Making your blog successful in the online world is not an easy task, is it? It would be nice if we just thought of a name and a page with a beautiful layout came up. Better yet, if we wrote our first content and it soon appeared on the first page of Google. But, already […]
Making your blog successful in the online world is not an easy task, is it?
It would be nice if we just thought of a name and a page with a beautiful layout came up.
Better yet, if we wrote our first content and it soon appeared on the first page of Google.
But since if everything in life was a bed of roses, florists would go broke, you need to work hard to get your blog to the front pages of Google.
There are two major keys to achieving this: quality content and good SEO.
The great news is that in today’s post we will present a guide to one of the most valuable WordPress tools, the Yoast SEO plugin.
No matter what your goal is, whether it’s optimizing your personal blog, ranking your company well or improving a customer’s results, Yoast is the ideal plugin to make the blog search engine friendly.
Today you will learn from installation to the main functions to optimize your page!
If you don’t have your own blog yet, see our step by step how to create a blog!
In today’s post you will learn:
- Downloading and installing Yoast
- Configuring Yoast SEO
- Titles and Metadata
- Search Console
- Using Yoast
Downloading and installing Yoast
Let’s start from the beginning.
If you just created your blog and still don’t know how to install the plugin, let’s show you how simple the task is.
If you already have Yoast installed on your WordPress, feel free to proceed to the next chapter.
If you stayed, let’s go ahead!
Go to your WordPress Dashboard and find the Plugins option in the left column. Hover your cursor over (without clicking) and you will see the option “add new”.
By clicking on this option, you will be taken to a page where you will browse the various plugins, a kind of WordPress AppStore.
This section is divided into “Highlights”, “popular”, “recommended” (which for some reason is in the singular) and “popular”.
You may not find Yoast in any of these 4 categories.
But don’t panic!
You will see that there is an option to search for plugins. Ufa!
Ready! Now we have found Yoast SEO.
Just click on the “install now” option. WordPress already does the whole process for you: download, install and ask you to activate the plugin.
To check if everything went well you need to see an option “SEO” in your sidebar on your dashboard, the same where the plugins option is.
If it is there, it is because the plugin has been successfully installed and activated!
Ready! The easy part is now complete.
But that’s not what you came here for, is it?
If you have never used the plugin, the next step may seem a little more complicated, but with our help, you will do very well.
Let’s go to one of the most fundamental moments to make good use of Yoast: the configuration.
We will not teach you how to configure your website or blog, especially because the ideal configuration for one, may not be for another.
We will present the options for you to understand each one.
Let’s move on!
Importing the configuration of other SEO plugins
Before going through a step by step to configure your Yoast, let’s give a shortcut to those who already have an SEO plugin installed on their WordPress.
If this is your case, we will present how you can import the settings of your other plugin.
However, if you have never had another SEO tool, you can proceed to our step by step “setting up your Yoast SEO”.
Anyway, to save a lot of time you who already had another plugin can import the information, for that, just click on the option “tools” (the same one that appeared in the last image, in the menu on the left bar).
You will come across these options:
Now, select to import and export (in the description we can see the description of importing from other SEO plugins). And then “import from other SEO plugins.
When you select this option, you will see that Yoast already gives you the option to download the settings for 4 specific plugins: HeadSpace2, All-in-One SEO, WooThemes SEO and wpSEO.
If one of these is your old plugin, just select the option and click on import. That simple!
As the description of Yoast you see above recommends, if you use a plugin different from these, you can check out the SEO data transponder.
If you have already exported the settings from another plugin, just click on the import option, select the desired file, then just click on the blue button and run to the hug!
Ready! Yoast configured!
Configuring Yoast SEO
Well, if you didn’t have any configuration to import from other plugins, let’s start from scratch!
If you have imported the configuration from other plugins, maybe you should follow the step by step and check if everything is fine.
A little precaution doesn’t hurt anyone.
To begin, find the SEO option in your sidebar again and this time click on the “general” option.
That’s where we’ll start, by configuring your plugin’s global options!
When we select this option we do not come across this screen:
The “general” option will already be automatically selected, and there is not much to do here.
If one day you need to restore the initial Yoast settings, this is where you find this option, as we see in the image.
You can also take the “introduction tour”, a kind of simple tutorial showing how to use the tool.
But if you really want to configure Yoast, let’s go ahead with “your information”.
In this session, you have the option to put your website’s name on Yoast. If you have an alternative name for your site you can also put it here.
You will also tell Yoast if your website or blog is personal or that of a company, which will be important for Google to incorporate in its Knowledge Graph (function that provides precise data about the term for the search of a reader, leaving them even more assertive Google results).
Other things like the company logo can be added which can also be included in Google’s Knowledge Graph.
Now it’s time to see the tools for Webmaster. If you plan to use tools like Google Search Console, Alexa, Bing Webmaster Tools or Yandex, you can check your site here.
Regardless of which tool you choose, the process is basically the same. Let’s use Google Search Console as an example, which is the most popular tool among the options.
- Open the Search Console dashboard and select “manage property” then “check this site” in the box for the site you want to link to the Yoast tool. If you have not added the site to Search Console you will need to complete this step.
Last but not least, we have a security option.
If you are the owner of a website with only one author, you don’t have much to worry about right now and you don’t need to check the option.
But if your site has several authors who can post, add content and access the site, this session can be of great help!
When this option is unchecked, some more advanced settings sections, such as redirects, for example, are visible to all blog authors. If you trust them and don’t worry about them messing with some settings on your blog, there is no need to select.
However, if you fear that someone, even by accident, will change some settings, the ideal is to select the option to not have any kind of concern.
Titles and Metadata
Let’s move on with our Yoast tutorial. We still have a floor to go, but in the end, we will be able to optimize your website or blog SEO with this plugin.
This option is found, again, in the sidebar under SEO and right after the “general” option.
This configuration is essential because this is where you decide how your site will appear on the SERPs (search engine results pages).
See how to configure, remembering that this step is essential for your search engine optimizations.
In general, this is where you will define how your title will appear on the SERPs. For example “site name | contact us ”or“ blog name – contact us ”.
It is important to remember that the sign you choose to make this separation in the title will appear in ALL posts on your blog.
You may also have noticed that there is an option to “Force rewrite titles”, so the Plugin automatically corrects an error that is relatively common in WordPress, with sites appearing with their duplicate names.
If the problem of duplicate titles still persists, the ideal is to contact your developer so that he can tinker with the site code.
What you see in this print may not be exactly what will appear when you select the “home page” box.
The example site is configured to have one page for the website’s home page and another for the blog page.
If this is how your site is set up and you want, for example, to edit the title or meta descriptions that appear in the SERPs, just click on “editing the posts page directly” (to change the blog) and make the desired changes.
Types of posts
Now we have entered a new session, that of post types.
Titles and meta-descriptions
For starters, let’s focus on two very important aspects of SEO and page CTR. Here you can create templates for titles and meta descriptions of your pages.
They can be different for each page. For example, the way that the two will appear for blog pages may be different from the way that they will appear on a website page.
If you already know Yoast you know that inside each post you can edit the title and the goal and you may be wondering why this feature is here.
But it is precisely when you do not edit specifically in each post, WordPress will automatically place the template you defined here.
For example, you can select to display the website and the date:
%% title %% %% date %%
If you want the post category to appear you can use:
%% title %% %% category %%
Yoast’s own website presents possible ways to create your template, there are several variations. You can check this link.
Important: if you leave the meta description area blank, search engines will include a part of your text. We advise you to always make your meta descriptions.
In this functionality, we see a button where we can select two different options: “index” and “noindex”.
In most cases, you are sure to leave the “index” option selected.
“Noindex” is the same as not letting search engines index a page, that is, it is the same as saying: “Google, I don’t want this page to appear as an answer to readers’ searches”.
It is usually to avoid Google penalties, such as avoiding duplicate content.
Snippet preview date
This is an option that will depend a lot on the type of content you have on a specific type of page.
For example, if you work with evergreen content, which never loses its value, it may be better to opt-out. People can see the date on the SERPs and deduce that their post is out of date.
If your post is a list of the richest men in the world, for example, it is interesting to leave the date, after all, it is a list that is constantly changing. Current and more news content as well. If you want to see bids for a game the date will show you whether it is the recent game you missed or just bids from a 2010 game.
Yoast SEO Meta Box
This option is for blogs that may have multiple authors and contributors. If you, as an administrator, prefer that they do not configure Yoast within specific blog pages, leaving this box checked will solve the problem.
If you change your mind eventually, no problem! Just go back and change the option in the box.
This part is mostly used in the case of blogs or websites that have different categories or tags to organize the posts.
It works just like the part of titles and meta descriptions, but they are made exclusively for pages of a category or a specific tag.
If you have a blog with several pages and texts, having a good way of organizing them, whether by authors, themes or date, can greatly facilitate the user’s life.
However, creating these types of files may not always be very good for search engines, because they may consider the contents as duplicates. And that is exactly what this tab is for!
That’s because from here you can tell search engines to index or not your archive pages.
Another very useful function of this tab is to set your special pages, like page 404 for example.
You can turn it into something you want to appear there, preventing it from being just a normal page not found.
That way you may be able to get the reader where you want to go.
Finally, the “Others” section.
Here we can set some other features that are already directly explained by Yoast himself, as we can see below:
Now we will return to our menu in the sidebar, again within SEO, now we will select the option “Social”.
You will come across this screen:
The first tab within Social is the one we see above: “accounts”.
This session is very self-explanatory.
All you need to do here is to paste the URLs of their respective social networks in their space.
This is to notify search engines that these social networks are directly associated with your website.
As you can see, we also have an individual tab for each social network. That way you can control how the shared content will be displayed on each one.
In the option “Facebook”, selected in the example image, we see the option to add Open Graph data in the <head> section of your website, which will make it easier for Facebook to use an appropriate image, a title and a description when something is shared of your website.
The Image URL option exists for you to place a default image for pages that do not contain any images for sharing.
Here you can also select an administrator for your fan page (if your site has one, of course) so that he is able to access Facebook Insights.
It is a great way to track the performance of your posts, with the number of likes and shares and how much traffic your site earns directly from your Facebook.
To access, just click on the option “Facebook Insights” and then register your website’s domain on Insights.
The other social networks have very similar setups, that’s why we focus on Facebook as our main example, after all, it is the most accessed social network in the World.
I think that at this point you have already memorized where our main menu is. We will select the option “XML sitemaps”.
One of the best things about Yoast SEO is that it makes managing a sitemap an extremely simple task.
When you enable the XML sitemap function, Yoast automatically generates a sitemap and updates it when you add a new comment and notifies search engines when you add new content.
In the other tabs, you will set your sitemap. Check the tabs and if you see something you don’t want on the sitemap, just uncheck it and you’re free.
You can also delete specific posts from your sitemap, just put the post identification number (ID) in the deleted posts section.
Now we are going to dissect another option from our Side menu, “advanced”.
This session can be a bit complex, so much so that Yoast himself has an article explaining what to do in that session.
But before that, let’s explain what these breadcrumbs are.
When you enable breadcrumbs on your site, visitors will see links at the top of the page that indicate the path to reach that page. For example: site name> blog> post title.
Breadcrumbs are also visible on SERPs:
Well, as we warned you before, just clicking “enable” will not be enough to activate breadcrumbs on your website. So, be a good user and obey Yoast. Read the indicated text and activate the function on your website.
On the side of the “breadcrumbs” is the option “permanent links”.
Here you can change the structure of your URLs and permanent links, making them more friendly to search engines.
As you can see from the text below each option, Yoast does a better job than I would explain each one. We can move on to the next tab.
If you have been blogging for some time, you know that there is a huge possibility that one day you will find identical content posted on another site without your permission or any credit to you.
These virtual thefts are extremely common, unfortunately.
But this tab is here to help.
This unpleasant situation will possibly happen if you have quality content on your blog. This session will not be able to completely prevent you from being copied, but this function allows you to add it to your posts when they appear in the RSS Feed, giving you credits and linking back to your site.
That is, if someone copies RSS content from your site, you at least earn credits and link to your site.
Following our sequence through the side menu, we come to the tools.
Yoast itself comes with its own tools. Each of them comes with a brief explanation in front of you.
The File Editor is where you will change files like robots.txt (a root file for your website) and your .htaccess (guidance/reading file).
The Bulk Editor is a tool that you will not normally use, but if you ever need it, you will be extremely grateful to be able to use it.
If you ever need to change several post titles and descriptions at once, you can make a list of these posts and change them by the tool. Which will avoid the long task of going from post to post editing?
Import and Export is the option we used at the beginning of this tutorial, remember? You can import the configuration you used in another SEO plugin or export your own.
The last option is the SEO calculation. When we see how to use Yoast, you will understand this topic better. In short, you set a keyword for a page on your blog and Yoast evaluates how search engine friendly it is.
Finally, we arrive at the search console, the last important step in this general blog configuration.
This step only applies to you if you use Google Search Console. If you don’t use it, use it!
If you don’t want to hear my advice, well, then you can proceed to the next chapter.
Here, you’ll get your authorization code to connect Yoast to Search Console. By doing this you will be able to see a list of errors on your pages and will be able to fix them right from your dashboard. If you have a broken link, you can redirect it.
To configure, just click on get code, color below and authenticate and select your site from the list that appears.
Save the profile!
There, you can now use this wonderful tool from Google.
Anyway, now that you’ve configured all your Yoast and already know all the tools and possibilities of the plugin, it’s time to learn how to use Yoast SEO in practice!
Now that everything is installed, let’s go back to our side menu. Calm. You don’t have to go down to SEO. Now you need to click on “Posts” or “all Posts” to see the tool in practice.
In your posts tab, you will see the Yoast rating in front of each post.
Let’s take a closer look:
We can see three different evaluations that Yoast gave to the respective posts.
As we can see the system is quite simple. There would still be a fourth option that Yoast could give for the pages.
Let’s understand each one of them:
- The green dot means that your site is search engine friendly. In other words, the page contains few or no SEO errors.
- The orange dot means that it has a significant amount of errors and that the post can be improved.
- The red dot is very intuitive, your page is in serious trouble in the eyes of search engines.
- We still have the grey dot. This point means that Yoast has no information about that page. Perhaps no keywords were chosen for the post, for example.
From this column, you can go through all the posts on your site and look for those that need to be optimized.
The color of the stitch will already indicate the urgency to fix each one.
It is important that even when you fix them all, you can check even the green dots, because as we said, even with the green dots there may still be some mistakes that you can correct.
If you found a page you want to optimize, just click on the post.
Optimizing a post
When you enter the post, scroll down to the bottom of the page, after the text editor. You will find the print you see above.
Now let’s go by parts:
When you click on the Yoast tab these options will appear for you. The first thing to do is to inform Yoast what your password is, in this case, “I am Batman”. So he will evaluate your post.
The snippet you see there is exactly what will appear on the SERPs (search engine results pages).
The title for SEO can be different from the title of the post. Yoast notes two main things about them: the title and the position of the keyword.
As you can see there is a green bar just below, which means that my title is a good size. If I gave the ideal number it would change color and if it was too small, ditto.
Another thing that Yoast will notice is the position of the keyword.
In this case, it is in the ideal place, as far to the left as possible. This directly influences the click-through rate and makes the post more search-friendly.
Slug is nothing more than what will appear in the URL of your post. Yoast will see if your keyword is in the URL. In case she is. Which is correct.
However, I made mistakes on purpose that Yoast will not point out. Can you identify them?
First, always use lowercase letters in the URL and second, do not separate the slug with spaces, but with hyphens.
Another positive point of my URL is that it is small and friendly. Avoid ugly and huge links. Numbers, no way. Use the keyword and, if necessary, one or two more words.
If you search, you will see that meta descriptions are not a ranking factor. But could they affect your SEO?
The answer is yes!
Simple, meta descriptions can greatly increase your post’s clickthrough rate (CTR). If Google that the runner-up in the SERP has more clicks than the first, eventually it will switch positions.
Mine is purposely orange, it’s the same scheme as in the title. She is very small and Yoast indicates.
Another indication is to use the keyword in the goal. It will not influence SEO, but it will be bold as you can see in my example. This catches the reader’s attention and shows that the post really talks about what he is looking for.
Here you can see that just below the keyword Yoast points out the respective SEO errors on the page. Most of them are self-explanatory. The color shows the severity of the error.
It will not always be possible and not necessary to leave everything green. Sometimes Yoast does not identify the keyword in the URL because it has no accent, for example. In that case, you can leave orange without problems.
In other cases, he may ask for the keyword in the first paragraph of the text. Only do this if it does not affect the quality of your introduction.
This is a mistake that we think is necessary to explain.
Yoast points as a mistake the lack of image in its posts. And the idea is to always have an image. And you will often see the error: the alt texts in the images do not have the keyword.
Let’s see better what this is.
Always save your image with the keyword separated by hyphens, as in the URL.
Use it in the title. And then we go to alt text.
It is that alternative text that appears there. Most SEO experts indicate that it must be a description of the image containing the keyword.
That done. your post should be ready to be published.
Time to publish:
See SEO as a real traffic light. The look is there to prove it. When it comes to publishing, see the literal meaning:
Green: go straight
Yellow: calm down!
If it is green, go ahead and click on “publish”. Or edit the date, schedule the post and click schedule.
If you are fixing an old post, after the whole process the option will be “update”.
Ufa! We have reached the end of this long tutorial of one of the best and most popular SEO tools for blogs and websites on WordPress.
I hope it helped a lot.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and we will respond promptly.
Now that you have the plugin, be sure to check out our Complete SEO Guide to make perfect use of the tool!