How to Use the Yoast SEO Plugin Correctly

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important if you want to be found by the search engines and placed in a desirable position. And with a good ranking comes increased traffic to your website, which usually brings raised interest in what you are selling/offering. That’s why it’s very important to boost the SEO of your WordPress website and reap the benefits in a short period of time. Yoast SEO is a plugin that can make it easier to track the SEO of your content. However, a lot of people aren’t using this plugin in an efficient way. All they are doing is chasing the green dots, which certainly helps, but it’s not enough. That’s why you should make an effort to learn how to use the Yoast SEO plugin correctly and reach maximum results.

Green dots alone won’t give the right results

If you are expecting the Yoast SEO plugin to be a quick fix, you might want to think again. It’s not enough to simply install the plugin, get all the green dots on a page/post and call it a day. The dots are a good way to see which parts of SEO are good, which bad, and which ones could use some improvement. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Improved graphs after one learns how to use the Yoast SEO plugin correctly.
What’s the point of Yoast SEO plugin if you are not using it correctly?

For starters, you have to make sure the plugin is set up just right, and that you follow the guidance it offers – that’s the initial step. The one that you can do right away, and the one with which we here at WP Full Care will gladly help. And by being consistent, you will finally start noticing all the benefits of good rankings.

The Yoast SEO Configuration Wizard

If this is the first time you are using this plugin, then you are in for quite a ride. And even if you’ve had a website for a while now, you should still run the wizard from time to time and see whether there’s anything new.

If you want to use the Yoast SEO plugin correctly, general settings are where it all starts

The Yoast SEO configuration wizard will walk you through a number of settings which can be turned on or off. It’s because of the fact that you can configure everything to your liking that WordPress is one of the best platforms for SEO. These settings are as follows:

  • SEO analysis – this feature is kind of the whole point of the Yoast SEO plugin, so you should definitely turn it on.
  • Readability analysis – it analyses your text in terms of readability and gives suggestions on which aspects of the content could be improved. However, if you are writing with a complex language containing many technical terms, you could live with this feature turned off. In all other cases, we suggest it stays on.
  • Cornerstone content – this content is composed out of the most important articles and pages on your site, which is why it’s good that this feature stays on if you have a content-rich website.
  • Text link counter – if you want to see how well interlinked your content is, turn this feature on.
  • XML sitemaps – these sitemaps are created for the search engines so that they can crawl your website and find your content, which is why it should definitely stay on!
  • Ryte integration – this feature helps with faster indexing of your site. You’ll want to keep it on if you don’t have any other tools that can do this; you can also turn it off if you have.
  • Admin bar menu – this feature gives you access to the admin bar where you’ll be able to see notifications.
  • Security – in case you want some authors to have full access, and others to be locked out of Yoast SEO advanced features, this feature should stay on.
  • Webmaster tools – in case you want to connect your website with various search engines, leave this feature on. Although you will have to make a webmaster account with every search engine you target.
SEO displayed on two screens - of a phone and a laptop.
The general settings are the backbone of the Yoast SEO plugin.

What do you want your website appearance to be like?

With the search appearance portion of Yoast SEO, you get to control how your site appears in the search engine. Here, you get to control which content is visible, and which isn’t. If you have some content types from themes and plugins, you really don’t need that to show up in the search results. This is the place to make it happen.

Moreover, the site appearance is also a portion in which you can set up your site’s ranking for categories and tags. You’ll have to use them consistently and make sure your categories and tags don’t overlap. But that’s a whole different story. Furthermore, you also get to clear out some content here. Whenever you input a media file in your content, a page with its own URL is created. Since you don’t need the search results to show that, here you can redirect those pages to the media file.

Connect your WP site with your social accounts

Now, in the 21st Century where everyone is using social media, this is a very helpful tool. It allows you to connect your website with different social media accounts you have. This isn’t a mandatory part, but it’s certainly one of the ways to use the Yoast SEO plugin correctly. Hey, there’s a reason why this feature is included in the plugin! And it’s not because it has any harmful effects.

Social media icons.
Connecting your website with your social media profiles can help you form a bigger base of clients.

If you want to use the Yoast SEO plugin correctly, refrain from making these mistakes

  1. Only trying to achieve green dots
  2. Skipping the initial setup which lets you turn different options on and off
  3. Neglecting XML sitemaps settings, which inform the search engines of your presence
  4. Forgetting to connect XML sitemaps with the search engines
  5. Not setting a focused keyword
  6. Trying to over-optimize a page thinking this will bring about better and faster results
  7. Not paying attention to the feedback you are getting from the plugin

It might seem like there’s too much to pay attention to, and you might be wondering whether it’s really worth the trouble. It is! Once you learn how to use the Yoast SEO plugin correctly, you’ll see that’s it’s actually very easy to maneuver around it. It just takes time and patience!

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