In the recent time, I had tried my hands on lots of free as well premium SEO plugins for WordPress. Today I’m going to share my experience about WordPress SEO by Yoast Plugin. WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin can be considered as a good alternate to All in One SEO pack and many more SEO plugins about whom I will be discussing in the later part. WordPress SEO by Yoast comes with lots of features and can be considered as one stop solutions for lots of SEO related problems on your WordPress blog. Since it’s coming with lots of features, thus you can deactivate or delete those plugins whose functionalities are covered by this free SEO plugin for WordPress. Less number of active plugins in your WordPress plugin directory will improve the overall performance and speed of your blog and thus will send a positive note to Google bots as website speed is one of recently added rankings factor by Google in its search algorithm.
About WordPress SEO by Yoast Plugin
SEO by Yoast Plugin is developed by Joost de Valk who is a professional web developer, SEO and online marketer. He is the man behind Yoast.com website where he is offering website review, WordPress and SEO consulting services to his clients for years. Effectiveness and popularity of this plugin can be calculated by the fact that it has already been downloaded from WordPress plugin directory more than 1.3 million times and every week 40000-50000 new downloads are made for this free SEO plugin every week. SEO by Yoast plugin has been currently running on Mashable, Search Engine Land and The Next Web type of top blogs in the industry. This plugin will help you in writing blog contents and make sure you have a fully optimized WordPress blog.
WordPress SEO by Yoast Plugin Features List
You can download the latest version of WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin from WordPress Plugins directory here. After WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin installation, you can access all of its features from your WordPress left Sidebar under SEO. WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast comes with lots of features and here is the brief overview about some of its features:
WordPress SEO by Yoast Dashboard
You can use this section to verify your membership with Google, Yahoo and Bing Webmaster Tools accounts. Also you can make sure meta keywords tag are used in your blog contents using this section.
Titles and Description
You can use Title Settings section to set titles and meta description for your blog home page. Apart from this, you can use this section to customize or termplatize titles and meta descriptions at post, page, category, tag level, author archives, search pages and 404 page etc.
You can use Indexation section to make indexing related decisions. It’s all about making decisions like which type of contents from your blog you want to index in search engines and which type of contents you want to hide from them. Indexation section can be used to hide low priority content type like tag pages, author archives, date based archives, post formats archives etc. WordPress by SEO Yoast is a very powerful SEO plugin, so you should be very sure about which kind of contents you should block from indexing. Suppose by mistake you selected the Category Archive section, it will result in blocking of all pages available at category level from search engines index.
Robots Meta Settings
You can access meta robots settings at post and page level while creating or editing them. For a content type you can decide whether it should be indexed or not and then should be follow or nofollow. On some occasions, you must have noticed search engines are not showing your original titles. They are picking it from your listing on DMOZ.org or Yahoo type of open directory projects. You can prevent that thing happen by making changes in Robots Meta under Advanced tab.
At Post and Page Level
When we use WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin at post or page level, it helps us in making our blog contents more search engine friendly. Under General Tab of WordPress SEO by Yoast, you can take a look at how that particular post or page will show up in Google search results. You can set the focus keyword, seo title and meta description using the general tab. Page Analysis Tab will hint at what you have already done and what else need to be done to make your blog post more search engine friendly. Some of parameters taken into consideration at page analysis level are meta tag, heading tags, appearance of outbound links, content readability level, title character length, targeted keyword as part of alt text for an image, keyword appearance, keyword density and recommended word count etc.
You can use Social section to add Facebook Opengraph meta data to your blog head section. But you need to do some simple coding to use this feature efficiently. So you can ignore this section for now.
You can use XML Sitemaps section to create XML sitemaps for your blog. You will not need to think much about indexing of your latest blog posts as they will be automatically added into your XML Sitemap and will be pinged to Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com automatically. You can ignore certain type of content type that WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin should ignore while creating XML sitemaps for your blog like category pages and tag pages etc.
From this section, you can force a trailing slash at the category and tag URL level. You can remove the category word from category level URL’s from this section. You can redirect ugly URL’s to much clean permalinks and can do canonical level settings from this section.
You can enable breadcrumbs into your WordPress blog from Internal Link Section. You can decide the separator for breadcrumbs, anchor text for home page and prefix for breadcrumbs paths etc. through this section.
RSS Feed Optimization
You can use RSS section to add SEO optimized links for your blog home and internal pages at RSS feed level. You can append some HTML before and after each of your blog post entry into RSS feed. Availability of promotional links at RSS feed level will force dumb scrapers to link back to your blog. This will make your blog more SEO optimized and at the same time will identify you as the original source for that content.
Import and Export Facility
You can easily import data from other SEO plugins into WordPress SEO Yoast plugin. You can easily import data from HeadSpace2 and All in One SEO plugin. You can also import data from other plugins namely Robots Meta, RSS Footer and Yoast Breadcrumbs by Yoast. You can even export WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin settings and later can import the same settings into your new WordPress blog. This way you will not need to manually adjust settings for each WordPress blog. You can simply import the same set of settings from a WordPress blog where you are currently running Yoast SEO plugin.
Make Changes into .htaccess File
You can use the Edit Files section to make changes into .htaccess file. This is a very critical file located on your website root level. You should touch it only when you are sure about what and why you are doing certain things. If you end up making some errors into this file, may create big problems into your online blog.
Here is a step by step Video tutorial from Steve Wiideman about configuring WordPress SEO Yoast Plugin into your WordPress blog:
Say Goodbye to Some Plugins
Once you are finished with using all of the features that I discussed above about SEO Yoast Plugin, You can say goodbye to some plugins at least. Here is the list of some plugins you can deactivate from your WordPress plugin directory after installing Yoast SEO plugin:
- All in One SEO Pack
- SEO Friendly Titles
- Google XML Sitemaps or similar plugins
- RSS Footer plugin
- SEO Friendly Images Plugin
- Robots Meta Plugin
- Breadcrumbs navigation plugin
- HeadSpace2 SEO plugin
I’m saying all this because WordPress SEO by Yoast Plugin covers most of the features, you will get after installing above 8 SEO plugins. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
So how you want to go about, want to install the single plugin solving most of your SEO problems in one go or 8 different plugins solving small-small problems.
It would be interesting to know your experience with SEO by Yoast plugin. You can share your thoughts and concerns in this regard in the comments section.
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