Configuration guide for Yoast SEO

This article will guide you through all the steps you need to take to configure the Yoast SEO plugin on your site. You’ll find information on both the free Yoast SEO plugin as well as Yoast SEO Premium.

Not sure what settings are best for your site? Check out our free Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin training. It will teach you to use all the great features of Yoast SEO to their full potential!

Related articles

Where to find the Yoast SEO settings

After you have installed Yoast SEO free or Yoast SEO Premium, you will have a new menu available to customize your SEO global settings. The plugin also adds SEO settings at the post, page and taxonomy level.

  1. Log in to your WordPress website.

    When you’re logged in, you will be in your ‘Dashboard’.

  2. Click on ‘SEO’.

    On the left-hand side, you will see a menu. In that menu, click on ‘SEO’.

In this article, we’ll go through all of these menu items, see what they are for and how you can optimize them for your site.

General

This section includes general things that don’t fit elsewhere like (re)starting the configuration wizard which should be the first thing to do. In the configuration wizard, you can configure the most important settings on your site, like define your name for Google’s site name markup, modify whether you are an organization or a person for Google’s Knowledge Graph, connecting to the various Webmaster Tools, and setting which post types should show up in the search appearances.

Related articles:

Dashboard

On the Dashboard tab, you’ll find the Yoast SEO configuration wizard, which allows you to easily configure the plugin for your website. You’ll also see a heading called Problems, which shows all the issues we’ve detected that affect the SEO of your site. Lastly, you’ll see a heading called Notifications, which shows all the notifications from the Yoast SEO plugin.

Features

On the Features tab, you can disable and enable the following features within Yoast SEO for your entire site:

Webmaster Tools

The Webmaster Tools tab allows you to verify your site with the webmaster tools of Baidu, Bing, Yandex, and Google (Google Search Console). Webmaster tools give you feedback on how your site is doing in the search results and tell you how these search engines are perceiving your site.

Do you want to learn what the best settings are for your site? Check out our free Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin training. It will teach you to use all the great features of Yoast SEO to their full potential!

Search Appearance

This section allows you to customize the title and meta templates that are automatically applied to your content, prevent duplicate content and decide if a certain post type should appear in the search results.

Related articles:

General

The General tab of the Search Appearance settings allows you to edit the:

  • Title separator: what we use to separate different parts of your SEO title from each other. For example, this could be a hyphen (-), a bullet (•), or a vertical bar (|).
  • Homepage: here, you can set the SEO title and meta description for your homepage.
  • Knowledge Graph & Schema.org: these settings determine what your site will look like when it shows up in Google’s Knowledge Graph.

Content Types

On the Content Types tab, you can determine whether you want each of the different content types your site has to show up in the search results.

In Yoast 14.7 we removed the Date in Google Preview toggle. And, in Yoast 14.8 we introduced a new Schema tab in the Yoast SEO meta box. You can manage it in the Search Appearance settings.

Media

On the Media tab, you can determine whether you want to redirect attachment URLs to the attachment itself. When you upload an image to WordPress, that image gets a URL that becomes available. WordPress also automatically generates an entirely new web page, containing just that image: a so-called attachment URL. These attachment URLs are quite empty and because of that it’s better to disable them, and redirect them to the media item itself.

Taxonomies

On the Taxonomies tab, you’re allowed to determine whether you want search engines to show the different types of taxonomies (e.g. categories, tags) in the search results. You can also alter the templates of the SEO title and meta description for these taxonomies.

Archives

On the Archives tab, you can determine how different types of archives will be treated on your website. You can allow search engines to show the different types of archives (e.g. author archives, date archives) of your site in their search results.

Read more: Archive SEO: archive by topic, not by date

Breadcrumbs

Yoast SEO offers an easy way to add breadcrumbs to your WordPress site. If your theme supports Yoast breadcrumbs, the settings on the Breadcrumbs tab will be available. Here, you can determine what your breadcrumbs will look like.

RSS

These RSS settings exist because, unfortunately, there are scraper sites that republish content from other sites without their permission. If they republish your content, they usually don’t link back to your site. This leads to duplicate content in the search results and because of this, the scraper site might outrank you with your own content.

For that reason, Yoast SEO has the functionality to add links back to your site at the end of each blog post. This shows search engines the original source of the article, and this will make sure you will show up as the first result for your own content.

Social

This section allows you the option to associate your site with your social media profiles for Google’s Knowledge Graph, enable Open Graph metadata, enable Twitter card metadata, and configure other social settings. With Yoast SEO Premium, you also get social previews.

Related articles:

Accounts

In the Search Appearance settings, you could choose whether your site represents a person or an organization. If your site represents an organization, you’ll get a form with social media accounts that you can fill out in the Accounts tab. If your site represents a person, the form on the Accounts tab is disabled.

Facebook

On the Facebook tab, you can determine if you want to add Open Graph metadata, which allows users to share web pages on Facebook. With this feature enabled, Facebook will display a preview with images and a text excerpt when a link to your site is shared.

Twitter

On the Twitter tab, you can decide whether you want to output specific metadata for Twitter: Twitter Card metadata. We suggest leaving this enabled at all times.

Pinterest

Because Pinterest uses (Facebook’s) Open Graph metadata, the Pinterest tab is only there to verify your site with Pinterest.

Tools

Warning: This section may require advanced WordPress experience and, in rare cases, may cause problems with other functions of your site. Use with caution.

The Yoast SEO plugin offers the following tools:

  • Import and Export: allows you to import settings from other SEO plugins and export your settings for re-use on another blog.
  • File editor: allows you to quickly change important files for your SEO, like your robots.txt file and, if you have one, your .htcaccess file.
  • Bulk editor: allows you to quickly change titles and descriptions of your posts and pages without having to go into the editor for each page.
  • Optimize SEO data: allows us to fetch all of a page’s metadata in one simple database request (rather than lots of individual requests), resulting in much faster page loads.

Related articles:

Premium

On the Premium tab, you can learn more about our premium plugins or view your activation status.

Redirects

Yoast SEO Premium can help you with creating and managing redirects. On the Redirects tab, you’ll find a redirect manager and an overview of all the redirects you’ve created.

Do you need more guidance, to use all the great features of Yoast SEO to their full potential? Look no further and check out our free Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin training! It’ll teach you how to make optimum use of your Yoast SEO plugin, so you can take your SEO to the next level!