How to Optimize Yoast SEO Plugin

how to optimize wordpress yoast seo

WordPress is an extremely well-coded platform for website hosting. However, the real benefit comes with its user-friendly plugins. Yoast SEO is one such powerful WordPress plugin if been used correctly. This post will cover all necessary settings that need to be check in order to use it effectively. By the end of this tutorial, you will realize why it is the number 1 SEO plugin for WordPress. There is no other platform where you can set up these SEO settings so easily.

After installing WordPress Yoast SEO plugin, you can find it at the left corner of your WordPress dashboard.

dashboard seo plugin

1. Dashboard – WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin Settings:

  • Dashboard
  • General
  • Your Info
  • Webmaster Tools
  • Security

At dashboard, you can get notifications about Yoast SEO news, fixtures, and problems. General tab is about latest changes, plugin settings tour and to restore default settings. After going through this post, you will understand best SEO settings for Yoast SEO.

You can ignore company info and Google webmaster tools as well. There are more easy tools to set up Google analytics and webmaster verification with WordPress. The most important part of the dashboard is security settings. Only enable this part if you trust your authors and website users. It will enable them to enable or disable advanced part like index or no index, changing the canonicals etc. Do not enable it if you are not sure about canonical URLs as well.

2. Title and Metas – Yoast SEO Plugin Settings:

  • General
  • Homepage
  • Post Types
  • Taxonomies
  • Archives
  • Other

i. General Settings:

Using Title and Metas: Choose hyphen – as your title separator. This is most ideal separator as Google don’t recognize many symbols.

Readability Analysis and Keyword Analysis: These are two of the newly added features of Yoast SEO. While Readability analysis suggests if writing needs improvement or not, Keyword analysis suggests keyword related suggestions to your content.

ii. Home Page Settings:

Homepage tab is hard-coded option to force rewrite your home page title and meta description.

iii. Post Types:

Post types are one of the most important SEO settings that can affect your website’s search appearance. 3 settings that you need to understand are Meta robots, date in snippet preview and Yoast SEO Meta box.

Always index Meta robots for pages and posts but avoid indexing media attachments. You won’t like that your customers can visit all your media attachments that aren’t present on your website as well. Avoid indexing custom post type’s archives to prevent poor customer experience.

iv. Taxonomies:

Categories and Tags are only taxonomies that matter here. No index all, other than categories and tags.

Should you use the index on tags and categories?

I find it most frequent question among users. So, here is your answer. You should not block them because it may cause the duplicate content issue. Block it if you think it may cause poor customer experience. Block them if you think it may affect the user experience of your website. Moreover, if you website is new and has very few pages, noindex them.

Indexing categories and tags work favorably for blog based websites such as news, entertainment, technology, sports etc.

v. Archives:

Author archives and date based achieves are similarly important for blog based websites. If you have several authors for your website, it would be good decision to enable it.  Date based achieves is the key if you want to appear in Google news feed.

Special pages such as 404 errors and search pages will never show on search results as they are noindex by default.

Remember that duplicate content do not affect your website authority and rankings, except if you are willing to rank a particular page other than tags, categories and achieve pages.

vi. Other Meta settings:

Noindex subpages of achieves, Meta keyword tag and noodp Meta robots. Subpages of your website aren’t a good choice for search results. They are not targeted pages like tags and categories. Therefore, won’t give you permanent rankings on Google for any search term.

Google do not consider meta keyword tag anymore as search engine rankings factor. Moreover, you might not be willing to disclose your keywords to your competitors.

Enable Force if you want the search engine to consider your custom meta description. Even if you have disabled it but noodp will be enabled for custom meta description for pages or posts.

3. Social – WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin Settings

The social section under Yoast SEO is always neglected but this is one of the most useful methods for SEO. It is not a social share plugin but a method to let Google know about your social channels. Social signals have become one of the most important metrics in order to achieve higher rankings. Therefore it is important that Google knows every social channel of your website.

Moreover, there are some extra inbuilt features which are useful if you website or website pages are being shared. You can also choose Meta description and images to appear if someone shares your website.

4. XML Sitemaps – WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin Settings

  • General
  • User Sitemap
  • Post Types
  • Excluded Posts
  • Taxonomies

Enable XML sitemap. Yoast SEO creates an XML sitemap by just enabling this feature on general settings. A sitemap is a list of pages in a website that is accessible by users. It is created with a purpose to inform Google about website pages.

Yoast SEO gives you easy control to optimize sitemap. You can enable author sitemap under user sitemap. Disable media and attachments under post types. Enable and disable tags and categories under taxonomies. Again this is up to your requirement.

You can also exclude a particular post by entering post id in the field under excluded posts. You can find post or page id by hovering your cursor over post under all posts. The post id will appear at the bottom of your screen left corner. It will appear like The post id here is 370.

5. Advanced – WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin Settings

This is an advanced part of Yoast SEO settings. Therefore, need expert advice before implementation.

  • Breadcrumbs
  • Permalinks
  • RSS

i. Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are popular among shopping websites such as Amazon and FlipKart. It is meant for better user experience as users can look at where they will be navigated by clicking a URL.

After Applying breadcrumbs your URL will look like this: › Insights › Guides

Instead of

Applying breadcrumbs have neither SEO disadvantage nor any advantage. For applying it, please follow this YOAST breadcrumbs guide.

ii. Permalinks: These settings are important to optimize your web page URLs. Apply settings as seen in the image below:

iii. RSS: You can also optimize your RSS here. Though the default settings are ideal but you can always manipulate how auto scrapers will pick the feed.

6. Tools- WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin Settings

  1. Bulk Editor
  2. File Editor
  3. Import and Export

1. Bulk Editor – An easy Meta title and Meta description editing tool for editing in bulk.

2. File Editor – File editor is also an important tool where you can create and edit robot file with just a click. You can also access your .htaccess file under file editor. I cannot remind if there is any other tool which provides so easy access to both files.

3. Import and Export – This is a most underrated feature but most excellent work from team Yoast. You can not only export and import your Yoast SEO settings but you can also export settings from other popular plugins such as headspace2, All-in-one-SEO, WooThemes SEO framework, and wpSEO.

7. Search Console – WordPress SEO Yoast Plugin Settings

You can track your search console data by one click authentication method here. Just sign in with Gmail account linked with search console and click authenticate now.

8. Extensions – WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin Settings

Yoast SEO provides several other plugin premium extensions such video SEO, News SEO, Local SEO and Yoast SEO premium. Though I never got the need for these but you can explore more on your own choice.

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