Yoast is the most complete WordPress SEO plugin.
It is a must have for all bloggers, creatives, lady bosses and business owners who are serious about being known on the internet and getting established as an expert in their field.
Yoast is only available on WordPress, if your site is built on Squarespace, it is okay, check out this this post all about Squarespace and SEO.
Getting Started with Yoast.
In this post, I am going to focus on writing optimized posts and pages with the help of the Yoast Plugin. If you need help installing and setting up Yoast, check out this step-by-step tour by MOZ. I also found this detailed explanation that I found over at Mariah Magazine very thorough and helpful.
Once you have Yoast plugin installed it is time to focus on-page optimization — this is by far the handiest part of Yoast.
I feel like it must be stated that a plugin alone will not increase your findability on Google or any other search engine. Adding quality content to your website on a regular basis is the single best thing you can do for SEO. When Google sees that your website is active because you are blogging regularly, you are increasing the volume of helpful, quality, keyword-dense content on your site. And, further, if you are using a well-curated keyword strategy then this content will increase your findability immeasurably.
If you are doing all of these things regularly, you will be winning organic SEO.
The second best thing you can do for your SEO Strategy is to properly use Yoast for on-page optimization and this begins with finding the best Focus Keyword for what you are writing about.
What is a focus keyword?
A focus keyword is the word you want the page to rank for, it is a concise summary of what the page is about in one to two words. When people search for that keyword, you want for them to find your page. When deciding on the focus keyword for the page, be sure:
- Don’t use longtails here, use those in your content
- Don’t be overly general–like “marketing” large sites like Wikipedia and ones who have a gigantic adwords budget will end up on page one of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
- Use a keyword(s) that flow well together because you will need to use it throughout the site to get a green light in Yoast!
Once you have decided on a solid focus keyword, Yoast evaluates the page’s content and provides feedback on how to improve the page for that specific keyword with a series of red, yellow and green lights. Like traffic lights, green lights are the goal in Yoast. Get as many as you can to increase the findability of your page.
Now that you have the word, what do you do with it?
You want to place your focus keyword in specific locations including:
- Headlines specifically the H1
- Image Alt tags
- URL of the page often called the slug
- Page Content.
Once you have determined what the focus keyword is and have carefully crafted a post centered on the keyword and long tail keywords that were found in the research phase of your project it is time to focus on the meta description.
How to Write a Meta Description
The meta description is the blurb of content that appears on the search engine results page once someone searches for the focus keyword, think of it as ad copy. The point of it is to get a searcher to click. Make the description easy to read and a bit salesy. Use the keyword in the Meta Description because it will get bolded if someone has done a search it!
Pro Tip:Google cuts off the description if quote marks are used, so don’t use any non-alphanumeric characters! If quotation marks are important in your meta description, you can change them to single quotes rather than double quotes to prevent truncation.
Yoast will give you a green light when you have entered the proper number of characters for your meta description –
155– ( Now it is 300 as of April 2018!) and will give you props when you have entered the focus keyword.
For on-page SEO optimization Yoast is the best tool because it provides instant green light feedback so that your post can be found and you can be known.