If you run your website using WordPress platform then you must be familiar that It doesn’t have built-in features that would allow the admin to micromanage SEO aspects of a website in a convenient manner, such as page titles, meta tags, sitemaps, etc.
There are many SEO plugins that you may come across in the WordPress plugin directories. But, we recommend you to use Yoast SEO Plugin to optimize your WordPress website. This mega-popular plugin gets the job well done.
Undoubtedly, Yoast SEO Plugin is one of the best SEO tools available for the WordPress website users. We have been using this plugin since day 1 and always recommend to the new user as it’s quite easy to install and use. If you really care about your website’s performance in Search Engines and you haven’t installed it yet, this tutorial is for you.
In this tutorial, we are going to tell you, how to install and setup Yoast SEO Plugin for better performance.
How to install the WordPress SEO Yoast plugin
- Go to Dashboard > Plugins > Add New.
- Write WordPress SEO by Yoast in the Search box.
- Click the Install Now button.
- Post installation, you need to activate this plugin.
WordPress SEO Yoast plugin setting for 2018
Upon activation, you will find SEO section below the ‘settings option’. Click on that, you will get the different sub-section such as Dashboard, Title and Meta, Social and etc.
- Title and Meta
- XML Sitemaps
- Search Console
Now, we will go step-by-step to explain how to install and setup Yoast SEO Plugin for better performance in 2018.
The dashboard will look similar to the below screenshot. You don’t need to anything here as the plugin has not detected any problem and also there is no notification further.
Moving to the general tab, you can use this to quickly configure setup. However, we will go step-by-step to the other tab.
In the feature tab, you can select and use a number of features which are provided by Yoast SEO Team.
- Company Info
In this particular section, you have to add the website name, alternate name and company details. You can refer below the screenshot and add the information accordingly.
- Webmaster Tools
Here, you should add the Google Search Console, Bing and Yandex webmaster verification code.
If you don’t know how to get the Google, Bing and Yandex webmaster tools verification code then follow these steps: –
- Sign up for Webmaster Tools (Google Search Console, Bing & Yandex Webmaster tools)
- Use the “Html Tag” Option
- Copy the code and only select the text in the quotations
- Insert the code into Yoast “Webmaster tools”
- Save changes in Yoast
- Click “verify” on Webmaster tools
- Repeat on the other Webmaster tools
- Security Setting
Disable this feature, if you are running multiple authors blog/website otherwise enable this.
2. Title & Metas
This is an important setting section as it allows you to define the Title and Meta for your entire website including Home Page, Post Types, taxonomies and archives.
Enable the Force rewrite Tiles if you have duplicate sitenames in your page titles, else you can disable this feature.
Next, you are going to select the Title Separator for the entire site, which you find most suitable for yourself.
You can customise the Sitename and Homepage Title here. However, you would need to visit the front page if you use a custom page as your default WordPress page.
- Post Types
The ‘Post Types’ section will enable you to adjust how your post and page titles display in the search results. Once again we recommend adjust your ‘Title templates’ to reflect what’s shown in the image. The rest of the checkbox settings can be left as-is. When setting up post titles it’s recommended to have your post title first, followed by your site’s name. Any other information the title is just taking up space and potentially distracting your visitors.
- You will notice in below the screenshot that we have set the category to index. But make sure to add content specific to each category and don’t leave it just as a list of posts.
2. The search engine doesn’t like the duplicate content, therefore, we are not indexing tags.
3. Enable the format option, but don’t forget to noindex them.
This section will enable you to adjust the titles that are displayed for your archive pages, should you choose to enable them. You’ll notice a few different types of archives that are created by WordPress: author archives, date archives, special pages, and 404 pages.
To reduce the chances of duplicate content occurring we recommend setting ‘Author archives’ to Disabled and noindex. Same for the ‘Date archives’, which really don’t provide any value to the search engines.
Yoast SEO allows you to add the blog’s social media URL, so the search engine knows the right profile for your website.
Add all your social media account URL’s in the above boxes. It helps to add open Graph Data to your site.
On the Facebook tab you can configure your Facebook Open Graph meta data. This will give you more options for configuring your post for Facebook from within the WordPress editor. If you have a Facebook page you can even add your Facebook Admin to get extra insights about page traffic.
On the Twitter settings tab you can change how you would like the Twitter card to be displayed when you share a post. Choosing the ‘Summary with large image’, tends to get a much better conversion, than having just a title alone.
Pinterest uses the same Open Graph meta data, just like Facebook. You’ll need to have the Facebook meta information enabled for Pinterest to work. Once you do that you’ll have to confirm your site with Pinterest and you’re all set.
If you have a Google+ business page, then you can link to that profile here. Then, you can add your site’s URL to the about page of your Google+ profile.
4. XML Sitemaps
SEO Yoast plugin provides you XML Sitemaps features which automatically generates a sitemap for your site. So you don’t have to use another plugin for that.
To know more about sitemap you can consider reading our article ‘how to create sitemap for your website’. You can also refer our other articles to submit a sitemap to Google Search Console, Bing and Yandex Webmaster Tools.
If you enable the XML Sitemap setting, it will display the setting options. Now, let’s get deeper to feature and know the required settings.
You don’t need to do any changes here. Just click the save button. That’s all, the plugin will automatically generate the sitemap for your website.
- User Sitemap
Enable this option only if you have multi-author blog or website otherwise, let it be disabled.
- Post Type
Add Posts and Pages both in Sitemap and leave Media as not in sitemap.
- Excluded Post
Add Only Categories in Sitemap of your website and rest leave as ‘Not in sitemap’
In the advanced section, you will find the Breadcrumbs, Permalink Settings and RSS.
This feature is useful if you want to show your website structure into search appearance. Enable this feature and set ‘Bold the last page’ to Bold.
Next, Go to the Taxonomy and select Post type to the category. Leave other things as it is and save the setting.
- Permalink Settings
A. Strip The Category Base From The Category URL – This option removes the word “category” from your permalink structure. However, you should always remember that removing it can cause many of your URLs to change, so setting up a 301 redirect for each URL this affects is a good idea. But, if the URLs have lots of traffic and links, it’s good for you to leave them and NOT enable this feature.
B. Redirect Attachment URL’s To Parent Post URLs – This option allows you to set the image URL, PDF URL, or any file you upload to WordPress to the parent post. Enable this, if you want to redirect visitors to the parent post URL.
C. Remove Stop Words From Slugs – Don’t enable this feature. Sometimes, your permalink will look funny.
D. Remove The ?replytocom Variables – Enable this feature and set to removes. It will improve search engine crawling efficiency.
E. Redirect Ugly URL’s To Clean Permalinks – This option refers people to the correct URL if the user types incorrect letter or parameter. Depends on you if you want to use it or not, but we don’t recommend you to use.
This section doesn’t require any changes so leave it to the default setting.
In this section, you will find some powerful tools such as Bulk Editor, File Editor, Import and Export.
- Bulk Editor
This is useful if you want to edit the title tags and meta descriptions of all your blog posts without having to go each of them individually.
- File Editor
With File Editor tool, you can quickly change important files for your SEO, like your robots.txt and, if you have one, your .htaccess file.
- Import and Export
You can Import settings from other SEO plugins and export your settings for re-use on (another) blog.
7. Search Console
You can authorise Google Search Console to get the crawling error details of your website into Yoast SEO search console dashboard.
Yoast is a free WordPress SEO tools unless you need the additional feature such as Redirect Manager, Multiple Focus Keywords, Social Previews or Premium service support.
If you wish to get the Yoast SEO Premium, then it would costs you $69 annually.
The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is an open source initiative by Google that allows publishers to create mobile-friendly content which loads faster on mobile. And, Yoast provides SEO supports for the AMP version of your website as well.
You can go to the AMP section of Yoast to change the page design and also the pages on which AMP is enabled. Currently, AMP supports both posts and pages except the categories.
If errors pop up, you will see them in the Search Appearance >> AMP pages in Google Search Console.
You get this feature with Yoast SEO Premium. This tool helps you to fix crawl errors (broken pages) from Yoast’s Search Console tab. You just need to add the old URL and new URL or redirect to the most appropriate page. If you already have redirects from the Redirection Plugin or .htaccess, you can import these into Yoast.
Yoast’s redirect manager will automatically setup a redirect if you ever change a permalink.