How to Use Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress Website Optimization
The performance of your web-based business depends upon its visibility on different search engines. To increase the ranking of a website, you have to use different SEO tricks. While optimizing a website for search engines and people, you make several mistakes too. It can affect the performance of your site in a negative way.
When it comes to WordPress sites, a good number of people use Yoast SEO plugin to perform different SEO activities properly. Therefore, in this article, we have tried to explain the necessary settings and main use of this plugin. Just have a quick overview of this write-up and learn to use this plugin without any fuss.
A Word of caution
You must always remember that Yoast SEO can’t be a replacement for SEO strategies formulated by SEO professionals. It will not be helpful in keyword research, backlinks, and performing different SEO activities.
It provides you a template so that you can format titles and place keywords in posts correctly. Therefore, you should do keyword research yourself. Keyword tool in Google Adwords can be a big help here. It is always important for you to configure this plugin accurately on your site to make the most use of it. On several occasions, the default installation of this plugin is not suitable for many websites. So, you need to edit the settings as per your needs to gain the maximum benefits.
1. Install Yoast on your Site
First of all, you should install and activate Yoast SEO plugin on your site. To do so, go to Plugins > Add New and type Yoast SEO in the ‘Search Plugins’ box.
Click on ‘Install Now’ option and wait for the plugin to get installed on your website. Once the installation process is completed, click on ‘Activate Plugin’ icon. Upon activation, the plugin will start appearing in your site’s admin bar with Yoast SEO logo.
2. Import data from other plugins
If you are already using another WordPress SEO plugin on your site, you should import all of your previous data to this plugin before deactivating the previous plugin. It will help you to use this plugin up to a great extent. To transport the data, you can use SEO Data Transporter plugin. In case, you are setting this plugin on a new blog/website, then avoid this step.
3. General settings
In this section, you should add a company/blog name in the Company Info section and attach its logo. The logo you upload is used in specific searches in Google Knowledge Graph. In case, you use webmaster tools, add the verification codes in the Webmaster Tools tab.
In the Security tab, you can allow your co-authors to access the advanced options of the Yoast SEO settings for specific pages available on your site. You should use this option only when you have full faith in your co-authors and you believe that they will not make changes to the settings to drive benefits to their own sites by exploiting your site.
The OnPage.org is for checking the indexing of websites. By default, it is set to “enabled”. Don’t alter this as you will face problems in getting your site indexed by search engines.
4. Titles & Metas
Here, you can change Titles and Metas as per your needs. This section has many tabs-
The default option in this section is the dash. You should select a symbol you wish to use as a separator between the lines. Don’t disable readability and keyword analysis tab as they help in your SEO efforts.
B. Homepage Title
In this section, you can create a template to display the title on the homepage. Make all the necessary changes (such as adding site name, description, separating symbols, etc,) here. In case, you are using a static homepage, you can edit your homepage/blog page and can add title and meta descriptions easily by visiting the related links.
C. Post Types
WordPress has a number of post types like post, page, attachment, navigation menus and revisions. You can have your custom post types if needed. With the help of Yoast SEO, you can easily add titles and metadata to a post, media, pages and other types of posts.
If you forget to add a title and meta description for a particular post, then the plugin automatically adds the site-wide title and meta description for that post. Just leave the description fields blank for all post types and make use of the post title as per the title template. You should add a title and description for each post manually to maximize the output of your SEO exercise.
In this tab, you can set titles and meta for tags, categories, post format archives and custom taxonomies. Always remember that Yoast SEO automatically picks descriptions of your tags and categories. In case, there are no description categories, custom taxonomies, tags, then it will not add meta description for all these terms.
On this tab, you find the title and meta settings for search, 404 pages, author and date archive pages. Here, you should disable archives in case you are running a single author blog as your main blog and author archives are almost the same content. By doing so, you can thwart the content duplication issue.
This tab has some additional settings such as Yahoo directories for your pages, taking descriptions from Dmoz. Don’t change the settings if you are not sure about them.
Here, you should add the URLs of the social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Myspace. All these will impact your SEO strategy. So, you should perform this activity carefully.
6. XML Sitemaps
An XML Sitemap helps search engines to visit a website easily and index it quickly. With Yoast SEO plugin, you can easily create the XML sitemap for your website. First of all, you must enable XML Sitemaps in the plugin. Now, click on the “User Sitemap” option and disable author/user sitemap options.
In post types tab, you can disable any post type you want to add in Sitemaps. Always keep in mind that, Yoast SEO disables Media Attachments from Sitemaps by default. Move on to taxonomies tab and repeat the same process. If you don’t want to include any taxonomy in Sitemaps, you may keep that out here. Now save the changes you have made.
A “breadcrumb” is just like a secondary navigation that helps users to navigate easily while browsing a website or web application. Just keep the breadcrumbs settings in enabled mode. You can set breadcrumb setting on your site either by editing the PHP code in your site’s theme or using a WordPress plugin
This section allows you to edit the default permalinks and make them more user-friendly. The plugin also allows you to exclude the category base from the URL, helping you to keep the URLs clean. You can use the “redirect” option in case you want to redirect the parent URLs to a new post.
9. RSS feeds
Content scrapers use RSS feeds to distribute the web content easily to visitors and subscribers. By using the Yoast SEO, you can easily add links to your RSS feeds and give more exposure to your content.
10. Search Console
You can add Google’s webmaster tools to your site using Yoast SEO plugin and verify its ownership.
Just click on “Get Google Authorization Code”. You are redirected to Search Console website. You get a code there. Just copy that code and paste in plugin settings to finish the verification process. As soon as you complete the verification, you need to select a profile. Once you choose your site from the drop-down menu, Yoast SEO will get Search Console data into WordPress. You can also find crawling errors to your website here. You should eliminate them to get your site easily get indexed by search engines.
11. Yoast SEO Premium
If you want to use a lot of redirections on your site, you can use the premium version of Yoast SEO. It comes with the redirect manager which allows you to choose the redirection types, create redirections to your .htaccess file, import redirects from your .htaccess file. Furthermore, you get 13 different tutorial videos which help you to learn how to use Yoast SEO perfectly.
Armed with the above-mentioned knowledge, you can optimize your WordPress site very well using the Yoast SEO plugin and can achieve the desired results easily in short span of time.
Tracey Jones is a certified WordPress developer at HireWPGeeks Ltd., a leading wordpress website development company with a global reach. She uses to write useful tutorials on WordPress and socialize it different social media platforms. You can follow her social networks: Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.