Yoast SEO is a free plugin for WordPress, and it’s essential if you’re blogging for profit. Yoast is perfect for new bloggers and experienced bloggers alike, and it’s the easiest way to improve your blog’s SEO instantly.
Yoast optimizes in two important ways:
- It optimizes your site as a whole as soon as you install it. It comes with default settings that don’t even need to be tweaked.
- It helps you optimize every post you create. This is what I’ll be showing you how to do.
Here’s how to install Yoast and use it to your advantage.
What Yoast Is Not
Yoast isn’t a magical plugin that’s going to bring more traffic to your site. While it does some behind-the-scenes optimization, it won’t make you rank in Google by that alone.
Yoast is also not perfect, which is why I personally don’t use every single one of its features. For example, I don’t pay much attention to the Readability feature (and you don’t have to, either).
How To Install Yoast SEO
Now that we got those things out of the way, it’s time to download and install Yoast SEO if you don’t already have it.
Note: You need a self-hosted WordPress blog to use Yoast SEO.
In your WordPress menu, go to Plugins, then click Add New. Use the search and type Yoast SEO. Click Install Now on the first result. Continue installing and activating the plugin.
Yoast SEO comes with default settings, which I recommend you keep. To keep this tutorial beginner-friendly, we won’t be modifying any of the default settings.
Using Yoast SEO When Posting
When writing a new post in WordPress, scroll down to see Yoast SEO. There are 3 important parts here.
This is where you edit what your post information (title and meta description) looks like in Google results. Yoast shows you exactly what Google will display.
Click “Edit snippet” to modify it.
When you’re typing, keep an eye on the progress bar. Once it turns green, you’ve reached the ideal length (see above).
You can choose a different title, which will only appear in search engines and NOT on your blog. This allows you to change the SEO title (what a Googler will see) while keeping a “prettier” (yet less optimized) title on your page. This is optional yet useful in some cases.
The slug is your URL, which you can also modify in WordPress at the top of your post.
Another important modification you should always make is adding a meta description. The meta description is text Google shows under every page title, and it should explain your content and entice readers to click. Adding a custom meta description is a must.
If you’re using a keyword for your post, enter it here. A keyword is a phrase you want people to find you with when they’re searching Google. It has to be relevant to your content.
Not every post needs to be associated with a keyword, and it doesn’t always make sense to do so. For instance, I don’t use keywords at all on Rosevibe.
However if you do want to associate your post with a specific keyword, Yoast will give you an idea of how optimized your post is to rank for that keyword.
As an example, let’s pretend that my keyword is “how to use yoast seo”.
The analysis is where Yoast gives you a general idea of how optimized your post is. However, it’s not an absolute. If you’re new to SEO, it’s a good place to start getting a hang of what Google looks for.
Yoast uses a simple color system. Red and orange bullets indicate improvements that need to be made, while green bullets mean you’re all set.
If you don’t see green bullets everywhere, it doesn’t mean that you’re failing so don’t sweat it. Overoptimizing can also be detrimental to SEO. Use this section to optimize your post and take note of what works and doesn’t work for you.
I hope this post helped you get a better grasp of what Yoast is and how to use it! Yoast SEO is a greatly valuable tool for any blogger, and I hope you can take full advantage of it.