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5.2 Installing and Configuring the Yoast SEO Plugin

In this lesson, I'll show you how to install and configure the most popular WordPress SEO plugin: Yoast.

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5.2 Installing and Configuring the Yoast SEO Plugin

Hello, and welcome back to this Tuts+ course on essential WordPress plugins. In this part of the course, we're going to look at the SEO by Yoast plugin. I'll install it, and I'll show you how to configure it, and use it with your content. So there's a free version of this plugin, which you can download from the plugin directory. And there's also a premium version, if you want additional features, which is something that all of these plugins that we're using seem to have in common. So I'm gonna be using the free version of the plugin here, and I'll show you how to use that. And then if you decide you need extra features, you can look into the premium plugin yourself. So let's add the plugin. I'm gonna search for SEO, and then I'll install Yoast. Click on the Activate button, And that will activate the plugin. So I click here for SEO in the WordPress menu, and that takes me to the dashboard. So as you can see here, there's a configuration wizard. So let's take a look at that, and set up our SEO. So I'm gonna go for the Option A here, although, it's not strictly speaking true. This is a demo site, but I'm imagining that we're working with a live site, and we want it to be indexed. So I'll click Next, and I'm gonna say it's a blog. And it recognizes a person, and that's me. And I want posts and pages in my search results. I don't, I don't have multiple authors, there's just me, and it's called essential WordPress plugins. And I can choose a separator, so let's choose that one. And then I'll click on Next, and I'm not gonna sign up for the newsletter. I'm not gonna upgrade to premium. And here, you've got links, and videos, and things like that that you can use. I'm gonna ignore all of that, but you might want to take some time to go through all that, and also, to watch this video here. I'm gonna hit Close, cuz you can always watch that video in your own time. So I've set up my SEO settings. So let's take a look at some of the other settings and features. So we've got SEO analysis, Readability, and Cornerstone content. All of those we want on, because it's part of optimizing our content. I'm gonna keep all of this on. XML sitemaps in particular is very important, because Google and other search engines will use your sitemap of your site to identify how your site is structured, so they can crawl it effectively. I'm gonna turn off the Admin bar menu, because it's already getting pretty busy up there. And I'm not including advanced settings for authors. The only user on the site is me, and I'm an administrator. So I'm the only person with advanced settings. So I'll save those changes. We've then got Webmaster Tools, and you can use this to verify your site with different search engines if you want. So if you sign up for these Webmaster Tools, they'll give you a verification code, and you can enter that here and save it. Let's take a look at some of the other options here. So the search appearance, we've already selected our separator. The home page and front page, instead of configuring those here in the settings, you can set up the title and description of those by editing the pages themselves. We've got here already information about the organization, and another advert to get SEO premium. This is one of the things I don't like about Yoast. Although, I will note that in previous versions, it used to put a lot of pop-ups over here, and at the top. It seems to have stopped doing that, probably due to pressure from users. So I haven't made any changes here, I don't need to save that. Now let's have a look at our content types. So we want to show posts. We can say here whether we want to show the date, so that would depend on how date dependent or content is. The SEO Meta Box, the Yoast SEO Meta Box is really useful when we're editing our posts. Because we can use that to determine our potential SEO rankings, and make changes to improve those. And here, we've got a Meta description for the whole site, if you want to add one. Pages, again, a very similar thing. Now, if you had some custom post types set up on your site, you will also have an option to edit those here. And you might decide to remove some of those custom post types from search results. Now, we've got media. So you don't want search engines taking people to the attachment page. The attachment page in WordPress is something that I've certainly only used very infrequently on sites. And it's not a particularly useful page, cuz it doesn't have much content in it, in most cases. So here, the plugin is redirecting them to the image itself to the file, and that's fine. Now here, we've got taxonomies. And in the same way as content types, you can determine whether or not you want different taxonomies in your search results. Categories is fine. Tags, I would always turn off, because I don't want duplication of different content in different search results. Post formats, I'm going to disable that, because I'm not using them. And here is an option to remove the categories prefix. Now, I'm gonna keep that as it is, because otherwise, I might have a problem with clashes between different slugs. So I'm gonna save the changes. I've then got archives. So I've got Author Archives disabled. I'm going to disable Data Archives and Special pages. We've got Search pages and 404 pages. So you can see it's adding here some content into those pages. You searched for search phrase, page separator, and site title. And that's actually gonna be going in the description, not in the page itself. So that'll be going up here, somewhere up here in the browser. So I'll save those changes. Breadcrumbs are something that can be useful to help people find their way around your site, so I'm gonna enable those. And here, we have some settings, so we've got to separate between them. Anchor text for the homepage, and archives, and search page, and so on. So I'm going to bold the last page, and I'm gonna keep the rest of the defaults, and save my changes. And then finally, RSS. You can add content to put before and after posts in the fields. And you've got variables here you can use, I'm not gonna make any changes there. So that's the search appearance options. We've also got Console here, and that is discontinued. So we don't need to worry about that, not quite sure why it's still available in the menu. And here, we've got social, so you can link the plugin to your social media accounts. So here, you can add your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest details. And that will use metadata to link your social media accounts to your site, and help people find both of them. I'm not going to worry about that right now. We also have some tools that you can use, such as importing and exporting settings. Now, this is useful if you have another plugin installed, and you want to import settings from that, and you can also change some files. Now, I don't like editing files in the dashboard like this. I think there's a real risk of you breaking something. So if you do want to edit any files, you should do it via your code editor, as you would with your theme files. And then finally, we've got this premium link, which encouraged us to buy, Yoast SEO premium. So now let's take a look at how you use the Yoast plugin with individual posts and pages on your site to optimize them for SEO. And this is where the power of using a plugin comes in, because you should be writing content that is aimed at getting you better search engine results. So I've created a post in my site called Quick Guide to Activating WordPress Multisite, which is currently a draft. So I've added some content in there that's all about activating WordPress Multisite. So if I scroll down here, I have the Yoast SEO Meta Box. So I'm gonna add in a focus key phrase. Let me, So I'll add Activating WordPress Multisite, and it's giving me an orange, I want to green. So let's have a look at why it's giving me that analysis. So I've got no internal links. I've got no key phrase in my first paragraph. I've got not enough density of that, let's change it to WordPress Multisite. Still orange, I've got some things that are good some outbound links. I've got the key phrase in the introduction now, and I need to add an SEO title and an SEO description. So here, I'm gonna change my slug. So I've added that meta description, I still need more key phrases. My subheading, I need that key phrase in some of my H2 elements. My meta description is too short. Make sure I type this correctly. I'm not doing very well here, am I? Right, so is that still too short? It's still a bit too short. There you go, now it's turned green. Now, that's not an ideal meta description. I've just putted it out with love, love, love, love love multisite, which I do. But you can see how that turns green when your meta description is working for you. So here, this is a snippet of how it would look on Google. And I can see how it looks on desktop, and on mobile. Bear in mind that these days, most people are gonna be visiting your site from mobile. So that's why that's the first one that you see on Yoast. And then I need to work on these. Now, I'm not gonna spend much time doing that here, because I'm just showing you how it works. But you can see that it gives you a lot of detail that will help you with your SEO. Now, it's very easy to be cynical about some of this, because it's quite mechanistic, and it's not about creating quality content. But if you work on at least some of these and improve them, you will probably increase your search engine rankings. And it's always worth remembering that your competitors probably are doing nothing on SEO. Most websites are not very well SEO optimized. So if you take a little bit of time on each of your posts to do this, you will get better search engine rankings. So that's how you use the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize your content, and set up SEO on your website. In the next part of the course, I'm gonna show you an alternative plugin that you can use. And that's called the SEO framework. See you next time, and thanks for watching.

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