In the previous article, I’ve suggested 2 Best WordPress SEO Plugins, one was Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin and another one was All in One SEO Pack. For the newbie bloggers or who don’t have any SEO skill. It might be a critical task to set up a plugin that how it works and how to set it up. So, this Yoast SEO tutorial is all about How to Configure or Setup Yoast SEO WordPress plugin.
Complete Guide to Setup Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin
As I’ve already discussed the features of Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin in my previous article “WordPress SEO Plugins“. Yoast SEO is really the Master plugin for WordPress SEO (I recommend it). Okay then, before you move on with this Step by Step Complete Guide, let’s take a look into some of the main features I’m going to cover in this guide (configuration, which is important to rank & appear well in search results).
- Verification of website or blog in Google, Bing, Alexa, Yandex
- Google Search Console – Google Authorization Code
- Title & Meta Settings
- Control Taxonomies, author archive page
- Control on Index-No Index & Follow-No Follow
- Social Optimization
- Generate XML Sitemap – Sitemap Settings
- Breadcrumbs configuration
- Advanced Permalinks settings
- Hide RSD, RSS, WLW, Short links
- Editing of robots.txt and .htaccess file
- Importing Settings from other SEO plugins
- Show/Hide Dates on Search Engines
Let’s get started with this complete guide to setup this Yoast SEO FREE Plugin for WordPress. By the way you Yoast SEO Premium offer a lot more than this.
Note: Don’t forget to click on Save Changes after making any changes.
Importing Settings from the SEO plugin you’re already using:
If you’re already using another SEO plugins like All in One SEO or any other such plugins, or if you’re using any plugins by Yoast such as Robots Meta. Then it’ll be good to start by Importing your existing SEO plugin settings (once you’ve imported all the settings from your existing SEO plugin, you’ll not have to do the same settings again in Yoast SEO).
And to do so:
After installation and activation of the plugin, go to SEO>Tools>Import and Export under the left panel. Now, you just need to select the plugin from which you want to Import the configuration or settings.
Import and Export function contains four tabs in itself, both the tabs are shown above in the image are important to Import settings. And, other 2 tabs are to Export and to Import the settings in .zip format (it can help you to import your SEO settings from other Blog or Website).
Webmaster Tools – Google, Bing, Alexa and Yandex:
Webmaster Tools plays an important role in Search results and to Rank your Blog or Website better than Best. WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin offers the verification functionality of four major Webmaster Tools. And, I recommend it to perform at the very starting after the installation and activation of the plugin.
So, let’s first submit your site to Google, Bing, Alexa and Yandex for verification, go to SEO>General>Webmaster Tools.
To get their Verification IDs, just click on their Blue Title Links. It’ll transfer you to the new tab with page opened to get the ID. Create an account (if you don’t have already), then Grab & Fill your ID there and click on Save Changes.
One more thing you can do in General is that you can tell to Google, whether you’re a person/individual or a company. To tell so, go to SEO>General>Your Info.
Don’t forget this, Search Console Authorization:
Search Console is an official webmaster tool by Google, which I strictly recommend to use for the better SEO. And to use so, you must have a google account and signed up for Search Console. After signing up Google account and Search Console just go to SEO>Search Console in your WP Dashboard.
Simply click on Get Google Authorization Code to go through the process of getting your Code (not that hard as you’re thinking). After signing in with your google account Yoast will ask you for permission to get data from Search Console, there Allow the permission, Copy the code and paste it in your WP Dashboard Search Console filled and click on Authenticate and that’s it.
Title and Meta Settings:
Title and Meta mean so much to Search Engines, let’s setup them in a right way.
It’s time to go to set the Title Separator (symbols which are shown in search results in the URL of your blog) Go to SEO>Titles & Metas> General and select the one symbol you would like to have in your URL slug.
Blog’s Front and Blog Posts Page Settings:
Homepage tab contains 2 links, first one is to edit the Meta Title, Meta Description and the keyword also for FrontPage and a second one is to edit the Meta Title, Meta Description and keyword for Blog Page (a page, which shows all the published blog posts).
- Meta Title: The Title of the Homepage or Website, you want to show in Google Search.
- Meta Description: The Description, which attracts the Search Engines to rank you better and it attracts users too.
Post Types Tab SEO Settings:
Here you’ll Finalize the SEO of your Posts, Pages and Media. There you’ll be configuring the Title template as shown in the image below, %%title%% means that the only Title of your Post, Page or Media will be showing in the search results (website name or any other thing will not repeat every-time).
Taxonomies & Archives based SEO settings:
In taxonomies and archives based settings, we’ll just define Index and Follow command to the Search Engines to index or not to index. By default, it follows and indexes your categories and tags in the Search results.
So here, you just need to go to SEO>Titles & Metas> Taxonomies and check the boxes says noindex, follow. It’ll command the Search Engines bots to only follow all the categories and tags, no to index them in search results.
And here, you can add noindex, follow to the author archives and date-based archives and you can disable the author archives and date-based archives too.
What you need to do here is just check the noindex, follow boxes only and leave the boxes commanding to disable the archives uncheck (I recommend to not to check the Disable archives boxes).
All you need to do here is just check all the boxes except Use meta keyword tag ?, for better SEO just ignore the Use meta Keyword tag option in the Yoast SEO plugin.
Social Optimization :
Here you can configure all your Social Media Profiles for better SEO results, it’ll show your Social in the Search results. As whenever someone searches your blog’s name it’ll show up your Social Media Profile too.
Yoast SEO WP plugin also offers Facebook Open Graph, a default image for posts you wanna share on Facebook and Twitter Meta Cards.
Social Learning Links (to dig deeper):
And don’t forget to set a default image for Posts and Pages you share on Facebook.
A sitemap is a file which contains a record of all the posts, pages, media, categories and tags. You need to Enable the XML Sitemap functionality SEO>XML Sitemaps and submit them to all the major Search Engines that support Sitemaps to help their bots to crawl the Every part of your Blog and list in the Search results.
You can check out all the settings there in XML Sitemaps, which allows you to take care of what you want to include in your sitemap.
Permalinks and Clean Up your Head Section:
You’ve configured your WordPress default Permalinks in Settings>Permalinks but Yoast SEO WP Plugin offers the advanced part of Permalinks.
Configure yours Permalinks settings as I’ve configured mine (Screenshot below).
Clean Up your Head Section:
Where you’re setting up your Permalinks settings, just scroll down there and select all the 4 boxes under Clean up the
<head> and click on save changes. As shown in the Screenshot below:
Internal Links (Breadcrumbs):
Breadcrumbs are very useful in SEO point of view, let Search Engines understand the structure of the blog or website. Before enabling make sure that your WP Theme supports Breadcrumbs if your theme doesn’t then check out the Official Guide for Breadcrumbs by Yoast (You’ll definitely understand).
Editor and Other Tools:
Yoast SEO plugin offers some great tools and here they are, Bulk Editor, File Editor, Import and Export. As I’ve already told you about Import and Export, which let you Import your already SEO plugin settings (Saves your time very much 🙂 ).
Now, moving on to Bulk Editor and File Editor, File Editor let you edit 2 important files robots.txt and .htaccess file. And, Bulk Editor is really an amazing tool there, it let you quickly edit your blog posts and pages Title and Description right from the one place.
As an example: As you want to change the description or title of 3 different blog posts, Bulk Editor always comes handy in that situation. Just go and edit all the posts meta values you want to edit, instead of editing the each separate post.
I hope the Complete Beginners guide helped you to set up the Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin. If you still have any questions please do let me know via comments or shoot a contact form.