WordPress SEO Settings for Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin is something that takes quite a while to figure out. This plugin is one of the most well known, most respected, most used WordPress plugins in the WP (WordPress) community. That being said, you would think that the author (Joost de Valk) from Yoast.com or someone else would have given some detailed help to novices and newbies.
What does the WordPress SEO plugin do?
There is a detailed description of the many desirable capabilities of this WordPress SEO on the WordPress Plugin Directory page. In short,
- it is probably the best SEO help you can give your WP site.
- it also has a very helpful on-page page analyser that ensures you are on target with your SEO needs.
- it also provides you with the much needed XML Sitemap (which means you don’t need to get yet another plugin to fulfil that need.
- provides breadcrumbs for your site (if your WP theme supports it) – always a good thing to help out your visitors!
- social integration (but I do find it a bit complex)
I glossed over the “IMPORT/EXPORT” feature when I first looked into this WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. However if you have multiple sites and you want to install this plugin on all of them, then you can export the plugin’s settings and import them over to your other sites. It becomes a real big deal due to the detail and complexity of the WordPress SEO settings! (As you will soon discover!)
WordPress SEO Settings
I have researched and looked at various information on how to set up the WordPress SEO plugin. And I have yet to find one single person that recommends the same settings. There might be real good reasons for this, but if you are like me and you just want the darn thing to work and know what to add, what to check/uncheck – then you could be in for a frustrating time.
However Super NetWebbing comes to the rescue! (giggle)
After looking at all the various papers and recommendations, I have summarised all of them in the most logical way I can.
I am not going to explain much. For that, I refer you to the list of references at the bottom of this page. I am instead going to show you screen shots of my WordPress SEO Settings so that you can just copy the same.
My WordPress SEO Settings
Go to your WordPress SEO:
As you will see, there are many WordPress SEO settings that we will have to contend with. We will move through them as methodically as possible.
Dashboard – General Settings
Only “Security” is checked.
The “Webmaster Tools” section is to verify your site/domain with Google, Bing, and Alexa.
If already verified, you can just leave all of them blank.
You can also go to each of the three, and verify your site from there. (Which is what I did).
Sorry, as to what specifics you have to enter into the fields if you want to verify your site from this WordPress SEO settings, you might have to Google for the answer.
Titles & Meta
The next down for WordPress SEO settings is “Titles & Meta”. You will notice that on this page, there are 6 tabs at the top. We will go through these tabs (Left => Right)
Titles & Meta >> [General] tab
Re “Force rewrite titles” – I chose to left this unchecked. Some recommend this to be checked while others don’t. And I didn’t fully understand the explanation given by Joost/Yoast in the setting. Anyhow, this seems to be working fine for me.
Tip: Remember to click “Save Settings” for each of these tabs!
Titles & Meta >> [Home] tab
“Title template” – that is the default setting. I left it as is. For the next two fields, just enter your own text for your site’s home/front page meta information.
Titles & Meta >> [PostTypes] tab
Titles & Meta >> [Taxonomies] tab
Especially note the “noindex,follow” checked boxes. They are important to prevent content duplication (multiple and different URLs pointing to the same “real” page) in the eyes of search engines.
Titles & Meta >> [Other] tab
Titles & Meta >> [Help] tab
There is nothing for you here. It is just a list of variables/tags you can use, should you wish to do so.
Next down the list of the WordPress SEO settings is “Social” This also has 3 tabs across the top: Facebook, Twitter, Google+
Let me reiterate that I am not at all clear what to fill in here so it is more or less guesswork plus lots of reading up. Still not very clear after all that reading but here goes …
Social >> Facebook
Social >> Twitter
Important! You will have to read “Twitter Cards in action” by Joost de Valk concerning Twitter cards and how to set them up.
Personally I could not get Twitter to validate the Twitter card process. I could see what my Twitter card would look like, but when I tried to Validate it, it just kept coming up with “invalid card type” and “Unable to render cared preview”. You may have better luck.
So for what it is worth, here below are my WordPress SEO settings for Social >> Twitter.
FYI: my Twitter card (preview only) looked like this:
Social >> Google+
“Author for homepage” – if you have a number of contributors/users to your blog, then you can use the drop-down box to select the name of the user who is to appear as the author for your homepage.
Where does that author name come from?
You can change your WP nickname to whatever you like.
Once you have specified your nickname, it will appear as a selection in the “Display name publicly as” drop-down box. It is this Display Name that will be in WordPress SEO settings for Social >> Google+ (if you are selecting yourself as the author of the homepage).
Re. Google Publisher Page
With Google+ (as with Facebook), you have your main personal Google+ page. Then you can attach other (business/brand) pages to that same Google+ account. I am assuming that this is the Google+ (business) publisher page URL that is wanted in that field.
Internal Links (Breadcrumbs)
You can enter your own text in each of the fields. I am just showing you mine as a sample.
This is pretty much the default that came with the plugin. Seems pretty sufficient to me.
Error with %%postlink%%
I noticed that there was a problem to my RSS feed. The content added in the first box:
Source: <b>%%postlink%%</b> <hr />
showed up EXACTLY – i.e in code , when it was syndicated (posted) to one of my sites. The same error appears in my feed that is posted to my Facebook and Twitter pages as well.
For the life of me, I could not figure out where this error/code was originating from. Searching on Google for %%postlink%% error got me nowhere but with lost time on my hands.
Was it JetPack plugin? FeedBurner? OnlyWire? Twitterfeed?
And by chance, I came across WordPress SEO by Yoost settings (while trying to solve another problem). There was that exact %%postlink%% code that was giving me so much problem!!
I searched the support forum for the plugin but also to no avail. So I have just removed that code in the box all together. My first RSS Content box now looks like:
Recommendation: you can choose to leave the first RSS content box as default (with the code in there) and then check later if you have the same problem. If so, you can leave it blank as I now have.
Import & Export; Edit Files
I didn’t use or modify anything here. You might just want to have a look for yourself in case there is something you might need for you own specific purpose.
Note: The Import & Export functionality will be especially useful if you have used other SEO plugins and are now converting over to WordPress SEO. And/or you wish to export all these laborious WordPress SEO settings we have just done onto another WP site where you wish to install the same WordPress SEO plugin.
Good luck! I hope this looooooog “tutorial” was helpful to you. Please don’t feel shy to leave me a few words of praise or better yet, advice.
Reference for those who need more:
- crazytechsolutions.org – How to Setup WordPress SEO by Yoast, Jul 2013
- wp.tutplus.com – The Beginner’s Guide to WordPress SEO by Yoast: Configuration, Apr 2013 (Note: this was written in Apr 2013. It was supposed to be Part 1 with more to follow. But I could not find any more to this series.)
- wpbeginner.com – How to Install and Setup WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast, Jun 2012 (Note: this is quite old in internet terms and the plugin has improved since time of writing. However you can still glean a fact or two from this article.)
- yoast.com – Social Media Optimization with WordPress SEO by Yoast, Jun 2013
- yoast.com – The Definitive Guide to Higher Rankings for WordPress Sites, Aug 2013
- yoast.com – The ultimate guide to meta name=robots, Jun 2013
- yoast.com – Twitter Cards in action, Sep 2012