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How to Set Up Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

How to Set Up Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

When ever we talk about Best SEO plugins for WordPress, All in one SEO and WordPress SEO by yoast comes out as a prominent name. Now, many of you who are using All in one SEO plugin, you should know about much advance version of the plugin, which is available in WordPress repo with the name “WordPress SEO by yoast“.

This plugin has integrated many known features of other plugins by Joost de Valk, for example Meta robots plugin, RSS footer plugin and many others. Since, this plugin offers many features, setting up yoast WordPress SEO plugin is not that easy and here I’m sharing this tutorial, which will help you to shift from all in one SEO to Yoast SEO plugin and configure this plugin for optimum performance.

A Guide for configuring WordPress Yoast SEO plugin

WordPress SEO by yoast is powerhouse for WordPress search engine optimization. Though, setting up this plugin might be tricky and a new blogger or one without basic SEO skills, might find it hard to configure. A wrong configuration, can stop search engine bots from indexing your blog or you might let bots crawl part which might not be important. Anyways, before we go ahead with out setup guide, lets look into some of the SEO features offered by this plugin:

  • Verify site in Google, Bing and Alexa
  • Title meta settings
  • Hide RSD, WLW, Shortlinks from head
  • Meta control for Taxonomies, author page
  • Supports Facebook Open graph
  • Generate sitemap
  • Advance permalink control
  • Breadcrumbs support
  • RSS feed footer plugin settings
  • Import settings from other SEO plugins.
  • Edit .htaccess files
  • Hide date from Search engine snippets
  • Add Google authorship for single author

Now, these are some of the settings offered by this plugin and now, let’s get started with setting up this free SEO plugin.

Complete Set up & Configuration guide for Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin:

Now, if you are using any existing SEO plugins like All in one SEO, Old all in one SEO, headspace 2 or using any other plugins by Yoast like RSS footer, Robots meta or Yoast breadcrumbs, you should start by importing settings to this plugin. Once you have installed and activated WordPress SEO by yoast, go to SEO> Import & export under left panel and select the plugin from which you would like to import your settings. I suggest to take a back up of your database and then use option which says  ” Delete the old data after import?(recommended)  “.

Importing settings to WordPress SEO by yoast

WordPress SEO Dashboard:

SEO by yoast Dashboard

Now, very first step to get started with this plugin is by submitting your site to Google, Bing,Alexa, Pinterest and Yandex.  I have already mentioned how to submit site to Google and Alexa. Now, lets get started with advance part of this plugin:

Titles and Meta Settings:

This is one of the most important par of this plugin and I will explain most of the part with screenshots and brief explanation below it. Once you click on Titles and metas, click on help section first to see what operator is being used and what does they do. This will help you to quickly setup title and metas SEO part.

General Title and metas setting

This is the option which I ideally use. Though, you can ignore “use meta keyword tag”, as Google already made it official that they do not care about Keyword meta tag. Last options will keep your WordPress blog head section clean by hiding information such as, post shortlinks, WLW manifest link and other. Now, click on home tab and configure the settings for your homepage title and meta description. Here is a screenshot

WordPress Home SEO

  • Title template : Home title that you want to show in Google search.
  • Meta description: Your Homepage meta description for search engine.
  • Meta Keyword template : Add your target keyword for homepage
  • Author Metadata: Select the author which you want to use for Google authorship. Also click on Edit profile and add your Google plus profile link in the Google + field. Ex: . Also add your Website link in Contributor section of Google plus profile.
  • Google publisher page: Add your Google plus page URL here and add your Website link in your page about section.

Post Type:

WordPress post Page SEO Settings

Here you can define the SEO for post, page and media section of your WordPress blog. As I mentioned above, do check out help section to understand what templates you can use. Also, by default WordPress SEO by yoast, hides the date from search engine snippets, which is useful for blog writing evergreen content. If you are running  news blog, and want to show date for your posts in search engine, you can check “Date in snippet preview” box.


I prefer keeping tags and categories as noindex and dofollow. Though, it may change depending upon your Blog SEO plan.  If you wish to use my settings, simply check “Noindex, follow” and “hide” box. You can again configure title template according to your wish. Since we are not indexing tags and categories, you can add more user and brand centric title template. Ex: “%%term_title%% Archives %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%%


Here you can set indexing for your author and date based archive. Also you can disable or enable date and author archive. I prefer and suggest to check “Noindex and follow” box and leave everything as it is.

So, that finishes our setting part for meta and titles settings of WordPress SEO by yoast.

Social settings:

Here you can configure the Facebook open graph meta tags, default image for Facebook and twitter meta card. You can learn in depth about Facebook open graph meta tags here. I recommend you to add a default image, which will help Facebook to show an image, when your posts have no image and is liked or shared on Facebook.

XML sitemap:

I’m still using the old age Google XML sitemap plugin. Though, if you wish to remove one more plugin, you can use Yoast WordPress SEO sitemap feature. Simply enable the sitemap and select what all part you wish to add or remove from your sitemap.

Permalink Configuration:

Don’t confuse this with WordPress default Permalink setting. Here you can configure advanced permalink settings. I usually use 2-3 settings from here to avoid parameteres being indexed in Google search. Specially with this plugin, it’s easier to get rid of replytocom parameter, which is quite a headache at time. Here is a screenshot of my settings:

Permalink WordPress SEO by yoast

Internal link:

Breadcrumbs are useful for making search engine understand your site structure and helps users in navigating your site. Though, I never tried and tested breadcrumbs on any of my site. You can read official guide here for better understanding of breadcrumbs.

Once you are done making all the changes in SEO by yoast plugin, go ahead and use Google rich snippet testing tool to check for authorship and see how Google will show your blog post in Google search.


This part integrates the feature of RSS footer plugin and using it, you can add a link back to original article in RSS feeds. You can also use it to add advertisement on your RSS feeds. I simply add following line in after post content section “The post %%POSTLINK%% appeared first on %%BLOGLINK%%.”

Edit files:

This is another useful feature of WordPress SEO by yoast plugin. You can edit WordPress .htaccess and robots.txt file from dashboard. A word of caution: When ever you are editing your .htaccess file from dashboard, always keep FTP access too, as misconfigured .htaccess file may stop your site to stop functioning. You can read more about robots.txt and .htaccess below:

I hope this tutorial will help you to setup WordPress SEO by yoast correctly. I also recommend you to check out Geniusgeek guide too, which will give more insight on any missing part here.


SEO redirecs plugin

This is another handy feature of this plugin, as it lets you direct any URL to URL of your choice. Specially when you are getting too many 404 errors (You can check that in Google Webmaster tool), you can simply re-direct them to save your link juice. If you want to learn everything about 404 error pages and SEO, you should read this detailed guide.

Webmaster tools:

Google Crawl isse WordPress dashboard

In my earlier articles I told you how important is is for you to submit your blog to Google Webmaster tools, and at the same time you should monitor all the crawl errors. This way you would know, what errors they are getting while trying to crawl and index your blog. With SEO by Yoast Webmaster tool, you can see all errors inside your WordPress dashboard. For the first time you need to add the authentication code (This is simple step) and after that you can see all errors within your dashboard.

In the end:

This is one of the best free SEO plugin for your WordPress blog, though at the same time I highly recommend you to be sure of setting before making any changes. A wrong configuration may bring negative SEO effect on your Blog.

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Article by Harsh Agrawal

Harsh has written 1068 articles.

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{ 52 comments… add one }

  • anks

    Hi Harsh,
    Thanks for this post. It was quite helpful. I did as you suggested but the meta description added in the home page does not appear in searches. I also used an analyser and it reported back that the meta description is missing. Do I need to do something else too?

    • Harsh Agrawal

      I suggest you to do following steps:

      After making changes in your SEO by Yoast Settings, Clear your Cache plugin settings (If you are using one).
      Go to this link: and add your blog Url and see how this fetches the detail.

      Note: When you make meta changes on your blog, it takes time for search engines to show the changes in search engine. If you want to speed up the process, you should resubmit the sitemap via Google Webmaster tool.

      • anks

        Thanks a lot! It worked :)

  • Kanan

    Thanks for this detailed information. I am using thesis 2.1.9. What is better to use? Thesis in built SEO or yoast plugin? If answer is yoast plug in then how to integrate that with thesis, as thesis does not have option for disable in-built SEO? Please advise.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Harsh Agrawal

      I’m also using Thesis 2.1.9 and I use Thesis inbuilt SEO option. Along with Thesis Inbuilt SEO, I’m using WPSocialPro which let me take care of Social SEO part. For you I would recommend the same configuration.

  • kuldeep singh

    what if i Delete the old data after import? Will it delete all SEO optimization for all in one seo puglin because was ALL in one SEO tool before. If yes should i have to add all post meta and keywords again

  • Karan Bhagat

    Thanks a lot Harsh Sir.
    I was recommended by you to this post through a comment where I requested you to clear my doubts between All in one SEO and Wordpress SEO by Yoast and I am glad I came here, even in the All in one SEO pack I was making some silly mistakes which were resolved by one of your posts.
    Now I am thinking to move on to SEO by Yoast, will it cause any bad effect on my blog/sitemap or is it completely fine and safe?

  • Elfira

    Great guide. You’re right: a lot of people I come across install these plugins, but few actually use them. And if they do use it, few use it correctly.

    Hope more Wordpress beginners read this so they can apply it to their own blogs.


    Is there any bad effect of click on allow tracking option when we install Yoast ?

    • Harsh Agrawal

      There is no bad effect of it. It just send usage statistics to Yoast and it helps him to refine the product. You can enable it and it will not affect you in anyways.

  • Gaurav Sharma

    Hi harsh ,
    Thanks for sharing information on Yoast ,but i am using all in one SEO. I have an problem with jetpack when i am install it and connect with then it is shows me error.
    Thank You!!

    • Harsh Agrawal

      For now I would recommend following steps:

      Empty your cache plugin cache
      Disable the cache plugin
      Try connecting Jetpack now

      It should work if the problem is coz of cache plugin, else you can let me know the error code.

  • Siraj.M

    Really effective plugin with multiple tools. But in yoast XML Sitemap, can we change the indexing frequency. Because that’s the biggest issue therefore i am using Google sitemap plugin.
    If you know best plugin for sitemap with multiple option like change frequency so please reply me back :)

  • yunar

    Hi Harsh,
    i found your post here when searching how to noindex tags as it detected as duplicated content by siteliner. Good tutorial, thanks. By the way i still have to manually change H1 tag on most WP theme as they appeared more than one H1 tag on homepage, also make H1 tag for post title and H2 for blog title on single post. Is there any plugin to make it easier?

  • Marco

    Do you have a list of the code that works in yoast? for example: %%title%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%% – what else works? thanks.

  • Siddharth Sharma

    Hey Harsh Bro.

    Thanks for your guide because 2 days ago i was migrated my blog from blogge to wordpress , now thinking to install some seo plugins so this guide is really helpful for me.

    Thanks :)

  • Hidayat Mundana

    thank you
    how to configure wordpress seo plugin by Yoast to avoid duplicate content

    • Harsh Agrawal

      If you have followed all the mentioned settings above, this will avoid duplicate content issue. In short, you will be no indexing your all archive pages, avoid replytocom issues to avoid creating duplicate content issue.

  • Ajith Raj

    Thanks Harsh for my Genesis site ,after installing Seo Yoast,i was looking how to set the seo setting of Homepage ,you article help me a lot :D

  • Prem Krishnan P

    Harsh..Can we have both plugin active such as All in One SEO & Yoast ? will it create any problem if both are active ?

  • Dilpreet Singh

    Hello Harsh, i have one query. Will it make a difference in my performance if i switch to Yoast from All in One Seo?

    • Ferdous

      Yes if you are using All in One for a long time.

  • Lovey

    Hello Harsh, I just want to know can we use more than one SEO plugin in a single blog? I mean, can we use All in One Seo pack and Yoast together?

  • Abhishek Tavasalkar

    Thanks for the post. I had configured most of Yoast SEO plugin. But this article helped me to know about things I didn’t knew before.

    Thank You

  • Sid

    I have already asked this will tell me, what is force rewrite titles? What it does when checked or not? Please explain it for me.

  • rajan

    thxxxx 4 ur support..gonna apply all the techniques you told..hope it works..

  • Karan Singh

    hi harsh
    when i install this plugin then it is asking for “You’ve just installed WordPress SEO by Yoast. Please helps us improve it by allowing us to gather anonymous usage stats so we know which configurations, plugins and themes to test with” Allow Tracking or not, what should i do,
    Allow tracking or not.

  • khit

    why check the meta keywords option when meta keywords are no longer recognized by Google? Even Yoast does not recommend it.

  • samarth

    hy harsh,
    thanks for sharing such useful information…I have a question here I am using All in one seo plugin can i switch to yoast? will it effect my blog’s SEO?

  • Khawaja

    xml sitemap option of yoast seo never worked for me. I have tried it on several blogs, but xml sitemap do not generate even and this let me turn it off and use google xml site map pluging..
    tried alot of search on google for solution, but no solution worked ever :(

  • Preet

    No doubt, Yoast’s Wordpress SEO Plugin is best SEO Plugin for Wordpress till date. It saved me big bucks thanks forwriting so much lenthy Tutorial on Yoast’s Plugin Setup. I think by default, it have many drawbacks. To get full output,we must configure it accordingly.

  • Naren P

    Yoast plugin is the best for SEO! Thanks for the Great tutorial! I’ve struggled quite a bit with the setting but I think I got it right now :)

  • Mohd Shoeb

    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.

  • Shoeb

    What is force rewrite titles? If this option is checked, What it does? Give me the full explanation.

  • mayur

    Can I use ALL IN ONE SEO and Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin both in my blog?

  • Chris

    This plug-in make redirect loop if I added page break. I have no clear idea, now I’m thinking to use another WP seo plugin.

  • Bibin varghese

    I just installed latest yoast seo plug-in Version and I can’t find the robots.txt editor in the File menu. I only have the .htaccess file editor.
    My robot.txt only showing
    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /wp-admin/
    Disallow: /wp-includes/
    When i check
    What to do????plz help me

  • Tanjil Islam

    I have implied the yoast plug in my blog and used your settings as mentioned above. but it seems that the crawl rate by the bots have decreased. Previously I just posted an article and it was indexed by the Google in 5-10 minutes. But using the yoast plugin I have to index pages from the web master tools ‘Fetch as Google’. (There is no crawl errors in the webmaster tool) please reply anyone.

  • Gautham

    Hi Harsh,

    First of all , thanks for this article !! I was looking for this article .

    At present , I am using GENESIS’s default SEO . It is advisable to migrate from Genesis SEO to Yoast ? If i migrate , there may be chances that i may lose current Genesis SEO settings ..Is there any safe way to migrate ?


  • geoio

    I tried WordPress All in one SEO plugin, really very useful, but recently I came back to Ultimate SEO, which is still my favorite. so I can recommend it

  • Jeet

    Thanks Harsh for sharing this. Nice tutorial. It’s a great plugin for onsite SEO. It’s free version got many features which you can only find in paid version. Awesome plugin.

  • Vishal Rai

    Nice tutorial harsh.
    Yoast plugin is one of the best plugin for seo. As I am a thesis user it is not that much helpful to me but I suggested my friend this plugin and helped him to set this up and founded much more feature than any other seo plugin.
    Google authorship and facebook insight all rigjt from this plugin awesome.

  • Taswir Haider

    I used this plugin before I updated to Thesis. I love using Thesis instead of using a plugin. Still SEO by Yoast is superb for those who are not using such premium theme.

    • Harsh Agrawal

      I agree…Themes like Genesis and Thesis offers in-built SEO options, which can work without using any plugin. For other themes, SEO by yoast is the holy-grail.

  • Mokshis

    SEOPressor, the one used over here is the best SEO plugin i have come across. But Yoast plugin is also a good one. Plus a handy free version is also available.

    • Harsh Agrawal

      SEOPressor is ON-page SEO plugin, where Yoast SEO offers On site SEO options. Using both of them is a better idea.

  • Shorya Bist

    Hi harsh ,

    Thanks for sharing information on Yoast ,but as i am using genesis theme for my blog, So is there any extra features you know which is not there in genesis .because these features are i think there in genesis.

    Thank You
    Shorya Bist
    From Youthofest

    • Harsh Agrawal

      Genesis supports WordPress SEO by yoast and you can either disable Genesis SEO to use Yoast SEO, or keep using Genesis SEO.
      Since Genesis already offer almost all the options offered by Yoast SEO, you can continue using it.


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