For any content marketer, the main priority is to get the content indexed and ranked on the search engines so that their website can get free organic traffic from the web.
The content itself has no value till it is being read and praised by people. Imagine the hours you have spent to bring all your knowledge and creativity for writing the specific post on your WordPress blog.
SEO is the most important part of any blog. Be it optimizing the content, website design, load time or user engagement. Not doing a proper SEO for your website will do no good, at least in the present scenario when thousands of new websites are being launched in the same niche.
Let us understand in brief about what is SEO.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In basic terms, search engine optimization stands for enhancing your website as per search engine standards. This includes the website content, design, navigation, social engagement and many other features.
SEO is of two types-
- On-Page Optimization: Deals with optimizing the On page features of a website including the content, design and user engagement.
- Off Page Optimization: Deals with Off page features like the number of social signals, referring links and backlinks.
In this post, we will be discussing how you can improve the SEO for your website using a free WordPress plugin. The name of the plugin is Yoast SEO and we will see how to install and set up the Yoast SEO plugin on your WordPress website.
How to Install and Setup Yoast SEO Plugin?
What is Yoast SEO plugin?
Yoast is a freemium WordPress plugin which lets you analyze and optimize the SEO characteristics of your website. The free version itself comes packed with a lot of features and is perfect for correcting the most basic as well as the advanced functionalities of your blog.
Yoast SEO is the first plugin that you should setup and install after setting up WordPress on you hosting account.
Installing and setting up of Yoast SEO plugin is a 10-minute task. Let us see how to do that step-by-step.
Install Yoast SEO Plugin
Step 1: Add New Plugin
- Login to your WordPress Dashboard for installing the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. In the left menu bar, hover to “Plugins.” Click on “Add New” to install a new plugin on your blog.
Step 2: Search and Add Yoast SEO Plugin
- In the search bar, type “Yoast SEO.”
- There will be many plugins by the same name. Download the Yoast SEO plugin by Team Yoast only. Click on “Install Now” for installing the plugin to the WordPress dashboard.
Step 3: Activate the Plugin
- After installing the plugin, it is important to activate it. Click on “Activate.” This will activate the functionalities and features of the plugin.
Step 4: Explore the Plugin in the Dashboard
- Hover to SEO in the left Menu -> Click on Dashboard to set the dashboard settings of the Yoast SEO Plugin.
Yoast SEO Plugin Setup
Step 1: Filling Your Info
- The first two tabs i.e. Dashboard and General are for getting the basic understanding about the plugin. Click on the “Your Info” tab to start with the configuration of the plugin.
- Here you have to fill the basic details about your website including the Website name. You can also give an alternate name of your website. We have avoided that as we are using MyThemeShop as a brand entity.
- Choose whether you are working individually or in a company. We have chosen “Company” as MyThemeShop is a company registered under MyThemeShop LLC. You can choose “Person” if you are solely handling the website.
- Click on Save Changes” after filling up all the necessary fields under the “Your Info” tab.
Step 2: Webmaster Verification
- Click on “Webmaster Tools” tab to get your website verified for different search engines and webmasters. This is the most important step that you need to follow carefully. You can verify your website using different methods. Just click on the link for the specific webmaster and you will be taken to webmaster account. The below image describes how you can verify your website on Google.
A) Click on Google Search Console and it will take you to the Google Webmaster account. Sign into your account and click on “Alternate Methods.”
B) Copy the code between the double inverted commas and paste it in the text bar corresponding to Google Search Console in Yoast.
- Save changes after pasting the code. You can now press on “Verify” (as seen in the below image) in the Google Webmaster Central to verify your website on Google. The same procedure can be followed for Bing and Yandex.
Step 3: Enhancing the Security
- Click on the “Security” tab.
- If your website has more than one author and you want to provide them the access to change the canonical as well as noindex the posts, you can enable this option. In the other case, if you are yourself handling your site or you do not trust your authors, you can disable this option. For the best case, keep this option “Disabled” so that only the site administrator can change such functionalities.
- Click on “Save Changes” to save the above settings.
Step 4: Setting up Titles and Metas
- Click on “Title & Metas” under “SEO” in the left menu of your Dashboard.
- Click on the “General” tab.
- Choose the appropriate Title Separator. We would prefer you to choose “Hyphen” as it looks neat and the user will be able to guess about the topic of the content. If you notice any top blog or website, all of them use a hyphen for separating their titles in the URL.
- Save Changes to move to the next tab.
Here is an example to show you the role of a Title Separator-
In the above image, the post URL contains two keywords- wordpress and permalinks. The keywords are separated using a Title Separator, in this case, a Hyphen (-) which makes it easy for the user to guess what the post is all about.
Step 5: Providing a Good Meta-Description
- After configuring the Title Separator, click on the “Homepage” tab.
- For the Title template, the best-preferred setting would be “%%sitename%%”. If you want, you can even add your sitename followed by a hyphen.
- Filling up an appropriate meta description is very important. This description will be shown along with your website URL when a user searches for your website name on the search engine. Write a brief and good description for your Website.
- Click on “Save Changes” to reflect the changes in the search engine.
Step 6: Configuring Taxonomies
- Click on the “Taxonomies” tab to configure it.
- Keep the Meta Robots for categories as “noindex.”
- Keep the Meta Robots for Tags and Format as “noindex”.
- Save Changes for saving the Taxonomies settings.
Step 7: Configuring Archives
- Click on the “Archives” tab to change the archives section for your website.
- Keep the Author Archives “Enabled” but make its Meta Robots as “noindex”.
- Check the same for Date-based archives and click on “Save Changes”.
Step 8: Other Settings
- Click on “Other” tab to configure some more Titles and Metas settings.
- We have earlier kept the archives as “noindex”, do the same for Subpages as well.
- Enable the meta keywords tag.
- Enable the noodp meta robots tag sitewide as well.
- Save the changes by clicking on “Save Changes”.
Step 9: Configuring Social Accounts for the Website
- Under the “SEO” menu, click on “Social” for configuring the corresponding social accounts for your website.
- Enter the URLs for all the social accounts for your website under the “Accounts” tab. You can also provide extended details by navigating to the specific Social tab and fill up the details for your websites’ social accounts.
- Save Changes for updating the social accounts of your website.
Step 10: Configuring the Sitemap
- A sitemap is an XML file which contains the URLs of all the files on your website or blog in a structured way. A sitemap helps the search crawler to navigate and scan the content on your website more easily. To configure the sitemap, click on “XML Sitemap”.
- Enable the XML Sitemap functionality for your website.
- Click on the “General” tab to configure the basic Sitemap settings.
- You can view your sitemap by click on the “XML Sitemap” button. Do submit the sitemap URL on the Google Webmaster for helping the crawlers to navigate and scan your website easily. Click Here to learn more about the Sitemap Submission.
- Save the changes to move to the next tab.
Step 11: Configuring Sitemap settings for Author
- Click on “User Sitemap”.
- You would not want the links to author info to be placed in the Sitemap as you have also disabled the Meta robots for the author. Disable the Author/user sitemap.
- Click on “Save Changes” for saving the User Sitemap settings.
Step 12: Configuring Sitemap for Post Types
- Click on the Post Types tab under the XML Sitemap section.
- Keep the Posts “In sitemap”.
- Keep the Pages “In sitemap”.
- Keep the Media “In sitemap”.
- Keep the WP Quiz (if available) “In sitemap”. This is to keep the links to the quizzes in your sitemap. However, you can disable it by clicking on “Not in sitemap”. This is preferred when you are using the quizzes on your blog by saving them as drafts and not actually Publishing them.
Step 13: Changing Sitemap Taxonomies
- Click on “Taxonomies” for changing the taxonomies of the sitemap.
- Keep the categories “In sitemap”.
- Tags are important for user navigation and are not of any use for the search crawlers. Click on “Not in sitemap” to disable it.
- Keep the Format “In sitemap”.
- Save Changes
Step 14: Configuring the Permalink structure
- Permalink stands for the URL structure for the post and pages of the website. It is always preferred to change the WordPress Permalinks structure to the optimized setting. For configuring the advanced features, click on “Advanced ” under the SEO on the left side menu.
- The Permalink is the URL structure for the specific post and to configure that, click on the “Permalinks” tab.
- Click on “Keep” to strip the category base from the category URL.
- Click on “Redirect” for redirecting the attachment post URL to parent post URL.
- Stop words are not good for SEO perspective. Click on “Remove” to remove the stop words from the slugs.
- Click on “Remove” for ?replytocom.
- Click on “No Redirect” as redirecting ugly URLs to clean permalinks is not recommended in the majority of the cases. Mastering the permalink structure of your website is really important to get the ultimate SEO results.
- Save the final changes.
Step 15: Get Google Authorization Code
- Click on Search Console for the final settings in the Yoast Plugin.
- Click on “Get Google Authorization Code” to generate a unique code.
- Paste the code in the textbox and verify it.
Congratulations! You have successfully installed and configured the Yoast SEO plugin.
MyThemeShop provides you with SEO optimized themes which will help you to rank better on the search engines. Our ultrafast themes will help your users to access your website within a blink of a second. There is a big advantage of using our Premium WordPress Plugins and Themes.
Were you aware of these SEO strategies before? What are the SEO strategies that you follow for your websites? Share your views in the comment section below.