Yoast SEO (the free version) can be installed without paying the 89 bucks, but if I did it that way, I’d be giving it free rein to put ads on my blogs. I ponied up the bucks. And then nothing but hair-pulling drama. Here’s day one of this unresolved struggle.
My Personal Struggle With This Cr*p
Now, in my last unfortunate foray into attempting to go from blogging-as-hobby to blogging-as-business, I made the mistake of thinking that SEO was “common sense.” It is common sense, to a point. As competition for traffic has become way more heated than the Olden Days, and the number of services for optimizing SEO has gone out of sight, it makes the average small blogger (like me) a bit nervous. Are we missing out if we don’t pay big bucks for these special services? If “everyone” is doing thing X, is thing X a good idea? Or is this the Emperor’s Clothes problem, of “everyone” being too worried about not being hip enough, techy enough, savvy enough, to make these things X, Y, Z and on an on, work for us–the way we are told they will.
People in the blogging world these days are talking excitedly about services and products that allegedly give them huge boosts in readerships (and theoretically, opportunities to market goods and services). We usually find out later that they’re being paid to gush about these products. Let the buyer beware seems to be the order of the day. This is why I didn’t start out with the free Yoast–I didn’t want to advertise a product before I know whether it lives up to its hype. Very Old School of me but there it is.
Headache after Headache with Installation
Activating the free version of the plug-in was easy, but on the final screen, I learned that I’d given them permission to put ads on my blog. It installed with one click from the list of recommended plug-in on the Plug-in administration menu. Sigh. So, I went back and paid for the premium version. Then, after buying the paid version, I first had to go back and de-activate the free version. This involved firing up the “black” WP Administration console to find the plug in and de-activate it. Then, I had to download the Yoast SEO zip file, then upload it to the site. I won’t bore you with all the screen shots. It was tedious.
Next, I had to configure the plug-in.
Seems friendly enough. But it was very easy to get stuck.
I would get to hate this screen. As I went through help file after help file, I retried this over and over. You can see that Yoast misses no opportunity to get you to give up and upsell you to their configuration service. It should NOT be this hard.
This screen is okay. I have content. I’m ready to be indexed. So, onward.
Okay, so this seems to be . . .a bit detailed. They’re clearly getting their hooks out to grab as much detail about you for later up-selling. Oookaaay. They’re supposed to be helping to optimize search engines for business issues so. . . alright.
A bit more nosy, but there are plausible benefits to be obtained here by giving up some information. Hmm. The next screen seems okay but I left the settings where they were. I may change this when I start doing video walk-throughs, which is one of the things I plan to do, one day.
And the next screen is super-easy.
And THEN! There’s THIS!
I hit this screen six times before I went from slightly testy to rather angry. Connecting my blog to the Google Search Console should have been the very first instruction–as it is definitely not a simple issue. I have gone through the various steps six times without success. Here is the insider advice to spare you this drama.
Sign up for the Google Search Console FIRST
The Google Search Console is NOT the same as Google Analytics. It’s a separate webmaster tool. This is the first of the rabbit-holes that this configuration process sent me down. We’re looking for a code to add to the website verification process I’ll describe below. But first, we go to Google Search Console to add our blog for the verification process. We’ll be asked to Add a Property. We put in our blog’s URL.
Then we’ll be asked to verify which Google account it goes with. This is straightforward.
The next step is where it kind of went to hell for me. For a WordPress.com site, you cannot use the recommended method. WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to upload the HTML verification file. I can confirm this. WordPress.com would not allow me to upload the file.
According to the Yoast SEO help files, we have to use the Alternate Methods tab. YOAST SEO wants you to use the HTML tag.
Warning. Here is the second rabbit hole. We have to go back to our WordPress dashboard and put the code we’re about to get into the TRAFFIC menu.
We click the little bubble in the HTML tag method. And we get a code that looks something like this to go copy and paste back into the WordPress Dashboard.
We go back to the WP dashboard now. We click on settings to get to the TRAFFIC menu.
Then we scroll waaaay down the page to the Google site verification console. This is where we’ll put in that code–and we put in that code! And we save settings!
And back to that first rabbit hole! Or the second or where do we go now?
Oh, Hell. Verification Failed.
I went through several brand new rabbit holes trying to figure out where I went astray. There is My Yoast, a particular portion of the Internet limbo where they confuse the providing information with the opportunity to up-sell you information (wanna buy several expensive courses to understand the expensive thing you bought? Don’t go there. Waste of time.) Going back to WordPress.com and clicking on that link above — you will get pretty full instructions (similar to what you just walked through) that will help with verification (I used them. I’m not proud) but it did not help me with the failure problem.
So far, after three hours of help files and email support and all, nothing has worked. Is it a WordPress problem? A Google Search console problem? A Yoast SEO problem?
Tomorrow, I hope to resolve this drama. Stay tuned.
Getting in my bunny slippers and going to bed.
Good night! ~ Lola