This is a complete setup guide to having the Yoast SEO plugin configured on a WordPress site. Though some little changes have been made so far to the UI, the setup/configuration procedure is all the same with the previous one. And I’ve also updated the guide with regard to Meta titles and Meta descriptions for every post, which has been modified in the most recent version.
When it comes to the most prominent SEO plugins for WordPress sites, Yoast SEO always comes up as the most widely-used and best-mentioned tool. Those who have been using the All in One SEO pack plugin are quite aware of the big difference between these two popularly-used SEO plugins. You’re all aware of the advanced features available in the Yoast SEO plugin, which are not found in the All in One SEO pack plugin.
The plugin has many well-known advanced features of other developers’ plugins such as the RSS Footer Plugin, Meta Robots Plugin and many more. Since Yoast SEO has many advanced features and the setup process is a bit more complex than the rest of the SEO plugins, I’m here to assist with providing a complete tutorial guide for setting up or configuring the WordPress SEO by Yoast accurately for your WordPress website’s optimal SEO accomplishments.
Simply sit back and read this guide down the page carefully. You’ll learn all you need to successfully set up the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin (both free and pro versions).
Areas to cover:
- A configuration guide to the Yoast SEO Plugin setup
- Configuration guide & complete setup for Yoast SEO
- Common issues with adding Meta titles & Meta descriptions in the latest SEO Yoast plugin
A configuration guide to the Yoast SEO Plugin setup
Yoast SEO is a stronghold for WordPress SEO. But, setting this up might be complex for some people, and, of course, newbie bloggers, or those without the fundamental SEO expertise might find it hard.
An inaccurate setup configuration can discourage major search engine spiders from crawling and indexing your site, or you might eventually let spiders index or crawl the unimportant part of your site.
Before we proceed to the whole setup and configuration process, let me mention some of the important SEO features that the Yoast SEO plugin offers:
- Settings for the RSS feed footer plugin
- Site verification in Google, Bing
- Facebook Open Graph support
- Integrated permalink control
- Sitemap generation
- Editing .htaccess files
- Adding Google authorship for a single author
- Settings for Meta titles
- Hiding dates from search engine snippets
- Hiding WLW, RSD, and short links from head
- Support for breadcrumbs
- Meta control for author pages, taxonomies, homepage, and many more.
- Importing settings from external SEO plugins
There a couple of settings offered by the Yoast SEO plugin. There are a lot more.
Now, let’s begin with the configuration and have this amazing (Free) SEO plugin setup right away.
Configuration Guide & Complete Setup for Yoast SEO
Once you’re done installing the Yoast SEO plugin, go straight to your dashboard, click on Features, then enable the Advanced setting pages.
If you want to install the Yoast SEO plugin on a WordPress site whereby you’ve been using some other theme settings or SEO plugins, you’ll need to import some settings from those plugins.
Once you’re done activating Yoast SEO and the advanced settings, simply go straight to SEO; click on Tools, next on Import and Export, then on Import from other SEO plugins on the left-hand side panel. Choose the plugin from which you want to import some settings.
Before you start this process, I would advise you keeping a backup of your WordPress database, then choosing the option “Delete the old data after import?”
Yoast SEO Dashboard
Before you get started with this plugin setup, first submit your website to Google, Yandex, Bing, and Alexa. Once you’re done installing the plugin, simply click on SEO, next on Dashboard, then on Webmaster tools to access this source.
Having done all of that, it’s time to move on to the more integrated sections of the Yoast SEO plugin setup.
Title and Meta Setups
This is one of the most crucial sections of this setup, and I’m going to clarify most of these using screenshots and some short explanations at the bottom of each of them.
Click on “Titles and Metas”, then on the “General” button most importantly to see the separator that is being operated and what that particular separator represents.
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 certainly help in quickly setting up the title & Meta SEO section of the setup.
Now, simply click on the “Homepage” button of your “Titles and Metas” area and have the settings configured for the title and Meta descriptions of your homepage.
This is a screenshot:
- Title template: This is the title of your homepage which you want to display in search results.
- Meta description template: This is the Meta description of your homepage for search results.
This is where you’ll have the SEO configured for all of your post types.
You’ll have Pages, posts & Media types by default. If you want to use additional custom types for your WordPress site, you should see the feature here. You can also analyze the SEO for your pages, posts and media sections of your site.
As rightly mentioned, check the “Help” tab to figure out what templates should be used. Also, Yoast SEO doesn’t show the date from search engine snippets by default which is helpful for writing blogs.
If your site has a news blog and you want the date for your posts to be shown in search engines, you can click the “Date in Snippet Preview” tab.
Here is how I configured this so far for my own WordPress blog.
Taxonomies and Archives
I always set tags and categories as dofollow and noindex. But, you can set yours depending on your own SEO target.
If you would like to follow my own SEO settings, then mark the “Follow”, “Noindex”, and “Hide” boxes. As said earlier, you’re free to configure your title template based on your SEO plan. Since we’re choosing not to index tags and categories, you may add more brand-centric title and user templates.
E.g: %%term_title%% Archives %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%%
You may set indexing for your date-based and author archive. Whenever you want, you may enable or disable the author and date-based archive. But I would advise you checking the “Follow” and “Noindex” boxes while everything else may be left untouched.
This is the very last step under the “Titles & Metas” settings.
This is what I’ve been using so far which seems to have been very effective and can drive you hundreds of thousands of page views monthly from search engines.
The “Use meta keywords tag?” option can be ignored. Google spelt it out officially that they don’t regard keyword Meta tags.
This marks the completion of the “Titles and Metas” settings of the Yoast SEO Plugin.
The other options will help keep the head section of your WordPress site very clean by hiding some information like WLW manifest links, posted short links, and many others.
In WordPress SEO by Yoast 3.0, the Google Knowledge Graph feature has been added. It’s the graph that shows your social media profile in search results when people search for your brand name or any search query related to your brand specialty.
Just add your social media profiles in the format demonstrated in the screenshot below. As you can see here clearly, the configuration is simple.
This is where you can have the Facebook Open Graph Meta tags configured, the Twitter Meta card, and the default image for Facebook.
I would advise you adding a default image, which will enable Facebook to show an image when no image is associated to any of your posts but they are shared or liked on Facebook.
Simply let the plugin take care of your sitemap by enabling the sitemap feature. Once you’re done creating your sitemap file, simply submit this file to Google, Bing, and other major search engines that accept such files.
Make sure you do not mix this with the WordPress default permalink setting.
In this plugin, you have the option to configure the advanced Permalink settings. I utilize about two to three settings here in order to avoid some parameters that may be indexed in the Google search. With the Yoast SEO plugin, you can easily remove the replytocom parameter, which is always worrisome.
The setting is found by clicking on Advanced, then on Permalinks.
Here is an image of my own settings:
Here, the RSS footer plugin feature is integrated. In the course of using it, a link can be added back to the original post in RSS feeds. It can also be utilized to add some advertisements to your RSS feeds.
You can add the line below after the post content section:
“The post %%POSTLINK%% appeared first on %%BLOGLINK%%.”
This particular setting can likewise be found in the “Advanced” section.
And it’s also in the Breadcrumbs (Internal Links)
Breadcrumbs are meant for making search engines understand the structure of your site, and for helping users navigate your website easily.
But, I haven’t yet tested this feature on any of my websites.
This is yet another vital feature of the Yoast SEO plugin. The WordPress robots.txt and .htaccess files can be edited from the dashboard.
Note: If you want to edit your .htaccess file in your dashboard, make sure you have the FTP access kept as well. Any error in configuration will likely destroy your website.
If you carefully study this tutorial, you’ll successfully configure your WordPress SEO by Yoast.
Having completed all changes in the Yoast SEO Advanced settings, simply use the Google Rich Snippets testing tool to examine the authorship and check how your post will be shown in search results.
Note that the features below are included in the Pro version of Yoast SEO. You may not bother about them if you’re still using the free version. They are optional.
Issues Related to Adding Titles and Meta Descriptions in the Latest SEO Yoast Plug-in
Some changes have occurred in the latest version of WordPress SEO by Yoast. These changes are a bit confusing mostly for old users while adding the Meta title and Meta descriptions.
Simply click on “Edit Snippet”. Once done, enter your SEO Meta title and Meta description.
This is the feature of the SEO plugin that enables you to redirect a URL to any page of your choice.
If you’re getting many 404 errors, check this out in the Google Webmaster tool and redirect them so as to save some link juice.
Submitting your website to Google Website Tools (Google Search Console) helps to keep track of all the crawl errors. That way you’ll identify which of the errors Google is getting in the course of trying to index and crawl your site. Using the WordPress SEO by Yoast Webmaster Tool, you can view all the errors right inside your dashboard.
Simply add the authentication code, which is a very simple process, and once done, you’ll be able to view all the errors inside your account dashboard.
This is just one of the most proficient SEO plugins for a WordPress site. Be advised to be sure of what you’re doing prior to making changes to your advanced settings. An error in configuration may likely result in negative SEO impacts to your WordPress site. However, if you can follow the guiding process in this tutorial, you’ll be good to go.
Are there some tools that you’ve been utilizing to have your blog indexed accurately and optimized for search ranking? Don’t hesitate to share with us in the comment box below.
If you enjoyed reading this tutorial, don’t hesitate to share with friends on social media. Get back to me if you ever need a hand with anything going forward.