Yoast SEO

Image - Yoast SEO
Image – Yoast SEO

Install and Activate the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. Yoast SEO key features include the snippet preview that shows how your post will look in search results. Content analysis furnishes info on the focus keyword, post length, meta description, etc. Create XML sitemaps and direct them to Google and Bing. Other features are Add Basic Schema, Social Integration to link SEO and Social Media, Multi-site compatibility, Breadcrumbs, Permalink cleanup, Edit robot.txt & .htaccess files, Head section cleanup, Import & export functionality, and more. Your Google Console account can be synchronized with the Yoast SEO plugin. Advanced options are available with the premium plugin. Boost your SEO with specialized plugins such as Video SEO for visibility in Google video search results, Local SEO for local search results, News SEO for optimizing your content for Google News, and Yoast WooCommerce SEO to find and buy products on your website.

Table of Contents – Yoast SEO

To get a quick overview of what SEO is all about, click on the link SEO-fundamentals.

fig 1 - Yoast SEO drop-down
fig 1 – Yoast SEO drop-down

General

Go to the Yoast SEO General tab fig1.

fig2-Yoast SEO – General Tab

Next, select SEO settings fig2 in your WordPress dashboard. Learn about WordPress by clicking on the link Blogging with WordPress.

fig3-Yoast SEO – Configuration Wizard

Configure the Yoast settings fig3 through the configuration wizard 1-Environment 2-Site type 3-Organization or person 4-Search engine visibility 5-Multiple authors 6-Title settings 7-Help us improve your Yoast SEO 8-Continue learning 9-Success by following the prompt. Yoast SEO integrates with Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools). Read more by clicking on Google Search Console.

Connect Google Search Console to your site by verifying ownership. Click on ‘Alternate methods’ in the Search Console to obtain the meta tag. Next, click on the HTML tag. Copy the meta tag generated and paste it (1) in the head section of the WordPress website and (2) in the Google verification code box by going to the Yoast SEO dashboard under the webmaster tools fig2 and saving changes. Go back to your Search Console and hit the verify button to confirm the verification of your website ownership.

Next, click ‘Continue’ to see the displayed data about your website in the Search Console.

fig3-Yoast SEO - Features
fig3-Yoast SEO – Features

Configure the features by clicking on the features tab fig2 in your Yoast SEO dashboard. Enable/ Disable the feature as per your preference fig3. Keep “ON” the SEO Analysis, Corner Stone Content, and XML Site Map features. Save changes.

fig4-Yoast SEO - Search Appearance
fig4-Yoast SEO – Search Appearance

Yoast SEO Search Appearance

Under Search Appearance we have 7 tabs fig4 – General> Content Types> Media> Taxonomies> Archives> Breadcrumbs> RSS

fig5-Search Appearance General
fig5-Search Appearance General

Search Appearance – General


Title Separator – leave it at default settings

Homepage – Optimize your home page. This page is seen by default.

Users search for your brand and the home page is shown in the search result.

SEO title > default settings are site title> page> separator> tagline.

The below configuration applies to my website –
site name – separator- site description

%%sitename%%%%sep%%%%sitedes%%

Meta description
Use the keywords your website is all about.

For Company – Enter your company name & logo or for Person- your name fig5.

Save Changes

fig6-Search Appearance Content Types
fig6 -Search Appearance Content Types

Search Appearance – Content Types

Settings for single Post URLs

Show Posts in search results? – For the “Post” setting Yes as you want to show the post in your search fig6.

Date in Snippet Preview – Show

Yoast SEO Meta Box – Show

You can Configure the title template and meta description.

The title template will be the site name – separator- site description and
Meta description template – %%excerpt%%

Customize the title and meta description for each of your blog posts individually. Under Pages Settings
Show Pages – No
Date – No
Yoast Seo Meta box – hide.

Save Changes

fig7- Search Appearance Media
fig7- Search Appearance Media

Search Appearance – Media

Media settings can be left at the default settings fig7.

fig8-Yoast SEO - Search Appearance Taxonomies
fig8-Yoast SEO – Search Appearance Taxonomies

Search Appearance – Taxonomies

Show categories in search results – Yes

Title template
%%term_title%% – %%sitename%%

Meta description template
%%category_description%%

Yoast SEO Meta Box – Show

Under Tags settings

Tags – No

Yoast SEO Meta Box – Hide

Under Format settings

Format-based archives – disable

Category URLs – Remove

Save Changes fig8

fig9 -Search Appearance Archives
fig9 -Search Appearance Archives

Search Appearance – Archives

Author archives settings – Disable if you are the author or enable for multiple blog authors.
Date archives settings – Hide.
Special Pages Archives – Set as per default fig9.

fig10-Search Appearance Breadcrumbs
fig10- Search Appearance Breadcrumbs

Search Appearance – Breadcrumbs

The use of breadcrumbs enhances website usability fig10.

fig11-Yoast SEO - Example of a breadcrumb.
fig11-Yoast SEO – Example of a breadcrumb.

The default settings hold good.

fig12 -Yoast SEO - NavXT plugin for WordPress.
fig12 -Yoast SEO – NavXT plugin for WordPress.

Install the ‘Breadcrumb NavXT’ plugin fig12, if you choose to enable breadcrumbs on your WordPress website. After installing and activating, this plugin is located under Settings. For more information about ‘breadcrumb-NavXT-documentation’ > go to link < https://mtekk.us/code/breadcrumb-navxt/breadcrumb-navxt-doc/ >

fig13-Search Appearance RSS
fig13-Search Appearance RSS

Search Appearance – RSS

The RSS settings fig13 help with content scraping (for people wanting to steal your content) and can be left at default.

fig14-Yoast SEO - Search Console
fig14-Yoast SEO – Search Console

Yoast SEO Search Console

The Search Console shows data such as a page, post, image, or video on your website after this data has been crawled on your website by a search engine and has some issues.

You will see the response code to the extreme right which is normally 404 – not found, 400 – bad request, 403 – forbidden, etc.

Click on list-of-HTTP-status-code to read further.

For response code 404 you can create a redirect by clicking on the “create redirect” link located below the URL as shown in fig14 if you have opted for the Yoast premium plug

fig15-Yoast SEO - The free redirection plugin
fig15 -Yoast SEO – The free redirection plugin

If not install the free Redirection WordPress plugin fig15 by John Godley. After installing and activating this plugin you can locate it under Tools. The old URL will go in the source URL and the new URL will go in the Target URL. Click on “Add Redirect”.

By clicking on the view link, the page having the issue will be displayed.

The plugin will ignore this particular issue after the “Mark as fixed option has been clicked and there will be no redirection.

To fix several issues with response code 404 check the box next to the issue.

In the drop-down menu of the Bulk Action box select “mark as fixed” and then click Apply.

From the fig14 we have 7 not found issues for the 404 response code. If you have other response code issues, the same will be displayed as “others” next to not found.

The smartphone tab shows search engines have crawled websites using a smartphone/ screen size. Next, inspect for any broken links. But the Feature phone tab shows nothing. Last go to the settings tab where you can authenticate your profile with Google if not done earlier.

fig16-Yoast SEO - Social
fig16-Yoast SEO – Social

Yoast SEO Social

To set up social media click on the social tab and under accounts fig16 add the page URLs to your social media accounts and save changes.

fig17- Yoast SEO - Facebook
fig17- Yoast SEO – Facebook

The next tab is FaceBook fig17 and by default, the open graph metadata is enabled.

Customize your Facebook posts and share them with subscribers.

Go to any of your posts and scroll down to the SEO box where you will notice that the Facebook and Twitter icons are enabled.

Add a custom title, description, and image size 1200×630 pixels for this post whenever it is shared on Facebook. You can use one featured image for this post and then use a separate image for Facebook whenever it is shared.

fig18-Yoast SEO - Twitter
fig18-Yoast SEO – Twitter

The same applies to Twitter fig18, the recommended image size is 1024×512 pixels.
The Facebook App ID gives access to Facebook Insights. It shows how many people came from Facebook. You need to create a Facebook app. To do this go to developers.Facebook.com > Sign in to your Facebook account > Create a Facebook for developers account > MyApps – to get your App ID. Paste the Facebook App ID in the box.
In the front page settings, you can fill in the image URL, title, description, etc, and save changes. Under default settings, the image URL will be the image backup if the featured image has not been added to the post. The same process applies to Twitter.

fig19-Yoast SEO - Pinterest
fig19-Yoast SEO – Pinterest

For Pinterest fig19 Log in > Go to settings > Add URL > Claim website > Get HTML tag. Copy the HTML tag and paste it into the Pinterest confirmation box in the Yoast Pinterest social setting.

fig20 -Yoast SEO - Tools
fig20 -Yoast SEO – Tools

Yoast SEO Tools

In the Tools tab by default fig20, there are three major tools – the import and export, file editor, and the Bulk editor.
Under the Import and Export tool, the settings are-

fig21-Yoast SEO -  Import Settings
fig21-Yoast SEO – Import Settings

Import settings

Import the SEO setting fig21 of another Website to yours and vice versa

fig22-Yoast SEO - Export settings
fig22-Yoast SEO – Export settings

Export settings

If you are not interested in repeating the configurations for your other websites then export fig22them in a zip file format go to the other site and import these settings by choosing the file that was exported.

fig23-Yoast SEO - Import from other SEO plugins.
fig23-Yoast SEO – Import from other SEO plugins.

Import from other SEO plugins

If you have other SEO plugins on your site you will see the list of them listed here and you will have the option of choosing all other important settings from them fig23.

Using multiple SEO plugins for your website will create a conflict and you need to select anyone.

fig24-The File Editor Tool.
fig24-The File Editor Tool

The file editor tool allows you to make changes to robots.txt and the .htaccess files on your website fig24. Click on create the robots.txt file. If you don’t see this option that means you already have the robots.txt file. The robots.txt file allows search engines to crawl websites and the .htaccess file handles your permalinks.

 fig 25-Yoast SEO -  Bulk Editor Tool for further title and meta description.
fig 25-Yoast SEO – Bulk Editor Tool for further title and meta description.

The bulk editor tool allows changes to the titles and meta tag captions of posts without going to the individual posts. Click on the Bulk Editor that displays the content types.
Under the Title and Description tabs, you have the chance of optimizing by adding keywords, if not optimized earlier. In fig25 note that the posts do not have an existing SEO Title. Type the new title and meta description in the box under the New Yoast SEO title and New Yoast meta description. Save the settings.

fig26-Yoast SEO - Premium Plugin
fig26-Yoast SEO – Premium Plugin

Yoast SEO Premium Plugin

The free plugin can handle most of your SEO needs and the premium plugin fig26 extends the functionality of the free plugin. Moreover, it permits the use of more than one keyword per post. The redirects feature redirects in the search console or whenever contents get deleted elsewhere on your website. Using WooCommerce on your website allows you access to the Yoast WooCommerce plugin which substitutes the WooCommerce breadcrumbs with that of Yoast

SEO Results

fig27-Yoast SEO - SEO title, Slug, and Meta Description
fig27-Yoast SEO – SEO title, Slug, and Meta Description

Fig 27 shows how your post will appear in Search Results with the optimized SEO title, slug, and Meta description tags

fig28-Focus keyphrase
fig28-Focus keyphrase

Fig28 shows the focus keyword for which you want your post to rank in search results.

fig29-Analysis Result
fig29-Analysis Result

By configuring the settings and features of the free Yoast SEO plugin, [refer fig 27- SEO title, Slug and Meta Description, fig28-Focus keyphrase & fig29-Analysis Result], we have optimized SEO for the content of this post.

fig30- Readability Analysis
fig30- Readability Analysis

Readability Analysis- This score in fig30 shows two problem areas, one for consecutive sentences starting with the same word and the other for transition words. For detailed reading, click on Readability-Analysis to go through the post. Select the eye icon next to the issue on the right and the text or sentences will get highlighted in the posts. Rather than pursuing efforts to turn the red button to green, it is best left as it is. Our writing should not represent a robotic style of satisfying search engines. The viewers to whom the content is for should understand it. Read more by clicking on Readability Analysis.

 fig31-Cornerstone settings
fig31-Cornerstone settings

Cornerstone content fig31 is the ground footing upon which all other content has been built. It constitutes the core of all your blog posts. Toggle the settings to ON, if you want to make a particular post the cornerstone content.

Conclusion

As a beginner, start with the Yoast SEO WP plugin to help you analyze your content and optimize your site structure and blog post for search engines. Set up Yoast SEO for your WordPress website that has easily regulated settings, a configuration wizard, and help screen options(?). The upgrade to Pro comes with extra features. In addition, when it comes to getting a good ranking in SERPs, opt for a reliable hosting service provider. Explore other techniques such as using a functional WordPress theme to align with your brand that suits your audience, and meets your future content planning requirements, etc.

In a nutshell, the user-friendly interface includes features such as the Title tag and meta description optimizer, manage keywords, readability analysis, on-page content analysis, XML sitemap, local SEO support, schema markup support, manage duplicate content, robots.txt files, canonical URLs, internal linking, etc. The Premium version will allow up to 5 keyword optimization, previews for Google and Facebook, suggestions for internal linking, redirect manager, an overview of focus keywords & SEO scores, 24/7 – 1 year free access support, Ad-free, etc. Other popular plugins for SEO are the All in One SEO Pack and Rank Math SEO.