Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin-A Complete Guide

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the critical parts of any blog. It takes too much time in learning and understanding SEO step by step. In WordPress, Yoast a WordPress SEO plugin made it easy to every blogger to implement SEO tricks. It means, it will do 80% of your on page SEO work, rest 20% is yours.

In recent time, only setting up a blog is not everything. Tell me, what is the benefit of writing a blog if no one reads it? Nothing? Yoast SEO is that piece of software which will tell search engines, “Look, here are some great contents for your users”. Because Yoast ensures that you have written a quality and search engines friendly content. Google search engine loves quality contents. I’m sure, you will not miss the opportunity to be loved by Google.

Set up Yoast WordPress SEO plugin:

Yoast is a complete software for configuring SEO of any blog. It has many options to make your blog SEO enabled. Yoast by default does not show all options of configuration. You need to go on the dashboard of  SEO plugin and in features tab, you need to enable advanced settings pages. By default, Yoast uses its own settings.

Yoast advanced settings pages

After enabling this option many other useful configuration options will be activated like titles and meta descriptions, social metadata, sitemaps etc. Along with advanced settings, here you can enable and disable following features of Yoast SEO.

  • Readability Analysis
  • Keyword Analysis
  • OnPage.org (Rebranded as Ryte)
  • Admin bar menu
  • Cornerstone content

(The Cornerstone content functionality enables you to mark and filter cornerstone content on your website. It helps you to improve your site structure.)

In another tab, You can use the boxes to verify with the different Webmaster Tools. Enter meta to verify your blog in these search engines.

webmaster tools in yoast wordpress seo plugin

Titles & Metas – Yoast SEO Plugin:

Configuring Title & Meta is an advanced part of on page SEO. Here, you can set title separator of blog post URLs.

separators

At homepage tab, you can set title and description for your blog that how search engines will show it in their search results

homepage title

Post types in Yoast SEO:

I would advise you to use this section very carefully. No need to worry, only be cautious while choosing templates for your blog posts and pages’ meta. Although, you can set it manually and different for each of post and page. If you want to use default SEO plugin’s settings then I would advise you to refer help center of Yoast before doing any changes in templates. For my blog, I do it manually for each post and page.

post types

Meta Robots – Keep meta robots index.

Date in Snippet Preview – Keep it hidden, it will help you to keep your contents fresh every time. If you have news website then you can keep it show as news get changed every time and every day.

Yoast SEO Meta Box – Keep it show always. It shows you meta title and meta description box below of each post. You can set meta title and description manually for each post.

Also, keep same settings for pages and media. If you want to change you can.

Taxonomies And Archives:

Categories and tags are not important by the search engine’s point of view. Categories and tags are only for users to navigate your blog. It also depends on your blog and site’s nature. It totally up to you how you are running  SEO for your blog. I will not recommend these get indexed.

taxonomies

I keep categories and tags no-index for my blog. If I keep them index it creates duplicate contents for me in search results and it can impact my SEO badly. So I keep them no-index.

Author Archives:

Keep author archives noindex follow. The author archive will be exactly the same as your homepage. It can create the problem of duplicate contents.

noindex follow

If you keep archives disabled then it will redirect your author page to the homepage.

archive in yoast

Special Pages:

These pages will be noindex, follow  by default, so they will never show up in search results. Pages like ‘search pages’, ‘404 pages’ can impact your SEO if they get indexed in search engines. These pages are not adding any value for your blog.

special pages

Other Settings:

In the tab of other, set no-index subpages of archives. Pages like example.com/page/2/ are bad for SEO rankings of your blog. You can also enable keyword tag but there is no benefit of using meta keywords as now search engines are not using meta keywords.

other settings

Social Profiles In Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin:

Yoast also gives you an opportunity to use social links of your blogs. Yoast also lets search engines know that which social profile is associated with your blog. It also has an option to set Facebook Open Graph and Twitter Card for your blog.

social in yoast seo

Yoast XML Sitemap:

Yoast also gives an inbuilt function to create an XML sitemap for your blog. Just enable XML sitemap if not enabled. Set max entries in the sitemap and submit it the search engines like Google, Bing etc.

yoast sitemap

If you want to exclude any post from the sitemap, simply put post id in Excluded Posts section. Taxonomies are not important for search engines so it is a good idea to keep them not in a sitemap. These are only for internal site navigation. Again, it depends on nature of your blog/site. I don’t keep them in a sitemap. It up to you that what you feel suitable for your blog.

taxonomies sitemap

Breadcrumbs:

Breadcrumbs are good for user navigation and useful for search engines to understand the structure of your site. By default, it will be disabled in Yoast WordPress SEO plugin. If you want to use breadcrumbs keep enabled this option and save changes. That’s it.

breadcrumbs

Permalinks:

In this section, you can set URLs parameters for your blog. How should a URL be on your blog? You can remove default ‘Category’ word from URLs. You can also set parameters for replytocom (?replytocom).

Use Disallow: *?replytocom in the robots.txt file to prevent indexing of ?replytocom. It ?replytocom URLs get indexed can create a duplicate content and your site could be penalized by Google.

permalinks

RSS In Yoast SEO:

(Note: Below definition is taken from RSS section of Yoast as I found it easy to understand).

This feature is used to automatically add content to your RSS, more specifically, it’s meant to add links back to your blog and your blog posts, so dumb scrapers will automatically add these links too, helping search engines identify you as the original source of the content.

rss in yoast

Tools – Yoast SEO:

Yoast has some useful tools in this section.

  • Bulk Editor – In bulk editor, you can edit any posts and pages’ title and description without opening every posts and page in an editor.
  • File Editor– This is very useful, here you can directly edit a robots.txt file without logging in a control panel of your blog. You can also edit and update .htaccess file without struggling to find .htaccess file in cPanel of your blog.
  • Import And Export – Use this option to import WordPress SEO settings from another blog.

tools in yoast

You will get all these features free of cost. Of course, Yoast has its premium version as well. Premium version provides some advanced tools integrated with it. Premium version includes following features.

  • A redirect manager
  • Multiple focus keywords
  • Internal Linking
  • Insights
  • Social previews
  • Premium support

How does Yoast work while writing a post:

Yoast has some parameters to check SEO friendly post. It turns lights RED to YELLOW and finally GREEN if you meet all parameters of writing an SEO friendly post. Yoast also calculates the density of your keyword and also suggests you required things to use within post like images, internal links, external links etc.

It also checks the readability score. Google prefers good readability of contents.

yoast in post

Noindex-nofollow and social share:

In Yoast SEO plugin you can set any post noindex-nofollow per your requirement. It is good to set low quality pages noindex-follow like contact us pages, privacy policy etc.

Click on the gear icon on Yoast and set noindex-follow. By default, it will be index-follow.

dofollow nofollow in yoast

You can also set different Facebook and Twitter titles, descriptions and images by using Yoast.

Click on the social sharing button and fill details.

yoast social share

 

Conclusion:

Yoast WordPress SEO plugin is the best WordPress SEO plugin for everyone. You need not be worried for Free and Pro version. Free version also gives you a lot. If you are a beginner then only use Yoast, you will learn many things.

If you feel that some settings which I explained must be changed and that will be fruitful for SEO, please do share with me.

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