Learn about Yoast WordPress SEO plugin in this tutorial. We will learn how to download, setup, support available and detailed description of this free WP plugin which you can download for your blog. We will also analyze the best available wordpress SEO plugins and comparison between Yoast and All in One SEO.
Blogging is fun. If you really want to make a career in blogging there are a few things which are important. If your blog is on wordpress you must have heard about Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin. Today I will clear each and every doubt on this very popular and important plugin.
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I came to know about this plugin almost 4 years after I started blogging. No doubt I was very late to know about it. Initially I was using All in One SEO plugin which is also a very good. But Yoast is definitely far superior than ‘All in one’ or any other SEO plugin. I will tell you why so, and I will also tell you why as a wordpress blogger we should use it.
Since there is a lot to learn about this plugin therefore this is going to be a long article. So for clarity I will first tell you about the structure of this article. This structure will help you to easily scroll through the desired part of the article.
What is a plugin?
What is Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin?
Some of the SEO Features offered by Yoast
How to Set up Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin?
Important Points to be Kept in Mind
What is a plugin?
When you create a blog there are certain features and things which may not be available in your theme. At the same time with the passage of time new features and technologies are being developed. It is not possible to change your theme again and again. Therefore the plugins have been created. These are additional help for the bloggers to add the required feature on their blog. You may also call plugin as an extension or add on. It provides you to add the additional features you are looking for your blog. Likes themes you can also update the plugin with new versions.
What is Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin?
Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin is considered as the best SEO plugin for WordPress blogs. SEO is also very important along with quality contents. Most of the successful bloggers are using this plugin to optimize their blogs. This plugin help you to optimize your blog and your posts. You can perform very good SEO even if you are not aware about the basics of SEO. This plugin guides you in the most effective manner. There is very good support system and the help is readily provided. No wonder this is the most popular wordpress plugin.
Some of the SEO Features offered by Yoast
Before you start setting up the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin I must tell you some of the important SEO features of this plugin. Here is a list of the SEO features offered by this plugin:-
- You can verify your blog in Google, Bing, and Alexa.
- Settings of Meta description and proper title length can be done.
- This plugin generates sitemap for your blog or website. You do not need separate plugin for the sitemap.
- One can have control over the permalink structure.
- You can check the readability of your article. All the mistakes regarding structure of the articles are being pointed by the plugin. By following the guidelines of the plugin you can write a perfect SEO loaded article.
- You can set a focus keyword and the plugin will guide you how to do this.
- Keywords density can be checked and plugin enables you to keep just optimum number of keywords.
- The plugin will also guide you about the number of words your blog post should have.
- Yoast SEO plugin helps you to set image alt tag.
- The plugin will also tell you how to spread your focus keyword in the article.
- You will also know about how to use H1, H2 …….. Headings through this plugin.
- If you are using any other SEO plugin this plugin helps you to import data from earlier plugin so that previous work may not get affected.
These are only a few of the features of this plugin. We will discuss all the features in details in the later part of this article.
How to Set Up Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin?
If you are already using this plugin please ensure to update with latest version. In every version there are slight changes but the setup process will remain the same. Friends, this plugin has lot of features. Many of you might be using it but make sure that you are utilizing the plugin to the maximum benefit. Since there are so many features hence it takes time to understand the plugin.
I will tell you step by step process of setting up this plugin. After going through this tutorial you will be able to understand a lot about this plugin.
If you are a new blogger and you do not know much about plugins it might be a bit tricky for you to set up this plugin. Before starting setting up this plugin please read the setup process carefully. An incorrect configuration will not help you at all.
Now let us understand how to setup this plugin.
Upload the Plugin for your WordPress Blog
First you need to upload this plugin to your blog. To upload the plugin you can simply go to Plugins> Add New > Type Yoast SEO in the search box > Install Yoast Plugin > Activate. The Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin will be installed in your blog. The other way is to simply go to Yoast website or to wordpress.org and download the plugin directly from there. After downloading upload the plugin in your blog and activate it.
Start with importing data of existing plugins
If you are a new user than you can start the setup process. However if you are already using SEO plugins such as All in One SEO, Headspace and Yoast plugins for RSS footer, Breadcrumbs etc. the first thing you should do is to import your settings into the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin. Yoast SEO plugin replaces many of your existing plugin so after importing the setting you can disable these plugins.
To import the settings you can go to SEO> Import & export under the left panel, and select the plugin from which you would like to import your settings. It would be better if you take a backup of your database .
Verify your site
To begin with put info in the General tab such as your website name, name of the company or person as the case may be. Thereafter you can submit your blog or website to Bing, Google and Yahoo; you have to verify your site by putting the code. If your site is already verified you can leave it.
Title and Meta Settings
The next step you can do is setting of the title and Meta description. This is very important for your blog. Therefore do it very carefully. Off course you can change it any times. However it would be good if you fill it properly from the very beginning.
First you have to choose the title separator. The most common option is appearing there by default. However if you wish to change it you can do it.
Next is a home page setting tab, put here the title of your website or blog. Also give a good Meta description about your blog. Your Meta description should be the essence of your blog. You should write it after giving it a good thought. Remember this is the description which will appear with your home page and also in search engines.
There is help available for every step. If you have any confusion you can check the help immediately.
Next is settings for the post. In this tab you can configure the SEO for all of your post types. In the Yoast plugin the default option is Post, Pages & Media type. You can check the help to understand more on it.
Yoast WordPress SEO plugin hides date from the search engines snippets. This help to look your contents always fresh. However if you are a new blogger and want to show date you can select the “Date in snippet preview” box.
Thereafter you can go for taxonomies and archive SEO settings. I have kept tags and categories as noindex and dofollow. But it depends on what kind of SEO plan you are having for your blog. As per your blog requirement you can select it.
I have tried to explain by way of screenshots as much as possible. This will give you a clear indication about the various options of this plugin.
In the Yoast plugin help part is very strong as there are video lessons at every stage. You need to devote some time to understand it and configure it.
Since this plugin is very important for overall SEO of your blog. So please do not hurry take your time to understand each thing. And set up the plugin for the optimum use.
In the archive tab you can disable or enable the date and author archive. You do not really required to do much here and leave it as it is. By default the best options have been provided by the Yoast.
The last tab is ‘Other’, I have done the settings like discussed above and it is working well for me.
So this completes settings for the Title and Meta.
Social Profiles Settings: Here you can set your social media settings. It is quite simple to set just add your social media profiles url in the blanks provided in the format shown in the screenshot provided.
You can also configure Facebook open graph meta tags. You can also set twitter, pinterest and Google+ here.
XML Sitemap Settings: Now you can move to the XML sitemap settings. This is a very important part of this plugin. However there is not much to do here for you as Yoast will take care. You have to just enable the sitemap.
Once you have created the sitemap you are required to submit it to search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and other popular search engines. Once your sitemap is accepted by the search engines the urls of your blog will start to get indexed.
Please note that this is a gradual process and it takes time to get your posts indexed. However what is very important for you is to create a sitemap which you can do with this plugin. Thereafter submitting the sitemap is equally important. Here is a screenshot of how to enable sitemap option.
Advanced Settings: Now you can move to advance settings. Here not much to do for you and you can rely on the default options provided here. However some basic things I will tell you. The first option here is Breadcrumbs. They are useful for getting search engines to understand your site structure, and they help users to navigating your site.
“Breadcrumbs are links that allow a user to track their path from the page they are currently viewing to the home page of your website. They appear close to the top of your page and reflect the structure of your site”.
However you really do not need to do anything here and move on to permalinks. Here the default options are already provided however if you wish to change anything you can easily do it here.
RSS option integrates the feature of the RSS footer plugin. When using it you can add a link back to the original article in RSS feeds. You can also use it to add advertisements to your RSS feeds.
Tools – Yoast SEO: This option is another useful and important tool of Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin. This option allows you to edit .htaccess and robots.txt file from the dashboard. However before doing such editing make sure you have a good knowledge on it. If you do not have any idea on it better not to do anything here.
Extensions: In the Yoast SEO Extension option you can go for Yoast Premium SEO Plugin. However before going for premium I would suggest you to understand the free plugin to the maximum. Yoast premium plugin provided many more features. Once you are comfortable with the free version you may go for the premium version. In the extension option you can also learn how to optimize your videos, news and locations.
Other important Points
Important Points which you should know and should also keep in mind which will help you to better optimize your blog with Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin:-
- In the permalinks setting it is preferable to use either /post-name/ or /category/post-name/. For the first option, you can change the setting to /%postname%/. For the second option you select “Custom Structure” and change the value to /%category%/%postname%/.
- Also make sure how you want your site to show. For Example, www.abc.com or simply adc.com. In general settings, under Settings → General, the version you want to show up is properly reflected.
- Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin automatically removes stopwords from the permalinks. This helps a lot in SEO as stopwords are considered hurdles in the search. Just want to tell you that stop words are very common words or adjectives that can hinder your SEO efforts. Words such as, ‘of ‘ , ‘or’, ‘the’ etc. interfere with your SEO efforts because they use up precious character space, especially when creating web page titles.
- Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin shows you a Google search result snippet preview, so you can see exactly how your content will look when someone search for it in Google. It even has the ability to get you verified google authorship for your site.
- Title of the post or page known as <title> tag, is a very important factor for ranking in the search results. Try to optimize title with the relevant keyword. If your title is becoming too long, the plugin will provide you a warning to correct it.
- Apart from the good titles meta descriptions are also important. The meta description can be used by search engines to show in the snippet. This plugin helps you to write good meta description. The best way to write a meta description is to write gist of the article in limited words. It should contain your primary focus keyword.
- Image optimization is also very important. This plugin guides about image optimization. By better optimization you can also get extra traffic through image search engines. Do not forget to put alt attributes for the images.
- Another cool feature of this plugin is that it notifies search engines automatically once your content is published.
- Loading speed of your blog is very important factor. To increase the loading speed you should put only important and necessary data. Also use WP Super Cache plugin to increase loading speed.
- By using Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin you can disable unnecessary archives. You can disable author and date archives if not required.
Yoast WordPress SEO plugin
You can see that the plugin is having lots of features. However it is important to configure it properly. I would recommend you to use this plugin for your blog. I am a great fan of this plugin and can write on it without stopping. However in the article I have talked only about the important features of the plugin. These features are important for the visitors for SEO of their blog and blog posts. I will keep on updating this article from time to time and you can also learn in details about the various specific features of this plugin in my other articles.