This is a step by step guide/tutorial with images on how to install, setup, configure and use the free version of ‘Yoast SEO’ WordPress plugin. The installation of Yoast SEO is of the best solutions to add more SEO control to a WordPress website.
The ‘Yoast SEO’ is of the most popular WordPress plugin to setup and create one or multiple customisable contact forms for your WordPress website or blog. It’s ideal for beginners since its very easy to use a contact form builder with drag and drop functionality. You can create simple and advanced contact forms. It is in use by 5+ million active websites with 5 star rating reviews as seen in WordPress.org Plugin Yoast SEO page.
The Yoast SEO settings to use will improve search engine optimization to increase your search engine ranking and website traffic of a WordPress website.
How to Install Yoast SEO
To install, go to ‘Plugins > Add New’ and on the top right corner next to ‘Keyword’ type ‘Yoast SEO’. Wait for the plugin to appear and then click its ‘Install Now’ button. Wait again until you see the its ‘Activate’ button and click it.
Yoast SEO Configuration Wizard for an Easy Setup
On the WordPress menu, go to ‘SEO > General’ and click the link ‘Configuration Wizard’.
Select the first option ‘My site is live and ready to be indexed’ even if your website is not ready. You can anyhow change configuration settings anytime in Yoast SEO settings pages even if you complete the next steps. These settings are in ‘SEO > Search Appearance’ in the tabs ‘General’, Content Types’ etc.
Select the type of website use as ‘Organisation or Person’. Type the website name or business title of your company in the field ‘The name of the organisation’. Upload now or later the logo for your website with the button ‘Choose an Image’. You can insert now or later your social media accounts URLs further below. Click ”Next.
Select the ‘Site type’ of your website. Click ”Next.
Select the ‘Search engine visibility’ for WordPress posts or pages (leave both of them as ‘Yes’ at this stage). Click ”Next.
In the ‘Multiple Authors’ options, as the moment select ‘No. Click ”Next.’
In the ‘Title Settings’ page, enter the name of your website or your company title. You can change that also later on.
Note: Website Title: Check also your website title name in WordPress menu ‘Settings > General’, in the ‘Site Title’ field. If you change it, then click ‘Save Changes’. If you use cache plugin to make your website faster, clear cache to see the changes (and then you may press Ctrl+F5 to force browser refresh).
If you are new to SEO, then you may include your email to get newsletter by the company Yoast SEO so that you learn more about SEO.
Then click ‘Close’ to complete the Yoast SEO Configuration Wizard.
Yoast SEO General Features Settings
Now you can go in details to optimise SEO setup for your website. In this instance we will focus only on the sitemap generating features.
A website sitemap generator is a very important part of SEO. The sitemap file generated looks like ‘sitemap.xml’ or similar. The submition of this file to search engines, inform them of the location of your website posts, pages, images etc for better indexing. Some plugins generate unnecessary entries in the XML sitemap. If you use Yoast SEO sitemap generator, then you don’t need to do anything on this page. If you use another sitemap generator plugin then you need to disable the ‘Sitemap XML’ feature and set it to ‘Off’ and ‘Save Changes’. It is recommended to take a learn also How to install one of the best free sitemap WordPress plugins called ‘Google XML Sitemaps’.
Click the blue button ‘Save Changes’.
Yoast SEO General Webmaster Tools Settings
This is also a very important part that you must not skip. To get your website indexed by search engines properly, you must get them to read a file within your website. There are various ways to do that, like Google verification code or a html file. You can start this setup by clicking on the link ‘Google Search Console’ that will open the Google Search Console website.
Then you need to create a google account (if you don’t have one). Once you register, then click again the link ‘Google Search Console’ to take you to the below window. You then must get a verification code or even better download the HTML file for website verification.
It is recommended to download the HTML file from Google Search Console’ and transfer it to your website root folder, to always have your website verified forever. You can transfer this file to your website hosting provider’s server main folder (‘Public_Html’ folder) with the program WinSCP or Filezilla. WinSCP supports SFTP protocol. Your hosting provider has given you the ftp IP address and password details. Anyhow, ask your hosting provider to support you on that.
By verifying your website you can track your keywords ranking and website visits. You can also see which of your posts perform better, countries of visits origin, mobile ranking performance and more. With Google Search Console, you can understand the rate of your website growth.
Yoast SEO General Social Accounts Settings
In the WordPress menu ‘SEO > Social’ in the tab ‘Accounts’ you can enter your social media accounts as below.
Yoast SEO Setup for each Post
This is the most important part of the use of of Yoast SEO. For each post it gives the ability to enter a keyword in the right places to maximize SEO benefit. The ranking and website traffic of your post will depend on keyword research that you will do before you write your post. The keyword research will result in a 2-5 keywords to add in the ‘Focus Keyphrase’ (No2), post title, content, meta title and meta description.
By clicking the ‘Edit Snippet’ button, you can enter the ‘Slug’ (No3) and ‘Meta Description’ (No6).
Very Important: Slug is the text that will appear on the URL of your post/page. If your post slug is ‘internet-marketing’, then your URL will be https://www.YourDomainName.com/internet-marketing. If you change the slug text, then it will affect the URL. You can also change the URL text by finding the URL above the title (or hovering mouse on the title) and clicking ‘Edit’ (No4.1). Once you decide the final text for your URL and you publish the post, then don’t change again the URL or slug text. If you do, then you will have serious SEO problems and you may need a redirection plugin. Redirection exchanges one URL for another on permanent basis. Too many redirections slow website loading time.
As a slug you enter the main keywords of your title. In the ‘Meta Description’ you add a less than 155 characters summary of what your post is about. The line below the meta description will go green when you almost reach 155 characters. By clicking the ‘Desktop Search’ button (No5), you get a view of the SEO title and meta description that people will see in the internet search results. Make your title headline attractive to get more clicks which means, more visits.
The SEO tab (above No2) will go green when there is a good combination of the main keywords in your Focus Keyphrase, post title, post body, slug, meta description. You should try (without spending far too much time) to get the SEO tab green.
Next to the SEO tab, there is a ‘Readability’ tab. This gives you information on how good is your post writing. Readability also means how easy is your text to read. You can use the free online ‘Hemingway Editor’ to improve readability. To correct/proofread your grammar and writing you may use ‘Prowritingaid’ online tool which is more than excellent.
To increase sharing of your post in Facebook and Twitter to get website traffic, go the ‘Social’ tab and complete all fields. You can copy your post title and meta description and paste it there. Click also the ‘Upload Image’ to upload an image for sharing in social media. You can use a 1200X630 pixels for both Facebook and Twitter.
Maximize SEO benefit by:
- Entering all meta description 155 characters. Every keyword counts.
- Make sure you also add the post title keywords in the meta description
- Add main keywords in the first paragraph and repeat in content.
- Add main keywords in headings (H1, H2, H3)
- Use the main keywords on your URL
- Use LSI keywords (related keyword phrases) within your post content.
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