Experimenting with Squirrly SEO and Coding Tweaks

Squirrly 2016 SEO

For the purpose of providing SEO services, we are always experimenting different SEO plugins for our websites. Previously, we were using Yoast SEO as our major SEO plugin and we have switched to Squirrly SEO. Why? It is always good to experiment and test-bed new ideas, so that we can expand the boundaries of our knowledge domain to learn more. Of course, it can be risky, but life is always a risk !

Initial Thoughts

Thing seems to be fine so far, we enjoy using the plugin especially the Live Assistant feature. We will update this post on the SEO results in 1-2 months time, when we have more information and conclusion about this plugin.

Inaccurate Title Tags for Archives Content

However there seem to be a little bit of issue with the Squirrly SEO plugin, resulting in inaccurate title tags for archive pages such as Post Categories, Authors, Tags.

Duplicate Title Tags for Cateogries

For Post/Tags Categories, it will result in only the name of the categories/tags appearing without the name of the organization behind. This can result in duplicate H1 and Title Tags Contents, if the theme template structure uses the name of the archive content to derive the H1 content.

Inaccurate Title Tags for Author Page

For Authors Page, it will result the title tag getting the information from the first archived post of the author. For example instead of “Author: Ken | Thinking Notes”  as the title tag. It will show something like “First Post Name | Ken” as the title tag for the author archive page, which is not ideal.

And there does not seems to be any built in option for us to tweak the meta settings of categories, tags, authors, which is actually a standard feature of Yoast.

Inaccurate Title Tags for Main Blog Page Pagination

For themes that create a “Blog Page” to reflect the main Blog/Post  section, Squirrly SEO (at this moment) will not be able inject the page number after the Title Tag. This may result in duplicate title tags across the website. We are not sure if this will affect SEO, but this is good document structure. If it can be solved, just solve it.

Broken Favicon Link

The Favicon Feature for Squirrly SEO appears to be broken too. The code is delivering .icon file instead of .ico for the web version.

Looking into the Code

As we are too impatient to feedback to the plugin developer, we decided to look at the codes ourselves first.

And here are the necessary changes to be done in Models>SQ_Frontend.php

Reference Codes

// Around line 550
Original ---> $this->title = $category->cat_name;
Change to this ---> $this->title = $category->cat_name . $sep . $this->meta['blogname']; 
// Around line 560
Original ---> $this->title = $this->grabTitleFromPost() . $sep . ucfirst($this->getAuthor('display_name'));
Change to this ---> $this->title = "Author Archives: " . ucfirst($this->getAuthor('display_name')) . $sep . $this->meta['blogname'];

// Add in after line 610, for pagination to be reflected in Main Blog Archive Section
if (is_paged()) {
  $this->title .= $sep . __('Page', _SQ_PLUGIN_NAME_) . " " . (int)get_query_var('paged');

// Find it around line 2099 
Original ---> $favicon = get_bloginfo('wpurl') . '/favicon.icon' . $rnd;
Change to this ---> $favicon = get_bloginfo('wpurl') . '/favicon.ico' . $rnd;

Ken Toh

Principal SEO Consultant at Thinking Notes
Ken graduated with a Master’s Degree in Information Systems from Nanyang Technological University, specializing in Human Computer Interaction and Usability Engineering. Beside WordPress development, Ken provides professional SEO consulting services to SMEs and has helped his clients improved their businesses significantly through top page ranking results.

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