Must-Have Plugin: WordPress SEO

In this course, I’m going to show you how to install one of the most important WordPress plugins: WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. This is perhaps one of the most comprehensive SEO solutions for your WordPress website. The main reason you should install this particular plugin is that it helps improve your WordPress SEO and makes it easy for you to add title tags, descriptions, as well as write better content. What’s more, it makes it easy to tell Google not to index some parts of your site that are likely to have duplicate content.

Now some of you may already be familiar with WordPress SEO by Yoast but for those who are new to this, here’s a quick tutorial on installing and setting up the plugin, and using all of its awesome built-in features.

Step 1:

Log in to your WordPress admin panel. Go to Plugins >> Add New.

Step 2:

In the search bar, type in ‘wordpress seo by yoast’ and then click Search Plugins. This will give you a page of search results.

Step 3:

Once you’ve found the plugin, click the Install Now link to start installing the plugin. Make sure to click on ‘OK’ on the popup.

Step 4:

Once you’re done, simply click on the Activate Plugin link, and you’re all set. WordPress SEO by Yoast will appear on the left-hand side of your WordPress dashboard.

WordPress SEO: Titles and Metas

You simply can’t stop at installing and setting up this plugin. If you really want to reap the benefits of WordPress SEO by Yoast, you need to customize its settings on a per post basis. This wouldn’t be a chore if you do it each time your write a post.

So from your post and page editor page, you will find a box called Yoast WordPress SEO Settings that has a number of fields like SEO Title, SEO Description, etc. Instead of letting it auto-generate, write your own custom title and meta description. There are some instances where your post title and SEO title are not the same. Each time your write a post, write a custom meta description as well because the excerpt generator only picks up the first paragraph of your content which might not tell much about your content.

Basics: Changing Your Permalink Structure

Out of the box, WordPress is already a well-optimized system that does a better job at allowing every page to be indexed than any other content management system (CMS). But there are some things you should do to make it a lot easier still to work with, like changing the permalink structure.

The URLs of the content you publish on your site are called “permalinks”. These are what people enter into their browser address bar to view a specific page on your site. Permalinks are also what search engines and other sites use to link to your site. It’s because of this that they’re very important.

But the thing is, the default permalink structure isn’t user-friendly. It’s better to refer a visitor to a URL like https://yourdomain.com/wordpress-seo-tips-tricks than https://yourdomain.com/?page_id=1234.

The good thing is that it’s easy for you to change the permalink structure. Simply go to Settings >> Permalinks. As you can see here, the default name is ?p=<postid>. You can change this by using either /post-name/ or /category/post-name/. For the first option you can change it to /%postname%/.

If you want to include the category, just select Custom Structure and change the value to /%category%/%postname%/. If you previously had ?p=<postid> as your permalink, WordPress will handle the redirects for you. The same goes for changing /%postname%/ to /%category%/%postname%/.

Controlling Titles

WordPress SEO lets you prevent indexing (or even the existence) of archive pages that don’t apply for your site. You can do this under SEO >> Titles & Metas, where you’ll find a number of options on the Taxonomies tab.

In this case, you need to check the noindex, follow tick box, except for author archives like Reviews and Types. All the other archives should be set to noindex, follow because those are all pages that don’t have unique content and you don’t want to tell Google to index them.

Google’s Panda algorithm, for example, will crawl your site and will see these pages with no unique content. If it’s being told to index those pages, then it will, although there won’t be any quality, unique content to help boost your site in the search results. In fact, this might push down your search engine rankings. You want Google and other search engines to index your Reviews and Types pages, so again, make sure NOT to check noindex, follow.

So that’s a quick rundown of the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast. If you have any questions, let me know by dropping them on the Questions box below.

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