WordPress Tutorial

How to Optimize WordPress Using Yoast SEO Plugin

How to Optimize WordPress Using Yoast SEO Plugin

Introduction

A website that doesn’t show up in search results is as good as dead. To make sure that your website/blog doesn’t remain behind in search results and vanish somewhere in the deep corner of the Internet, here is a tutorial which can help you optimize your WordPress blog for Search engines.

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What you’ll need

Before you begin this guide, you’ll need the following:

  • Access to WordPress Administrator area

Step 1 – Checking whether your blog is discouraging search engines.

If you’ve installed WordPress with Hostinger’s script installer, this won’t be a problem, but if you chose to install WordPress manually, minor differences may appear in the parameters and your website may be set to no-index, i.e. Google won’t be crawling your website.

In order to check that, you need to go to the Settings > Readings and scroll all the way to Search Engine Visibility. If the Discourage search engines from indexing this site box is checked, uncheck it, and save changes.

WordPress Enable Search Engine Visibility

Step 2 – Installing Yoast SEO Plugin

Next, you need to install Yoast SEO, a free plugin which makes it very easy to manage the whole SEO thing on your WordPress installation. To install the plugin, navigate to Plugins > Add New, search for Yoast SEO and install the plugin.

WordPress Install SEO Yoast

Step 3 – Configuring Yoast SEO Plugin

Start the configuration by visiting the SEO > Dashboard page. This page will basically give you an overview and an alert, if there are any problems.

WordPress SEO Yoast Dashboard

Now enable Advanced Settings Pages on SEO > Dashboard > Features.

WordPress Enable SEO Yoast Advanced Settings Page

You will be able to see Advanced Settings Pages. Bellow are listed the most important settings you should consider configuring:

SectionExplanation
Your InfoThis section tells search engines whether your website is personal or represents a business. If you select person, you will need to enter your name. If you select company, you’ll need to enter the Name and Logo.
Webmaster ToolsHere you need to enter authorisation codes so that Yoast can access and verify your Google Search Console, Bing or Yandex accounts.
Titles & Metas > GeneralHere you can configure options such as whether you allow Yoast to edit your titles or not. In most of the cases, it’s better to turn this on. You can also configure your page, separator (the thing that separates your page name and site name in the title bar. Readability analysis and keyword analysis can also be configured here.
Titles & Metas > HomepageHere you have to enter the title and description of your website’s homepage. If you’ve set a custom home page, you need to edit the title and description from that page itself.
Titles & Metas > Post typesHere, you have to configure how your post titles are going to look in search results. It is suggested to leave Title template of post, pages to %%title%% and description fields blank, so that, if you’ll want, you could add the description while writing. Also, you have to make sure that none of them are set to noindex. If your posts and pages are set to noindex, they won’t be crawled by Google.
Titles & Metas > TaxonomiesYour Taxonomies are Categories and Tags. Unless you feel a strong need to show them in search results, it is better to set them to noindex.
Titles & Metas > Author ArchivesIf you have a multi-author blog, you should enable the author archives so that users could check posts of a specific author. If your blog has only one author, it is better to turn this off. On the same page, you can also configure your time-based archives.
SEO > SocialHere, you need to add your social media channels. This helps later on and increases your chances of being picked up in the Knowledge Graph.

Step 4 – Submit XML Sitemap to Google

The Yoast plugin creates an XML Sitemap of your website, which makes it easy for search engines to crawl your website. The sitemap can be generated on SEO > XML Sitemaps and accessed via http://yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml/. You can submit your Sitemap to Google using Google Search Console.

Google Search Console Submit Sitemap

Conclusion

Upon finishing this tutorial, you have learned how to install and configure Yoast SEO plugin. If configured correctly, this plugin can greatly increase search engine rankings for your WordPress blog.

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