If you haven’t guessed by now we are huge fans of WordPress here at LLB. The number of plugins available to enhance your blogging experience are vast and you can spend forever finding new and exciting tools. One such plugin is Yoast and we often get asked how to get the most out of it. It seems to baffle many and they end up having it idle on their account- no use at all!
So what is Yoast?
Yoast is a plugin designed to make SEO simple but of course if the plugin itself isn’t very simple that defeats the purpose of it all right? SEO (search engine optimisation) is not for everyone and some bloggers can go through their whole blogging career without knowing anything about it. However, if the posts you write would be helpful to others to find via search engines then you want them to rank as highly as possible. By optimizing your site this will help search engines to find you and rank you, see?
So a post that is not optimised may rank on page 3 compared to a post that is optimised that ends up ranking on page 1. If you think about when you search for something you look at page 1 of the results don’t you? You may go as far as page 2 but page 3 onwards are dead space in reality.
How do you use Yoast?
There are two parts to Yoast and we will go through the first part today. This is the part you use on a day to day or post to post basis and is the most helpful to bloggers. The second part will be covered next Friday and covers the behind the scenes brilliance that is Yoast.
So, as this post is being written the Yoast plugin is analysing it and working out via a traffic light system how optimised it is. Scrolling down to the bottom of the post you would find this:
Not perfectly optimised yet but so far so good. If we dissect it you can see I have my keyword in all elements and got the green yes that means it is on the way to being optimised. As you can see, next to each element is the number 1 in brackets. For most things a 1 is fine but I can quite easily add in a couple more ‘yoast plugin’ phrases to enhance the SEO.
So why is there an SEO title section?
Sometimes you may want to have a great title for your readers but would want a better title for the search engines- this way you get both. So we could have named the post ‘Yoast Plugin For Dummies’ but kept ‘Understanding The Yoast Plugin’ for when people find the post through searching online. In this instance they are both the same as the title serves its purpose!
As you can see there are tabs along the top- General (as shown above), Page Analysis, Advanced and Social. Let’s look at each one in turn.
Ok so this is the page analysis so far, as you can see there are a good few greens so that is great in terms of SEO but the amber and red sections need to be addressed. Let’s take a look at a couple of points:
- You have not used your keyword / keyphrase in any subheading (such as an H2) in your copy.
Ok so H2 is one of the headings, there are a few scattered throughout the post but none have ‘Yoast plugin’ within them- easily fixed!
- The images on this page do not have alt tags containing your keyword / phrase.
It is so important to make sure your images have alt tags. You can find that option when you upload an image to your media library. By doing this search engines will also rank your post using your images, meaning if someone searches for a picture of a particular craft or recipe for example and you have an awesome post relating to that exact image they will come to you to read all about it!
- The page title contains keyword / phrase, but it does not appear at the beginning; try and move it to the beginning.
When search engines read your posts they look to the beginning for the most important words and phrases. If we were to change the title to ‘Yoast: Understanding How To Get The Most From Your Plugins’ or something like that the ‘yoast’ phrase is at the beginning and this is favourable- let’s do that now!
So this is the advanced tab we are looking at now. Not too much going on here that you would want to fiddle with each time you write a post but you may wish to make a particular post no-follow but honestly as long as your links are no-follow if required I wouldn’t worry.
The canonical url is something that you do not need to touch unless you know more about it. Basically canonical urls prevent duplicate content for similar urls such as http://liveloveblog.com and http://www.liveloveblog.com they are both the same but slightly different. Leaving the space blank will allow Yoast to get on with it so you don’t have to!
The final tab is for social and a little used resource but one that is so handy! If you are someone who auto posts to your social media using Jetpack then you may wonder why sometimes it uses a teeny tiny photo for the upload in some instances and then sometimes will use the wrong photo entirely! Well, this solves it!
All you have to do is upload the photo you want it to use and if you want to specify a different description to the one it would post by default then you can do that too- neat huh?
So that is it for part one. Come back next week when we will look at the SEO button in your dashboard sidebar!