If you’re a developer, achieving good search engine optimization is possible in WordPress without a plugin, but most often a site is built and handed off to the client to manage, and they don’t have the skills or want to take the time to learn how to make changes when necessary. Yoast SEO offers an excellent plugin with an intuitive interface for fine tuning the SEO on your site.
To install the plugin, log into your WordPress site as an admin, and go to Plugins => Add New. Search for WordPress SEO by Joost de Valk. Once installed, many of the settings are fine out of the box, but to get the most out of the plugin, you’ll want to take the time to refine them. In your dashboard menu on the left, you’ll notice that you now have an “SEO” menu item near the bottom. This is where you’ll edit the plugin’s configuration.
I recommend going to the Bulk Title Editor and Bulk Description Editor first and crafting good titles and descriptions for your pages. Your meta descriptions should relate to the content on each page and your title tags should accurately describe the content on your pages. A nice feature of Yoast is the ability to use templates. So, for example, you might decide to use a template for all blog posts titles, creating them from the post title and adding your site name to the end.
It’s also important to use the XML Sitemap, but many people enable this feature without checking to make sure it’s working. It’s important to click the sitemap link and make sure you’re not getting an error page. If you do, follow the instructions here on WPBeginner to add some code to your htaccess file to correct this issue (you can add the code in the “Edit Files” section of the SEO plugin under the existing code). It’s important to note that you need to add the code, save the htaccess, then disable XML Sitemaps and save, and then re-enable it for the change to work.
This is an excellent video that will walk you though all of the settings. His recommendations are spot on.