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2021 tips to Use Yoast SEO Plugin in WordPress Effectively

All WordPress websites require an SEO plugin if they want to rank higher on the SERP. And when we talk about SEO plugins, Yoast SEO is one of the most popular choices. WordPress SEO is undoubtedly an overwhelming topic and that is why we have prepared this guide to help you configure Yoast SEO for your WordPress website. There are multiple complex features in the Yoast SEO to offer you control on your website’s SEO. 

The team at Yoast SEO has done a fantastic job to make SEO beginner-friendly but there is a possibility that you will need some external assistance. To offer that assistance, we have prepared an in-depth guide for Yoast SEO setup if you are a beginner. Let us see how it is done. 

Step-by-Step Yoast SEO configuration 

In this part, we will discuss what is required to know if you are a Yoast SEO beginner. We will discuss the setup of the configuration wizard, what the Yoast SEO meta box is and its function and things to do from the Yoast SEO dashboard. These are the steps taken by most professional SEO services.

Yoast SEO Configuration Wizard

Once you have successfully installed the Yoast plugin, the configuration wizard is the perfect place to begin configuring your plugin. For that, you need to go to the backend of your WordPress website and select SEO> General > Dashboard. 

yoast-configuration-wizard

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Click on the “Configuration Wizard” link to begin. It will assist you through various steps that enable you to configure your plugin to suit your website requirements. Even though your website has been active for a while, you can still run the wizard from time to time. This is to ensure that your primary settings are updated. At every step of the wizard, there are certain questions that will determine your specific settings. If you wish to know what settings can be determined, let us know and we will write a separate article on that.

Organization or Person

In the next step, you will be asked to mention if your website is for individual purposes or for an organization. This is a critical step as the information entered in this section will be used in Google’s Knowledge Graph. For users who are not aware, a Knowledge Graph is a block of information you see on the right-hand side of the search results when you search an individual or a business. Kindly ensure that each field is filled to offer as much information to Google as possible. This will help you to establish an accurate Knowledge Graph for Google. 

Other Important Features

There are various parts of SEO and way more settings that can be changed in the plugin itself. But, the idea is to set the configuration wizard in a way that automatically configures the plugin’s general settings. It will assist you a lot in technical SEO. Due to this, you can simply focus on the important aspects, like the content. To make things clear, here are certain aspects that are handled by the Yoast SEO plugin:

  • Provides structured data for your pages and assists Google to understand them better.
  • Builds an XML sitemap that search engines use to find and index your pages.
  • Yoast SEO Premium has the facility to get rid of dead ends on your website by automatically creating redirects when content is deleted or moved.

There are other crucial features that can help search engines to find and understand your content better. 

How to use Yoast SEO sidebar or meta box?

Yoast SEO is famous for providing red, green and orange bullets which offer general feedback on the SEO friendliness of your content. In the olden days, you would find these in the Yoast SEO meta box below the post editor. These days, if you work on the WordPress Block editor, you can find them right next to your content. It is on the right side of the block editor in the Yoast SEO sidebar. Are you using the block editor to post your content but still can’t see the sidebar? Then you must ensure to click on the Yoast SEO sidebar icon on the top right corner of the screen. 

yoast-meta-box

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Now, we will discuss 4 important features that you will find in the Yoast SEO meta box and the Yoast SEO sidebar:

  • The Focus Keyphrase
  • The Readability Analysis
  • The SEO analysis
  • Google Preview

Anytime you publish a post or page on your website, it is advisable to check these basic elements before publishing.

The Focus Keyphrase

The primary field in the Yoast SEO sidebar and the meta box is the focus keyphrase. In this section, you can enter the most relevant phrase you would like the post to rank for in the SERP. The focus keyphrase can be included at any instance but we would recommend you to do it at the time when you publish the post. You can choose a different keyphrase for each post but for better results, it is recommended that you conduct keyword research first. 

Yoast SEO Premium enables you to set related keyphrases automatically for pro-users. These days, it is imperative that you add high-quality and user-focused content to rank high amongst tough competition. 

The Readability Analysis

After the focus keyphrase, the next is the Readability analysis section. You must make it a habit to check this part only after you have written the first draft of your post. Again, there will be green, red and orange bullets to measure the readability of your text. There are various background analysis checks going on that the plugin automatically does on the content. It is easy to check where you are lacking and make improvements that will improve your content from the red bullet to orange and then finally to green. 

In a way, the readability analysis assists you to write easy-to-read content that will be loved by your readers. Search engines too love that type of content so it will be a win-win situation for you if you simply follow the instructions. Moreover, the readability analysis also works perfectly for most languages.

SEO Analysis

After verifying the readability of your content, it is time to check if the content is SEO-friendly. In the first step, you set up a focus keyphrase. In this step, the plugin will evaluate how well your content is optimized to rank for that particular keyphrase. 

For example, it confirms whether you have used the keyphrase enough and not too much for SEO. Also, you need to check if it is present in your title, meta description, images and subheadings. Apart from that, it also checks other SEO elements like internal links to other articles on your website. 

Google Preview

Apart from content and SEO analysis, Yoast SEO offers an editable Google preview or snippet feature. The snippet preview displays how the Yoast plugin shows your page to the search engines. In simple words, it provides you with a preview of how your website will look in the search results. 

google-preview

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In the Google preview section, you can specify your SEO title and meta description. It is advisable to take some time and effort to write an engaging title and meta description which reflects what your post or page is about. It is good practice to let users know that they will find what they are looking for on your website and encourage them to visit your page. There is no assurance that Google will show your meta description in the results pages. However, if it is actually good, the odds of it being used will significantly increase. 

Uses of Yoast SEO Advanced Tab

There is a lot more than you can accomplish with the Yoast SEO plugin. It is possible to access and change various settings of the plugin in the Dashboard. There is definitely no need to update many settings if you are new to SEO. It is better to stick to the settings that you have set with the help of the configuration wizard. However, you can change the search appearance as under:

Search Appearance

If you click on SEO > Search Appearance in the left side navigation bar in your WordPress website, it is possible to adjust how your website looks in search results. For example, in the ‘Title Separator’ in the configuration wizard, you can select whether you wish to have a dash, asterisk etc. In case you decide to change something, you can update it later.

In this section, it is also possible to change how the plugin sets up your titles and meta descriptions. You can go to the tab ‘Content Types’, where you can find the default template for post titles. It is best to set up using snippet variables that inform Yoast about the title of the post and a separator. It means that Yoast will likely use the title of your page or post as the page title. You are free to change the set-up, this is just a starting point and a recommendation by Yoast.

Wrapping Up

Till now, you must have realised that the Yoast SEO is an incredible plugin to have in your armour. It is one of the most sought after SEO plugins in the market due to the latest search engine updates. Website optimization is an overwhelming task if you are not used to WordPress. However, this plugin simplifies the optimization process and makes it easier for you to handle your WordPress website. If you are having trouble with setting up Yoast SEO on your website, you can contact Nimblechapps, an innovative WordPress development company. We would like to advise you that setting up the plugin would not dramatically change your search engine results, but it will surely help you to establish better standards for the search engine. Let us know what you think about the Yoast SEO plugin?

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Dhruvil is a marketer for Nimblechapps, an app development solutions company joining December 2014, based out of Sydney, Australia. He has worked briefly as a Branding and Digital Marketing Manager before moving to Australia. At Nimblechapps, he worked on Social Media Marketing, Branding, Email Marketing and Blogging. Dhruvil studies Business at University of Western Sydney, and also handles Operations for the company in Australia.