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Slim SEO Review & Guide: Un-Complicated WordPress SEO


Slim SEO is a beautifully simple WordPress SEO plugin focused on providing everything you need for technical, on-page SEO without complicated settings to worry about.

In this review, I want to explain why Slim SEO is my favorite SEO plugin for WordPress — and why I think you should use this over the other bloated SEO plugins.

It really boils down to two key components.

One, I really like to keep my website lean and high-performance. This means avoiding things that add unnecessary bulk or bloat to my site.

The second thing is SEO is actually quite simple, and the popular tools add too much complexity. They get in the way of productivity, and the payoff isn’t even worth it.

You can download Slim SEO here, for free.

Let’s dive into why I like the Slim SEO plugin.

What I ❤️ About Slim SEO

Very little configuration

For starters, slim actually means slim. There’s very little configuration to do and a lot of the things are just happening automatically in the background for you.

Things like open graph tags, breadcrumbs, schema, sitemap, etc. you simply have nothing to worry about — it just works.

I appreciate a plug with the words slim in its name actually living up to it.

Plus this means there isn’t anything to accidentally mess up which, in other plugins, could harm your SEO efforts.

What it does automatically

It does a lot actually. Here’s the list:

  • Meta Title — the title that will appear in the search results
    • This is auto-generated for you, but you can manually enter a title as well.
  • Meta Description — what could appear in the search results
    • “Could,” because Google can choose to show something other than what you enter into your article’s meta description.
    • Note: this is auto-generated for you, but you can manually enter a meta description too.
  • Meta Robots — to command robots how to index your content (or what not to index).
    • By default, Slim SEO will exclude pages like 404, search, private pages, empty categories (and tags), and the RSS feed (if you haven’t disabled it).
  • Facebook Open Graph Tags — to create a nice embedded article look when your article is shared on Facebook.
  • Twitter Card Tags — to create Twitter cards when your article is shared on Twitter.
  • Auto Redirect — this auto redirects attachment pages to the page they are attached to (this usually applies to images).
  • Schema — this is that magical schema markup everyone is raving about. This is added automatically as LD+JSON format for optimum efficiency.
  • Breadcrumbs — Slim SEO has conveniently added a shortcode to output the breadcrumb navigation for the post it is added to.
  • Image Alt Text — if you don’t add alt text to your images manually, Slim SEO will add the file name as the alt text for you
  • XML Sitemap — this is a map of all the posts and pages that you can give to Google so it can more efficiently crawl your site.
    • WordPress 5.5 will make this obsolete as WordPress will have sitemaps as a core feature (WP 5.5 is scheduled for August 11, 2020).
    • For small sites, sitemaps aren’t overly important. But if you have hundreds or thousands of posts — this will help Google manage crawl resources for your site.

It is developer friendly

What Slim SEO lacks in settings and configuration, it makes up for in developer friendliness.

It has set up filters and actions to allow developers to customize how Slim SEO works. In fact, later in this guide I will show you some code you can copy and paste to use in your site.

Just some small code snippets to tweak the way it works if you wanted it.

It has fantastic documentation

The documentation from the developer of this plug-in is fantastic. It is thorough, understandable, and well laid out.

Making it easy to find some thing when you need help — which you probably won’t need much of since there isn’t much to the plug-in.

But the documentation does explain what slim SCO is doing automatically for you too.

You can find the documentation here.

It just works

I think this is probably the most important part. The plug-in just works, and stays out of the way.

it doesn’t add a whole crap load of tools and little green yellow red light indicators to cause you to continue to do more work, put in more effort, for a tiny pay off .

Those things were important along time ago maybe, but Google has gotten smarter and these are no longer needed . Just create awesome content that people like don’t mess up the technical SEO too badly and you’ll be fine.

Slim SEO will elegantly make sure you don’t mess up the technical SEO, which is why I whole heartedly recommend this plug-in.

Plus it’s free, can’t beat that.

All right, with my review out-of-the-way, let’s jump in to my unofficial guide to Slim SEO .

In-Depth Guide to Slim SEO

Let’s step through the settings one-by-one, and then afterwards I’ll show some code snippets to make tweak Slim SEO a bit more.

General tab

  • Header code — this area lets you add some code snippets to the <head> section of your site.
    • Useful for adding Google Search Console, Analytics, Pinterest, etc.
  • Body code — an area you can add content right after the opening <body> tag.
    • Honestly not sure what you would add here, but it is an option.
  • Footer code — an area you can add content right before the closing </body> tag.
    • It calls this the footer code, so I imagine you could craft a footer here — but I’m not sure what you’d do here either, given most themes handle the footer for you.
    • But, I do like having options in case they’re needed some day, and this doesn’t impact performance

Note: these code areas can be disabled using a code snippet found down below in the “Code Snippets” section.

Tools tab

There’s only one tool (talk about slim) and it helps you easily move from Yoast, All-in-One SEO, or The SEO Framework to Slim SEO.

  • Migrate SEO data from — this is where you select the old plugin you were using and Slim SEO will import the content so you don’t have to go through all your past posts manually.
    • Though, I recommend you do — at least some, and review/clean things up that you may not have looked at in a very long time.

That’s it. Those are ALL the settings for Slim SEO. You can’t say it doesn’t walk the talk. There is one important thing I want to bring up here, shortcode content

There’s more you can do to tweak Slim SEO, it’s just in code. But before we get into that, I want to bring up one interesting feature: shortcode content.

A note about shortcodes

A shortcode looks like [shortcode] in WordPress. It’s a place where some code will run and content output in the place where you put the shortcode.

Normally the content they produce is not considered by SEO plugins. But Slim SEO does.

So if you have a shortcode outputting content and that content is automatically being pulled in to the meta description, the shortcode output will appear there.

Rather than the shortcode tag itself.

I hope that makes sense. It’s a small touch that shows Slim SEO is thinking when developing.

Okay, now on to code.

Tweak Slim SEO in code

To do this you’ll need access to your functions.php file in your theme. This is where you will paste the code snippets.

The filters

Slim SEO has a few filters you can “attach to” in order to modify its behavior, they are:

  • slim_seo_meta_title — using this filter you can alter the meta title. You might do this if you wanted to add certain text to the end of every post’s meta title.
    • You could target specific posts as well. Honestly, I’m not sure what you would use this filter for, but it is available if you need it.
  • slim_seo_meta_description — just like meta_title, this filter gives you a place to make changes to meta_description programmatically.
    • While you probably won’t mess with this, the flexibility Slim SEO offers by having the capability is nice.
  • slim_seo_schema_{$context}_enable — where you could disable specific schema formats, by replacing {$context} with one of the below contexts:
    • website
    • searchaction
    • webpage
    • organization
    • logo
    • breadcrumbs
    • article
    • thumbnail
    • author
    • author_image
  • slim_seo_schema_{$context} — this filter is where you would hook in to modify the output of a given schema type (from the list above).
  • slim_seo_schema_entities — here you can add your own schema types. For instance, Slim SEO doesn’t have a recipe schema. You could create it here
  • slim_seo_sitemap_post_types — this filter is where you could control which post types are added to your sitemap.
  • slim_seo_sitemap_taxonomies — here you can control which taxonomies are added to your sitemap
  • slim_seo_sitemap_post_type_query_args — if you want to change the arguments used to query for the posts that will be in your sitemap, you can change them here.
  • slim_seo_taxonomy_query_args — same as above, here you can change the arguments used in the query to pull taxonomies out of the DB.
    • For instance, for performance purposes, you could use this filter to set a limit in the event you have a very large site with thousands of tags.
  • slim_seo_skipped_shortcodes — a special filter where you can force Slim SEO to render shortcodes it may have skipped before creating the meta description.
    • The documentation states shortcodes such as those from Easy Digital Downloads or WooCommerce. Where the meta description might be rendered before the shortcode, causing issues
    • This filter is a place where you can fix that
    • See the troubleshooting steps in the documentation

Code snippets

I won’t lie, these snippets are from the Slim SEO documentation — I am merely bringing what I believe are the most useful ones into one place and adding my $.02. Check the documentation if you want to see them there.

First, I’d like to point you to the documentation’s “disable features” page because it is very well documented, and repeating it here would be overkill.

Disable header/footer code areas

add_action( 'slim_seo_init', function( $plugin ) {
    $plugin->disable( 'code' );
 // "code" is the identifier for the header/footer settings
} );

Remove post type from sitemap

add_filter( 'slim_seo_sitemap_post_types', function( $post_types ) {
    $post_types = array_diff( $post_types, ['your_post_type'] );
    return $post_types;
} );

Remove taxonomy from sitemap

add_filter( 'slim_seo_sitemap_taxonomies', function( $taxonomies ) {
    $taxonomies = array_diff( $taxonomies, ['your_taxonomy'] );
    return $taxonomies;
} );

Output breadcrumbs in theme

echo do_shortcode( '[ slim_seo_breadcrumbs ]' );

Remove site name from post title

add_filter( 'document_title_parts', function( $title ) {
    unset( $title['site'] );
    return $title;
} );

Summary

And that’s a wrap. In the review part I explained why I enjoy using this plugin. I hope you will too.

In the unofficial guide portion I went through pretty much everything about this plugin. I hope you find this helpful. I know even I’ll use it as a reference myself.

Also, if you do need help with Slim SEO, go to their support forums on WordPress.org.

Take care,

🐹, ✌️+❤️