This guide will help you to configure and utilize all the features of Yoast SEO plugin. In BlogRazor, I use the same plugin for SEO as it has lots of features and options. Whenever we talk about the best SEO plugin for WordPress, we come up with Yoast SEO plugin developed by Joost De Valk. It is one of the most complete pack of solution for your WordPress blog.
Now, lets take a view of some of the features we get after installing this plugin :
Submitting and verification of site in Alexa, Bing, Google and Yandex webmaster tools.
Import facility from All in One SEO.
robots.txt and .htaccess files editor.
XML Sitemaps generator.
RSS header-footer settings.
Google search snippet preview.
Post, taxonomies title and meta settings.
Permalink control and canonical support.
Focus keyword settings, meta robots configuration.
Hiding date from Google search results snippet.
Setting-up Yoast SEO plugin:
Now lets first install the plugin. For this go to Plugins->Add New and enter Yoast seo plugin in the search box. Install the plugin by Joost De Valk and click on Activate. After activation you will see an SEO option being activated in your Dashboard.
Its time for some configuration now.
Verifying your site in Search Engines:
The first step you would like to do is submitting and verifying your site to search engines like Google, Alexa, Bing and Yandex. You will find this in Webmaster tools option. For this go to SEO->General. This step allows you to list your site in search engines and to crawl and index your site. I will talk about indexing and crawling in detail in other posts.
Site submission is very easy, you just have to click on the link provided by each search engines at a time and sign-up. After sign up, it will ask you to verify your site by pasting a code or adding meta tags. Just copy the code and paste in the space provided.
Under Security tab, disable the advanced box. This will ensure that only you can change the advanced settings and not any other author.
Titles & Metas Setting:
This is the most important setting in this plugin. I will guide you with the setting for each tab under title and Metas setting option.
General Tab –
Under the general tab, you can change the title separator. This will be displayed, for instance, between your post title and site name.
When you see the homepage settings, the title template is filled by default as %%sitename%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitedesc%%. If you want your tittle and meta description to be fixed, you can always change it. After you make changes, click save. Whatever you want to show in Google search, you can write that in the title template.
Post Types –
In the Post Types, you will see the SEO settings of post, pages and media types. By default, the settings are different and you need to change a bit to ensure your SEO is optimised correctly. I recommend you to add only title variable as %%title%% in each template of posts, pages. If you have a news website or you update information daily or the information you publish is time based, you should select Date in Snippet Preview. This will show date in your Google result searches. In my case, I have disabled it because my content are informational and which will be useful for a long time. For the rest of the settings, just copy what I have done.
NOTE: The SEO plugin also adds an SEO meta description box below your post edit field. Here, you should manually enter title and description for each post for maximum SEO benefit. Otherwise, Yoast SEO will use the title as defined here and will automatically add description for the posts, pages you publish.
In taxonomies, you can change titles and Metas setting of categories, tags. Default template which is already there, is good for most of the sites. The same setting which I am following. Set Meta robots as noindex and Yoast SEO Meta box as Hide.
Under the Archive setting, we can change the title and Metas setting of author archive and date archives. It is good to leave the default template as it is. If you are the only Author of your blog, you should keep the author archive as Disabled. This helps in making your site free from duplicate content.
Set the subpages of archives to noindex and disable the use of meta keyword tags.
XML Sitemaps Setting:
The first thing you should do is to enable the XML sitemap functionality. Sitemaps are very essential for faster indexing of your site. You can have a look of your sitemaps by clicking on the sitemap tab which is highlighted in the image below. Yoast SEO adds sitemaps in WordPress very easily.
In User sitemap, Disable the Author/User sitemap.
For post types, Media attachment is by default Disabled in sitemap. In my settings, you can see that I have selected post and pages as In Sitemap. Save changes.
If you want to remove any post or page from XML sitemaps, you can do it by putting Post IDs in the given box under Excluded Posts Tab.
In Taxonomies, if you want to change the settings for categories, tags in sitemap, you can do it here.
Enable Breadcrumbs. You can also skip this but for better understanding about Breadcrumbs, go here.
I hope that you don’t confuse this with the permalinks setting under the setting option in WordPress. Here, we can change advanced permalinks settings. Remove stop words from slug for cleaner URL and select Keep in ?replytocom variables. Copy the rest from image below.
These were some of the most important and necessary settings after installing SEO plugin.
I hope that I have covered all the major aspects related to settings of SEO by Yoast plugin in WordPress. If you like this post or have any problem in settings, please leave a comment and I will try to help you out.