Getting your website to rank higher in search results is very important for its growth and success. WordPress, being one of the best content management systems in terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), does a lot of work to give you that result. But to add more advanced SEO options to push your website further up in rankings, most of us make use of the Yoast SEO plugin. Yoast SEO plugin is by far one of the best SEO plugins available for WordPress and this article shows steps to install and setup WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
Install and Setup WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast
Step 1: Install and activate the plugin
As the first step of the process, download the latest version of the Yoast SEO plugin from the official WordPress website. Upload the downloaded folder to the /wp-content/plugins directory to complete the installation process. Activate the plugin from the dashboard’s plugins menu and you are good to go.
Step 2: Configuration of the general settings
Once the plugin is active, the next step is to configure it with the best settings to suite your website’s SEO needs.
To start the configuration, select ‘SEO’ from your dashboard menu and then select ‘General’ from the drop down menu as shown above which will navigate you to the screen given below.
The general tab will allow you to take a tour of the plugin to learn about its features and capabilities. In addition, it also provides the option of restoring the default settings of the plugin.
- Your Info
Information regarding your website such as the website name, an alternative name and whether the website is run by a company or an individual can be provided in this section. This information is used by search engines and is displayed when your website appears in search results.
- Webmaster Tools
Webmaster Tools allows webmasters to view the indexing of their sites and to optimize their visibility in different search engines. Once you have registered your website in each of these consoles, you can add the verified Meta values of Alexa, Bing, Google and Yandex to this tab.
This tab contains only one option which lets you disable the advanced part of the WordPress SEO metabox. It is recommended to keep this option enabled because if disabled, your authors and editors will be able to redirect, noindex posts and change the canonical.
Step 3: Configuration of Titles and Metas
Selecting the ‘Titles and Metas’ menu item from SEO will lead you to the screen given below which will allow you to change the title and Meta settings of your website’s pages, posts etc.
The General tab gives the option of selecting the separator symbol used in your title whereas the Homepage tab lets you have a title template and a Meta description for your homepage. Similarly the Post Types tab gives the option of customizing the title templates and Meta descriptions of pages, posts and media and the Taxonomies tab gives similar options for categories and tags of your website. However, it is recommended to add titles and Meta descriptions to each and every one of your individual posts from the SEO Meta box which is found in post editing section as well for better SEO results.
The archives tab also serves a similar purpose, giving the option of customizing titles and Meta descriptions of author archives, date archives and special pages like search and 404.
Step 4: Configuration of social accounts
Clicking on ‘Social’ from the SEO dropdown menu will bring you to the following screen, the sole purpose of which is to help search engines to identify the social profiles related to your website.
The first tab named accounts provides you space to enter the URLs of your social accounts or pages that should be linked with your website. Then there are special tabs dedicated to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ which has advanced customization options for each of those social networks.
Step 5: XML sitemaps
The first step here is to enable the XML sitemap functionality. Then you can define the maximum number of entries for the sitemap in the General tab. The User Sitemap tab lets you enable having user archive URLs in your sitemap. You can select and deselect the types of posts and taxonomies displayed using the Post Types and Taxonomies tabs. As an additional measure if you ever find the need of removing individual items from the sitemap, the option is provided in the Excluded Posts tab.
Step 6: Configuring Advanced, Tools and Search Control settings
As the name implies, the Advanced section has some advanced options such as adding breadcrumbs, permalinks and RSS to your website. Keeping the default settings unchanged will be enough to have breadcrumbs for your website but it’s also open to customization. The Permalinks tab and RSS tab also gives you many customization options to increase the effectiveness of your site’s SEO.
The tools offered by Yoast SEO has advanced functionality and should only be used by experts in the plugin.
- Search Console
The main purpose of the Search Console tab is to connect your website to Google search console tools. Adding the Google authorization code and clicking on authenticate will retrieve your search console data to the website.
Once you are done with the above mentioned configuration options, you are ready to add posts and manage your website as required. You will be able to witness the benefits of the Yoast SEO plugin for the growth and popularity of your website in no time.