How to Optimize Your Blog Using Yoast SEO Plugin

In this tutorial, we will discuss how to create Perfect SEO friendly blog posts using the Yoast Plugin in your WordPress site.

The way your business functions in the market has a lot to do with its online presence. Merely creating an attractive and functional website is not enough to build a strong web presence. Your website needs to be SEO friendly too.

We often notice beginners, installing SEO plugins in their WordPress sites. But how to use these plugins effectively, still continues to pose the question.

In this post, we will try to guide you How to create an awesome SEO Friendly Post in WordPress, that will improve the Google rankings for your blog posts.

Before we proceed, let's have a look at the particulars we will discuss in this post

Step by Step Guide for WordPress SEO

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is an activity of optimizing web pages or websites to get better results in Search Engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

By doing this you improve the visibility of your site or page, which consequently helps you draw more traffic. This will eventually help you grow your business and increase your sales.

There are two types of SEo. On-page SEO and Off-page SEO. In this post we will mainly look at the on-page SEO.

How to Ensure That Your Website is SEO Friendly?

Creating an SEO friendly website has become relatively easy these days. Thanks to the tons of SEO plugins available in the market. With these plugins, you can easily make your site visible in top search results.

At SourceWP, we use the Yoast Plugin to ensure our posts are well optimized. So in this article, we will write how to use this plugin for on-page optimization for effective results.

Read these articles as well

The Yoast Plugin

The Yoast Plugin is one of the most popular SEO plugins and has managed to dominate the WordPress community for long now. It has proved to be a great tool for all the WordPress site owner seeking to perform their own on-page SEO.

Yoast focuses on technical optimization, in other words, it focuses mainly on on-page SEO along with overall SEO of your site.

Creating catchy titles, using keywords, meta descriptions, interlinking between pages, adding optimized images and so on helps you optimize your site to a great extent. Although these are not the only factors but these works wonders for beginners.

Yoast helps you do all of these. It gives your content a structure and organizes it by filtering your content for indexing. The real magic in Yoast is it's Content Analysis section that appears at the bottom of the Yoast panel.

Yoast SEO Plugin

Yoast Content Analysis

The best part about the Yoast Plugin is the content analysis section. When you install Yoast, you need to follow certain guidelines that can help you get a better ranking in search engines.

Once you are done drafting your post, Yoast analyses your contents and checks if it is an SEO friendly post or not. You can check the results in the Content analysis section below your post in the dashboard.

This section helps you check the simple things that might skip off your mind. It will check SEO for your post and indicate the results against a red, orange or green light.

The red light depicts that you have not followed the desired rules and your post needs optimization. The orange light means, that although you have followed the parameters to a certain extent, there is a scope for improvement.

The Greenlight suggests that you have (almost) perfectly followed and executed the desired rules. It ensures that you have created an SEO friendly post which is ready for any search engine results. (please note that a green light may not always help you to get better ranking because the quality of your content is also a big factor apart from the way it is optimized.)

I think this is one part of Yoast that makes it the most preferred in the market. Let's see how you can make the best out of the Content Analysis section. In the following part of the article, we will tell you how to draft your post under each individual parameter to get a green signal from Yoast.

Yoast Plugin, Yoast Content Analysis, WP SEO

Focus Keywords

A Focus Keyword is the Keyword that people will be looking up for when searching for a particular post.

You must accept the fact that you are not the only one in the web community to write on the particular topic you have chosen. There are tons of writers who might have already written about it.

So in order to keep up with your already established competitors, you need to be smart when it comes to choosing your Focus Keyword. One smart way to deal with this is to use Long tail Keywords.

Long Tail Keywords are like phrases which can contain more than just one word. Since your audience is humans and not machines they have the tendency to type a complete phrase when searching for a particular topic. Using Long Tail Keywords increases the possibility of securing a position in search results.

This step by step guide by Neil Patel will help you to understand how to use the long tail keywords in detail.

Make sure the density of your keyword is good enough (should be around 2%). However, please make sure that you don't use the keyword unnecessarily just to increase the density because the natural flow of keyword is more important than the density otherwise search engines as we all your users will not like it.

Ideally, the Focus Word must appear in the Heading, the Meta Description, the URL and of course, the body of your post.

Once you have used your Focus Keyword, Yoast will analyze your content and tell you the number of times the keyword was found in the article. This will help you examine whether you have produced an SEO friendly post or not.

Post SEO Meta Description

Meta Descriptions play a major role in optimizing your content. It gives your readers a precise description about your post and helps them understand what it contains, by displaying the preview snippet.

It appears on social media sites like Facebook too when you share your post. Therefore, you must always make sure that it is helpful to your readers.

Though many SEO experts consider the Meta Description as irrelevant, we would highly recommend you not to ignore it. Because a good Meta Description explains a lot about your post.

But how will you know if your description is good enough to draw more traffic? For that, you need to ensure that your Focus Keywords finds a place in your Meta Description.

The word limit for your Meta Description is 155 characters. Stick to the limit and try using your keywords in the beginning of your description rather than later. This might enhance the ranking of your article in search results.

Ideally, Google tends to select the first few lines or the most relevant section of your article to display as your meta description if you leave this section blank. But Yoast suggests you fill it up with a catchy little description to help search engines reach your post.

Meta Description

Post Title

A good blog post must have a strong and an SEO friendly title. For that you need to ensure that your title is readable, contains the focus keywords and is within the 70 character limit.

Whether your readers will be interested in your article or not, depends entirely on your Title. So, do your best to make it catchy.

Your readers must be able to get a general idea about your post, just by looking at your title. It must contain your Focus Keyword so that it features on search results of your readers. And when they click on it, they must get exactly what they were looking for.

Yoast analyses your content and tells you if your Post Title is relevant and well optimized.

Consider Interlinking

Interlinking is a great way to develop context between old and new posts. By linking your new articles to the old ones you can send your readers to important posts that you have created earlier.

This is a great way to give a new life to your old posts. It is easier to increase rankings for posts that are active. But how do you interlink your articles?

All you need to do is to select the relevant word in the post that you want to link and click on the insert/edit link button on your WordPress editor toolbar. Now select the article that you want to link with and highlight the specific word there. Copy the URL of the old post and paste it in the box that pops up on clicking on the insert/edit link button.

On doing this your selected word will get highlighted. When you click on that particular word, you will automatically be redirected to your old posts. But you should know when to interlink your articles.

For example, if you scroll up to the top of this article, you will see that the words “SEO plugins” in the third paragraph appear in red color. This is called a hyperlink. When you click on it, you will be redirected to another article, which talks about some of the best WordPress SEO Plugins.

So if  our readers want to know about WordPress SEO plugins, they can go back to one of our old posts and get a detailed idea about it.

Always be careful when you interlink articles. Link only those articles which are relevant and interconnected.

Images and Alt tags

An SEO friendly post must definitely contain some good images. Images help people understand you message better. It also helps generate tons of traffic from image based search engines like Google Images.

But simply adding images does not help generate an SEO friendly post. You need to optimize your images as well. For that, you need to add powerful alt tags to your images. Alt tags are descriptions of images that are used by search engine spiders to understand the images.

For example, if you add the image of a girl dancing, you will easily recognize it. But this is not possible for search engines. They are not humans after all. So they use the alt tags to understand what is in the image.

Therefore never forget to add alt text to your images. It is a very helpful way to make the search engines access your website easily.

Yoast suggests you add at least one relevant image with alt tags in your post so that search engines are quickly able to grasp what your content is trying to say.

Optimize Image

Readability

How easily can one read your blog post? This is one question you need to consider while drafting your post.

People tend to come back to those posts that offer them an easy and interesting read. Whether your reader is a 13-year-old kid or a 50-year-old professor, they should both be able to understand what you have written.

To ensure you produce easily readable content, keep certain points in mind. Firstly, use easy language. You don't need to use difficult words to write a good blog. As already mentioned, a good blog is one that is easily understood by anyone who is reading it.

Secondly, write clear paragraphs with short sentences. Do not make the paragraphs too long. A sentence must not consist more than 20 words. A paragraph, on the other hand, must not exceed 4-5 sentences.

Thirdly, use signal words. An example of signal words are: thus, because, hence etc. If you are mentioning a figure, make sure you use the numerical character for that and not alphabetical characters.

Lastly, do not repeat a word too often. If you think reusing the word is unavoidable, you can try using synonyms.

Yoast checks the readability of your article in Flesch Reading ease test and rates you on how easily readable your article is. The more you score the better.

readability in yoast SEO

 

Now that you are done with your on-page SEO, you need to take care of few other things that will complete your optimization.

As we have already mentioned, following the above guidelines is not the sole way to create an SEO friendly post. But with Yoast in hand, you need not worry too much.

Yoast holds the capacity to handle the way the search engines indexes content. You can control this by going to the Advanced Tab on the left-hand side of your panel.

Controlling the Yoast Advanced Tab

The first tab is the ‘Meta Robot Index' tab. It allows you to take control of search engine indexing. Do not index posts that are not incomplete or are not very presentable.

If your site opts with E-Commerce, make sure you index popular products only. By doing this, you can focus on your less popular products and write a good description later if you are already too busy with the popular ones.

Next, comes the ‘Meta Robots Follow' option. In this option, you can notify search engines if you want to follow links. We would recommend you to set it to ‘follow‘ which is a major ranking factor. But if you have affiliate links or you are linking to inappropriate content then set the option to ‘no follow‘.

However, you must know that this option sets a ‘no follow' to all links including your internal links. Do not ‘no follow' your own links. Because by doing this you might unknowing make google unfollow some of your own links.

Third, comes the ‘Meta robot advanced'. This has several optionsThis section controls caching, archiving, image index etc. Set this to None.

The fourth option is the ‘Breadcrumbs Title'. Breadcrumbs show your current position on the blog. 

The last option is the ‘Canonical URL'  option. Yoast adds canonical URLs to most of your pages automatically. But you can change them for individual articles too. You can leave this option blank, so it defaults to the permalink.

Sometimes people tend to point the canonical to page 1. Never do that. Because in that case you open up the possibility for the search engine not to index the links in your other pages of your archive too. So your old articles run out of search results entirely.

You can also filter the canonical programmatically. For that use a wp_seocanonical filter. If you set ‘return false' on that your output will be no canonical.

canonical URL

Other Yoast Technical functions

Yoast performs other major technical functions too, that ensure the perfect optimization for your site. With the help of this plugin, you can integrate your site with social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

You also have the option to connect it to Pinterest, Youtube channel, and Google+. To keep a track of your sites statistics connect it to Google Search Console account and Google Analytics.

Final Word

Optimizing a website or a simple blog post is quite a vast and exhaustive process. Plugins like Yoast offers you a platform that ensures good optimization for your site. Anyone can install the plugin on their websites. But knowing how to use it effectively makes all the difference.

We hope this tutorial was helpful to you. Share it if you think it was beneficial. You can leave your comments below in case if you have any queries or suggestions.

How to Optimize Your Blog Using Yoast SEO Plugin
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