How to: Install and Set Up the WordPress SEO by Yoast Plugin

 
Yoast WordPress SEO Tutorial

WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin is one of the must-have plugins on any WordPress website (that is not hidden from the public eye).

It has been on our Recommended Plugins list since day 1. If you care about your website’s performance in Search Engines and you haven’t installed it yet, this tutorial is for you.

Why do I need this plugin?

WordPress itself doesn’t have built-in features that would allow the admin to micromanage SEO aspects of a website in a convenient manner, such as page titles, meta tags, sitemaps, etc.

Thankfully this mega-popular plugin gets the job well done.

How to install the plugin

  1. Go to Dashboard > Plugins > Add New.

  2. Write WordPress SEO by Yoast in the Search box.

  3. Click the Install Now link.

    yoast-wordpress-seo-tutorial-screen-1
  4. A pop-up alert box will ask if you really want to install the plugin, click OK.

  5. In a few seconds the plugin will be automatically downloaded and installed. All that is left is to click on Activate Plugin.

    yoast-wordpress-seo-tutorial-screen-2

Setting up the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin

After activating the plugin, a new SEO menu item will appear in the Dashboard.

yoast-wordpress-seo-tutorial-screen-4

Below I will point out some of the most important settings that you should configure and pay attention to. Of course the importance of these may vary by case, but it should paint a general picture.

When visiting the SEO tab for the first time, the plugin might suggest changing your Permalinks structure, in Dashboard > Settings > Permalinks.

According to a general consensus it is best to use the Post Name permalink structure.

yoast-wordpress-seo-tutorial-screen-3

If using a theme by HermesThemes, in Dashboard > SEO > Titles & Metas > General, there is no need to check the Force Rewrite Titles check-box, you can leave it blank.

yoast-wordpress-seo-tutorial-screen-5

THE MOST IMPORTANT SETTING, DON’T MISS IT

It is imperative that you don’t forget to set your info in Dashboard > SEO > Titles & Metas > Home. This is your most valuable online real-estate, use it wisely. I suggest going with something similar to the screen-shot below.

It is recommended to keep your Title 6-9 words short, with a maximum of 70 characters.
Search engines display a maximum of 156 characters from the Meta Description tag, so keep your description short and tailored for humans, not robots. A nice, readable description will go a long way.

yoast-wordpress-seo-tutorial-screen-12

Not much needs to be tweaked in Dashboard > SEO > Titles & Metas > Taxonomies, but I do suggest checking the “noindex, follow” check-boxes for Tags and Format.

yoast-wordpress-seo-tutorial-screen-6

In Dashboard > SEO > Titles & Metas > Other, I suggest checking the “noindex, follow” check-boxes for Author and Date Archives. Additionally, in 99% cases it is a good idea to disable both of them as well.

Why do this? Using Author and Date archives can lead to a lot of duplicate content on your website, and you don’t want that.

yoast-wordpress-seo-tutorial-screen-7

In Dashboard > SEO > Social > Facebook, you can set an image that will show up on Facebook when someone will like or share your homepage. We use an image with our logo, so as to keep our presence consistent. You can try using your logo as well, or maybe a photo of your property. Just keep in mind that usually this photo will be displayed at a small size, so don’t try to display text or other stuff. A square-format logo should work best.

yoast-wordpress-seo-tutorial-screen-8

If you are on Twitter, go to Dashboard > SEO > Social > Twitter and fill in your existing Twitter Username. Don’t add the @ in front of it, just the username. We obviously use our hermesthemes Twitter username.

yoast-wordpress-seo-tutorial-screen-9

In Dashboard > SEO > XML Sitemaps, you can enable automatic XML Sitemaps, which is always a good idea. Below are the settings that I would use for a hotel’s website:

yoast-wordpress-seo-tutorial-screen-10

And the final page to tweak a little is Dashboard > SEO > Permalinks. Below are the settings that I use on all of my WordPress websites:

yoast-wordpress-seo-tutorial-screen-11

Wrapping Up

At the first glance all these settings and options may seem overwhelming, but in reality, all it takes is some patience and attention to details. Most of the check-boxes and options have clear descriptions, so make sure to read them all.

If you require assistance with setting up this plugin, feel free to contact us using our Contact Form, posting in our Support Forum, or even by Skype (search for hermesthemes)

This tutorial was written for the 1.4.22 version of the plugin.

 
  • Josh H

    I’m confused about a few things. I’m currently using thesis 1.8 and the wordpress seo plugin.

    So you’re saying in the WordPress SEO plugin settings under the titles and metas area to delete the title template info that is there by default and just enter a custom title correct?

    So if I do that as you instruct do I also need to remove the title and tagline that I entered under the settings/general section of wordpress?

    What would happen if instead of a custom title i just used this template? %%sitename%%-%%sitedesc%% Is the way you descibe it above better?

    • Hi Josh,

      For the homepage, yes.
      But I am not familiar with Genesis and the way it handles SEO.
      The tutorial mostly refers to our themes, or themes that don’t handle the title tags themselves.

      • Josh H

        Awww.Okay. The reason I asked was I noticed when I google my site that it is displaying my title and tagline from the settings/general area and not my wordpress seo plugin information.

        Thank you for replying so quickly though. Love your site!

  • gzlr

    I´ve seen that Keyword´s Template has dissapeared in this new version, it´s everything ok with that? I mean, I do know that Keywords are not important, but All In One SEO-Pack still uses it. Can you give me an advice?

  • Good list but I am not using any of them yet. For SEO purposes I’m using HeadSpace2 instead of Yoast. Do you think that using Yoast would be much better than HeadSpace2?

  • Tina Ashburn

    Thank you so much for this valuable information. The only instruction I was not able to follow is Dashboard-permalink-settings where I was looking for postname. There was nothing even close to that. Is the plugin going to work without that?

    • Guest

      Hi Tina

      The permalink settings are not in Yoast
      they are actually in the WP drop down menus on the left in your dashboard.

      Hover over settings and a drop down box will appear and then choose permalinks and the “post name” appears near the end of the choices.

      Hope this helps as it can all be very confusing at times.

  • Tina Ashburn

    Thank you so very much!!

  • Bernhard Rieder

    What does the “Format” stand for actually ? Can not find any further information about that. What does it do ? Does anybody know ?

  • Prince Ramgarhia

    such a great tutorial i just make my setting just as u mention there thanx DUMITRU

  • After Yoast have made a bunch of errors in their new update, can you then recommend an alternative Seo plugin, that is a bit similar to Yoast plugin.

  • Arezo Ejlali

    Premium version of the plugin’s features than the free version what?

  • mydesigntowp

    Pretty good tutorial for installing Yoast specially for those who are new to WordPress.

  • Thanks for giving such a most useful article. Now, Only thing that expected from you is “can you post article about Premium version of Yoast SEO”.

  • I am very new at blogging. I really like the sound of both Jetpack and SEO by Yoast but have heard they can conflict with each other a lot. What do you think and if they do is there a suggestion to help them play well with each other? I really am excited about BOTH!

  • Great Read! Will be very helpful for beginners!

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