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Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin: Settings and Usage


What is the Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin?

If you want to enhance your website’s visibility, the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is a tool you should consider. This plugin is a comprehensive solution designed to optimize your WordPress site for search engines. It’s a user-friendly tool anyone can use, even less familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is a renowned tool that has aided millions of websites globally since 2008. It’s a favorite among small businesses and large, popular sites alike. This plugin is designed to manage your SEO needs effectively, with additional features in the premium version.

Gaining a Competitive Edge

One of the primary benefits of the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is its ability to give your website a competitive edge. It’s designed to help your site rank higher in search engines, outperforming your competitors.

Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin: Technical SEO Improvements

The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin has features that automate technical SEO improvements. These include canonical URLs and meta tags, essential for search engine optimization.

Advanced XML Sitemaps

Another significant Yoast SEO WordPress plugin feature is its ability to create advanced XML sitemaps. These sitemaps make it easier for Google and other search engines to understand your site’s structure, which can improve your site’s ranking.

Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin: Title and Meta Description Templating

With the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin, you can create consistent and brand-aligned titles and meta descriptions that appear in search results and influence click-through rates.

Schema.org Integration

The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin offers an in-depth Schema.org integration. The feature helps search engines understand your content, increasing your chances of achieving rich results.

Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin: Site Breadcrumbs Control

The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin provides complete control over your site’s breadcrumbs. This feature ensures that users and search engines can easily navigate your site.

Content and SEO Analysis

The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is renowned for its advanced content and SEO analysis. It provides tools for writing SEO-friendly content and ensures it is readable for both humans and search engines.

Inclusive Language Analysis

The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin includes a new inclusive language analysis feature. This helps you write inclusive content for a wide range of audiences.

Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin: Premium Features and Support

The premium version of the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin offers additional features like email support and the ability to expand Yoast SEO with other extensions. It also includes an IndexNow integration that notifies search engines whenever you publish or update content.

The Yoast team prioritizes support for their Premium customers. However, they also offer regular support on the WordPress.org forums. There is a Premium-only feature: one-on-one email contact support.

SEO Basics

All the features of The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin are technical implementations of the SEO Basics we learned in Section 2 of our Complete SEO Guide Box.

Installing the Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

Install the plugin with the help of the WordPress Plugin Installation Guide article in our Complete SEO Guide Box.
Search for: Yoast SEO By Team Yoast.

Setting Up First-Time Settings in Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
On the left side menu panel, hover with the mouse cursor over [Yoast SEO], then click [General].
On the General settings page, at the top, click on [First-time configuration].


If it is a new WordPress site, you should not have any posts, so there is nothing to optimize.
Click [Continue].


The site representation settings are needed for the Google Knowledge Graph to show in the Knowledge Panel.
Read the Yoast guide to choose whether to be an Organization or a Person.
Here, we will use the “Organization” option.

Fill in the details and create a resized version of your logo. Yoast suggests it to be 696×696 pixels.
Since we already created a logo, copy the logo and resize it with RIOT to the specified size and save it to the following directory:

D:\Sites\YourSite\Images\Logo\Yoast Site Representation\

Upload the optimized image to Yoast SEO.
Click [Save and continue].


Place links to the social profiles that relate to your site.
Click [Save and continue].


On “Yoast SEO usage tracking,” select the option “(*) No, don’t track my site data.”
Click [Save and continue].


Click on “Or go to your SEO dashboard.”

Setting Up the Rest of the Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

On the left side menu panel, hover over [Yoast SEO] with the mouse cursor, then click on [Settings].
Now, you will see the secondary left-side menu that belongs to Yoast SEO.

General: Site features

By default, most of the features are enabled.

SEO analysis: When you write posts, this feature will be inside post options, and you will see how your SEO is doing.

Readability analysis: Same as “SEO Analysis,” just for readability. How easily can the user read and understand your content and structure?

Inclusive language analysis: Same as “Readability analysis,” but for inclusive language. By default, this specific feature is turned off because it is new. Try enabling it. If you don’t like it, you can always come back here and deactivate it.

While scrolling down, you will find the “Admin bar menu” feature. You don’t need it; it creates additional clutter on the top menu bar. So, we deactivate it.

Click [Save changes].

General: Site basics

This is part of what we configured in the First time configuration.

“Tagline” is something we have already updated in the WordPress General Settings. You can do it now; it doesn’t matter. It should be your site’s one-line description containing the main keywords.

General: Site representation

The rest of the settings are from the First-time configuration we did above.

General: Site connections

You can add connections to different Search consoles to make your site appear faster in SERPs. We will add only Google Search Console.
Under the “Google” text box, click “Google Search Console.”

Log in with your Google Account that you authorized Google Search Console with this domain. If you didn’t, you could do it with the help of our Google Search Console connecting guide.
Find the “Get Google Search Console Site Verification Token” section from the Google GSC Usage Guide.
Copy the verification token and leave the Google Search Console tab open.

Return to the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin connection page and paste the token into the “Google” text box.

Click on [Save changes].

Content types: Homepage

This section is irrelevant since we’ll add the Homepage separately, and these settings will move to this page.

Content types: Posts

On the secondary left menu of the Yoast page, under [Content types], click on [Posts].
In the “SEO Title” section, the default variables in the text box are:

[Title] [Page] [Separator] [Site title]

Remove all the variables, and click [Insert variable]. From the drop-down menu, select [Title].
In the “Meta description” section, Write in the textbox:


Click [Save changes].

Content types: Pages

On the secondary left menu of the Yoast page, under [Content types], click on [Pages].
Do the same as you did in the “Posts” section: change the SEO title to “%Title” only and in the Meta description ad “%Excerpt”.

Categories & tags: Categories

On the secondary left menu of the Yoast page, under [Categories & tags], click on [Categories].

Show categories in search results: Off
The Category pages aren’t quality content for White Hat SEO, so they should not be indexed, meaning they will have a “No Index” tag.

In the “SEO Title” section, the default variables in the text box are:

[Term title] Archives [Page] [Separator] [Site title]

Remove the last two variables so it will look like this:

[Term title] Archives [Page]

Enable SEO controls and assessments: Off
We don’t need SEO controls if we turn off the appearance of the Category Archive pages in the search engines.

Show the categories prefix in the slug: Off
We don’t need the “/categories/” in the URL since each category has its name, so it’s already inside the categories. Additional text in the URL only makes it longer.

Click [Save changes].

Categories & tags: Tags

On the secondary left menu of the Yoast page, under [Categories & tags], click on [Tags].

Here, we will do the same as with “Categories.”

Show categories in search results: Off
SEO title: [Term title] Archives [Page]
Enable SEO controls and assessments: Off

Click [Save changes].

Advanced: Crawl optimization

Remove unwanted metadata

  • Remove powered by HTTP header: On
    Another feature that provides software information about your website can be removed.

Disable unwanted content formats

You can remove RSS feed functionality from your WordPress site in this section. Click the switch next to any specific RSS feed option you want to remove. Removing RSS Feeds is not recommended due to SEO benefits.

Remove unused resources

  • Remove emoji scripts: On
    We can remove this feature to make our site load faster. This feature doesn’t add much to user experience unless your website is a forum.
  • Remove WP-JSON API: On
    There is no need for any search engine to crawl WordPress internals.

Block unwanted bots

If you have a Yoast SEO Premium subscription in this section, you can disable ChatGPT and Google AI training bots from crawling your website for information. Yoast SEO plugin does it through the robots.txt file. We provided two articles where we explain why you should or shouldn’t bock these bots and how to block them manually through robots.txt (so basically, you don’t need a Yoast SEO Premium subscription for these):

Internal site search cleanup

  • Filter search terms: On
    This whole feature protects your site from spammers and should be enabled.
    • Max number of characters to allow in searches: [50]
      The maximum number of 50 characters to search for a term should be enough for any topic.
    • Filter searches with emojis and other special characters: On
    • Filter searches with common spam patterns: On
  • Prevent crawling of internal site search URLs: On

Your site’s search results are not quality content, so there is no need for search engines to crawl or index.

Read More about Crawl optimization

Read more about the Advanced Crawl optimization page in Yoast Docs.

Advanced: Breadcrumbs

On the secondary left menu of the Yoast page, expand [Advanced] and click on [Breadcrumbs].

Bold the last page: On

Breadcrumbs for post types: Posts: [Categories]

Enable breadcrumbs for your theme: On
This is “On” by default. Not all themes support this feature, and some themes need you to add this feature manually. You can read our guide on how to add the breadcrumbs to your theme.

Advanced: Author archives

On the secondary left menu of the Yoast page, expand [Advanced], and click on [Author archives].

Show author archives in search results: Off
Author archives are not quality content like any other archive page, so indexing this in Search Engines is unnecessary.

Enable author archives: Off
If you’re the only author on the platform, you might as well turn off the Author archives.
This will redirect the author archives links to your homepage.

Advanced: RSS

On the secondary left menu, under [Advanced], click on [RSS].

Here, you can configure the appearance of the RSS feed XML file.

You can read more about RSS Feeds’ importance in SEO and How RSS Feeds are implemented in WordPress, including configuration options.

Optimize Your SEO Data in Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

Suppose you changed the post structure, like changing Permalinks Settings, or installed Yoast SEO after you already had some posts. In that case, you should Optimize SEO Data with Yoast SEO.

On the left side menu of your WordPress Dashboard, under Yoast SEO, click [Tools].

If you have anything to optimize, you will see the [Start SEO data optimization] button. Click it.

Adding your Site XML Map to Google Search Console

On the left side menu panel, hover over [Yoast SEO] with the mouse cursor, then click on [Settings].
Now, you will see the secondary left-side menu that belongs to Yoast SEO.
You should be in the [General] section on the [Site features] page.
Find the “XML sitemaps” feature under the “API” section.

Right-click the [View the XML sitemap], then in your browser’s “right-click menu,” click [Copy link].
You can click the link to see the sitemap XML file.

If you don’t have any posts, it will be empty, and you will get a 404 error. It is OK if you don’t have any posts. If you have posted, you must investigate why you have 404 errors.

Return to the Google Search Console tab.
From the Google Search Console Usage Guide, find the “Add XML Sitemap” section and follow it.

Read and Edit the Main “.htacces” File

Yoast SEO provides a tool to access the main “.htaccess” file. We do not recommend editing the file at all. Some plugins do it for your specific needs, like Clearfy Cache, without you interfering.

In your WordPress Dashboard, hover over [Yoast SEO] on the left side menu bar, then click on [Tools] in the drop-down menu.
On the “Tools” page, click on “File editor”.
Navigate to the “.htaccess file” section.

Create, Read, and Edit the “robots.txt” File

The file “robots.txt” guides the crawling bots that respect it. If you have any bots you think you need to disable for certain parts of your blog or the whole blog, you can do it with Yoast SEO. If you don’t want to block anything, you don’t need to create the “robots.txt” file.

Login to your WordPress Dashboard.
On the left side menu bar, hover over [Yoast SEO], then click on [Tools] in the drop-down menu.

On the “Tools” page, click on “File editor”.
The first section should be responsible for “robots.txt”.
Note: remember, if you don’t want to block any part of your site from crawling bots, you don’t need the robots.txt.

Click [Create robots.txt file].

As of the time of this writing, the rorbots.txt by Yoast SEO looks like this:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /wp-content/uploads/wpo-plugins-tables-list.json

# ---------------------------
User-agent: *

Sitemap: https://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml
# ---------------------------

Click [Save changes to robots.txt].

Here’s a breakdown of the text:

First two lines:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /wp-content/uploads/wpo-plugins-tables-list.json
If you have it installed on your WordPress, these lines belong to the “WP-Optimize” plugin. If you don’t, then you will not see it. Check our Wp-Optimize Database Optimization WordPress plugin article to understand what this file does and why this option appears in robots.txt.

# —————————
This comment does nothing besides telling you that Yoast SEO added this text and what comes next.

User-agent: *
“User-agent: *” followed by empty “Disallow:” means that all web crawlers (except any specifically named ones that follow) are allowed to access and crawl all parts of the website. There are no restrictions on them.

Sitemap: https://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml
This line specifies the location of the website’s sitemap.
Sitemap: This directive points search engines to the XML website sitemap.
“https://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml” is the URL where the sitemap can be found.

Search engines use sitemaps to crawl websites intelligently. A sitemap provides a list of URLs within the site. It can offer additional URL metadata (when it was last updated, how often it changes, its importance relative to other URLs, and more). By providing the sitemap’s location in the robots.txt file, website owners can help search engines find and crawl their content more efficiently.

Note: In this example, “yourdomain.com” is a placeholder, and in an actual robots.txt file, it would be replaced by the real domain name of the website.
This will appear only if you enable the XML Sitemap feature in Yoast SEO settings.

# —————————

This is another comment stating that Yoast SEO-specific directives ended.

You can add more custom directives after that line.
You can add a directive to block ChatGPT bot from crawling your site from here. We will cover why you should or shouldn’t do it later in our Complete SEO Guide Box.

After you add the “robots.txt” file, you should check with the HTTP Status test tool if Search Engine bots can reach your website.

Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin: Premium Redirects

Redirects in Yoast is a premium feature, but from all the “redirection” WordPress plugins we tested, this is the best one that worked for us. Unlike other free options, you can easily create 301 redirects and 410 status codes with Yoast for pages and posts, which work every time. If you delete an article, you must create a 410 status code. Yoast SEO will ask you if you want it to do so in the pop-up message at the top of the WordPress Dashboard. If you need to redirect pages, consider this premium feature. The same happens when you remove categories, tags, and pages since they’re also URLs on your site.

Redirect to homepage

One thing that might not be straightforward with the Redirection option is redirecting URLs to your homepage.

While logged in to your WordPress dashboard, on the left side menu bar, with your mouse hovering over [Yoast SEO], click on [Redirects] in the pop-up menu. You will be navigated to the [Redirects] tab. Configure these settings:

  • Type: [301 Moved Permanently]
  • Old URL: https://yourdomain.com/some-slug-example
  • URL: /
    This setting is your homepage.

Click [Add Redirect]

Remove Redirects

Removing redirects from the Yoast SEO Redirects feature is intuitively straightforward. However, you need to understand how to do it correctly SEO-wise. Read the Step-by-Step Guide on How to Remove Website Redirects.

Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin: Premium Plan

In the latest versions of the plugin, one of the main features, the “Keyphrase distribution” check, became a Premium feature. The feature checks if you distributed the keyphrase evenly in your textual content. It helps your On-Page SEO and is an essential feature for you to consider in Premium.

When you register for a Premium account, the site will present you with a ZIP file to download. This is the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin Premium extension, registered for your domain only. You need to install it as a file in the WordPress plugins section. Then, you will see all the premium features and two Yoast SEO plugins in the WordPress plugin list: Yoast SEO and Yoast SEO Premium. Premium will not work without the regular version. Plugin installation as a file was covered in our WordPress Plugins installation guide. The link is at the top of the page.


If you find any mistakes or have ideas for improvement, please follow the email on the Contact page.

2 thoughts on “Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin: Settings and Usage”

  1. Ce sont de très bons conseils, en particulier pour ceux qui sont nouveaux dans la blogosphère. Des informations brèves et précises… Merci de partager cela. Un article incontournable.

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