On Page SEO is obviously the primary and most important thing you need to take care of while starting a blog. For the same reason, there are many recommended plugins you can use such as WordPress SEO by Yoast, All in One SEO, etc. Out of the lot, WordPress SEO by Yoast is one of the most widely used plugins with numerous advanced settings and flexibility.
There are many bloggers who already use this plugin on their sites, but only a few know completely about the customization it provides. A number of bloggers asked me about the various important settings one needs to do after installing the SEO Yoast plugin, and this question might be raised by many out there as well. So, I decided to write an article about the complete guide on WordPress SEO by yoast plugin; its installation and perfect setup.
Titles and meta description on every post
Verify site in Bing, Alexa, Google and other webmaster tools
Google search result snippet preview
Title and meta settings
Focus keyword testing
Hide RSD, WLW, Shortlinks from head
Google Sitemap generation
Advanced permalink control
RSS footer / header configuration
.htaccess and robots.txt editor.
XML News Sitemaps
Hide date from Search engine snippets
Guide to Install, Setup and Fully Configure WordPress SEO By Yoast Plugin
1. Installation and Basic Setup
Firstly you need to install the plugin as you usually do. Activate the plugin and you will be able to see a new tab on your dashboard “SEO”, with logo as shown in the image below. Navigate to the SEO tab >> Dashboard and you will see various options on its dashboard. Here you will find webmaster tools, at this section you can add your alexa, bing, google webmaster tools IDs.
2. Titles & Meta Settings
This is the most important part of the plugin where all the major settings will be done. You will find 5 tabs in total and let us see each one in detail.
First, you will find the Title Settings with the option “Force rewrite titles” which will let you forcibly rewrite the title of each of your posts or pages.
Next is the Sitewide meta settings which contains 4 options. Tick the first one, which is ‘Noindex subpages of archives’. This will block indexing of /page/3 page which will help you in proper SEO of your site.
Also tick the ‘Use meta keyword tag’. Most of you might be knowing the use of it, Google no longer considers this but other search engines do. Ignore the other two options available.
Clean up the <head> tick all the options available, which will keep your blog head section clean by hiding information such as shortlinks, WLW links etc.
#2. Home tab
In the home page tab, you need to mainly take care of title and meta description. I recommend you to use %%sitename%% – %%sitedesc%% for the Title template. Add meta description and meta keywords template in the text areas.
The below is an example of our blog.
#3. Post Types
This tab is to maintain proper titles and meta tags for posts, pages and media. Here are the various things you need to do. Follow the settings which are shown in the images below.
The above settings are not mandatory, but are helpful to your blog’s SEO if done properly. There is not much to understand in this, its very clear and easily understandable.
Taxonomies tab is almost similar to the previous tab, expect that here it refers to the categories and tags. I generally prefer categories as index and tags as noindex. The other options are optional, you can change them according to the blog’s SEO. Make sure you know what you are doing before making any changes, because one wrong step can vastly effect your site.
3. Social Settings
Here you can configure various social settings of your blog and link it up with social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and G+. You can add Facebook open graph meta data, know and track Facebook insights and admins. Under the Twitter tab, you can add Twitter card meta data to your site’s <head> section. Similarly, you can also add Google+ specific post meta data to your site as well.
4. XML Sitemap
You can also create an XML Sitemap by using the plugin. I recommend you to check this option if you are already not using any other plugin for sitemap creation.
5. Permalink Settings
Here you can configure the permalink settings. Just follow the settings as shown in the image:
6. Internal Links
This tab is used to take control of the Breadcrumbs. You can either enable or disable the breadcrumbs as per your site’s requirement. Breadcrumbs usually help for easy navigation of your website and also the search engine for better indexing of the pages. If you want to enable it, check the option and then copy the code given at the bottom and add it to the template.
The plugin also enables you to customize your RSS also. You can add content such as Author’s archive page’s link, Post’s link, Blog/website’s link and blog description to put before and/or after the post. I just simply add “The post %%POSTLINK%% appeared first on %%BLOGLINK%%.” along the Content to put after each post in the feed option.
8. Importing SEO Data from Earlier SEO Plugin
If you are using any existing SEO plugins such as All-in-one SEO Pack (New/Old), HeadSpace 2 etc., you can import the previous settings to this plugin. You can do it by navigating to the Import & Export tab and import the settings from the existing options available.
Let us know if you are having any doubts in your comments and we will get back to you shortly.