Yoast SEO is the most downloaded SEO plugin from the WordPress.org repository. I have used All-in-One SEO but like the features in Yoast SEO more. This is an easy plugin to install and configure. Here are the basic steps.
Basic Steps to Install Yoast SEO
- Log into your WordPress dashboard.
- Select “Add New” from the Plugins menu on the left.
- Enter “Yoast SEO” in the search box and click your Enter key.
- Yoast SEO should be the first result displayed.
- Click the “Install” button and wait until the button turns into a blue “Activate” button
- Click the “Activate” button and wait until you are redirected to the Plugin list page.
- Scroll, if necessary, to Yoast SEO and select the “Settings” below.
You can view the following video to see these steps in action. It also includes instructions on configuring the plugin.
For more information on each tab of the configuration screens, I’ve included more below.
Yoast SEO Dashboard
The Yoast SEO Dashboard displays problems and notifications. A red number indicator will display next to SEO in the menu or in the Admin bar if you have this turned on. You can click on any links to learn more or click the X to dismiss or hide messages.
Yoast has a configuration wizard that can take you through the setup of the plugin step-by-step. This is the way to go if you want just the basics and a quick setup. Watch the video to see how quick it is to use the wizard.
Cross-linking between the pages and posts of your site helps search engines find content and also understand relationships. Yoast SEO has a text link counter that should be run when you first install the plugin.
This tab also contains links to the people who created the plugin as well as a button to restore the default settings if you wish to start all over.
The plugin comes with lots of features but you can decide which ones you want to enable or disable quite easily.
This is one of the content analysis tools provide by the plugin. The tool works in real time so it updates as you type or save as draft. The readability analysis consists of six checks:
- sentence length
- paragraph length
- the presence and distribution of subheadings
- passive voice usage
- usage of transition words
- Flesch reading ease (aim for 60-70 at a minimum; higher is better)
I don’t know why anyone would disable this feature but it’s here if you don’t want to be able to analyze your keyword phrase. Leave it enabled (please)! This give you the ability to edit the title, meta description and slug for your page or post. You can even specify different ones for mobile view.
Advanced settings page
This is disabled by default. If you enable this feature, you will get additional menu items under SEO: Titles & Metas, Social, SML Sitemaps, Advanced and Tools.
This used to be a check by OnPage.org. The Ryte integration checks daily to see if your site is still being indexed by search engines and notifies you if is not.
Admin bar menu
This is Enabled by default. It displays the SEO menu in the bar across the top of your site when you are logged in. Besides links to notifications, it also includes links to third-party tools for analyzing pages and posts in your site.
There a varying definitions of what cornerstone content is and whether it can help your SEO. Here’s how Copyblogger.com defines it:
A cornerstone is something that is basic, essential, indispensable, and the chief foundation upon which something is constructed or developed. It’s what people need to know to make use of your website and do business with you.
If you are a blogger with daily updates and no particular focus, then you can probably disable this. If, however, you are concerned about SEO and want to help your visitors find the content that is most going to help them, then enable this and make sure to check “cornerstone content” on the individual post.
Text link counter
Cross-linking between your pages and posts within your site helps search engines build relationships and understand hierarchy within your site. This feature can help you improve the internal link structure of your site.
This tab will help the search engines understand who is publishing your website. If your website name (found under Settings > General) is not your true company name or not what you displayed in the search engines, here’s where you can change it and also add in an alternate name. This tab also lets you specify whether you are a person or a company. If you care a company, you can also select a logo. This information could appear in Google’s Knowledge Graph.
One way to get your site indexed faster is to verify your site with the different Webmaster Tools. This tab has links to Bing, Google and Yandex. You can ignore these if your site is already verified through other means.
The final tab for Yoast SEO General settings pertains to security. It only applies if you have more than one user and/or author on your WordPress site. By default, only administrators have access to the advanced section of the Yoast SEO meta box on pages and posts. This area of the meta box allows a user to noindex the post or change the canonical.
I’ll cover the settings for the Advanced features of Yoast SEO (Titles & Metas, Social, XML Sitemaps, Advanced and Tools) in my next article. Although this plugin is easy to install and configure, if you’d like some assistance with this or SEO, please contact me.