Why I Use The WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast On My Blogs

By Leslie Samuel | Blogging

Nov 24

If you have a blog, you want it to show up in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) when someone goes to big daddy Google and searches for a topic that you cover.

The idea is this – the higher you are in the SERPs, the more likely it will be that the searcher will actually click over to your blog.

Makes sense – right?

Well, the natural result of people being human beings is that we try to find a way to “work the system” and have gotten into all kinds of sneaky tactics to trick the search engines to rank us higher.

Yoast_SEO_PinterestThis is called Black Hat SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

No, no, this is not one of those articles, giving you all those strategies. This is NOT something I would EVER recommend for you to look into, because it’s a short term “solution” that can end up hurting your rankings in the long run. Or as I like to say – when Google has a mood swing 😉

The truth is – the principles of SEO are pretty simple .

Create good content, make sure the structure of your blog is optimized for the search engine to know it exists, and get people to like, share, link to and recommend your content. There you go – SEO in one sentence. What? You thought it was more difficult? Nahhh.

What I want to do in this article is talk to you about a plugin that helps with the second point – making sure the structure of your blog is optimized for the search engines.

YOA-logo-RGB_horizontalThe “WordPress SEO by Yoast” Plugin.

I’ve tested a number of SEO plugins in the past and none of them compare to the WordPress SEO plugin. It really is a pretty comprehensive plugin that does all of the following:

  • Optimizes your blog for ranking in Search Engines
  • Analyzes your pages and posts for how well they are optimized for specific keyword phrases
  • Generates an XML sitemap of your blog. This basically creates an “index” of all of the URLs that are on your site, updates itself as URLs are added (posts and pages) and notifies Search engines whenever there’s something new. Sidenote: You need to submit your sitemap to Google and Bing webmaster tools webmaster to be most effective.
  • Optimizes your content for social sharing – it gives you the ability to determine exactly what your post will look like when shared on social media, including the post image.
  • A whole bunch of other technical stuff that’s not really important for you to know. Just know that where basic SEO is concerned, Yoast has your back 🙂

The ability to have all of this stuff taken care of by one plugin is just awesome (in my opinion). Let me show you how some of these features work.

Once you’ve written an article, it’s a good idea to see if you’ve structured the article in a way that it will be more likely to rank for the Keyword Phrase you may be targeting.

Now, this is not something I spend more than five minutes on and I don’t recommend for you to stress out about doing it. This plugin really makes it simple.

Having your focus keyword in a few basic places (like the title of the article, the URL, inside the body of the post and in the description) lets Google (and other search engines) know that your content is about that topic.

When you’re in the post editor, there’s a section below the post content area that allows you to set those basic details and it gives you a report letting you know if you’ve used the Keyword in those basic places.

Focus_Keyword_Usage

It also gives you a green, yellow or red light as an indicator as to whether you did a good job with those basic things.

SEO_Check

If you feel the need to do a little more keyword analysis and drill down even deeper as to how you can optimize your post, you can go to the “Page Analysis” tab and get some additional tips on how to make your post even more optimized.

Page_Analysis

Please note – if you took a look at the suggestions made above, you will see that there are things I could do to possibly improve my post optimization. I usually don’t go into it that deeply. I write for my audience first and the search engines second. So if how I layout my post seems to make sense to me for my audience, I ignore the suggestions made by this automated system. Don’t let trying to optimize your post for Yoast (hey that rhymes) consume a bunch of your time.

The last thing I pay attention to is the Social tab. In this tab, I’m able to have a different Title and Description on Social Media sites like Facebook and Google. I generally don’t touch that as I want it to be the same ones I use in the post.

However, I do upload a nice Facebook image so that when it’s shared on Facebook (and even on Google+), the image looks nice and purty 😉

Social

So there you have it. That’s pretty much why and how I use the “WordPress SEO by Yoast” plugin. If you don’t have an SEO plugin installed, I recommend for you to install it today. If you think that the features of Yoast are so good that you want to switch from what you’re currently using, they make it pretty easy to import settings from other plugins. Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?

Questions for you

Do you use the “WordPress SEO by Yoast” plugin? If so, how do you like it? If you are using something else, what is it? Let us know in the comments area below.

  • Andy Stitt says:

    Leslie, I use the Yoast SEO plugin as well. I love it. It helps me make sure that all my metadata is on point, and it does help with pictures for Facebook open graph and Twitter cards and whatnot.

    I’m not at the point where I’m ranking highly in Google for anything yet, but if someone does find me, then my search result will more than likely attract them than turn them away. That’s why SEO is important to me!

  • Hi Leslie:

    I´m a user of this plugin and I can confirm all the great thinks that you wrote in your today’s post. IT is awesome and help me to position my blog in Google in excellent palaces, obviously you need to do the job making the corrections in each post.

  • I have just started to use Yoast. It’s only been a week and one post, but I definitely see the benefit. Looking forward to learning it even more as I go!

  • Alina says:

    Hi Leslie,

    I use a different SEO plugin on my own blog, but I’ve had experience with the Yoast plugin while working on blogs for my day job. At this point, I’m generally ok with the plugin I use for my own blog, but every now and then I do think of switching to Yoast. One thing that concerns me: Yoast focuses on one keyword only, while my current plugin allows for more than one. Do you know why Yoast does it, and if it’s more efficient to use just one keyword?

    • The plugins don’t change which keywords your are optimized with. It just allows you to see how optimized you are for a specific keyword. Putting the keyword in that field doesn’t make you more optimized for it. It just allows you to evaluate how optimized you are. So if you wanted to test different keywords, you can just switch out the keyword and rerun the test.

      I’m curious though – which plugin are you using?

  • Alina says:

    All In One SEO Pack by Michael Torbert – you recommended this one back when I was setting up my blog 1.5 years ago.

  • Sherri James says:

    I’ve been using Yoast’s SEO plugin from the start of launching my website in May. Where I need some virtual assistant help is with all the posts that I’d written since I started blogging in 2009. I migrated them from my other blog (which wasn’t monetized at all). I’ve optimized some of them but then I got busy with other things that were more important like launching products. 🙂

    • Yeah, that’s not a terrible idea. The only problem is that without having someone that’s really skilled at SEO, that could turn out poorly. I don’t know that I would worry about going back. I would just make sure you do it well moving forward.

  • Lucrecer says:

    I have been using Yoast for a while and I really like it. I had not been using the social tab, but after reading this, I definitely will be for my future posts.

  • C. J. Grace says:

    I have heard about this before, now I need to give it a try! Thanks for sharing Leslie!

  • Eric says:

    I’ve used this in the past and it’s very helpful and pretty cool.

    My question is though, where do you pick the keyword you want to optimize for?

    Do you use keyword software? Come up with a keyword you think others are searching for? Do some basic searches around the web to see what people type in?

    • I don’t do keyword research, but that’s because I don’t like doing it 😉

      I just think about what I want the focus of my article to be and that’s what I use for my keyword. I like to keep it simple.

  • Leslie, I just downloaded WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast yesterday after reading your post. I’m currently updating all of my information for each and every post and page on my website and can already say that I LOVE IT! Thanks so much for sharing in such detail – it gave me the push I needed to immediately download the plugin, knowing that you had walked me through it! I thought I was doing okay as far as SEO was concerned, but this plugin has shown me a few new ways to hopefully improve my ranking. Thanks, Leslie – you rock!

  • Ashish Kumar says:

    Hi LESLIE SAMUEL

    Really this plugin is very helpful in doing seo for blog or website.

  • Firstly thanks for the great innovative ideas that would be helpful for us in future.

    Thanks Leslie Samuel

  • hai,
    i have been using YOAST plug in up to now.but after reading this..i’ll just try to use social tab.thanks for posting it.keep go on

  • I haven’t written articles, but I do have one video that covers it right here – https://www.becomeablogger.com/members/start-blogging/why-wordpress/

  • Jennifer says:

    The WordPress SEO by Yoast was recommended in the clickminded seo training class I completed. I haven’t used it yet, but plan on doing so when my blog is ready to go!

  • James Hennings says:

    I am new to blogging but I plan to have a site up and running within the next couple of days (thanks to your free training). I am going to get the Plugin right away, but not sure where I should start being new. Is there things I should avoid for now and things I should stay focused on? Just don’t want to spend to much time on the wrong things.

  • Leslie I have been using Yoast for a while. I rock at social and driving traffic using display ads but organic search only drives about 10% of my traffic to my 4 sites. I look up my sites on the SERPS and they are practically invisible. It would be nice if my blog posts, which all show green in Yoast, would perform better in organic search. It just seems that something is suspicious concerning my approach. Sharing your article to Twitter. Cheers!

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