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Gini Dietrich

Eleven Steps for Setting Up and Using the Yoast SEO Plugin

By: Gini Dietrich | February 26, 2013 | 
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Eleven Steps for Setting Up and Using the Yoast SEO PluginDuring Andy Crestodina’s webinar “The Lies and Truths of Google Analytics” last week, there was a lot of discussion on the Spin Sucks Pro hashtag about Google+ authorship and authority.

A topic that continues to evade many, Andy spent more time answering questions about that at the end than he did on anything else.

As luck would have it, the very same day, Christopher Penn wrote, “How to Set Up Google+ Authorship” and gave you step-by-step directions for using the Yoast SEO plugin on your WordPress site.

While we had already taken the steps to set it up on the Google+ side, as both Andy and Chris noted, we still had to use ?rel=author in every blog post so Google would know what I’ve written vs. one of our guest bloggers.

Kind of a pain, eh (I’ve been around Lindsay Bell too long)?

So I set about to install the Yoast SEO plugin as Christopher suggested, deactivate All-in-One SEO pack, and be on our merry way.

It turns out, it’s not as easy as it seems.

Setting Up and Using the Yoast SEO Plugin

If you were here on Friday, you noticed our title tag said “Untitled” instead of “Spin Sucks.” I was a little stressed out. It turned out, the Yoast SEO plugin wasn’t talking to our code so that had to be fixed by a professional. But, during the process, I learned a lot more about what you can do without breaking the site (and trust me, I thought I had broken it).

  1. Install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin. This is the easiest part. It does all the work for you and you don’t feel like anything you update or change will give you untitled page tags. Yay for the first step!
  2. Open the Yoast dashboard. It looks like this in your sidebar. See the little orange icon? That’s where you’ll click.
    WordPress Sidebar
  3. Set up your general settings. You can take the tour, but it really just explains what each tab is, rather than tell you how to set it up. Click all the buttons you see below. If you want to set up your Webmaster tools, do it here. I’ve chosen not to, but may add it later.
    Yoast Dashboard
  4. Open “Titles and Metas” and make sure you’re on the “general” tab. Click all the boxes you see below and make sure the “use meta keywords tag” button is not clicked. This is because, with the Penguin update, Google no longer counts keywords. Plus, you don’t want to be considered keyword stuffing so it’s safer not to use it.
    Yoast General Settings
  5. Click on the “Home” tab (still in “Titles and Metas”). This is where you’ll add your blog’s title, the meta description, and set up your Google+ authorship. This is where you really have to use your brain so think long and hard about what you want here.
    Yoast Home Settings
  6. Click on the “post types tab” (still in “Titles and Metas”). This pretty much stays the same as the factory settings. Make sure the buttons are clicked and unclicked as shown below. I added “%%excerpt%%” to each meta description template box. I’m not sure you have to do that. You can try both ways.Yoast Post Types Settings
  7. Click on the “taxonomies” tab (still in “Titles and Metas”). This one also stays pretty much the same as the factory settings. I added the ”%%excerpt%%” to each meta description template box. Click buttons as you see below.
    Yoast Taxonoies Settings
  8. Click on the “other” tab (still in “Titles and Metas”). The word “archives” is present in the factory settings in this one. Everyone on earth suggests you delete that, so I did. I also added the ”%%excerpt%%” to each meta description template box. Click buttons as you see below. I also updated the verbiage for the 404 error page from “Error Found” to something goofy.
    Yoast Other Template
  9. Go back to the orange icon in your sidebar and open “Social.“ This is where you can add your fan page and your Twitter handle. You’ll see we don’t have the fan page set up yet because I’m not an administrator and I keep forgetting to ask Yvette Pistorio to do that for me. Maybe she’ll see this and help me out!
    Yoast Social Settings
  10. Go back to the orange icon in your sidebar and open “XML Sitemaps. This one was super helpful for me to actually see what needed to be clicked or not clicked. The screen grab below shows you what to do.
    Yoast XML Settings
  11. Go back to the orange icon in your sidebar and open “Import & Export. I imported both from the All-in-One SEO pack and the OLD one, just in case. Then I went into some old blog posts to make sure the SEO settings were in each of them. Then I went back to “Import & Export” and I clicked “Delete the old data after import.”
    Yoast Import & Export Settings

To get all of this accomplished, I read 12 or 13 blog posts. Every, single one of them suggested not to touch “Permalinks,” “Internal links,” or “RSS,” if you’re not a programmer or developer. While I checked them out, I didn’t add or change anything in them.

Hopefully this helps you if you’re planning to do the same thing. It’ll save you about four hours of pain and agony.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

90 comments
Karma Bennett
Karma Bennett

I have such mixed feelings about this plugin. On the one hand, it has broken three different sites where I have tried it. On the other hand, none of the other SEO plugins seem to offer all of its features. Crossing my fingers and giving it another try.


PS, as a fellow marketing gal (book publicist) I love your site name!

JustJSammy
JustJSammy

Thanks Gini, Just what I was looking for. Simple and effective. Couple things I would like to add. With regards to permalinks- you do need to be very careful.I thought stripping /category/ was a good idea from an SEO perspective but my premium theme I was using didn't and just about crashed. The Edit FIles section is very valuable of used correctly. CHanging the HTACCESS file can be dangerous. However, test the speed of your site at http://gtmetrix.com/ (personal fav place of mine) and it will tell you ways to speed up your site. Many of them have to do with adding items in that file. I have no affiliation with that site, I just think it's one of the coolest sites I've come across in the last 6 months or so. Chears.- J.Sammy

Arturol
Arturol

Hi!
Very interesting article!
I just wonder about something before I completely decide to change to Infinite SEO.
Before I started using SEO by Yoast I was using Infinite SEO and i was ranking 8 out of 10 on googles first page. Right after chaning to Yoast i completey desappear and hardly com on 2dn, 3rd gogle page, just once.
I wonder what could this issue be and how can I fix it to take back my rankings on google?

Thanks;

patricerutledge
patricerutledge

I was searching for more info on setting up the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin and discovered your post. Saved me lots of time, particularly after the default settings didn't yield optimal results. Having my new site not display properly in Google elevated messing with this plugin to the top of my to do list and now, thankfully, I can move on the other hundreds of things on the list :-)

yvettepistorio
yvettepistorio

Um, is it bad I just noticed you asked me to do something in this post?! I'm on it now...better late than never!

stephanhov
stephanhov

Really helpful tutorial, Gini. I'm a huge fan of Yoast's plugins. Quick tip for any of you using Genesis, the authorship is built into your Profile page as an added field, and will show up in the < head> tag once you activate it.

 

One more tip: once you activate it, there are about 4 more columns that get added to the Posts page in the admin area, and it makes it hard to read your post titles. You can use the Screen Options (little tab on the top right of the page) to take some or all of those columns off the page.

Homes_Boston
Homes_Boston

@massrealty @spinsucks too funny I just uploaded that earlier today.

haronno
haronno

@mdbarber @ginidietrich I'm all for better SEO, but is this plugin and all it's steps preferable to the all-in-one-seo plugin?

cspenn
cspenn

Thanks for the callout - don't forget the Users config for individual authors! That's how you get contributing authors to lend some of THEIR juice to your site!

Latest blog post: Influential PR: Scarcity

Andrea T.H.W.
Andrea T.H.W.

Very useful post Gini. We have to use Seo plugins to obey Google's rules and try to rank decently and Big G. is so kind that with every update tries to hit those who aim for a better Seo.

 

Seems like the Italian government who is the worst enemy of Italian citizens. You see, to try to escape recession and general corruption we had to go with a comedian. :)

Latest blog post: Better Health with Hypnosis

Tinu
Tinu

Great tutorial. Love this plugin, and I hear the video one s even better. Waiting until I'm actually creating video regularly to use tat oe though.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@FogelRivka Or even killing it and learning from it. Oy.

leyla_a
leyla_a

@AnneReuss @SpinSucks @ginidietrich my favorite SEO plugin!

AlexaWebhead
AlexaWebhead

@DesignSpike Yoast is an awesome SEO plugin, it was very thorough!

lauraclick
lauraclick

An EXCELLENT step-by-step guide, Gini! I had already implemented Yoast into my site recently, but there were some settings I hadn't changed. Thanks for the tips. You're right - it definitely saved me some additional heartache in trying to figure out what to do with some of those tabs. Well done!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I am confused. The purpose of this is so when you click 'publish' it automatically posts to the various social networks? vs manually loading them?

SocialMediaDDS
SocialMediaDDS

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Just followed your step by step recipe for both of my sites!  Easy-peasy!  Thank you for doing all of the hard work...SO appreciative!!

massrealty
massrealty

@Homes_Boston It is a great plugin!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@haronno I switched from all-in-one and it's MUCH better. Painful to get setup, though @mdbarber

FogelRivka
FogelRivka

@ginidietrich Yes. I'm switching over to Yoast right now and referencing your post to do it. So, thanks for saving our blog :)

stephanhov
stephanhov

 @ginidietrich sure thing; I'm also always surprised how many people don't know about the Screen Options tab, hopefully that little diddy was useful too, especially for this plugin. 

Homes_Boston
Homes_Boston

@massrealty need to figure out the sitemap through webmaster tools. I'm looking forward to seeing some increased traffic.

Tinu
Tinu

@ginidietrich Just saying, the two together really moved the needle in SEO for the ones using it so far. With the amount of video you do, could put that to work for you. ;)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@FogelRivka Good luck with it! Let me know if you run into any snags. I think I found them all when doing it for ours.

FogelRivka
FogelRivka

@ginidietrich The defenestration of the PC, a worldwide event

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@FogelRivka Or throw it out the window...

FogelRivka
FogelRivka

@ginidietrich Definitely. can only imagine: You switch over to a better platform, lose page titles and meta, turn off the computer and cry.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Gini Dietrich cites Christopher Penn’s post (above) and expands on Google+ authorship with “Eleven Steps for Setting Up and Using the Yoast SEO Plugin” at Spin Sucks. [...]

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