When it comes to SEO, there are OnPage SEO and OffPage SEO.
If OffPage SEO is the work of link building and generating signals from other sites, OnPage SEO is the optimal journey on your own site to friendly match Google search engine.
In the article Top 10 WordPress Plugins You Need to Install I mentioned the Yoast SEO plugin.
This is the ultimate OnPage SEO support tool that is free but extremely powerful. It has a lot of features that help you step by step optimize the site to be appreciated in the eyes of the bots from Google.
This article will walk you through how to install and use this plugin.
Install Yoast SEO Plugin
You access the wp-admin interface of the site, select Plugin -> Add New -> Search the keyword ‘Yoast SEO’ in the search box.
Click Install Now then Activate the plugin as usual.
Set Up General
After activating the plugin, look at the left-hand column in the dashboard, you will see the SEO section with the Yoast symbol as shown. There are 5 items to configure for each purpose.
Click on General to go to the overview setting for the website.
Here you will find three main tabs: Dashboard, Features and Webmaster Tools.
The default Dashboard tab after installation is not noticeable. In the Features tab, I will turn On-Off the items as shown, I will explain immediately below.
- SEO analysis: Yoast will analyze the content on the page you publish and show a green or red checklist beneath the editor area of the page so you can see if the content, title, description are having issues which should be more optimized.
- Readability analysis: Yoast will evaluate the readability level of the content you present on the page. This is not necessary because normally do not write long paragraphs, just about 2-3 rows.
- Cornerstone content: This feature allows you to mark content in the pages/posts that are most valuable on the site for easy tracking of the OnPage issues of the page/post.
- Text link counter: Indicates how many internal links on the page/post.
- XML sitemaps: Add XML sitemaps to set index for search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex.
- Ryte integration: Finds out if the website is in the Google index.
- Admin bar menu: Turn on if you want to add Yoast drop-down menu in wp-admin interface.
- Security: no advanced settings for authors: Enable it to prevent authors from manually removing your posts from search results, changing the root URLs of posts, and only allowing users to act as editors or real administrators.
Then click Save changes to save the settings just made.
In the Webmaster Tools section, we will add the site to Google Webmaster Tools. You click on the Google Search Console link that Yoast displays to be brought to the Google Search Console interface.
Go to the Google Search Console interface, select HTML tag.
You copy the code in the quotation marks as shown in this image and paste in the Google verification code box of Yoast interface on the website.
Go back here and paste in the Google verification code box, then click Save changes.
Next, open the Google Search Console tab and click verify. You immediately get the message that you have successfully added the website to the Webmaster Tools.
Next, I will guide you to set up Search Appearance, which also starts with the tab order from left to right.
Here we only need to set the title separator and customize the title and meta for the homepage if you use the homepage that you create instead of the default one of the themes.
Note that if you want the title to show up on the search engine results (SERP) or when you mouse over the open tab of that article in the browser, then behind the title it is a tagline. Usually, you should use the brand name for the tagline.
Go to the Content Types tab, set for posts and then pages as shown.
- Show Posts in search results: select Yes to display posts that you posted to Google search results.
- Date in Snippet Preview: Select Show to show the date you published the post. Users like to read fresh content, which will increase the click rate on the post.
- Yoast SEO Meta Box: Displays a meta description of the post.
- Below the SEO title structure you set the elements as shown: Title, then Separator and then Site title.
- Meta Description: You can write yourself to optimize or use% Excerpt% and Yoast will automatically extract the snippet from your content to create the meta description.
The settings for Pages are the same, just note that you will turn off the Date in Snippet of page because it is not necessary.
Then click Save changes.
Go to the Media tab, every time you upload pictures or videos, WordPress will generate a separate URL for each image/video, but these links are not worth for users or readers so you should Select Yes to Yoast redirect these links to the original file itself.