If you run your website on WordPress and are serious about search engine optimization, then you absolutely need to use an SEO plugin for your site.

If you’re not familiar with how WordPress plugins work, they’re basically small programs – or combinations of programs – that run on top of your WordPress installation and enhance the functionality of your website in some way. There are thousands of plugins, both free and paid, that add extra features to your website.

Generally speaking, the SEO plugin of choice is the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. Remarkably, it’s a free plugin and offers a ton of bells and whistles to help you more easily optimize your website around your target keywords.

how to configure yoast wordpress seo plugin

With bells and whistles come a number of configuration options. I remember when I first started using Yoast how overwhelmed I was with all the different choices I had to make. There I was, setting up a website with my 15 target keywords. I wanted to optimize my current pages around those terms and wanted to ensure that moving forward, each new blog post or static page would be optimized as well.

Yoast makes it easy, but it can take a while to wrap your head around how to best set it up. Fortunately, because it’s one of the most popular SEO plugins, there are a number of in-depth tutorials and setup guides available.

Rather than take you through my own here, I wanted to list out my two favorite resources below.

  • The Definitive Guide to Higher Rankings for WordPress Sites (read time: 30-45 minutes) – straight from the Yoast blog, this is a long read but one of my favorites! It covers the basics of search engine optimization, specifically for WordPress sites. I’d strongly suggest starting here before even installing the plugin.
  • The Beginner’s Guide to WordPress SEO by Yoast (read time: 30 minutes) – part one of a two-part series on the Yoast plugin, this is one of the clearest guides I’ve seen. It walks through the plugin, step-by-step, with images and explanations as to each section of the plugin.