This post is the continuation to the first post about the perfect Yoast SEO configuration, where I explained the main functionalities that Yoast SEO offers you and how you can configure it quickly with the wizard. Here we intend to go a little deeper into the configuration, so that you can polish those details the wizard doesn’t address.
After installing the plugin in WordPress, you’ll see that you have the following menu options: General, Search Appearance, Search Console, Social, Tools, and Premium.
In this post we’ll see what you can configure in detail in the first two options of the Yoast SEO menu: General and Search Appearance.
Under the General menu option, you will find three tabs: Dashboard, Features, and Webmaster Tools.
The first tab, Dashboard, as you can see in the image above, links to the wizard that I explained in the first post on how to configure Yoast. It also warns you if you have any issues and gives you the link to subscribe to the Premium plan. Additionally, as you can see on the right of the screenshot, it gives you other recommendations to learn more about the tool or about SEO.
In the Features tab you’ll find the options that you have activated or deactivated from the plugin.
By default they are all activated. And it’s OK to leave them like this. But what does each of them mean?
The SEO analysis are suggestions on how to improve your posts and pages for SEO, such as defining a snippet, indicating a keyword, using it in your text, URL, images etc. If you deactivate it, you’ll still be able to define the snippet of your post, but the plugin will no longer makes suggestions on how you can improve it.
The Readability analysis allows Yoast to make suggestions on how to make your text more readable. If you deactivate it, the plugin won’t run the analysis and, therefore, you won’t get any suggestions on how to improve the copy of your posts.
Cornerstone content is used to indicate that a certain type of content is essential to your website. For example, you could indicate that your star product page is your cornerstone content.
The Text link counter controls whether you have included texts with external links in your posts. As you know, external links can help give a post more credibility.
When XML sitemaps is active, Yoast will generate an index of the most important pages of your site, making it easier for Google to identify what your web content is about. Don’t deactivate it if you want to position yourself better in the Google ranking.
Ryte integration allows Yoast to also use some of the features provided by Ryte, a tool that monitors, analyzes, and optimizes key elements of websites. Yoast uses it to warn you if your site is no longer indexed in search engines.
The Admin bar menu contains useful links to third-party tools to analyze pages and make it easier for you to see if you have new alerts.
And with the Security option active, you make sure that only administrators and editors have advanced plugin settings options. If you disable it, you grant authors access to the advanced plugin settings options.
Finally, let’s go to the last tab, Webmaster Tools.
Here, you can enter the verification code of each of the search engines it indicates. The most important is Google‘s. I already commented on the information in this section in the first Yoast configuration post, so I’m not going to go into details again.
The second option of the Yoast menu is the Search Appearance, and as you can see, it has seven tabs: General, Content Types, Media, Taxonomies, Archives, Breadcrumbs, and RSS.
On each of these tabs you indicate how you want Google to display information about your content.
Here you indicate how you want your website’s snippet to look by default. For example, if you look at the image above, you’ll see that Yoast will create the following default SEO titles: first the title of the content, then the page (if that content is paginated as is the case with feeds), a separator (which you have indicated before), and the default description that the author has defined. The advantage of having this information filled in is that you won’t have any URL without a decent snippet.
The Content Types tab moves down to the next level of detail, i.e. you detail the appearance of the snippet in posts and pages.
For your blog posts and the rest of your web pages, you can indicate whether or not you want them to be part of Google searches, if you want to include the date of publication in the snippet (it is recommended not to do so as it tends to lead to fewer clicks) and how you want to show the title and description by default. And if you choose to hide Yoast SEO meta box, the Yoast box under the posts and pages disappears (I don’t recommend it, if you want to get the most out of this plugin).
In this tab you indicate if you want the URL of any image or attachment included in a post or page to be redirected to that post or page that contains it, instead of to the URL of the image or attachment itself.
The recommendation of Yoast and ours is that you redirect attachment URLs to the attachment themselves. It doesn’t make much sense to index the images, since what you usually want is for the posts and pages to take authority in Google.
Now it’s the turn of the Categories, Tags or any other custom taxonomy you may have created on your website.
Similar to posts, in the case of categories and tags you can first indicate if you want them to be indexed or not. On this subject, there are those who recommend that you don’t index categories or tags until you have at least some related content on it, and there are those who argue that they can be very useful to rank long tail content on Google. We have them indexed.
Then, as you see in the image above, you can indicate a SEO title and default description, and if you want in the category edition to have the Yoast SEO box. And for tags, it’s exactly the same.
Archives are feeds or pages that link to lists of posts. These include all the posts written by a certain author (Author archives settings) or listings of posts on a given date (Date archive settings).
In the case of author files, it only makes sense to index them (Author Archives option, Enabled) if you have a blog with multiple authors. In this case, it also makes sense to show this information in search results, but only for those authors who have posts. If you’re the only writer on your blog, you’d better deactivate it or Google will consider you have duplicate content. You don’t want Google to penalize you.
In the case of Date archives settings, it’s better to deactivate the indexing if we want, again, to avoid duplicate content. Leave them deactivated.
And the Special Pages section refers to the search results page and the 404 error page. You can use the default settings.
Breadcrumbs are links available on some websites, usually located under the main menu, that tell the user where they are on the web. For example, for this post it would be: Home » blog » The perfect Yoast SEO Setup For Your WordPress (II). Showing or not these links is usually an option of the theme itself and it is more common to see it on websites of large corporations with many products or services or online stores.
If you decide to activate them, Yoast will ask you for more information about how you want the breadcrumbs to be displayed: the breadcrumbs separator, the link text for the home page, etc.
And the last tab within the Search Appearance option is RSS.
RSS is a subscription system by which users can subscribe to our feeds and receive new content directly in their email or in the feeders they use to read RSS. In this way instead of visiting our website in search of news, they are informed in real time. Although it is not directly related to SEO, it is clear that it can bring traffic to your website.
Yoast SEO lets you add certain information that you can include before or after each post in the Feed. This serves as a security measure to prevent plagiarism. For example, adding the following text at the end of our posts (as shared in an RSS feed):
%%POSTLINK%%is an original text of
guarantees that, if a third party copies our content automatically from the RSS, the “copy” will contain a clear statement about the authorship of the content and a link to the original source.
And so far, the first two menu options of the Yoast SEO plugin. If you want to become an expert, don’t miss the third and last post on Yoast SEO Configuration!
Featured image by Robert Baker in Unsplash