It’s true that Yoast SEO is a brilliant tool for optimising your site, and its pages for Google, Yandex and Bing with very little effort, however that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require any effort at all. If you are new to the Yoast SEO plugin, let us guide you on how to best optimise your website with some beginner’s tips covering the important features you should know about.
After you’ve installed the Yoast SEO plugin (or the Yoast SEO extension), navigate towards the SEO > Dashboard: and you will find the Yoast SEO configuration wizard, which is where we will start, so go ahead and click on the General > Configuration Wizard.
Yoast will guide you through every step of the process, and they use very easy to grasp colour codes so you will immediately see if there are any problems, and it will even guide you through addressing those problems. For example, if you are going well, you’ll see the green light, if you could do better you’ll get the yellow and if you really need to stop and take a second look, you’ll see the red stoplight.
There are 12 steps the configuration wizard will guide you through to configure the Yoast SEO plugin to your site. Every step will determine particular settings, and the videos included will detail even more options.
Yoast’s SEO knowledge has ensured the configuration wizard will configure most of the plugin’s basic settings for you, leaving you to focus on your content. There are a few things to be aware of as you start to write a post or page.
How to optimise your on-page content for the Yoast plugin
Let’s begin with Yoast’s content analysis controls. If you are using WordPress, you will see these controls right below the text area in the Yoast meta box as you begin to write your content. This little Yoast SEO box will come in handy, so take a note of the tabs:
- The first tab is where you can input the focus keyword, the keyword you’d like to optimise your page for. This tab also includes ‘SEO analysis’.
- The second tab is ‘Readability’. Yoast deliver a useful readability analysis that will assist you in ensuring your content is easy to read.
Yoast will analyse your content, and there are a few things you should keep in mind about the way in which Yoast will work for you:
You should optimise each of your pages with their own unique keyword, otherwise your pages will be competing against each other! You will see a warning from Yoast if you double-up. If you have opted to go with Yoast SEO Premium, you should note it allows you to optimise for keyword synonyms. There are many keyword research tools you can access if you decide you want to take advantage of them.
Be sure to repeat your focus keyword within your URL. Google likes it and it helps to solidify what your page is all about. Your focus keyword should also feature in your meta description. People searching Google will see this appear in search results, and the most pertinent meta description will likely get the click.
If you are able to use your focus keyword at the start of your page title it is most effective, and it will jump out immediately when your page is shared. Add the focus keyword to your content early on, to help make it clear what your page is about. Keep in mind a shorter page title will let you add a trigger for a visitor from Google to click to your website.
You will need to write more than 300 words on your subject if you want your page to rank in searches using a certain keyword. Content of 300 words or less is likely to be considered by Google as ‘thin content’.
When your site links to other websites it opens up the web. Google look for links to other websites to work out which websites relate to one another on certain subjects. We also recommend you include a link to at least one other page on your site that is relevant to your content. This helps visitors navigate around your site and it provides them with further related information.
When you add images relevant to your content, use the focus keyword in the ALT text to help Google connect your image to the keyword.
Yoast is based in the Netherlands, which is relevant to their readability analysis as, in the Netherlands, it is a requirement that all government website text needs to be classified at such a level that it is deemed every person (no matter age, background or education) can read, and comprehend, the content.
Yoast’s readability analysis evaluates your content looking at a myriad of factors. Yoast analyse:
Headings and sub-headings: correct usage online allows people to scan your content faster. Heading group topics and sub-topics, making it easier for readers to find the information they need.
Page flow: Yoast look at how your transition words, such as ‘because’, ‘therefore’, ‘however’ and ‘in addition’ and gauge the flow of your page.
Readability: Yoast provide you with a guideline, using the Flesch Reading Ease test, which will indicate how easy to understand your page’s content is. You know who your audience is, so you can choose how much attention you pay to their input.
Sentence and paragraph length: online content is easier to absorb if the sentences are about 20 words in length. Smaller paragraphs are also easier to digest.
The above tips will help you to make the most out of the Yoast plugin. We highly recommend Yoast to our clients and have found it to be an extremely useful and powerful SEO tool.
If you want learn more about how to optimise your website to grow your business, contact us.