The Yoast SEO Plugin is the most valuable WordPress plugin I have found, to date. It analyses the effectiveness of you chosen keyword, and explains how you can improve the search performance.
In my early WordPress publishing days, I didn’t know about Yoast SEO. Not surprisingly, my search results were very poor. Subsequent analysis of, and improvement of, my WordPress posts yielded excellent results.
However, I still felt that I wasn’t getting the number of organic visitors my publishing efforts deserved.
Furthermore, my posts felt sterile. There was no reason that a visitor would want to stay and read my content. This required some drastic action.
So, I set about fixing the problem. This was not going to be a simple fix, or a quick fix.
Most of my posts scored quite well from the SEO perspective. But, very few of my posts had a “GOOD” rating for readability. At the time I was not fully aware that this was a serious ranking factor.
I AM now aware that this is a serious ranking factor. All of my posts would need a serious makeover.
It was time to move my publishing efforts to a new level. And Yoast SEO was going to help me do that.
Yoast SEO for WordPress
I must apologise that these screen shots are out of date. Yoast SEO releases frequent updates. This makes it almost impossible to publish a properly up to date reference post.
Furthermore, these frequent updates are essential to keep up with the changing search engine algorithms.
While the screen shots may be out of date, the core functionality of Yoast SEO remains, largely, unchanged.
Once I have completed the renovation of my blogs, I may have time to write a more detailed post about Yoast SEO.
Internet tools and, in particular, WordPress plugins are constantly changing. The Social plugin for WordPress is just one example of a plugin that had been deemed surplus to requirements.
The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more.
by: Joost de Valk
- Optimize your WordPress site with just one plugin
- The most complete SEO plugin for WordPress available today offers you everything you need to optimize your site.
- Content analysis functionality
- Write better content with the built-in content analysis and easily optimize your sites titles and descriptions with the snippet preview.
- Automatically generate XML Sitemaps
- And many more technical improvements to your site that you don’t even have to look at.
Yoast SEO plugin has received many commendations and, on this basis, I decided to install it on my WordPress site. Having used it for a few weeks and begun to see results from it; not to mention the need for suitable fodder for Web Site posts, I decided to review the plugin.
Like all WordPress plugins I have tried to date, Yoast WordPress SEO was simple to install and activate.
Configuring Yoast WordPress SEO is not difficult; I managed to complete it.
Yoast WordPress SEO has an individual entry on the side panel of your WordPress Dashboard. It shows up as ‘SEO’ and has the following sub-options:
- Titles & Metas
- XML Sitemaps
- Internal Links
- Import & Export
- Edit Files
Tracking, is an option to allow the authors of the plugin to track your usage of the plugin, including the interaction with your other installed plugins.
Security, allows you to enable authors to redirect posts, set noindex options and other advanced features.
Webmaster Tools, Allows you to supply verification meta values for search engines with which your site is not already verified
Titles & Metas
Force rewrite if Titles. A setting for more experienced users; I have left it alone.
NoIndex of subpages. If you have many comments splitting your pages into multiple pages you can opt not to index these subpages.
There are a number of other advanced options which you should never need and I haven’t, at this point, investigated further.
If you are an advanced user of Facebook, Twitter or Google+ then this section allows you to connect to your specific profiles.
Check the box to enable sitemaps. Essential if you want to have this plugin create sitemaps and notify the search engines about the updates.
It does not create a single sitemap. It creates a set of sitemaps for posts, pages, categories and tags.
Allows some fine tweaking of the way that WordPress presents intself to the Web.
This section pertains to the use of Breadcrumbs, which, for most blogs, will be inappropriate. Breadcrumbs are a navigational aid for Web Sites with a complex hierarchy.
Here you can manage how your WordPress installation uses and picks up links from RSS feeds
Import & Export
Used to aid the transition from or to another blogging platform.
An advanced feature for advanced users. Allows you to edit the .htaccess file.
The Yoast WordPress SEO screens you will be working with:
Within the Visual Editor of your Dashboard area, you will find the WordPress SEO by Yoast section. You will notice, that this is a tabbed dialog with four tabs: General, Page Analysis, Advanced and Social.
The General Tab is where you will do most of your onsite optimization. The snippet preview show how you post will appear in the search engine listing.
The Focus Keyword is the keyword or keyword phrase that the page analysis will use when determining the score shown in the next tab.
The SEO Title, is again, how the page title will appear in the search engines. This can be edited, although in most cases the default will suffice.
The Meta Description is, perhaps, the key feature of this plugin. You cannot, normally, edit this field, but it has considerable weight in the search engine ranking.
A summary of your page’s score, highlights areas that may need to be addressed to improve the onsite optimization of the post. In this example, you can see one red dot; a warning that no image alt tags contain the keyword phrase. I need to return to redress this. You should take the time to consider each of these items on every post.
This should be regarded as a pre-flight safety check to be taken before you launch your new post with the Publish button.
Yoast SEO Advanced Setting
Advanced settings for Yoast WordPress SEO. Probably, only required occasionally if you wish to prioritize a particular post, or exclude a post or page from the sitemap.
The Yoast WordPress Social Tab is where you can customize the description to be used when posting your Blog to Facebook and Google+. You may also specify and image to replace the on page image with the post. If you specify and image it will be selected from the WordPress Gallery or uploaded, as required.
I like this plugin. It forces you to plan and review your article. It serves as a timely reminder of all the steps you should always take prior to publishing a new Web Page.
So what are the secrets to using Yoast SEO?
There are no real “secrets” to getting good results from Yoast SEO. Just follow the guidance and understand the rules, and you will succeed.
- Familiarise yourself with the dashboard
- Learn to use the supplied help
- Understand the concepts of readability in your writing
- Lear how to choose a pertinent Keyword phrase
Much of this can be achieved from within the plugin. But keyword analysis is a job for another tool. The tool you shoose to use is a matter for your personal preference.