The Yoast SEO plugin is one of the most popular WordPress plugins ever created; it currently has more than 5 million active installations. If you have a WordPress website and have yet to install a search engine optimization plugin, Yoast SEO is a great starting point. And if you’re unsure of how to do it, we’re here to help with this step-by-step guide on how to set up Yoast SEO on WordPress.
How to Install the Yoast SEO Plugin
You can do this from the plugin’s WordPress page, or from your website’s admin area. If you download it from the WordPress website, you’ll need to upload the plugin to your site.
Uploading the Yoast SEO Plugin to Your Website
First, click on the “Plugins” tab in the sidebar of the WordPress admin area. Then, click on “Add New” in the submenu. From there, you’ll want to click the “Upload Plugin” button in the upper left corner, as circled in the screenshot below. That will prompt you to upload the plugin file you just downloaded. It should be a .zip file with a name like “wordpress-seo.7.5.1.zip.”
Downloading Yoast SEO Directly From the Admin Area
The first couple steps for downloading the plugin directly from the admin area on your WordPress site are exactly the same as the steps required to upload it. Click on the “Plugins” tab in the sidebar in the admin area, then click either the “Add New” button in the top-left corner of the page or click the “Add New” link in the “Plugins” submenu.
Both will take you to a plugin search interface, where you can search for “Yoast SEO.” It will be the first result, as shown in the screenshot below. Click the “Install Now” button to add the plugin to your website.
Once It’s Installed, Activate the Plugin
If you upload the plugin to your WordPress site, you’ll be able to activate it as soon as it’s done installing – an “Activate Plugin” button will appear.
If you download it directly from the admin area, the “Install Now” button will change to an “Activate” button once the plugin is completely installed. Click that button to activate it.
How To Deactivate and Update Yoast SEO
If you ever want to deactivate the Yoast SEO plugin, you can do so from the main “Plugins” tab in the sidebar. All your installed plugins are listed under that tab. All you have to do is find the Yoast SEO plugin and click “deactivate.”
This is also where you’ll go to update the Yoast SEO plugin; WordPress notifies you when plugin updates are available. It looks like this:
Don’t Skip the Yoast Configuration Wizard
Now that you have the plugin installed, you’ll want to configure the plugin for your website. This is the last thing you need to do to complete the setup process.
To open the configuration wizard, click on the Yoast SEO tab on the sidebar in the admin area. On that page, you should see a box with the heading, “First-time SEO configuration.” Click on the link underneath to open the wizard.
The configuration wizard will ask you for basic information about your website so it can properly optimize pages for search engines. During the configuration process, you’ll also have the chance to enter information for your social profiles, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.
To see the some of the steps of the configuration process in detail, check out the screenshots below:
How to Change Settings in the Yoast SEO Plugin
Once you’ve set up the Yoast SEO plugin you may want to adjust the settings. Although you can access the settings from where it’s listed in the “Plugins” tab, now that the plugin is installed and activated, the Yoast SEO icon will permanently be on the sidebar in the admin area.
From the sidebar, you can easily access “General” settings, and other, more advanced settings, such as search appearance and Google Search Console settings.
Yoast SEO Premium and Extensions
You also can upgrade to a Yoast SEO Premium account from the submenu, or add one of several Yoast SEO Extensions, including Video SEO, News SEO, Local SEO and Local SEO for WooCommerce.
There are several other WordPress SEO plugins available, including SEO Framework, which may be a better fit if you have some SEO experience.
And if you’ve been using an SEO plugin, but feel you’ve done all you can do to improve your site’s SEO, be sure to check out the SEO services we offer.