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In this guide you will learn how to use Yoast SEO for your WordPress site. If you don’t know this plugin, previously called SEO by Yoast, you need to know that it is the best tool to do SEO on WordPress.
Yoast SEO it is used to optimize the content and other aspects of your site so that it can position itself better and better on Google.
If your blog has excellent content and is constantly updated, but still receives very few visits, this guide is for you.
Before you start using Yoast SEO
If you try to ask any SEO consultant, the first advice he will give you will be to install this plugin.
So, if you want to receive advice from an SEO expert on how to better position your site on Google and receive more and more free traffic, book a 15 minute free call with our SEO expert now. You can ask any questions you want on Yoast SEO.
To better understand what SEO is (Search Engine Optimization) and how SERP works (Search Engine Results Page), and you are at the very first weapons with SEO, I also recommend that you join our Facebook group ALL SEO, where you will find training videos and easy-to-implement strategies for positioning your website every week.
How to use Yoast SEO and optimize your site for search engines:
First of all, you will need to install the plugin Yoast SEO on your site.
Warning! Check that there is no other active SEO plugin on your site
Before installing Yoast SEO you’ll need to make sure that no other SEO plugins (like All in One SEO) is in use on your site.
In fact, if you are using another similar plugin, you need to migrate the information you have already entered to optimize your site.
Now let’s move on to the installation and configuration of Yoast SEO.
1) Install and activate Yoast SEO on your site
Go to the Plugins section of your WordPress Bulletin Board, click on Add New and search Yoast SEO.
Install the plugin and activate it.
If for any reason you cannot install plugins by looking for them directly from your site, download the .zip folder of Yoast SEO from the official WordPress site and upload it either from the Dashboard, or via an FTP client.
Let’s now see the steps to follow to configure Yoast SEO correctly.
2) Manage the General Settings
When you are on the Wall of your WordPress site, click on the item SEO that you see in the left navigation bar.
On this page you will see an overview of the plugin, and start configuring it by clicking on Check SEO configuration.
You can thus access the configuration wizard.
In the tab Functionality you can choose which options to enable or disable. You can choose whether to display features such as: SEO analysis, readability, cornerstone content (to which many other articles are linked), management of XML Sitemaps and security options.
If you used old versions of Yoast SEO, you may have noticed that this section has been changed and some of the features that were previously underneath Tools, like the option to enable XML sitemaps, have been merged into this tab.
The sitemap, that is, a list of all the URLs of your site that acts as a real map for the search engines, is fundamental not only for WordPress sites, but for any website. Their management now depends on the settings you choose for indexing content.
2.2) Use the Webmaster Tools
In the third tab that you find in the General screen, you can connect Yoast SEO to Webmaster Tools.
To use Yoast SEO along with the features offered by some very useful online tools, such as Google Search Console, you need to verify your website on all these platforms. The verification process is sometimes quite complex. To overcome this difficulty, the plugin Yoast SEO allows you to verify your site through the option Webmaster tools.
By clicking on Get verification code, you can choose one of the available methods to verify ownership of your site.
By entering the verification codes, you can monitor your site’s data and statistics without too much effort and without wasting too much time.
3) Search Appearance
The options related to titles and metadata have been merged with the recent Yoast SEO 7.0 update and you can find them under the menu Search Appearance.
This is the screen for setting the title and meta description of the home page. In addition, choose the type of separator that you can use to divide, for example, the title of the article by the name of the site.
3.2) Content types
By opening the tab Content types, you can set various options related to articles and their visibility in organic search results.
The titles of the blogs and posts are fundamental with regards to the SEO of your site. It is therefore necessary to set them immediately right in order to obtain a good positioning on search engines. In the named field SEO title I recommend keeping only the code %% title %%. In any case, you can manually edit both the Title and Meta Description of each post.
Date in the preview snippet
As for the item Date in the preview of the snippet, I recommend you leave this option on. In fact, it does not determine the visibility or not of the date of the posts on the SERP, but allows you to see how it would look in the preview of the snippet.
Pay close attention to the metadata options. Under Content types, Taxonomies is archives you can decide whether or not to show these items in the search results. Selecting “No” will mean marking them as noindexby blocking access to search engine crawlers and excluding them from XLM sitemaps. This means that your content may not be indexed, so be careful what you choose.
Select the item noindex only if you know you have duplicate content and don’t want to risk penalties, or if you want your content not to be indexed for any other reason.
Be careful though: bots are not guaranteed to follow these instructions. So don’t count on this option to hide your content from Google. It is important to remember that when you publish a page or post on the web, they can still be indexed or reached in some way.
To ensure that certain content is not indexed, you can use the robots.txt file, which you can always manage using Yoast SEO (we’ll talk about that later in section # 6).
These same settings can also be configured for pages, products and other types of content, which can vary depending on the theme you use.
Leave the option active to ensure that the URL of a media file leads to the file itself, and not to a page that contains the attached file.
The next tab is called Taxonomies. Here you will find the same options you saw in Content types but, in this case, they concern categories, tags, format and portfolio categories.
A tip to prevent your site from being out of date, is to remove the word archives titled SEO.
At the bottom of this tab you can also choose whether to keep or remove categories from the URL. I recommend keeping them, as you want to avoid a conflict between category URLs and page URLs, if these are the same.
In the third to last section of Search Appearance, you can use Yoast SEO in order not to index the author archives, the archive dates and special pages, such as those of error 404.
On the penultimate tab you can enable Breadcrumbs.
Breadcrumbs are the “bread crumbs”. What are bread crumbs? This element generally appears below the title bars and allows you to have a trace of the path used to get to a specific page. An example would be: Home Page> Products> Offers.
Here you can choose whether to enable or disable them.
3.7) How to set up RSS Feeds
Yoast SEO, through this section, allows you to have control over the content of your RSS feeds.
There are also options designed to add the author link and the links of your posts, blog and blog description.
4) Search console
The section SEO> Search console is dedicated to inserting the Google Search Console verification code.
Through the button Receive Google authorization code, you will log in to your Google Account to retrieve the authorization code.
Browsing in SEO> Social, you will find options to set links to social profiles and enable Open Graph Facebook and metadata for Twitter and Pinterest. Enabling these options is used to ensure that content shared on social networks is displayed at its best.
Warning! Many latest generation themes already provide this functionality. In order for social metadata to work properly, it is important not to add it multiple times. For this, if your theme includes this feature, choose if use Yoast SEO or the option of your theme.
6) Import & Export function (in SEO> Tools)
After configuring all the previous sections, you will have the opportunity to optimize your site by importing or exporting the data of other SEO plugins. You can also use the export functionality to keep a copy of the options Yoast SEO that you have configured, so as to have it as a backup or to use it on other sites.
This section is especially useful for editing the robots.txt file (which I mentioned at the beginning) and the .htaccess file. The first one provides instructions to search engine bots and you can edit it using Yoast SEO. In addition, the robots.txt file uses a particular syntax.
The .htaccess configuration file, on the other hand, is used to overwrite the server settings and improve the security of your site. This too can be edited using
7) SEO optimization for individual pages or posts
Whenever you are creating a post or page, a box called will appear Yoast SEO, where you can enter the keyword you have chosen (recommended keywords will also appear). By clicking on Edit snippet you can customize the SEO title (which does not have to coincide with the title of the post, although it is advisable) and the Meta Description. It is best to insert one Meta Description unique for each post. In fact, if a description is not entered, Google will automatically select a paragraph from the post (often it is the initial paragraph, which is not always the ideal one).
To optimize your site in terms of pages and post advice, first of all carry out a thorough keyword research, then insert the keyword you have chosen both in the title and in the meta description.
Enter the main keyword also in the appropriate field.
Once you save the page or post, you will be able to view a section called Readability that signals you too long repetitions, sentences and periods.
Under Analysis you will find useful information to identify the sections of your post or page that can be further optimized. If you see a green dot, it means that you have done a great job (Good results); if instead the dot is orange, the plugin advises you to make some Improvements, while I Problems will be highlighted in red.
In this tutorial you learned to use Yoast SEO, an excellent plugin to optimize your site.
Being a fairly technical tutorial, I tried to simplify the configuration steps as much as possible. I hope that in this way the guide can be easily followed even by those who are beginners with WordPress.
If you are already an expert in using WordPress, I recommend that you also read the detailed guide on the Yoast website.
By following the guidelines of this article to the letter, you can achieve basic SEO optimization. Remember that optimizing your site at SEO level is essential to obtain a good search engine positioning and a greater volume of traffic and conversions.
Now I just have to pass you the word.
Do you already use Yoast SEO on your website?
How are you finding yourself?
Share your experience with us by leaving us a comment or ask your questions in our Facebook group Websites Are Us, the community dedicated to those who want to learn SEO techniques. Membership is FREE for up to 10,000 members.