In addition to being a user-friendly blogging platform, WordPress is often regarded as the most search engine optimization (SEO) friendly content management system. WordPress website owners can accelerate custom website development by availing of a wide range of themes and plugins. Likewise, they can get regular website traffic from popular search engines using a slew of WordPress SEO plugins. In one of my previous posts, I covered how to choose the best WordPress SEO Plugins, in which I have also covered some of the most important SEO plugins. Yoast SEO has been a personal favorite, I have used Yoast plugin on 10+ websites that I have handled. The latest usage statistics also depict that the Yoast SEO plugin is much more popular than other WordPress SEO plugins.
Yoast plugin is developed with features to enhance a website’s search engine ranking and visibility by optimizing content and handling technical site optimization. In addition to extending the standard SEO features provided by WordPress, Yoast comes with several robust features to optimize WordPress websites for major search engines. The effectiveness of the WordPress SEO plugin can be determined by the fact that millions of websites rely on Yoast to achieve a higher search engine ranking. WordPress website owners can take advantage of Yoast SEO plugin fully by understanding some important aspects.
The website developers and owners have the option to choose from two distinct editions of this popular SEO plugin for WordPress – Yoast SEO Free and Yoast SEO Premium. Yoast SEO Free helps users to optimize a single keyword or keyphrase, while Yoast SEO Premium has multiple keywords and keyphrases as well as synonyms. Users can opt for Yoast SEO Premium to avail of additional features like faster indexing, important page monitoring, content readability checking, breadcrumb controlling, and internal link suggestions. Also, it allows users to preview their blog posts on Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
The users can download and install both free and premium editions of the Yoast plugin in a simple and straightforward way. They can find and download Yoast, just like other WordPress plugins, using a search box by clicking on the “Add New” option in “plugins”. After finding Yoast, they can install and activate the plugin by clicking on the option – install now. However, the users cannot use the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin without configuring it properly.
Many website owners switch from WordPress SEO plugins to Yoast for better results. While switching from other SEO plugins for WordPress, the users are not required to configure Yoast from scratch. They have the option to import the existing SEO setting to Yoast simply by import feature. They can easily do this by selecting the Import from Other SEO Plugins tab appearing after clicking on the Tools option. The option to import SEO settings helps users to start focusing only on optimizing the content and website for major search engines.
The users can easily set up the SEO plugin by selecting the Yoast SEO configuration wizard directly from the dashboard. The wizard will help them to check and customize various aspects of the website to boost its search engine ranking. The beginners can use the configuration wizard as a robust tool to convey important aspects of the website like website development status – live and under construction, nature, and usage of the website, search engine visibility of web pages/blog posts, number of content publishers, and name of the site to be displayed.
Yoast SEO WordPress plugin emphasizes increasing search engine traffic and engaging website visitors through the publication of readable content. The users can analyze the readability of content before publication using both the Yoast SEO meta box and Yoast SEO sidebar. Each of these options assesses the readability of content using a wide variety of parameters – sentence length, paragraph length, consecutive sentences, use of transition words, use of passive voice, and subheading distribution. Also, it assigns a readability score to the content using the Flesch reading ease score.
In addition to assessing content readability, the WordPress SEO plugin helps users to make the content more readable. They can understand the areas of improvement by referring to the overall bullet appearing at the upper right corner of the post. As the user keeps fixing the readability issues the bullet will turn green. The suggestions provided by the Yoast plugin help content writers and publishers to improve content readability in a number of ways – converting passive voice into active voice, splitting long sentences, and dividing long paragraphs into multiple sections.
Major search engines convey information about web pages and blog posts to the searchers’ snippet. As a short summary of the content, snippets make searchers decide about visiting a web page or blog post. Yoast SEO plugin helps users to check and edit the snippet directly. The users can use the plugin to see how the web page will appear on the search engine results pages. Also, they can click on the edit snippet option to make the snippet more relevant and appealing by changing the URL, meta description, and SEO title.
In addition to improving content readability, the WordPress SEO plugin helps users to optimize content for search engines. It assesses search engine friendliness of the content using a slew of parameters – keyphrase density, keyphrase distribution, keyphrase link, keyphrase link, meta description length, internal linking, outbound links, text length, SEO title width, and keyphrase in the title, meta description, introduction. He makes it easier for users to assess the SEO of the content and web page by displaying the SEO analysis results as bullet points.
In addition to performing SEO analysis, Yoast helps users to optimize the content and page for search engines. The users can easily understand the aspects of the web page to be optimized by referring to the bullet points marked in red. They can further optimize the web page for search engines by taking a number of simple actions – increasing the focus keyphrase density to 2%, linking the web page internally, adding attributes to the images, and including the focus keyphrase in the title and heading. Hence, the users can easily fix the issues affecting the web page’s search engine ranking before publishing content.
As noted earlier, Yoast SEO Premium provides a preview of the content in search engines and social networks. It further allows users to decide the ways the content will appear on popular social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The bloggers have the option to add a variety of social data to the article and web page. Hence, they can easily customize and optimize the content for social media by adding titles, social media descriptions, and images.
Search engine crawlers understand the structure of a web page or blog post based on internal and external links. Also, the links help website visitors to navigate the content more efficiently. Yoast makes it easier for bloggers to track internal and external links using text link counters. The Yoast text link counter consists of two distinct counters. The first counter measures the number of links in the blog post, while the second counter measures the number of links to the blog post. They can leverage these counters to increase the blog post’s search engine ranking by adding, removing, and modifying the links in the content.
Breadcrumbs help website visitors to know where they are currently on the website. Also, breadcrumbs, as an important aspect of SEO, convey structured data about the website on search engine results pages. Yoast SEO plugin makes it easier for users to control and manage breadcrumbs more efficiently. It allows users to change breadcrumb titles on both web pages and blog posts. Also, the users have the option to customize the breadcrumbs to keep the structure data to be displayed more relevant.
Yoast SEO WordPress plugin helps users to prevent duplicate content issues efficiently using canonical URL elements. The canonical URL elements instruct search engines to crawl and index the most relevant URL. The canonical URLs help search engines to display the most relevant URL on search results pages. Likewise, they help searchers to access the most relevant directly by clicking on the most relevant link. Bloggers can use the Yoast plugin to make the search engine identify the canonical URL containing the original content or information.
The “404 not found” error indicates that the web page search engines and website visitors trying to access is removed. The search engine optimizers have to put extra time and effort to identify and fix all 404 not found errors. Yoast makes it easier for users to fix 404 not found errors by providing a redirect manager. The website owners can use the Yoast redirect manager to redirect the website visitors and search engines to relevant pages. It further asks the users what to do with the existing URL when they are removing a page or post. The users also have the option to fix all 404 not found errors by updating all redirect pages.
While optimizing a website for search engines, the website owners indicate the important pages on the website by generating sitemaps. Yoast automatically generates a variety of sitemaps – content types, archives, developer filters, taxonomies, and media and filters – for websites on the fly. Hence, the users are not required to update the sitemap each time they add, remove, or modify content. Also, they have the option to customize the sitemap index. This helps search engines to crawl and index the websites by conveying more relevant information about the website.
Major search engines like Google and Bing update their search algorithms frequently. Unlike other WordPress SEO plugins, Yoast gets regular updates from its developers every two weeks. Each new version of the Yoast plugin comes with new features and enhancements to keep up with frequent search algorithm changes. Users must not forget to update Yoast SEO WordPress plugins regularly and proactively to keep their SEO strategies relevant. Also, website owners need to keep an eye on other important blogging tools available