Beginner’s Guide: How To SetUp WordPress SEO By Yoast Plugin
WordPress SEO by Yoast is one of the Best SEO Plugin for WordPress. It also features on my list of Top 15 Free WordPress Plugins that every beginner must Install.
I have been using WordPress SEO by Yoast since the inception of Blogging Ocean and I must say, I am more than just satisfied with its features, which helped me manage most of my On-Page SEO requirements with ease. I have written a detailed Review Of WordPress SEO by Yoast in my previous article. If you have not seen it yet, do check it out.
Since WordPress Seo By Yoast offers a lot of features, many beginners find it difficult to configure the Plugin. If you are one of them, this guide will surely help you make most of this Plugin.
HOW TO CONFIGURE WORDPRESS SEO BY YOAST PLUGIN
If you have not yet Installed the Plugin you can do it so from the WordPress Plugins Directory. After Installation, you will find the “SEO” option on your WordPress Dashboard. You can click on it to proceed with the configuration part.
1. General Settings
After clicking WordPress Seo By Yoast option, you will by default be taken to the General tab under the General Settings Section. You do not have to make any changes here. Click on the Info Tab.
Info Tab: Here you can change your Website Name. You can also select if your Website is operated by a Company or by an Individual. If you select Company, you will have an additional option to Upload your Company’s Logo.
Webmaster’s Tool: You can use this section to enter the verification code provided by Alexa, Google Search Console, Bing and Yandex for verifying ownership of your website.
Security: Under the security tab, you have the option to Enable or Disable Advanced Settings. If your blog is a
Multi-Author Blog, I suggest you keep this option checked. If you Individually manage your blog, you can Uncheck the Box to reveal advanced settings
Ignore the OnPage.org Tab
2. Titles and Metas Settings
As the name suggests, in this section you can change Title and Meta for Various Pages and sections across your Blog. These settings can be considered very Important as it helps you to control what content of your Website is Indexed by search engines and how it appears in the search results.
This section has several tabs. Let us configure each one them.
Here, you can select a symbol to be used between your Page Title and Site Name, in case you are using the later in your Title. It’s purely a matter of choice. You may use any symbol you want.
Home Page Title And Meta Settings
In this section, you can enter the Page Title and Meta Description for your Home Page. Remember, this meta description will be appearing in Google Search results, so you should make sure to use keywords which best describes your website.
Post Types Settings
Here, you can configure your post types. By default, you will have Post, Page and Media options in this section. If you are using any other post types, it will be added to this section below Media. The Settings in this section may vary from person to person depending upon your requirements.
For Title Template, I prefer using %%title%% for both Posts and Pages. This is because Google displays only first 70 characters of your Page Title in Search results. By excluding other parameters, you can afford to have longer post titles and page titles. However, if you are Business who is more concerned about Brand Image, you can consider using %%title%%%%sitename%%
I prefer not exclude Categories and Tags in search engines. This is also the recommended settings for most people. So, in this section, I keep the NoIndex-Follow and Hide Seo Metabox option Enabled for categories as well as Tags. However, if you want your categories and tags to be Indexed by search engines, you can keep the NoIndex-Follow option disabled.
Since we are not indexing Categories and Tags, you can keep the Title Template as it is. Below are my Taxonomy settings.
In this section just make changes to the Duplicate Content Prevention section. For both, Author archives and Date Archives, either select “NoIndex-Follow” or Disable the archives option. I prefer disabling both.
In this section, Enable the following options
- Noindex subpages of archives
- Add noodp meta robots tag sitewide
- Add noydir meta robots tag sitewide
If you are from East Asian countries like Japan where Yahoo and Bing search engines are very popular, you may consider enabling the Meta Keyword Tag option as well. This is because Bing and Yahoo still take into account Meta Keywords for ranking.
However, by including your Meta keywords tag, you are passing on ready-made information to your competitors about the keywords you are targeting. So make your own decision.
3. Social Settings
This is another Important feature offered by Seo By Yoast plugin. It helps you integrate your website with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media platforms. The social settings section consists of various tabs. Let us configure each of them.
In the Accounts section, you will be provided with an option to enter links to all major Social media accounts. This information will be shared with Google. You can enter your Twitter Username and URL’s of other Social Networks that you use.
SEO by Yoast plugin allows you to add Facebook Open Graph Meta data to your website’s <head> section. For adding this, first check the Add Open Graph Meta Data option.
Next, you can either add a separate Title and Meta Description of your Website Home Page to Facebook Open Graph or you can simply copy your Home Page Title and Meta Description.
You can also add URL to default Image. This Image will be used when you share your Blog content on Facebook, which does not contain any Image.
There is also an option to add Facebook Admin ID and Facebook App ID.
This section allows you to add Twitter Meta Data. Check the option Add Twitter Meta Data. It is recommended to change the default card type to Summary with Large Image.
In this section, you can enter your Pinterest Verification code. However, be sure to Enable Facebook Open Graph if you want to use Pinterest Meta Data.
The last option in Social Settings is for Google+ Meta Data. Check the option Add Google+ Specific Meta Data and add a URL to your Google+ Profile
This completes our Social Settings for Yoast SEO Plugin.
4. XML Sitemaps
SEO By Yoast plugin also allows you to add XML Sitemaps. To enable the same, navigate to XML Sitemaps option and check the Enable XML Sitemap option at the Top. Do not make any changes in the General Tab
In the User Sitemap Settings, check the option to disable User Sitemap
In the post types section, you can disable post types that you do not want to get indexed. By default, there will be Post, Page and Media option. Out of it, you just have to check the Media option. If you are using any Custom Post types, you can check that too.
If you do not want any particular post of yours to be indexed by Google, you can do so by adding the post number here.
In this section, you can choose what Taxonomies you want to include in your Sitemap. I prefer to remove all the taxonomies from the sitemap.
5. Advanced Settings
As discussed earlier, these settings will only be visible if you enable the same under General Settings. Advanced settings consist of 3 Tabs
Breadcrumbs can help Improve site navigation as it tells your users what part of website they are exactly vieiwing. It also shows up in search engines in place of URL.
My theme uses breadcrumbs by default and I do not prefer showing the same in Google search results, so I have this feature turned off. If you wish, you can Enable it. Turning the option On will reveal more settings as shown below. The default settings are good to go. However, if you wish, you may change it as per your personal choice.
This section helps you to further refine the SEO friendly WordPress Permalink structure.
By default, WordPress adds category name to your Permalink. The first option helps you to strip the category name from the URL. This is very Important because if you are using multiple categories, it may result in multiple URLS pointing to the same article. For example
Both the above URL’s point to the same post resulting in post duplication. By removing the category part, you can avoid it.
In WordPress, each Image attachment you use in your post gets its own unique URL. If you have not disabled Indexing of Media Post types as discussed earlier, they will show up in your search results. Checking the second option will redirect people clicking on those links to the original post containing the Image, instead of opening the Image itself.
The next 3 options help you clean up your Permalinks. The first option removes Stop words from permalinks to make it shorter. The second option removes “?replytocom” variables which are added to the URL when someone replies to your comment. The third option adds a trailing slash at the end of permalink if you are using permalink structure with .html. I suggest you to enable all these options
Keep the rest of the options disabled. Below Image shows the settings I use.
Most content scrapper uses your RSS feeds to steal your content. This section adds a backlink to your posts so that when someone uses your content, you get backlinks from them. The default settings are good to go. If at all you wish, you can modify it to put in custom content.
SEO by Yoast plugin provides you with certain tools to make things easier for you. Bulk editor allows you to change Yoast Title of all your posts at one go. File Editor allows you to quickly create and modify your Robots.txt and .htaccess files. Import and Export settings allow you to backup your Yoast settings as a zip file to your computer.
7. Search Console
You can connect your Google Search console account with SEO Yoast Plugin. This helps you to easily keep track of any crawl errors.
Just click on Get Google Authorization code. In the Pop-up that appears, sign in with your Google Account and give necessary permission to the Plugin. You will next get an Authorization code. Copy-Paste the same in the box below and click on Authenticate. It will then ask you to select your Search Console profile. Select the same and click on Save profile.
8. Configuring Individual Post
All the above settings were the default settings for your website. For better results you will have to configure each and every post. Yoast SEO Metabox helps you to Configure the same. It is displayed below each post in the WordPress Post Editor.
In the content Settings section of Yoast SEO Metabox, You can set a custom Post Title optimized for Search results which can be different from your WordPress Post Title. You can also select custom meta description containing your Keywords. There is also an option to set the Focus keyword for your post.
Scrolling below will reveal Content Analysis Box which keeps track of all your On Page SEO Parameters. A green dot Indicates an optimized parameter while a red dot indicates a non-optimized parameter. Parameters with orange dots are not very Important and may be ignored if you cannot get them right.
In the Advanced Settings section, you can add No-Index and No-Follow Tags. You can also choose Advanced Meta Robots Tags for each and every individual post.
If you want to show a different Page Title, Meta Description and Image to your Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus users, you can do so in this section. By default, the Page Title, and Meta Description you entered in the Yoast Snippet Editor are used.
This completes our setting for SEO by Yoast Plugin. As discussed in point 8, make sure to optimize individual posts every time you write a new post.
It is very important to correctly configure your SEO by Yoast plugin to make sure your posts are Optimized to rank higher in search results. While setting up Yoast Plugin may seem to be a lengthy and difficult process, it is definitely worth your time.
In case you are a total beginner and have no idea whatsoever what each parameter means, you can simply follow my settings shown in the screenshots.
Hope you liked my article. If you have any problems while setting up the Plugin, you can let me know through the comments.