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Yoast for WordPress

WordPress SEO: using Yoast to improve your search rankings

Implementing good SEO practice is critical to your website’s performance and your ability to be found by potential customers or clients.

4 minute read

Without consideration for SEO, your site will struggle to rank in search results for key terms, especially if you’re competing in an already saturated market.

If you have a WordPress website, we’d recommend Yoast, and this article will walk you through how to go about getting the best out of the plugin.

Why Yoast?

Out of the box, WordPress’ ability to manage SEO information is limited, and it doesn’t give you the capability to manage important elements such as page titles and meta descriptions. Therefore, you’ll need to install a plugin such as Yoast if you wish to edit this. Yoast is free by default, but you can upgrade to access more advanced SEO features such as readability score, multiple keywords and more.

Setting up Yoast

When you first add the Yoast plugin to your website, it has a handy SEO configuration wizard to get things started. It’s an 8-stage process that will ask you a few questions about your business and ask you to enter information such as logo, company name and social links.

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Optimising your page’s SEO

Once you’ve done this, it’s time to revisit your pages and start completing your SEO metadata. You’ll find the Yoast Meta Box at the bottom of your page.

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Under the SEO tab, you’ll be able to add a ‘Focus Keyphrase’, for instance, ‘Bespoke Kitchens Maidstone’. Your key phrase should focus on what you want the specific page to rank for in search results. This information doesn’t improve your search ranking, but it does enable Yoast to provide you with optimisation suggestions which could help boost your page. You’ll then be able to ‘Edit Snippet’, allowing you to customise the displayed Page Title and Meta Description for that page.

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Under the SEO analysis tab, you’ll see some helpful advice from Yoast about improving your page ranking (based on your Focus Keyphrase), including the use of links, keyword density and more. The better optimised your page is, the fewer recommendations you’ll see, and your ‘Findability Score’ will move from Red to Orange or Green respectively.

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Setting cornerstone content

You can also tell Yoast if you consider a page to be ‘Cornerstone Content’ or not. This content should only be your most important and valuable pages or blog posts. We’d also recommend that whatever you mark as cornerstone content is regularly updated.

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Improving readability

You’ll also be able to see your page’s readability score as well as some optimisation tips from Yoast to help you improve the general flow of your content. Remember, user experience is a key ranking factor for search engines. The better the readability, the more likely users will be to engage with your content. It’s an important way to show Google that your content answers your user’s question.

Editing social previews

Finally, you can also use the Social tab to edit your Facebook and Twitter previews. This feature allows you to add a custom title, description and photo which will appear when you or one of your users shares a link to that particular page.

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Overall, Yoast is a fantastic tool to help you improve the performance of your website. If you follow the tips above, you’ll be off to a flying start with your SEO. However, tools like Yoast are never a replacement for a solid SEO strategy created by a search professional. We always recommend contacting a reputable search-focused agency such as Be Seen Online or Sleeping Giant Media for more advanced SEO tips, tricks, and optimisation features.

Hopefully, this blog has helped you understand the basics of using Yoast to edit and improve your website’s SEO performance. If you’d like to stay in the loop with the latest tips and tricks, please register for our newsletter.

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