Part 1 of a series about on-page SEO and using the Yoast SEO plugin …
You’ll probably agree that SEO is a mix of science and art.
There is a lot to know, it is confusing and its always changing.
Doesn’t matter if its on-page SEO or off-page.
To make it worse, it seems that every digital marketer and online marketing guru has an opinion about which SEO techniques are best.
And don’t get me started on the tons of tools available!
Fortunately, there are some tools that make life a little easier in this regard, especially for onsite SEO.
Search Google for the best WordPress SEO plugin around, and you’ll find Yoast at the top of any list.
As SEO tools go, the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast is the most comprehensive, and well-thought-out approach to online optimization available on the market today.
Most bloggers I know use it.
In simple terms, Yoast can do basically anything a professional SEO specialist could do, and more – without the cost of additional SEO tools.On-page SEO using Yoast can handle most of your needs. Get more info: Click To Tweet
Unfortunately, the fact that Yoast has so much to offer can be a problem for some people.
What, you might ask, did I mean by that?
Here’s the deal:
While Yoast is a powerful tool, it’s also often overwhelming for beginners, or people who don’t specialize in online marketing.
Because of this, users frequently download the plugin, only to neglect it when it comes to actually publishing blogs.
Like many other SEO tools, Yoast can only give you great results if you know how to use it properly.
It doesn’t do the work for you automatically, but instead requires some practice to get it right.
I’m here to help you get started.
So let’s not waste any time.
Installing and Getting Started with Yoast SEO for WordPress
Installing Yoast should be pretty straightforward, as it works just like any other WordPress plugin.
In WordPress, simply head to Plugins, click on “Add New”, then search for Yoast or WordPress SEO and install the result created by “Joost de Valk”.
Configuring WordPress Yoast SEO Tools can be a little more complicated, as there are a lot of settings to go through.
Here are some of the more general settings to help you get started in your journey with Yoast.
Start by clicking on the newly-generated “SEO tab” in the menu.
You’ll be taken to a tab called “General”, which is further divided into various sub menus:
In the “General” section, you can decide whether to support the development of the plugin by allowing it to send anonymous data to the Yoast team which can be used to improve their work in the future.
It is up to you whether you do this or not.
I doesn’t affect your on-page SEO, but is good to help keep Yoast updated so the tool can be improved.
There’s also a button that you can click for a quick tour of how to use the plugin.
This is a helpful way to familiarize yourself with Yoast, especially when you’re just getting started.
What’s more, there’s another button that allows you to restore the plugin to factory settings – just in case you accidentally mess something up and want to start again from scratch.
Always good to know.
Move one tab to the right (see screenshot above), and you’ll end up on “Your Info”, a section which allows you to do everything from changing the appearance of your website name on Google, to updating your status to “person” or “company.”
Looking to the right on the tabs once again, and you’ll land on “Webmaster Tools.”
If you’re registered with one or more Webmaster tools – which you should be if you want to achieve any kind of online fame, then you can verify your website on this page.
Remember to fill in the all-important “Google” section.
If you’ve completed your verification elsewhere, you can always just ignore this section and move onto the next.
The final tab in the “General settings” section is “Security.”
This tab is very simple as it only includes one thing …
… a box that allows you to decide whether you want to disable the advanced areas of the WordPress SEO Meta box.
This is often a good idea if your WordPress site has a number of different authors.
You might not want them to see no-index settings, canonical URLs, and other advanced options for your pages and posts.
Its a way to maintain control especially if you have freelancers accessing your site to load content.
Now, let’s explore using the plugin and how to integrate it with your blog posts.
Using Yoast to Optimize Your On-Page SEO
Next, you’ll want to start using Yoast in your everyday blog posts, as a way of optimizing your on-page SEO, making it search engine friendly.Learn how to boost on-page SEO using the Yoast plugin for WordPress. Get more: Click To Tweet
From the moment it’s installed, every post you upload will show a small “meta box” beneath the WordPress visual editor.
It looks like this:
This Meta box (pictured above), is the thing you’ll see most often when working with Yoast SEO tools.
It includes a number of important factors to think about in terms of SEO rankings, before you choose to publish your post onto the web.
1. Snippet Preview – This shows your Meta data, including the description and page title that will show up in Google search results. It’s often recommended that both pieces include at least one mention of your keyword.
2. Focus Keyword – This is the word that you hope your post will rank for. For instance, if your post is about “SEO techniques”, your on-page SEO should work to help show your page to viewers when they type that phrase into a search engine. The Yoast SEO tools will show you how many times your keyword shows up, and where you may need to add it into your content for better results. At the same time, it will also let you know if you’ve used the same keyword in a previous post.
3. SEO Title – This is the title that you’ll use for your blog, and it should be descriptive enough to tell your visitors exactly what they’re about to read. Remember that you’re limited to seventy characters. Be sure to include modifiers like “2016”, “guide”, “review”, “best” and “tips” as they can help you rank for long tail versions of your target keyword.
4. Meta Description – This field gives you the option to customize the small description that appears in search results and social shares. Use it to provide a descriptive advertisement to potential visitors, and don’t forget to add your keywords.
But don’t put in just any old description!
You’ll want to “sell” your blog post in this section.
Use “power” words like: “best”, “today”, “now”, and “get”.
The idea is to get readers to click on your link.
After you’ve saved your post as a draft, you can click on “Page analysis.”Use Yoast SEO Plugin to run keyword analysis on your blog post. More tips: Click To Tweet
Yoast SEO Tools will run a quick check of your post to see whether you’ve used your keyword properly.
The idea is to make as many of the little circles in the image below green as possible.