How to Setup Yoast SEO (2023)
Last Updated on 17th May 2023 by Ajmer Singh
Do you want to learn how to configure Yoast SEO plugin settings for WordPress successfully? This article should guide you.
Yoast SEO plugin is the best WordPress plugin for SEO in the market and it features a lot of tools that help to optimize your website.
However, due to the number of SEO plugins available in the market,
a lot of beginners might get caught up on which SEO plugin is fit for their website and how to set it up.
In this article, I will guide you to configure the Yoast SEO plugin’s best settings for WordPress.
Features of the Yoast SEO plugin!
The Yoast SEO plugin contains a lot of features for optimizing your site’s SEO and they include:
- Optimization for SEO title, URL, and meta description.
- Readability check.
- It gives a preview of how your post will show on mobile and desktop on Google search results.
- RSS footer configuration.
- Google search console set up and webmaster tools configuration.
- Redirect manager that redirects 301 and 404 errors.
- Create an XML sitemap for the Google search console.
- Internal linking suggestions.
- work in both classic and block editors.
- Internal linking count.
How to install the Yoast SEO plugin?
The first step you should take in setting up the Yoast SEO plugin on WordPress is to first, download and install the plugin.
- Simply visit the plugin menu on your dashboard and click on ‘add new’.
- Type ‘Yoast SEO’ into the search query displayed.
- Click on Install. WordPress will install the plugin automatically.
- Click on activate.
Now Yoast SEO plugin is up and running, it’s time to configure the settings.
Yoast SEO plugin settings and Configuration for WordPress!
To set up Yoast SEO on WordPress, kindly follow the step-by-step guide I have provided below:
1. Data transfer
If you have previously used an SEO plugin on your sites like the All in one SEO, Rank Math and the likes,
you should transfer your previous data from it to the Yoast SEO plugin before deactivating it.
You can easily import or export settings using the Yoast SEO tool.
However, if you have never used an SEO plugin on your site, or your blog is new, then there is no need for data transfer.
Kindly skip this step.
Once you have clicked on the Yoast SEO icon, you will be taken to the setting page of the plugin,
Click on the ‘General’ tab and ignore the configuration wizard displayed.
In the next paragraph, we will walk you through a step-by-step process of the configuration.
Yoast will show your SEO problems here. (if found any serious one)
The Yoast SEO comes with a lot of features and by default, it is automatically turned on.
You have to enable or disable these features.
Let’s analyze these features a bit further.
SEO Analysis: Enable –This indicates the SEO analysis and score of your content, to check whether your content is SEO friendly or not.
Readability Analysis: Enable – This similarly gives the readability analysis score for your content.
It is also known as a flesh-easy score.
(Meaning – How easy it is to read your content)
Cornerstone Content: Enable – This option allows you to select your most important article.
In the end, I will let you know how to use these features.
Text link counter: Enable – This displays the total number of internal and external links on your blog posts.
However, I don’t find this feature useful for advanced users. It is good for beginners.
Insights: Premium Feature – Get relevant data about your content. (Which words you use the most)
Link suggestions: Premium Feature – Get internal link suggestions when writing your content.
XML Sitemaps: Enable – With the help of XML Sitemap, Google can find and crawl all pages of your website. (Important)
Admin Bar Menu: Disable – If Enabled, Yoast will display it in your admin page menu bar. I don’t find it useful.
Security: No advanced settings for your authors: Enable – If you are having multiple authors or a team then enable this feature.
This prevents you from others having access to the advanced SEO settings of your site.
Usage Tracking: Disable – If enabled, Yoast can use some data of your website to improve their plugin.
Rest API: Head Endpoint – Enable – This will provide you with all the metadata you need.
Enhanced Slack sharing: Enable – If someone shares your article on slack then this feature adds an author byline and estimated reading time to the snippet of the article.
Index now: Premium feature – If your articles are not indexing immediately then this feature is for you.
This feature automatically pings search engines like Bing, Yandex, etc. whenever you publish, update or delete a post.
Semrush integration: Enable – This feature is useful when you are entering your focus keywords.
This will show you related keywords with their search volume. You can also search your keyword within a specific country.
Very helpful for keyword research. And as you know Semrush is one of the best SEO tool in the market.
However, you can use this feature by integrating your free semrush account.
You don’t need a premium account to use this feature.
Wincher integration: Enable – This will help you track specific keywords and their positions.
However, I am not using this feature as I am already using Semrush for this.
Ryte Integration: Disable – Ryte will check weekly if your site is still indexable by search engines and Yoast SEO will notify you when this is not the case.
However, this feature is not useful if you are using the Google search console platform (which is recommended).
WordProof integration: Enable – This is a newly launched integration feature by Yoast.
Yoast partnered with WordProof which is using blockchain technology “Timestamp” for trust and security.
For more updates, you have to purchase their premium subscription.
Zapier integration: Premium feature – By connecting Yoast SEO with Zapier, you can easily send out your published posts to different social media channels.
Algolia integration: Premium feature – Automatically helps your users find your cornerstone and most important content in your internal search results.
It also removes no-indexed posts and pages from your site’s search results.
Yoast SEO makes it very easy for popular search engines to be able to verify your site via their webmaster tools.
To be able to do that, you need to sign up for each webmaster tools program.
After that, you will be given a meta tag to add to the head section of your website for verification of ownership.
Kindly follow the proceedings for Google verification below:
Look, there are 4 options. But most people will use Google and Bing.
So, I verify only that 2. But if you want all of them, then it’s your choice.
There is no problem with that.
Google verification process :
First, click on the google search console.
Then log in with your Google account.
Choose one of the verification methods.
I recommend the HTML tag, the easiest one.
Copy the code and paste it into the Yoast.
Save changes on Yoast then click verify. Done!
This section is for Yoast premium users. So, ignore this step if you using Yoast for free.
I have already helped you set up all the features of Yoast, so you don’t need this feature.
3. Search Appearance
This option is in control of how your site appears on search engines.
Choose your title separator and fill up your personal/organization information.
Home and posts page title & descriptions settings are done from the WordPress settings.
Yoast SEO allows you to automatically set up the template you want to use for your content.
You can decide to choose an SEO title and description for each piece of content you write.
Enable or Disable according to your needs or if you can’t understand then just copy my settings.
WordPress opens a new page for each image you attach to your content,
this page is seen as the attachment media and plays no major role except that it has a negative impact on SEO.
However, Yoast helps to figure that out by redirecting users to the attachment file instead of the attachment page.
By default, the option is set to yes (Recommended). There is no need to alter it.
Choose accordingly. But I recommend disabling tags and categories as these can add duplicate content issues to Google.
Disable them as this can also make duplicate or redirect issues.
Breadcrumbs are important for navigation and also important for SEO.
You can use Yoast breadcrumb by using this Shortcode.
However, I am not using it because I set no index tag to my categories.
The RSS is often used by content hijackers to copy content from your website.
However, Yoast SEO allows you to add a backlink to your site for every post in your RSS feed.
Every time they copy your post, you get a backlink from their site and this indicates to Google that you are the original source of the content.
There are several options made available they include the author link, post link, website link, and website description.
Leave it as it is and save changes.
4. Search Console (Yoast removes this feature)
Google has discontinued its Crawl Errors API. Therefore, any possible crawl errors you might have cannot be displayed here anymore.
Don’t worry, that was not an error but a message saying that previously you can see your crawl errors on Yoast itself,
but from now you have to visit the Google search console to see your crawl errors.
From now on, Yoast will not provide the data.
To view your current crawl errors, visit Google Search Console.
The Yoast SEO plugin allows you to add your social link to your site, thereby integrating your site with your social platforms.
For instance, if you create content and would want to share it on your social platforms, with just a click on the social icons, you will be taken to this platform.
Ride on, as we walk you through the whole process of setting it up.
The account tab under the social settings is for all your social media account.
This gives Yoast SEO the ground to tell Google about your social profiles.
All you need to do is simply add the URLs and usernames of your social profiles.
Ensure the ‘add open graph metadata’ is enabled, because this allows Yoast SEO to add the Facebook open graph metadata to the head section of your site
Ensure that the ‘add Twitter card metadata’ is enabled.
You can choose what default card type to use. We recommend that you choose a summary with a large image
Pinterest also works with the open meta graph data like Facebook.
Once you have enabled the open metadata graph under the Facebook settings.
Visit your Pinterest account to add and verify your site.
You will be given a meta tag that you will enter below
The tool section allows you to perform some advanced tasks, while these tools may be useful to pro bloggers, most beginners may not need to use these tools.
However, we will walk you through how it works.
Import and Export
As I stated earlier if you have previously used another WordPress SEO plugin with a built-in SEO function,
then you can make use of this tool to import your SEO data.
It can also be used to import and export Yoast SEO plugin settings from your site to another website.
With the help of this tool, you can make changes to your titles and descriptions without going into the editor for each page.
Optimize SEO Data
Whenever you make a lot of changes, you get a notification of this. Just click on SEO data optimization and it will take 1-2 min to complete the task.
(Especially when you change your permalink structure)
Price – $99 (excluding vat), including 1 year of free updates and support.
Risk-free 30 days money-back guarantee without any questions asked.
A premium course article section can be unlocked for premium users.
Redirect manager – Premium feature – Useful feature but you can use this feature using the free redirect manager plugin.
How to use Yoast SEO on your blog posts?
Upon the installation and configuration of this plugin, now it’s time to use Yoast to optimize your content.
Note that optimization has to be done for each of your posts.
Let’s walk you through this process.
Open one of your blog posts, you will notice a new Yoast meta box beneath your text editor.
Set your focus keyword. It is the main keyword you want your article to rank for in search engines.
If you enabled semrush integration, you can use this feature – Get related keyphrases.
You can check how your article appears on google (mobile and desktop).
You can set your Article SEO Title, Slug (URL of the article) and meta description.
Look at the screenshots for a clear understanding.
You can use this section to resolve the SEO errors which Yoast recommends.
Related Keyphrase & Cornerstone Content
Related Keyphrase – Premium – You can add multiple focus keywords by unlocking Yoast Premium.
Cornerstone Content – These are the most important, detailed, long articles on your website.
You can make 5-10 cornerstone content on your website.
Note: Do not enable cornerstone on every blog post.
Allow search engines to show this post on search results: We already enabled this to yes under search appearance settings.
But if you want any particular post or page to remove from the search engine then use this tab.
Setting to No will add a no-index-follow meta tag on your post/page.
Meta robots advanced:
- no image index, which means you disallow search engines from crawling images on this page or post
- no archive, which prevents the search engines from showing a cached copy of this page
- no snippet, which prevents the search engines from showing a snippet of this page in the search results and prevents them from caching the page.
This is your breadcrumbs title,
By default, Yoast set self canonical to every URL of your website. But if you want to declare another URL as your original URL then paste it into this box.
Go to the readability section and find out if there is any problem with the blog post. Then resolve.
Readability analysis – It helps in understanding how easy is it to understand your article by an average person.
We already set schema under search appearance settings. However, you can change the schema of any post/page under this tab.
By default, Yoast displays your featured image when shared on these social media platforms.
But if you want to display a different image then you can upload it here.
I hope you have learned the Yoast SEO plugin settings for WordPress.
The Yoast SEO plugin is the best WordPress plugin for SEO. It is very useful for on-page SEO and technical SEO.
Most importantly, It is very easy to set up as long as you follow the steps I have provided above.
Have any recommendations, ideas, or suggestions? Kindly use the comments section.