Many users have the misconception that the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast will increase their website’s traffic but they are completely wrong. The importance of installing the WordPress SEO plugin is to give you a hint if your keyword distribution in your posts is good enough or not, without top quality content it won’t help you at all.
Also, it adds some powerful tweaks to your sites like Canonical, Structured Data Markup, Snippet Preview, and many more features that may improve your site presence in search results only when you used it correctly.
At the same time, you have to know it’s not the magical stick that boosts your traffic in one day once you installed, improve your website’s rank and get more organic traffic from search engines nowadays are depends entirely on amazing top quality content and visitor pleased that appear in their actions on your site and how much they are moving between your pages to get more useful information. So, it’s not just one click button to increase your traffic.
How to Install WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast
WordPress SEO by Yoast will give you a great suggestions for how to write quality content to improve search engine optimization for your site. In the following wordpress seo plugin tutorial, i will guides you through installation and configuration step by step of this great plugin.
- Open your site dashboard and go to Plugins -> Add New
- Type in search box “WordPress SEO”
- Once “WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast” box appear click on install button
- Activate the plugin through the Plugins menu in WordPress
- Close tour popup windows to stop annoying while configure it
How to Configure WordPress SEO Plugin for Maximum Optimization
You need to focus while configure and setup this plugin to prevent any mistakes that may hurt your site rank in future. WordPress SEO has 6 essential tabs plus Extensions tab which include many other SEO plugins products for the same developer.
- Titles & Metas
- XML Sitemaps
#1: General Settings – WordPress SEO
Introduction Tour: If you would like to bring popup tour windows again that we already closed above, just click on “Start Tour” button but i don’t like it because its really annoying.
Latest Changes: in this tutorial we are working on version 2.2.1. So, if you need to see the most recent updates changes in WordPress SEO by Yoast just click “View changes” button.
Restore Default Settings: If you feel that you made any something wrong in your plugin setting then hit “Restore Default Settings” button to restore your site to the default settings.
If you have a company brand name and would like to upload a logo and add an alternate name, the company info tab will help you with that.
Its not good idea to verify your site through 3rd party sites on webmaster tools, its better to verify through original Google Webmaster Tools Page
Keep it as it is checked because you don’t want a mess on your site by editors or authors as those advanced features won’t be necessary. (i don’t know why Yoast add this check box if it always is checked)
#2: Titles & Metas – WordPress SEO
This is the most important setting in WordPress SEO, it will give you full control of meta title and meta description in every section of your site. This improves your SEO if you set it right.
There are many users who like to enable the “Force rewrite titles” option because it cleans up their pages titles by overrides the default theme settings but there is many others had a lot of issues when they enabled and messed up by opposed the order of titles. So, i recommended checking your page title before and after installing the plugin or/and enabling this feature.
Title Separator has nothing to do with SEO at all but its nice add by Yoast, most of users like pipe | separator but its always left to webmaster preference.
Write the best title and description for your homepage is a critical factor for search engine optimization, it should contain most important keywords to tells the search engines and visitors what is your page about.
Relevant optimized title and description tags will increase CTR (click through rate) because it will generate perfect Rich Snippets in search results
Also you should check this tutorial for The Best Ways for Meta Description Optimization
Post Types and Taxonomies
Yoast made a great job here by giving you full control of everything posts, pages, tags, and even the option to noindex by meta robots tags in the head to fit your needs.
Its highly recommended to NOT write any description for posts or pages, etc because it will generate duplicate description issues which are too bad for your SEO. You may add a unique description later for each post and page in their setting, also DON’T check the meta robots box because this will de-index everything you touch.
You should leave everything as default in these settings same as the Taxonomies tab.
Another great option to prevent duplicate content for author archive by meta robot de-index, also change the titles for search pages and 404 page (Thanks a Million Yoast)
WordPress by default generates paginated (page2/page3/page3/etc) when you set the maximum limit for the “Blog pages show at most” setting in your WordPress, but these archive pages have exactly the same as your homepage which leads to the duplicate content problem.
Enable “Noindex subpages of archives” is the simplest and perfect way to exclude these archive pages from search results and clean your index structure.
- You don’t need meta keywords tag anymore as Yoast suggested, so keep it unchecked
- Add noodp meta robots tag to prevents search engines from using the DMOZ description
- Add noydir meta robots tag to prevents search engines from using the Yahoo! directory description
#3: Social – WordPress SEO
If you have already added your site URL to social media profile pages, then you don’t need an account tab setting.
Check box for “Add Open Graph metadata” and “Add Twitter card meta data” options will help Facebook and Twitter to grab the correct data like descriptions or titles when you shared your content on them.
It’s up to you to connect them or not, but they are not necessary for any SEO experience.
#4: XML Sitemaps – WordPress SEO
Its a great idea to integrate build in XML Sitemaps for SEO to give more power for this amazing plugin. Once you check the box at SEO -> XML Sitemaps setting, it automatically creates XML sitemaps and notifies Google and other search engines of the sitemaps updates.
But i always prefer Google XML Sitemaps because it’s been supported and active for over nine years and rated as the best XML Sitemap WordPress plugin.
#5: Advanced – WordPress SEO
Breadcrumbs are much like a road map to know the path of your homepage like the image below, once you enable breadcrumbs the default setting will be more than enough but if you are not familiar with this advanced tool just check yoast guide for how to implement breadcrumbs to your theme template.
I recommended leaving all options here as default if you don’t know its functionality, but in the Clean up the <head> section there are additional awesome 4 options to clean up your WordPress head, and here is a small explanation for them.
Hide RSD Links
If you are not using a Weblog Client or some 3rd party sites/programs that use the XML-RPC request formats, the RSD link can be removed.
Hide WLW Manifest Links
Windows Live Writer (WLW) is a Microsoft application for composing and managing blog posts offline and publishing them later. If you are not using the Windows Live Writer application, you can remove it from the WP head.
Hide Shortlink for posts
WordPress URL shortening is sometimes useful, but it automatically adds an ugly code in your header, so you can remove it.
Hide RSS Links
This option will remove all RSS feed links to clean up your WordPress header. It is also useful on Unicorn – The W3C Markup Validation Service to get rid of the “feed does not validate” error.
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 source of the content.
In other meaning, it prevent stealing your content, and if they did Google will know and you will have backlinks from them (Innovative idea by yoast)
#6: Tools – WordPress SEO
Yoast didn’t forget to add more and more powerful tools to make your life easier and he already explained them well.
This tool allows you to quickly change titles and descriptions of your posts and pages without having to go into the editor for each page.
This tool allows you to quickly change important files for your SEO, like your robots.txt and, if you have one, your .htaccess file.
Import and Export
Import settings from other SEO plugins and export your settings for re-use on (another) blog.
How to use Snippets Preview Panel in WordPress SEO
Snippets Preview will help you to increase your chances been founded by Google and other search engines, you will see a new panel just below the editor when you create or edit a page or post.
General tab contains the important SEO setting for your post or page, the first thing you will see is the Snippets Preview which shows how the post will appear in Google’s search results.
As we edit these setting the Snippets Preview will update in real-time to show us the effect of our changes, the first thing we need to do is enter a focus keyword because this is the main essence that summarizes what is post or page is about and its the keyword we want to focus the search for in Google to discover this particular post or page.
When you start typing the plugin open drop down menu with keywords in phrases loaded directly from Google, notice the plugin is already started analyzing the content
Items that need attention are highlighted in red while items in green are acceptable, it’s a good idea to make changes until all or most of these items are correct
The SEO Title field is perhaps the most important because it contains the actual titles that will appear at the top of your search results, the plugin automatically suggest the title show in grey based on your SEO setting for your site you can change the suggested title by simply typing your own into this field.
The meta description field contains the summary description of this page or post which will be shown in search results if this field is just left empty Google will automatically generate a description from the first paragraph of content on the page.
You should write a unique description for each page or post which is limited to about 160 characters and the plugin will keep count for you to show you the limit, it’s also very important that your description contains the focus keyword for better rank.
Once all these fields completed, the plugin tells that the focus keyword appears correctly in Article Heading, Page URL, Content, Title and Meta Description.
Hidden Powerful Features in WordPress Seo by Yoast
rel=canonical tag is a part of search engine optimization because it gives a hint to crawler bots to choose the preferred urls and provide the right information to search engines for how to choose the best copy of your page.
Yoast already implements this powerful tool in the WordPress SEO plugin without any help or modification from you.
Rel=next and Rel=prev Tags
You can now use the HTML link elements rel=”next” and rel=”prev” to indicate the relationship between component URLs in a paginated series and recognize archives and paged articles.
Same as rel=canonical tag it’s automatically included to improve your site structure.
Structured Data Markup
Structured data markup is a standard way to annotate your content so machines can understand it. When your web pages include structured data markup, Google (and other search engines) can use that data to index your content better, present it more prominently in search results, and surface it in new experiences like voice answers, maps, and Google Now.
WordPress Seo by Yoast VS All In One SEO Pack
To determine which is the best SEO plugin, you have to run both plugins on different sites for long term to see how each one will affect the presence of your site in search results.
But no one can deny that both developers made awesome and unbelievable work, not only because they downloaded it millions of times but also because there are a lot of successful sites that use it for a lot of time.
Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Best Practices
- Add a unique description for each page and post will make your site more powerful in search results.
- Don’t put all the effort on the plugin and forget to optimize all other factors like speed of your site.
- You have to be sure that any old SEO plugin has been completely removed from your site before you install yoast.
- To get maximum benefit from snippets preview feature, you have to make a deep keyword analyzing to get more traffic regularly.
- If you would like to use another XML sitemap plugin, then don’t forget to disable the build in xml feature in yoast to prevent conflicts or duplicate content index of your xml submission.