Major update of WordPress SEO (1.5)

Today we’re releasing what’s probably the single biggest update to our WordPress SEO plugin since its initial release. It improves speed, fixes a ton of bugs and edge cases and adds a new bulk title & description editor. On top of that we’ve changed several default settings and added some smaller new features. This post addresses all of it, so keep on reading.

Rewrite of option and post metadata handling

Every post in WordPress has metadata, and our WordPress SEO plugin adds more metadata to that: from indexation settings, to meta descriptions and titles. We used to store those in a manner that was not as efficient as we wanted it to be, so Juliette, who became a committer in WordPress SEO a few months ago, rewrote the entire logic. This fixes a ton of the bugs we’d encountered over the years but also, and more importantly, makes us use the database a whole lot less.

Speed improvements

Along with these rewrites to how we save the plugins options and post metadata, we implemented a new class loader. This class loader make code load only when it’s needed, leading to a far smaller memory footprint and a lot faster performance on both frontend and backend.

We also rewrote several of the queries used for the XML sitemap generation, leading to a 70% decrease in the number of queries used to generate the index sitemap, making that a lot faster too.

Pippin, from EasyDigitalDownloads, has been running the 1.5 beta on for a while already, when he flipped, this is what the performance graph looked like:

speed improvement WordPress SEO

That’s a 20 to 30% performance increase. Granted, Pippin had been suffering from a particular bug in WordPress SEO that most of you probably won’t have been hit by, but this shows a tremendous improvement was made.

New bulk editor

With this release, we’ve merged the SEO Extended plugin into core, with the help of its creator, Faison Zutavern of the Orion Group. It looks pretty cool and allows you, as you’ve guessed, update titles or descriptions in bulk:

bulk title editor

Smaller updates to social features

We’ve added / changed several small things about the Social tab:

  • For OpenGraph, the object type of a page should now be more accurate, so Facebook and others using OpenGraph can more accurately detect what type of page they’re dealing with.
  • For Twitter, you can now switch between “Summary” cards and “Summary with large image” cards, an oft requested feature.
  • For Google+ and rel author implementation, we’ve taken away some of the features as they were leading to issues with Google. The default setting of the plugin is now to only show rel=author on single posts and nowhere else. Enabling or disabling rel=author for a post type is very easy from the Titles & metas page, should you wish to. You can no longer show rel=author on the homepage as Google has been pretty clear about not wanting that.

Other changes

There are a few other things worth noting:

  • The option to change the category rewrite (removing /category/ from category URLs), has been deprecated. If you have it enabled when you upgrade, it’ll still show, but otherwise you won’t see it anymore. We will be removing this feature entirely as the SEO benefits are now very small to non-existent and it causes numerous bugs with other plugins.
  • On the Edit Files dialog you can now, if your webserver allows you to, create a robots.txt file if you don’t have one, and then edit it.
  • We have a new Extensions menu item in which you’ll be able to both see our existing extensions for WordPress SEO as well as enter the license keys for those extensions.

Community effort

This release was very much a community effort. We’ve been reaping the rewards of switching to GitHub for the development of WordPress SEO and I think you’ll agree it’s good for all of us. If you’re a developer and have an interest in developing on one of the most popular plugins for the platform, join us on GitHub!

Update to all our SEO plugins

Because this update changes so much about how WordPress SEO works, all the plugins we released that depend on it have been updated too. This means you’ll see updates for Video SEO, Local SEO and WooCommerce SEO too, upgrade both at the same time, or after each other, but know that if you update for instance Local SEO without updating WordPress SEO, you’ll get an update nag. They need each other.

But wait! I run your Premium SEO plugin!

Don’t worry! If you run our WordPress SEO Premium plugin, there’s an update including all of the above changes ready for you in your WordPress install as well. Of course, if you’re a premium plugin customer and you run into any problems with the upgrade, feel free to email our support team.

Over to you!

That’s it, over to you, go update and see how you like it!

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!