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Strategies like social media and paid advertising can be essential for an online publicity campaign. But recent statistics reveal more than 90 percent of online transactions are generated from search engine results. Since organic traffic plays a key role in building your brand, optimizing your WordPress site for search-ability is essential for growing your business.

Ranking on the front page of search engine result pages can be 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. 

How SEO plugins can boost visibility

Not every WordPress site needs an aggressive, comprehensive SEO solution with on-page optimization. Small personal blogs and other highly niche-specific sites may do just fine with making sure content is rich with relevant keywords, but if your site is intended to showcase your brand in a fast-growing global marketplace, it needs to be optimized on every level. This can be difficult to achieve without the help of a plugin that makes sure all parts of your site, such as metadata, URLs, title tags, and even images, are optimized for maximum visibility. 

Search engine crawlers survey every part of your site, collecting data for indexing the site according to a search engine’s current algorithms. The right WordPress plugin for your site’s specific needs can automate many SEO-related tasks to make the site as search-friendly as possible.

WordPress plugins for the win

WordPress users can choose from SEO-specific WordPress themes and more than a hundred free and premium plugins designed to perform a variety of SEO-related tasks.

But one free plugin consistently tops just about every list of the best search engine optimization plugins for WordPress sites of all kinds. Full-featured and easy to configure, Yoast SEO is the best all-around plugin for optimizing every part of your WordPress site. 

The best WordPress SEO plugin, Yoast SEO supports a comprehensive SEO strategy and is an effective tool to use if you want your website to be more visible through search engines. From optimizing a blog post to providing SEO analytics for your website, this SEO plugin for WordPress can help enhance almost every aspect of your site. 

Choosing the best SEO plugin for your site

Installing the best SEO plugin for your site depends on your site’s purpose and the goals of your SEO WordPress strategy. For example, an eCommerce site might need a different strategy than a freelance photographer’s portfolio site. 

Other factors might include the level of your web development skills and your budget. Some plugins may require a certain amount of coding for customization, and premium plugins that offer more features and support can range from a relatively low price to higher-end products with many additional features. 

In general, though, an SEO plugin for WordPress should offer a full set of features for optimizing every aspect of your site with an easy-to-use interface that doesn’t require extensive development experience to configure and customize its options. And it should be flexible and extendible to accommodate the growth and evolution of the site. 

With a free option that includes virtually all its essential functions and a premium version with more features and support, the Yoast SEO plugin from WordPress can optimize all aspects of a site’s structure and content and integrate with other tools like Google Analytics to provide insights about the success of an SEO campaign.

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). 

Yoast was first developed in 2008 by the original designers of WordPress. Since then, it’s been downloaded millions of times for use on WordPress sites of many kinds. Yoast is easy to configure even for beginning users, and it has a robust set of features to satisfy more advanced site runners, as well.

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.

Yoast SEO can be installed on any compatible self-hosted WordPress site for free from the WordPress Plugin Directory or downloaded directly from Yoast itself, where users can also sign up for a premium version that includes more features. 

Installing Yoast SEO adds a new listing for SEO in your site’s admin dashboard. Opening this tab allows you to configure settings and determine what functions the Yoast plugin should perform.

Yoast automates SEO on multiple levels

Once installed and activated, Yoast provides tools for customizing SEO functions on every level, from content to custom URLs to even your title tags and meta descriptions. 

Users can create templates for optimizing features, such as titles, URL and link structures, and meta descriptions for all the site’s main page types. 

The plugin also generates and automatically updates an XML sitemap for better indexing. It’s possible to turn off indexing for certain pages or types of content and to put a temporary hold on indexing when a site is under construction.

Through Yoast, users can also submit site information, logos, and more to Google to create a knowledge graph: the detailed profile of a company or professional website that might appear in the sidebar of a Google search results page. 

If you’re replacing other SEO plugins with Yoast, it allows you to import those existing settings into Yoast before deleting those other plugins. Yoast comes with a detailed setup wizard that takes users through each step of configuring the plugin for WordPress.

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 at Yoast SEO academy. By following these courses, you’ll learn about the best ways to optimize your site for search engines.

Yoast page and post analysis: Ratings and readability

Yoast can automate many different SEO functions, but it also works interactively with page and post content that frequently changes. 

Once installed, a Yoast meta box appears on your site’s content editor. Enter your focus keywords, and Yoast analyzes all available content for maximum searchability. Based on your keywords and best SEO practices, Yoast also offers suggestions for improvement, grading your content in terms of its SEO performance. 

Well-optimized content gets an “A,” while a “C” means that it needs additional work. Yoast can rate your content for readability if you’d like it to.

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.
  1. Near the top of your screen, click Add New.
  1. Type and search Yoast SEO in the search box.
  1. Click Install Now to install the plugin.
  2. 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 the 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 throughout 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 an 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 engine 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.

The free version of Yoast offers a broad range of general SEO features, but the premium version includes several extensions that can be useful for certain kinds of sites. 

Yoast News SEO optimizes sites specifically for appearing in Google Newsfeeds. Yoast Video SEO has additional tools for optimizing video, and Yoast Local SEO helps to make a site relevant for local area searches. 

The premium version also has technical support, advanced webmaster tools, and a number of tutorials on using the various free and premium features of the plugin and its extensions.

Yoast Premium costs you $99 for use on a single website while providing you with 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

Website management

  • 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

Organic search results still top the list of ways new customers can find the products and services they need. Whether you’re posting a freelance portfolio, launching an eCommerce store, or running a large corporate site, your WordPress site needs to be as search-friendly as possible. 

Related Content: The 13 Best WordPress Plugins (not named Yoast)

Whether you’re a new user or an experienced developer, the Yoast SEO plugin just may be the best all-around SEO solution for your self-hosted WordPress site.

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 WordPress hosting plans today and experience the difference!

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    Education
    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media

2 Comments

  1. Chirimoya Tours - Peru Reiseveranstalter Reply

    But your can optimizing also without Yoast if you want.
    for the last 10% of work you can use yoast. Greetings.

  2. developer support Reply

    Great post . thanks for sharing a clear step by step process on getting in the nice.
    thank you.

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