Welcome back to our introductory guide on optimizing your WordPress SEO with the Yoast SEO plugin! In part 1 of our WordPress SEO with Yoast guide, we covered the basics of SEO, as well installed and configured the Yoast SEO plugin. That was definitely a good start, but in order to really improve your search rankings your going to want to spend some quality time updating your posts and pages to increase their search relevance for keywords that matter to you. It’s not hard though – read on to find out more!
SEO on Posts & Pages
Configuring your SEO on your posts and pages with Yoast provides an easy way to double check you are optimizing your content as much as possible. Below we’ll go through each part of optimizing content with Yoast in your page and post editors. The Yoast tool is the same on pages and posts, so you can use this guide for both.
Tip: If you don’t see the Yoast tool in your page / post editor, click Screen Options in the top right corner and check the Yoast SEO box.
Here you can see how your content will show up in a Google search result snippet. Click the Edit Snippet button to make adjustments to your URL and meta description. If you don’t edit the meta description, Google will pull the first few sentences from your content, but a custom snippet is usually always better. After making adjustments notice the change in the Analysis below, this will help guide you towards creating a powerful URL and meta description.
Keywords help Google recognize what your content is about so that if someone searches it, your post can show up in the search results – this is the whole point of SEO after all! Choosing effective keywords is one of the most important steps when working with SEO, and a topic worthy of its own post – you can get the low down on choosing effecting keywords in this article from The SITS Girls.
Select the keyword or phrase use in your post or page’s content. Again, watch the analysis change and make adjustments as necessary. Your keyword is important, you’ll want to use it in your permalink, title, and meta description.
The analysis helps you see your content score: red (needs improvement), orange (OK), or green (good). This section provides specific advice on how you can tweak your content to achieve a better score. One thing to keep in mind though, we agree with Yoast that content comes before SEO; create great content and adjust as needed but don’t sacrifice the quality by blatantly stuffing in key words. Not only does that look cheesy, it can actually have a negative impact on your search rankings.
The readability tab gives you a look into the SEO and readability of your page, using the Flesch Reading Ease test and will even highlight trouble sections so you know exactly what to fix. Although readability doesn’t explicitly factor in to search rankings, having more easily readable content can ensure that your visitors stick around longer instead of going somewhere else to find the content they are looking for. This is called your Bounce Rate, and is something that does directly affect your search rankings.
The social setting is one of our favorite features of this plugin! Have you ever wanted to customize the image and description that is used when sharing a post from your site on Facebook? Here you can set a custom title, image, and description to show on Facebook and Twitter! The settings you choose will also appear when anyone shares your post as well – very convenient.
The Advanced tab offers just that, some more advanced featured that are likely beyond what the average user will require. If you’re not sure what these setting entail, chances are good that you don’t need to worry about them and they can be safely left alone.
You can click the ? symbol at any time for more detailed documentation and information from the Yoast team.
Where should I start with the Yoast SEO plugin?
We know SEO can be overwhelming and seem like a drag, but after setting up your settings you’ll be off to a great start! Then you can start implementing good SEO techniques with new content you produce and use Yoast SEO as a tool to optimize your content. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Setup your general settings
- Update your pages’ SEO
- Update old posts’ SEO starting with the most popular
- Integrate SEO techniques when creating new content
- Read through Yoast’s resources to gain better, overall understanding of SEO
How do you optimize your website? Have you used Yoast before – what’s your experience? Leave a comment, we’d love to help uncover the SEO mystery.