What’s wrong with WordPress All-in-One-SEO Plugin

It's no secret we are seriously into WordPress SEO. After the otherwise brilliant John Godley's Headspace killed a few too many websites on us, we decided not to use any extra WordPress SEO plugin but just use appropriate core WordPress functions for our SEO.

What we did was use the excerpt field for descriptions and tags for keywords.

KISS WordPress SEO
KISS WordPress SEO: now retired since version 2.7

Our KISS WordPress SEO was great until WordPress 2.7 when suddenly the excerpt field no longer existed in the page editing interface. Thanks Automattic! Our perfect workaround was now a pain in the butt.

We gave the UrbanGiraffe Headspace 2 another look, but alas it was still taking our sites down. I know Headspace 2 can work but it just didn't seem to like our core plugin install.

So we moved to the old school SemperFi's All-in-One-SEO plugin. All-in-One-SEO plugin has been around forever. It's always seemed a bit ugly and a bit clunky. But give SemperFi credit: they've been banging away on it forever and All-in-One-SEO is pretty much bugfree at this point.

What we really dislike about All-in-One-SEO is the keywords field. First, as any longtime SEO will tell you, keywords are just not that important. And as any longtime WordPress master knows, the built-in tags pretty much have keywords covered. You just needed to add a couple of lines of code to your template and their they were.

So we don't need another interface to access keywords. We do need long titles (we used to use Joost's SEO titles plugin) and we do need descriptions. But we don't need a keyword interface.

And adding a keyword interface just confuses our clients when what we want is for them to add tags.

There is no way to turn off keywords in All-in-One-SEO and there isn't even a class on the row so there was no easy way to remove it.

We're also not crazy about automatically generated metadescription tags. We think metadescriptions should be written only by hand, as they are used to sell your post. Automatically generated metadescriptions are not really any better than letting Google and Yahoo generate them for you. For mass metadescription editing (you can see what posts and pages are missing metadescriptions and add the missing ones quickly) we use our own FV Descriptions plugin.

We thought about forking All-in-One-SEO, but due to automatic update and accidentally having our version overwritten, we didn't want to that either.

Anyway our next step was to try to contact SemperFi via their contact form and ask them to put a checkbox in their admin interface to turn off the keywords feature. I told Martin I'd give them $50 to add this feature.


can you please put an option into new version of your great plugin which would remove the keywords field from the AI1S editing box? We believe using tags is better and the tags are used in keywords meta field anyway. The keywords field is just confusing people.

Another nice thing would be the option to disable automatic meta description generation from the WordPress excerpt. The post either has a AI1S description entered and there is a meta description for the post or the meta description field should remain empty.

We are sending you $50 if you do these changes now. We are constantly modifying your plugin in order to make these changes (when installing, after updates), so we know it's not hard to do, we just want to make sure our changes aren't removed when updating.

Thanks, M.

We got this email back:

Please refer to http://semperfiwebdesign.com/forum/ for plugin support.  We will now only address plugin issues on our new forums so that everyone can benefit.  You may sign up for an account and post any issues you have about WordPress, plugins, themes, etc. 

If you need personal service, we can provide professional consultancy on a per hour fee basis at our standard hourly rate.

We tried calling them too. SemperFi doesn't pick up the phone either. Unfortunately, you can't contact these jokers anymore, except via the forums. Which we did.

In their forums, SemperFi were kind enough to offer at some point to add ID's to the fields of All-in-One-SEO. But what we want is a simple checkbox to remove the keywords section altogether from the post/page interface.

What we've done here is exactly that, plus we've killed the automatic updates from SemperFi. If you use our FV All-in-One-SEO plugin, you won't accidentally overwrite your copy.

If like us you have clients using WordPress, enjoy simple SEO with FV All-in-One-SEO. No auto-generated metadescription, no inteference with tags. If SemperFi ever get their act together to add the checkbox to the admin interface to disable keywords and an option to turn off automatic metadescription creation, we will merge back our FV version into the original All-in-One-SEO.

PS. If you are into WordPress SEO and like your metadescriptions you should might like our FV Descriptions plugin which is a mass description field editor compatible with excerpts, Thesis, both older and newer versions of All-in-One-SEO.

Download the plugins here:

FV All in One SEO Pack - an advanced plugin for your daily SEO optimization of your WordPress site

FV Descriptions - a handy description editor good for use with FV All in One SEO Pack

This entry was posted in SEO, WordPress. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to What’s wrong with WordPress All-in-One-SEO Plugin

  1. Harsh Agrawal

    Thank got I shifted to Thesis theme and its inbuilt seo capability keep me away from all these tech hassles…

  2. And that’s why you go around comment spamming people for your Thesis theme affiliate website, Harsh.

    Making one’s SEO dependent on a theme is extremely foolish. The built-in SEO in Thesis is deliberately put there to make it very difficult for one to swap themes.

    Much better to have a solid SEO plugin which is theme independent.

  3. John

    Indeed, plugins that are template native is far from ideal. That said, I don’t like All-in-one-SEO at all with their aggressive advertising in source code and the admin section.

    They use a lot of code to make sure you cannot remove all that junk code and I really do not want to advertise which version of the plugin I’m using.

    So, I’m simply going to ask my programmer to create a light weight plugin and we will offer that to the community as an alternative.

  4. Hi there. I have just installed and started using FV Simpler SEO Pack 1.6.7 and Foliopress Descriptions.
    I have a question please.

    Foliopress Descriptions caters only for dat entry in the description, but the SEO Pack has also created fields for “Title”, “Title Attribute” and “Menu Label”.

    Does this mean that I have to edit each post or page manually anyway – since Foliopress Descriptions only updates part of the required data?

    Apologies if this is a really stupid question but I’m new to this stuff!

    Thanks in anticipation.

  5. Hi Adrian,

    The version you should be using is the one which just went up, FV All in One SEO Pack 1.6.8 (it will be jumped to 2.0 in the next few days).

    We’ve done a full revision.

    In that version, you don’t need to set Title and Title Attribute by hand as they will automatically and logically default to:

    1. the long title
    2. the normal title

    On pages you will see an option for Menu Label.

    FV Descriptions just covers descriptions, but descriptions are the key piece for mass editing. Normally your long post and page titles would not be so different from your normal post and page titles. Whereas it’s very easy to forget to include a meta description at all, which can really hurt you in the search engines. You’re quite right we should create an FV Title which edits all the popular title formats like FV Descriptions. Not sure Menu Label is worth a separate plugin (most of the time one sets shorter menu names when one sees that a menu name is too long).

    Thanks for trying the brand spanking new and intensely upgraded FV All in One SEO Pack. Let us know if you have any further questions.

  6. Dave

    “Making one’s SEO dependent on a theme is extremely foolish. The built-in SEO in Thesis is deliberately put there to make it very difficult for one to swap themes.”

    Vendor lockin.

    I try to tell people this. It seems like common sense to me. But nobody listens.

    And you’re the first person I’ve ever seen writing about it.

    People complain about being ripped off, but they rush to their destruction, crushing those who would save them.

    If you want something *really* interesting to examine, check out the Scribe plugin. The next version will have “suggested sites” for you to link to. And people will crow about what a great idea this is… as they lock themselves out of any hope of ranking in SERPs, permanently.

  7. I also think it would be good if all-in-one seo had the option to mass alter keywords like the WordPress option to mass alter tags.

  8. Lisa

    This is an interesting conversation as I’ve been trying to figure out whether to use (on individual posts), the all-in-one-seo’s keywords or wordpress tags, or both – for a long time! I tried to view the forums on All in one seo but can’t see the answers … thinking about switching to another seo plugin for wordpress … soooo will definitely check out FV All in One SEO Pack!!!

  9. writting so many posts about yoast and all in one, they are all bad in your eyes, only to promote your own plugin. how sad is that. yoast and all in one are in the top of plugins, you are a small little fish in this world. I don’t think you will be a star with this kind of posts.

  10. Hi Jodi Lynn,

    Alas I’m not sure you will become a star by posting lascivious photos of yourself on your weblog.

    The guys at Semper did NOT write All-in-One. AIO SEO was actually written by an SEO named Uberdose in Germany and not the couple of marines who’ve actually smeared it in branding and BS monthly pro-upgrade scare screens.

    And based on your profile, you really shouldn’t be using Yoast. FV Simpler SEO was painstakingly written to make life easier for people like you. Set it and forget it. No branding inline.

    Good luck with your projects and thanks for trying FV plugins.

  11. Pingback: The 7 Top SEO Plugins for WordPress Blogs | jannath.net

  12. Hello Alec,

    I wasn’t aware that a built in SEO in a Studio Press Child Theme would create more challenges with my SEO settings when changing to another theme.

    I was under the impression that I would not need to install another SEO plugin to run my old theme.

    How many website developers advise people upfront that you should not rely on a built-in SEO plugin and that customers should make sure they have an SEO plugin installed on their current theme (if they are already using one) before changing themes?

    I am not sure what to do since my posts/pages will not be found via search engines.

    Should I revert back to my old theme; upload your FV Simpler SEO plugin, then add all the meta descriptions and keywords manually for each post/ page and switch themes again? Or am I able to upload your FV Simpler SEO plugin to my new theme? I am using the Isabelle Parent Theme by BluChic.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


  13. Hi Erin,

    Yes these paid theme developers really take advantage of new web developers and end users with tricky entrapment. I prefer to keep as much functionality in possible in portable plugins, leaving our clients the ability to change themes as often as they like.

    Our FV Simpler SEO should have an import function which might pick up Studio Press descriptions and tags (or at least descriptions). At which point you could enable FV Simpler SEO and hide the SEO screen of the new built-in plugin using Screen Options.

    Good luck! Let us know how you get on.

Leave a Reply