How to Use WordPress SEO by Yoast
You’ve created a stellar blog post, and of course you want to make sure it gets discovered in search results. What’s the next step? Use WordPress SEO by Yoast to get a complete SEO and readability analysis for your content before you hit ‘publish’.
Once this handy plugin is installed, you’ll see the WordPress SEO by Yoast box directly underneath your blog post content. This is where you will find great tips for the crucial ingredient to your blog’s success: search engine optimization.
It doesn’t take long to run through Yoast’s SEO recommendations, and by doing so, you significantly increase your chances of being discovered on Google’s coveted first page.
Yoast SEO Tips
This is where you can see how Google would display your content, exactly as people will see it in search results. Here, you can edit the title and description of your content to include your topical keywords, and to make them extra enticing.
Enter your chosen search query (short- or long-tail), and WordPress SEO will indicate how well your content is optimized for that term. Your chosen keyword should be relevant to your content, and targeted to capture the audience best suited for your business. The Focus Keyword box will provide suggestions for improvement, such as adding more uses of that term.
This is the prominent title that will show up on the Google search results page. It doesn’t have to be the same title that appears in your website’s blog; your business might have a fun, conversational tone in its content, with quirky post titles.
Unlike your brand voice, the SEO title is specifically designed to help your content rank in searches for similar terms. Yoast will recommend that you place the focus keyword at the beginning of the title if possible, and will also warn you if it’s too long and would get cut off in search results.
This is what shows up underneath the title on the Google search page. It’s your opportunity to further capture the searcher’s attention, and convince them that your content will satisfy their query. Make it catchy, so it earns those clicks!
Want our best optimization tips? Check out 13 Tips to Improve Your Copywriting for Better Search Rankings.
Page Analysis tab
The content analysis is enabled in Yoast general settings > features.
By clicking to expand this box within your blog post, you will be provided with a list of best practices:
- Green is good!
- Orange denotes warnings and recommendations, which are nice-to-haves but shouldn’t directly hurt your SEO
- Red indicates fixes you shouldn’t ignore
These guidelines are a great way to improve your own SEO skills, as you get used to copywriting practices that get the highest score — and the common issues that result in warnings.
If the SEO check indicates a green light and your post is good, you’re ready to publish. A good SEO score doesn’t guarantee you’ll end up on page one, but it definitely ensures that you’ve covered your bases and aren’t missing something crucial that would hurt your SEO.
Examples of Page Analysis tips:
- Make sure the URL is not too long
- Link to other sites
- Link to your own content
- Shorter titles are better than longer titles
- Add your keywords to the alt tags for your images
- Use plain english for easier reading — shorter sentences are recommended
- Page title should have keyword placed near the beginning
- Include keyword in first paragraph of post
- Include keyword in headings and subheadings
- Create posts longer than 300 words
Social Tab: This section is for customizing your posts for social media sharing. You can add social-friendly images, titles and descriptions to your blog post. This is what will modify how it appears in Facebook and Twitter, compared to in search results.
More SEO tips
- Regularly add fresh content to your site. Not only does it support your credibility and thought leadership, but it also improves your freshness score with Google — and gives you more opportunities to re-rank, hopefully higher!
- Don’t over-optimize your keywords for blog posts (aka keyword stuffing). Make sure you’ve done your keyword research, chosen optimal terms, and use them naturally in the copy.
- Acquire backlinks from diverse, trusted websites to your content. Look for opportunities to have links to your posts or pages added into content or listings on high-authority websites.
At Forge and Smith, SEO is a part of every step in our process, and we include the Yoast SEO plugin on all of our web design projects. Regularly using it to analyze your content will help you become better at SEO in general.