Yoast SEO is my favourite SEO plugin for WordPress.
It analyses your posts and pages and provides suggestions for how you can optimise your content for search engines based on the keyword you have assigned it.
It also allows you to easily connect to the Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, and generate a sitemap that you can submit to search engines.
But did you know that Yoast SEO can be used to optimise your WordPress website for social media platforms?
You can use Yoast SEO to tell search engines which social media accounts are linked to your website, add the important meta data that is used my social media to present your content in an attractive way, “claim” your website on Pinterest, and so much more.
In this post, I am going to show you how you can use Yoast SEO to optimise your WordPress website for social media platforms.
How to install Yoast SEO
If you haven’t already installed the Yoast SEO plugin then you will need to do so. Start by hovering over Plugins in the left-hand menu of WordPress, and then click on Add New.
Once you are on the plugins page, use the search bar to search for “Yoast SEO”. This should bring up the Yoast SEO plugin which looks like this:
Click Install Now then when prompted click Activate.
And that’s it! Yoast SEO is now ready for you to use and you will now see a new item in the left-hand menu of WordPress called SEO.
If you are interesting in learning how to use Yoast SEO to help you to optimise the content of your posts and pages, make sure you check out this post.
How to link your social media profiles to your website
One of the first things you should do after installing Yoast SEO is to use it to link your social media profiles to your website. Doing this will inform search engines which social media profile are associated with your website.
To add your social media channels to Yoast, hover over SEO in the left-hand menu of WordPress and click on Social.
This will take you to the Yoast SEO Social settings page, and specifically to the Accounts tab, which looks a little something like this:
All you have to do is work down the list entering the URL of your social media profile (or in the case of Twitter, simply your username). If you don’t have an account on a particular social media platform, just leave this blank. Also, it is recommended that you only link to social media profiles that are active.
At the top of this page you will see some tabs; one for each of the social media platforms that you can optimise your website for using Yoast SEO. We’re going to talk about these in more detail…
How to optimise your website for Facebook
To access the Facebook settings in Yoast SEO, click on the Facebook tab at the top of the Yoast SEO Social settings page.
Add Open Graph meta data
The first setting you will see on the Facebook settings page is Add Open Graph meta data.
This feature is normally enabled by default, and I recommend leaving this enabled. This setting automatically adds important meta data to your website that social media platforms use to extract information about your posts and pages.
So, when you share a post on Facebook it normally pulls through the post title and one or more images from that particular post. For example:
It does this using Open Graph meta data.
Although this Open Graph meta data setting is on the Facebook settings page, it is actually used by other social media platforms including Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. So though I’ve told you this setting is enabled my default, make sure you go and check it definetly is because it’s so important!
Facebook App ID
The next setting is probably something you won’t need to use; Facebook App ID setting.
If you are developing a Facebook app for your website then you need to register with Facebook, and Facebook will provide you with an App ID which you can then enter into this field.
Now, depending on how your WordPress website is set up, you may or may not be able to see the Frontpage settings on the Facebook settings page.
If your homepage is set to show your latest blog posts then you will see these settings. However, if your homepage is set to be a static page (like on my website) then you will not see these settings.
If your homepage is set to show your latest blog posts then it usually doesn’t have the correct meta data required by Facebook to display information about that page. This means if you were to share your homepage on Facebook, it probably wouldn’t be able to pull through a title, a description or an image.
Therefore, you need to set this up manually using these frontpage settings. All you need to do is select an image to represent your homepage, choose a title and give it a description.
The final setting on the Facebook settings page is the default image URL. As I’ve previously mentioned, Facebook pulls in images from your posts when you share them on the platform. However, if there are no images within that particular post, Facebook isn’t going to be pull in any images.
This is why setting up a default image is a good idea. If there are no images in a post, Facebook will pull in the default image so that your social media post still looks presentable.
All you need to do is click Upload Image and either upload a new image or select an image from your media gallery.
How to optimise your website for Twitter
To access the Twitter settings in Yoast SEO, click on the Twitter tab at the top of the Yoast SEO Social settings page.
Add Twitter card meta data
The first setting on this page is the Add Twitter Card meta data setting.
Just like the Open Graph meta data setting on the Facebook settings page, this is enabled by default and I recommend you keep it enabled.
A Twitter Card is created when you shared a web page on Twitter. For example, a Twitter Card for my website looks a little something like this:
As you can see, it pulls in the post image, the title and the post summary/excerpt, and it displays it in this lovely format.
Enabling the Twitter card setting in Yoast SEO will ensure that the meta data required by Twitter to display these cards will be added to your website.
If you do disable this setting, Twitter will just use Open Graph meta data, if you have this setting enabled on the Facebook page.
Default Twitter card type
In the image above where I showed you an example of a Twitter Card from my website, you can see that there is a large image with the post title and summary. However, you can change the format of this if you wish.
If you don’t want to display an image from your post, simply click on the dropdown box and select Summary.
However, I do recommend that you share an image along with your post as images can really improve engagement on Twitter.
How to optimise your website for Pinterest
To access the Pinterest settings in Yoast SEO, click on the Pinterest tab at the top of the Yoast SEO Social settings page.
Claiming your website on Pinterest
The Pinterest settings page in Yoast provides an easy way to connect your website to Pinterest so that you can “claim” your website.
If you claim your website on Pinterest then any pins that are pinned from your website (by you or others) will display your profile picture to indicate that it’s your content. You will also get a tick next to your URL in your profile as well as access to analytics that are specific to content that is pinned from your website.
To claim your website on Pinterest, click on the confirm your site with Pinterest link.
If you are logged into Pinterest, clicking this link will take you to your settings page. If you aren’t logged in, you will need to do so in order to access your settings page.
On the settings page you should see a head that says Claim, and underneath this you will see the Claim your website field. Simply type in your website URL and click Claim.
This will open a pop up box that will ask you how you would like to claim your website. You can this two ways:
- By adding a HTML tag between the <head> tags on your website.
- By uploading a HTML file to your website’s root directory.
However, Yoast SEO provides another, easier way of claiming your website. Instead of copying the HTML tag that Pinterest generates for you and pasting it to your website’s code, you can paste it into the box on the Pinterest settings page in Yoast SEO. This means you don’t have to mess around with any code.
To do this, click on the Add HTML tag option to reveal your HTML tag. Copy all of this code and then return to your Pinterest settings page in Yoast SEO and paste it into the Pinterest confirmation field. Click Save changes when you’re done.
You should receive an email from Pinterest within 24 hours if you have been successful in claiming your website.
Meta data required for Rich Pins
Rich Pins are pins that give more context to the content of that pin. There are 4 types of Rich Pins on Pinterest; Product, Recipe, Article, App. You can find out more information here.
In order to be able to set up Rich Pins for your website content, your website needs to contain certain pieces of meta data. The meta data that is required for each type of Rich Pin varies.
The good news is when you install Yoast, the meta data required for the Article type of Rich Pins is automatically added to your website via the Add Open Graph meta data setting on the Facebook settings page. This is another reason why it’s important to keep the Open Graph meta data setting enabled!
How to optimise your website for Google+
To access the Google+ settings in Yoast SEO, click on the Google+ tab at the top of the Yoast SEO Social settings page.
Google Publisher Page
You may or may not be aware that Google+ will be closing down some time this year. So, you might want to skip this optimisation step as it might be a waste of time!
However, if you do have a business page on Google+ (so not a normal Google+ profile) you can connect it to Yoast SEO.
The only option you will see on this page is the option to add in your Google Publisher Page URL (i.e. the URL of your Google+ business page).
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