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Yoast SEO Tutorial

This Yoast SEO Tutorial will explain how to install and set up Yoast SEO plugin on WordPress sites, and integrate/link Yoast SEO with Google Search Console and/or other third-party SEO tools including SEMrush.

Many WordPress websites are currently using Yoast SEO as the default SEO plugin.

With Yoast SEO, you can assign a focus keyword to each web page, and implement on-page SEO elements to each page of your WordPress site, including create/edit/manage page titles, meta descriptions, etc.

Yoast SEO Tutorial

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Install Yoast SEO Plugin

You will have to first install WordPress.

You can then download, install, activate, and set up the Yoast SEO plugin.

You can get brief introduction and download the Yoast SEO plugin from the following sites:

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/
https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/

Log in to your WordPress admin area.

Add New WordPress Plugin

Select Plugins (from the left side navigation menu), and then click Add New (from the drop down list).

You will be taken to the Plugins page in your WordPress.

WP Keyword Search Yoast SEO Plugin

Enter Yoast SEO in the keyword search box of the Plugins page.

Yoast SEO WordPress (WP) Plugin

Once the Yoast SEO plugins appears in the keyword search results, click Install Now, and then click Activate.

Yoast SEO Setup Wizard

Once the Yoast SEO plugin installation is completed, you can configure the Yoast SEO plugin settings using Yoast SEO Setup Wizard.

Yoast SEO Menu Navigation (WordPress Admin Area)

Select SEO (which is where the Yoast SEO sub-menu locates) from the left side menu.

Click General, and you will be taken to the Yoast SEO General page.

1st Time SEO Configuration (Yoast SEO Setup)

This is your first time SEO configuration with Yoast SEO Setup Wizard.

While under the Dashboard tab, click the Configuration link.

The Setup Wizard consists of 8 steps:

Step 1: Environment

Specify if your site is under construction or already active.

Select:

Option A: My site is live and ready to be indexed

Step 2: Site Type

What does the site [website URL] represent?

Select a Site Type from one below:

  • A blog
  • An online shop
  • A news channel
  • A small offline business
  • A corporation
  • A portfolio
  • Something else

In this example, we will select A blog.

Step 3: Organisation or Person

Does your site represent a person or an organization?

If your choice is to specify a person, you can enter the Administrator of your WordPress account.

If your choice is to specify an organisation:

  • Enter your company/business name.
  • Upload an image/photo of your company.
  • Provide the links of your company’s social media accounts/profiles including Facebook page, Twitter profile, Instagram profile, LinkedIn, MySpace, Pinterest, YouTube channel, Wikipedia page, etc.

Step 4: Search Engine Visibility

Please specify what content types you would like to appear in search engines.

Usually, you will let the search engine spiders (including Googlebot) to crawl and index all the content from your WordPress website, including:

  • Posts
  • Pages
  • Multimedia, including images, videos, etc.

Step 5: Multiple Offers

Does, or will, your site have multiple authors?

If you are the only author of your WordPress site, select No.

Step 6: Title Settings

You can change the name of your site and choose which separator to use.

Separator symbols (WordPress Page Title)

Usually the separator symbol (-) can appear within the page titles of your articles (e.g. blog posts, or pages).

The separator symbol can appear between your blog post’s title (or page’s title) and the website name.

Step 7: Help Improving Yoast SEO

Can we collect anonymous information about your website and its usage?

You may select Yes, or No.

Step 8: Continue Learning

Sign up for our newsletter if you would like to keep up-to-date about Yoast SEO for WordPress, other cool plugins by Yoast, and interesting news and tips from the world of SEO.

Includes a free MyYoast account which gives you access to our free SEO for Beginners course!

You can choose to subscribe or not subscribe.

Now you have completed all the settings in Yoast SEO Setup Wizard.

Yoast SEO Features

Yoast SEO Features tab

The free version of Yoast SEO plugin offers many functions under the Features tab.

SEO analysis

With Yoast SEO’s SEO analysis, you will enter a focus keyphrase for each post/page. You want this focus keyphrase to rank in Google SEO for the post/page.

To determine a focus keyphrase for a page/post, you can get keyword suggested by one of the SEO keyword suggestion tools:

SEO analysis provides SEO suggestions for improving text content of your WordPress pages/posts.

SEO analysis checks the presence of your focus keyphrase in:

  • Title of the page
  • Introductory paragraph
  • Heading(s), i.e. H1, H2, H3 tags, etc.
  • URL of the page
  • Content of the article
  • Meta description
  • Image alt tags

Readability analysis

A well-written article on your WordPress pages and/or posts can improve user experience (UX).

Website Visitors scan through texts, read sub-headings and the first sentences of paragraphs. People notices transition words to quickly figure out what the main topic of an article is about.

  • The logical structure of your text, the way you write your paragraphs, and the first sentence of a paragraph are important for improving UX.
  • Write short sentences as they are easier for humans to understand than lengthy sentences.
  • Use bullet points to break down long sentence when appropriate.

Readability analysis provides suggestions for improving the structure and style of text content of your WordPress posts/pages.

Cornerstone content

Cornerstone content is the most important content of your WordPress website.

You want your cornerstone pages or posts to rank the highest in Google’s SERP and other search engines’ SERPs.

A cornerstone page or post should have relatively long content, and thorough information that covers the complete aspect of a specific topic.

Yoast SEO lets you mark a post or a page as cornerstone content.

Text link counter

The text link counter counts the internal text links of your WordPress posts/pages. It consists of two counters:

  • The first counter counts the number of links in your post/page.
  • The second counter counts the number of links that are pointing to your post/page.

Based on the information you get from the text link counter, you can improve the internal linking structure of your WordPress site.

Find out the orphaned pages/posts within your WordPress website and improve their linking structure. Orphaned pages/posts have no internal links in the content, and have no other pages/posts pointing links to them.

XML sitemaps

A good XML sitemap acts as a roadmap of your WordPress site, and allows Google to quickly find all your important pages/posts. This can be good for SEO.

You can enable the XML sitemap that is created with Yoast SEO.

Admin bar menu

Under the Admin bar menu, it displays links to the available third-party SEO tools with notifications.

Security: no advanced or schema settings for authors

The advanced section of the Yoast SEO meta box allows a user to remove posts from the search results or change the canonical.

The settings in the schema tab allows a user to change schema meta data for a post.

By default, only WordPress editors and administrators can update these settings. Set it to Off allows all users to change these settings.

Usage tracking

You may allow Yoast SEO to track/collect some data about your WordPress site for the purpose to improve the Yoast SEO plugin.

REST API: Head endpoint

This Yoast SEO REST API endpoint gives you all the metadata you need for a specific URL.

This makes it very easy for headless WordPress sites to use Yoast SEO for all their SEO meta output.

Enhanced Slack sharing

This adds an author byline and reading time estimate to the article’s snippet when your post/page is shared on Slack.

Next actions you should take:

Usually, you should keep all the above options On.

Integrate with Third-party SEO Tools

If you are using other third-party SEO tools such as SEMrush or Ryte, you can integrate these SEO tools with your WordPress site.

Yoast SEO integration 3rd-party SEO tools

You can toggle On to enable SEMrush integration and Ryte integration.

You can get focus keyphrase suggestions from SEMrush.

Ryte can monitor if your WordPress site on a weekly basis and notify you if your website has any crawl errors. 

Link Yoast SEO Plugin and Search Engine Webmaster Tools

You can link the Yoast SEO plugin to the official webmaster tools of different search engines, including:

  • Google Search Console
  • Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Yandex Webmaster Tool
  • Baidu Webmaster Tool (Zhanzhang)

You will have to first add and verify your website with each of the official search engine webmaster account before you can link the Yoast SEO plugin to them.

Refer to Google Search Console tutorial for details on:

  • Adding your website
  • Verifying the ownership of your site
  • Submitting sitemap
  • Monitoring web page crawl errors
  • Getting SEO traffic reports
Webmaster Tools Verification (Yoast SEO)

You can link each account under the Webmaster Tools tab. Enter the verification code of each webmaster tool account that you want linking.

After the accounts are linked, the data reports of the official webmaster accounts will appear in your WordPress admin area.

Yoast SEO Meta Box

Under Yoast SEO Meta Box, webmasters can implement the following on-page SEO on WordPress websites:

  • Focus Keyphrase
  • Readability Analysis
  • SEO Analysis
  • Google Preview

While in your WordPress admin area, select Posts from the left side menu, and click Add New.

Focus Keyphrase - Yoast SEO Plugin

Focus Keyphrase

You define a focus keyphrase that you are to optimize it rank in Google SERP for each WordPress post/page.

Yoast SEO Readability Analysis

Readability Analysis

Readability analysis provides suggestions to improve the structure and style of text content of your WordPress posts/pages.

SEO Analysis Results - Yoast SEO Plugin

SEO Analysis

SEO analysis checks if your focus keyphrase appears within:

  • Title of the page
  • Introductory paragraph
  • Heading(s), i.e. H1, H2, H3 tags, etc.
  • URL of the page
  • Content of the article
  • Meta description
  • Image alt tags

According to this information, you can improve the on-page SEO of the post/page.

Google Preview - Yoast SEO Plugin

Google Preview

After filling in the page title and meta description of a page or post, in Google Preview you can view how the listing will appear in Google’s organic search engine results pages.

Upgrade to Yoast SEO Premium

You may upgrade to Yoast SEO Premium plugin (i.e. paid version).

With Yoast SEO Premium, you can:

  • Add multiple keyphrases to a page or post.
  • Add multiple synonyms to a keyphrase of a page or post.

Conclusions

An alternative option of one of the best WordPress SEO plugins is Rank Math. You can migrate quickly from Yoast SEO to Rank Math plugin. Refer to this Rank Math tutorial.

I’ve written a Chinese version of this Yoast SEO plugin guide.

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