How to Setup and Configure Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Settings

WordPress community is blessed with talented developers. When it comes to SEO plugins for WordPress, there is only one  name that strikes in our mind and that’s Yoast WordPress SEO plugin. There are abundance of SEO plugins available in WordPress plugin repository that offers almost similar functionality. However, WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast goes a yard ahead by offering several more functionalities, which otherwise would have been offered as premium features by others. Neither am I being biased nor being convivial to situation, it just that the plugin saves me a hell lot of time in customization.

setup wordpress seo plugin

Whopping 1,464,000+ download speaks for its popularity. So let’s say you have followed the trend and took a wise decision to install this plugin, now what’s next? Installing the plugin doesn’t solve all your problem automatically or make your blog SEO optimized. There are certain settings you need to configure after installing Yoast WordPress SEO plugin.

What Yoast WordPress SEO could do?

  • Automatically write SEO optimized title for post, pages, attachments, archives, subpages etc.
  • Manually override default title settings to optimized according to need
  • Edit .htaccess, .robots.txt files
  • In-built Breadcrumbs support
  • No-follow tags and categories
  • Manually no-follow, no-index posts
  • Ping search engines
  • Automatic snippet generation to see how your webpage could appear in SERP
  • Import setting from HeadSpace, All-in-One SEO plugin
  • Export SEO plugin settings
  • Detailed Page analysis for on page SEO optimization
  • Keyword suggestion tool
  • Flesch Reading Ease test score
  • On-page optimization suggestion
  • SEO score
  • Advanced Robots configuration
  • Strip ‘/category’ completely
  • 301 redirects
  • Canonical URL optimization
  • Title, Meta description, Meta keyword set up
  • RSS Optimization to get rid of RSS scrapers
  • Social integration
  • Webmaster Tools integration (Google, Bing, Alexa)
  • <Head> Cleanup

The list of features are so extensive that there is possibility that we’ve might have missed mentioning few features over here.

Setup and Configure WordPress SEO Plugin

WordPress users should not find it difficult to install Yoast WordPress SEO plugin. All you have to do is to navigate to http://yoursite.com/wp-admin/plugin-install.php and search for ‘Yoast WordPress SEO’ term and install plugin from there. Alternatively, you can upload the plugin via FTP server. You must read our WordPress tips to Recover from Panda guide

Let’s move ahead with setting and set up configuration guide to get maximum out of WordPress SEO guide.

Dashboard

Dashboard Tab provides an option to add settings related webmaster tools like Google Webmasters Tools, Bing Webmasters tools and Alexa verification ID. Instead of installing plugins separately or add meta tags to header, users can directly add respective meta values to verify their site.

wordpress seo general setting

There is also a ‘Start Tour’ option available which will give you tour about all the setting. Optionally, you can restore to default setting if you’re in any trouble.

Titles & Metas

This is the place from where you can automate on page SEO tasks like adding predefined titles and meta description tags. Go to HELP tab to see the definition of each short code you will be using in various field under different settings.

General

First tab is general tab from where you can ‘Force rewrite titles’ in your WordPress theme. In order to reduce duplicate content, there is also an option to ‘Noindex subpages of archives’. You should tick mark it for optimum performance.

wordpress seo title meta setup

Cleaning of <head> tag is also possible if you’re using any third-party WYSIWYG tool like Windows Live Writer. Check the screenshot below to see what settings I use. Since I use WLW (Windows Live Writer), I have ticked the boxes to clean head tag.

Home

Home tab lets you add Homepage title and description. Make sure that your title is under 70 characters and description is under 140 characters. WordPress SEO 1.2 version also integrated Author metadata which could be used to verify Google authorship markup.

homepage setting

Posts

Under posts tab you can manage title and meta description of Posts, Pages and uploaded Media. Check out the screenshot see what settings we are using on Geniusgeeks. In case if you do not want search engine to index your pages, then you can tick ‘noindex, follow’ tag.

post title description

%%excerpt%% replaces post.page excerpt automatically. If excerpt is not defined in post editor, it will automatically fetch it from the post.

Taxonomies

From here you can manage different taxonomies like Category, Tags etc. To avoid duplicate content users can ‘noindex, follow’ tags or categories. It totally different on personal choice or site structure you follow. We are not overusing tags hence we’ve not blocked it directly from here (robots.txt does block WordPress tags). See the screenshot below to get idea of settings we used at this blog.

taxonomies

Other

Other will let you manage Archives pages on WordPress. We’ve blocked Date archive from getting indexed.

other setup

Social

Social will let you add Facebook OpenGraph meta data to your site’s head section. It will also provide you Facebook insight and other relevant information about your app.

XML Sitemaps

XML sitemaps will let you auto-generate sitemap functionality. Check out the image below to see how you can tweak the setting of XML sitemaps. We’re using different Google XML Sitemap plugin so we haven’t setup this option yet.

xml sitemap

Permalinks

Permalinks will let you manage permalinks of your site. This is different from permalinks setting available by default in WordPress. It will let you allow Strip category base (/category/) from category URL. This will reduce the characters present in permalinks. From here you can also enforce trailing slash at the end of URL’s (not recommended).

permalinks setting

There is also provision to redirect attachment URL’s to parent post URL. Canonical setting could also be setup from here. It is advisable to leave it as it is.

Internal Links

Internal links will let you add Breadcrumbs to your post page. Here you can define separator, prefix and anchor text for homepage.

RSS

RSS or better known as RSS Footer plugin will let you allow link back to your homepage, post and author page. This is extremely useful to thwart spammers from dumping your content through RSS scraper. It will automatically add reference from where it has dumped data from.

We use ‘This %%POSTLINK%% is written on %%BLOGLINK%%’ text before each post in the feed. If you’re concerned about getting low quality links to your homepage, you can remove %%BLOGLINK%% from the field.

rss feed configuration

Import & Export

Are you migrating from All-in-One SEO or headspace 2 SEO plugin? This section will allow you to import settings from different plugin, so you can migrate to WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast without loosing SEO advantage. Alternatively, if you want to migrate to another plugin then you can use Export setting option.

import seo settings

Edit Files

Edit files section will let you edit Robots.txt file and .htaccess file. See the screenshot below.

edit files

Post Editor

manual seo setting

seo page analysis

WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast seamlessly lets integrated into post editor page from where it analyzes on-page SEO factor about your page. It will suggest you different keyword from General option. From here, you can override automated settings made so far. Users can enter own title, meta description and meta keyword tags. Based on Focus Keyword, it will analyze your whole post for possible missing on-page optimization factor. It will then suggest keyword density, keyword position, title optimization and description optimization. Based on the position of keyword and number of occurrences in post and H (H1, H2, H3, H4 etc.) tags, it will let you know whether your post is perfectly optimized or not. We advice our readers not to depend too much on this data but it is still a good start for many.

How do you find WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast? Feel free to bother us if you are stuck somewhere down the line to understand our setup and configuration guide to Yoast WordPress SEO plugin.

21 Responses to “How to Setup and Configure Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Settings”
  1. urwainds

    how can improve my website racking

  2. Dhruv Bhagat

    That was to the core. I am really liking your blog providing basic and necessary tips and tricks.. :-)
    Also, one should stop optimizing his blog from “All In One SEO Pack” WP Plugin.. WP SEO By Yoast is all every one needs now :-)

  3. Bradley Allen

    Thanks for this helpful guide. I don’t seem to have an option to edit the Robots.txt file. When I click Edit Files, I only have the option to edit: .htaccess file
    I am using WP SEO Version 1.2.5

    • Ricky Shah

      Does robots.txt file exists on your website? Can you tell me the permission of your robots.txt file?

  4. This is a great post! Very helpful! It could use an update to the most recent versions of Yoast.

  5. Hello , I am a new blogger . I have a question , can I use more than one Focus Keyword ? If yes then how ? I tried to write this format keyword1 Keyword2, Keyword3 . But youst doesn’t take it as 3 keyword . He take it a single keyword ” keyword1 keyword2 keyword 3″ . Please give e suggestion. Thanks .

    • Ricky

      No you can not use 3 focus keywords at a time. Of course, you can check the keyword density and other aspects by entering focus keywords one after another. Just enter one focus keyword and save the post. It will display your SEO score for that focus keyword. Now change the focus keyword and save draft once again. Yoast SEO plugin will re-calculate the score based on new keyword.
      It is tiresome and long process but still worth. Moreover, it is always good to focus on single keyword instead of concentrating multiple keywords.

  6. awesome, trying to deal with “not selected indexed pages”, hoping the no-indexing tags will help

  7. Evelyn Vollmer

    what if you have placed the meta tag in heading already…should they be removed to use the meta tags in Yoast? I do not want to overburden the search spiders.

  8. Jena Isle

    It is superb as a plug-in but it seems a lot of work :D , I blog during my spare time, and I guess, I can’t go over these every time I post.

    And it’s too technical and detailed for me. I don’t love technical stuff, html, etc. etc.

    Your assessment is good though, and perhaps I’ll adapt it again, once I got more time.

    Thanks for a info-rich laden post.

  9. Thanks fot this tutotial

  10. little tree frog

    Thanks so much. I use the WordPress seo by Yoast plugin and I couldn’t figure out how to keep my HomePage title tag from duplicating. By putting my title in the “homepage” title template box as shown above it fixed it. Thanks

  11. perfect and complete guide for summing up the WordPress SEO.. thanks for such a detailed post.. I have corrected many of the things that I am doing wrong in WordPress SEO…

  12. krishna

    thnx
    it was really helpful and you save my lot of time
    but i didnt find post editor option and in google webmaster tools i can see I have robot.txt but WPseo telling me that I do not have it, why?

  13. Excellent Stuff Ricky. Really helpful.

    • Ricky

      Glad to know that you liked it :)

  14. Great guide thank you! Do you also have an advise how to do 301 redirect by using this plugin?

  15. I don’t wanna continue “Blog title” after “page title”. I have did all the things which i can but i can’t get rid of this problem.

    wordpress seo Settings:

    Page Title Format: %%title%%

    Header.php :

    Page.php :

    Please help me out, i am fed up of this problem.

  16. I don’t wanna continue “Blog title” after “page title”. I have did all the things which i can but i can’t get rid of this problem.

    Word press Seo Settings:

    Page Title Format: %%title%%

    Header.php :

    Page.php :

    Please help me out, i am fed up of this problem…

  17. Spook SEO

    Yes, a good tool but is their any risk in the duplication of Title Tags and Meta Descriptions of the website?

  18. Thank you for this guide. I just installed Yoast yesterday, and I’ve been struggling with the configuration. There are so many options! You laid it out well here, and I ended up copying a lot of your settings.

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