Yoast SEO



WordPress out of the box is already technically quite a good platform for SEO. This was true when Joost wrote his original WordPress SEO article in 2008 (updated every few months) and it’s still true today, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve it further! This plugin is written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects. While this Yoast SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. Yoast SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.

Premium Support
The Yoast team does not always provide active support for the Yoast SEO plugin on the WordPress.org forums. One-on-one email support is available to people who bought the Premium Yoast SEO plugin only.
Note that the Premium SEO plugin has several extra features too, including the option to have multiple focus keywords and a redirect manager, so it might be well worth your investment!

You should also check out the Yoast Local SEO, Yoast News SEO and Yoast Video SEO extensions to Yoast SEO. These of course come with support too.

Bug Reports
Bug reports for Yoast SEO are welcomed on GitHub. Please note GitHub is not a support forum, and issues that aren’t properly qualified as bugs will be closed.

Write better content with Yoast SEO

Using the snippet preview, you can see a rendering of what your post or page will look like in the search results, whether your title is too long or too short, and whether your meta description makes sense in the context of a search result. This way the plugin will help you not only increase rankings but also increase the click through rate for organic search results.

Page Analysis

The Yoast SEO plugins Page Analysis functionality checks simple things you’re bound to forget. It checks, for instance, if you have images in your post and whether they have an alt tag containing the focus keyword for that post. It also checks whether your posts are long enough, whether you’ve written a meta description and if that meta description contains your focus keyword, if you’ve used any subheadings within your post, etc. etc.

The plugin also allows you to write meta titles and descriptions for all your category, tag and custom taxonomy archives, giving you the option to further optimize those pages.

Combined, this plugin makes sure that your content is the type of content search engines will love!

Technical WordPress Search Engine Optimization

While out of the box WordPress is pretty good for SEO, it needs some tweaks here and there. This Yoast SEO plugin guides you through some of the settings needed, for instance by reminding you to enable pretty permalinks. But it also goes beyond that, by automatically optimizing and inserting the meta tags and link elements that Google and other search engines like so much:

Meta & Link Elements

With the Yoast SEO plugin you can control which pages Google shows in its search results and which pages it doesn’t show. By default, it will tell search engines to index all of your pages, including category and tag archives, but to only show the first pages in the search results. It’s not very useful for a user to end up on the third page of your “personal” category, right?

WordPress itself only shows canonical link elements on single pages, but Yoast SEO makes it output canonical link elements everywhere. Google has recently announced they would also use rel="next" and rel="prev" link elements in the head section of your paginated archives. This plugin adds those automatically. See this post for more info.

XML Sitemaps

The Yoast SEO plugin has the most advanced XML Sitemaps functionality in any WordPress plugin. Once you check the box, it automatically creates XML sitemaps and notifies Google & Bing of the sitemaps’ existence. These XML sitemaps include the images in your posts & pages too, so that your images may be found better in the search engines too.

These XML Sitemaps will even work on large sites, because of how they’re created, using one index sitemap that links to sub-sitemaps for each 1,000 posts. They will also work with custom post types and custom taxonomies automatically, while giving you the option to remove those from the XML sitemap should you wish to.

Because of using XSL stylesheets for these XML Sitemaps, the XML sitemaps are easily readable for the human eye too, so you can spot things that shouldn’t be in there.

RSS Optimization

Are you being outranked by scrapers? Instead of cursing at them, use them to your advantage! By automatically adding a link to your RSS feed pointing back to the original article, you’re telling the search engine where they should be looking for the original. This way, the Yoast SEO plugin increases your own chance of ranking for your chosen keywords and gets rid of scrapers in one go!


If your theme is compatible, and themes based on for instance Genesis or by WooThemes often are, you can use the built-in Breadcrumbs functionality. This allows you to create an easy navigation that is great for both users and search engines, and will support the search engines in understanding the structure of your site.

Making your theme compatible isn’t hard either, check these instructions.

Edit your .htaccess and robots.txt file

Using the built-in file editor, you can edit your WordPress blog’s .htaccess and robots.txt file, giving you direct access to the two most powerful files, from an SEO perspective, in your WordPress install.

Social Integration

SEO and Social Media are heavily intertwined. That’s why this plugin also comes with a Facebook OpenGraph implementation and will soon also support Google+ sharing tags.

Multi-Site Compatible

The Yoast SEO plugin, unlike some others, is fully Multi-Site compatible. The XML Sitemaps work fine in all setups and you even have the option, in the Network settings, to copy the settings from one blog to another, or make blogs default to the settings for a specific blog.

Import & Export functionality

If you have multiple blogs, setting up plugins like this one on all of them might seem like a daunting task. Except that it’s not, because what you can do is simple: you set up the plugin once. You then export your settings and simply import them on all your other sites. It’s that simple!

Import functionality for other WordPress SEO plugins

If you’ve used All In One SEO Pack or HeadSpace2 before using this plugin, you might want to import all your old titles and descriptions. You can do that easily using the built-in import functionality. There’s also import functionality for some of the older Yoast plugins, like Robots Meta and RSS footer.

Should you have a need to import from another SEO plugin to Yoast SEO, or from a theme like Genesis or Thesis, you can use the SEO Data Transporter plugin, which will easily convert your SEO meta data from and to a whole set of plugins like Platinum SEO, SEO Ultimate, Greg’s High Performance SEO, and themes like Headway, Hybrid, WooFramework, Catalyst etc.

Read this migration guide if you still have questions about migrating from another SEO plugin to Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO Plugin in your Language!

Currently a huge translation project is underway, translating Yoast SEO in as much as 24 languages. So far, the translations for French and Dutch are complete, but we still need help on a lot of other languages, so if you’re good at translating, please join us at translate.yoast.com.

News SEO

Be sure to also check out the premium News SEO module if you need Google News Sitemaps. It tightly integrates with Yoast SEO to give you the combined power of News Sitemaps and full Search Engine Optimization.

Further Reading

For more info, check out the following articles:

From within WordPress

  1. Visit ‘Plugins > Add New’
  2. Search for ‘Yoast SEO’
  3. Activate Yoast SEO from your Plugins page.
  4. Go to “after activation” below.


  1. Upload the wordpress-seo folder to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the Yoast SEO plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  3. Go to “after activation” below.

After activation

  1. You should see (a notice to start) the Yoast SEO configuration wizard.
  2. Go through the configuration wizard and set up the plugin for your site.
  3. You’re done!



Release Date: October 10th, 2017

* Removes legacy license page and shows the new license page by default.
* Changes references from licenses to subscriptions and sites on the premium submenu page.
* Changes the appearance of the Help Center in line with our design approach.
* Introduces an explanation bar when the Cornerstone content filter is active.

* Fixes a bug where Hebrew slugs aren’t decoded on display in the bulk editor.
* Fixes a bug where the internal link count is not updated when there are no links to that page or post anymore.
* Fixes the Cornerstone content filter to behave consistently with existing WordPress filters.


Release Date: September 28th, 2017

  • Bugfixes

    • Fixes Snippet preview error when Yoast metabox has been removed.
  • Changes

    • Change Yoast Blog feed to new endpoint.


Release Date: September 26th, 2017

  • Enhancements

    • Updated the Dashboard Widget with a new design.
    • Added additional explanations to the Configuration wizard.
    • Added contentinfo landmark for assistive technologies to the Configuration wizard page.
    • Introduces wpseo_manager and wpseo_editor roles.
    • Introduces wpseo_manage_options capability to control which users have access to all SEO settings.
    • Introduces wpseo_edit_advanced_metadata capability to control which users have access to the advanced SEO settings.
  • Bugfixes

    • Fixed a bug where certain options (site_type, environment_type and has_multiple_authors) would be reset to their default value whenever one of the feature toggles were changed.
    • Ensured that has_multiple_authors gets validated.

= 5.4.2

Release Date: September 21st, 2017

  • Bugfixes
    • Replace unsupported query prepare placeholder %1$d with %d to fix broken queries. Fixes compatibility issue with WordPress 4.8.2.

= 5.4.1

Release Date: September 20th, 2017

  • Bugfixes
    • Replace unsupported query prepare placeholder %1$s with %d to fix broken queries. Fixes compatibility issue with WordPress 4.8.2.


Release Date: September 6th, 2017

  • Enhancements

    • Added a hook to disabled the twitter card. (Props: @petenelson)
  • Performance

    • Replaced the use of get_posts and get_children by WP_Query.
  • Bugfixes

    • Archive pages are excluded from the sitemap based on the noindex setting. (Props: @stodorovic)
    • Prevent the throwing of an error when wpseoPostScraperL10n is not defined.
    • Escapes all input when generating links for the RSS feed.
    • Apply the wp_get_attachment_url filter to Sitemap images.


Release Date: August 28th, 2017

  • Bugfixes
    • Fixes a bug where table listings were not giving expected content, props Kyle B. Johnson.


Release Date: August 23rd, 2017

  • Bugfixes
    • Fixes a bug where an invalid license notification could be shown in certain situations.


Release Date: August 22nd, 2017

  • Bugfixes
    • Fixes a bug where “mark as fixed” on the search console page didn’t work.
    • Fixes a bug where the configuration wizard JavaScript file was too large.


Release Date: August 22nd, 2017

  • Enhancements

    • Adds missing I18n function call to make a string translatable
    • Adds XML schema for image sitemap, props: stodorovic
    • Adds schema.org meta-data on every page, instead of only on the homepage
    • Adds the possibility to filter posts by readability score.
    • Exposes tinyMCEHelper as window.YoastSEO.wp._tinyMCEHelper in JavaScript
    • Exposes the ReplaceVar class in YoastReplaceVarPlugin as window.YoastReplaceVarPlugin.ReplaceVar in JavaScript
  • Bugfixes

    • Adds sanitization for the Twitter Image meta field
    • Fixes use of register_meta for usage in WordPress 4.6 and higher
    • Initialize the providers on hook after_theme_setup to make sure custom providers are added properly, props: stodorovic
    • Changes the label of the “Bad” score to “Needs improvement” while filtering on SEO or readability scores.


Release Date: August 8th, 2017

  • Enhancements

    • Added wpseo_pre_adjacent_rel_links filter to bypass built-in rel prev/next functionality.
    • Introduces classes to allow collecting data in the Premium plugin.
    • Renamed OnPage.org to Ryte.
    • Allow WordPress WHIP messages to be dismissed for a period of 4 weeks.
    • Adds a filter for word combinations that consist of a single one-character word.
    • Adds aria-current to the onboarding wizard active step.
  • Bugfixes

    • Removes JQMIGRATE JavaScript warnings.

Earlier versions

For the changelog of earlier versions, please refer to the separate changelog.txt file.