Having a hard time ranking on the front page of search engine result pages? It’s a difficult task. It takes time and resources. Still, only 0.63% of Google users click on a result from the second page. That means you have to do everything you can to reach the first page of search results. So, you need to optimize your website for search engines. That’s something Yoast SEO can help you with!
So what does Yoast SEO do? How can you use Yoast SEO to its fullest? Read on to find answers to these questions and more:
Table of contents
What is the Yoast SEO plugin?
Yoast SEO is a comprehensive WordPress SEO tool. It helps you to optimize your WordPress website and webpages to rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs). The plugin offers a range of features you can use to leverage meta descriptions, title tags, and keywords and push your content to the front page. It can also help you to get rich results on Google – results featuring images, star ratings, products and more.
Benefits of Yoast SEO for website owners
While optimizing your content for search engines — search engine optimization (SEO) — there are lots of things you need to get right. You need to handle both on-page SEO and technical SEO. That includes keyword optimization, readability, indexing, sitemaps, and more.
While doing these things by yourself isn’t impossible, it is time-consuming and difficult. That’s why even SEO experts love SEO tools like Yoast.
How does Yoast improve your SEO?
Yoast SEO simplifies content optimization for search engines by:
+ Providing SEO analysis, so you know where to improve your website’s SEO
+ Helping you set a keyword and optimize your content for it
+ Monitoring the content’s age — so you can update it when required
+ Showing previews of how your content will look in the search results
+ Preparing your content for sharing on social media
+ Performing a readability assessment so you can optimize your writing for the target audience
+ Handling technical SEO — robots.txt, XML sitemaps, .htaccess files, and schema structured data
Besides these SEO and site management tools, you also get access to a number of free courses in Yoast SEO academy. By following these courses, you’ll learn about the best ways to optimize your site for search engines.
Downloading and installing Yoast SEO
Here is a quick guide to installing Yoast SEO on your website if you’re just getting started. If you prefer, you can follow the steps in the video instead.
1. Log in to your WordPress site and open your WordPress dashboard.
2. Click Plugins on the menu on the left.
3. Near the top of your screen, click Add New.
4. Type and search Yoast SEO in the search box.
5. Click Install Now to install the plugin.
6. Click Activate to activate the plugin on your website.
You have successfully installed and activated Yoast SEO on your website. It’s time to use Yoast SEO and optimize your website.
Note: For kickstarting your technical SEO, it is recommended that you follow the first-time configuration after installation.
Using Yoast SEO on your WordPress website
The Yoast SEO plugin is an excellent resource if you wish to optimize your content. Still, the results depend on how you use it. Let’s learn how to use the basics of Yoast SEO effectively.
1. Enter a Focus keyphrase
To reach the front page for relevant searches, you need to optimize for relevant keywords.
Suppose you manage a blog related to Italian cuisine. You would want it to show up in search results when someone searches for something related to lasagna, Italian Pizza, Risotto, and other Italian foods.
You can use Yoast SEO to make it easy for you.
In the Yoast SEO meta box, enter the desired focus phrase under Focus keyphrase.
As a result, you will see Yoast’s SEO analysis for the focus keyphrase beneath it. It will let you know what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.
For example, if your focus keyword is Risotto ingredients, it will tell you whether you need internal links and keyphrases in headings and introduction. Also, it will tell you that you need to ensure keyphrase density through the text.
2. Discover Related keyphrases
You shouldn’t optimize for one keyphrase only. You will want to appear in search results of related keyphrases too.
For example, in addition to Risotto ingredients, you should also try to have your webpage appear in search results for ingredients to make Risotto. For that, you need to find the related keywords that provide you with additional searches.
You can do so using Yoast by clicking on Get related keyphrases below the focus keyphrase text box.
A pop-up will show you the related keyphrases and their volume and trend (average monthly searches over the last 12 months). You can choose the keywords relevant to your topic and with the desired volume and trend to optimize your content.
3. Add Synonyms and Related keyphrases
Search engines like Google and Bing have grown intelligent. Instead of searching the web for exact words the user enters, search engines also look for synonyms and related phrases. This means that you can optimize your content without catering to awkward keywords.
You can add synonyms and related phrases for Yoast to analyze by clicking + Add synonyms and + Add related keyphrases. While it is a premium-only feature, you can benefit from it to create content without risking keyword stuffing.
4. Improve Readability
Hard-to-read content can push away even the most interested website visitors. You need the readers to keep reading and stay on the page to achieve your goals.
How can you improve readability? You can make your content easier to read by using shorter sentences, writing in active voice, and adding transition words. It also helps to keep your paragraphs short and organize them using subheadings.
Yoast SEO simplifies it for you by identifying all the readability issues through its algorithm. You can see the problems by opening the Readability tab in Yoast SEO.
5. Add SEO Title and Meta description
There’s no easy way to add an SEO title and meta description to a post without a WordPress plugin. With Yoast SEO, you can add it in seconds using the Google preview section.
Type in the SEO title and Meta description text boxes, and you will have your search snippet preview — the result you see in the search engines results — ready.
6. Add Internal links
Internal links inform search engines about the structure of your website — which posts are related and which pages are important. You should, therefore, link to related posts while writing a post.
Still, adding links manually does take time and effort. In contrast, you can use Yoast’s premium plugin that offers internal linking suggestions as you write your article.
7. Add a slug
The slug identifies the location of a page on your website in an easy-to-read form.
For example, in this URL: www.yourwebsite.com/how-to-make-Risotto, the bolded portion is a slug.
While slugs have little impact on rankings, they help search engines and human users understand your content — leading to more clicks.
You can add a custom slug to the post using the Permalink setting in WordPress, or alternatively in Yoast’s SEO tab. Wherever you add your slug, Yoast SEO will check whether it includes your keyword. If it doesn’t, the plugin will remind you to add it.
8. Add Schema structured data
Using Yoast SEO, you can add Schema structured data to your posts.
Suppose you are writing an FAQ post. By implementing proper Schema markup, you get the chance of rich results — questions and answers from your FAQ post — on search engine result pages.
You can add structured data by using the in-built option provided by Yoast SEO. Select a Page type and Article type according to your post from the Schema tab. If not required, you can leave the default template selected. You can change the defaults using the Search Appearance Settings if necessary.
Yoast Premium: Extra benefits!
Yoast provides both free and paid plans to its subscribers. You can get the basics of SEO done using the free version. For advanced SEO implementation, plus a few time-saving shortcuts, you can use the paid version.
Yoast Premium costs you $99 for use on a single website while providing you a year of free updates and 24/7 support.
Here are some of the extra features that Yoast SEO Premium provides:
Search Engine Optimization
+ Optimize for multiple related keywords and synonyms
+ Export keyphrase data in CSV format — for easier management
+ Save time with internal linking suggestions
+ Find and solve SEO issues with SEO workouts
+ Receive notifications about outdated content — usually content older than six months
+ See an overview of pages with orphaned content
+ Resolve duplicate content issues with the canonical URL tool
+ Add and manage redirects for moved or deleted pages
Access to all Yoast SEO academy courses
+ Learn about advanced SEO topics, including Technical SEO
+ Follow additional WordPress courses
Better product experience
+ Get 24/7 email support
+ Enjoy an ad-free experience
Final thoughts: Use Yoast SEO to stay ahead of your competition
Using Yoast SEO for WordPress, you can rank high on SERPs and drive traffic to your website. Even if you lack SEO know-how, you can benefit from the plugin and optimize your website content using its beginner-friendly interface.
Besides optimized webpages, you also need an optimized website that loads quickly and handles higher traffic that you will get after ranking higher. Try Bluehost’s hosting plans today to prepare in advance.