How to set up the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin

This Yoast SEO WordPress plugin setup will give you an advantage to rank higher in the search engines, and in this tutorial and review you will learn how to do it.

First, let me tell you that SEO WordPress plugins help you to work on the SEO of your website or blog, but keep in mind that plugins don’t do all the SEO work.

Like I said in this post: Search Engine Optimization Tutorial for Beginners, search engine optimization has two parts: on-page and off-page.

The SEO WordPress plugins help you with the on-page part, and that is all, you have to do the rest.

I am telling you this because I always hear this: I have this plugin but I am not ranking on Google, or, I paid $100 for this plugin but nothing, no traffic to my blog.

In this post, I will solve these problems by showing you how to set up the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin the right way.

This setup of the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin will help you to show Google what your blog or website is about, which will help with the index in the search engine.

The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is powerful with a good setup, and to help you achieve this I am going to show you my personal setup, which helps me have a good ranking on Google.

All the concepts that I am going to use in these posts are explained here: Search Engine Optimization Tutorial for Beginners

What is the Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin?

The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is a powerful tool that makes the technical SEO part easy for a webpage or blog. It also helps you to write good quality SEO content and improve your readability.

Features of the Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin has two versions: free and premium.

Both versions offer:

  • The possibility to improve your SEO title, meta description and the URL slug
  • You can preview how your post will look on Google mobile and Google desktop
  • Readability check
  • Keyword optimization and keyword check
  • Tips to optimize your post.

The premium version offers:

  • Optimization for related keywords
  • Internal linking suggestion
  • A redirect tool
  • Preview of your page and post in social media
  • Ad-free

In this post I will review the free version and the premium version of the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin.

I want to tell you that the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin only works on websites and blogs made in WordPress, so if you don’t have a blog, please read this post: How to start a blog: A great and practical beginner’s guide.

How to install the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin

Let me tell you that it is easy to install the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin in your blog or website.

The first thing you have to do is go to Plugins on your WordPress dashboard.

the technology savvy plugins wordpress dashboard

Then you have to go to Add new, click on Popular and you will see the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin.

the technology savvy add new popular yoast seo

Once you have found the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin, you click Install Now and that is it.

How to set up the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin

Before starting this part, I want to tell you that this configuration is a basic one, enough to tell the search engines that your website or blog exists and to start ranking.

Later in this post, I will show you my personal configuration that will help you with your ranking in the search engines.

Once the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is installed on your website or blog, it is time for the initial setup.

For that you have to go to the Dashboard and then to the Configuration Wizard.

The first part of the installation process is the environment.

the technology savvy yoast installation wizard enviroment

In this part you have to indicate if your website or blog is already online or is under construction.

Once you have selected either option A or option B, the second part is to indicate the Site Type.

the technology savvy yoast configuration site type

The third part is to indicate if your website or blog is an organization or person. You have to select wisely because this information will be used in Google’s Knowledge Graph Card, the big block of information you see on the right side of the search results.

If you choose organization, you will have to indicate the name of the organization, upload a logo and also indicate the social media URLs of the organization.

the technology savvy yoast configuration organization

But if you choose person, you only have to select a name.

the technology savvy yoast configuration person

The next part is important because you have to decide what content you are going to show on the search engines.

the technology savvy search engine visibility configuration

Next you will have to indicate if your site or blog has multiple authors, or if you are the only one. This is important to prevent duplicate content.

the technology savvy multiple authors configuration yoast

This part doesn’t look important, but it is important. You have to choose the separator you will use for your blog or website. The separator will display, for instance, between your post title and site name, and also you have to confirm the name of your website or blog.

the technology savvy title settings configuration yoast

That is all for the SEO part of the configuration wizard, the rest is just “advertising” of Yoast.

Ok, now I will show you my personal configuration of the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin.

General

In this part we have: Dashboard, Features, Integrations and Webmaster Tools.

On the dashboard you will find news about Yoast and notifications.

Features

Yoast has a lot of features that you can enable or disable.

This is my personal setup:

the technology savvy general features yoast

Let me tell you why:

SEO analysis: Yoast makes an on-page analysis and recommendations based on your keywords.

Readability analysis: This analysis tells you if your sentences are too long or short, if you are starting two consecutive paragraphs with the same word, etc.

I selected Off because I want to write comfortably without the pressure of getting the green light approval of Yoast.

Cornerstone content: Lets you categorize your most valuable content.

Text link counter: This feature counts the links on each post.

XML sitemaps: the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin will create an XML sitemap like this:

myblog.com/sitemap_index.xml

You will have to submit this link to Google Search Console.

Admin bar menu: Adds the Yoast dropdown menu to the WordPress dashboard.

Security – no advanced or schema settings for authors: This is to prevent authors from removing posts from search results or changing canonical URLs. With this security feature, only admins and editors can do that.

Usage tracking: If you choose On you’ll share datawith Yoast. I prefer Off to save server resources.

REST API: Head endpoint: You only have to select On if the front end of your website is not made on WordPress, but the back end is.

Enhanced Slack sharing: If someone shares the link of your website or blog on Slack, it will look nice.

Integrations

Yoast has integrations with other apps like SEMrush and Ryte.

Right now I have this option ON but I am not using SEMrush, and Ryte is integrated into the system. If your website or blog is not indexed on Google, you will see an alert on your WordPress dashboard.

the technology savvy integrations yoast configuration

Webmaster Tools

In this section you can verify your site with Google Search Console, Bing, Baidu or Yandex.

In another post I will show you how to verify your website or blog with Google Search Console and avoid this step.

the technology savvy search console verification yoast configuration

Search Appearance on Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

This part is important for you because here you set up how the search engines “read” your website or blog.

General

My configuration for this part:

the technology savvy search apperiance general yoast configuration

Ok, let me tell you this. Choosing the right title separator is important because you need space to show the name of your website or blog completely.

For example, for my blog I use a Hyphen: –

In the SEO title I put the name of my blog and a little description.

In the Meta description I write a more detailed description of my blog.

On Google, it looks like this:

the technology savvy serp result

Content Types

In this setting you will decide how your posts and pages will be shown in the results of the search engines.

Post

First let’s see the posts. This is my configuration:

the technology savvy post setup yoast configuration

Ok, let me explain to you my configuration.

You must select Yes under Show Posts in search results because you want your post to be shown in search engines.

Also, you must select Show in Show SEO Settings for Posts, because after you write your post you will have tools to do the SEO settings.

For SEO titles, I prefer this way: Title, Separator, Site title.

And in Meta description: Excerpt only

I prefer Excerpt only to Excerpt because you have more control.

Yoast says:

Excerpt: Replaced with the post/page excerpt (or auto-generated if it does not exist)

Excerpt only: Replaced with the post/page excerpt (without auto-generation)

Ok, but where is the Excerpt?

When you write a post in the right side, you will see the Excerpt.

the thechnology savvy excerpt yoast configuration

At the end of your post you will see the SEO options that Yoast gives you. It looks like this.

the technology savvy seo options posts yoast configuration

That is the way I select my SEO options because I want the search engines to show my post like this:

the technology savvy show results serp yoast seo settings

As you can see, Google shows the post the way I like it.

That is the reason why I recommend this post-set-up on the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin.

Now, for the Schema Settings, leave everything on default. You can change those settings in every page and in every post of your website or blog.

the technology savvy search appearance schema setting yoast settings configuration

Pages

For pages, it is the same configuration as with the posts.

My goal, in this tutorial for the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin, is that your website or blog can be read correctly by the search engines.

This is my configuration for pages:

the technology savvy search appearance pages yoast configuration

This is how the configuration looks on the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin:

the technology savvy pages seo setup yoast

In this case, I am showing you the SEO configuration for the about page of my blog.

To give the complete information about this page to the search engine, I have to do one more step.

For that I go to the option Schema and there in Page type I select the option About Page.

the technology savvy schema page yoast configuration

Trust me, this option is very important for search engines.

If you use that configuration, this is how your page will look on Google.

the technology savvy show page serp yoast configuration

Media

In this section, you have to select Yes because attachment URLs should not be shown in search engines, and be redirected to the default image URL.

the technology savvy media configuration yoast

Taxonomies

According to the dictionary, taxonomy is a particular system of classifying things.

In search engine organization, Taxonomy is the way a website organizes content and classifies its pages.

WordPress lets you classify your content by categories and by tags.

Categories

My recommendation for you is to think about how to divide the content into categories.

For example, ever since I started this blog, the content has been divided into five categories.

As you can see, in my blog every category has its own description, the description I want the search engines to read.

the technology savvy categories description yoast configuration

My categories setup.

the technology savvy categories setup yoast seo configuration

Remember to use Excerpt only, as with this option the search engines will show what you write.

This is how it looks on Google:

the technology savvy categories show google serp yoast setup

Tags

I am going to tell you the truth: I don’t use tags. This is because:

  • Tags rarely rank in search engines.
  • If the tags rank, it can duplicate content.

But if you want to use tags, here is a good configuration:

the technology savvy tags category urls yoast configuration

You can see that there is one more option: Category URLs. Leave that on Keep, as it helps with SEO.

Archives

For me, this was a very tricky part. Let me tell you the reason.

WordPress by default makes a list of all posts by author and by date. This can be useful for you if you want to find a post.

If you are going to use the list, my recommendation is to not show it to the search engines, because that way you will avoid duplicate content.

If you are not going to use the list, just disable it.

Special Pages

In this part, you can customize the message in case your reader finds a missing post or page (error 404).

the technology savvy archives setting yoast configuration

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs help to show the hierarchy in your website or blog.

the technology savvy example of breadcrumbs

Many themes have the option to enable breadcrumbs with just one click, like the theme I use. You can read about it here: Schema Theme Review: A Fast and SEO Friendly Theme for You.

But if the theme of your website on WordPress doesn’t have breadcrumbs, Yoast can do it for you.

You just need to have this configuration:

the technology savvy breadcrumb configuration yoast Yoast SEO WordPress setup

And paste this code in the header.php

<?php

if ( function_exists(‘yoast_breadcrumb’) ) {

  yoast_breadcrumb( ‘<p id=”breadcrumbs”>’,'</p>’ );

}

?>

RSS

This part is also important because it is easy to steal your content. With this configuration, if someone wants to use your content, you will appear as the author.

the technology savvy rss Yoast SEO WordPress setup

Social

Here you have two options.

If in the configuration wizard you selected that your website or blog is for a company, you will have the option to include your organization social profiles.

the technology savvy organization social profiles Yoast SEO WordPress setup

But if you selected a person, you won’t have that option.

the technology savvy social appearance person Yoast SEO WordPress setup

Now, let me tell you about the social media configuration.

With Yoast, you can control how to share your content on Facebook and Twitter.

For example, in every post you can upload a featured image.

Maybe that image will be good for WordPress but not for Facebook. With Yoast, you can change that image, the title and the description.

the technology savvy social configuration facebook Yoast SEO WordPress setup

And it’s the same with Twitter.

the technology savvy social configuration twitter Yoast SEO WordPress setup

The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is a powerful tool that helps you have the control to share your content on social media.

I will show you my configuration for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

For Facebook:

The Technology savvy facebook settings Yoast SEO WordPress

As you can see, the configuration is a standard one.

For Twitter:

the technology savvy twitter setup Yoast SEO WordPress configuration

For Pinterest:

the technology savvy pinterest setup Yoast SEO WordPress configuration

The configuration to have your Pinterest confirmation code must be done on Pinterest.

Tools of Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin gives you great tools in its free version.

the technology savvy Yoast SEO WordPress tools

Import and Export

With this tool, you can import the information of other SEO plugins to Yoast or export the information of Yoast to other SEO plugins.

File editor

In the file editor you will find the robot.txt file. In the robot.txt file you have to add your sitemap manually, like this:

the technology savvy robot txt Yoast SEO WordPressconfiguration

It is very important that you add your sitemap so the robots can read it.

Bulk editor

Here you can change the titles of your posts and the meta descriptions of your posts.

the technology savvy bulk editor Yoast SEO WordPress setup

And that is all the configuration in the free version of the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin.

Conclusion about Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is a powerful tool that will help you with on-page SEO.

Remember that using the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is just a part of your SEO efforts, but the plugin needs a good configuration.

Remember that the search engines love fast loading times. My recommendation is that you read this post:  WP Rocket Review: The right tool to speed up your site, and this post: A CloudWays Review. 6 reasons to use the best hosting service.

SEO is a discipline that can give you great results.

You can read about the premium version of Yoast here: Yoast SEO Premium. Is it worth it?

FAQs

What is Yoast?

Yoast is a WordPress plugin that makes easy the configuration of on -page SEO easy.

Is Yoast any good?

Yes. Yoast is a good plugin for SEO because it lets you configure the technical part of SEO very easily, and it is free.

Is the Yoast plugin free?

Yes the Yoast SEO WordpPress pPlugin is free, but it also has a premium version.