How to setup your Yoast SEO plugin for the best results

You want to rank high on Google right? Don’t we all. But it’s not that simple or easy sadly. It can a lot of hard work especially if the keywords you want to rank for are in high demand.

Here are some tips to setup your Yoast SEO plugin so that at least it’s setup correctly.

Normally most just install the plugin and then leave it, but that’s a big mistake as some of the settings are quite important to optimize your search engine rankings.

Read on below…

Why Yoast SEO?

Yoast SEO is by far the most popular WordPress Search Engine plugin and has been for many years. Yoast SEO was created by Joost de Valk from The Netherlands. It will take care of adding the correct SEO codes to your HTML, help you with the correct title length, and meta description and provide a guide for what’s missing on the page in order for it to have the optimal setup.

With this alone your on your way for better search engine rankings.

How to setup Yoast SEO

This guide assumes you already have Yoast SEO installed.

  1. Check if your site is set to noindex
  2. Turn features on or off in Yoast SEO settings
  3. Add Google Search Console verification
  4. Setup Social settings
  5. Setting the correct settings under Search Appearance – Most important step

Check if your site is set to noindex

This is a big one. Being a webdesigner I have made this mistake myself and seen others do it as well. You’ve build a magnificant website but it’s just not showing up on Google. Why is that?

Well, chances are you had your site set to noindex when building it so it wouldn’t prematurely appear on Google before it was ready, and then forgot to turn this setting off when the site went live.

Thankfully Yoast has a setting and a warning that lets you know if this is the case.

You can remove this setting in WordPress by going to the Settings menu in wp-admin and then clicking Reading.

Remove noindex setting

Make sure there is no checkmark in the marked checkbox!

That’s it.

Turn features on or off in Yoast SEO settings

Getting the features correctly is already a bit to taste.

This setting is found in the Yoast SEO menu – General – Features Tab

  • SEO analysis – On
  • Readability analysis – On
  • Cornerstone content – Off or on, but read up on what Cornerstone content is here
  • Text link counter – On
  • Insights – Off (personal preference)
  • XML sitemaps – On (important)
  • Admin bar menu (On or off) helps you access Yoast settings in the topbar when logged in
  • Security: no advanced or schema settings for authors – Off if your the only author
  • Usage tracking – Off if your the only author
  • Enhanced Slack sharing – Off

Add Google Search Console Verification

Yoast SEO has a convenient spot to a verification code from Google Search Console. Google Search Console gives you information about your domain. Copy and paste the Google verification tag into the input field and hit save. Then you should be able to verify your account on Google Console.

Setup Social Settings

Prepare Yoast SEO for your social profiles and things will be a bit easier going forward.

Add your social profile URLs to the settings.

Under the Social Settings for Facebook setup your default image, which will be used when you share a post or page if you havn’t added a featured image. Keep open graph activated, this will make it possible for Facebook to scrape your page for information to use, like title, description etc.

Setup Twitter and Pinterest as well if you use these.

Setting the correct settings under Search Appearance

This is the most important step. Why? Because if you don’t set this up correctly, you can have a lot of unusable content listed on Google that you don’t want, and that your users don’t have any interest in, this can be anything from shipping templates in WooCommerce, author archives, templates for page builders.

  • Goto the Search Appearance settings in Yost SEO
  • Goto Content Types Tab on top of the page
  • Turn off any you don’t want listed on Google, e.g. example below is templates for my page builder. I don’t want those listed at all. Keep posts, pages, and products if you’r running WooCommerce

Next go to the Taxonomies tab

  • Check each option and turn off index for everything except, categories, product categories.
  • It’s up to you if you want to keep tags indexed, I usually don’t

Go to Archives

  • Turn off both author archives
  • Turn off date archives

Leave rest as default. Like media settings, breadcrump, and RSS. You can play around with these if you need it.

That’s it. Enjoy your optimized search results.

 

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