If you are new to SEO and just getting started, you may have heard of the Yoast plugin. This plugin is an excellent tool for creating strong SEO content for your website and gives hints on how to make your content better.
Here is a step by step guide on how to install and use Yoast for WordPress:
What is Yoast?
Yoast is an SEO plugin available for WordPress users, make note that this plugin is only available for self-hosted, wordpress.org websites and not wordpress.com websites. There is a free and paid version of the tool which you can choose for yourself.
The plugin offers suggestions, reminders and excellent tips to make your content more SEO friendly. Additionally, the plugin also helps with connecting your social media profiles and connecting Google’s Search Engine Console.
How to Install the Plugin
From your dashboard, hover over the Plugins on the left sidebar and select Add New.
In the marketplace, search for Yoast and select Instal Now to start the installation process for the plugin. Don’t forget to Activate the plugin from Installed Plugins before you can start using and configuring Yoast.
The Yoast Plugin will now be accessible from your sidebar where you can configure and alter all of its settings.
These settings are where Yoast has their Configuration Wizard which can automatically update the settings of your plugin for your website. It is up to you whether you want to use it or not.
Once configured, General will show you the problems in your website’s SEO and any notifications from the plugin. So, regularly check this tab for any problems or updates you may need to carry out.
Under Webmaster Tools in the General tab, you can add the tag for Baidu, Bing, Google, and Yandex. This is especially useful as you will not need to edit any of your website’s code in order to verify these websites.
The next setting in the Yoast plugin is Search Appearance. This determines how your website appears in search results including the meta description for your home page, the titles and their format.
Fill out the meta description here for your website to ensure it is not missed and you can easily change it here. If you’re not sure about how to write a meta description and what to include, check out our SEO starter guide.
Content Types and Taxonomies are where you can control similar settings for your individual posts, pages, tags, categories and their formats. This is what makes Yoast such a beneficial plugin as it allows you to configure these settings with ease and apply these details to all pages and posts you create without adding extra work for you.
Generally, you would want to show Posts and pages in search results and show the meta box which is essential for SEO. Showing the date in SERPs can be really useful. It shows how up-to-date and relevant your content is for search engine results, especially if you update your content regularly for SEO.
The Breadcrumbs and RSS tabs are for more advanced settings which you may want to use in the future.
Search Console used to be where you needed to authenticate your google account fo Search Console Crawl information. Unfortunately, this is no longer available and you should check your Search Console manually.
In the Social tab of the Yoast plugin, add your social accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube. This notifies search engines that these social profiles are linked to your website.
This section also allows you to add your Pinterest Meta tag to verify your website. Again, this takes off a lot of pressure for new website owners as you do not need to edit any code.
You are also able to control how your content is shared on social platforms including a default image, the title and description of your website.
These are the main settings you will configure when first using your Yoast plugin.
How to Use Yoast Seo
Now that you have the plugin configured, the plugin does not stop there and is excellent for SEO all over your website. The most useful times are when you are creating pages or posts and the plugin appears at the bottom like this:
This is the Yoast dashboard and where will you get the most SEO information. In the SEO tab you can enter the Focus Keyphrase for the content, this is your long tail keyword. Yoast then provides and analysis of the content based on this keyword below, in SEO Analysis. Yoast analyses your content’s features including:
- Word Count
- Number of time the keyphrase is used
- Image alt attributions
- Inbound and Outbound Links
- Meta Description and slug
- Headings and Title
This is hugely valuable information for on-page SEO. The success is signalled through traffic light colours: green is good, yellow needs improving and red is bad for SEO. Yoast reminds you to optimise your content as much as possible and this is dependent on what are creating. Some suggestions may not be relevant to every single type of content so each one does not have to be green.
The SEO Snippet editor
This is where you can edit your title, meta and slug for each post or page and see a preview of how it appears in SERPs.
The colour coding shows if your title or meta is too long for search engines. This gives you a target to include your keywords and be as descriptive as possible for your search result appearance.
Yoast will prompt you to take out stop words in your slug and edit the title. Editing the title is excellent if it is too long, and make it more SEO specific. Therefore, you can keep the eye-catching, creative title for your content and alter the SEO title in Yoast. This is to make the content better for search engines.
Yoast provides an evaluation of the written content. This usually includes suggestions to make your writing more readable, have shorter sentences and subheadings within. Keep in eep in mind, these are just suggestions and are not always essential for your content.
The Social section is where you can specify what you want to be shared on Facebook and Twitter. These social media sites can post the content and choose the title, exerpt and an image automatically from your content. However, if you want your social posts to be more specific and tailored to your audience, you can edit them here.
Additionally, the Yoast plugin is also present on your WordPress dashboard when looking at your posts or page lists. Again, colour coding is used to represent the SEO score and the feather represents the readability score.
If you have content that is already written before you install Yoast you can get a glance of its success. Do note that the SEO score requires the focus keyphrase for a rating. This analysis helps you choose which content to improve and update more urgently.
You are Ready to use Yoast
Now you are more knowledgable of the Yoast plugin you can start applying it in your content creation. This plugin provides regular reminders and suggestions to make your website more SEO friendly and successful.