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    How to Set Up Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

    By in Wordpress plugin

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    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 How to Set Up Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

    WordPress SEO Dashboard:

    WordPress SEo dashboard How to Set Up Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

    Now, very first step to get started with this plugin is by submitting your site to Google, Bing and Alexa.  I have already mentioned how to submit site to Google and Alexa, and follow the same method to get your verification code and verify your domain. 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 How to Set Up Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

    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 How to Set Up Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

    • 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: https://plus.google.com/117420368760274729369/ . 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 How to Set Up Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

    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.

    Taxanomies:

    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%%

    Other:

    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 How to Set Up Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

    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.

    RSS:

    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.

    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 settings before making any change. A wrong configuration may bring negative SEO effect on your Blog.

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    Harsh has written 1124 articles.

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    { 39 comments… read them below or add one }

    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

    Reply

    Harsh Agrawal

    @Shorya
    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.

    Reply

    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.

    Reply

    Harsh Agrawal

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

    Reply

    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.

    Reply

    Harsh Agrawal

    @Taswir
    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.

    Reply

    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.

    Reply

    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.

    Reply

    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

    Reply

    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 ?

    Thanks,
    Gautham

    Reply

    Tanjil Islam

    Hello
    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.

    Reply

    Harsh Agrawal

    @Tanjil
    Try PushPress WordPress plugin and update your ping list
    http://www.shoutmeloud.com/wordpress-ping-list.html

    Reply

    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 http://www.mywebsite.com/robot.txt
    What to do????plz help me

    Reply

    Harsh Agrawal

    @Bibin
    You can read this guide to understand about robots.txt file, and make changes on your blog:
    http://www.shoutmeloud.com/what-is-robots-txt-file-and-how-to-optimize-for-wordpress-blogs.html

    Reply

    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.

    Reply

    mayur

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

    Reply

    Shoeb

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

    Reply

    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.

    Reply

    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 :)

    Reply

    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.

    Reply

    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 :(

    Reply

    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?
    regards

    Reply

    khit

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

    Reply

    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.

    Reply

    Harsh Agrawal

    @Karan
    I usually disallow to don’t put any extra load on my server.

    Reply

    Karan Singh

    Thanks Harsh, for the suggestion.

    Reply

    rajan

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

    Reply

    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.

    Reply

    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

    Reply

    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?

    Reply

    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?

    Reply

    Ferdous

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

    Reply

    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 ?

    Reply

    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

    Reply

    Hidayat Mundana

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

    Reply

    Harsh Agrawal

    @Hidayat
    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.

    Reply

    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 :)

    Reply

    Marco

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

    Reply

    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?

    Reply

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