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How to Set Up the WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin

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One of the most important aspects to any website is search engine optimization. Without SEO, it would be exceedingly difficult to attract visitors. This is why many people trust the WordPress Yoast SEO plugin.

Yoast has an incredible amount of features that help you in a variety of ways. It uses the most current methods of optimization and can actually help you write better content.

Today, we’re going to show you how to set up the Yoast SEO plugin to work for your WordPress website.

Why Choose the WordPress SEO Yoast Plugin?

While it’s true there are a number of quality SEO plugins available for WordPress, Yoast is perhaps one of the easiest to implement. It doesn’t have a lot of difficult settings to adjust, and its interface is easy to understand.

It seems the developers of Yoast spent a great deal of time making the platform informative as well as functional. The plugin gives advice about how to fix SEO issues while simultaneously giving you tips about how to make your content more appealing for SEO.

Setting Up Yoast SEO

Yoast is a free WordPress SEO plugin to use, but it adds a great deal of functionality if you purchase the Premium tool. In this article, we’re only going to focus on the free version. To do this:

Click on Plugins and select the Add New option.

Add New


Search for Yoast SEO in the available search box.

Yoast SEO

Click on the “Install Now” button and activate the plugin for use.

Install Now

Upon activation, a new feature will appear in the admin panel of WordPress on the left. It will be labeled, “SEO.” You may also notice there is a number to the right of the label. This is Yoast telling you that it has that many notifications for you to read.

Click the “SEO” to open Yoast’s settings.

Click on SEO

The Dashboard

Yoast Dashboard

The dashboard of Yoast will deliver pertinent information regarding the optimization of your website. For example, Yoast will try to make a sitemap automatically unless you have Google XML Sitemaps installed. At which point, Yoast will tell you there is a problem.

Yoast will give you details as to the issue as well as ways to fix it. Using the Google XML Sitemaps example, Yoast will provide a button to disable that particular plugin if you want Yoast to create the sitemap.

You’ll also see an area for notifications. Usually, this area is reserved for messages from the developers or tips regarding how to make your site better.

Configuration Wizard

At the top of the Yoast dashboard, you will see the configuration wizard. This is completely optional, but if this is your first time using Yoast, I strongly recommend using it.

Click the “configuration wizard!” option. This will bring up a new welcome screen.

Configuration Wizard

The setup wizard consists of 8 steps. The first thing Yoast needs to know is about your website’s environment. You have two options and you should pick the one that best represents your website.

Website Environment

Choose the type of your site. You’ll see a variety of options ranging from Blog to Something else. Select the one you the best represents what type of site you operate.

Website Type

Are you a company or a person? Selecting company opens fields for the name and logo of the business. On top of this, you can add social profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.  Picking Person will only allow you to pick a name.

Company or Person

Select your search engine visibility options. By default, they are both set to yes and I recommend keeping it that way. Pick the option best for you.

Search Engine Visibility

Choose whether you will have multiple authors or not. Will you be the only one creating content, or will someone be helping you?

Multiple Authors

Input your website’s title settings. Here is where you enter your website’s name as well as the separator you want to display.

This separator appears only in areas like between the title of your post and the name of the website in search results. Yoast will pull the site’s name from WordPress by default, but you can change it here.

Title Settings

Yoast will provide some resources that you can use to learn more about content writing and management. I recommend looking through it if you are new to web design.

Next, you’ll see a congratulations screen after the success of setting up Yoast.


Click on the “Close” option to finish the configuration wizard.


In the features tab of Yoast, you’ll find access to several components that are very useful when it comes to managing your website. By default, they are all on and I recommend leaving them that way, except for security. But feel free to turn them off if you feel differently.

SEO Analysis

SEO Analysis

Enable this if you want site-wide tips when writing content. This will point out mistakes that affect the SEO of the post or page.

Readability Analysis

Readability Analysis

Just like the previous option, but instead of SEO tips, this helps you increase the readability of your content.

Cornerstone Content

Cornerstone Content

Cornerstone content is essentially the core of your website. It consists of all of the most important articles on your website. This option allows you to mark and filter such content from the editing screen in WordPress.

Text Link Counter

The text link counter counts the number of internal links in the article. This is a great way to keep track of your links.

XML Sitemaps

XML Sitemaps

Allows Yoast to create a sitemap for your website. Sitemaps help search engines locate content so others can find you on the results page.

Ryte Integration

Ryte Integration

This will check weekly to see if your website is indexable by search engines. Keeping aprised of searchability can greatly impact the success of your site.

Admin Bar Menu

Admin Bar Menu

Allows Yoast to provide useful third-party links in your admin bar.



The “Security” tab is where you can restrict whether or not other authors can set noindex posts or change canonical data. If you don’t have other authors, then you can leave this disabled.

Noindex posts are not crawled by search engines. This means the content and possibly the webpage itself will not show when someone searches. This defeats the purpose of getting traffic.

However, you may find yourself using it if you post something you don’t necessarily want Google to index.

For now, it is best to leave this disabled.

Make sure to click on the “Save Changes” button to save your work.

Webmaster Tools


In the “Webmaster Tools” tab, you’ll find the authorization codes for  Baidu, Bing, Google and Yandex. You’ll also notice that each has a link directly to its own tools for the search engine.

These tools can show you a variety of statistics such as how often your site appears in search results, how often someone clicks on the links and what keywords were used to find your content by visitors. It can be helpful when you’re trying to develop a strategy for posts you write.

Yoast Is Great

Yoast SEO is a simple tool that will be a powerful addition to any website. From fine-tuning the content you write to optimizing metadata, it will do it all for you. Get your site seen by more people by using SEO tools. It will vastly increase your traffic.

What kind of SEO strategies do you use for your website? Is there anything you would like to see the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin do differently?

Author: Chris Racicot

Chris is the Support Manager at GreenGeeks and has been with the company since 2010. He has a passion for gaming, scripting and WordPress. When he’s not enjoying his sleep, he’s working on his guitar skills and fiddling with 3d printing.

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  1. Hi. Can I use yoast seo plugin for my wordpress site that I have not hosted and if I can, how do I do it. My site is

    1. Hello Emmanuel,

      As far as I know, Yoast SEO plugin can only be used for a self-hosted WordPress website. You should considering switching to a self-hosted version, it will give you the flexibility you need. Here’s an article to learn more about the differences between and

  2. Hi there,

    I’m using Yoast on all my sites, but, now i’ve 1 that is in staging(development).
    I’m wondering how to setup this with Yoast, so that when i’m moving this site, it’ll be all honky dory regarding SEO …

    Gr, Ko

    1. Hello Ko,

      Yoast SEO allows you to set up the plugin as your side “under development”. When you’re ready to go live, simply switch it to a public website.

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