How do you make sure you have your website and blog posts SEO-ed right? By using the Best WordPress SEO Plugin… evah!
It’s Yoast SEO. And I love it!
Why? It’s probably one of the best SEO plugins you can have for your WordPress website.
Let’s talk about WHY the Yoast SEO plugin is the best wordpress SEO plugin. And then we will go over the tabs of the plugin, so you know how to set it up correctly.
In the video below, we go over Best WordPress SEO Plugin. If you prefer to read instead of watch, the text below the video goes over the same points.
The Best WordPress SEO Plugin
First, let me tell you, it is spelled like toast. It rhymes with toast. It’s Y-O-A-S-T SEO.
It’s easy to look for. You just look for Yoast SEO when you’re actually searching for the plugin. Or you can go ahead and Google it.
The main reasons I like it is that it is extremely user friendly. Basically anybody could use this plugin, without knowing anything tech-wise.
And they also have these amazing tutorials. On every single page that you are going to look on, whether it’d be on the tabs that you’re setting up, or on your actual post or page that you want to make sure is SEO’d correctly, they have what’s called the help center.
There are video tutorials for everything, as well as stuff that you could look up. It’s amazing.
So it’s basically, you can’t get lost with this plugin, which is a huge thing, because search engine optimization is really difficult. They make sure to walk you through everything step by step.
Another reason why I love the Yoast SEO plugin, is that the FREE version is amazing. You could pretty much get your website to start ranking really, really well using the free version of their plugin.
Premium Version of the Yoast SEO Plugin
But they do have a premium version. With the premium version, you’re gonna get things like: more keywords that you can optimize for. With the free version you can only optimize for one keyword per page or post. But if you want to optimize for more, you can get that with the premium version. You can have up to five keywords per page or post that it’ll show you if you’re optimized well for or not.
You can also get a preview of what your page will look like in Google, Facebook, or twitter. Part of the Yoast SEO plugin is that you can specify exactly what is going to be said about it when the post pops up in Facebook. As well as the title and the image. Then you can get a preview of that if you are using the premium plugin.
You can’t do that with the regular plugin. You can still set those things (what Google, Facebook and Twitter post previews will look like), which is really, really nice. But you can’t preview them beforehand.
Internal Link Suggestions
Another really helpful thing that the premium Yoast SEO plugin does, is it gives you internal linking suggestions. You want internal links on your website.
If you have a post about something and you have something else related to it, you wanna make sure that those internal links are within your post. What the plugin does, if you have the premium version, is it gives you suggestions. It scans the information that you have in your post and says, “Hey, you might wanna link to this, or link to that,” which is really helpful, so you don’t have to think of that stuff yourself.
Then there’s the redirect manager.
One of the things you get with the free plugin is that you can see your Google crawl errors. You don’t actually have to go to Webmaster Tools to see those crawl errors. They will show up within the plugin on the back end of your website.
When you’re looking at the plugin, it will show you what the crawl errors are. One of the things you can do if you have the premium version is you can click on that crawl error, fix it, and possibly redirect it to another page or post.
But you cannot redirect it if you only have the free version. You can look and fix the crawl error, but you cannot redirect it.
The premium version is nice if you wanna pay $89 a year for it. It’s something that could be very helpful, but I would suggest just getting the free plugin right now.
There’s a lot that you’re gonna get just from using the free plugin. Eventually, down the road, as you get more comfortable with what you have with the free plugin, you can add in the premium plugin to get those extra features.
How to set up the tabs in the Best WordPress SEO Plugin
Let’s go through all the tabs in the Yoast SEO plugin, and show you how to setup the plugin correctly.
Go over to your WordPress site. Over to the left side, all the way down to where you see the Yoast symbol and the “SEO.”
Dashboard – Left
If you click on the “SEO” on the left, you will see the “General – Yoast SEO” at the top. Then you will see six tabs across the very top: dashboard, general, features, company info, webmaster tools, and security.
Under the “SEO,” on the left, it has: Dashboard, Titles & Metas, Social, XML Sitemaps, Advanced, Tools, Search Console, and Premium. It has eight little tabs on the left, under SEO. There is a lot of stuff that you can configure on here.
Dashboard – Top
We are going to start with just the general dashboard, Dashboard tab at the top, on the far left, and all it says is, “I have no problems, and no notifications.”
***NOTE***One of the things I absolutely love about this plugin is that they give you help on every single page. You are gonna see this everywhere. Under Dashboard, there’s a little question mark, and then it says, “Help Center” with a down arrow. If you click on that, up pops this video tutorial.
Almost every single tab, anywhere you’re using the Yoast SEO plugin, they give you a video tutorial on how to use it.
How awesome is that? And this thing is free.
General – Top
The next tab to the right of the Dashboard tab says ,“General.” Click on General.
Now, something you can do that would make things really easy is to use this new “Open Configuration Wizard” button. Go ahead and click on that if this is your first time loading Yoast SEO. It just walks you through, step by step, all the main things that you need to set up.
If for some reason you messed things up. You’ve done a bunch of stuff, and you don’t know what you did. And you don’t know how to get back to the beginning to how things were set up to begin with. Just go to this Restore Default Settings button, right under “Credits.”
You just click that button, and it takes you all the way back to the complete default settings. You can start over again.
And then, if you do anything, don’t forget to click Save Changes, which is right at the bottom of the page.
Features – Top
The next tab over is “Features.”
The first one we have is Readability Analysis; definitely have that one enabled, because it shows you, for each page and post that you have, how readable is it. That’s just good to know. Especially if you have a tendency to talk in tech talk for whatever your topic is that may go over a lot of people’s heads. You wanna keep the readability really easy.
(You will learn more about Readability in the next post where we go over SEO-ing a blog post with the Yoast SEO plugin.)
Scroll down to the next word. It says Keyword Analysis, which you definitely want, because that’s the whole point of having this plugin. You want Keyword Analysis enabled.
Below Keyword analysis you’ll see Advanced Settings Pages. You want that one enabled.
The Ryte, R-Y-T-E, click enabled for that.
Right below that you’ll see Admin Bar Menu. Have that one enabled also.
Cornerstone content. I have not gone into that yet. That is definitely something I want to start working on, but I do have that enabled right now. That is definitely something I want to add.
And then the Text Link Counter, which is always good. You want to know how many links you have, so have that enabled also.
This whole tab, where it has Features, have them all enabled. Then click “Save Changes.”
Company Info – Top
Next to Features is Company Info. This is where you have your Website name, and an Alternate name.
Under Website name, you add in company or person. I have this as a company.
And then under that it asks the Company name, which is Creator Tia for mine.
Then your company logo. You can upload an image there for you logo.
Then you would just click Save changes.
Webmaster Tools – Top
The next tab you have over is Webmaster Tools. This is where you’re going to be putting in your codes for your Google account, and Bing.
Security – Top
Next to Webmaster tools you have Security.
If you have a lot of authors on your site, you want this disabled. Because you don’t want them to be able to change these settings.
Titles & Meta – Left
Now we’re onto Titles & Metas. You’ll see on the left, under SEO, right under Dashboards.
You can see at the top here, it says Titles & Metas. We have six more tabs at the top. If you did the configuration wizard from the dashboard, then a lot of this stuff is already set, and you don’t need to worry about it.
General – Top
Under General, the only thing it has under here is Title Separator. I happen to like the vertical line to separate between my title and the name of my website. Whenever a meta title is created, it will have whatever I have it set as, and there’ll always be a vertical line, and then “Creator Tia.”
Homepage – Top
The next tab is Homepage. Click on Homepage. It says Homepage & Front Page. It says, “You can determine the title and description for the front page by editing the front page itself.”
Just have you go ahead and edit it on the front page itself. When you click on it, it takes you to that “customize page.” Then you edit it there.
Post Tabs – Top
Next tab over says Post Types. This is for your blog.
It says, “Title template.” I have it so it’s whatever the title is of my post, and then page, and then separator, and then site name. That’s just how I have my posts automatically configured in the title.
I will show you in the next video, when we look at each post and page individually, you can go ahead and change that if you want. This is just what automatically gets populated into the meta title, without me even having to think about it or do anything.
The next thing is meta description template. Personally, I do not put anything in there. I don’t want a template that just pops up automatically in the meta description. I want to be prompted to make sure I create a description for each post.
You can go ahead and put a description in here if you want to, and then that will be what automatically pops in there.
Meta Robots, you can index or noindex. I have that set to index.
Date in Snippet Preview, I don’t like the date to be shown.
Pages. It’s almost the exact same thing I have the Title template. I keep mine the same as post.
Once again, I do not have a meta description template in there. You can put one in if you so desire.
Then it says Meta Robots again. I have that indexed.
Date in Snippet Preview. I have that to hide.
And then the Yoast SEO Meta Box, I have that to show.
Below the Pages we have Media. I have this basically set as the same thing as above. Where it’s got the Title template. Meta description, I don’t have anything there.
I do have it indexed for Meta robot.
No Dates in the Snippet Preview.
Click Save changes at the bottom.
Taxonomies – Top
The next tab, over at the top here, says Taxonomies.
This is where you have Categories and Tags, et cetera. So in here, you would set it up how you want it. Then you would click Save changes at the bottom.
Archives – Top
The next tab over is Archives. This is just how you want your archives set up.
You would scroll through each item here, under Archives. You have Author archives settings. That’s up to you.
Data archives settings, I do have that enabled.
Then you would just click Save changes there.
Other – top
All we have left under is Other.
Sitewide meta settings. You can choose whether or not to index or noindex the subpages of archives.
Then Use meta keywords tag. I have that disabled because it says, “I don’t know why you’d want to use meta keyword, but if you want to, enable this.” The search engines don’t even pay attention to meta keywords. I don’t have that in there.
That is everything under Titles & Metas.
Social – Left
Next one that we’re gonna go over here, for the Yoast SEO plugin, down the left, is Social. It says Social – Yoast SEO at the top.
Accounts – Top
Accounts is the first tab. This is just where you put the names or URLs of your social accounts. It will even tell you specifically what to put in here.
You put your Facebook page URL. Just your twitter username. Everything else you have to put the entire URL.
Facebook – Top
The next tab over is for Facebook. The first thing it says here is Add Open Graph meta data. Enable that.
The next one down is Default settings. Let’s say, for example, you did a post and you forgot to specify the image that you wanted to show up for that post anytime somebody shares that post on Facebook. If you have a default image here, where it says Upload Image under Default settings, it will automatically put that image instead.
Twitter – Top
Next tab over is Twitter. You can just Add Twitter card meta data. I have that enabled. The default card type to use is always the Summary with large image. That works for me. That’s all there is for Twitter.
Pinterest – Top
The next tab over is Pinterest. All you’re gonna do is put in your Pinterest ID to authenticated it. You just follow the instructions for that.
Google + – Top
Then the next one is Google+. That is where you’d put in that Publisher Page.
That is it for Social.
XML Sitemaps – Left
The next one in our lineup for the Yoast SEO plugin here is the XML Sitemaps. This is awesome, because you don’t have to have a separate plugin to create your XML Sitemap. As you go down here, on the left, it’s the fourth one down, under Social.
Click on XML Sitemaps. It says “XML Sitemaps – Yoast SEO” at the top.
Have it enabled, because you want an XML Sitemap so the search engines have your sitemap. That’s very important.
General – Top
The first tab at the top is General. You can find Your XML Sitemap here. You click on XML Sitemap. It will give you a URL for your sitemap.
You can also click the Help center. It will tell you exactly how to go ahead and get your sitemap.
The only other thing you have on this particular page is Max Entries per sitemap page. The default is 1000. Just leave it at that for right now.
Post Types – Top
Across the top here, you have Post Types tab next to General.
These are the things that you want to show up in the sitemap. You want your Posts and you want your Pages to show up.
The rest is up to you. I don’t have my Media, Projects or Leadpages to show up.
Excluded Posts – Top
The next tab at the top, is Excluded Posts.
This is just any posts that you wanna exclude.
Taxonomies – Top
The next tab over is Taxonomies. Taxonomies is where you have your Category, your Tag, et cetera. The ones I have showing up in the Sitemap is Categories, Tags, and Formats.
Advanced – Left
The next section of the Yoast SEO plugin on the left is Advanced. This is gonna be the fifth one down, over here on the left, under Dashboard, Titles & Metas, Social, XML Sitemaps.
Breadcrumbs – Top
This is just where you qualify your Breadcrumbs. Go ahead and enable it. It’s always a good thing to have enabled, it makes the website much easier to use.
You can add what you want the Separator to be.
The Anchor text for the Homepage is where you put it exactly what you want it to be. I would suggest just using “Home” since that is what most people recognize.
Set it to Bold the last page, just so it’s kinda obvious where people are.
Then “How to insert breadcrumbs in your theme” is at the bottom of the page. Each theme is different. Click on their “our knowledge-base article on breadcrumbs implementation,” because that will give you a better explanation of how exactly you want to do that.
Then click Save Changes.
Permalinks – Top
The next tab is Permalinks.
This is where you can change your URLs and set your permalinks. Just keep the default.
Strip the category base; have that as Keep.
Redirect attachment URLs to parent post URL; have that as Redirect.
It says, “Stop word in slugs.” Those are words like “a, the, is;” stuff that you really don’t want in your keyword titles. Have them automatically remove that. It just makes it easier.
The Remove the ?replytocom variables; have that as Keep.
Redirect ugly URLs to clean permalinks. It says, “Not recommended in many cases,” so have that as No Redirect.
If Yoast SEO has something where it says, “Not recommended,” follow it. These guys know what they’re doing.
Then click Save changes.
RSS – Top
Scroll back up to the top. The only other tab we have under Advanced is RSS.
This are the RSS feed settings, so you can just go ahead and configure this. I just did what the default was.
The Content before each post in the feed; so this will actually show up when somebody gets an RSS of your blog. When they have it pulled up in their RSS reader it will automatically put this in before each post and after each post. It gives you the variables to use at the bottom of the page, so you can put in exactly what you want.
Then you’ll click Save changes.
That’s it for the Advanced section of the Yoast SEO plugin.
Tools – Left
Over here on the left, if you’ll go almost all the way down, is Tools.
You can see here, that it comes with some tools. You can do a Bulk editor if you want, a File editor, or an Import/Export. Basically, if you need to use these things, it has these tools that are available.
Search Console – Left
The next one is Search Console. This is really cool.
In Google you can go to your Webmaster Tools and look at your crawl errors that you have for your website. Well, if you don’t want to do that, you can have them show up here. They will actually show up here as long as you have authenticated your website with Google.
As long as you’ve done that, those crawl errors will just show up right here, which is awesome because you can take care of them right here, while you’re in your website.
Desktop – Top
What I would suggest is clicking this Help Center link at the top, just under Desktop. They have a good video on exactly how you can see the crawl errors. How they show up. And what you can do to go ahead and fix them here in your website.
Then mark them as fixed. They will be marked as fixed in the actual Webmaster Tools.
That is it for the whole left side here, of the Yoast SEO plugin.
Tune in next week for how to use all these things when you’re writing your posts and your pages. We will go over how helpful it can be for setting up your keywords and making sure that your pages and posts get ranked in search engines.
If you want to throw your hands up in frustration every time someone tells you to make sure your blog posts are SEO-ed, go ahead and click the image above for your Blog Post SEO Checklist.
It’s a step-by-step checklist to make sure that you SEO all the main points of each blog post correctly. All you have to do is print this out, go through your blog post, and go through the checklist, step by step. Then you know that your blog post will be SEO-ed perfectly.