How to effectively use Yoast SEO
There are various free and paid tools in the market to help you monitor your SEO strategy. In this article, we are introducing Yoast SEO, our personal favourite. Let’s talk more about how you can effectively use Yoast SEO to understand your website’s SEO performance.
With Yoast SEO, you get suggestions and improvements in writing and managing your content, optimising title, header tags, meta description, and much more. Furthermore, it is said that the ‘readability’ of your content also contributes to SEO strategy. Yoast SEO takes care of that as well.
Yoast SEO helps with
- Understanding your keyword’s performance.
- Optimising your article, blog, or webpage around your preferred keyword.
- Setting up SEO titles and meta descriptions.
- Setting up separate previews for social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter
- Making your content easier to read and understand.
Although the premium version of Yoast SEO offers more capabilities, a free version is just enough for you. This article will focus on the free version of Yoast SEO. If you are looking for information about Yoast Premium, we suggest you follow this article by Yoast itself.
What is SEO?
SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – has been in the game for a very long time. Everyone involved in website design, content writing, and digital marketing knows how important it is to make or break a website. Search engines have improved significantly over the past 20 years, and new SEO strategies are born.
In simple words, Search Engine Optimisation is the method of managing your website content in such a way that it appears on top of the search engine results. The good thing about SEO is that it is completely organic (and organic links drive better traffic than advertised links). And the downside is that SEO takes a lot of time to come into effect, hence you have to be patient.
Digital Lime Green recommends you use the combination of SEO strategy and advertising to improve the overall traffic to your website. Check out this article for a comparison between Google Ads and SEO.
Before we dive into how you can effectively use Yoast SEO, we want you to understand a few things.
Disclaimer: Please note that Digital Lime Green is not affiliated with Yoast SEO directly and indirectly. The purpose of this article is purely informatory. Whatever decisions you decide to make with the information presented here shall be your own responsibility only.
Warning: Yoast SEO is not an AI plugin that automatically optimises the SEO content on your website. You should use Yoast SEO and other similar tools only as a reference. Getting the green lights on Yoast SEO is really not that difficult. In fact, it can be a mindless task. But that does not necessarily mean your content is actually SEO friendly. Make sure you proper the best SEO practices, and use Yoast SEO as a reference to understand how your own SEO strategy is actually performing.
Now that we are clear, let us dive into understanding Yoast SEO and how you can use it effectively.
The importance of Keywords in SEO
Everyone who knows about SEO knows how important a keyword is. A keyword can make or break your SEO strategy. Your keyword’s focus should be narrowed as much as possible. For example, this article is written about how one can use Yoast SEO effectively. If we just rank the article based on the keyword ‘Yoast SEO’, then I am sure we will appear in the search results somewhere… maybe on the 20th page of Google Search Engine. Let’s be honest, nobody really bothers digging 20 pages on a search result.
Our goal is to make our website appear within the results appearing on the first page. For such, narrowing the focus down of your keyword strategy really becomes important. Using ‘effectively use Yoast SEO’ would not immediately grant us the position on the first page (unless we have no competition with it at all), but it definitely should jump from the 20th page to the 3rd page. You can understand what a huge leap that is.
This article from Backlinko should help you understand the importance of appearing on the first page of any search engine result.
Keyphrase in Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO helps you in understanding how your article, blog, or webpage performs to the input keyword. In the example given below, you can see that we have tried to analyse how the mentioned keyword would do with our content. The green light here refers that it is good to go. You can also input different keywords here for the same article and see the results. Use more and narrower keywords to see how your article performs. This also helps in experimenting with keywords.
The premium version offers more variety around key phrases, synonyms, as well as tenses.
SEO Attributes in Yoast SEO
By now, you should be understanding that Yoast SEO is tremendously helpful in optimising the content on your website. Yoast SEO exactly knows what can help you in making your SEO strategy. They have added a variety of key attributes that will help you make your content SEO friendly. Yoast SEO will give you warnings based on what you are missing and would prompt you to fix them. Furthermore, each warning has a link that will give you in-depth knowledge about what the issue is all about. Let us familiarise ourselves with all basic Yoast SEO attributes.
Keyphrase in Title
Yoast SEO recommends that the keyphrase should appear in the title. The ideal position for your keyphrase in the title is right at the beginning. So, if you can position it like that, then do it,
Keyphrase in Slug
Yoast SEO allows you to optimise your page links. Links contribute to your SEO juice so make sure your keyphrase makes it into your slug.
SEO Title Width
SEO Title Width here refers to the title that appears on the search engine results page. Yoast SEO allows you to optimise your title and it will warn you if your title doesn’t have the focused keyphrase.
Keyphrase in Subheading
Each article on a blog or any webpage has headline tags to separate and organise the content. In here, <H1> is regarded as the main heading tag, and <H2> and <H3> tags are known as subheading tags. If you happen to use <H2> and <H3> tags on your webpage, Yoast SEO recommends you to use the focus keyword in them. Keyphrase in subheading helps in boosting your SEO juice.
Previously used keyphrase
This is the best thing we love about Yoast SEO. It is important not to use the same keyphrase for multiple pages as keyphrases are important in ranking your page on search engines. Yoast SEO detects if you are using the same keyphrase you have used previously and will recommend you to change it if so. Use different, narrowed-down keyphrases to rank your page better. In the premium version, Yoast SEO can also recommend keyphrases.
Keyphrase density refers to the instances of your focus keyphrase appearing in the article or on your webpage. Yoast SEO will warn you if the amount of focus keyphrase is too low or too high in your article or other content. An overly high density of keyphrases is also seen negatively by search engines, and hence the warning.
Too long or too short keyphrases may not be as effective in contributing positively to your SEO juice. Yoast SEO will recommend you to have a keyphrase between 2 to 4 words. Though it is possible that your keyphrase may extend to 5 words in length at times, which is okay. But if possible, try to keep it between 2-4 words.
Keyphrase in introduction
Your first paragraph in the article is all about the introduction. According to Yoast SEO, it is important that you use your keyphrase in the first paragraph at least once. Yoast SEO will warn you otherwise. This actually contributes to the SEO strategy positively, allowing the search engine results to understand the ‘focus’ of your content.
Meta description length
Each page has a meta description of its own. If you do not write a meta description, a search engine would automatically pick up an excerpt from your webpage and display it as a meta description on the search engine results. Yoast and we recommend you to write one manually. And yes, you should mention your focus keyphrase there as well.
Image Alt Attributes
Before we get into this, a short note on the alt text of an image. Suppose, your internet is really slow right now and you log in on Facebook. Due to your slow internet, the images may fail to load and instead, there would be some kind of text describing what may be on that image. For example, if it is an image of a dog, then the alt text would explain it is a dog.
Alt-text is an HTML attribute that appears when an image fails to load. It contains a very short description of that particular image. Yoast SEO recommends that you should feature at least one image per webpage with alt text. This alt text should contain the focused keyphrase as well. Adding relevant images with relevant keyphrase alt-texts will boost your SEO score well.
Yoast SEO recommends exchanging the SEO juice with other relevant pages and sections of your website through links. This is called internal linking. It is not only effective in boosting the score of your page but your overall website too. If your website has other relevant content your visitors might be interested in, please give them those pointers with internal linking.
Add sources for the information you are writing on your website. Or redirect your readers to other useful third-party content through outbound links. Outbound links are good practice and it helps in making your content more authentic. Providing your readers with authentic sources makes them appreciate and trust your content more.
There are various warnings and indicators included in text length on Yoast SEO and it closely works with the Readability aspect. Yoast SEO recommends that your content should be more than 300 words on a webpage. Furthermore, it will also warn you to organise and distribute your content with header tags. An organised content improves readability, which ultimately contributes to the SEO score.
Hopefully, that was clear enough to help you understand how you can effectively use it.
To sum it up,
- Produce a nice piece of content.
- Make sure you keep it focused around your SEO’s keyword strategy.
- Use Yoast SEO to understand how your strategy is faring.
Again, we cannot stress this enough. Please use Yoast SEO as a reference tool to understand how your actual SEO strategy is doing. It is not going to ‘fix’ your SEO strategy but only help you in understanding how you can improve it.
If you need any professional help with SEO, Digital Lime Green offers the best high-quality SEO services in Cape Town, South Africa. Feel free to check out our SEO Package or contact us today for more information.
We wish you good luck in your SEO endeavours!