Yoast has an install wizard that may or may not appear upon installation, it is recommended to configure some initial settings with it.
Step 2 “Environment” – the choice here will determine if your site should be open to indexing immediately, or to postpone this until your site is in a state ready for it–when that time comes you can change this setting manually.
Step 3, are not wholly important, and like the rest of these settings can be changed at any time.
On step 6 it is important to say “yes” (default) for indexing options. On step 7, it is recommended to choose “no” for “multiple authors”, as this will help avoid duplicate content issues. Google Search Console in step 8 can be implemented later.
Using Yoast webmaster tools, verify site through various search engines. For example, Google:
Verification through search engine webmaster tools allows you to track how your site is being indexed.
Under search appearance > content types, you can configure the default appearance users will see on search results. This is an important part of SEO because potential visitors will often base their visit around the information provided. Below is the recommended* default for posts/pages:
Example using this page:
* “Date in Snippet Preview” is recommended, as it can be helpful to know if content is recent or not; however this is more up to you to determine if that’s something that will benefit potential visitors.
Redirecting attachment URLs, this is recommended, and is the default. Redirects media to the file itself, rather than the WordPress attachment page.
Taxonomies. This refers to how your content is grouped together, such as tags and categories. It is recommended to show categories in search results using this format:
However, it is recommended to disable everything in the below image:
The final option shown, “Category URLs”, is recommended to keep if you are unsure, as this effects the URL and can lead to 404’s if you change it back later.
Archive settings. Recommended to disable, as these can lead to duplicate content. Optimal “Special Pages” format also shown:
Yoast Breadcrumbs; not recommended, though this is optional. More can be found out using the informational link Yoast provides with this setting.
RSS feed settings control how content will appear on RSS feeds, default parameters are fine here.
Yoast Search Console. This page is usable once you’ve finished the previously mentioned Google Search Console verification. Upon first viewing, you may have to follow a few short steps to provide an authentication code.
Social media settings can be configured in “Social – Yoast SEO”. Applicable links go in the account URL fields (make sure any URL here links to a publicly view-able page). Further customization for certain sites can be done through the other tabs on this page, such as configuring Twitter share links to display with or without an image.
Default settings here are all acceptable.
“Tools – Yoast SEO” has some useful areas of interest.
Import and Export does just what it says in the above image; can be useful if you have everything configured the way you want, and don’t want to redo it manually elsewhere.
Not shown in this screenshot is the file editor, which let’s you make changes to robots.txt and .htaccess, for Yoast to do this file editing needs to be allowed in the WordPress installation. More information on this can be found here: how-to-edit-robots-txt-through-yoast-seo.
The WordPress default robots.txt and .htaccess are recommended for most situations regardless, so going through the steps to change the above settings are not necessarily important.
XML Sitemap. The page below is accessed by appending “sitemap.xml” to your site’s URL.
On the Google Search Console, you can provide this Yoast-generated XML sitemap by navigating to the sitemap page and adding “sitemap.xml” to the field shown below. Once that is complete, it will appear in the list, also shown.
The Google Search Console provides many useful testing and configuration options; currently, the new version does not include all of the same options accessible on the old version. The old version can still be accessed and there you can go to “Crawl > robots.txt Tester”, however, if the changes mentioned previously were not made, this page will not display the robots.txt information. This is not entirely a problem, as the site is still crawled, and as shown below the tester will still display a correct result.
Post and page search result snippets can be further customized on an individual basis directly on the WordPress editor page. Doing so can help optimize each post or page to best reflect the content it offers. The image below uses this page as an example. Keep in mind that, at times, Google or other search engines may not actually use the information you provide here. If that is the case, it may be worth adopting a new format, to better conform to what the search engine is looking for.
Social media information can be changed for each post and page as well. Shown below Facebook and Twitter are available, though more can appear here if you have them configured.
Making individualized changes here can benefit your content in the same way as changing the search result snippet.
More changes on each post/page can be made under advanced, but there is usually no reason to modify the information here.
Yoast can analyze the text content of your post/page, informing you of potential problems. This is available under readability analysis, beneath the search result snippet.
The “passive voice” criteria is not always necessary to heed; it’s important to understand how passive/active voice works in your writing, but there are times a high percentage is still acceptable. Consecutive sentences, the other problem shown, could display as a false-positive if you’re checking prior to finishing your post. For example, on this page, the “Implementation X” headings trigger this warning when there has not yet been something written between them.
Similar to the readability analysis, Yoast will also analyze a few SEO criteria based on the chosen Focus Keyword.
Internal links: one of the criteria for Yoast SEO analysis, Google in particular uses internal linking as an important search result metric. The aim here is to have a good amount of links leading to your page(s) internally. One common method is to have an “other recommended/related articles” area.
“What is the robots.txt file and what should we do with this file?”
It is a text file accessed by web-crawlers (such as those used by search engines) that specifies certain instructions (such as pages it should not access). The robots.txt basic structure is shown below:
User-agent: * Disallow: /
This robots.txt would be accessed by all crawlers and disallow access to all pages–though this could be ignored.
Due to the way most web-crawlers are configured, this file needs to be in the domain root; for instance, if the crawler is accessing this page, everything after “tokorol.com” will be removed and replaced by “/robots.txt”. More information can be found at robotstxt.org.