Today’s guest blog post is part 1 of 2 in a series written by Darshan Joshi. Darshan is a founder of AlphansoTech, a WordPress development company. You can follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.
This step-by-step guide will help you set up the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin in 4 easy steps. In today’s post, we’ll cover the first 2 steps: installing the Yoast SEO plugin and configuring titles and metas.
It’s easy to install the Yoast SEO plugin from your WordPress admin panel. Open the Plugins page and hit the Add New button. Search for Yoast SEO, find the plugin as shown in the image below, and install the plugin.
Installation is straightforward. Once the plugin has been installed, you’ll find it on left navigation panel as SEO. You’ll also notice that Yoast has been added to the admin dashboard as well as the top admin navigation panel. If you see Yoast in these settings, your setup is complete and you’re ready to proceed to the next step.
Titles & Metas
In this section, we will configure the title and other meta information for pages, posts medias, and archives. I will show you my setup and provide a bit of explanation along with some examples to help you follow along.
This is the first module you will come across when you hit the Titles & Metas configuration screen.
Titles are the texts you see on search result pages and on the browser tab bar. The Separator will be displayed between the site title and your site name. Selected is the default option. Keep it.
Keep both the readability analysis and keyword analysis enabled. Yoast analyzes the text you write on your page or post, the readability analysis provides a readability score based on transition words, passive voice, paragraph length, and Flesch reading score. Keyword analysis identifies how well you are optimizing your content for a particular keyword.
If, like me, you have a site with a static home page, you’ll want to go to that page and edit its title and meta information. If your site has a static home page, Yoast will show you this screen under the Homepage tab.
If you see this page with available inputs, then I recommend you take the time to edit the title and meta information for your home page.
Do you want to ensure that your pages and blog posts get properly indexed by search engines? Then you’ll want to pay attention to the next part of this guide. This section covers configuring your site for search engine indexing, what not to do, and what it takes to show up on search results. Considering that your visitors need a way to find your site, this is important stuff.
We all want our blogs to show up at the top of Google’s search results, but how can we do this? To rank highly in Google’s search results, we first need to allow search engines to index our blog’s content. Make sure your settings match the settings shown in the following image.
With Title template, we are keeping the blog’s titles pretty straightforward and only using the title you provided, with no company name or anything else. %%title%% suggests the title only.
Meta Robots: set to Index meaning we are asking search engine bot to index our blog post and include it in search results.
Date: set it to Hide. Sometimes you create an evergreen piece of content and you don’t want search engines to show the publish date in their results. Setting it to Hide will serve your purpose.
The same approach applies to the page configuration. Here is a screenshot of my configuration window.
Title template: %%title%%
Meta Robots: Index
Meta Box: Show.
Do you want search engines to index the images and media resources on your website? Do you want the Google image bot to index and list your images in search results? If your answer is “yes,” you’ll want to configure your site with the following settings:
Set Meta Robots: noindex if you don’t want search engines to index your media resources.
The taxonomies setting determines whether or not search engines should index your blog categories and tags. I don’t like search engine indexing and ranking my various blog categories. Instead, I like to have my dedicated blog posts ranked because they offer a better user experience. To implement the appropriate configuration, this is what I do:
Do you want to search engines to stop indexing and displaying author and date archives? In some cases, they are treated as duplicate content. Follow the settings shown in the image to ask search engines not to index and rank your author and date archive contents.
As you have put a lot of effort creating quality content for your blog, we’ll want only blog posts to be displayed in search results. We’ll instruct search engines to not index the paginated archive content of our site, such as /blogs/page/2 and the like. Set Subpages of archives = noindex.
Setting meta keywords tag = disabled will hide the meta keyword box while you create a page/post. Please do this. Search engines are no longer considering this meta keyword in order to understand what your content is about and which keyword it is optimized for.
You’ve probably shared a blog post on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ and noticed that your sshare contains a link to the post and a short summary of its content. We will be making your site ready to share such rich snippets on various social platforms by configuring the Social settings portion of Yoast SEO.
Let’s set up your various social platform profile/account information at this point. You will most likely be linking Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. In the snapshot above, you’ll see how the Accounts page looks and how each setting should be configured.
We have just added your various social platform details into the plugin. Now let’s configure your website for the Facebook rich snippet.
The Facebook search crawler looks for og-based meta information when a visitor views or shares your post. The og stands for Open Graph tags and, as you can see in the image above, we have enabled Open Graph meta data.
At this point, you should upload an image that represents your website under Default Settings – Image URL. his image will be shown any time a visitor shares a post that doesn’t have a featured image.
We want Twitter to show rich meta information when a visitor shares a post from your site. To achieve this, your page/post need to have Twitter Card tags. Don’t worry about this step: it only takes 2 steps to set up Twitter Card tags.
As you can see in the following image, you should set the Add Twitter Card meta setting to Enabled and keep the default card type as Summary. This will add all the required Twitter meta card information to your pages and posts.
Additionally, if you want to validate your Twitter Card setup, you can use the Twitter Card validator utility. Simply add any page/post URL to the utility and it will show you how Twitter will display that URL in a rich snippet.
It doesn’t take any extra work to configure Yoast SEO for Google+ sharing. Yoast comes ready to parse the meta tags on your pages, and it will automatically create rich snippet based on the og tags. If you are curious to know more about og tags, visit the Open Graph website.
In part 2 of our series on configuring Yoast SEO, we’ll take a look at XML sitemaps and dive into advanced configuration options.