We love WordPress at Flicker Leap (https://flickerleap.com/flicker-leap-loves-wordpress-cms/). It’s the CMS we most frequently choose when building websites. Another thing we choose to use with WordPress is the Yoast (https://yoast.com/) SEO plugin. SEO (search engine optimisation) is dynamic and complex, and no less so in the WordPress environment. The advantage of using Yoast with WordPress is that it makes things a little easier for everyone. Let’s take a look at some other reasons why we choose Yoast and the basics of using Yoast with WordPress for your day-to-day SEO.
Why we choose Yoast with WordPress
Yoast’s mission is “SEO for everyone”, so they do whatever they can to “give everyone the opportunity to rank in the search engines.” Many, many people have taken that opportunity! In fact, it has had 5 million active installations (October, 2018) and has been downloaded more than 189 million times (Wikipedia [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoast_SEO]). That’s a lot of people using Yoast with WordPress! So you may say that we’re just following the crowd, but the crowd are obviously onto something here, right? The crowd certainly seems to roar when it comes to Yoast SEO. As of October 2019, Yoast SEO has 25 484 five-star ratings.
What’s great about the Yoast SEO plugin is that it’s constantly being updated – something that is necessary to keep up with ever-changing SEO targets and requirements. It also arguably has one of the best user interfaces, which makes it super user-friendly for everyone. After all, why complicate SEO even more? Yoast claims that there is no need for any of their users to be SEO experts.
The Yoast website also offers many ways for users to brush up on their SEO knowledge in an effort to help everyone succeed at SEO. There’s a blog (it would be crazy if there wasn’t one) jampacked with helpful articles and they offer SEO courses for different user levels. So it’s pretty clear that the Yoast team go out of their way to make sure you achieve all of your SEO goals. Whether you opt to use the free version or invest in the premium version, which has a truckload of phenomenal features, we are convinced that the Yoast SEO plugin beats the rest.
Here are some other specific reasons why we choose Yoast with WordPress:
- The plugin is updated at least every two weeks which, as mentioned already, is super important because if you want your website to do well you need to keep up to date with all the frequent SEO changes. It’s good to know that Yoast is not a stagnant product.
- Yoast detects and warns you if it picks up on duplicate content on any of your pages, which can negatively impact on your SEO ratings.
- The Yoast platform allows you to check what the Google search engine result will look like for the specific page you are working on, so you can make relevant changes to the page title and meta description and immediately observe the impact of these changes.
- If you ever get stuck, Yoast has made it super simple to find the answer you are looking for by providing more than adequate resources and support (24/7 for premium users). There is also a huge community of Yoast users, so if you ever run into a hurdle it’s highly likely someone has faced it before and can guide you over it.
- Yoast allows you to analyse the performance of the keywords you have chosen on each website page as well as its readability, which means that you can make sure your website content is working optimally.
Now that we know for sure that this SEO plugin rocks, let’s take a look at some of the basics of using Yoast with WordPress for your day-to-say SEO.
1. Check your settings
Once the Yoast plugin is installed you should head straight to the dashboard to check on your SEO configuration. Yoast has a great configuration wizard tool, which will guide you through the process of setting up the plugin to suit your specific website. It’s important to keep checking up on your settings to ensure everything is up to date and running optimally.
2. Analyse readability
The Yoast metabox is where all the action happens. It helps you optimise your content for improved search engine performance as you are producing it in the backend. The metabox has a few tabs, but the most important tab (we think) is the one in which you would put your focus keyphrase – the word or combination of words that you want to rank for. Another important tab is the one with the readability analysis, which guides you along in creating the best content for your website’s readers.
Indeed, the creation of great content is pivotal when it comes to SEO. Yoast’s readability analysis will help you with a number of aspects:
- The Flesch Reading Ease score tests for understanding. The aim is to make your content easily readable and understandable, but this obviously depends on your reader and the purpose of your content.
- Yoast encourages the use of active voice in content so the passive voice test will look at this and highlight excessive use of passive voice.
- The consecutive sentences test encourages you to mix things up a bit with your sentences, which means eliminating consecutive sentences that start in the same manner because that is boring.
- Have you made use of headings and subheadings? Yoast reckons usings headings and subheadings makes your content easier to read as people can scan it to find what is relevant to them.
- The paragraph and sentence length tests highlight long paragraphs and sentences, and it encourages you to break things up a bit so that your content is digestible in bite-sized chunks.
- Yoast wants you to use transition words effectively because it improves the flow of the content, thereby contributing to better readability.
3. Preview the snippet
Yoast provides a very handy snippet preview, which shows you how your page will look on the SERPs (search engine results pages) of Google and other search engines. You can write your own meta description here, which should clearly communicate what your page is about and entice people to click on it.
4. Zone in on SEO
Finally, let’s chat about the Yoast SEO analysis tab and some of the checks on it, which are all aimed at getting your website and its pages ranked higher on SERPs. Essentially, if you can answer yes to these questions then you’re winning!
- Is the keyphrase in a subheading?
- Does the keyphrase appear often, but not too often, throughout the text?
- Have you used the keyphrase in your image’s ALT text?
- Is the SEO title of your page short and to the point?
- Have you used reputable outbound links (links to other websites)?
- Have you used sensible inbound links?
- Does the keyphrase appear in the introduction of your text?
- Is the keyphrase made up of four or less relevant keywords?
- Does the keyphrase appear in the meta description?
- Is the meta description between 120 to 156 characters?
- Have you made sure that you have not used this particular keyphrase before?
- Do you have at least 300 words on the keyphrase topic?
- Does the keyphrase appear in the title?
- Does the keyphrase appear in the slug?
Saying yes to these questions will mean more green bullets, which is what we want. All green doesn’t automatically spell success, but every little bit helps.
Well there you have it – some of the basics of using Yoast with WordPress for your day-to-day SEO. Easy right? We hope you’re feeling confident to give things a go. Please give us a shout if we can assist in any way with your SEO efforts.