> WordPress Rules -> Standard. Here, you will find basic meta data rules for the home page, 404, search, login and signup pages. Each rule consists of Title and Description fields:

Meta data rule for Home page
Meta data rule for Home page

As you can see, rules use meta tags (each tag starts and ends with %%, and each tag should be all lowercase). So, in this case, title tag contains Website Name, current page, separator and website description (from WordPress Settings Tagline). So, here is what the home page title can look like with real data:

Meta Rule:
%%website-name%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%website-description%%

Generated Title:
Dev4Press – Premium Plugins and Themes for WordPress

In this case %%page%% is removed (if the page is number 1 or home archive has no pages yet), %%sep%% is replaced with the minus sign (from plugin settings, it can be different). ‘Dev4Press’ replaces %%website-name%% and ‘Premium Plugins and Themes for WordPress’ replaces %%website-description%%.

Use of meta tags

There are over 50 meta tags plugin supports. Some tags can have variables included like this: {var}. This needs to be replaced with actual value to work. For instance, meta tag: %%tax-name-{taxonomy}%% includes variable for {taxonomy}. That means, that it should be replaced with the name of taxonomy to work. So, for the category, this tag would be %%tax-name-category%%.

Make sure to understand where each tag can be used, and that is clearly listed in the Help area on the Meta Data panel. Each tag includes description and scope. Global scope means that tag can be used in any meta data rule, and will always return the proper value. Scope Singular means that value will be available only when the tag is used in meta data rules for single posts. Again, check out the article linked at the start of this user guide.

Rules Guide

Each type of page in WordPress has an own rule. Archives have multiple rules, based on the type of archive. Date based archives have an own page with rules, post types archives have an own page with rules. Post types also have rules for single posts pages. Here are some common rules you would need to adjust.

Single Post or Page

Rules for single posts and pages are on Posts & Pages panel. Each post type has an own rule. For single post, default rule includes post title, page (if the post is paged) and website name. If you run multi author blog, you might wanna include the author name in the title. In that case, change the title for Posts into:

Single post with author name:
%%title%% (by %%author-name) %%page%% %%sep%% %%website-name%%

Posts Archive

These rules are related to the archives generated for post types with archives support. Each rule is the same, including the name of the post type and page. Posts and Pages are not on this list because they don’t have post type archives. Basic posts archive is the website home page, and it will use that rule.

bbPress and BuddyPress

The plugin has direct support for the bbPress and BuddyPress pages and it has rules specifically made for some of the pages types these plugins and they also include the use of some special meta tags. Again, check the Help area for the list of supported tags.

Rules Override

When you specify a rule for a single post or page, all single posts or pages will use the same rule. This is OK, but you might need to make adjustments to some posts only. This is easy to do. Open the post you want meta rules adjusted, and you will see the metabox under the post content. If you open the post for edit, you will see the metabox like this one:

Single post metabox
Single post metabox

You can see current/default title and description rules. Title and Description fields are empty, and that means that plugin will use default rules. If you want to override the title or description rule, click on the Click here to override button, and the current rule will be copied into the selected field. Now, you can change the Title and Description and include additional elements to the meta rule.

Front Page

This is especially useful if you have a website set to use a static page for front page. In such case, your website home page will not use the Home Page meta data rule, it will use the rule for the page set to be front page. Now, you need to open the page set as the Front Page, and then customise the rule in the metabox.

Default rule for the all pages is: ‘%%title%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%website-name%%’. But, for the page you have set as a Front page, you might wanna change the title to include the website tagline/description. So, you can change it to:

Page set as front page:
%%website-name%% Home Page %%sep%% %%website-description%%

So, the metabox will look like this:

Front Page metabox with title override
Front Page metabox with title override

Recommendations

The best way to see how the meta data work is to experiment with various elements added to rules. But, there are some important things you should keep in mind:

  • You can use any meta tag in any meta rule, but if the meta tag value can’t be determined or missing, that meta tag will be replaced with empty value. Each meta tag has a scope where it should have value, so make sure to check out the full list of tags for description and scope.
  • Do not make the title too long. There is no limit on how long title can be, but Google displays 50 to 60 characters in the search results. Actually displayed number of characters depends on the screen size and title will be cut to fit the available screen width.
  • Even if the title is long, Google will process it. Limit of 50-60 characters is for display purposes only. But, it is recommended to have post title in the title tag first, and the website last so that important keywords for your posts get displayed.
  • Each post has a preview of all generated meta data (including Facebook and Twitter meta tags), and it is good practice to check how your meta data looks like.
Meta data preview for posts
Meta data preview for posts
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