SEO is the most important factor for WordPress blog or any website and WordPress SEO By Yoast provides complete SEO solution for WordPress Blog. In this tutorial we learn how to install and setup WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast. This tutorial covers beginner’s guide to WordPress SEO by Yoast.
Why Do we Prefer WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast?
It is one the best Plugin we have ever found for WordPress Blog. It is best because of its great features. It provides almost every need for SEO. We were using other SEO plugins for our blog. But by observing so many features of this plugin, we decided to move into it.
How to Install and Setup WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast?
Go to Plugins > Add New. Type “WordPress SEO“. It will be on first called “WordPress SEO by Yoast“. Click “Install Now” and activate the plugin. Once you have activated this plugin, you will see setting options for this plugin like below.
There are 9 tabs for setting. Each tabs contains multiple features. We will completely learn step by step how to setup these features.
Step 1: Dashboard
Dashboard contains 4 options.
At general you can take a tour prepared by Yoast to learn more about this plugin. You can also reset old settings if you want to have it anytime.
The plugin asks for tracking. The plugin author will receive data from your site as what other plugins or themes you are using. Unchecked it if you do not want to be tracked. (We have unchecked it).
This options helps us to disallow authors and editors to redirect posts, noindex them and do other things that can create problems for us in future. (We have checked it).
4: Webmaster Tool
At this option you can provide your webmaster verified meta values for Google, Bing or Alexa.
Lets take a look in the picture below what settings we have followed.
Step 2: Titles & Metas
On this tab you will find 5 other sub tabs.
On this tab we can see Title Setting, Sitewide Meta Setting and Clean up the <head>. Title Setting is usually unchecked. Under Sitewide Meta Setting we select first two options. At first option we see ““. We have it checked because we do not want our pages archives to be indexed like this “/page/2/”. (You can leave it unchecked if you do not want this). Secondly we have checked Meta keywords tag so our meta keywords should be used by Search engines to show up the result related to our meta keywords in search. While we have left two other options unchecked. Under Clean Up the <head> section you can hide RSD Links, WLW Manifest Links, short links of your post or RSS links.So we have covered the setting under General Tab like the picture below.
At home tab we can define our site main title, meta description and meta keywords. By default it shows some recommended variables like %%sitename%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitedesc%%.
%%sitename%% — Using this will show your site name.
%%page%% — Using this will show your Page Title.
%%sep%% — Using this creates a separator like ( – ).
%%sitedesc%% — Using this will show site description on title bar.
How ever these pre-defined templates are suggested by plugin but we can change and write it how we want like below.
3. Post Types
WordPress SEO Plugin allows us to set custom Post, Page and Media Title, Description and Keywords. By default it shows values like %%title%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%%.
%%title%% —Using this will show Post/Page/Media Title in Search Engines.
%%page%% — Using this will show your Page Title.
%%sep%% — Using this creates a separator like ( – ).
%%sitename%% — Using this will show your site title after ( – )
We recommend using only %%title%% template here so that only our title should appear in Search Engines only. Additionally we have some other template values which we can use in meta keywords template.
%%focuskw%% — Using this will be for the purpose of focused keywords used while creating post.
%%tag%% — Using this will be for the purpose for tags.
%%category%% — Using this will be for the purpose for categories.
All these template help Search Engine to focus on focused keywords, tags and category while crawling to post or page.
WordPress SEO Plugin allows us to set custom categories, tags and format titles for search result. We have set %%term_title%% (here %%term_title%% will be used to show for search term user type on search engines) so our titles will only be shown when people are searching related to our categories. For tags and Format we have set no index as we do not want our tags or formats to be indexed by search engines.
In other tab, we can set search terms for Author, Date Archives and for Special Pages. If you are running a blog having only one author we recommend noindex for author. We have also set Date Archives to noindex. It is to prevent duplication of our posts in search engines.
Step 3: Social
Under this tab we can find settings for Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
Under Facebook tab we can setup the following settings. There is a check box named “If you check it, it will help Facebook to find the best thumbnail and post description for your posts shared on Facebook. Secondly if you a Facebook page, you can put your Page URL here. In Front Page setting, you can use an image and description to show when there is no match for your shared posts on Facebook, Facebook will pick these information. Also in Default settings we can set an image which will be used if the post/page being shared does not contain any images. See the settings below we have followed.
Under Twitter tab we can give our twitter account name. We can also
Under Google+ tab we can give our Author for Home Page and Google+ Page URL. WordPress SEO Plugin also adds fields in Your Profile page. Make sure that you have setup the same link to there as well. Next is to verify our authorship for our profile/page. In the last we have to give our website URL in the about section of our page/profile.
When we have verified our authorship for our page and update link of our blog/website to our profile/page about section, Google will show search results like this in the search engine.
Step 4: XML Sitemap
Under XML Sitemap all the setting goes for our XML Sitemap. XML Sitemaps are the fastest ways to get your WordPress Blogs get indexed by Search Engines. XML Sitemaps notifies search engines about the contents of our website/blog. Under this tab we can set XML Sitemap to be automatically generated by WordPress SEO Plugin. B y default WordPress SEO pings Google and Bing to notify when there is a fresh post published on your WordPress Blog, however we can check for Yahoo and Ask.com as well to get them notified. There are also some other settings for User Sitemap (Authors). If you are running a single author blog, check it disabled or else leave it as it is. Next you can select what type of post should be excluded from Sitemap. We have disabled media attachment. We can also do settings for Taxonomies. In the last we can limit entries per page for XML Sitemap. See an image below.
Step 5: Permalink Settings
At this option, we can set our Permalinks Settings for Search Engines.
At First option we can set our category url to show only category name and does not contain category on url. In UiTechBlog, when you click on any category link, it will not show “category” in url because we have checked it. If you do not want this you can leave it unchecked.
Secondly we can force WordPress to add a trailing slash “/” on url.
Thirdly we can remove stop words from slugs. This will help to create cleaner url.
Fourth we can Redirect attachment URL’s to parent post URL. By this we can redirect attachment URLs to parent post.
Fifth we can remove ?replytocom variables. If you have a large WordPress Blog having lots of comments, this option will help search engine to crawl efficiently your blog.
Sixth we can Redirect ugly URL’s to clean permalinks. Well it is also Not recommended in many cases! as said by Yoast. People make mistakes, or unwanted parameters are added to the end of your URLs, this helps to redirect them all away. But may create some problems.
In the last we can force Canonical. If you have a blog that runs under http or https, you can force as to which conical should be loaded by this option. If you do not have https, we recommend to leave it as it is. In the picture below, have a look on settings we have followed.
Step 6: Internal Links
Under this tab we can manage Breadcrumbs Settings. Breadcrumbs are Internal Linking to our post page like this.
This is called breadcrumbs. It is useful for searches. Search Engines displays these breadcrumbs as above. Under this tab we can Separator between breadcrumbs, Anchor Text for the Home Page, Prefix for Breadcrumbs, Also for Archives and 404 Pages. These breadcrumbs are not shown in search engines but on the pages. Only Post Breadcrumbs are shown in searches. These settings (breadcrumbs) are shown where we add breadcrumbs code in our theme which are on the same page. To get breadcrumbs work, we also need to install Yoast Breadcrumbs Configuration.
Step 7: Internal Links
WordPress SEO plugins provides a feature which automatically adds content to RSS. Variables are available to use as how post should appear in our RSS. You can use it as you need.
Step 8: Import & Export
At this plugin this provides us the facility to import and export our seo settings. We can import settings from other plugins like if we had been using All in One SEO, this plugin can import settings from this and after doing these settings, as a backup we can export our setting for future need. Simply click “Export Setting” to get a zip file containing settings. In the same way we can browse file and “Import Setting”.
Step 9: Edit Files
WordPress SEO Plugin allows to edit .htaccess file through this option. If you like to edit your .htaccess file, you can edit right from here.
This is all about basic guidance about Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin that we think are best for beginners. However expert can do what they like. It is not most recommended settings, it is about what we follow for our blog. You can optimize at your own wish. If you have any question, feel free to ask in comments. I hope this tutorial helped you to understand basic methods to follow, optimize and setup WordPress SEO By Yoast plugin in your blog.