A Complete Guide to WordPress SEO by Yoast [Part II] - ManageWP

A Complete Guide to WordPress SEO by Yoast [Part II]

A Complete Guide to WordPress SEO by Yoast [Part II]

This is part II of a two-part guide. You can find the first post (which you should read before this) here.

Assuming that you have set up WordPress SEO by Yoast as per my recommendations in the first post of this two-part guide, you will now have a very well optimized site.

Redundant pages will have been ‘nofollowed’ or removed altogether, your meta titles across all posts, pages and taxonomies will be set, you will have created an XML sitemap, and more. In short, you are now putting your best foot forward when it comes to presenting your site appropriately to Google and other search engines.

However, we have not yet covered all of the functionality offered by SEO by Yoast. There are in fact a number of powerful features available to you on a per post/page basis, and we are going to take a look at those now.

Your Focus Keyword and Meta Data

You should find the SEO by Yoast meta box somewhere on your post/page screen. If not, hit the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the top right of your screen and select it from the available options:

WordPress SEO by Yoast

The features available to you are split into four separate tabs. Let’s start by taking a look at the ‘General’ tab, where you define your focus keyword and enter meta data. Here’s an example from a post on my blog:

WordPress SEO by Yoast

As you can see, there are four elements on this tab:

  1. Snippet Preview: a mockup of how your page will display on Google and other search engines (not always accurate).
  2. Focus Keyword: enter the primary keyword for your page/post here so that the plugin can provide information on how well optimized your content is.
  3. SEO Title: the title that will display in the search engine results. Can be different from the page/post’s actual title.
  4. Meta Description: the description that will usually be shown on Google and when published on social media networks like Facebook and Google+.

I would recommend that you take just a minute or two to fill in all of this information when creating a new post or page. It may seem like a chore, but it may make the difference between ranking on the first page or not.

As you can see from the above screenshot, on a basic level my post is well-optimized for the focus keyword, as it appears in all of the important places. But SEO by Yoast has more to offer in terms of optimization guidance.

Page Analysis

Once you have confirmed your focus keyword and saved your page/post, the Page Analysis tab will offer you a wealth of information relating to how well optimized your page or post is:

WordPress SEO by Yoast

As you can see, the analysis is pretty comprehensive. I would advise that you don’t get too carried away with the recommendations here — your focus should always be on writing for the reader first, and the search engines second. Having said that, this information is invaluable as general guidelines if nothing else.

Advanced Settings

The third tab is full of a bunch of options that you may never have cause to use, but can be extremely useful under certain circumstances:

WordPress SEO by Yoast

Let’s look at each in turn:

Social Settings

This last tab offers up just two very simple fields:

WordPress SEO by Yoast

Your options here are pretty self-explanatory — enter alternative descriptions for Facebook and Google+. For instance, by default the page/post’s meta description will be used to populate the relevant field on the social media network:

WordPress SEO by Yoast

If I were to enter a custom description in the Facebook field under the ‘Social’ tab in SEO by Yoast, the description highlighted in the screenshot above would change to suit.

That’s It!

That’s all there is to it folks — your site should now be well and truly optimized and you should have a good handle on how to optimize each individual page and post.

Do you have any additional tips for using SEO by Yoast, or do you have any onsite optimization tips in general? Let us know in the comments section!

Tom Ewer

Tom Ewer is the founder of WordCandy.co. He has been a huge fan of WordPress since he first laid eyes on it, and has been writing educational and informative content for WordPress users since 2011. When he's not working, you're likely to find him outdoors somewhere – as far away from a screen as possible!


  1. Mshost

    How to imput site priority tab in advanced? I want to add this …please hepl me!


  2. Tim

    Thanks for the information – still researching which plugins to use – the explanation of the social fields looks really useful

  3. Richard

    Thanks for Tom!
    Yoast is the best one to seoing my site.

  4. Ryan

    Neat plugin. Is there any way to define meta tags which are missing? (e.g. to add <meta property="og:image"…. ) or any other tag thats missing.

    1. Ryan

      oh found it, under the social tab you can define tags specifically for facebook and google+, e.g custom images and descriptions

  5. Sally@Toddlers on Tour


    I am wondering if I click “nofollow” is this for all links internal and external or just external.

    If it’s for all link could you recommend a plugin for external links to have a nofollow? Will this work for posts and pages already published?

    Thank you

    1. Tom Ewer

      It’s for all links as far as I’m aware. I don’t know of such a plugin but I’m sure it exists if you have a look on Google!

  6. Orlando

    I want to use the “Restricted to Adults” label for only one category on my site. Is there a way to add a meta tag for an individual category if using WordPress & Yoast SEO?

    This is their code

  7. Vlad

    Thank you for such a detailed manual.

    1. Tom Ewer

      Thanks Vlad! Glad it helped!

  8. Cris

    Please can anyone help…
    I’m using Yoast and can edit the focus keywords, meta etc on every page apart from my home page. when I edit the info on my home page and click update it reverts back to how it was?

    many thanks

    1. Tom Ewer

      Hi Cris,

      Sounds like it might be a bug — I’ve not come across this issue before. Can anyone else help?



  9. Janmejai

    Is there any way to set priority of category as it is available in single post and articles?

  10. Javed

    Nicely Written and described. I just stumble upon your website. You solved all of my queries. Thanks. My blog : http://www.technogyd.com

  11. james


    any idea how i can download all the focus keywords i have inputted into a csv so i can upload them into adwords?

  12. seo service

    This Guide to WordPress SEO by yoast is really helpful thanks for sharing this.

  13. Chander Sharma

    I installed SEO by Yoast plugin and facing issues with setting Breadcrumbs. Could you please guide in this?
    Thanks in advance

    1. YonipZone


      You need to add the code below:

      <?php if ( function_exists('yoast_breadcrumb') ) {
      } ?>

      in to your single.php (you must enable breadcrumbs too, or you will face error), you can add the code before your title tag.


  14. Peter


    after changing some settings such as Focus Keywords, SEO Title and Meta Description of every single page, my website can still be found on google but doesn´t work properly (navigation doesn´t open any page).

    Do you know what´s the reason? What about redirecting pages to former settings?

    Thanks, Peter

  15. Geoff

    Having read both your part 1 and this tutorial on the Yoast SEO plugin I have to say you explain things very clearly, especially as I’m a non-techie. I’ve just changed from the WordPress SEO plugin to this one so I have a lot to learn still. Thanks.

  16. Fani

    Does Goolge take a look at meta keywords

    1. Tom Ewer

      Not any more.

  17. Joachim

    Hi, thanks for the great article!
    I have a question regarding the meta tags. I run a customized theme, and when enabling the Yoast Plugin i got all meta tags doubled (the wp ones, and then the yoast tags after the line “This site is optimized with the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin” –
    Do I need to delete somehow the old meta tags on my page. Is there a way the plugin can do this or is it irrelevant in SEO terms?

    1. Tom Ewer

      Hi Joachim,

      If your custom theme is worth its salt there should be an option to turn off its SEO functionality. Are you sure there isn’t one?



  18. Amar Ilindra

    In advanced settings I’m unable to see that include in sitemap option?

    Can i know why?

    Is that removed in latest versions?


    1. Tom Ewer

      Hi Amar,

      It’s still there — have you activated the sitemap feature?



    2. Adrienne DeVita

      I am pretty frustrated right now. The Yoast update that happened a few days ago changed all my canonicals and the sitemap priority is now gone from the plugin completely. I had implemented it on all pages of my site, but it’s gone now. Do you know how to get it back? My WP developer has no idea and doesn’t support Yoast.

      1. Adrienne DeVita

        Please ignore my comment. I just found out my web developer disabled the Yoast sitemap feature, so it disappeared. I’ve re-enabled it and the sitemap priority option is now showing again. Whew!

  19. Juanfer

    Hi Tom,

    I have been sold on the idea of using the plugin SEO Ultimate, as it seems to be optimized for building sites following a SILO structure.

    Do you happen to know how does Yoast’s plugin compares to SEO Ultimate for this matter?
    (particularly, in regards to handling the internal linking for “sculpting” the PR flow…)

    On a related note: what is your view on SILOs for SEO? Do you think they make a real difference?


  20. Laura Kell

    This is a great article, thank you. Yoast is doing everything that we need it to, but one area is baffling me which you might be able to help with.

    When we search for our company ‘Point Topic’ in Google, the search result shows the home page with six sub-links beneath – can you help us to set the text and links for this really important search result in Yoast?

    1. Tom Ewer

      You can’t do that in Yoast because setting the text and links isn’t actually possible — Google choose them. The only thing you *can* do is request that certain pages *not* be linked to (you do this through Google Webmaster Tools).

  21. Achin Jain

    Currently i am using All in One Seo and thinking of switching to Yoast SEO and your posts with complete tutorial help me lot in taking the decision of switch over to Yoast SEO..
    thanks again..

  22. Elena Bernard

    Some keyword phrases do not look well as page titles (for example, basketball summer camps portland or). How would you recommend optimizing for such keyword with SEO by Yoast plugin? Should I choose only one keyword or a short phrase that I can include everywhere (page title, SEO title, meta) the same way? OR can I vary the long keyword phrase across all input areas? It looks like, the plugin wants me to put the same phrase in the same order everywhere.
    Please advise!

    1. Tom Ewer

      Just make it natural, e.g. “Basketball Summer Camps in Portland, OR”. Don’t take the keyword analysis tool too literally — as long as you are including the keyword and variations/synonyms of it on the page, you’re good.

  23. Mike

    Too many people focus too much on keyword density. Just the meta keywords and description do fine. It’s too bad people don’t know much about seo. This plugin is great as I use this myself for my sites, comes in handy but I don’t rely on it too much. Make the pages flow naturally is the way I do things. Thanks for the info

  24. Deano

    If I shift my blog to a hosted package, and install this plugin, will all of the existing internal/external links be converted for me?

    1. Tom Ewer

      Hi Deano,

      I’m not sure I understand your question properly because this plugin offers no kind of functionality.



      1. Deano

        The plugin allows changes to titles, and metas etc. With an existing blog this would create a lot of links that would/might need to be changed.
        Does the plugin take care of all of the redirection, or does that have to be done manually?

        1. Tom Ewer

          Hi Deano,

          Sorry — still not following you. Changing the SEO title or the meta data does not affect the permalink.



          1. Deano

            OK Tom
            I think that you’ve answered my question. I clearly did not understand how it worked.

  25. Manav Sehgal

    I love your plugin. The only reason I switched to All-in-one SEO is because I could not figure out how to disable SEO link on admin bar for registered users. If there is a clean way, I am a fan and a user in a jiffy.

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Add as many websites as you want for free, no credit card required. Sign up and start saving time!

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Add as many websites as you want for free, no credit card required. Sign up and start saving time!

Have questions? Get in touch!