The current recommended way to set up "Top Posts" for your sidebar is:
- Open up Google Webmaster Tools and view pages, sort by pageviews descending over the last 30 days
- Create a "Featured" category on your website, using Yoast to noindex it
- Assign the top pages from Google Webmaster Tools to the "Featured" category, making sure not to assign it as the parent category
- Use the theme's "Featured Posts" widget to display the "Featured" category
- one-half display
- display 6-8 posts
- display image before title
- display title
- do not display content/excerpt
- do not display "see more"
Why not featured post widgets?
There are no plugins out there that we're aware of, that tie directly into Google Webmaster Tools to fetch the top pages.
This means that the plugins have to insert code on each to track pageviews.
Then they need to run database queries and calculations on each page load to get their "auto" top posts, which slows down server response times.
Doing the steps outlined above to manually curate a "Top Posts" category takes just 5 minutes per month, is more accurate, and is more pagespeed friendly.