The SEO Framework is a WordPress SEO Plugin that is developed to be lightweight while providing useful features. Additional features like a bad bot blocker or Local Search SEO can be added on thanks to the innovative modular structure of this plugin.
The author, Sybre Waaijer, has created an SEO plugin that adds an astonishingly minimal three milliseconds to a clean WordPress install.
I caught up with the mastermind behind this innovative WordPress Plugin to find out more about the plugin and the person behind it.
1. Why did you design your SEO plugin to be modular?
The plugin’s built to be useful for WordPress Multi-sites. Not every site in a network needs every feature enabled. For example, not all authors need or want content auditing, and not all site owners want to write articles; they focus on their offline business instead.
The plugin’s designed for every kind of professional site, and I want to give the users the freedom to choose what they need for their business.
2. What made you decide that the world needed another SEO plugin?
This was by accident. As the slug of the plugin (autodescription) implies: It automatically generates descriptions. I never saw the need to install a bloated SEO plugin with ads everywhere on my networks that would nag my own clients.
I put very little trust in plugin authors doing this; plugins should just do what they’re supposed to do and leave me be.
My plugin was (and still is) meant for a WordPress.com-like Multisite environment, and I added more features as I deemed necessary. This grabbed the attention of some users, and I very much enjoy expanding it to their needs as well. It’s thanks to my extremely competent users that it came this far.
3. What makes your SEO plugin special and different?
I tend to waste my time on over-optimizing. This would get me fired at larger tech companies, as most users want features instead of having an unnecessary database query removed.
I won’t stop doing this. Furthermore, I put users’ needs before the company. This, unfortunately, has its monetary downsides for me; but the users are much better off.
My goal is to prove that you can make it without playing dirty. This goes against everything seen in your typical “Business 101” booklet.
4. Is your plugin lightweight, do you put emphasis on that?
The plugin is colossal, it does a whole lot. However, there are more ways that lead to Rome in code; I’m spending a lot of time deciding which route is the fastest.
I do emphasize this in the slogan; however, as a first party, I’m not the one that should release benchmarks.
5. Quality Control: Do you test your plugin before pushing out an update?
Next to writing plugins, I also maintain various servers. Most of these are running dedicated WordPress environments for my clients, which I optimize for SEO.
I push major updates on both their and my own live sites, incrementally, a few weeks before I release the plugin to the public, and I keep an eye out on significant changes in SERP and the error logs.
Being the only developer for the plugin, I also know all ins and outs of every function; so, with each change, I know what to look and test for. In fact, most bugs that have been fixed in the plugin have never been experienced by a user.
That said, I wouldn’t recommend building an SEO plugin to anyone: due to the sheer complexity of the variable, overlapping, and at least hexadecile WordPress query environment, bugs are imminent. This is the reason why there are so many updates for SEO plugins.
I have yet to see an SEO plugin handling every query perfectly. The SEO Framework is really close to perfection in this regard.
6. Why is WPMU DEV Excited About The SEO Framework?
WPMU DEV made my life as a WordPress Multisite hosting provider possible! They offer many, high-quality solutions, and I’m still a customer of theirs.
I used to be a very active member of their community (until I couldn’t find the time anymore), they’ve even taught me how to work with complex arrays as I started out with PHP. Their support is second to none, and I’m trying to take that quality with me supporting my own plugins.
Their review of my plugin kicked off so much enthusiasm, I am very grateful, and I still don’t know if I’m ever able to repay them.
7. The SEO Framework Have Add-On Features that Other SEO Plugins Don’t
In the world of SEO plugins, there is, unfortunately, little to innovate. All SEO plugin developers follow the path laid out by Google, Facebook, and Twitter. This is why it won’t matter which SEO plugin you choose: They all ultimately (try) to do the same thing.
One plugin won’t necessarily help you do better in the SERPs than the other when they’re configured equally (unless there are bugs).
So, I recommend choosing an SEO plugin that’s known for its stability and one that you know how to work with.
I don’t copy out-of-the-box implementations from others because I see little need in the way some of these features are executed, like focus keywords.
However, sometimes there’s so much demand for these features from my users, I scrutinize every aspect and rework them in a way I can make sense of it. This is where Focus with synonyms came from, as a modular add-on, which guides rather than enforces.
I also dislike the “example SERP display” feature brought in to many SEO plugins: They’re all out of place and incorrect. You can prove this by simply adding a bunch of capital W’s in there. I can assure you Google will display something differently.
That feature is fundamentally one big bug by design: Google interpolates in secret, and this cannot be replicated. SEO plugin authors should have their software guide the user, not falsely claim otherwise.
Now, competing features isn’t common in Free and open-source software (FOSS), unless there’s money involved. This is why you see the SEO plugin authors reacting to each other’s actions. I do hope I’m setting a new trend on releasing clean and field-tested plugins for WordPress, as it should be.
More About The SEO Framework
WPMUDEV review of The SEO Framework that discusses the background of this plugin
Official WordPress Page for the SEO Framework Plugin
Official Web Page of The SEO Framework