What is Yoast?
The Yoast SEO plugin is the Swiss army knife of onsite SEO for WordPress. Yoast allows users to easily edit their pages metadata (including title tags and meta description tags) without needing any technical knowledge. This is important since the title tag is one of the most essential parts of a page from Google’s standpoint. The free version of Yoast is all you need to curate a solid foundation for your onsite SEO, though the premium version is available and comes with a few extra toys.
How to set it up
1. Install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin
2. Configure Yoast
After clicking on “Open the configuration wizard” you’ll be prompted to answer questions and input information, most of which is self-explanatory.
- Post type visibility (recommended)
- Post – visible
- Page – visible
- Media – hidden
- Google search console
- Can be left blank for now
- Title settings
- Title separator
- Leave as the small dash (-)
- Title separator
Please note: If you don’t see the option to configure Yoast, you may already have it set up.
3. Enable the cool stuff
By enabling the advanced options, you’ll have more access to Yoast and more options will become available to you from the WP toolbar under the Yoast plugin. The options under these tabs will look very familiar to the information you filled in earlier using the configuration wizard. Just be careful not to push a button before you know what it does! (Check out Yoast’s knowledge base below, under Additional Resources, if you’re not sure.)
Congrats! You have now successfully installed and set up Yoast SEO. Yoast will now appear within the edit mode for your posts and pages.
Getting Geeky – Advanced Tips
Let’s explore some of the advanced settings on Yoast. You can get here by navigating the drop-down menu within the WP toolbar under “SEO” > “Titles and Metas.”
Titles and Metas
Title template – This feature can be found within the homepage, post types, taxonomies, and archive tabs. Be default, you’ll see something that looks like this:
%%title%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%%
These are called variables. You can learn more about them here. Variables can be useful and time-saving if your website follows a template for its title tags. Variables can be considered as storage for data.
As a general rule of thumb, we prefer this formula as a variable for law firms:
%%title%% – Your Firm Name
Just so you know “%%title%%” represents the “page title” which is the main headline shown on the page.
You will learn how to create custom title tags for your important pages (homepage, practice area pages…) later in this training, but this will create the right structure for the lesser important pages on your website.
Meta description template – The same can be done for meta descriptions but we would advise not using this feature as it’s more effective to have unique meta descriptions for every important page (homepage, practice area pages…etc).
- Not activating the plugin
- Having other SEO plugins activated at the same time
- Changing settings without understanding the impact
- There are other plugins out there which handle some of the things Yoast is able to achieve. It would be advisable to disable and remove those plugins so that Yoast does not conflict with an additional plugin. If you use a plugin for your Robots.txt or .htaccess make sure you transfer that code over to Yoast. If you filled in title tag or description tag data in another SEO tool, it’s best to move that over to Yoast before disabling.
Yoast’s Knowledge Base: https://kb.yoast.com/kb/category/yoast-seo/