Previously known as WordPress SEO by Yoast, the Yoast SEO is the SEO heaven for all WordPress.org users. Providing real-time page analysis, this awesome tool can help you better optimize your content, meta descriptions, XML sitemaps, and image titles.
Yoast SEO Features
Yoast SEO provides you with the full package for managing your SEO. This is what you get for free.
Robots meta configuration
Titles and meta description for blog posts
Cleanup for Permalink
Following are some additional Yoast SEO features if you wish to enjoy the premium benefits.
Multiple focus keywords
For the full features list for the free and premium Yoast SEO versions, click here.
Setting up Yoast SEO for WordPress
So without further ado, let’s get down to business.
This blog will be helping you set up your Yoast SEO plugin in 10 easy steps.
So here goes!
1.Installing Yoast SEO & Transferring your Data
If you haven’t already installed and activated the Yoast SEO plugin, now is the time to do so. You can search for the Yoast SEO plugin under Plugins Add New under the admin options. Select the plugin and WordPress will download and install it for you. Don’t forget to activate it once it’s installed!
Now before you go forward and delete any of your previous plugins, make sure that you have transferred all your SEO data to Yoast SEO. This is crucial if you want to reap any benefits of this amazing tool! (if you are setting up a new blog, then you don’t have any data to transfer – so don’t scratch your head like you are doing now)
2. General Settings & Personal Information
Once you activate the Yoast SEO plugin, a new pane called SEO will appear in your admin options. Clicking it will direct you to the General settings tab of Yoast SEO. You can take a quick tour to know more about how to use this plugin, view the most recent changes in the plugin or restore your default settings.
Click the Your Info tab and provide your website name, the alternate name of your website and specify whether you are a person or a company. Your website name can be used to display your information in search results by the search engines.
Click on Save Changes when you are done.
3. Webmaster Tools & Security
The next tab is the Webmaster Tools.
The popular search engines, such as Google and Bing, among many others, allow you to add your website through the webmasters tools area. The Webmasters tools provide you with valuable data and insights about your website from the particular search engine. But you are required to verify your website before accessing your exclusive data. The tab contains multiple fields for the major search engines, including Alexa, Bing, Google and Yandex. Just add the meta code that you received from the search engines.
The next tab is Security and only contains a single option that disables the advanced part of the WordPress SEO meta box. Most experts recommend to leave it checked as otherwise your authors can redirect and noindex your posts.
4. Titles and Meta Details
This section provides six different options for optimizing your titles and meta descriptions.
This tab contains two hubs:
It consists of symbols that separate the titles of your posts and your site names on the results page of search engines. This does not affect your SEO so just choose one which seems the best according to your title and website.
Here you can enable/disable the settings for readability and keyword analysis. The former removes the readability analysis tab from the metabox and disables all related suggestions. It is better to keep it enabled even if just for the suggestions as they are pretty handy and give good advice.
The keyword analysis tab is the most important function of the Yoast SEO plugin, so there is no use for installing the plugin if you plan on disabling this feature.
This tab helps you to modify or change your templates for your meta descriptions and homepage title. It contains two fields that contain multiple variables that define the structure of your template. You will have to use unique ones for your meta descriptions.
This tab includes templates for post titles and meta descriptions for your custom post types, such as, media, posts and pages to name a few. You also have the following options:
Display dates in previews
Add toggle display for the Yoast SEO metabox
As with the homepage tab, you can modify the title templates according to your personal choice and leave the meta description field blank as it is unique for every post. Leave nonindexing out of it all as you probably never want any of your custom post types to not show up in the search results (and if you do, then you know what needs to be done).
Taxonomies & Archives
Both these tabs include the same two fields as above you have to follow the same procedure. You can nonindex the taxonomies that you don’t want to include in your archives. If you don’t require date-based archives, you can disable the date archives option on this page (leave authors enabled).
This is the last tab that contains the following three options:
Archive Subpages – this controls whether the second or more pages of your archives appear in search engines. By default, this is enabled and it is recommended to leave it so.
Meta keywords tag – Yoast SEO developers don’t recommend enabling this legacy option.
Noodp meta robots tag – Enabled by default, this setting forces the noodp meta rpobots tag sitewide whenever you set a custom description for any page or post. Its function is to stop the search engines from displaying incorrect descriptions, but really, you don’t need to keep it enabled.
5. Configure Your Social Presence
The settings for social media accounts are quite simple and easy to configure. The four tabs are as follows:
It contains a field list where you just need to enter all your URLs for your social media accounts. Yoast SEO uses this information to show the search engines that all these sites belong to the same person/company and/or are related.
This tab allows you to modify your Twitter settings that come under the social tab of the Yoast SEO metabox. You need to keep it enabled, unless, you don’t tweet or utilize the platform.
This provides you with the option to link your website with Pinterest so that it has access to your Open Graph metadata.
If you operate a Google+ page for your website, then you can add the URL here.
This is slightly more complicated than the rest. Here you can:
Configure the front page settings for the Open Graph meta tags
Add Facebook Insights access
Set a default image for posts that do not have any attributed media (definitely a no-no)
6. XML Sitemaps
This section configures the taxonomies and page types that are present in your sitemaps. For every page type, the Yoast SEO creates unique sitemaps, making the process faster, and also easier to track query errors. It is recommended that you enable your XML sitemap functionality, allowing search engines to track your data more efficiently.
This section includes the following settings:
User sitemap settings – this will include the archives for every user in your sitemap (totally unnecessary)
Excluded posts – you can exclude individual posts from your sitemap using individual IDs (for exclusive or paid content)
Post types sitemap settings – you can set the types of posts that get to have their own sitemap. Default settings include custom projects, pages and posts.
Entries per sitemap page – includes the maximum possible number of entries in your sitemap
Taxonomies sitemap settings – you can control which taxonomies get their own sitemaps here (all taxonomies are enabled by default)
7. Advanced Settings
This allows you to configure the following:
Aptly named, they define the exact path to the page that you are on. They are also included in the search results. You just need to check the Enable Breadcrumbs box to configure the settings. The default settings work for majority of the websites, but you are free to make any changes if required.
This option reinforces the built-in functions of WordPress but does not help you to create SEO-friendly URLs. You will need to provide those here. It has options for:
Remove the category base in each URL (that WordPress adds by default)
Add a trailing slash to your tag and category URLs
Remove stop words (common daily language words) from your permalinks
Redirect the attachment URLs to the original page URLs
Remove ?replytocom variable from the reply links of comments
Configure the canonical URL settings
In addition to the above, there are other options that you can use to optimize your content and website.
Through this section, you can:
Add your backlinks in your feed content
Add links for your blogs, posts and author
Add blog description
8. Tools & Search Console
The tools section provides you with the option to backup your current settings (if you ever mess them up in the future) through Import & Export, which can save a lot of time.
Other tools include the bulk and file editors, which are recommended to be left as is because they can damage your SEO and even make your website completely useless by a few minor tweaks.
The Search Console can help you connect with Google Search Console Tools. Just add your WordPress site to the Google webmaster tools and verify it through the Yoast SEO plugin. You will get a verification code after you click on Get Google authorization code.
The Yoast SEO redirect manager swiftly fixes the 404 errors in your Google search console through redirects and marks them as ‘fixed’.
10. Making the Most of Yoast SEO
Setting up the Yoast SEO plugin is not enough to reap all the benefits of this powerful tool. You need to customize your Yoast SEO plugin according to your website to maximize the benefits of Yoast SEO.
Here are a few ideas on how you can customize your Yoast SEO plugin:
On the editor page of every post and page, the new box called WordPress SEO that has fields for meta description and SEO titles to name a few. Write custom titles and descriptions rather than generating them automatically.
Select a focus keyword to analyze your page for that keyword.
Refer to the tab called Page Analysis once you save a post. This provides you with valuable insights about the page or post. Use it as a reference as it is fairly accurate.
So this is how you can set up your Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. We hope this post helped you in setting up the plugin and improving your WordPress SEO!