WordPress itself is a good platform for SEO, but you can further improve your SEO score by using this fantastic tool named WordPress SEO by Yoast.
It is a popular plugin with more than one million active installs and an average of 4.7-star rating.
Out of the box, Yoast Seo plugin comes with more advanced features to boost your blog post for better Search Engine Optimization.
However, because of its multitude settings proper setup will be difficult for newbie Blogger, especially to someone without basic SEO skills.
Also, an improper configuration may cause damage to your site’s search ranking.
Now it is scaring. Right?
I get it, but don’t worry.
In this updated Yoast SEO tutorial, I provided the complete Setup guide to get best results.
Before we go ahead, let’s have a look at some of the great features offered by Yoast SEO Plugin.
Features of Yoast SEO Plugin:
- Analyze Focus keyword: It checks for focus keyword in title, meta description, image alt tag, Page URL and entire content. However, it checks only for exact matches of that focus keyword.
- Provide live snippet preview: By this, you will get the idea of how your page or post will look like in search results. It shows whether the title is too long or too short, or your Meta description is good enough to get maximum clicks through in organic search results.
- Generate XML Sitemap for your site.
- Verify your website to Webmaster tools like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex.
- It Supports Breadcrumbs with configuration.
- Easily can do No-Index or No-follow any particular page, category or entire archive.
- Advanced Permalink Clean up.
- RSS Footer/Header Optimization: This feature helps you to get rid of Scrappers by automatically adding a link back to your site. By this, you will tell Google that your page is Original and thus helps to rank well in search results.
- Social Integration like Facebook Open Graph.
- Easy Edit of a .htaccess and robots.txt file.
- Transfer SEO settings from other SEO Plugins.
These are some basic features offered by WordPress SEO by Yoast.
Now let’s get started with step by step guide on how to install and configure SEO by Yoast plugin.
How to Install and Setup WordPress SEO Yoast Plugin.
STEP 1. Installation:
To install this plugin login to your site admin, from your site Dashboard Go to Plugins -> click on Add New -> Search for “ WordPress SEO by Yoast.” -> then Install and Activate the plugin.
Moreover, you can easily find it in popular plugins.
Step 2. Enable Advanced Settings:
The first thing you have to do after activating this plugin is Enable advanced setting pages.
That includes sitewide settings for your titles and meta description, sitemap, social settings and much more.
To enable this feature Go to SEO’s Dashboard > click on Features > then Enable Advanced Settings Pages
STEP 3. Data Transfer to Yoast SEO:
If you already used any other SEO plugins such as All In One SEO, HeadSpace2 or your theme SEO tools like in Genesis, then you must start with importing your SEO settings from old SEO tools.
For this Go To SEO -> Click on Tools -> Import and Export -> and select Import from other SEO plugins, then choose the plugin from wich you would like to import your SEO settings.
You can also import your settings from other plugins such as Robots Meta by Yoast, RSS Footer by Yoast.
Note: If you are installed this plugin on your new site, then you can skip the above step.
STEP 4. Yoast SEO – General Settings:
In General tab, you can learn more about the use of this plugin by clicking on “Start Tour” button.
Check for latest changes done in Yoast plugin, and also, you can reset this tool to its default setting.
STEP 5. Verify your Blog with different Webmaster Tools:
You can Submit your blog to various Webmaster tools such as Google Search Console, Bing, and Yandex (Russia’s largest Search engine company with 60% market share).
Most beginners are confused about the process of adding verification code to their blog, so Yoast provides the simple process.
To access this feature Go to SEO -> General -> Click on Webmaster Tools tab and copy-paste your meta values in the boxes given.
Note: Ignore this step If you already verified your site in a different way.
STEP 5. SEO Yoast – Titles and Metas settings:
This is important settings in this plugin. It has several tabs in it, and I will explain most of the must required settings in this post.
By default, this tab is pre-filled with title template. However, you can configure your Homepage title by adding Homepage Title and Meta Description for Search Engines.
See the below screenshot of my site after configuration.
- Post type:
Here you can configure all your post types like Post, Pages, and Media.
By default, Yoast SEO hides Date in snippet preview from all post type of Search results, which is beneficial for a blog with evergreen content.
However, if you are running a News Blog then feel free to check the Date in snippet Preview box.
WordPress, by defaults, is having mainly two types of taxonomies called Categories and tags.
To avoid post duplication problem, I always prefer to keep Categories and Tags to No-index and follow.
WordPress comes with different types of Archives such as Author Archives, Date Archives, and Special pages, but not all of them make sense for every blog.
For single author blog, Author archive is useless; it is exactly same as your Homepage. It leads to the internal duplicate issue.
So, I recommend either you disable or No-index to Author archive and also No index to date based Archives to prevent Duplicate Content.
The last tab under Titles and Meta Settings. In this section, you can select to use meta keyword tag (As per Google there is no benefit of using it).
I suggest you, just leave it as it is because default settings are good enough.
STEP 6. Social settings – WordPress SEO by Yoast:
In this setting Joost de Valk and his team added Google Knowledge Graph feature to inform Google about your Social Profiles, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
You just need to enter your Social Media account Url in respective boxes.
You can add Facebook Open Graph Meta Tag to your site; this will take default image for facebook if shared post contains no pictures.
You are also able to access Facebook Insights for your blog.
STEP 7. XML Sitemap by Yoast SEO:
Sitemaps are essential for fast indexing of your WordPress site in popular Search Engine.
By default, Yoast SEO creates Sitemap for your site. You will find your sitemap by clicking on XML Sitemap button and submit the same to Google, Bing and many other search engines.
STEP 8. Advanced Settings:
This page allows configuring Breadcrumbs, Permalinks, and RSS related settings.
Breadcrumbs are the links which help your users to navigate your site, and also, beneficial for the Search engine to determine the structure of your site.
However, I am not using it on my blog; it is up to you.
I just want to say that these Permalinks settings are different from WordPress Permalinks settings.
WordPress default permalinks settings are helpful to create SEO friendly URLs.
So, what can you configure in Yoast Permalinks settings?
- You can redirect attachment URLs to its Parent post URLs
- Helps to create cleaner URLs by removing stop words from slugs.
- If you have lots of comments on your site then just remove the “?replytocom variable.” It helps to improve the Crawl efficiency for Search Engine.
This tool allows you to add a link back to your site, by this dumb scrapers will automatically add your links too.
It helps in telling Google that you are the original source of that content and get rid of content theft through Feeds.
Also useful for adding an advertisement to your Feeds.
Note: In the latest version, the default values are good, so for most bloggers no need to change it. See the below screenshot.
If you have any doubt on content theft, you can use some of the best online plagiarism checkers to identify copied content.
STEP 9. Tools:
WordPress SEO by Yoast comes with some powerful built-in tools like
- Bulk Editor, which allows you to change titles and descriptions of all your pages and posts that appear in organic search results. It will improve click through rate and increase traffic to your site.
- File Editor, which helps you to change files like robots.txt and .htaccess files for SEO.
- Import and Export settings. I already discussed it in Step 2. You can also re-use your configurations by exporting on another blog as usual.
STEP 10. Search Console:
Search Console is the last tool in Yoast SEO settings.
You need to add Google Authentication Code in the field to allow Yoast SEO to fetch your Google Search Console Information.
After authentication, select your website profile from the drop-down menu. Now you will be able to see and fix site Crawl Errors related to Desktop, Smartphone, and Feature Phone.
How to Optimize your WordPress Blog Post by using Yoast-SEO:
Ok, now you are completed setting up of this plugin, but only Installing and Setting up is not enough.
For optimum results, you have to target for Focus keyword and make sure that your keyword is in Title, URL, Meta Description, and in Content with proper Density.
Edit default meta description to increase CTR (Click Through Rate) in search results.
Note: For maximum benefit follow the suggestion given in content analysis and optimize each content for Greenlights.
Also, make sure that your content readability Score is Good.
You can also provide custom Title, Description, and Images to the same post shared on Facebook and Twitter to improve CTR.
To do this Click on Share button near Snippet Preview.
Now I hope, by this full tutorial you got the clear idea of how to set up and use WordPress Yoast SEO for better optimization.
If you have any queries regarding this settings feel free to ask me. I love to assist you.
Please note that incorrect configuration of this plugins may cause an adverse impact on your SEO strategies and also lead to stop indexed by Google. So, be careful while configuring.
Use the below comment section to let me know which settings you set and also which plugins you are using for your SEO work. If you like this article, please share it on your favorite Social Network.