There’s no doubt about it: WordPress is an amazing content management system. No matter your business, customers, or industry, this platform has the flexibility and tools to build your professional website.
WordPress is designed for website beginners. Even then, it can be tough to customize your site once it’s online, especially if you don’t know how to code.
Search engine optimization is one area that all website owners need to implement on WordPress. SEO brings in much-needed organic traffic from search engines to your site. This traffic is crucial to maximizing your site’s potential and growing your business.
Although WordPress is already optimized for search engines out of the box, you’ll also need to customize SEO from time to time. This is a daunting task if you’re a busy business owner.
Fortunately, the WordPress plugin Yoast helps you optimize WordPress for search engines. Learn why Yoast is the go-to WordPress SEO plugin, and how you can quickly set it up for SEO success on your own site.
Why Use Yoast?
Yoast is a WordPress plugin. It’s a snippet of code you upload to your WordPress site. This gives you the freedom to optimize your site for search engines quickly, and with zero code required. Although Yoast has a paid premium version, their free version is perfect for beginners.
Yoast coaches you through creating titles and meta descriptions for your page content. It also offers more advanced features, like sitemaps, if you need them.
Yoast was built by professional SEOs who understand WordPress. They know regular updates are the key to a successful website. That’s why Yoast updates after every Google algorithm update, as well as WordPress updates.
If you want to write better content for search engines, Yoast is for you. The plugin won’t get you to the top page of Google in a week, of course. That’s not how real SEO works. Yoast will help you build a natural, organic presence over time by providing more value to site visitors.
How to Use Yoast on WordPress
The first step is to install Yoast on your WordPress site.
Download and install the Yoast plugin
Download Yoast from WordPress.org.
Next, login to your WordPress dashboard. Go to Plugins > Add New.
From here, upload Yoast to WordPress. Be sure that you activate the plugin once it downloads.
That’s it! It’s super easy to add Yoast to WordPress. Now it’s time to adjust your settings and start optimizing for SEO.
Adjust your Yoast settings, if needed
Depending on your site and goals, you may need to adjust your Yoast settings. You can find these settings with the new “SEO” link on the lefthand side of your dashboard.
Be sure to add links to your social profiles in the Yoast settings. Simply paste the links and Yoast will take care of the rest.
If you have a Google Search Console account, be sure to connect it to Yoast. This will help you pinpoint any back-end problems with your site over time.
Visit the Search Appearance section to set your preferences. Here you’ll be able to log your company details and template directions for your SEO titles. This is a little more advanced, but templates ensure consistency with your SEO moving forward.
Remember to save your settings. If you get stuck along the way, you can visit Yoast’s Configuration Wizard.
Add Yoast to Your Pages and Posts
Now it’s time to get to work. Visit the post or page that you would like to optimize for SEO. Scroll below your text editor to find the Yoast SEO box.
You should see something like this:
If this box doesn’t show up, make sure Yoast is properly installed. You can also check that your screen options (found along the very top of your screen) is checked to include Yoast.
Ideally, your page should already contain content. If not, add your content before using Yoast.
Next, add a focus keyphrase. Yoast will use this to make recommendations.
Once you indicate a keyphrase, Yoast begins its magic. First is the SEO analysis.
Yoast’s primary function is to evaluate your content’s SEO potential. You should have as many green lights from Yoast as possible before you push your content live. This ensures your content will be indexable for search engines.
Follow Yoast’s recommendations. Add internal and external links in your content, have at least 300 words on the page, and use your keyphrase throughout the content. Don’t forget to also use the keyphrase in image alt text.
You have the option to mark your page or post as Cornerstone Content. You should only use Cornerstone content if you’re creating a main page. For example, if you have a bakery, you might create a Cornerstone page about cupcakes.
Cornerstone Content helps search engines better understand the structure of your site. This is a more advanced feature, but it can really help your rankings.
Yoast’s second function is readability. Search engines care about the human experience. Even if you add the right keyphrases, that doesn’t mean humans want to read your content. That’s where readability comes into play.
Content matters. Headings and subheadings help people scan your page faster. Since search engine crawlers mimic real, live human users, you’ll make both the search engines and your site visitors happier with quality content.
Yoast can also measure your content’s reading level. The lower the grade level, the easier it is to understand.
The Bottom Line
The magic of Yoast is that you don’t need to be an SEO expert. Stop wondering what search engines want and let Yoast guide you. Install this free plugin to improve your business’s search engine rank over time.
Need a little extra help? That’s okay! Get in touch with the Ocean Agency to chat about your WordPress site.