When it comes to WordPress SEO, that first name ever comes to mind is Yoast. Yoast is the best and widely used plugin for WordPress SEO because it’s a complete SEO solution for WordPress websites. Do you want to properly Setup Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin? This step by step Guide will help you to install and set up Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin in the right way. Let’s check.
Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin:
Yoast SEO is a complete SEO plugin for WordPress websites that comes with many built-in tools and features.
Setting up Yoast SEO Plugin is little tricky for newbies and who don’t have basic SEO skills. An incorrect configuration of Yoast SEO Plugin can stop indexing from search engines. Follow this step by step Guide that helps you to set up Yoast SEO Plugin properly.
Before moving to the guide, let’s check the list of features that offered by Yoast.
- Verify site in Google and Bing
- Generates sitemap
- Breadcrumbs support
- Advanced permalink control
- RSS feed configuration
- Meta-control support for taxonomies, pages and homepage.
- Social accounts integration
- Changes posts title and meta description per post
- Add social meta tags
- Add focus keywords
- Import /export settings from another SEO plugin
- Edit .htaccess file
- Connect website to google search console
The premium version of Yoast SEO comes with additional features.
- Redirect manager to edit and manage redirects.
- Multiple focus words
- Premium support
These are some of the features offered by Yoast. Click here to Check more.
Now let’s start the tutorial.
How to Setup Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin:
First, you need to install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin. Go to WordPress dashboard, download and activate the Yoast SEO plugin. For more details on how to install WordPress plugin, check this guide.
Now Yoast plugin activated and Yoast menu will be added in the admin bar. Now we need to configure the settings.
Complete Setup and Configuration Guide of Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin:
Import Settings from Other Plugin:
If you’re using any other SEO plugin like All in one SEO or any other plugin, you should start importing into this Yoast Plugin.
Go to SEO > Tool > Import and Export > Import from another SEO plugin. Select the plugin and click on import to import the settings.
Always take the backup of your database and then import the settings and delete the old data after importing the settings.
If you don’t have any settings to import, you can skip this step and move forward to next step.
WordPress SEO Dashboard:
The very first thing you need to after installing the Yoast SEO Plugin is to go to Dashboard > Features > advanced settings pages and click on enable.
Update Website Information:
Next, go to company info and update your website information. First, you need to update your website and an alternate name for search engines to consider.
If you don’t enter your website name, Yoast will automatically add your website name here.
Next, you need to update whether your website run by the company or an individual person. Then you need to add your website logo.
The next important step is to submit your website to Google, Alexa, and Bing. Yoast SEO makes easy to add Meta tags data and verify your website. Simply add Meta tags data in webmaster tools and click on save changes in order to verify your website. Check these guides to How to Submit Website to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
The next option in general settings is security. This has only one option which disables/enables SEO Meta box. We recommend you to leave disabling the option which prevents user/authors to change the canonical and no index posts.
Titles and Meta Settings:
This is one of the most important parts of the plugin. Here you can select which separator you want to use in titles that appear in search results. Here Yoast has another option to force rewrite titles. We recommend disabling it for better SEO.
Click on the homepage in Titles and Metas option and configure website title and Meta description settings.
Title template: The website homepage title which you want to show in search engine results.
Meta description: Your website homepage Meta description that shows in search engine results.
Yoast SEO allows you to set titles and meta’s for posts, pages and media. You can also add or remove dates in snippet preview in search engine results. This site title and Meta description will be used if you forgot to add in individual post and pages.
We recommend leaving Meta description and keywords blank for all post types and use only post title as the title template.
Yoast SEO plugin adds Meta box for every post. We highly recommend to manually enter the title and description in every post for better SEO. Follow this Beginners Guide To Create And Post WordPress Blog Post With All Features.
In taxonomies, you can configure titles and meta’s for categories, tags and post formats. Default settings are working fine or you can configure as per your needs.
On this archive settings tab, you can configure title and Meta settings for the author, date archive and special pages like search and 404 pages.
We recommend you to disable author archives for single author blogs and leave as it is and save changes.
This is the last one under titles and Meta settings.
You can disable use Meta keywords tag as google already announced that they don’t care about Meta keyword tags.
Another great feature of Yoast plugin is it makes easy to integrate your website with social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.
Click on social under Yoast SEO Menu and configure the settings as below.
Accounts tab allows you to add your social profile settings. Simply you need to add your website Facebook page URL, Twitter Username, Instagram URL, LinkedIn URL, Myspace URL, Pinterest URL, YouTube URL and Google + URL and click on save changes.
In Facebook tab, make sure to enable open graph Metadata to add open graph Metadata in your website <head> section, Facebook and other social networking sites use this data when your pages shared.
The next option is to add and image URL, title and description that used in open graph Meta tags.
The next option is to add and a default image URL that used if the post or page being shared without containing any images.
Next, you need to add Facebook admin that able to access Facebook insights for your website. You can add admin name and admin’s Facebook id by clicking on add Facebook admin or you can add Facebook app id.
In twitter settings, make sure to enable add twitter card Metadata to add twitter card Metadata in your website <head> section.
You can select default card type to use in twitter cards, summary or summary with the large image.
Pinterest uses open graph Metadata just like Facebook. So make sure to enable open graph Metadata on the Facebook tab to optimize your site to Pinterest.
We have already enabled open graph Metadata on the Facebook tab so you can simply add Pinterest verification code in the Pinterest confirmation box.
If you did not verify your website with Pinterest you can simply click on confirm your site with Pinterest and verify your website and add Pinterest verification code.
Google + Settings:
If you have already created Google + page for your website you can enter the URL here.
Sitemaps are very important for better search engine optimization (SEO). Sitemaps provide the way to search engines to crawl and index your website easily.
By default, Yoast SEO doesn’t enable sitemap functionality. Toggle switch bar to enable to enable sitemap functionality.
When you click on enable sitemap functionality, the screen automatically expands with additional options to customize the sitemaps.
Click on save changes to create XML Sitemap of your WordPress website. View your new XML Sitemap by clicking the XML Sitemap button.
Go to user sitemap and Make sure to enable author/user sitemap if your website has multiple authors otherwise disable.
Go to post types and enable/disable post type that you want to be added in the sitemap.
Next, go to excluded posts and you can post id’s that you want any posts, pages to be excluded in the sitemap.
Go to Taxonomies repeat the same step by enabling/disabling taxonomy type that you want to be added in the sitemap.
In the advanced settings tab, we can configure breadcrumbs, permalinks and RSS feed settings.
Breadcrumbs provide a way to easily navigate your website path to users. It also allows search engines to understand the website structure easily.
Make sure to enable breadcrumbs settings if you want to use the Breadcrumbs on your website.
Please note here we are talking about Yoast SEO permalinks settings, not WordPress default permalinks settings.
By default WordPress add /category in category base URL’s here we can configure this setting by clicking on remove in change URLs. You can also keep it by unchecking it if you want to add /category in category base URL’s.
Yoast SEO allows you to redirect attachment posts URLs to parent post URLs by clicking on redirect option under redirect attachment posts URLs.
Yoast SEO has another option to keep or remove stop words in slugs to create clean URLs. If you want to remove stop words in slugs you can click on remove otherwise keep it.
The next step is to redirect or no redirect ugly URLs to clean permalinks. This is not needed in most of the cases. We suggest ignoring it unless you really required.
This feature integrates to add a link back to the original content in RSS feeds. If any scrapper copied the content from your website, the link back automatically adds to the original content in RSS feeds so scrapper adds these links too.
Yoast SEO allows your site to connect Google search console tools. Click on settings and simply click on get google authorization code and log in with your Gmail id. You’ll get the authorization code. Simply paste the code in settings and authenticate it to complete verification.
After verification, select your website from the drop-down menu.
Now Yoast SEO will fetch your website search console data and you can check your website crawl data that accessed in desktop, smartphone and feature phone.
Here you can see the crawl errors and make them fixes after adding redirects.
Yoast SEO free version works really fine but premium version comes with redirect manager.
Redirect manager allows you to add redirects for error links. You can easily fix 404 errors and mark them as fixed in search console on your WordPress website by using Yoast SEO premium.
In This way, you can know all crawl error that Google getting while indexing your website and you can easily fix with Yoast SEO.
Now your Yoast SEO setup is finished. But to get better SEO benefits you need to customize the settings per post basis.
Customizing Post SEO settings:
Yoast SEO plugin allows adding focus keywords and Meta keywords to your post to improve your website SEO.
Focus keyword is the keyword that used to rank your page. Adding focus keywords and Meta keywords to post content will increase the findability in search engines. When people search for the keyword, a search engine will find out the post based on post focus keyword. While writing the post you need to add focus keywords and Meta keywords to your post.
You can easily edit snippet preview and add title and Meta description for the post. Optimizing the Meta description is very important for better SEO.
Yoast SEO provides content and SEO analysis and readability analysis of the post better insights. Use this analysis to analyze your post and make any corrections required.
Yoast SEO is the best free SEO plugin for WordPress websites and I highly recommend to use it for your website.
I hope this article helped you to set up Yoast SEO plugin.
Let me know if I missed any settings and let me know what setting you are using on your website for better SEO.
If you’ve any questions, feel free to contact me and share this post with your friends on Facebook, twitter and google +.