Best practices for SEO are changing all the time. Whether you’re running a personal blog for your business or you’re an SEO professional managing a website for a client, there are a lot of factors to consider when making sure your content gets read. As a team of online sales and marketing experts, we make it our business to stay on top of the best ways to do this and constantly vet new tools that can help. One of our favorites? Yoast SEO.
Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that improves your website’s rankings on search engines by helping you optimize your content and keywords. Yoast is a powerful tool that can help you make your site as search-engine-friendly as possible, so users can find, read, and enjoy your content.
What is the Yoast SEO plugin?
As a point of entry into SEO, Yoast makes it easy to do things like control titles and meta descriptions, set your targeted keywords and track how often you’re using them, manage sitemaps, etc. In their own words:
“Our goal is simple: we help website owners get more traffic from the search engines. For example, we help our users keep their content nice and easy to read for their audience. But most importantly, we make sure search engines can find and understand their pages! Because that’ll help with ranking high in Google! Yoast SEO also takes care of a lot of technical SEO stuff in the background. So, you don’t have to write any code to use our software!”
And indeed, a lot of what Yoast SEO does is automated, but you still need to put in a little planning and effort to get the most out of this tool. So let’s take a closer look at how it works, the key features to be aware of, and why we think it will make an excellent addition to your SEO toolbox.
This article was co-written by Mona Altheimer (Project Manager, GANDT Zürich Team) and Megan Flottorp (Content Marketing Specialist).
How does Yoast SEO work?
Once installed on your WordPress site, the Yoast SEO plugin will appear on each page and post you create. Yoast SEO then works its magic and analyzes each page’s content, it gives you a score and provides suggestions on how to make your site even better.
Yoast SEO main tools
Yoast has a lot to offer; here are the key features and benefits you need to know about:
The Focus Keyphrase
Ideally resulting from keyword research, this is the keyword or keywords you want a particular page of your website to rank for. For example, if you are creating a page on your website for a new selection of services you’re planning to offer, your focus keyword will likely be “new services.” But keep in mind that the more specific you can be, the higher you’re likely to rank in search engine results. An example of one of these key phrases would be something like “new online assistance service.”
This section offers a handy preview of how your post will be shown in search results. By simply clicking the Edit Snippet button, you can customize that page’s SEO Title and Meta Description. The tool also highlights your keywords, so you can quickly determine if they are where they need to be.
In addition to prioritizing keywords, search engines are geared towards delivering the most relevant and valuable results according to a user’s search terms. In other words, your content has to read well to get preferential treatment. Yoast SEO helps make this happen by highlighting issues and opportunities for improvement and pointing you towards resources to learn to address any existing problems.
Why do we encourage you to use Yoast SEO?
Yoast is a great one size fits all tool for those with plenty of SEO experience, and those who are new to the game. Yoast makes the technical requirements of factors like on-page SEO very easy. Their product is straightforward and can help inexperienced users and get the most out of their content while learning how to better optimize in the future.
Through the traffic light system, it is directly visible which areas still need to be adjusted and when you’re good to go. With Yoast, minor technical points can be dealt with quickly and efficiently—alleviating much of the headache that wrestling with technical SEO can cause.