Does the WordPress All in One SEO Pack plugin actually do anything for your SEO?

Out of all the many WordPress plugins that claim to help your SEO (search engine rankings) ‘All in One SEO Pack‘ by Michael Torbert appears to have quite a lot of fans.

But does it really do anything? Is it worth the effort? To the naked eye installing this plugin just adds a a few extra fields to the WordPress create page / post pages (yeah, i know it does more than that!). These extra fields allow the user to add meta data to new content, including title, description and keywords. Which are all bits of content data that Google (all all other search engines) open say they total ignore when determining the worth of a website (and therefore deciding where to rank any page in their results).

So does this (or any other SEO plugin) justify its place in our WordPress installations. About six months ago I was involved in a discussion on a forum where the conclusion was reached that if search engines ignore meta data then why should we bother with a plugin that emphasises such data? I still wasn’t convinced – this plugin is really popular, in fact it is one of the most popular WordPress plugins available. But I was feeling adventurous so I did something brave; I removed the plugin from one of my high-ranking sites.

After removing the plugin the site’s ranking dipped a little bit, but no more than could be attributed to the natural swell and fall of any site’s rankings.

Conclusion – should we bother with All in One SEO Pack?
My conclusion is ‘probably’. It’s only a little plugin so using it doesn’t create a huge additional server load, and if nothing else installing this facility on client sites might help them focus on writing good spider-worthy content.

Additionally if this is such a widely used plugin and you’re the only kid not at the party do you want to risk missing out?

More information – http://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/