Yoast SEO: Search Appearance template variables

One of the most important functions of both Yoast SEO (free or premium) is the ability to automatically add title and description templates to the homepage, all (custom) post types, all (custom) taxonomies and other pages. We include default templates that are SEO friendly but you can modify the default templates to meet your specific needs by following the steps below.

If you want to know how to enter meta descriptions and titles on a page please refer to this guide.

In this article:

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Modify default templates

Yoast SEO automatically adds default templates to all content across your site. You can change your title & meta templates by going to the admin of your WordPress installation and clicking SEO → Search Appearance.

  1. Log in to your WordPress website.

    When you're logged in, you will be in your 'Dashboard'.

  2. Click on 'SEO'.

    On the left-hand side, you will see a menu. In that menu, click on 'SEO'.

  3. Click on 'Search Appearance'.

    The ‘SEO’ settings will expand providing you with additional options. Click on 'Search Appearance'.

  4. Under each tab, you can use these variables to create templates for various pages within your site.

You can use the variables from the partial list below to create your own templates for the titles and meta-descriptions. The full list of variables is listed on the HELP tab of the plugin. Just go to SEO → Search Appearance and click the help tab in the top right.

You'll find it here:

NOTE: Below you will find only a sampling of the available variables. Please check the Help Center in your Search Appearance section for the complete list available to your site.

Available Variable Types

Basic Variables

Label Variable Description
Date %%date%% Replaced with the date of the post/page
Title %%title%% Replaced with the title of the post/page
Parent title %%parent_title%% Replaced with the title of the parent page of the current page
Archive title %%archive_title%% Replaced with the normal title for an archive generated by WordPress
Site title %%sitename%% The site's name
Tagline %%sitedesc%% The site's tagline
Excerpt %%excerpt%% Replaced with the post/page excerpt (or auto-generated if it does not exist)
Excerpt only %%excerpt_only%% Replaced with the post/page excerpt (without auto-generation)
Tag %%tag%% Replaced with the current tag/tags
Category %%category%% Replaced with the post categories (comma separated)
Primary category %%primary_category%% Replaced with the primary category of the post/page
Category description %%category_description%% Replaced with the category description
Tag description %%tag_description%% Replaced with the tag description
Term description %%term_description%% Replaced with the term description
Term title %%term_title%% Replaced with the term name
Search phrase %%searchphrase%% Replaced with the current search phrase
Separator %%sep%% The separator defined in your theme's wp_title() tag.

Advanced Variables

The following sample of variables requires a better understanding of SEO. If you're unsure about how to correctly use this, don't. Or you can purchase an online training course at Yoast.

Label Variable Description
Post type (singular) %%pt_single%% Replaced with the content type single label
Post type (plural) %%pt_plural%% Replaced with the content type plural label
Modified %%modified%% Replaced with the post/page modified time
ID %%id%% Replaced with the post/page ID
Name %%name%% Replaced with the post/page author's 'nicename'
User description %%user_description%% Replaced with the post/page author's 'Biographical Info'
Page number %%page%% Replaced with the current page number with context (i.e. page 2 of 4)
Pagetotal %%pagetotal%% Replaced with the current page total
Pagenumber %%pagenumber%% Replaced with the current page number
Caption %%caption%% Attachment caption
Focus keyword %%focuskw%% Replaced with the posts focus keyphrase
Term404 %%term404%% Replaced with the slug which caused the 404
<custom-field-name> (custom field) %%cf_<custom-field-name>%% Replaced with a posts custom field value. Remove the <>
<custom-tax-name> (custom taxonomy) %%ct_<custom-tax-name>%% Replaced with a posts custom taxonomies, comma separated. Remove the <>
<custom-tax-name> description (custom taxonomy) %%ct_desc_<custom-tax-name>%% Replaced with a custom taxonomies description. Remove the <>

Custom Variables

The last three advanced variables can be used to output data from non-standard WordPress elements, such as WooCommerce products. But how do you find the name of the correct field or taxonomy to use these variables?

Custom Fields

Custom field names can be found using the steps here. Once you have the custom field name, you will replace <custom-field-name>. If my custom field was calledmyfield, the custom variable would be %%cf_myfield%%. If the custom field begins with an underscore, for example _anotherfield, the custom variable should include the underscore like so: %%cf__anotherfield%%.

Note: Custom fields that contain arrays (a list of related information) will not work with the custom field variable. Instead, you or your developer should create your own custom template variables.

Custom Taxonomies

Custom taxonomy names can be found in the browser bar on the backend when viewing or editing an item.

Example: edit-tags.php?taxonomy=mycategory&post_type=myposttype

In the example above, we are editing a custom taxonomy called mycategory under a custom post type called myposttype. If I wanted to output a list of categories assigned to a myposttype page, I would use %%ct_mycategory%%. If I wanted to output the description of an individual mycategory on the category archive page, I would use %%ct_desc_mycategory%% .

WooCommerce Variables

The following are some variables you may use with WooCommerce. If the specific variable you are looking for is not listed below, please use the custom variable information above to find the variable you need.

%%ct_product_cat%% Product category (comma separated)
%%ct_product_tag%% Product tag (comma separated)
%%ct_pa_<product-attribute-slug>%% Product attribute (comma separated). Be sure to remove the <> as they are not needed.

Yoast WooCommerce SEO Variables

If you have our Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin these additional filters are available.

%%wc_shortdesc%% Replaced with the short description of the product. (Available as of Yoast WooCommerce SEO 6.2)
%%wc_sku%% Replaced with the inventory stock-keeping unit (sku) of the product. (Available as of Yoast WooCommerce SEO 6.2)
%%wc_brand%% Replaced with the brand name. This variable only works with 'WooCommerce Brands' and 'Perfect WooCommerce Brands' plugins. (Available as of Yoast WooCommerce SEO 6.2)
%%wc_price%% Replaced with price of the product. (Available as of Yoast WooCommerce SEO 6.2)

Deprecated Variables

Starting in v7.7 of Yoast, we've deprecated these variables as we see no valid use-case for them. If they are used in the snippet editor, they won't appear in the snippet preview, but they will show up in your source code to maintain backward compatibility. We recommend not using them.

%%userid%% Replaced with the post/page author's userid
%%currenttime%% Replaced with the current time
%%currentdate%% Replaced with the current date
%%currentday%% Replaced with the current day
%%currentmonth%% Replaced with the current month
%%currentyear%% Replaced with the current year

Default Variables

If you want to reset the SEO Title template variables back to the defaults use the following below.  For meta descriptions the default is blank. You can enter these default titles in the SEO-Search Appearance section. This will then assign the defaults as the global template variable for that section.

%%title%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%%% Posts, Pages, Products, Media, and Custom Post Types
%%pt_plural%% Archive %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%%
Posts, Products, and other Custom Post Type Archive Pages
%%term_title%% Archives %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%% Taxonomies
You searched for %%searchphrase%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%% Special Pages: Search Page
Page Not Found %%sep%% %%sitename%% Special Pages: 404 Pages
%%name%%, Author at %%sitename%% %%page%% Author Archive Pages
%%date%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%% Date Archive Pages
The post %%POSTLINK%% appeared first on %%BLOGLINK%%. RSS Feed
%%sitename%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitedesc%% Homepage Template

Developer code

The following information is written for advanced users and developers.

There are a number of filters documented in the plugin code for developers to programmatically change the template variables. Here are some examples.

Adding your own template variables can be done using the wpseo_register_extra_replacements filter in your functions.php file. An example of how to use the filter can be viewed here.

If you do not want Yoast to show the these Yoast created titles you can use these filters here.

If you are not sure how to add or use filters, consider working with a Yoast Partner.

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