How to Install, Setup & Use Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin [Ultimate Guide]

Setup Yoast SEO WordPress plugin

5 million active installs!!! 😮

Yes, I am talking about Yoast SEO. It is one of the most popular plugins in the WordPress Plugin repository. And you will find it in every list of must-have plugins!

Some of you are probably wondering:

Is Yoast SEO really important for my WordPress website?

Yes! It is one of the best SEO plugins out there. It is a feature-rich plugin which will help you to improve the on-page SEO of your website. Also, it will assist you in writing better content for your site.

Some important features of this plugin are:

  • Add SEO title and meta description to your posts and pages
  • Readability analysis of your content
  • On-Page SEO analysis
  • Ability to edit .htaccess and robots.txt files
  • Create Sitemap for your website

Now, due to the availability of too many features, people find it difficult to configure and utilize this SEO plugin properly.

Hence I decided to write this article which will show how you can setup and use Yoast SEO plugin in the right way. You will find lots of images which will make it easy to understand.

I have divided this post into 3 parts keeping different users in mind. The first part shows how you can install this plugin. Next, I’ll help you to configure the plugin by explaining all the available settings. Finally, you will learn how to utilize this plugin properly.

How to Install Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

If you are familiar with WordPress, you should already know how to install a plugin. And Yoast SEO plugin is no different.

So without wasting any time, let’s get started:

Step 1: Login to your WordPress admin panel (that’s obvious :P).

Step 2: In the left sidebar, you will find the option Plugins. Just hover over it and click on Add New.

Add New WordPress Plugin

Step 3: On the right side of the Add Plugins page, you will find a search box. You should search for Yoast SEO using that box.

Search Yoast SEO Plugin

Step 4: Once you find it, click on Install Now….

Install Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

….and Activate it.

That’s it! You have successfully installed Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. If you check the left sidebar menu, you will find a new item – SEO.

Great! Let’s move to the next part of this article.

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How to Setup Yoast SEO Plugin Correctly

Configuring this plugin in the right way will allow you to utilize its features properly.

So let’s get our hands dirty!

We will start by using the Configuration Wizard provided by Yoast. This will help us to configure the essential settings. Later, I will guide you through the other available options.

Configuration Wizard

First, click on SEO -> Dashboard and then go to the General tab.

Open Configuration Wizard Yoast SEO

As you can see, there is a button Open the configuration wizard on that page. Click on it to start the process.

Step 1: In the welcome screen, you will be given the option to either start configuring the plugin on your own, or you may ask Yoast Team to do it for you (premium service).

Since we will do it on our own, so click on Configure Yoast SEO.

Configure Yoast SEO

Step 2: In this step, you will have to specify whether your site is ready or under construction. So, select the first option and click Next.

In case your site is under construction, you may select the 2nd option – this will not index your site on Google.

Yoast Configuration - Environment

But once your site is ready, make sure you start this configuration wizard again and select the first option. Otherwise, your site will not show up on Google and other search engines.

There is another way to do the same thing – go to Settings -> Reading, uncheck the Search Engine Visibility option, and save changes.

Step 3: Select the type of your site from the options available – blog, online shop, news channel, small offline business, a corporation, a portfolio site, or something else.

In my case, WPHour is a blog – hence I have selected the first option. Your site type may be different. So select the appropriate option and click Next.

Site Type Yoast Configuration

Step 4: Now select whether the site represents a person or a company. I have selected person and written my name.

However, if your site represents a Company, select that option and add your company logo along with your company name. Otherwise, select Person and write your full name.

Configuration Wizard - Person or Company

This information will be used in Google’s Knowledge Graph Card. It is the data we normally see on the right side of the search results on Google for famous personalities and companies.

Remember one thing – configuring this setting doesn’t guarantee that your details will be shown on Knowledge Graph Card. We are just ensuring that in case Google wants to show your details, it fetches the correct data.

Step 5: Add the social media profiles of your brand in this step. Again, this information will be used by Knowledge Graph Card.

Configuration Wizard - Social Profiles

Though it is not mandatory to have a profile on all the websites mentioned in this page, you should always register your brand name on popular social networks.

To make your job easy, you can use Knowem to search whether your brand name is available or not on these platforms.

Step 6: Here, you will have the option to decide the type of content you want search engines to index. Make sure you always keep your Posts and Pages as visible.

For media, I would suggest you to set it as hidden. Why?

WordPress creates a page for each of the images (and other media) of your site. Indexing these pages means people might land on these attachment pages rather than the pages where they belong. You don’t want that, isn’t it?

Configuration Wizard - Post Type Visibility

For other custom post types, it depends on you. For example, ThristyAffiliate plugin adds custom post type “Affiliate Link”. Obviously, it is not recommended to index affiliate links on Google. Hence, you should make it hidden.

On the other hand, if you are a food blogger and have a custom post type “recipe” on your blog, then you should make it visible. In short, you have to decide which custom post type is important and should be indexed.

Step 7: If your site has multiple authors or you allow Guest Posts, you may select Yes. This will index the author pages on Google.

However, if you are the sole writer of your blog, you should select NO. Otherwise, your site may be penalized for duplicate content issues. In my case, I have selected NO as I am the single author of my blog.

Configuration Wizard - Multiple Authors

Step 8: Google Search Console is a must-have tool for any site owner. It allows you to get important information about your site from Google. In case you don’t have a Search Console account, you must open it. And the good news is it’s 100% Free!

You may skip this part for the time being as I have explained this step in details (along with images) in the Search Console section. So click Next to proceed.

Step 9: If you search any keyword on Google or Bing, you will find that most of the sites add a separator and their website name after the title of the post. Here is an example:

Title Example

This step allows you to choose the separator which will be added in between the title of your content and your website name. The hyphen is the default title separator. You may change it if you want.

But which separator is good for SEO?

According to Moz, Google doesn’t give any attention to which title separator you are using. It depends on your personal preference. I like to use the hyphen, you may use something else.

Configuration Wizard - Title Settings

Step 10: You may sign up to Yoast newsletters to stay up to date with this plugin and other SEO news. Just provide your name & email and click on Sign Up.

Step 11: Here, Yoast promotes some of its premium services. You may check them out if you want.

Step 12: That’s it. The basic steps are complete. So click on Close.

Now, let us check the other options provided by this SEO plugin.

Dashboard

When you go to SEO – > Dashboard, you will see the following tabs:

General Settings - Yoast SEO Plugin

The Dashboard tab shows all the SEO related problems of your website which need attention. And the General tab, as you already know, contains the Configuration Wizard button.

So let’s proceed to the features tab.

Features

Using this tab, you can enable or disable various features of the plugin. It is recommended to enable all the features so that you can utilize this plugin properly.

By default, all the features are enabled except the Advanced settings pages. So enable it and save the changes.

Enable Advanced Settings Pages

Once you do that, you find new options under the SEO menu in the left sidebar. We will talk about each one of these features later.

Your Info

You can add an alternative name to your website here. Rest was done in the Configuration Wizard. If required, you may change these settings in future.

Webmaster Tools Verification

You can use this section to verify your website with Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, and Yandex Webmaster Tools (Yandex is the largest search engine in Russia).

This will allow you to submit the sitemap of your website to these search engines. Also, you can get important data and insights on your site traffic.

Just click on the links, follow the process, add the meta tag value in the boxes, and Save changes. As Simple as that!

Security

By default, the Advanced section of the Yoast SEO meta box for posts and pages is available only for Admins of the website. Enabling this option allows other users to access it. Hence, it is recommended NOT to enable this option.

Why?

As Yoast says – “it allows a user to noindex posts or change the canonical”. You don’t want that, right?

But I don’t have any idea about noindex and canonical…

Don’t worry, I’ll share more information about these terms when I explain the Advanced Meta Box. For the time being, keep this option disabled.

Note: DO NOT forget to click Save Changes after you have altered any settings.

Titles & Metas

Now let’s go to SEO -> Titles & Metas.

This settings page allows you to define how the title and meta description of your homepage, posts and other pages should look like in the search results of Google and Bing.

Okay! Let’s start configuring the settings for this page.

General

Here you can select the title separator which will appear between the post title and the website name. We have already done this when we used the Configuration Wizard. In case you skipped that step or you want to change the separator, you can do it here.

Homepage

Now let’s check the Homepage tab. You can add the title and meta description for your homepage here.

In case you are not using a front page, you will get the following options:

Title and Metas - Homepage

The output of the default title template will be Site Name <separator> Site Tagline – which is good. Just keep one thing in mind – the combined characters of the title, separator, and tagline should be within 60.

If you don’t like the default title template, you can remove the default value and write the homepage title (within 60 characters) of your website in that box. Also, do not forget to write the meta description of your site within 160 characters.

However, if you are using a front page, you will see this:

Title and Metas - Frontpage

Just click on editing the front page itself. This will take you to the page which you are using as a front page. Scroll down and you will find the Yoast SEO box. Click on Edit snippet and add the SEO title and meta description. Once done, update the page.

Title and Metas - Frontpage Editing

Post Types

Here you can add title and meta description templates for posts and pages. That means if you don’t write the SEO title and Meta Description of any post or page, this template will be used.

However, I’ll recommend you to write the title and description of all your posts and pages using the Yoast SEO Box. I’ll show you how to do that in the how to use Yoast SEO section.

So, keep the templates as it is. Just make sure Meta Robots is set to Index and Yoast SEO Meta Box is set to Show for Posts and Pages.

As far as Date in Snippet Preview is concerned, it depends whether you want to show the date of your posts and pages in search results. I like to show dates for Posts and hide it for Pages.

For media, meta robots should be set to no index and the rest two options should be hidden.

Title and Metas - Post Types

Taxonomies

Just like the Post Types, you don’t have to change the title and meta description template for Categories. Keep Meta Robots as Index and select Show for Yoast SEO Meta Box.

You should no index Tags and set the Meta Box to Hide.

Title and Metas - Taxonomies

Do you want to add the SEO title and Meta description for categories? Follow these steps:

  • Go to Posts -> Categories from the left sidebar menu.
  • You will find all the Categories on the right side of the page. Click on a category name to add meta tags.
  • On the bottom of the Category page, you will find the Yoast Meta Box.
  • Click on Edit Snippet and add the title and description
  • Click Update.
  • Repeat the same process for other categories.

Archives

If you are the single author of your blog, you should disable the author archives as it will be same as that of your homepage – so it will create duplicate content issues. For multi-author blogs, you may enable it if you want to index the author pages of your site.

As far as date archives are concerned, it is better to keep it disabled. Also, you don’t need to make any changes to the special pages.

Title & Metas - Archive Settings

Other

It is recommended to noindex the Subpages of archives. We don’t want the subpages to appear in search results, isn’t it?

And what about meta tags? Well, search engines have officially declared that they don’t use meta tags. Hence, I have disabled it.

Title & Metas - Sitewide Meta Settings

Once again, do not forget to save the changes; otherwise, all your hard work will be gone. Anyways, let’s check out the Social settings page (SEO -> Social).

Social

Social Media is very important for any business. As stated earlier, if you haven’t already registered your brand name on the popular social networks, you should do it immediately.

Anyways, let’s check out the options available on this page:

Accounts

We have already added the social profiles while using the configuration wizard. If you skipped it, or want to add a new profile, you may do it here.

Facebook

Here, you should enable Add Open Graph Meta Data. Facebook and other social networks like Pinterest use this metadata when you share your link on those sites.

Social - Facebook Settings

In simple words, if you enable this option, some code will be added to your site. This code helps Facebook and Pinterest to fetch data like the title of your post, description and featured image when someone shares your article on these sites.

Yoast plugin also gives you the option to add a different title, description, and featured image for different posts and pages. This is very useful. I will show how to do it later in the How to Use Yoast SEO plugin section.

One more thing – in case you are NOT using a static homepage, you will find the Frontpage settings as well. This allows you to decide what happens when someone shares your homepage URL on Facebook.

You should add an image (1200 x 630 px) for your homepage, otherwise, Facebook will randomly select an image from your website. You may keep the title and description blank – then it will fetch the title and meta description of your homepage.

Social - Facebook Frontpage Settings

However, if you are using a static front page for your website, you will not get these options. You will have to go to the page which you are using as a static page and edit the Facebook settings there. You may check the Social section to understand how to do it.

Finally, you can add an image (1200 x 630 px) in the Default settings part. This will appear on posts and pages which does not have any image. If kept blank, Facebook will randomly select an image from your website.

Twitter

Just like Facebook, Twitter also needs some code to fetch data from your site correctly. This code is known as Twitter Card Meta Data. You should enable this option.

Social - Twitter Settings

Again, you have the option to add different title, description and featured image for each of your posts using this plugin. I will show it to you later.

Apart from Twitter Card option, you can decide whether you want Twitter to show a large featured image with the summary of your post or not.

Select the one you like. Personally, I like large featured images as it draws the attention of the user.

Pinterest

Here, you have the option to verify your site with Pinterest if you haven’t already done it. Just follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Pinterest Settings page and click on Profile.
  2. Add your website URL to the website field and click on Confirm Website.
  3. Copy the meta tag value. But do not close the popup.
  4. Paste the value in the Pinterest confirmation box provided by Yoast and click Save Changes.
  5. Now go back to Pinterest, click Finish, and then Save Changes.

Social - Pinterest Settings

Google+

This step allows you to link your website to your Google+ page. Just copy your Google+ URL, paste it into the box and save the changes. Simple 😉

So, we have completed all the settings of the Social page. Let’s move to the XML Sitemaps section.

XML Sitemaps

One of the important features of Yoast SEO plugin is it allows you to generate XML Sitemap for your website.

Wait for a second:

What is a Sitemap?

A sitemap is a page which contains the links to all the posts, pages and categories of your website. This page helps search engines to crawl your site easily. Hence, it is recommended to create a sitemap for your website.

Also, you can manually submit the sitemap to Google and Bing. To do so, you have to use Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.

Yoast helps you to generate XML Sitemap for your website without any hassle. Also. it automatically updates the sitemap when you publish a new post or page.

Just enable the following option…

Yoast SEO Plugin - XML Sitemaps

…and save the changes.

Now you will get some new options. Let’s check them:

General

Here, you will find the link to your XML Sitemap:

Yoast Plugin XML Sitemap Link

You should submit this URL to Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Also, you may add your sitemap link in the footer section of your website.

Finally, leave the Entries per sitemap page as it is and proceed to the Post Type tab.

Post Type

In this tab, you have the freedom to decide what you want to include in your sitemap.

Post Types Sitemap Settings

It is recommended to have your Posts and Pages in your sitemap and omit media & affiliate links. If you have any other post types, just decide whether you want them in your sitemap or not.

Excluded Posts

There are times when we don’t want certain pages to be indexed by Google.

For example, you may have specific content for your email subscribers which you don’t want others to see. In that case, add the Post ID (s) and save changes.

How to find the Post ID of your post? Just follow this article.

Taxonomies

I like to have the category pages in my sitemap. And I don’t include Tags and Post Formats.

Taxonomies Sitemap Settings

If you have any other post type category, just decide whether you want to include them or not. And finally, DO NOT forget to Save Changes.

Anyways, it’s time to move to the Advanced section.

Advanced

Options like Breadcrumbs, Permalinks, and RSS are available in this section. Let’s understand what they are and how Yoast plugin can help us.

Breadcrumbs

You might have seen something like the following on some websites:

Breadcrumbs Website Example

And this is how the URL part of the same page looks like in Google:

Google Search Breadcrumbs Example

What is it?

It is called Breadcrumbs. It is a type of navigation that helps your visitors to understand where they currently are on your site. For example, take a look at the breadcrumbs of this page:

Home >> WordPress Guides >> How to Install, Setup & Use Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin [2017 Edition]

The above structure explains that this article is under the WordPress Guides category. You can also navigate to Home and WordPress Guides using the breadcrumbs of this page.

This is good for the on-page SEO of the website. It helps search engine crawlers to understand the hierarchy of your site. Also, it creates internal links naturally. You may read more about Breadcrumbs in this article.

Yoast SEO allows you to add breadcrumbs to your website. Just go to SEO -> Advanced, enable Breadcrumbs and Save it.

This plugin also provides options to customize the breadcrumbs. Like for example, you can decide whether you want the last page to be a regular text or bold text.

Under Taxonomy to show in breadcrumbs for post types, you should choose Category for post types.

Advanced Settings - Breadcrumbs

However, there is a problem. To show breadcrumbs on your website, you need to place few lines of code in your theme. Yoast website clearly explains how to do it.

In case you are not comfortable with editing the code, please ask your theme developer to assist you. Also, some premium WordPress themes come with Breadcrumbs feature. In such cases, you should keep this option disabled.

Permalinks

This section allows you to clean up the permalink structure. In case you want to change the permalink structure, you should go to Settings -> Permalinks.

Anyways, let me explain each one of the available options:

Advanced Settings - Permalinks

Change URLs

WordPress adds the word category to your category URL. So the URL of my WordPress Themes category page would have looked like this – wphour.com/category/wordpress-themes.

Honestly, I don’t like this. Hence, I stripped the word category from the category URL. So the URL of the WordPress Themes category page is https://wphour.com/wordpress-themes. It looks clean to me. You may or may not remove it.

As far as the second option of change URLs is concerned, it is recommended to redirect the attachment URLs to the parent post.

Clean Up Permalinks

Stop Words are words like an, a, the, and, of, for, etc. Having a clean and short URL structure is important for SEO. If you select remove, Yoast will automatically remove stop words from the URLs of your new posts and pages.

Next is replytocom variable. It is important to remove the ?replytocom variable, otherwise, it will create duplicate content issues and your site might be penalized.

And finally, select No redirect for redirecting ugly URLs to clean permalinks as it is not recommended by SEO experts.

RSS

The last tab of the Advanced Settings page is RSS. Here you can decide the content that will appear before and after each of the posts in your RSS feed.

I like to add the default value after the post – The post %%POSTLINK%% appeared first on %%BLOGLINK%%.

Advanced Settings - RSS

So, if someone uses (or steals) your content from your feed, then a link to your post and your site will be added at the end of the content.

Tools

Yoast plugin provides some powerful tools to make life easy for you. This includes robots.txt & .htaccess file editor, bulk title & description editor, and import & export SEO settings option.

Bulk editor

This tool allows you to change the SEO title and meta description of all your posts & pages without having to open each of them individually. This saves a lot of your valuable time.

File editor

The file editor allows you to edit the robots.txt and .htaccess files of your website.

For those who don’t know, Robots.txt file defines which pages search engine crawlers should and shouldn’t visit, whereas the .htaccess file is a server file.

In case you want to edit the robots.txt file, first you need to create it:

Create Robots.txt File

Now you can edit both robots.txt and .htaccess files. Do not forget to save the changes once you are done.

You can follow the robots.txt guide by Adam Connell and .htaccess guide by WPMU Dev for more information.

Import and Export

This section allows you to import settings from other SEO plugins like All-in-one SEO and Jetpack SEO. Not only that, you can also import and export Yoast settings so that you can use the same settings on other websites.

Search Console

Using the page, you can connect your Google Search Console account to Yoast SEO. Once connected, this will allow you to view the crawl issues of your site on this page.

Let’s start the process:

Step 1: Click on Get Google Authentication Code:

Yoast SEO - Search Console Configuration

Step 2: A pop up will open up asking you to choose the Google account using which you operate the Search Console account of your website. So just click on the email account associated with Google Search Console.

Step 3: Sign in with your account details.

Step 4: Google will ask you to give permission whether you want to allow Yoast to view and manage the search console data of your site. Just click on Allow.

Search Console - Google Permission

Step 5: Copy the code and close the window.

Search Console - Authentication Code

Step 6: Go back to SEO -> Search Console. Now paste the code into the text box and click Authenticate.

Search Console - Yoast SEO Authentication

Step 7: Select the profile of your website from the drop-down box. Once done, click on Save Profile.

Search Console - Select Profile

That’s it! You have successfully connected Yoast SEO plugin to Search Console. Now you will able to view crawl issues of your website.

How to do that?

First, you have to go to SEO -> Search Console. If you have connected your website to Search Console, you will see new tabs – Desktop, Smartphone, Feature Phone, and Settings. And the first three tabs will show if your website has certain crawl issues or not.

Here is an example of a crawl error that I found after connecting Search Console to Yoast SEO:

Search Console Errors

You should check for errors like soft 404, Not Found and other errors on all the tabs – desktop, smartphone and feature phone.

And how to solve the crawl issues?

You can use Create redirect option to fix the problem if you are using the Premium version of Yoast SEO plugin. Since I am using the free version, I used the Safe Redirect Manager plugin to redirect the error page to some other page and then clicked on Mark as fixed.

Premium

Yoast offers several premium SEO plugins like Video SEO, News SEO, and Local SEO. It also has a premium version of the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. You will find information about these products on this page.

Anyways, we have successfully configured the plugin.

How to Use Yoast SEO Plugin – The Right Way

Phew! That was a lot of work!

Now it’s time to see how we can utilize Yoast SEO WordPress plugin properly.

When you create a new post, page, or any custom post, Yoast gives you the option to write SEO title and meta description for each of them. It also provides other options like page analysis, readability analysis, and Social settings.

All these options are available in the Yoast SEO meta box situated below the text editor.

But before we check out the options provided by the plugin, let me explain one important thing:

What is a focus keyword?

A focus keyword is a keyword or phrase for which you want your article to rank. Based on the focus keyword, you should optimize your article.

Yoast plugin gives you the option to add a focus keyword and based on that, shows how well your post or page is optimized. It also suggests you what needs to be done to make it even better.

To find the perfect focus keyword for your content, you can use premium tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs. Google’s Autosuggest and Related search are also great places to get some keyword ideas.

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Content Optimization – Keyword & Readability Analysis

Once you have finished writing your content, write the focus keyword in Yoast SEO box. Also, click on Edit Snippet and add the SEO title and meta description of the content. You can also select whether the article is cornerstone article or not.

Focus Keyword and Snippet Preview

Also, there are two tabs – Readability and Keyword. Let’s talk about them:

Keyword Analysis

Once you add the focus keyword, Yoast plugin will analyze your content based on the keyword and will give a report like the following:

Keyword Analysis - Yoast SEO

The ones in green are good. You just need to focus on the ones in red and orange. Try to tweak your article slightly and make sure it properly optimized.

Following are the points Yoast SEO takes into consideration:

  1. You must add your focus keyword in your article
  2. Focus keyword should appear in the first paragraph of the article
  3. You should add images to your article
  4. Add your focus keyword as ALT tag in at least one of the images
  5. You should add internal links wherever it is appropriate
  6. The title should have the focus keyword and it should appear at the beginning
  7. The title length should be between 45 to 60 characters
  8. You should not link the focus keyword to some other website
  9. Add links to article of some authority websites in your content, if appropriate
  10. The meta description of the article must have the focus keyword.
  11. The keyword density should be between 0.5% to 2.5%
  12. The length of the meta description should be between 120 to 160 characters
  13. The focus keyword should appear in sub-heading(s) – at least once
  14. You should not use the same focus keyword for another article
  15. The focus keyword should be present in the URL or permalink of the article
  16. The permalink should not contain stop words
  17. The length of the article should be greater than 300 words

Readability Analysis

Good SEO copywriting is not only about content length and adding keywords. You need to focus on your readers as well. At the end of the day, human beings are the ones who can help you to grow your business.

Thanks to Yoast – they have added readability scores. This will help you to improve your content – both for readers and search engines.

So click on the readability analysis tab. Just like keyword analysis, you may receive red and orange lights as well. If possible, you may change your content to get the green lights. (However, it is not mandatory. Why? I will explain that in a moment.)

Here is an example of readability analysis:

Readability Analysis - Yoast SEO Plugin

Following are some points which this plugin takes into consideration:

  • You should have sub-headings in your article
  • A subheading can be followed by maximum of 300 words
  • You can’t start 3 or more sentences with the same word
  • More than 30% of the sentences of your article should contain a transition word or phrase
  • You should not add long paragraphs. It is better to add 2 to 3 sentences per paragraph
  • Maximum 25% of the sentences of your copy can have more than 20 words
  • Maximum 10% of the sentences can be written in passive voice
  • Your article should have a Flesch Reading Ease score of 60 or more

You Should NOT be Obsessed with GREEN

The points mentioned in the Keyword and Readability analysis section are just for reference. It helps you to improve your writing and also the on-page SEO of your article.

However, it is NOT necessary to get the green light on all the points.

Let me give you some examples:

In this article, both the subheadings Configuration Wizard and Search Console contain more than the recommended 300 words. And hence I received this red light in the readability analysis:

Yoast plugin - red light readability analysis

However, it was necessary as I had to explain each of the steps. Also, there was no reason for adding another subheading.

Again, I did not have the focus keyword in the first paragraph of the most popular premium WordPress themes article. And hence I received a RED light in the Keyword analysis section:

Yoast Plugin - Red light keyword analysis

But there was no scope to add the keyword in the first paragraph. Hence, I did not worry about it.

My point is you don’t have to trick the plugin or change things just for the sake of getting green lights.

Be natural. Write for humans and not for search engines. And in the process, try to follow the guidelines and achieve as many greens as you can.

Social

Now comes the Social section. This allows you to add different title, description and featured image for your article on Facebook and Twitter.

How to use Yoast SEO Plugin - Social Section

Is it necessary?

Yes. This can be useful to test different titles & descriptions for your articles and increase the CTR to your website.

Even if you are not using different titles and description, it is recommended to use different featured images. The reason is different social networks use different image sizes. And your featured image may not work perfectly with those sites. So, you can add separate images for these social networks.

Recommended image size:

  • Facebook – 1200 x 630 px
  • Twitter – 1024 x 512 px

You may use software like Photoshop to create different versions of your featured image. In case you are not comfortable with such software, don’t worry – there are many free image editing websites as well.

I personally use Canva. It is free and has lots of features. They also have a premium plan using which you can resize your image for various social networks in just one click.

Facebook

As mentioned above, you can add a different title, description, and image for your article. If you use Yoast SEO Premium, then you can even check the preview of how your post will look like on Facebook.

In case you leave these fields blank, the original title, meta description, and the featured image of your article will be used.

Twitter

Now click on the Twitter icon. Nothing to explain here – this is similar to the Facebook section.

Just one thing – If you don’t have a featured image and also did not add an image in this section, then a random image from your article will be used. This is applicable to Facebook as well.

Advanced

As the name suggests, you can expect some advanced stuff here:

How to Use Yoast SEO Plugin - Advanced

Meta Robots Index

It means whether you want the page to appear on Google & other search engines or not. This is set to Index by default.

In some cases, you may hide a page from Google and make it available for subscribers or your fans only. It that case, select noindex, and that will prevent your page from showing on search results.

Meta Robots Follow

If this is set to nofollow, it means that the search engines crawlers should NOT follow the links on that page. This does not depend whether you index or noindex the page.

By default, it is set to follow. So no need to do anything.

Meta Robots Advanced

Again, I would suggest you not to do anything here. But just for the sake of understanding, let me explain each of the options available:

  • Site-wide default: None – This is the default value. It allows your page to be indexed and followed by search engines and no restrictions are implemented.
  • None – This option tells search engines not to index and follow the page.
  • No Image Index – This prevents search engines from indexing images on a particular page.
  • No Archive – The next option is No Archive. Selecting this option will prevent search engines from showing a cached copy of your page.
  • No Snippet – Prevents Google from showing snippet or description of the page in the search results.

As I told earlier, you don’t have to change anything here. Just keep the settings as it is.

Canonical URL

Do you want the current page to point to the Canonical version? Then use this box to add the canonical URL. Otherwise, you should keep this blank.

You can read the canonical guide by Yoast for more information.

Tip: Most of the times you should not change the settings of the Advanced section.

Endnote

I have to say – You are awesome. You have just completed this 6000+ words article.

I tried my best to explain how to install and setup Yoast SEO plugin correctly. Also, I have explained important terms and showed you how to use this SEO plugin in the right way.

Last but not the least, please share this article with your friends and followers. Also, let me know in the comment section if you have any questions.

Sandipan Mukherjee

Sandipan Mukherjee is the owner of WPHour. He is also a Web Developer and a freelance writer for hire.

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