How to set up Yoast to get the best SEO results

Jun 18, 2020

Traffic is the lifeblood of any blog, website or e-commerce store. The more people visiting your website, more revenue you are likely to get. You can determine your site’s relevancy for selected search terms using different SEO techniques and help improve it’s rank in search engine results pages (SERP). One of the most effective ways for improving your website’s SEO is using a powerful plugin called Yoast SEO. With more than 5 million active installations, this plugin has a multitude of customization options to greatly improve your SEO ranking.

In this post, we’ll guide you through the process of installing and setting up Yoast SEO to give your website an SEO boost. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.

Installing and setting up Yoast SEO

In your WordPress admin area, go to Plugins > Add New and search for Yoast SEO.

Search for 'Yoast SEO' on the Install plugins screen

Activate the plugin after it has finished installing and now you can proceed to configuring it.

Yoast SEO Dashboard

The very first screen you see after activating the plugin is Yoast SEO dashboard which has 3 main sections.

yoast plugin tabs
  • Dashboard gives you a quick overview of any problems and improvements for your site. Stat on top of your onsite SEO by constantly checking on this tab.

Yoast SEO Features tab

There are 8 features that you can turn on and off whenever you like.

  • SEO analysis would give you helpful suggestions to improve the SEO of text on your site.
  • You might want to keep Readability Analysis on. It gives you insights on improving the style and structure of your text for a better SEO score. Yoast SEO readability analysis keeps on analyzing the content as you keep adding/making changes to the content. It is recommended to not get obsessed about this as you might end up losing the essence of your content if you follow these instructions too much.
  • As the name suggests, Cornerstone content is about marking and filtering cornerstone content on your website.
  • Text link counter: By turning this option on, you grant Yoast SEO access to all the public links on your website to get suggestions for keyword anchor texts.
  • XML sitemaps: enable this option to let Yoast SEO generate XML sitemap. (More on this later in this guide)
  • Ryte Integration: A very helpful feature that checks on regular basis if your site is still indexable by search engines and notifies you when there’s a problem.
  • Admin bar menu: You can add a menu to admin bar with shortcuts to Yoast SEO settings using this feature.
  • Security: Using the security feature, you can grant or remove access to specific or all users to make changes or remove posts from the search results.

Yoast Webmaster Tools

yoast webmaster tools tab

Use this tab to easily and quickly get your website verified with Google, Bing and other search engine webmaster tools. Once verified, your home page will feature a verification meta tag. Sounds cool, doesn’t it?

Titles and Meta Configuration

This is one of the most crucial Yoast SEO settings as this will determine how your page and posts are displayed in the search engine results.

  • Starting with General, use your preferred separator that you’d want to use on your site. It doesn’t have any effect on your SEO but it’s more of a personal preference.
  • Homepage tab is the most important one where you can set your homepage title and meta description, both of these play an important role for your SEO. It is recommended to write a short, meaningful and keywords-optimized meta description to rank better and also get a good click-through rate.
  • Post Types, Taxonomies and Archives offer similar options where you can use your preferred title and meta description templates for different pages on your website.

Yoast SEO social

Integration with your social accounts is simple with Yoast SEO. All you need to do is head over to the Social tab under Yoast SEO and paste the links of your social media accounts to display on your website.

XML Sitemap with Yoast SEO

You’d want Google to crawl all the important pages on your site, right? However, sometimes pages end up becoming hard to find because there are no internal links pointing to them. Having an XML sitemap with important pages helps Search Engines help web crawlers easily find and also better understand your website.  

yoast xml sitemaps

Advanced options with Yoast SEO

  • Breadcrumbs are important for internal linking as they show a clear path to the page reader is on. They also appear in search results and might give your site an extra edge in search results. Note that your current WordPress theme must be compatible with Yoast SEO Breadcrumbs function. If not, you can follow the instructions from Yoast to add a custom code.  
  • Permalinks are also important for your SEO as both search engines and visitors use these to index and visit your website. A shorter and compact permalink is more likely to be shared by the users, hence good for your SEO. A useful recommendation from our site is to use a permalink structure that fits your goals. For example, it would be helpful to add the publication date of the article to the URL if you have a news site.
  • RSS tab is a great way to optimize your feed by adding content before or after the posts. This way, you can append useful information e.g. author, blog or even blog introduction to your RSS feeds. In case crawlers are pulling your feed, your site would still appear along with the content. You could also use RSS tab to create an advertisement banner that your readers would see.

Yoast SEO Tools

There are options for bulk title editing and file editing like robots.txt and .htaccess. There’s also the extremely useful feature called Import/Export that you can use when transitioning to Yoast SEO from another SEO plugin.

While Yoast SEO is free to use, there’s a premium version that offers even more powerful features and premium support. Be sure to check that one out as well.  

We hope that our guide was able to help you setting up and making the most of Yoast SEO. With the right options enabled, you just might see a visible improvement in your site’s SEO.