This guide explains how to use Smartcrawl’s SEO features to drive more traffic to your site or network. Use the Index on the left to quickly locate usage guidance on specific features.

If you haven’t installed Smartcrawl yet, then you should visit the Smartcrawl Pro page where you can explore the plugin’s many features, download the free version, and where WPMU DEV members can install Smartcrawl Pro directly to any connected site.

3.1 Initial Setup

Link to chapter 1

The Quick Setup Wizard popup will appear on the SmartCrawl Dashboard screen the first time it is accessed after activating the plugin.

All the options are turned ON by default, but you can turn OFF the ones you don’t need. Don’t worry as you can always turn them On/Off later from Settings/General Settings

quick setup popup module

After you’ve chosen the features that are right for you, click the Get Started button at the bottom of the module. This will activate enabled features, open your SmartCrawl Dashboard, and start your first scan under the SEO Checkup module.

3.2 Dashboard

Link to chapter 2

The dashboard gives you an overview of your site SEO configuration, is where you can see your setup, and can be used to quickly jump to your desired module.

On top of the module, you can see your sites Current SEO Score, and when you ran your last checkup. Note that a new Scan will run each time you access SmartCrawl’s Dashboard, so you can have the most recent results.

SmartCrawl dashboard overview

The SEO Checkup module will present you with the most recent SEO issues you might want to fix or look into.

SEO Checkup in SmartCrawl dashboard

You can run a full checkup right from the SmartCrawl Dashboard screen by clicking the Run Checkup button.

SEO Checkup progress indicator in Dashboard

Once the scan is complete you can review your report by clicking the View Report button or by going to SmartCrawl > SEO Checkup.

For more info – jump to the SEO Checkup section.

The Titles & Meta module controls how your website’s pages, posts, and custom post types appear in search engines.

Titles & Meta in SmartCrawl dashboard

For more info – jump to the Title & Meta section.

The Sitemap module will let you see and quickly access your sitemap configuration.

Sitemap in SmartCrawl dashboard

For more info – jump to the Sitemap section.

The Advanced Tools module lets you set up fine details of SEO including internal linking, redirections, and Moz analysis.

Advanced tools in SmartCrawl dashboard

For more info – jump to the Advanced Tools section.

The Social module lets you control how your website appears when shared on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Social sharing in SmartCrawl dashboard

For more info – jump to the Social section.

The Content Analysis module lets you see recommended improvements to your content for the best chance of ranking high in search engines, as well as improving the readability for the average person.

Content analysis in SmartCrawl dashboard

The Emails & Report module allows you to manage your email notifications and reports for SEO checkups and Sitemap Crawler reports.

emails and report widget on dashboard

For more info – jump to the Builtin modules section.

The Schema module indicates whether schema has been activated in SmartCrawl and provided a handy link to jump straight to the configuration screen.

Schema in SmartCrawl dashboard

For more info – jump to the Schema section.

This wraps everything up but if you need any further assistance or have additional questions our 24/7 Live Support will be right by your side.

3.3 SEO Checkup

Link to chapter 3

The SEO Checkup module runs a full SEO scan of your site, and provides a comprehensive report of how well your site is optimized for search engines and social media.

SEO Checkup progress indicator

3.3.1 Checkup

Link to chapter 3

Here you can see the full report as well as what you need to adjust/fix on your site so it is more SEO friendly. You can always run a new scan by pressing “RUN CHECKUP” at the top right of your screen.

SEO Checkup overview

Expand any outstanding SEO issue by clicking the down arrow on the right side of the result to get suggestions on improving your SEO.

SEO Checkup issues report in SmartCrawl

Let’s go over each result so you have a better understanding of what they do and what they mean for your site.

Canonical

The canonical URL (rel=canonical or the canonical tag) is what search engines refer to when they see multiple versions of a page on your website or even around the web. It is now used to solve some complicated duplicate content issues and is sometimes a better tool to use than a 301 redirect

To Hide Redundant Canonical Link Tags go to Settings/General Settings/Meta tags.

Google writes a great and simple explanation of the purpose of canonical URLs here. We strongly recommend checking that out. They’ve made it as clear as possible.

You can find our guide to Canonical URLs here https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/wordpress-canonicalization-guide/

Favicons

Favicons are small icons that appear in the URL navigation bar and are saved with the title when a page is bookmarked. Favicons help brand your site and make navigation easier.

How do you setup a favicon? Check out our guide here: https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/adding-favicons-wordpress/

Generator

The generator will display the version of your WordPress installation. It can be considered a security risk to have your WordPress version visible to the public, so we recommend you hide it. You can easily do this with SmartCrawl in the Meta Tags section (under Settings/General Settings).

H1 Headings

H1 headings are HTML tags used to help clarify the overall message of your page to search engines. H1 tags represent the most important headings on your page such as the title of a page or post.

Using H1-H6 tags shows how different blocks of content are connected and stand in relation to one another. That’s also the reason why headings are usually configured to get consecutively smaller with higher numbers. Search engines use heading content to understand the topic of your writing. Headings make your content more visually appealing and improve readability for both your visitors and browser bots. When you provide a scannable and logical structure, Google and other search engines will reward you.

HTTPS

HTTPS is a secure protocol for sending and receiving data over the internet. HTTPS should be used on any site that collects sensitive customer information such as credit card information. If your site does not collect personal data, switching to https will help improve privacy and overall security. Google is now using https in setting PageRank.

Image ALTs

Alt image text is used if an image cannot be displayed because the image can’t be found or the internet connection is slow. Use alt image text to help users and search engines better understand the subject of an image.

Image SEO is very important so we created a helpful guide to help you get started. https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/9-ways-to-do-image-seo-right/

Meta Robots

The robots meta tag is used to tell search engine bots and crawlers what they are allowed to crawl on your site. Prevent search engines from indexing content or scanning for links on a page from Meta/HomePage/Indexing

Meta Description

A meta description is an HTML tag used by search engines to identify your page topic and is often displayed in search results. A clear friendly description helps search engines determine page relevance, rank and helps visitors decide if they will click on your page.

Want to learn more? https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/tip-writing-meta-descriptions/

Microdata

Microdata is a specification for machine readable data to be embedded within the existing content of HTML documents. It allows search engines to understand information on web pages and provides more relevant results to users. If you don’t have any, adding microdata will allow search engines to provide more relevant results from your site.

Want to learn more? https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/schema-wordpress-seo/

OpenGraph

OpenGraph allows your web page to become a rich object in a social graph. More about OpenGraph below.

Robots.txt

Before a search engine crawls your site, it will look at your robots.txt file as instructions on where they are allowed to crawl (visit) and index (save) on the search engine results. The robots.txt file is used to tell search engine bots and crawlers what they are allowed to crawl on your site. You can setup specifics for each page/post here.

Sitemaps

A sitemap is a list of the pages on your website. A sitemap makes it easier for search engines to navigate, index and share relevant content in search results.

SmartCrawl can automatically generate a sitemap and regularly send updates to Google. More info about Sitemaps here.

Title

A meta title is an HTML tag used by search engines in their results, at the top of the browser and when a page is bookmarked. A clear descriptive title helps search engines determine page relevance, rank and helps visits decide if they will click on your page.

URL Structure: query vars

Query vars in your URL make it hard to read. Clean URLs look more professional and are more likely to be clicked when shared on social media or in a blog.

Want to learn more? https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/building-customized-urls-wordpress/

URL Structure: underscores vs dashes

Search engines use dashes and underscores differently. Google has clearly stated that when it comes to URL structure, using hyphens rather than underscores makes it easier for them to identify what the page is about.

URL Structure: capitalization

When typing an Internet address, capitalization may be important. An Internet address is only case sensitive for everything after the domain name. For example, it does not matter if you use uppercase or lowercase when entering “mysite.com” or “MYSITE.com” in the address line, it still reaches the same page.

A server may not understand that “mysite.com/About” should redirect to “mysite.com/about”. This can lead to duplicate content issues and 404 page errors.

Also, it is not recommended to have 2 different URLs with the same name (just capitalized) that actually have different content, for example, “mysite.com/ABOUT” and “mysite.com/about”. This can cause issues because the engines might try to canonicalize and assigns separate link juice to each URL.

URL Structure: hashes

Search engines such as Google ignores URL parameters that come after the hash. If your URL has a hash it may not properly be indexed by search engines.

URL Structure: keywords

If you’re trying to optimize a blog post for a certain keyword, you should include that main keyword in its URL. Having the right keywords in the URL structure can increase your search click-through rate.

Want to learn more about URL Structure? https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/building-customized-urls-wordpress

Anchor Tags

An anchor link, or jump tag, enables you to create a hyperlink to a part of the same page so that customers can conveniently jump to different sections of your content. Screen readers use anchor tags to describe what the link is and/or where it is pointed.

Redundant Anchor Titles

The anchor title and link text are the same. Anchor titles should be unique and descriptive.

Relative Anchors Pointing to Invalid IDs

Checks relative anchor tags are pointing to valid IDs.

Uninformative Anchor Text

Anchor titles should be unique and descriptive.

For example something like <a href=”#test” title=”click here”>click here</a> should be <a href=”#test” title=”This is a test link”>click here</a> or <a href=”#test”>This is a test link</a>

Duplicate Element IDs

Duplicate element IDs cause problems for assistive technologies when they are trying to parse content that has the same ID attribute on different elements. You can avoid these errors by making sure the web page does not have duplicate ID values. This will present you will all the duplicate IDs.

List of ARIA Roles

ARIA role attributes define general objects on a web page (e.g. article, alert, or slider) to make it easier for people using a screen reader understand the structure of the page.

List of ARIA Landmarks

ARIA landmarks are like “skip to” links that improve navigation for people using screen readers so they can jump to sections on a page. The ARIA landmarks to define the following regions include: application, banner, complementary, content info, form, main, navigation and search.

Label Duplicate ARIA Landmarks

Because ARIA landmark role titles are generic (e.g. navigation, search, form), when more than one is used on a page it can make it difficult for people using a screen reader to navigate the page. ARIA labels let you assign specific names to generic objects to improve screen reader navigation.

3.3.2 Reporting

Link to chapter 3

Under SEO Checkup/Reporting you can schedule an Automatic Regular Checkup by choosing your desired Frequency, Email Recipients and then by pressing the “Save Settings” button.

Schedule automatic checkups in SmarCrawl

DID YOU KNOW?

WPMU DEV members are authorized up to 10 free email accounts that can be configured in minutes to display the member’s domain in the email address. See our Email Hosting product page for details.

3.4 Title & Meta

Link to chapter 4

The Titles & Meta section enables you to control how your website’s pages, posts and custom post types appear in search engines like Google and Bing.

Each post type has its own settings so you can fine-tune things exactly as you need them.

3.4.1 Home Page

Link to chapter 4

This section allows you to setup how your homepage title and meta will appear in Google Search.

Search engines read the title and description for each element of your site. So it’s important to take the time to configure these settings.

You can override the global meta you set here for individual posts/pages (more on this under Page analysis), and fine-tune them but first, let’s take a look at what you can do with your global settings.

Homepage title and meta settings in SmartCrawl

At the top of this module, you can see how will your site be presented in the search results and this will change as you modify the settings (so you can see the preview).

Note that this is all related to your HomePage and that you can modify settings for each page separately (see Page analysis).

Title

This is where you can enter exactly what you want search engines to prominently display on results pages. This is what identifies your site in the results. You can insert one of the available macros (by clicking on the Insert Dynamic macro button) or you can just type in your desired description.

Description

This is probably the most important setting here, as it is the most likely to be indexed by search engines. As described above, you can use one of the available macros or you can type in your custom description.

OpenGraph

OpenGraph allows you to enhance how your site will be presented when making a post on Facebook and linking your page (Home Page).

Homepage OpenGraph meta settings in SmartCrawl

When you setup your desired layout and Save the Settings, you can see how it will look at https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/. This enables you troubleshoot any problems before linking your site (like if the image is too small or too big).

Homepage Facebook preview in SmartCrawl

Note that if you embed several images Facebook will allow you to choose which one to present as your post image so you can give each post a fresh look.

Twitter

This option enables you to enhance how your site will be presented when linking your page (Home Page) on Twitter.

Homepage Twitter meta settings in SmartCrawl

As explained before, you can use available macros or you can insert custom text. This module also allows you to setup a Featured image/images (these images will be available to use if the post or page being shared doesn’t contain any images).

When you setup your desired layout and click Save Settings you can see how your Twitter card will look at https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator. This will also help you troubleshoot any potential problems before linking your site (like if the image is too small or too big).

Homepage Twitter card preview in SmarCrawl

Note that if you upload a new image, Twitter will override all the previous posts with the latest image.

Indexing

Indexing enables you to configure how you want your website to appear in search results.

Homepage indexing options in SmartCrawl

The available features are as follows:

  • Index – This is particularly useful to prevent indexing duplicate content on your website (which highly impacts your website ratings).
  • Follow – By default, search engine crawlers follow each link on your site until the site is crawled. When disabled, this can be used to stop them from following dynamic URLs that lead to the same/similar content on your site, or if you do not wish to share your link to external URLs.
  • Archive – When this is enabled, search engines will store a cached version of the page.
  • Snippet – This feature allows you to control whether search engines can show a snippet of your page in search results and it prevents them from caching the page.

Just make sure to click Save Settings when you’re done. :)

3.4.2 Post Types

Link to chapter 4

The Post Types section allows you to setup the search result appearance of your Posts, Pages, Media and custom post types.

Each post type on your site will be listed alphabetically. Just click on the ones you want to edit their title & meta

title-meta-post-types

For more info on how to set up Post types, refer to the Home Page section as it follows the same rules and principles.

3.4.3 Taxonomies

Link to chapter 4

Taxonomies section will allow you to set up the search result appearance for your post categories, tags and custom taxonomies. For more info, refer to the Home Page section as it follows the same rules and principles.

3.4.4 Archives

Link to chapter 4

The Archives section allows you to setup the search result appearance for your Archive pages. For more info refer to the Home Page section as it follows the same rules and principles.

Author Archive: If you are the only author of the content of your website, Google may see your author archives as duplicate content to your Blog Homepage. If this is the case we recommend disabling author archives.

Note: The default meta description for the Author Archive is the Author bio but this can easily be edited at any point.

author bio in meta description

Date ArchiveGoogle may see your date archives as duplicate content to your Blog Homepage. For this reason, we recommend disabling date archives.

3.4.5 Settings (Title & Meta)

Link to chapter 4

Separator

The separator refers to the break between variables which you can use by referencing the %%sep%% tag. You can choose a preset or make your own.

Title & meta separator in SmartCrawl

For example, this is your default appearance:

Default meta separator in SmartCrawl

But if you like to stand out from the crowd and use something like ~ for your separator your appearance will look something like:

Custom meta separator in SmartCrawl

Character Lengths

By default we recommend best practice characters lengths for your meta titles and descriptions. However, you can adjust these settings to suit your own requirements.

The character lengths that are set here affect the SEO recommendations for individual posts & pages. For more info, see the Page Analysis section.

title-meta-character-lengths

3.4.6 BuddyPress

Link to chapter 4

If you have BuddyPress enabled on your site, you will see aa additional section where you can customize the title & meta for BuddyPress profiles. For more info, refer to the Home Page section as it follows the same rules and principles.

3.4.7 Available Macros

Link to chapter 4

There are numerous macros available to use in the title & meta of your various post_types. To view them all in your admin, click the Browse Macros button at the top of the Title & Meta screen.

SmartCrawl browse macros button in wp-admin

For your convenience, here’s the full list of available macros with their descriptions:

General macros

  • %%sep%% – Separator
  • %%sitename%% – Site’s name
  • %%sitedesc%% – Site’s tagline / description
  • %%page%% – Current page number (i.e. page 2 of 4)
  • %%pagetotal%% – Current page total
  • %%pagenumber%% – Current page number
  • %%spell_pagenumber%% – Current page number, spelled out as numeral in English
  • %%spell_pagetotal%% – Current page total, spelled out as numeral in English
  • %%spell_page%% – Current page number, spelled out as numeral in English
  • %%currenttime%% – Current time
  • %%currentdate%% – Current date
  • %%currentmonth%% – Current month
  • %%currentyear%% – Current year

Post macros

  • %%id%% – Post/page ID
  • %%title%% – Title of the post/page
  • %%excerpt%% – Post/page excerpt (or auto-generated if it does not exist)
  • %%excerpt_only%% – Post/page excerpt (without auto-generation)
  • %%modified%% – Post/page modified time
  • %%date%% – Date of the post/page
  • %%name%% – Post/page author’s ‘nicename’
  • %%userid%% – Post/page author’s userid
  • %%caption%% – Attachment caption
  • %%category%% – Post categories (comma separated)
  • %%tag%% – Current tag/tags

Taxonomy archives macros

  • %%id%% – Term ID
  • %%term_title%% – Term name
  • %%term_description%% – Term description
  • %%category%% – Category name
  • %%category_description%% – Category description
  • %%tag%% – Tag name
  • %%tag_description%% – Tag description

Author archives macros

  • %%name%% – Author’s ‘nicename’
  • %%userid%% – Author’s userid

Date archives macros

  • %%date%% – Date of the archive

Custom post type archives macros

  • %%pt_plural%% – Post type label plural
  • %%pt_single%% – Post type label singular

Search macros

  • %%searchphrase%% – Current search phrase

BuddyPress profiles macros

  • %%bp_user_username%% – BuddyPress username
  • %%bp_user_full_name%% – BuddyPress user’s full name

BuddyPress groups macros

  • %%bp_group_name%% – BuddyPress group name
  • %%bp_group_description%% – BuddyPress group description

Dynamic macros

In addition to all the above, the following dynamic macros can be used for cases where none of the above are a good fit. Note these ones do not appear in the list when you click the Browse Macros button.

  • %%ct_TAXONOMY%% – Replace TAXONOMY with the term you need.
  • %%ct_desc_TAXONOMY%% – Replace TAXONOMY with the term you need.
  • %%cf_META_KEY%% – Replace META_KEY with the post meta value you need.

On a singular post, the TAXONOMY macros are replaced by the title/desc of the first taxonomy term associated with the post. On the taxonomy archive they are replaced by the title/desc of the current term.

For example, dynamic macros can be used to get a WooCommerce product category to appear in the SEO Title (and browser tab) of corresponding single product pages. In this case, you’d want to use the %%ct_TAXONOMY%% tag, and replace TAXONOMY with product_cat so the tag becomes %%ct_product_cat%%.

3.5 Schema

Link to chapter 5

Schema markup is code that you put on your website to help search engines return more informative results for users. SmartCrawl has full support for default schema types and makes it easy for you to let search engines know what your data means, not just what it says.

The settings you configure here will create data that you can see when viewing a page’s source code. It would appear in a tag as follows:

<script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https:\/\/schema.org","@graph":[{ ... }]</script>

Everything between the opening [{ and closing }] brackets in that tag would be the schema output resulting from your configuration here, and that’s what search engines will use to populate the rich snippets in results pages giving your visitors much more relevant information

3.5.1 General

Link to chapter 5

Website Details

This section enables you to specify the name and logo to use for your site in search results.

  • Website Name – Add the site name you would like to appear in the schema markup.
  • Website Logo – Specify the image to use for your website’s logo.

schema-general

Person or Organization

Personal Details

Here, you’ll want to specify whether your site represents a Person or an Organization. This information will be used in Google’s Knowledge Graph Card; the block you can see on the right side of the search results.

If you select Person, you’ll first fill out your personal information including your Name, Job Title, Bio and a Portrait Photo.

schema-person

Personal Brand

Enter a brand name if it is different from your personal name. Then add a brand logo to be used in Google search results and in the Knowledge Graph.

schema-person-brand

Personal contact

Finally, add your contact information to enhance search results. This includes your Phone Number and the page on your site where visitors can find your Contact form.

schema-person-contact

If you select Organization, you’ll first fill out your organization’s information including its Type, Name, Description and Logo.

schema-organization

Then add your organization’s contact information including the Contact Type, Phone Number and the page where visitors can find your Contact form.

schema-organization-contact

Social Accounts

In the Social Accounts section, you’ll want to specify as many social accounts as you can so search engines can associate them with you or your business. Currently supported social accounts include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube.

schema social accounts

Sitelinks Searchbox

Enable this option to include your site’s WordPress searchbox directly in the main result on search results pages so users can search your site right from there.

schema-sitelinks-search

Output Page

Select the page that should include your base person or organization schema. It is recommended that this be the page that most reflects information related to your brand/company.

schema-output

3.5.2 Advanced

Link to chapter 5

This section of the schema settings enables you to configure several more advanced options for your markup.

Special Pages

Here, you can identify which pages are used on your site as the About page, the Contact page, as well as which navigation menu gives your visitors the most general overview of your website.

advanced special pages

Structured Data

Enable WpHeader and WpFooter – Enable this setting to add markup for the header and footer sections which contain general information about your website like the copyright year, site name, and site tagline.

Enable Comments – Enabling this setting will add comments that a page has received nested in the output markup using Comment as a value.

schema-advanced-structured-data

Default Image

Upload a fallback image here to use in any post that does not yet have a featured image, or where the featured image may be missing.

schema advanced default image

Author

Enable the Author URL and/or the Gravatar ImageObject options to include the post author and Gravatar URLs in the schema markup for every post.

schema-advanced-author

Archives

Here, you can disable any option in this section if you do not want schema markup to be included for any of the specified post types. You can also specify whether your site contains only blog posts or various types of content.

schema-advanced-archives

Media Objects

Select whether to include media objects in your schema markup or not.

  • AudioObject – Enable this option to include markup for any audio elements embedded in your posts or pages.
  • VideoObject – Enable this to include markup for any video elements included in your posts and pages. If you use YouTube videos on your site, you can connect directly to the YouTube API to fetch all the needed info automatically.

schema-advanced-media

3.5.3 Settings (Schema)

Link to chapter 5

Test Schema

SmartCrawl has a handy button in the adminbar on all frontend pages so you can easily test the schema output of any page using Google’s test tools.

SmartCrawl Test Schema button enabled

You can disable this option if you don’t want or don’t need that tool.

Enable test button in SmartCrawl Schema options

Deactivate

If, for any reason, you do not wish to include any schema markup in any of your site’s content, click this button to deactivate the feature and remove it entirely.

schema-advanced-deactivate

3.6 Social

Link to chapter 6

This section enables you to control and optimize how your website content appears when shared on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

3.6.1 OpenGraph

Link to chapter 6

The OpenGraph section allows you to totally disable/enable OpenGraph for your site.

OpenGraph support in SmartCrawl

Don’t forget to click Save Settings once you are done.

3.6.2 Twitter Cards

Link to chapter 6

Here you can set your Twitter Card. This controls how your content looks when it is shared on Twitter. You can choose No Image to show it as a Summary Card:

twitter cards no image preview

Or you can choose Image to set it to display a large image:

twitter cards image preview

As stated before, to setup your HomePage Twitter cards read the Home Page section.

3.6.3 Pinterest verification

Link to chapter 6

Here, you can verify your website with Pinterest to attribute your website when your content is pinned.

Go to: https://www.pinterest.com/settings#claimWebsite, enter your website URL in the designated line and press Claim website.

Claim your site at Pinterest

This will present you with a pop-up window:

Claim options at Pinterest

Select “Add HTML Tag” here, copy the presented tag and paste it in the appropriate field on your site within Social/Pinterest verification.

Once you do, press Save Settings. This will add the appropriate meta tag in the <head> of your site, and you will be presented with something like:

Pinterest verified

After verification, navigate to the Pinterest tab, click Next and then Submit.

Submit for review at Pinterest

Don’t forget to save the settings on Pinterest as the last step (most of the time your site will be connected instantly and you will receive an email immediately).

Save settings at Pinterest

3.7 Sitemap

Link to chapter 7

Automatically generate detailed sitemaps to tell search engines what content you want them to crawl and index.

3.7.1 Sitemap

Link to chapter 7

Here you can see basic information and any issues SmartCrawl found during Sitemap scan. You can also turn off the automated sitemap feature, run a new crawl or view your sitemap (by clicking on the link). Your sitemap is located in public_html/wp-content/uploads or public_html/wp-content/uploads/sites/number for each subsite separately on a Multisite.

If you would prefer to customize the native WordPress core sitemap, you can do so by clicking the Switch button. Note that if you switch to WordPress core sitemap, SmartCrawl sitemap will be disabled. It is also worth keeping in mind that using the SmartCrawl map comes with many advantages, such as:

  • It is cached for performance.
  • It includes images from post content.
  • It can merge sitemaps into a single sitemap (if the site has multiple sitemaps).
  • The ability to add styling to the sitemap.
  • The possibility of automatically updating the sitemap.
  • The option to auto-notify search engines.

switch to wp core button

You will be asked to confirm the switch. Click Switch to continue with the switch to WordPress core sitemap or click Cancel to exit without switching.

confirm switch to wp core

You can switch back to SmartCrawl sitemap at any point by clicking the Switch button again.

switch to smartcrawl sitemap button

Below, you can set up what you would like your sitemap to include (everything is enabled by default) and you can even enter extra URLs, in the Inclusions field, to manually add ones that are not located in your sitemap.

include groups to sitemap or individual urls

You can also explicitly exclude URLs or post IDs from your Sitemap in the Exclusions section.

Exclude URLs or post IDs from SmartCrawl sitemap

Don’t forget to click Save Settings once you are done :)

3.7.2 Crawler

Link to chapter 7

Crawler will find issues and URLs that are not on your sitemap. Click New Crawl in the top right-hand corner to start a new sitemap crawl.

start new crawl

A progress bar will be visible during the crawl to keep you in the loop of the duration.

sitemap crawl progress bar

If the crawl is taking longer than expected, you will be notified by a message under the progress bar and you will receive an email once the crawl has completed.

sitemap crawl taking longer than expected

Once the crawl has finished, it will display any issues and URLs that are not on your sitemap. We recommend fixing them to ensure you aren’t penalized by search engines – but if you want to ignore any of the warnings you can.

Url-crawler-missing-from-sitemap

You can Add or Ignore presented URLs here or bulk Ignore/Add them all by pressing the corresponding buttons.

3.7.3 Reporting (Sitemap)

Link to chapter 7

Enable the Run regular URL crawls option to have SmartCrawl automatically crawl your URLs daily, weekly or monthly and send an email report to your inbox. You can add as many email recipients as you need by clicking the Add Recipient button and filling in the popup form for each one.

sitemap-reporting

3.7.4 Settings (Sitemap)

Link to chapter 7

Generation Method

By default, your sitemap can contain a maximum of 1000 URLs. If it exceeds this number, SmartCrawl will automatically switch to split sitemaps which creates a separate one for each post type. But you can select that option yourself as well if you prefer.

Choose sitemap generation method in SmartCrawl

Include images

Here you can include images within your sitemap. For this to properly function make sure to add titles and captions that clearly describe your images.

Include image items in SmartCrawl sitemap

Note that plugin memory consumption will considerably increase if you enable this. How much depends on how much image content you have, as well as your server configuration & capabilities.

Auto-Notify Search Engines

Auto Notify does exactly that – auto notifies search engines that your sitemap has changed.

Auto-notify search engines when SmartCrawl sitemap changes

Style Sitemap

Style sitemap will make your sitemap easier to read (for human eyes). For example, this is a sitemap before enabling it (you can access your sitemap by going to yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml)

SmartCrawl sitemap without stylesheet

And the same sitemap after:

SmartCrawl sitemap with stylesheet

Automatic Sitemap Updates

Last but not least, you can choose whether you want to automatically update your sitemap when you publish new pages, posts, post types or taxonomies.

Option to auto-update SmartCrawl sitemap

3.8 Advanced tools

Link to chapter 8

Advanced tools focus on the finer details of SEO including internal linking, redirections and Moz analysis.

3.8.1 Automatic Linking

Link to chapter 8

This section lets you set specific keywords to always link to content on your site, or even a different site altogether.

For example, you could set your site to link to the WordPress news blog, wpmu.org any time you type ‘WordPress news’. Without this plugin, you would have to manually create these links each time you write the text in your pages and posts – this can save you a bunch of time.

Start by enabling the module:

Enable automatic linking in SmartCrawl

Insert Links

The Insert Links settings enable you to select exactly which post types the plugin should automatically insert links in. Every post type active on your site will be available for keyword linking here.

Select post types to auto insert links in SmartCrawl

Link To

The Link To settings tell the plugin what post types & taxonomies it should look for and link to. For example, if you have a “Really Cool Stuff” category on your site, the plugin could automatically link to that category archive any time it finds “really cool stuff” on your site.

Select post types to auto link to in SmartCrawl

Custom Links

The Custom Links setting enables you to really tweak things. If there are any keywords or key phrases that you want to automatically link to specific URLs, enter them here by pressing the ADD NEW button.

Auto-link custom keywords in SmartCrawl

This will open a new pop-up window allowing you to setup as many auto links as you wish:

Configure custom keywords to auto-link in SmartCrawl

Enter your terms in the Keyword Group line (separated by commas) and add the URL you want the keywords to link to in the Link URL line. Once done press the ADD button to finish. Repeat this process as many times as you wish.

You can, of course, remove or edit the already created Custom Keywords by clicking the gear icon to pop open the options:

Edit custom keywords to auto-link in SmartCrawl

Exclusions

The Exclusions setting enables you to enter any keywords that the plugin should not use for links. This can be very handy if you notice certain words or phrases are linking to places you don’t want them to or if there are certain areas of your site you don’t necessarily want to be linked to (the “Uncategorized” category for example).

Exclude keywords from auto-linking in SmartCrawl

You can also specify Posts or Pages you do not want Auto Linking to be active on by pressing the Add Exclusion button.

This will open a new pop-up where you can select the specific posts to be excluded from auto-linking.

Exclude posts from auto-linking in SmartCrawl

Choose your desired Posts, Pages or Custom Post Types to exclude and then click the Add button.

You will see all your exclusions here and you can always remove the ones you don’t need/want to use by clicking on the trash icon.

Remove excluded posts from auto-linking in SmartCrawl

Min Lengths

Sets the minimum length for your post types and taxonomies. Just enter the desired number and all posts and/or taxonomies with titles/length shorter than that number will be ignored.

Set minimum length for auto-links in SmartCrawl

Max Limits

Max Limits enables you to setup a maximum number of links per single post or you can limit a total number per keyword group that will appear on your site.

Set maximim number of auto-links per post or keyword in SmartCrawl

Per Keyword Group example: If you want a keyword to link to mysite.com/smartcrawl page and you set this to 10, it will link up to 10 times in total.

Optional settings

Do you like to setup everything down to the smallest detail? Well, this module is for you. Let’s go over each setting.

Optional auto-linking settings in SmartCrawl

Allow Autolinks To Empty Taxonomies

Sometimes you want to have your autolinks point to empty taxonomies. You can use this for a number of reasons:

  • Affiliate links (nofollow, noindex).
  • Deep linking into your archive content  (best use).
  • Cross-linking to partner sites (with caution).

For example, you have a Category “Cats” but you still did not write anything about Cats – this will help you set links for future posts.

Prevent Linking in Heading Tags

This will prevent linking in heading tags. No worries, h1, h2, h3 and h4 tags are exempted by default, so this setting only affects h5 and h6 headings.

Process Only Single Posts And Pages

Process Only Single Posts and Pages will ensure that autolinking does not occur in places like archives or search results pages.

Process RSS Feeds

Process RSS Feeds will ensure that links are automatically included in your RSS feed.

Case Sensitive Matching

Case Sensitive Matching will ensure that links are automatically created only if uppercase and lowercase spelling is an exact match.

Prevent Duplicate Links

Prevent Duplicate Links ensures that only the first occurrence of any matched text in any post will be linked. Note that this overrides the Maximum Single Autolink Occurrence setting above.

Open Links in New Tab

Open Links in New Tab/window will, um, open links in new tab/window.

Nofollow Autolinks

By default, search engine crawlers follow each link on your site until all the site is crawled. This can be used to stop them from following dynamic URLs that lead to the same/similar content on your site or if you do not wish to share your link juice to external URLs. :)

As always, once you’re done – press the SAVE SETTINGS button.

In The Post Editor

You can also manipulate the behavior of individual links in the Gutenberg post editor by adding rel attributes.

individual link settings

The following attributes can be applied to specific links:

  • Open in new tab – Marks the link to open in a new tab.
  • Sponsored link – Marks the link as a paid placement or an advertisement.
  • User generated content – It is recommended to mark user-generated content with this rel attribute. This is generally content that has been posted by users, like comments or forum posts.
  • Nofollow – Use this when you don’t want the linked page to be associated with your site or you’d prefer it if Google didn’t crawl the linked page.

3.8.2 URL Redirection

Link to chapter 8

Redirection enables you to forward one URL to another. It’s a handy way of sending both users and search engines to a different URL and allows you to preserve your search engine rankings for a particular page.

It’s also a useful way to preserve the “link juice” of out-of-date content by redirecting old pages or posts to new ones with new information.

Add a redirect

To add a new redirect, click the Add Redirect button at the top of the screen to open the options modal.

Add URL redirect in SmartCrawl

Then enter the URL you want to redirect – Old URL – and where you want to redirect it to – New URL. Note that the URLs can be either relative to your domain – /cats – or absolute URLs – https://yoursite.tld/cats

Select the type of redirect if it’s different than what you set as the default (see Default Redirection Type below), and click Apply Redirect to save.

Configure URL redirect in SmartCrawl

You can also bulk delete or bulk update multiple redirects that you’ve already set up. To bulk update multiple redirects and point them all to the same URL, select them from your list and click the Bulk Update button.

Bulk update URL redirects in SmartCrawl

Enter the new URL you wish to redirect them all to, and click Apply.

Configure bulk URL redirects in SmartCrawl

Settings

URL redirect settings in SmartCrawl

Redirect Attachments

Did you know that each time you upload a file to the WordPress Media Library and choose Link to: Attachment Page, WordPress creates a separate media attachment page for every single file? This page contains nothing except the media content and has its own generated URL.

In most cases, this page isn’t particularly beneficial, which is why you might want to redirect WordPress attachment pages to the original post or page that the file is attached to.

Separate media pages may work for photographers and graphic designers, as they help to create galleries but, for an average WordPress user, it makes sense to redirect WordPress attachment pages to the posts or pages that they belong to (improving SEO in the process).

Let’s say you create a post and add three images as Link to: Attachment Page to it. WordPress then automatically creates four URLs, three for the images, and one for the original post. This can hurt SEO in more ways than one:

  • Google may start bringing more traffic to the attachment pages instead of the original post to which they belong. Like 404 errors for example
  • This standalone attachment appears out of context, and a visitors landing on the image or attachment page are likely to close the link and move away.
  • It’s possible that Google may index all the image files and consider it as duplicate content.

Finally, there’s also a niche situation where access to content in pages and posts is restricted by a password. It may happen that someone shares your images on social media. By clicking on the image URLs, an unauthorized visitor may be able to access the media content within these posts or pages despite not knowing the password.

You can help your readers skip these attachment pages by redirecting them to the post or page that they belong to by enabling the options here.

Keep in mind that this redirect option will only work if the media item was uploaded to the original post in the first place.

Default Redirection Type

Here you can select the redirection type that you would like to be used as default. Available options are 301 (permanent) and 302 (temporary).

A 301 is a permanent redirect and this type of redirect passes 90-99 percent of link juice (ranking power) to the redirected page.The number 301 refers to the HTTP status code, which informs search engines that a page has been moved. In most cases, a 301 redirect is the best method of implementing redirects on a website.

A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect and passes 0 percent of link juice. In most cases, it should not be used.

3.8.3 Moz

Link to chapter 8

Moz integration in SmartCrawl

Moz is the industry leader in SEO reports, and we make it easy to integrate with their API. Note that configuring this is entirely optional.

All you need to do to take advantage of all their reporting tools is enter your API Access ID and Secret Key in the corresponding fields.

To get your Moz API credentials, click the link where you see You can get the API credentials here on the Moz settings screen in SmartCrawl, or go directly to https://moz.com/products/mozscape/access

Add Moz API credentials in SmartCrawl

Log into your Moz account there, or click the Create an account link in their form to sign up for a free account.

You should then be redirected to the URL shown above where you’ll see your API Access ID and Secret Key.

Moz API credentials

Copy and add them to the corresponding fields on your site under Advanced tools > Moz and click the Connect button.

Once you’ve entered your credentials and saved the settings, it’ll only take a few minutes for you to begin to see metrics specific to your site (in a multisite install, metrics specific to each site in your network appear in the dashboard of each site). You can also see individual stats per post in the post editor under the SEOmoz URL Metrics module.

Moz metrics in SmartCrawl

You’ll find a wealth of information about good SEO practices, and details about your site metrics, by visiting the “Learn” section at Moz: http://moz.com/learn/seo

3.8.4 Robots.txt Editor

Link to chapter 8

This tool enables you to directly edit the robots.txt file for your site without having to go into the file system via FTP or cPanel.

Robots.txt is used to tell web crawlers what they should or should not index. For example, you could include directives in your robots.txt file to prevent Google and other search engines from indexing certain files on your website (images, PDFs, etc.) so they don’t appear in search results.

Start by enabling the module:

Robots-txt-editor
Important:

This tool cannot be used to edit an existing physical robots.txt file. If such a file already exists, the Activate button will be replaced by a message alerting you that you will need to remove that file before proceeding.

Robots-txt-editor-alert

Output

The top section here will give you a link to the location of the virtual robots.txt file created by the plugin and show you the current contents of the file that search engines will see.

Robots-txt-output

The first setting, Sitemap, allows you to automatically include the URL to your site’s sitemap.xml file in your robots.txt file. It’s a good idea to ensure this option is enabled, and the sitemap.xml URL is entered here, so search engines know where to find that file as they use it to crawl your site.

Robots-txt-sitemap-no-sc

Note that if you have enabled the Sitemap module in SmartCrawl, this URL will be automatically filled in for you and cannot be changed.

Robots-txt-sitemap-sc

The next setting, Customize, is where you can add any directives you need in your robots.txt file to instruct web crawlers on what they should do on your site.

Robots-txt-customize

By default, this section only contains the following, which allows all user agents (search engines) to access and index all content:

User-agent: *
Disallow:

  • User-agent: * means all ( * ) search engines.
  • Disallow: with nothing after, it means nothing is disallowed, so access to all content is allowed.

You can add any additional directives you need in this section but can leave it as-is if you don’t need or want to restrict web crawler access.

For more information on robots.txt directives, please visit this handy article at moz.com https://moz.com/learn/seo/robotstxt

Google and Wikipedia also have some good articles to help out if needed:
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6062608?hl=en
https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6062596?hl=en
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robots_exclusion_standard#About_the_standard

3.9 Settings

Link to chapter 9

This section various overall settings where you can enable/disable specificmodules, and adjust plugin behavior.

3.9.1 General settings

Link to chapter 9

In-Post Analysis

These options enable modules that appear inside the post editor and provide per-page analysis and opportunities to fine-tune the SEO for each post or page.

Enable in-page analysis options in SmartCrawl

  • Page Analysis – This option enables you to fine tune numerous SEO tweaks for each page and post on your site.
  • Readability Analysis – Enable this to use the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests in each post or page to indicate how easy or difficult a passage in English is to understand.

If you enable either of the in-post analysis options above, you’ll want to select the scope of the analysis engine.

Select analysis engine in SmartCrawl

  • Content – Recommended for most websites as it only reviews the_content() output.
  • Wide – Includes everything, except for your header, nav, footer and sidebars. This can be helpful for page builders and themes with custom output.
  • All – Checks your entire page’s content including elements like nav and footer. Due to analysing everything, you might miss key analysis of your real content so we don’t recommend this approach.
  • None – Only analyzes content you tell it to programmatically. If you have a fully custom setup, this is the option for you. If you select this option, add the class .smartcrawl-checkup-included to container elements you want to include in the SEO and Readability Analysis.

Admin Bar

Enable this option to add a SmartCrawl menu item to your admin bar. Note that only user roles defined in the User Roles tab will be able to see it.

Add SmartCrawl menu to admin bar

Plugin Modules

Here, you can enable or disable any of the SmartCrawl modules. For example, if you’re using some other means to create sitemaps of your site, you’d want to disable the SmartCrawl sitemap module to avoid conflicts.

Select the modules to enable in SmartCrawl

Meta Tags

Meta tag options in SmartCrawl

  • Hide Generator Meta Tag – With this option enabled you can hide your WordPress version visible to the public and improve the security of your site.
  • Hide Redundant Canonical Link Tags – WordPress automatically generates a canonical tag for your website, but in many cases, this isn’t needed so you can turn it off to avoid any potential SEO “duplicate content” backlash from search engines. More info in the Canonical section.
  • Enforce Meta Tag Character Limits – Each meta tag type has recommended maximum characters lengths to follow. Enabling this will prevent you from adding too many characters.

Search Engines

This tool will add the meta tags required by search engines to your website’s <head> tag to verify your site with their SEO management tools.

Verification is the process of proving that you own the site or app that you claim to own. Search engines need to confirm ownership because once you are verified for a site or app you have access to its private Google/Bing Search data, and can affect how Google/Bing search crawls it.

Add meta tags in SmartCrawl

Google Verification

To add Google verification follow the instructions given here https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35179?hl=en

Bing Verification

To add Bing verification follow the instructions given here https://www.bing.com/webmaster/help/how-to-verify-ownership-of-your-site-afcfefc6

Add Verification Code to

Here you can choose to add the verification code to All Pages or just the Home Page.

Custom Meta Tags

A short example of what you could enter here would be to help Bing by adding:<

<meta name=”geo.position” content=”latitude; longitude”>

<meta name=”geo.placename” content=”Place Name”>

<meta name=”geo.region” content=”Country Subdivision Code”>

3.9.2 User Roles

Link to chapter 9

User Roles allows you to configure access of user roles to certain parts of SmartCrawl. You can manage access to In Page SEO, 301 Redirects and Moz Data.

Set user role permissions in SmartCrawl

As always, don’t forget to click SAVE SETTINGS when you’re done.

3.9.3 Import/Export

Link to chapter 9

Import

SmartCrawl

If you need to import your SmartCrawl settings from another site, you can do that here.

Import settings into SmartCrawl

Third Party

You can also import settings from another SEO plugin you may have installed, before deactivating that one. Currently supported are imports from Yoast SEO and All-In-One-SEO plugins.

Import settings from other plugins into SmartCrawl

Export

And, of course, you can export your SmartCrawl configuration to use on another site.

Export SmartCrawl configuration to use on other sites

3.10 In-Post SEO Analysis

Link to chapter 10

SmartCrawl includes several tools on the post editor screens to help you maximize SEO benefits for your individual posts and pages.

3.10.1 In Post/Pages Lists

Link to chapter 10

The first thing you’ll notice on your All Posts or All Pages screens is a new SEO Meta [+] link just above the regular WordPress action links.

seo-editor

Clicking that will open up a details pane with some basic info about the post’s current SEO-optimized title and description, including colored indicators showing their character counts. Those indicators will appear green if the count is within the recommended range, or yellow if the count is less than or greater than the recommended range.

seo-editor-meta

You’ll also see a few new columns in the post/page list.

  • SEO – If Page Analysis is enabled in SmartCrawl > Settings.
  • Readability – If Readability Analysis is enabled in SmartCrawl > Settings.
  • Robots Meta – Shows the index settings you have enabled for crawler instructions.

Hovering your mouse over the number indicator in the SEO column will reveal a quick overview of the recommendations SmartCrawl has for that page or post.

seo-editor-tooltip

If you find those columns take up too much space on your screen, or you don’t really need them there, they can be toggled on/off by opening up the Screen Options tab and checking/unchecking those columns.

screen-options

3.10.2 In Post Editor

Link to chapter 10

In the post editor for any post or page, scroll down to where you’ll see the SmartCrawl metabox. Depending on the options and features you’ve enabled in SmartCrawl > Settings, you’ll see several tabs there:

  • SEO – This is where you can customize the SEO title and description that appears in search engine results pages, and run a full SEO analysis of your post.
  • Readability – This uses the Flesch-Kincaid Test to determine how easily readable your content is for the average reader.
  • Social – Customize the post’s OpenGraph elements for sharing to social networks.
  • Advanced – Includes indexing, sitemap and automatic linking options for the post.

SEO Tab

Under the SEO tab, you’ll see a preview of how Google sees your post meta, with the title at the top, followed by the post permalink, and your post description.

Click the Edit Meta button to pop open an editor where you can customize the title and description. You’ll see the same color-coded character counts as previously described to help you get the perfect length.

Click the [+] icon in either field to add dynamic data using the built-in macros. Click any to automatically add to the corresponding field; you can add as many as you need to create the ideal structure for your title and description. You can also add plain text in each as well if you like.

Edit SEO meta in WordPress posts and pages

The following macros are currently supported in the title and description fields:

  • Post/page ID – %%id%%
  • Title of the post/page – %%title%%
  • Post/page excerpt (or auto-generated if it does not exist) – %%excerpt%%
  • Post/page excerpt (without auto-generation) – %%excerpt_only%%
  • Post/page modified time – %%modified%%
  • Date of the post/page – %%date%%
  • Post/page author’s ‘nicename’ – %%name%%
  • Post/page author’s userid – %%userid%%
  • Post/page author’s description – %%user_description%%
  • Post categories (comma separated) – %%category%%
  • Current tag/tags – %%tag%%
  • Separator – %%sep%%
  • Site’s name – %%sitename%%
  • Site’s tagline / description – %%sitedesc%%
  • Current page number (i.e. page 2 of 4) – %%page%%
  • Current page total – %%pagetotal%%
  • Current page number – %%pagenumber%%
  • Current page number, spelled out as numeral in English – %%spell_pagenumber%%
  • Current page total, spelled out as numeral in English – %%spell_pagetotal%%
  • Current page number, spelled out as numeral in English – %%spell_page%%
  • Current time – %%currenttime%%
  • Current date – %%currentdate%%
  • Current month – %%currentmonth%%
  • Current year – %%currentyear%%

Scroll a little further down under the SEO tab and you’ll see the SEO Analysis section if you’ve enabled that option in SmartCrawl Settings.

Enter any focus keyword(s) you want to analyze the post for and click the Refresh button.

seo-editor-post-analysis

SmartCrawl will instantly give you a list of recommendations to improve the SEO of your post for your selected keyword. Recommendations will be highlighted in yellow, while passed audits will be highlighted in green. You can repeat this process for as many keywords as you like, and adjust your post content accordingly to get the best results you can for the keywords you want to optimize for.

seo-editor-post-analysis-results

Click any recommendation to reveal details about what you can do to improve things. If you decide any recommendation is not needed, you can click the Ignore button so it doesn’t keep popping up every time you run the analysis.

seo-editor-post-analysis-results-open

Readability Tab

Under the Readability tab, simply click the Refresh button to run the Flesch-Kincaid Test and see how well your post reads for the average English reader. Any score above 70 is considered good here.

Readability test in posts and pages

Social Tab

If you would like your post’s title, description and/or featured image(s) to be different when shared to social networks, enable OpenGraph support for the post under the Social tab, and configure the specifics you need.

seo-editor-post-social

Advanced Tab

Under the Advanced tab, you can adjust the indexing options for the post if you want them to be other than what you have set for the post type’s defaults in SmartCrawl > Title & Meta.

  • Index – Instruct search engines whether or not you want this post to appear in search results.
  • Follow – Tells search engines whether or not to follow the links on your page and crawl them too.
  • Archive – Instructs search engines whether to store a cached version of this page or not.
  • Snippet – Allows search engines to show a snippet of this page in the search results and prevents them from caching the page.

seo-editor-post-advanced-index

Under this same tab, you can also set optional canonical or redirect URLs, set the sitemap priority, and enable/disable automatic linking in the post if that feature is enabled in SmartCrawl > Advanced Tools.

seo-editor-post-advanced-links

3.11 Get Support

Link to chapter 11

After reading this guide, if you still have questions regarding Smartcrawl, don’t hesitate to start a live chat with our support Superheroes or submit a support ticket using the Support tab of your WPMU Dev Dashboard.

Support-Tab-Simple
Navigate to WPMU DEV DASHBOARD > SUPPORT > NEW TICKET to submit a support ticket.