Yes, you just came up with the tutorial that will end all your problems to do SEO in WordPress . Because in this article I teach you how to use Yoast , the best SEO plugin for WordPress . It is a free add-on with which you can optimize your website to position it in search engines.
Surely you have already been recommended more than once as a panacea to appear in organic searches. And the truth is that it is the most complete, the best in value for money if you use WordPress as a content manager. But this plugin does not do magic, it does not work with installing it and sitting down to see how increase visits . What Yoast offers you is a toolkit to adapt your site to search engines. That’s why I bring you this SEO tutorial, so you can learn to use it for real and get the most out of it.
Let’s start at the beginning!
What is Yoast SEO?
Yoast SEO is a plugin for WordPress , released in the year 200 8, [19459014 ] That develops tools to optimize web pages for search engines , based on the main guidelines on positions organic operation. This add-on helps you set up your website and increase your traffic .
S i you can take advantage of the settings that allows you to make ( meta tags [ 19459012] , pages that should not be indexed, robots and sitemaps files …) , you can improve the average position of your contents 19459003] for the main search engines. In addition to the general functions, Yoa s t guides you in the use of your keywords for each content individually and also alerts you to work errors technicians that you can make.
1. Install Yoast SEO
Installing it is very simple, you just have to go to the page Yoast SEO Plugin that the developer ( Joost de Valk ) puts at our disposal. There you will find both the Premium version (with extra features) and the free download ZIP.
The difference of the Premium with respect to the free one, is fundamentally that they offer you a redirection manager, more optimization suggestions and support. To start with, the free one will be more than enough.
Now you go to the section of Plugins> Add new , where you can upload the plugin .
As you can see, you can save the download step, if you look for it directly in the WordPress plugins directory that appears when we click on “ Add Plugins “. But I wanted to put this capture so you know how to do it if you want to download the paid version. In my case the option of Install now does not appear, because I already have it installed.
Easy, right? You have it at a click.
Next, a new menu appears on the left side of your administration panel.
2. Initial configuration of Yoast SEO
2.1. General. Control panel
The first thing you find when you go to this new menu is a control panel with notifications about problems that may negatively affect SEO (eg you have blocked the access of robots to your site ). You will also find notices, for example, connect Search Console with your website through Yoast.
As you can see, you have several tabs, of which I will explain the highlights.
Installation assistant. General Tab
To start the most interesting part of the General tab, is the Yoast SEO installation wizard for WordPress. It is recommended that you use it if you are totally new with this CMS, because it will be very simple. You fill in the most important fields step by step.
In fact, although I do not recommend missing the next thing I have to tell you, you could save yourself the tostón of reading my post if what you are looking for is simply a very basic configuration to launch your site.
In the General tab you also have the option to return to the default settings.
Advanced settings page and other functions. Features tab
In the Features tab you have the option to choose the Yoast functionalities you want to work with. One of them is very important, it is about displaying the Advanced Settings Page . Activate it to have the full potential of the free version.
You can also activate other features in which Yoast will help you optimize your pages and entries such as: SEO analysis (eye, it is only a support, do not take it to the letter), readability analysis (to check if your texts are easy to read), link counter in texts (to know the number of internal links that an entry or page receives ),
Webmaster Tools tab. Webmaster Tools
In this tab you can verify your website in the webmaster tools of the main search engines (Bing, Google and Yahoo). If you click it takes you to the verification option, which in the case of Search Console (Google) you can verify through an HTML tag.
Simply copy the character churro associated with content in the following meta tag and paste it into the Google Search Console box.
Let’s go with the most interesting …
2.2. Titles and goals
One of Yoast’s most useful features since the first versions (this tutorial is updated to version 6.3.1) is the option to edit the Title and Description meta tags. They are metadata of the web, where we specify the tracking robots the title and the description that we want to show in the search results (although sometimes ignore us).
To be able to edit these fields, it is enough that we go to the page or entry that we are editing. At the bottom, we will find the Yoast SEO box . In Edit snippet (fragment) the fields SEO Title and Meta description are displayed. With what we can optimize them, adjusting it to the optimal size and including the target keywords.
Don’t worry if you have many entries or pages to optimize. You don’t need to go one by one. If you have a set of pages that follow the same pattern , you can create templates to use by default on those pages . You can do this for pages that are less important and you don’t want to edit, or simply because you want to optimize a large website and you can’t go page by page.
2.2.1. Templates for metadata in Yoast
For this there is the Appearance section in the SEO menu search engine (the new menu we said before the left part). It is about creating Templates of Type of content concrete: entries, pages, categories and labels (the latter are called Taxonomies because they serve to classify the contents and have your own tab).
By default, Yoast places in the Meta Title field, the name you choose for the page when creating it. And as a description an excerpt of the content of that page. But thanks to the templates, you can add other variables (eg site name, date …) or words that you are interested in including to differentiate yourself (eg “buy”, “custom”, “cheap”, “home”, ” in 24 hours ”…).
Maybe this function seems silly because you have a small corporate website. But when you have an online store made with Woocommerce and you have to go product to product, things change. Imagine you have a gift shop where you sell among other things wristwatches.
You could, for example, have a Product template that will automatically generate Title and Description from the template information:
%% title %% %% page %% in %% sitename %%
Meta description template:
Buy %% title %% for only %% wc_price %% €. %% excerpt %%
What you could give as the title “ Dalí Watch page 3 on Regalamosmucho.com ” and as description “ Buy Dalí Watch for only € 24.99. The funny Dalí watch is a surreal piece for your wrist ”.
I leave you all the variables you can use in Yoast documentation on meta tags .
2.2.2. Other options
As you will see, in this section there are also other options:
Meta tag robots “noindex”. This is in case we don’t want any of the types of content to appear on Google.
Date in the preview of the Google snippet . If we have fresh content and we are interested in seeing that our content is the newest or if we want the opposite.
Yoast SEO goal box . It serves to show Yoast options in each type of content (entries, pages … etc.). You can deactivate it if you want to hide it (I do not recommend it).
In principle, I recommend leaving these options as they come by default (especially if you are new to Yoast, because you can load the positioning of many of your pages). If there is something you do not want to be indexed, you always have time to return to this section or go to the specific content.
2.3. Social Networks
In the social networks section, Yoast allows you to connect your social networks. Always use the URL except for Twitter, which goes with the user with your website for search engines.
This allows us to generate metadata that will be used when our content is shared on social networks.
Do you know why Facebook does not show a preview of your page (title, description, image …) when you place the URL to share a content? Surely you don’t have the Facebook metadata , Open Graph activated. In Yoast you can also add a default image, so that it can be taken if a given ULR does not contain an image. And now you can also see the statistics of your Facebook page on your website thanks to Yoast (although it is something I have not yet tried).
2.4. XML Sitemap
Now we go with another of Yoast’s flag options of a lifetime, the XML Sitemap which is now called XML Site Maps and is found within the Features in the General tab of the SEO section [ 19459012] . It is enough that you have activated this functionality so that a site map is automatically generated for the tracking robots, which will indicate the pages that make up your site.
If you browse the different tabs that make up the Appearance function in the search engine, you can decide the type of content that you don’t want to be added to the site map (which you are not interested in being tracked and indexed by search engines).
For example, I am very interested in the entries and pages of my website being indexed, but I do not want specific URLs to be indexed for the images or other URLs generated by plugins that I use (as in my case those generated by Thrive Content Builder) I have only to say that “It is not on the site map”.
The same thing I can do with the indexing of taxonomies of the Tag type, which often give problems of duplicate content in large sites if the owner does not use them correctly . You can even exclude a specific entry or page by taking its identifier and adding it to Excluded Entries.
2.5. Appearance in the search engine
In the Appearance menu in the search engine, we find some additional options to solve the possible limitations of the theme that your website uses.
Bread crumbs or breadcrumbs are the path that tells the user the navigation route they have followed to reach the page where they are. If your site does not bring breadcrumbs by default, Yoast SEO allows you to create them. Simply activating this option and indicating the type of separate to use.
This option allows us to remove the word “category” (base category) that by default appears in the URLs referring to a specific category of our site. We could do it in the Permanent Links section of our site, but we don’t care about redirecting.
Redirect the URLs of the attachments to the URL of the entry. As we saw before, we can index or not the URLs of our images (attachment) or we can redirect them to the entry to which they belong.
This option is very interesting in order to defend the authorship of your content. Because with it metadata are added to identify you as the original source of the content. For sites that use robots that directly copy the content.
We go with another key section, the Tools section, that if you master it you can already do SEO on your site in the “PRO” plan. Thanks to the File Editor (this option may be disabled by your hosting or a security plugin) you can manage 2 key files for SEO: TXT and htaccess robots.
You already know that through the robots.txt , you can block the crawling of some pages of your site (eg the administrator area) and Yoast himself generates this file and allows you to edit it.
It also allows you to enter the htaccess to for example perform a permanent redirection, or change settings to improve the loading speed .
But be careful! Do not touch the htaccess file if you are not an advanced WordPress user, because you can load the operation of your website. It is always advisable to have an updated copy of this file, because if you make a syntax error, your page will stop serving and you will not be able to access it to change it (you will need FTP access). Here are recommendations when using it .
In the Tools you also have the Mass Editor to modify the titles of each page without having to enter page by page. And the option to import and export the SEO options of the Plugin that you are using.
3. How to use Yoast SEO to position specific pages
We have already seen how to initially configure Yoast to have a good SEO optimization base on your website. Now let’s see what you have to do in the pages that make up your site so that they are positioned for a specific search.
As an example I will take one of my blog entries, because the entries give more play, since they are usually more extensive than the service pages. Specifically I am going to one that I wrote recently about how to increase visits thanks to the blog, that I am sure you are interested in. We go to the bottom, where the “Yoast box” appears.
3. 1. Content optimization
If you look, the options are in turn divided into tabs, the one you see by default (and the most important) is the one with a traffic light icon. In it, we can edit the Google snippet as I told you before, to include the Title and Description that will appear in the search results.
We can also choose an objective keyword for which we want to appear, so that Yoast tells us if the content is optimized for it. And we can edit the URL (slug) to make a URL as friendly as possible (although you also do it directly from the editor of WordPress itself).
3.1.1. SEO Analysis
Based on this information, Yoast’s box makes us a SEO Analysis that will tell you how it is in your content, in terms of:
- Use of the keyword in the first paragraph
- Density of the keyword
- Appearance of the keyword in the title, in the description, in the subtitles (headings), in the URL …
- Title Length and Description in snippet
- Recommended length (number of words)
- Use of the ALT attribute in images
Eye! As you can see, I did not get complicated when choosing the target keyword . I always use a simple word (important but not a keyword as such). Because otherwise Yoast will find that the keyword is in: Title, H1, description, URL … etc.
Believe me, it can be a headache to fit it. When in reality it is not necessary because the robots recognize the relevance through synonyms. So don’t take it to the letter. Yoast is an assistant that reminds you of improvements that you can make in your content.
3.1.2 Legibility Analysis
Another interesting function is Legibility Analysis , which helps you make your content attractive for reading (division into sections, short sentences, use of transition words … etc). Making it easy to read is always a guarantee to achieve a good user experience and encourages sharing.
In this section I don’t stop much. Always know that you can edit the metadata we talked about before, for the specific entry or page.
This section is very important, as it helps you solve duplicate content problems.
If there is a specific URL that is generating duplicate content you can:
- Ask the robots that not index it . To avoid competition with other URLs on your website (Meta robots Noindex )
- Ask the robots not only not to index it and neither trace their links (Meta robots Nofollow )
- Tell you that there is another more important URL , which should be indexed before the possibility of duplicate content (URL Canonical ). This is a classic problem of pagination.
This is something fundamental to optimize the tracking of robots and solve problems of ” SEO Cannibalization “. In Lino Uruñuela’s blog, you can find a good explanation of how to avoid duplicate content with Noindex, Nofollow and Canonical tags.
Well, what do you think of the Yoast manual? Are you going to start using it to do SEO in WordPress?
Enjoying every day of my work helping small and medium enterprises to become visible on the Internet.