Part 2: Configure Yoast SEO plugin: Social >>
Yoast SEO is that WordPress plugin that is almost the cornerstone of SEO for WordPress sites. For anyone who cares about traffic, a proper SEO setup is a must. You see, Search Engine Optimization is crucial in the success of any website. Be it a static business site, a blog, a social network or site of any kind, if it wants to stand a chance against its rivals, it must have a great SEO strategy. While we are not here to talk of SEO strategy, but Yoast SEO setup is a good start. As of this writing, Yoast SEO plugin has over a million “Active Installs”! If that is not enough to convince that it is the best SEO plugin, well then know that even sites as big as TechCrunch and Mashable use the plugin.
What is Yoast SEO?
TL;DR – It is an out of the box WordPress plugin, featuring almost all the SEO-related options for your site.
Yoast SEO plugin has all the fundamentals and features to optimize site that there are. It lets you set meta title, descriptions and even keywords (which I don’t why you’d want, because Google gives them no crap). Aside from that, it generates XML Sitemaps, which are easy to customize and you decide which post types and taxonomies are included in such a sitemap. You can also exclude certain blog posts from being included the sitemap. Not just that, there is a built-in Page Analysis feature, which gives you in-depth insights about your post/page and gives you tips to improve SEO for that post/page specifically. Read on to learn more about the plugin.
Do you need it?
A resounding YES! Why? Because it has all the SEO settings your site needs.
- Meta descriptions: The plugin gives you the option to set meta descriptions for each individual post and page; got custom post types and taxonomies? Yoast SEO has you covered.
- XML Sitemaps: They are the backbone of SEO! You can not not have them! Yoast SEO has this functionality, which you can use if you want. I mean, if you want you can totally and independently not use it and use Google XML Sitemaps plugin or some other custom way to generate/use sitemaps.
- Page Analysis: This is the best part of the plugin after XML Sitemaps! It gives you in-depth insights about different SEO aspects like whether images contain alt tag and alt tag contain Focus Keyword and that’s just tip of the iceberg.
So… that’s not all, but that’s enough to give you an idea of WHY you need this plugin.
How to best configure it?
See the plugin has so many options that an new WordPress user could easily feel overwhelmed. It is therefore this reason most users don’t bother configuring it, others who are not so plug and play would rather set it up properly. For that reason, this little guide will be useful.
Install and activate Yoast SEO
First of all, install and activate the plugin.
- Go to this page, download plugin
- Extract its zip contents, upload the folder to public_html/sitedomain.com/wp-content/plugins
- OR… upload the download package to Dashboard > Plugins > Add New
- OR… search its name from Plugins > Add New
Gearing up: SEO > General Settings
Once that is done, you should see a new “SEO” menu below “Settings” on left side. Click that.. it will take you to General Settings page.
- General: Here you can reset whole plugin’s settings which you may have configured (if any!). Just click that “Reset Default Settings“. You can also see a summary of recent changes made to the plugin by Yoast. Another important part is that you can let the plugin give you a tour of its insides.
- Your Info: You can tell Yoast your website name, your name and label the site as either “person” or “company”. If you select a company, it asks for company logo. This stuff is used in Google Knowledge Graph if you somehow get it, something that only major publications and companies get. Confused about Knowledge Graph? See this:
- Webmasters Tools: It is here where you can you verify Google Webmasters Tools, Yandex, Bing Webmasters Tools, etc.
SEO > Titles and Metas
Now that we are done with General Settings page, lets go to SEO > Titles and Metas.
What is title? What is meta description? This image explains it all:
Here you can add templates for various post types, custom post types, taxonomies and control whether or not these post types and taxonomies are indexed. You have all the control over archives. You can also set meta title and description for homepage. Lets go to SEO > Titles and Metas now.
- General: First off, you decide the “Title Separator”, which just a symbol that separates post/title from site name.
- Homepage: Set up meta title and description. Be wise and make use of your target keywords. If you are using a page as frontpage/homepage, then you need to edit that page to set up the title and description.
- Post Types: Here it is all about post types. There is Posts, Pages and any custom post types your theme may be using. Under each post type, you enable/disable whether Yoast SEO meta box (one you saw above) is displayed when that post type is edited. Also whether the date is shown in search results for that post type. And you decide if that post type is indexed or not. If you keep Meta Robots to “index”, that post type will be indexed or else not.
- Taxonomies: This tab is exactly same as Post Types. Only difference is that it is about taxonomies.
- Archives: Here Author archives and Date-based archives are talk of the day. First off, author archives are useful for sites much more useful for multi-author sites than single-author. Date-based archives are almost of no use. I generally prefer to disable the two. Rule of thumb? Disable date-based archives, let Author archives be. Author archives SHOULD as be disabled, because they are almost same as homepage and cause duplicate-content issues, which is not so good for SEO.
- Other: In Other tab, I disable “Use meta keywords tag” and “Force noodp metarobots tag sitewide”, because former is meta keywords is no longer a Google ranking keyword and latter prevents search engines from using DMOZ directory’s metas. Also you can decide whether to “noindex” or “index” the subpages of archives (pages like /page/2/)
Stay tuned for next part of this series! 🙂