SEO by Yoast is a WordPress plugin developed with a strong purpose to help boosting your website’s ranking on search engines. In this photo tutorial, I will show you step-by-step how to Setup WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin like a PRO. WordPress Yoast SEO is the best SEO plugin for WordPress.
The plugin is only available to self-hosted WordPress sites. Since its introduction in 2008, SEO by Yoast has became one of the most popular plugins for WordPress users. WordPress Yoast SEO has turned out to be so popular among WordPress users. It’s very simple to use, yet very effective to achieve the rankings you’ve always wanted.
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How Important is SEO?
You own a website? Then, Your ultimate goal is to drive targeted visitors to your pages. You maybe selling a product, a service, or even running a hobby blog. Your main target here is to achieve a higher conversion rate. This won’t happen unless you drive more traffic to your site everyday.
Using paid advertising is one way to do that, However; Search Engine Optimization is the optimal way. We’re talking the cheapest, yet cost-effective way to increase your site targeted visitors.
SEO – in general – is about optimizing keywords, titles & meta descriptions to better index your website pages. And yeah, SEO poses a challenge to most bloggers and WordPress users. And due to that fact, Yoast SEO has been designed to give guidelines, tips and insights on how to optimize your content for search engines.
Why To Setup WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin?
Once you setup WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin, It will do a review of each page/post on your site. It also will give you recommendations for SEO-oriented changes and improvements.
The plugin will provide a snippet on each page/post showing you how that content will appear on search engines. It will also prompt further optimizations & tweaks to be done from your end. This is a must have plugin for anyone keen on improving their website’s ranking & visibility on search engines.
In this article, I will show you how to setup WordPress Yoast SEO plugin like a pro. But before heading any further, Let’s look into some other features offered by this plugin:
- Verify your website on Google & Bing.
- Generate XML sitemaps.
- Configure RSS feed footer plugin settings.
- Hide RSD, WLW, shortlinks from head.
- Advance permalink control.
- Edit .htaccess & robots.txt files.
- Supports Facebook Open Graph.
- Full control over site Breadcrumbs.
- URLs setup and cleanup.
- Snippet previews.
- Internal linking suggestions
- Readability checks.
These are some of the settings offered by this plugin. There are many more. Now let’s get started with the tutorial, and set up this free SEO plugin.
How To Install
WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin:
- Login into your WordPress admin dashboard.
- Head to ‘Plugins’ down the menu, Then Click on ‘Add new’.
- In the search field, type in ‘Yoast SEO’ and hit ’Install’
- After installing the plugin, Click on ‘Activate’.
Some WordPress themes may already have the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin pre-installed. If this is your case, Then you will need to head over to ‘Installed plugins’ down the menu. And activate the plugin from there.
Another way to Setup WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin into your site is by manually uploading the plugin files. You can download the plugin files from the public WordPress.Org repository.
Full Configuration Guide To
Setup WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin:
Having installed & activated the plugin on your site, The next step is to configure the settings accordingly. The very first thing you should do after you Setup WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin is as follows:
- Go to Dashboard > Features.
- Enable “Advanced Settings Feature“.
- Scroll down and hit “Save Changes“.
The settings page menu contains fields for General settings, Titles & Metas, Social, XML Sitemaps, Advanced, Search Console and tools. Let’s check and configure these features one by one.
This is the first thing to configure here. Head over to Dashboard > Your Info. Your information contains details on your website name, an alternative name and whether the site is an individual or company.
After saving the changes, Head to Webmaster tools tab. This feature allows you to verify your site on search engines such as Alexa, Bing, Google console and Yandex webmaster tool.
Most people use Google Console to verify their sites but the choice is absolutely personal. You can refer here to learn how to submit a site to Google. Saved this changes? then it’s time to configure the security settings offered here by Heading to “Security” tab.
Sites with access to multiple users can bring a challenge when it comes to editing and adding posts. You may want to limit this authority to just yourself for security purposes. To do that, check on the ‘Advanced part to setup WordPress Yoast SEO meta box’. If your site is a single user, this can remain unchecked.
Once you have done this, it’s time to configure the advanced features on the plugin.
Titles and Metas:
This is where you can determine how your site will appear on search engines. This is considered to be the most important feature of the plugin. So basically this is the main feature why to setup WordPress Yoast SEO plugin.
Let’s explain each of them with snapshots and details.
You can choose “Title Separator” from here. Title Separator is that symbol separates the post title and site name. I would suggest checking the image below to know what is the Title Separator.
Dictate how your site title will appear on search engines. For example, You can set it “Site Name – Contact” or “Site Name > Home”. it’s all can be edited by choosing the title separator of your preference.
Here, You can set the title and meta descriptions of your homepage:
- Title template: The homepage title that you want to show in search results page.
- Meta description template: Your homepage meta description for search results page.
This features allows you to set up title and meta descriptions of your pages, posts and media. Leaving this as it is will let the search engines pull out excerpts of content from your site.
You can also choose to have the date of the post published or not. Leaving this option default and unchecked is most recommended as it lets your content remain evergreen.
If you use tags and categories to organize your content, you will need to configure this accordingly to avoid penalties for duplicated content. You can leave the meta robots as ‘noindex’ and ‘hide’ or configure depending on your SEO needs.
This is how I have configured it for my blog:
This setting allows you to prevent search engines from indexing your archived content. This prevents instances of duplicate content which attracts penalties on your site. Be keen when configuring Author Archives.
If your site is a single author, you risk duplicating your homepage content. In this case, disable the author archives or select ‘noindex’ option in the meta robots. Do the same for date-based archives as well.
This is how I have configured it for my blog:
Disable or enable subpages of archives to show up in search results. You can also disable or enable meta keywords for use in tags. Additionally, you can enable or disable DMOZ description on your site pages.
You can ignore “Use meta keywords tag?”. See how I’m configuring it on my blog below:
This tab allows you to set up the social accounts associated with your website. Each social media tab has settings to control how information shared on your site will appear on the social media platforms.
Going through the information, carefully configure this to your preference. You can also add default images to your Facebook posts and a Twitter meta card for your Twitter posts.
The Google knowledge graph feature allows search engines to show your social media profile when someone searches your domain name. This is particularly helpful if the linked accounts are fan pages to your brand name.
Simply add all the respective URLs to the social menu:
I also recommend that you add a default image, which will help Facebook show an image when your posts have no image and are liked or shared on Facebook.
XML sitemaps guide search engines on the important pages of your website. XML sitemaps create crawl records on your pages for Google & other search engines to find even in the absence of internal links.
By clicking on the different tabs within the XML sitemap, you will be able to configure this according to your preference. Here, You’re basically allowing search engines to keep crawling your pages.
This part of Yoast SEO configuration is certainly a complex section than other settings, especially for the breadcrumbs part. Please find more information on each below. And also see how I’m configuring each field on my blog via the screenshots.
This allows linking below the top page outlining the page of the content. When you enable breadcrumbs, it will be shown on your site as well as Google search results. It’s very important for eCommerce sites. Please see the snapshots below on how I’m configuring it on my blog:
This is an excellent way to claim credit for your work copied without permission to other sites. The RSS feed – when enabled – will provide backlinks to your website for any of your content replicated on other sites.
Its configuration is pretty easy as you get to choose the RSS feed you want linked to your site and content. When using it, you can add a link back to the original article in RSS feeds. I simply used to put the following code for “Content to put after each post in the feed”:
“The post %%POSTLINK%% appeared first on %%BLOGLINK%%.”
If you use Google search console as your webmaster tool, this option allows you to authenticate SEO Yoast to connect to Google console. This will basically allow you to see the site errors your visitors encounter while on your site.
This will allow you to take faster actions on resolving any errors reported on your pages. You can also include a redirect link at this point.
Yoast SEO comes with very useful inbuilt tools;
Bulk Editor – Allows to effect changes in all your post and pages title and descriptions at once.
File Editor – Allows for quick changes to your SEO files like your robots.txt and, if you have one, your .htaccess file.
Import and export – Allows you to import previous settings from other SEO plugins as well as export your current settings on to another site.
Interpreting Yoast SEO Information:
From your admin panel, click on ‘All Posts’ to see how your pages are optimized. SEO Yoas will also tell you if there are any other recommendations to enhance SEO on your articles. There, You will also be able to get SEO analysis of your content. This is indicated by colored dots ate the far end of the page.
- A grey dot means the keyword has not been set.
- A green dot means the page is fully SEO optimized.
- A red dot indicates severe SEO errors.
- An orange/yellow dot indicates a fair SEO performance with suggestions for improvement.
SEO Yoast plugin is the best SEO plugin to use on your WordPress site. Both the free and premium versions perform exceptionally well. The premium plan is the most recommended as it has additional features over the free plan.
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With a plugin that self-updates every two weeks, you can expect an outstanding performance all through. If you are using a different SEO plugin, you can basically import your old settings with ease. This feature alone will save you tons of time.
If you have not setup WordPress Yoast SEO plugin to your site yet, it’s time to do s. Make sure you follow this guideline to install and configure it accordingly. It’s all over to you now to start using the plugin and get your site perfectly optimized for search engines.
Please do let me know in comments below shall you still require any further assistance. Also, don’t forget to share this awesome checklist with everyone on social media.