Whenever we talk about the best SEO Plugins for WordPress, SEO by Yoast emerges as a prominent name. Many of you who are using the All In One SEO plugin should know about this much more advanced plugin, which is available in WordPress with the name,“ Yoast SEO “.
WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin is one of the must-have plugins on any WordPress website (that is not hidden from the public eye).
It has been on our Recommended Plugins list since day 1. If you care about your website’s performance in Search Engines and you haven’t installed it yet, this tutorial is for you.
Yoast is the most popular SEO plugin available with more than 3.9 million websites using Yoast SEO plugin.
In this blog post, you will learn how to setup Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress websites.
There is much debate about what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Plugin for WordPress is the best. Currently I use the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast . Aside from being a very talented WordPress developer, Joost de Valk(pronounced Yoast) has a good handle on the needs of WordPress users in addition to all the benefits that ship straight out of the box with WordPress.
For this reason, I am sharing a tutorial which will help you transition from All In One SEO to the Yoast SEO plugin, and help you configure this plugin for optimal SEO performance.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is a powerhouse for WordPress search engine optimization.
However, setting up this plugin might be tricky for some, and a new blogger, or anyone without basic SEO skills , might find it difficult.
An incorrect configuration can stop search engine bots from indexing your blog, or you might inadvertently let bots crawl a part that is not important.
Before we go ahead with our setup guide, let’s look into some of the SEO features offered by this plugin:
• Verify sites in Google, Bing Title meta settings.
• Hide RSD, WLW, shortlinks from head.
• Meta-control for taxonomies, author pages, homepage, etc.
• Supports Facebook Open Graph.
• Generate sitemap.
• Advance permalink control.
• Breadcrumbs support.
• RSS feed footer plugin settings.
• Import settings from other SEO plugins.
• Edit . htaccess files.
• Hide date from search engine snippets.
• Add Google authorship for single author.
• These are some of thesettings offered by this plugin.
Now let’s start with the tutorial, and set up this free SEO plugin.
Complete Setup &Configuration Guide For The Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin:
The first thing you must do after installing Yoast SEO plugin is: Go to Dashboard > Features >Advances setting pages &enable this feature.
If you are installing Yoast SEO on a WordPress blog where you were using some other SEO plugin or theme SEO settings, after activating advanced settings you should go to SEO > Tools> Import &Export > Import from other SEO plugins in the left panel.Select the plugin from which you would like to import your settings.
I suggest taking a backup of your database , and then using the option to “Delete the old data after import?(recommended)”.
- WordPress Yoast SEO Dashboard:-
The first step to get started with this plugin is to submit your site to Alexa, Google, Bing, and Yandex.
After installing the plugin, click on SEO > Dashboard >Webmaster Tools to access this page.
- Titles & Meta Settings:-This is one of the most important part,and I will explain most of it with screenshots.Once you click on “Titles & Metas”, click on the “General” tab first to see what separator is being used and what that separator does. This will help you to quickly set up the title and metas SEO aspect of the plugin.
- Homepage:- Click on the “Homepage” tab of the “Titles &Metas”section and configure the settings for your homepage title and meta description.
Here is a screenshot:
Meta description template: Your homepage meta description for search engines.
- Post Types:- This is where you will configure the SEO for all of your post types.
By default, you will have Post, Pages & Media types. If you are using more custom types in WordPress, you will see its section here. Here you can define the SEO for the post, page, and media sections of your WordPress blog.
As I mentioned above, be sure to check out the help section to understand what templates you can use. Also, by default, WordPress SEO by Yoast hides the date from search engine snippets , which is useful for blogs writing evergreen content .
If you are running a news blog and want to show the date for your posts in search engines, you can check the “Date in Snippet Preview” box.
This is how I have configured it for my blog:
- Taxonomies andArchives:-I prefer keeping tags and categories as noindex and dofollow. However, you should set this up depending upon your own SEO plan.
If you wish to use my settings, simply check the “noindex”, “Follow”, and “Hide” boxes. Once again, you can configure the title template according to your needs. Since we are not indexing tags and categories, you can add more user and brand-centric title templates.
Here you can set indexing for your author and date-based archive . Also, you can disable or enable the date and author archive. I suggest that you check the “noindex” and “follow” boxes, and leave everything others.
- Other:- Here is what I’m using which seems to be working well & driving about 1 million page views from search engines every month.
You can ignore “Use meta keywords tag?” Google already made it official that they do not care about keyword meta tags.
This completes the “Metas& Titles” settings of WordPress SEO by Yoast.
The final options will keep your WordPress blog head section clean by hiding information such as posted short links, WLW manifest links, and others.
- Social Settings:- In SEO by Yoast 3.0, they have added the Google Knowledge Graph feature.
This will show your social media profile in search engines whenever someone searches for your brand name.
The configuration is easy. Simply add all of your social media profiles in the format shown in the image below.
Here you can configure the Facebook Open Graph meta tags, the default image for Facebook, and the Twitter meta card.
I 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:-
Enable the sitemap feature and this plugin will take care of your blog’s sitemap. After creating the sitemap file, submit the sitemap to Google , Bing, & any other search engine that accepts sitemap files.
- Permalinks:-In the Yoast SEO plugin, you can configure advanced permalink settings. I usually use 2-3 settings from here to avoid parameters being indexed in Google searches.
With this plugin in particular, it is easier to get rid of the reply to parameter, which is quite a headache.
This setting is under Advanced > Permalinks.
Here is a screenshot of my settings:
This part integrates the feature of the RSS footer plugin. When using it, you can add a link back to the original article in RSS feeds. You can also use it to add advertisements to your RSS feeds.
I simply add the following line after the post content section:
“The post %%POSTLINK%% appeared first on % %BLOGLINK%%.”
Note: This setting is also in the “Advanced” section.
- Breadcrumbs (AKA Internal Links) Breadcrumbs are useful for getting search engines to understand your site structure, and they help users to navigate your site.
However, I have never triedand tested breadcrumbs onany of my sites.
- Edit Files
This is another useful feature of the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. You can edit the WordPress .htaccess and robots.txt file from the dashboard.
Note: Whenever you are editing your .htaccess file from your dashboard, always keep FTP access as well, because misconfigured .htaccess files may stop your site from functioning.
I hope this tutorial will help you to set up Yoast SEO correctly.Once you have done making all the changes in your SEO by Yoast plugin, go ahead and use the Google Rich Snippets testing toolto check for authorship, and see how Google will show your blog post in Google Search.
Note:The features below are in the Pro version of SEO By Yoast. These are optional, and you may or may not need them.
Issues with Adding Meta Descriptions & Titles in Latest SEO Yoast Plugin:
In the latest version of SEO by Yoast, they have made a major design change, which is confusing for old users when it comes to adding meta titles & descriptions.
You need to click on “Edit snippet”. Once there you can enter in the “SEO title” (Meta title) and “Meta description”.
This is another handy feature of this plugin, as it allows you to direct any URL to another URL of your choice.
When you are getting too many 404 errors (you can check that in the Google Webmaster tool), you can simply re-direct them to save your link juice.
- Webmasters Tools:-
With the SEO by Yoast Webmaster tool, you can see all of the errors inside your WordPress dashboard. You need to add the authentication code (this is a simple step), and after that, you can see all errors from within your dashboard.
This is one of the best free SEO plugins for your WordPress blog. I highly recommend that you make sure you know what you’re doing before making any changes. An incorrect configuration may bring negative SEO effects to your blog. But if you follow this guide, you’ll be OK.
Tell me: What settings are you using to ensure your blog is indexed correctly and optimized for search engines?
Let me know in the comments below!
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