If you’re familiar with posting content onto your WordPress website, but now want to get it found in search engines, the Yoast plugin for WordPress is awesome.

Whilst it should not be taken as gospel, it’s a fantastic tool and gives you a really good aid; it’s by far the best WordPress SEO plugin we’ve used. If you’re one of our customers, chances are it’s on your website and, if you need to know, or have a refresher on how to use it, let’s get started;

Here’s how to use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast

In looking under the main text window – as you can see in the image below – the top part of the image shows what the Google search engine result will be for this page. You’ll recognise the blue title, green link and black meta text format. This can all be manipulated using the tools in the Yoast WordPress plugin.

The next bit, where it says “Focus Keyword”, is where you type in a phrase you want that page to be discovered for on search engines. Once done (you may need to hit ‘update’) it will populate the ‘focus keyword usage’ checklist section just underneath. As you can see I have tweaked this particular post to get all green Yes’s for all of these sections, as you’d hope! To briefly explain these sections as follows;

  • Article Heading: That’s the main title of the article, unsurprisingly I have called this the same as what I want to optimise the piece for.
  • Page Title: The site is set up to use the article heading as page title, and they usually are, so this works exactly as above.
  • Page URL: This shows in green in the Google snippet; it’s the ‘permalink’ for the page, and can be edited up at the top of the page in normal WordPress functionality as you’ve probably seen. As long as permalinks are turned on elsewhere, typically this will also be quite optimised and pick up the page title.
  • Content: This is the main text of the article. You may want to alter a sentence or two ever so slightly so your keyword phrase appears in the content, in this case ‘How to use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast’. (There, that got my count up to (2), and in bold too, extra little google point!). This is an area I would say Google is actually smarter than the Yoast plugin, because if you have the keywords out or order, Google will still know what you’re talking about – this particular plugin scores you a no if you used the same words in a different order for example.
  • Meta description: This is the text you see in black in the ‘snippet preview’, but it’s altered in the meta description box provided. It picks some text as standard and I just manipulated it slightly to contain the phrase once again. I won’t repeat it here, that would be taking the micky!

Because I have all these boxes ticked, I have a full green light for this page/post in terms of SEO. By doing all these things, if someone now searches on the long-tail keyword term “How to use the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast”, this post will hopefully feature (sorry, couldn’t resist).

As mentioned, this plugin isn’t 100% aligned to Google; it doesn’t guarantee instant success – hopefully you know to stay away from anyone that offers that – but it is a really good measure of if you’re making it obvious to Google what the article is about and what you want to be found for.

WordPress SEO – next steps.

If you aren’t getting a green light, the little tab in the top of the next screenshot that shows the ‘Page Analysis’ gives you more detail. Here we have no ‘red lights’, we just have a couple of amber advisories. One mentioned the keyword is not used enough, but that’s based on the masses of words in this article.

Also, some other good things to do is provide links out for your readers for relevant sites. I linked at the top to the Yoast Plugin; other useful links for example could be a generic link for WordPress, maybe more information about SEO in general, or you could link to a youtube video. They all help with the merit and worth/ranking of the usefulness of your story.

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