How to install and set up Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress

Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress is a powerful plugin that allows you to improve and manage search engine optimization (SEO) settings from within your WordPress dashboard. The plugin is available in a basic free version and an enhanced pro version. This article describes how to install and set up the free version of the Yoast SEO plugin.

Installing Yoast SEO

Log in to your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins > Add New.

Type yoast SEO in the Search plugins field. In the search results, find Yoast SEO and click Install Now.

When the installation is complete, click Activate.

When the plugin is active, a new SEO menu item is added to your WordPress dashboard.

Setting up Yoast SEO

There are many configuration options available in Yoast SEO and some options will depend on your site, theme, and your own preferences. These are basic recommended settings for most sites. For more information about settings on any page in Yoast SEO, click Help center.

Using the configuration wizard

To begin setting up Yoast SEO, run the configuration wizard. The configuration wizard asks you a series of questions and applies settings based on your responses. In your WordPress dashboard, go to SEO > Dashboard and click General. Click Open the configuration wizard.

The configuration wizard includes 12 steps. Each step includes detailed information that helps you decide which options to select. Click Next on each step to proceed.

  1. Welcome – Click Configure Yoast SEO.
  2. Environment
    • Production
    • Staging
    • Development
  3. Site type
    • Blog
    • Webshop
    • News site
    • Small business site
    • Other corporate site
    • Other personal site
  4. Company or person
    • Company
    • Person, name of the person
  5. Social profiles
    • Facebook Page URL
    • Twitter Username
    • Instagram URL
    • LinkedIn URL
    • MySpace URL
    • Pinterest URL
    • YouTube URL
    • Google+ URL
  6. Post type visibility
    • Posts – Visible or Hidden
    • Pages – Visible or Hidden
    • Media – Visible or Hidden
  7. Multiple authors
    • Yes
    • No
  8. Google Search Console (formerly called Google Webmaster Tools) – Note that you must have already added your site to the Search Console. Click Get Google Authorization Code and sign in with your Google account. Copy the code provided by Google and paste it in the field, then click Authenticate.
  1. Title settings
    • Website name
    • Title separator
  2. Newsletter – Optionally choose to receive the Yoast newsletter.
  3. You might like – Optionally choose to view some SEO videos from Yoast.
  4. Success – Click Close.

The configuration wizard is complete. Continue setting up Yoast SEO with the following additional settings.

Enable advanced settings

By default, Yoast SEO advanced settings are hidden. To make them visible, go to SEO > Dashboard and click Features.

In Advanced settings pages, click Enabled, then click Save changes.

Update titles and metas

Go to SEO > Titles & Metas and click the Homepage tab.

The default title template includes variables for the site’s name, current page number, title separator character, and site description. You can leave the default as is or change it, but the default template works well for most sites. Click Help center to learn more about templates and variables.

In Meta description template, type a short description of your homepage. You can use a combination of words and variables. Keep in mind that search engines display only the first 156 characters of the meta description, so make them engaging and human-readable. Click Save changes.

Click the Taxonomies tab. Change the Meta Robots in Tags and Format to noindex, then click Save changes.

Click the Archives tab. Change date archives to Disabled, then click Save changes.

Configure social settings

Go to SEO > Social and click Facebook. In Frontpage  and Default settings, add URLs to images or upload images. These images will appear in Facebook when someone likes or shares your homepage.

Configure advanced permalinks settings

Go to SEO > Advanced and click Permalinks.

Choose the following settings, then click Save changes:

  • Strip the category base (usually /category/) from the category URL – Remove
  • Redirect attachment URLs to parent post URL – Redirect
  • Stop words in slugs – Remove
  • Remove the ?replytocom variables – Remove
  • Redirect ugly URLs to clean permalinks. (Not recommended in many cases!) – No redirect

More information

If you have any questions about installing or setting up Yoast SEO, check these resources for more information:

  • The Help center link on each page in Yoast SEO includes context-sensitive help, tutorial videos, and a link to the Yoast knowledge base.
  • The Yoast SEO plugin website

And you can always contact HostPapa Support with your questions. Details about how to open a support ticket are here.


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