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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
%%excerpt%% replaces post.page excerpt automatically. If excerpt is not defined in post editor, it will automatically fetch it from the post.
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.
Other will let you manage Archives pages on WordPress. We’ve blocked Date archive from getting indexed.
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 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.
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).
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 will let you add Breadcrumbs to your post page. Here you can define separator, prefix and anchor text for homepage.
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.
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.
Edit files section will let you edit Robots.txt file and .htaccess file. See the screenshot below.
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.