Ultimate guide to WordPress SEO settings by Yoast

WordPress is a part of an ongoing social revolution. Not just a mere platform, it’s something which has become a part of global website revolution. They say every second four websites are being launched. Let me tell you something startling, out of every four, one uses WordPress. This is a statement which need not be emphasized much for validity. WordPress is loved all over the world for it’s ease of use, vast array of plugins, ultra beautiful and customization ready themes. One thing that many people overlook initially is SEO. For any successful web start-up, blog or service; ranking for targeted keywords is something that is the most desired. People go on a link building spree just to later realize that it’s the properly optimized content that sticks. Don’t listen to industry gurus, they just want to keep their rankings secure. But as we at Inspire2rise have got nothing to loose, we bring to you the ultimate guide to WordPress SEO settings to beat the SEO blues out of your blogging  journey!

Index of  WordPress SEO settings article. [ For those in a hurry ;) ]
1.) Basics.

1.1) SEO friendly theme.
1.2) Speed.
1.3) Navigation.
1.4) Off page SEO.
1.5) Robots.txt and comments.
1.6) Internal linking.

2.) Setting up WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.

2.1) Installing the plugin.
2.2) Data Migration.
2.3) General Settings.
2.4) Titles and meta settings.
2.5) Social settings.
2.6) XML sitemaps.
2.7) Permalink settings.
2.8) Other extra settings.

3.) Changes in Yoast WordPress SEO over the years.

4.) More Inspire2rise Guides.

WordPress SEO settings : Getting the basics right!

Before we start away customizing the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin let’s discuss some basic settings and prerequisites for good SEO.

  • Choose a good SEO friendly theme. By doing so you will reduce 50% of your hard work then and there. Themes by Famethemes and Mythemeshop are on top of our list. A good SEO friendly theme will have proper title tags, optimized header, breadcrumbs and meta tags and this will significantly reduce the effort you have to put to rank better.
    But when you do write always use the Yoast SEO plugin for setting up titles, because the themes should not be allowed to handle anything beyond the basic SEO stuff.
  • Work on speed. Speed is something which can never be ignored. Buying a good hosting plan is something which is of prime importance. But using caching plugins and CDN services will also help in getting below the coveted 2 second load time! Check out Google Page Speed.
  • Have a proper navigation in place. Footer links need to be optimized for relevance and make sure your main pages are accessible from every page on your website. Using proper title text and anchor tags for links is also another important thing which should not be ignored!
  • Build an active off page SEO schedule. SEO plugins for WordPress will only help you with on page SEO. Off page SEO requires time, effort and patience and results may sometimes take weeks to show up. So, off page SEO like social sharing, blog commenting and book marking should be on the top of your priority list.
  • Permalink structure should be user friendly as well as search engine friendly.
    %postname%.html or /category/%postname%.html is something which is a nice link structure from SEO viewpoint.
  • Set up redirects from non WWW domain name of yours to the WWW one. Setting up a 301 redirect will help in creating a uniform url for everyone who accesses your site. And this is beneficial from SEO viewpoint. Because search engines treat WWW and non WWW pages as different. Having lots of content indexed under two different URLs would lead to duplicate content issue on your site.
  • Use Robots.txt to block search engine crawler’s access to some directories on your server like wp-admin, some folders within the wp-content area like the themes folder etc. This helps in setting the crawler to crawl only the content which you have to offer and not waste time.
  • Increase user engagement by allowing comments and reactions. By using good and descriptive images related to your posts. By answering their doubts through posts and comments rather than writing paid articles all the time!
  • Use pages for important topics rather than posts.
    DID YOU KNOW – Comments on a webpage are good. But the truth is that each comment added to your post changes the keyword density that you created with so much pain!
  • Linking to related topics post using YARPP or nrelate, or manually as you see fit!
  • Using tags to link related content. But in moderation. Going overboard with tags also harms your SEO.
  • Focus on conversion. Conversion means how well you convert a new reader into a subscriber. Boxes at the end of a post with a beautiful subscribe button will instantly lead more people to subscribe to your website, thereby increasing your permanent visitor base.
  • Use insightful titles. Titles with keywords in the beginning and blog title at the end usually perform well in search engines.would be
  • Use dated archives, i.e set up an archive page. It maybe considered as duplicate content. So it would be better to do-follow it but make it no-index.
You may like : Blogging tips guide.

 

WordPress SEO settings : Setting up the Yoast SEO plugin step by step.

 

  1. Installing the plugin : To do so Go to [ Plugins>Add new Plugin>WordPress SEO by Yoast>Install the plugin>Activate it ] from the WordPress admin dashboard. Once the plugin is installed we will head over to the plugin dashboard. Or download it here.
  2. [ Optional Step ] Data migration : Many of the users already have a SEO plugin installed or are probably using their theme/framework’s inbuilt SEO settings. Before you deactivate your previous plugin do this to make sure you don’t loose your hard work. SEO Data transporter plugin or default import/export options can help you in doing this with ease.
    If you are configuring the WordPress SEO settings on a new website then skip this step.
  3. Yoast WordPress SEO settings : General Settings.

    yoast wordpress seo settings -dashboard

    WordPress SEO settings – Dashboard

    These are the basic settings available in Yoast SEO’s dashboard. Add your verification id’s for various metrics like Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools, Alexa verification id etc. Skip the other options.

  4. Moving Further : Titles and Metas.
    If your theme has proper titles then leave it unchecked otherwise we would recommend to “Force rewrite titles”. Tick the “Use meta keywords tags” . Meta keywords are for setting up more keywords than the focus keyword so as to allow variations around the focus keyword. Use them wisely and rankings would definitely improve. But over use of meta keywords is a risky thing.
    Tick “” for saving yourself from duplicate search engine results. And in the section of “Clean up the head” tick all. (You can leave WLW option unchecked if you use Windows Live writer to write posts.)
    In the “HOME” option. Describe homepage title and meta description. Max word limit for both being 70 and 160 characters as this is the limit for being recognized by search engines.
    In the “POST TYPES” leave everything to the default setting.
    In the “Taxonomies” section tick everything to “no-index, follow”. Doing so will save you from several duplicate pages in search results. Apart from ticking that check box leave everything as it is.
    In the “Other” section set the author and date archives to “no-index, follow”. And if you have only one contributor profile on your blog/website then check the “Disable author archives” option.

    You may like : Best Ad placement tips.

    yoast wordpress seo settings -titles

    WordPress SEO settings – Titles.

  5. Yoast WordPress SEO settings : Social. 

    In the Facebook section tick the “Add open graph meta data”. Add your Facebook page url, fill in the rest of the description. Similarly fill in the twitter section with username (Tick add twitter card meta data.) In Google+ select the Google+ profile to set as homepage author. And add your Google+ fan page URL in the publisher section.

  6. Settings : XML Sitemaps.
    For all practical purposes we would never recommend using an external plugin for sitemap generation. Seriously, Yoast is the best in business. Do follow as in the given image.

    yoast wordpress seo settings -xml

    WordPress SEO settings – xml

  7. Permalink Settings .
    Because it can cause issues with some installs we generally won’t recommend to strip the category base from URLs. Most of the people generally don’t have to do so. But in some cases it may help individual category pages to be listed better. *Use it at your own discretion.
    Leave the enforce a trailing slash on URL if you didn’t use such a URL structure from the beginning.
    Tick the subsequent “Redirect attachment URL’s to parent post URL” so as to prevent hot linking and disable copying of images.
    Tick the “Remove the ?replytocom variables” if your database is of a large size like ours.
    The last one “Redirect ugly URL’s to clean permalinks.” is an experimental feature at the best. Enable it for some time and if it doesn’t break any plugins then leave it on.
    If you are using Google Webmaster Tool campaigns or some other extra Facebook features which add large variables at the end of your URL then it would be not beneficial to enable this feature.
    Leave the rest as it is on this page.

    You may like : Top ten plugins for WordPresss.

    yoast wordpress seo settings -permalinks

    WordPress SEO settings – Permalinks.

  8. Yoast WordPress SEO settings :Internal links.

    If your theme doesn’t have breadcrumbs by default then you can use this feature. And after enabling add the code for breadcrumbs at the starting of single-post.php . Here’s the code :

<?php if ( function_exists('yoast_breadcrumb') ) {
yoast_breadcrumb('<p id="breadcrumbs">','</p>');
} ?>
yoast wordpress seo settings -internal

WordPress SEO settings – Internal links.

 

  1. Rest of the settings : RSS, Import and export, Edit files.
    Leave the RSS settings to the default settings. And on the import and export page the usage can be done to import previous install data. Or if you are moving from Yoast’s plugin to another plugin then you can export the settings.
    Edit files section : This section is important. Firstly because it allows you to edit your Robots.txt and .htaccess file form within the WP-dashboard. And secondly because it saves you the hassle from logging in to your file manager time and again.

    You may like : Increase domain Authority.
  2. The changes in the Yoast plugin over the years.
    Over the years several of features have been improved while some of the tweaks have been removed which were particularly useful.
    One such tweak was to remove dates from SERPS. If you remove the visible date on your blogs and they have content which will never go stale. Something like a guide or list, then it would definitely have a high CTR in the search engines. Because people generally tend to look for stuff that’s recently written ( going by the date ) or something which doesn’t have a date at all.
    So to do so you can use this plugin.

Going by the current scenario the future of Yoast is bright. Earlier I was using All in one SEO pack. Though initially good for beginners, it doesn’t pack much power and customization options. SEOpressor is another great plugin. But it has many unnecessary bells and whistles which true SEO lovers would despise.
If the truth be told, then it’s simple. SEO is a matter of experience. You can’t rank in one day. It takes continuous efforts for that to happen. The more you experiment the more you will learn. Someone with extensive knowledge of SEO would recommend you to not even use a plugin and do the things manually. Because every plugin added would add more tables and load to your database.
But because of it’s high level of automation and ease of use, you can just install Yoast WordPress SEO and follow our settings. Write your heart off, day by day. And see your rankings soar.



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  • http://www.gethow.org Atul Kumar Pandey

    Thanks buddy,

    Finally I set up my SEO settings correctly. I realized today that I was using some settings wrong, which I have corrected today just because of you. Thanks really a nice share.

    Regards,
    Atul Kumar Pandey

    • http://www.inspire2rise.com Aditya Nath Jha

      Hmm, happy to help Atul. Keep visiting for more WordPress seo related articles at Inspire2rise.com

  • http://www.reginaldchan.net Reginald

    Hey mate!

    This is a great post. Very detailed and keep it up.

    Reginald

    • http://www.inspire2rise.com Aditya Nath Jha

      Thank you brother, it’s the result of a lot of effort to compile these WordPress seo settings for creating such a detailed post!

  • http://www.i2r.in Apollo

    Very nice and in-depth walk-through of things bloggers should do as they set-up their WP blog. Thanks for sharing it.

  • http://www.techdesighn.com Ahsan

    You described well how to configure your site SEO with Yoast. I use All In 1 SEO Pack. i think it is also good SEO plugin. Anyway its the users choice what he wants to use.

    • http://www.inspire2rise.com Aditya Nath Jha

      I agree with you Ahsan, going to cover all in one SEO too soon. Search engine optimization can be done by anyone with good knowledge even without a plugin. A plugin is just for making things easier and to facilitate automation! Keep visiting.

  • http://rohitmittal.in/ Rohit Mittal

    Thanks for sharing this post for us about the wordpress SEo by Yoast.
    I always follow ur blog for the purpose of blogging & Seriously I Learn Alot.

    By the Way I have one doubt between All in One SEO/Wordpress SEO by Yoast which one is Best & WhY?

    Reply Me ASAP…

    • http://www.inspire2rise.com Aditya Nath Jha

      I used ALL IN ONE SEO pack in my initial days of blogging, and all it allowed me to do was customize title tags, metas etc. With WordPress seo by yoast plugin I can customize and fine tune a lot more things and rank specifically for what I choose by careful optmization. So, Yoast wins for me anyday!

  • http://techbuzzes.com Mohammed Siadath Ali

    Thanks Adi,
    it was a wonderful read, i seriously had no idea about breadcrumbs. But your post enligten me with what it is and its use.

    surely a very informative article newbie bloggers shouldn’t miss reading and worth trying. Gonna share it, so others gets informed about this wonderful information.

    Thanks !!

    • http://www.inspire2rise.com Aditya Nath Jha

      A pleasure to help others in setting up WordPress seo settings for the Yoast plugin, everyone uses it but very few people know how to configure it good!

  • http://gravatar.com/knowabutyou Karan Singh

    When I start blogging, at that time I use ALL IN ONE SEO plugin for SEO but after reading you article I think that it’s time to change ALL IN ONE SEO plugin to Yoast Plugin. Thank for writing such a wonderful article, I hope yoast plugin help me to increases my traffic.

  • http://www.pulsa-matic.net rhyant

    i like,this is a great post… support you…!!! Thanks…!

    • http://www.inspire2rise.com Aditya Nath Jha

      Thank you Rhyant for taking the time out to visit this and read our WordPress seo article! :)

  • http://www.psychicreporter.com Patrick

    Use pages for important topics rather than posts.

    Hi Aditya, you mention this above. I have made most of my site “posts” but notice that the date will appear in the Google Snippet (Preview). As most of my site is not date related I worry how this will look years down the track. Will this be an issue to change most of the “posts” to “Pages”? Or to now start creating pages instead of posts?

    • http://www.inspire2rise.com Aditya Nath Jha

      If you have already created the posts Patrick bro then you are left with few solutions: Either create pages with same exact content and URL as the posts after taking them down, or you can also use the Date Exclusion SEO plugin for WordPress which hides the dates from the SERPS and makes it easier to retain freshness on the posts!

  • http://www.psychicreporter.com patrick

    Thanks Aditya. I appreciate your reply.

    • http://www.inspire2rise.com Aditya Nath Jha

      You need help anytime regarding WordPress SEO or some specific plugins then remember, “Help is just one comment away!” :D