Yoast is one of the most popular and powerful SEO plugins for WordPress.
The problem is, that most people do not take the time to set it up properly.
So, in this post, I am going to show you some of the simplest and most useful settings to improve your SEO using Yoast.
Titles & Metas - Don't Waste Indexing
Every single thing in WordPress will be found and indexed (put on Google) by Google.
If you don't hide it.
That might seem like a good thing, but, there are tonnes of things your WordPress theme and plugins are creating in WordPress that you did not even know about.
Many themes and plugins use custom post types to store data.
And on top of that, WordPress itself creates pages full of useless information (or duplicate information) that you are better off not putting on Google.
You can find this information under:
- Titles & Metas
- Then -> Post Types, Taxonomies & Archives
Note: Some things you can leave indexed, depending on your specific situation. Categories are a personal decision. Specific post types depend on your website (products, events etc are obviously things you want listed on Google).
Social Media Settings - Yes They Are Useful
Yoast is all about SEO, but they also cover some Social Media areas that are also relevant to SEO and your website in general.
Social Media Profiles
For example, your business social media profiles are sometimes listed by Google if someone searches for your business. This is part of what Google calls their Knowledge Graph. And it includes a whole bunch of other things too.
Here is an example of DropBox and how their profile looks (on the right hand side for a PC).
In order to set these up in Yoast, just head to the side menu on WordPress and then the Social section under Yoast/SEO.
Then you will see the following where you can enter all of the relevant social media profiles:
Open Graph Settings - OG Data
When you share a page or a post on social media, especially Facebook and LinkedIn, they need to know the following to display your post properly:
Note: Forgive me if I missed one, I think that about covers it.
The challenge for these websites is to find this information no matter how the website was built or designed.
So, Facebook invented something called Open Graph to help us help them find the right information on your pages/posts.
The great news for us, is that Yoast will auto-magically create these OG tags so that our posts look awesome on Facebook and LinkedIn. As long as your turn on (ie. enable) the following switch:
Note: If you want them to look great on Twitter and Pinterest too, I recommend checking out the Social Warfare plugin (I use it on this site).
The other handy setting on this page is the default Image URL which can be handy for ensuring you have at least one image that gets shown on any Facebook/LinkedIn post, even if you don't have any images on that page. I suggest something like a decent resolution (750px width) logo or similar.
Connecting Google Search Console
The last extremely important setting I want to talk about is Webmaster or Search Console setup.
Google and Bing allow you to connect your website with their Webmaster tools (now called Search Console by Google). These tools show you all sorts of useful data that you really want to know about:
Google wants to help you do a better job with your website and this is your chance to do that.
But, even if you don't care about any of the above "awesome" data from Google, think about this:
Connecting your website with Google Search Console gives them direct information about what exactly is on your website (even pages that are not linked to or easy to find) and makes it easier for them to find new pages faster.
It also gives you a way to signal to Google when you have new content and when you want them to re-visit a page (because you have updated or changed it completely).
I could go on.
You just have to connect you site and submit a sitemap (xml) to them. I have written about this in detail before. Or, you can just watch the video below.
Bing also has the same thing with their Bing Webmaster Tools.
Sure, there are a lot more settings in Yoast we could discuss in this post, but I think that is enough for one day.
These alone will really help set up the foundation of a great website with SEO.
So, why not give it a shot?
(Rather than just believing your web designer did it, or that your Theme is "SEO friendly". )