April 1, 2020

Yoast SEO Plugin: What Are its Key Features and How to Configure it

Search Engine Optimization – or SEO, as it’s popularly known – is an important part of any modern marketing strategy. Without search engine traffic it’s almost impossible for any business to thrive in today’s digital world.

Fortunately, it’s also not difficult to optimize websites for SEO in today’s era.

WordPress, which is the platform of choice for most websites, has got hundreds of plugins that can help you with your SEO optimization.

However, none of those plugins is as popular as the Yoast SEO plugin.

It has got millions of downloads and is a renowned name when it comes to SEO plugins in WordPress. And actually there are good reasons behind its popularity.

In this article we’ll take a look at all those features which collectively make Yoast the most popular SEO plugin in WordPress ecosystem, and how you can configure it easily to optimize your site for search engines. Let’s get started:

Key features of Yoast SEO

There are many reasons behind the popularity of Yoast SEO plugin. Its long list of features and ease of use are the primary reasons why it has gained so much popularity among WordPress users. Some of its top features include:

  1. Readability check that tells you how easily comprehensible the text on a web page is.
  2. Schema.org integration that tells search engines in greater detail about the content of your webpage.
  3. In-built snippet editor that shows you a preview of how a particular webpage will look in Google’s search results.
  4. Technical tools are available if you’re a more technical person and want to tweak the configuration files of your site (i.e. robots.txt and .htaccess). You can also generate and update your sitemap with it. 
  5. Regular updates every 2 weeks to keep up with Google’s algorithm updates;

Besides these basic free features that are available to every Yoast SEO user, there are a number of Premium features too, which come with the paid version of Yoast SEO. Here they’re:

  1. Content insights to provide you valuable analytics about the nature of your content (i.e. words that appear often, how often they appear, etc.);
  2. Redirect manager to help you manage all the redirects easily;
  3. Focus keyword exporter that can export all the focus keywords that you’ve used in your posts;
  4. Internal linking suggestions as you write your posts;
  5. Optimization for related keywords so you can simultaneously rank for more search terms;
  6. Social media post previewer to help you see how your posts will look on social platforms;
  7. 24/7 support to help you in case you get stuck somewhere;
  8. No ads.

These are some of the many features that come with Yoast SEO. While keeping them in mind now let’s see how can you set it up for your website in a step-by-step manner.

Step-by-Step Guide for Setup and Installation

The developers of Yoast SEO have kept things very simple when it comes to the installation and setup of this plugin. It’s really easy to set it up, and here we’re going to tell you how to do that:

Step #1: Install the plugin

First of all, install the plugin as you would install any other normal plugin.

Login to your WordPress dashboard, go to the Plugins section and after clicking the ‘Add New’ button search for Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO in WordPress Search

Once you get the search results, install it by clicking the ‘Install Now’ button. 

Install Yoast SEO

Step #2: Activate the plugin

Once your plugin is installed, an Activate button will appear in place of the Install Now button on the same page. Click it to activate Yoast SEO on your website. 

Step #3: Connect your subscription

Now it’s time to set up the Yoast SEO plugin you just installed. If you’ve purchased a Premium subscription of the plugin, then you should, first of all, connect your subscription to it so all features (including Premium ones) are enabled for configuration. Here’s how to do that:

1.Go to my.yoast.com and login with your Premium account

2. Click on the green ‘Add Site’ button (shown below)

Set up Yoast SEO

3. Enter the URL of your site in the form that appears next, and click ‘Connect’

Add site in Yoast SEO

4. That’s it. Now your site will be added, and it’ll show up like this in the overview section of MyYoast:

Site added to Yoast SEO

Now the premium features of Yoast SEO will be enabled for your plugin on the site. So we can go back to the WordPress dashboard to check it. 

Step #4: Configuring the plugin

In the left-hand column of your WordPress dashboard you’ll now be able to find an option called ‘SEO’ along with the logo of Yoast. Click it.

Configure Yoast SEO

Now you’ll be shown a configuration wizard that will guide you throughout the process of configuring Yoast SEO for your site. While the wizard itself is pretty self-explanatory, we’re going to help you with all the steps to make your job even easier. Here’s what you need to do:

1.Ensure that you’re on the Dashboard tab in the General section of Yoast SEO. Like this:

General Yoast SEO settings

2.Click on the ‘Configuration Wizard’ link as shown in the image below:

Configuration wizard in Yoast SEO

If you’ve used the Wizard earlier but didn’t complete it, you’ll see a ‘Open the configuration wizard again’ link in its place. You’ve got to click that one to restart the wizard.

3. Now the first step in this wizard is to check whether your site is ready to be indexed or not. If you’ve prepared it completely and there’s no problem in making it live, select Option A. Otherwise you can make it indexable later, so select Option B.

Yoast SEO installation wizard - Environment Step

4. The next thing you’ll be asked to specify is the kind of site that you have. It may be anything from a blog to a corporate website to an online shop, and you need to choose the category accordingly so Yoast SEO can provide you with the right kind of functions.

Yoast SEO installation wizard - Site type Step

5. The next thing you’re asked about is whether you’re a person or an organization, your logo (in case of an organization) and your social media handles. This information is taken to generate right metadata for your site, so you’ve got to provide it correctly. 

Yoast SEO installation wizard - Organization or person Step

6. The next thing Yoast asks about is whether you want your Posts and Pages to appear in Search Results or not. How your configure these settings depends entirely upon you, depending on how you’ve configured your site. If you’re unsure about it, we’d advise to leave it to “Yes” for both categories. 

Yoast SEO installation wizard - Search Engine Visibility Step

7. Next, you need to tell Yoast whether it’s only you or multiple authors writing content on your site. If it’s multiple authors, Yoast enables author archives to be indexed in search results. If it’s only you, on the other hand, it disables author archives so duplicate content issues don’t arise. So select this option based on the current situation – you can always change it later once you hire multiple authors. 

Yoast SEO installation wizard - Multiple Authors Step

8. The next step is to optimize the Title settings of your pages. You’re asked about your site name that you want to appear in SERPs of Google, the title separator you’d like to use between the site title and page title. Enter them and hit Next.

Yoast SEO installation wizard - Title Settings Step

9. That’s pretty much everything you need to setup. In the next two steps you’re provided links to some important Yoast tutorials that you may want to read, and to sign up for the Yoast newsletter, both of which you can choose or not choose depending on your choice. Upon successful completion of the wizard you’ll be shown a success wizard like the one shown below.

Yoast SEO installation wizard complete

Conclusion

So that’s how you can install and setup Yoast SEO plugin on your website. We tried our best to lay down the whole procedure in a manner as simple as possible, and hopefully, we were successful in it. But if you still have any questions regarding the whole procedure, you can ask them in the comments below and we’ll try our best to answer them.

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