This post will explain in detail about how to take care of your on-page SEO using Yoast SEO plugin.
Your website needs to be search engine optimized to get leads from your website in this competitive world. Your website needs to appear in the top 10 results (the higher the better) i.e. on first page of search engines for your targeted keyword.
Because 75% of users never scroll past the first page on Google search!
If you want search engines to know that you exist then you need to take your website’s SEO seriously. If you have a WordPress website, then you have nothing to worry about!
Luckily, the WordPress CMS supports SEO out of box and there are a lot of plugins that further help SEO experts to enhance on-pages SEO.
For this purpose we recommend you using Yoast SEO: The #1 WordPress SEO Plugin. Yoast SEO is the best way to take care of your WordPress website’s SEO on your own just like a pro.
That’s right, Yoast SEO Plugin is the most comprehensive SEO plugin out there. It helps you with a vast variety of functions such as
- Content Optimization
- Search engine visibility
- Google Search console
- XML Sitemaps
- Social media
Most importantly, it helps making your website SEO friendly.
Using Yoast SEO Plugin
Once Yoast SEO plugin has been installed on your WordPress website you will be able to see these green and orange circles / indicators on the right side of your pages and posts in your dashboard.
These columns here indicates SEO and readability score that Yoast SEO has given your post/page.
- Green dots represents a good score
- Orange dots represents that the score is ok but it can be improved.
- Red dot represents there are notable problems in the SEO.
- Grey means something is missing, because of which Yoast was was unable to give a score to that page/post.
These indicators can be very helpful if you plan on improving the on-site SEO of your website. This will help you identify which of the posts/ pages needs your immediate attention.
Yoast SEO Plugin On-Page Options
If you scroll to the end of every page/post you will find the Yoast SEO meta box, this is where you will regularly interact and use the plugin.
It helps you assess and optimize your content for search engines through
- Analyzing the readability of your content according to a search engine’s point of view
- Allowing you to optimize your content so that it appears appropriate on different social media platforms and search engines.
This area basically shows how well optimized your content really is and the best part is that it informs you about what you can do to improve it.
The first thing that you will see here is the Snippet Preview
A snippet is basically a preview of search engine result preview. A snippet preview shows you how your link will appear to others in search engine response page. This design can vary from search engine to search engine but basic data will remain the same.
Generally when search engines crawl your pages they automatically extract this information the content of your page. Yoast SEO plugin allows you to manually edit this information just by clicking on the Edit Snippet button. This is important as this is what appears in non-paid search engine results.
Further more, search engines rank web pages on the basis of this information. So, again its very important that you carefully edit this information. As this will have great impact on your SEO score.
SEO Title & Slug
The title that will appear in search engine results can be edited here. Its important that you should always include your targeted keyword in your SEO title.
You can come back and edit your SEO title whenever you want.
Next step is to edit your Slug.
Slug is the valid and human-readable link of a post that you can edit using Yoast.
It is very important that you carefully edit your slug. Editing the slug will consequently generate a new url of that post or page.
If you have already published the post then changing its slug will create a 404 error on the old link / slug resulting in a broken link. So if you are changing your slug after publishing the post you should consider adding 301 (Permanent Redirect) from older URL to new URL.
When you look something up in Google, and under the link, you will see a short text explaining what this page is about. This short description is meta description.
Yoast SEO plugin allows you to easily edit meta description of every page and post.
If you scroll down to the snippet preview, you will see this.
You can add concise and to the point information here which will tell viewers what this page or post is about.
If you don’t know what your meta description should be then you should take a look at other website’s meta description on search engine. From there you can easily decide what your meta description should be.
If you don’t manually add meta description then almost all search engines will automatically fill it up with crawled document.
Yoast SEO plugin also suggests how much text you should add to the description before it gets too long.
Features of a Good Meta Description:
- Short yet concise description
- Intriguing (promotes clicks)
- Includes your targeted keyword
- Not too long that it gets cut off
The color bar here represents how good your meta description is using different colors and length of the bar.
Readability Analysis with Yoast SEO Plugin
In the readability analysis area, Yoast SEO guides you to optimize your content for better human readability.
It points out the things that you can improve, as well as the things that you did right in the post.
In the above provided screen shot Yoast points out that the post is a little short on transition words. Yoast allows you to improve the article by clicking the eye button on the right side. Clicking on eye button will highlight sentences having transition words.
Keep in mind that these suggestions are not perfect. So you don’t need to stress over getting a perfect score.
One thing is for sure if you check and fix your content according to the readability analysis of Yoast SEO plugin you will soon become an SEO expert yourself!
Focused key Phrase
A focused keyword is the keyword on which you want to to be ranked on such as “WordPress Hosting”. In this example, we have two keywords combined to form a phrase. You website will be ranked on three different but linked keywords which are WordPress, Hosting, & WordPress Hosting.
This keyword is very significant because every option or feature provided by Yoast SEO plugin ensures that your content should be optimized for this phrase.
To add the right keyword / phrase, you essentially need to do your keyword research & analysis to see what words are attracting traffic and at what volume. You can use different tools for keyword analysis most noteworthy examples are Ubersuggest and Google search suggestions.
Just like the readability analysis, it will point out the thing that you are doing right as well as the things you can improve.
You must keep in mind that Yoast SEO plugin only helps you to optimize your content in a way that search engines like, rather than increasing the site rank on its own. Again to be very clear, It does not rank your wesbite search engines.
You can also set pages and posts as your cornerstone content.
What is Cornerstone content?
It is your best content, which can either be post or a page that you want to be ranked highest in search engines. Basically its a way of telling search engines about your highlight / featured content, this improve your chances of getting ranked on more competitive keywords.
You can feature any page or post that you are confident about, or you think its the best, by simply pushing this button from off to on.
By clicking on the Cornerstone Content option you can view all of your cornerstone content on your website.
Yoast SEO Plugin Social Share Tab:
From this tab Yoast SEO allows you to manually edit and control how you would like your content to appear in different social media platforms such as Facebook & twitter.
Although this information is generated by default but you can go and manually edit the following options just like you did for the search engines above.
- Featured image
After this whenever your URL is shared this information will automatically be generated,
Yoast SEO is an all in one plugin with features that help you understand as well as take care of your on-page SEO with every post and page.
Keep in mind that this plugin does not increase your site rank you on search engines but give you accurate feedback about your content from the user and search engine perspective.
Investing in the SEO of your WordPress website can really make a difference for your business and blog.
We had tried a bunch of different SEO plugins before we landed on Yoast and instantly fell in love with Yoast and now use it every day.
We are pretty satisfied with the free version and almost all of our clients now use Yoast on our recommendation.
Yoast SEO is a very powerful everyday use plugin in WordPress if you use it right.