Ultimate guide to WordPress SEO settings by Yoast

Wordpress Seo by yoast plugin best settings guide
Best WordPress SEO Settings for Yoast WordPress SEO plugin!

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 by Yoast 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 or configure your w3 total cache plugin settings on WordPress for better load time.
  • 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 moving from All in One SEO, Genesis framework’s built in SEO or other major SEO plugins then now Yoast plugin allows you to import your previous data with ease without the need for any additional plugin installation.
    If you are configuring the WordPress SEO by Yoast settings on a new website then skip this step.
  3. Yoast WordPress SEO plugin settings : General Settings.

    yoast wordpress seo settings -dashboard
    WordPress SEO by Yoast 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 by Yoast settings – Titles.
  5. Yoast WordPress SEO plugin 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 plugin by Joost De Valk 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 plugin by Yoast settings – Permalinks.
  8. Yoast WordPress SEO plugin 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 by Yoast 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.
  3. Social signals as well as company specific meta data and knowledge graph is something that has been added in the latest iterations of the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. Here are the screen shots for those pages. By adding specific information related to your company here you can make sure Google knows whether you are a company or a person and show other significant data about your website!
    wordpress seo by yoast settings - knowledge graph company

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. Squirrly SEO plugin is great, and has a human element to it that it allows to optimize posts for natural reading experience. But the fact that it’s a paid plugin might be a deterrent for people who are looking to use it!
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.

For those people who found this guide really difficult to follow or found some information outdated/missing here’s a tutorial video that we made just to make the whole process of setting up WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin easy.

Because there’s only one true way to live. The inspiring way.
Stay inspired to rise. Keep visiting Inspire2rise.com.

Have any doubts or queries ? Shoot us a mail at [email protected] Any suggestions related to Yoast WordPress SEO settings would be deeply appreciated.
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Tags : SEO, yoast, Blogging, Blogging tips.
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Written by Aditya Nath Jha

Aditya Nath Jha is an Engineer from New Delhi, India. His areas of interest include Gadgets, WordPress, speed optimization & latest technology.
When he is not busy blogging he loves to write poetry, compose his own songs and has a taste for music! Find me on Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Linked in.
And watch my videos on Youtube.


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