A Step-by-Step Guide to Install and Setup WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin to work fine for most WordPress websites.
WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin one of the Best WordPress SEO Plugins in the market (1+ million active WordPress installs), Offers powerful SEO solution for your WordPress site, helps you write better content.
In this WordPress tutorial: You will learn How to use Yoast SEO Plugin to optimize your WordPress site and improve the rankings in the Google search results.
Getting high search engine rankings for your WordPress Site takes a lot of work, and setting up this plugin might be tricky for some, Especially for beginners or anyone without basic SEO skills, In this WordPress SEO tutorial to setup WordPress Yoast SEO plugin we will make things easier.
Now Let’s start with this essential beginner’s guide for configuring WordPress Yoast SEO plugin in the easiest way:
How to Install WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin:
First thing you need to do is install and activate Yoast SEO plugin, In your WordPress admin dashboard:
- Go to Plugins >> Add New
- Type ‘Yoast SEO’ in the search bar.
- The search results should show you the plugin now. Click on ‘Install Now‘
And then activate it:
Once activated the plugin, you will see a new menu found on the left Sidebar named SEO with Yoast’s logo on it:
Next Tutorial: Setting up Yoast SEO plugin.
How to Setup WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin:
STEP 1. Import the data from other plugins:
If you’ve used another SEO plugin like All in One SEO Pack or any other such plugins, You are probably want to transfer all your previous data to this plugin, We recommend using SEO Data Transporter to do that for you. If you’ve just started with a new WordPress blog? Then Go ahead and skip to step 2.
STEP 2. General Settings:
On the left sidebar in your Dashboard Go to SEO >> General to open the general settings of Yoast SEO Plugin, On that page you will see 5 tabs:
- Start Tour: You can use it to learn about the use of this plugin.
- View changes. about recent updates for Yoast SEO.
- Restore Default Settings: Also to reset your plugin to default settings.
2. Your Info Tab:
- Defining Website name & Alternate website name: You need to enter a site name and an alternate name for Google to consider. If you leave it empty, then this plugin will automatically use your site’s title as your website name.
- Declare whether your site is run by a company or a person: If you choose company, then you need to enter a company name and Logo.
3. Webmaster Tools:
Webmaster Tools is a free service offered by popular search engines, Google, Bing, Yandex, and Alexa, that helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in search results.
Adding your website to webmasters tools helps you to understand what’s going on with your website and how search engines views your site and optimize its performance in search results.
We highly recommend Google Search Console for your WordPress site. (Read our guide on How To Add Your WordPress Site To Google Search Console).
After adding your site to any of these webmaster services. You will get a meta tag code (verification code) or a file to upload to your hosting. If you find it difficult to upload a file to your WordPress hosting, Just add this meta tag code that you received from these webmaster services in their respective field.
After the Yoast SEO v3.1 release, The plugin have a great improvements, New Snippet editor interface, Primary category option and using toggles instead of checkboxes, which should reduce the ambiguity, in this tutorial we used the new design!
We recommend that you leave the security setting at the default choice, This will prevent your authors from changing advanced settings like noindex posts or change the canonical. see screenshot below:
STEP 3. Titles & Metas:
On the left sidebar in your Dashboard Go to SEO >> Titles & Metas to open the Titles & Metas Settings for Yoast SEO, On that page you will see 6 tabs:
Yoast SEO Plugin can auto-detect whether it needs to force rewrite the titles or not. So leave it as it is (Disabled).
You can also select the separator used between your post title and site title. Our favorite is dash (-).
2. Homepage Title:
Here you can enter your Homepage title as a static title, Or can be used a title-template like the one already exists by default, then enter your site’s descriptionin in the next field.
If you you are using a static page in WordPress Reading Settings instead of Your latest posts, the page above will be different, Therefore you can fill out the title and description for the Homepage by editing that page itself.
Note: Google shows up to 70 characters (including spaces) of a page’s title and 156 characters of a page’s description in its search results. If a page title or the description exceeds that, Google will replace it with (…).
3. Post Types Titles Metas:
Post Types tab you can set titles and meta for posts, pages, media, and other custom post types you may have. By Default Yoast SEO Plugin automatically sets title template variables for all your post types and leaves your description and other fields blank.
- Posts Titles: %%title%%
- Page: %%title%% %%sep%% %%sitename%%
- Media: %%title%%
- Meta description template: keep it as it is (empty) for all types.
- Meta Robots: Keep it as it is for all types.
This is the General settings for Post Title template, For better SEO practices we highly recommend you to manually enter title and descriptions for each post.
On this tab, you can set titles and meta for Categories, tags, custom taxonomies, and post format archives. We recommend keep the default template variables as it is, It should work fine for most websites.
On the Archives tab you can set the title and meta settings for author archives, date archives, and special pages like the search and 404 pages.
- Author Archives: If you are running a one author blog, the author archive will be exactly the same as your homepage. So We recommended that you disable the author archives to avoid any duplicate content in Google.
- Date-based archives: Same thing here, You can leave it as noindex, or even disable it to avoid any duplicate content. Leave other default settings as they are and click on save changes.
An additional meta settings for your entire website:
- Noindex of Subpages: Leave it noindex.
- Meta Keywords: leave it disable.
- noodp, noydir tag: leave it disable.
STEP 4. Social:
WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin helps you optimize your site for social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+..etc
On the Accounts tab all you have to do here is enter your social media accounts. To inform Google about your social profiles.
Enable Add Open Graph meta data, This will helps Facebook to select the right thumbnail and other page information when a post/page is shared on Facebook. Also You can add a default Facebook image, This image is used if the post/page being shared does not contain any images. You can also enter a Facebook admin to link back to Facebook to see your data insights.
Enable Add Twitter card meta data, and choose which type of Twitter card you want your site to have. We recommend Summary with large image.
You can enter the site verification code provided by Pinterest. To do that ,visit your Pinterest account settings, then add your website URL and verify your site with the code from Pinterest.
Enable Add Google+ specific post meta data, then add the URL of your Google+ page.
STEP 5. XML Sitemaps:
Why use XML Sitemaps?
Using Sitemaps has many benefits for your WordPress site, Help your content (Posts, Page, Media, Categories,Tags, and Authors..) to get crawled and indexed by search engines easily. Sitemaps offer the opportunity to inform search engines immediately about any changes on your site. Also help you to give the search engines the priority of your content.
First enable XML sitemap functionality, then go to the General tab.
On the General Tab, there is one option the Entries per page, Leave it as it is (default 1000), If you have a memory issues with your hosting, You can lower this to prevent that.
2. User Sitemap:
Just Disable the Author / user sitemap.
3. Post Types:
On this tab, You can include or exclude any post type into sitemap, So the Posts and Pages should be in sitemap, the Media (attachment) is already off, you can leave it as it is by default. If you use any custom post type that you don’t want to be included, then you can toggle it off.
4. Exclude Posts:
Here You can exclude individual posts from the sitemap by entering a comma separated string with the Post ID’s.
Same thing here for taxonomies (Categories, tags, custom taxonomies), You can toggle on at least the Categories.
STEP 6. Advanced:
The advanced settings section on Yoast SEO plugin allows you to set up the breadcrumbs, permalinks, and RSS feed.
Breadcrumbs feature provide a way for the user to easily navigate your site, from post, to category, to the next post.. etc. It also allows search engines to more easily understand the structure of your site.
Click on ‘Enable’ to activate the Breadcrumbs and display its settings, which should work fine for most websites.
Here, we will play with the Permalink settings in Yoast SEO tab, not the main WordPress Permalink settings. On the Permalink Yoast SEO tab you will see a group of features:
- The ‘Category’ word on URL: You can keep or remove the category base ( /category/ ) from the category URL. We prefer to remove it.
- Turn on Redirect attachment URL’s to parent post URL, To avoid unnecessary URLs of those attachments.
- Stop words: usually refer to the most common words in a language, Removing stop words will create cleaner and smaller URLs. We prefer to keep it.
- Remove the
- Not Redirect ugly URL’s to clean permalinks.
- Clean up the <head>: If you are not using a 3rd party services or app (like Windows Live Writer) to publish remotely to your blog client, then you can hide RSD links and WLW Manifest Links, also you can safely hide shortlink for posts.
3. RSS feed:
Most of content scrapers are using feeds to steal your website content, On the RSS section, You can to add links back to your blog and your blog posts, so dumb scrapers will automatically add these links too, helping search engines identify you as the original source of the content. You can add author link, Post link, blog link, and blog description, or even Ads to your RSS feed.
STEP 7. Tools:
- Bulk editor: allows you to edit post titles and descriptions in bulk. We do not recommend using it.
- File editor: allows you to work on important files for your SEO, like your robots.txt and, if you have one, your .htaccess file. We would not recommend this tool for beginners.
- Import and Export: helps you to import settings form other SEO plugins, and also You can make a copy (backup) for all Yoast SEO Plugins settings for re-use on (another) blog.
- Recalculate SEO scores: allows you to Re-evaluation the SEO scores for all types of content in your site with a focus keyword.
STEP 8. Search Console:
This Section allows Yoast SEO Plugin to connect to your Google Search Console. its mean Google Search Console will share information with this plugin.
STEP 9. Yoast SEO Extensions:
This section like a shop of SEO premium extensions and features. The Yoast SEO Premium plugin (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast Premium) adds several features to the Yoast SEO plugin:
- A redirect manager This allows you to create and manage redirects from within your WordPress install, allowing you to easily redirect old URLs to new ones, and solve common issues. This is especially powerful because of the combination with the Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools) integration.
Built for scale, this redirect module can either handle the redirects for you or generate a redirect file that you can include in your Apache or NGINX server config.
- Multiple focus keywords With this feature, you’ll be able to optimize a post for two completely different terms, or for two synonyms. This means you no longer have to choose between terms you’d like to rank for!
More about Yoast SEO Premium plugin.
Note: In this tutorial, We used a Free WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin v.3.x.
Thanks for reading, Waiting for your comments. WPMood.