In my opinion, YOAST SEO puts WordPress ahead of other platforms by miles. Some people have argued that SquareSpace has the same SEO capabilities, but I will strongly disagree with that statement. I have compared my MOZ score to several SquareSpace sites in my field that get more traffic than I do, and I’m surprising that I have a pretty significant higher score. I believe this is mainly due to Yoast SEO. Today, I’m only focusing on the individual settings within pages and posts. On another day, I will focus on overall YOAST Settings.
Even though the same practices with pages, apply to posts. You want to ensure that all of your static pages have a GOOD SEO score.
Identifying a clear objective for each page will help you craft meaningful keywords for your pages. Determining your keyword before you publish a page is extremely helpful as well. You will then use this keyword in your permalink, SEO Title, and Meta Description. You likely will not want this keyword to show up in your menu; if you review my tutorial on WordPress menus, you can quickly change how the page text is displayed.
Best Practices for Keywords
- Choose a focus keyword that is used to search. Yoast SEO is great because the suggest tool uses the same data as Google suggestions. If nothing is showing up, you might want to change out your keyword.
- Google Your Proposed Keyword. What comes up when you search? Is your page or post relevant to those results?
- Write your keyword in plain English. I’ve seen people do keywords with #focuskeyword or focus keyword all one word. The keyword is interpreted as your write it!
You might want to have a different title for a post/page on Google than what is displayed on your site. When writing a page or post, you can enter the title that will be posted on the website, but under SEO Title, you can include an SEO rich title with your keyword.
When your site is searched on Google or Bing, the meta description shows up underneath your page or post title. The goal of the meta description is to get the visitor to click your link when it comes up in the search. In regards to SEO, it doesn’t hold that much importance, but you want to make sure that it aligns with your page’s message. Useful Post: How to Create the Right Meta Description
Another great feature of YOAST SEO is the real-time page analysis they provide. As you are starting off with YOAST SEO, use this tool to improve your content, especially for your pages. The page analysis will give you a bullet-point list of areas you can improve.
If you want certain sections of your website to be “unfindable”, you would change your settings in this section to reflect that. For most people, this would not be the case at all. So, you would just leave these as the defaults.
To get the most out of your pages, I find that completing the social section is helpful. This section outlines the optimal images and then allows you to customize the title and description for Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. For individual posts, this might seem a little exhausting to do every time. However, I find that it is extremely valuable to complete these sections for individual pages. I like to mix up my social media promotion and include some of my key pages – services, blog resources and premade blog shop. When I do that, I ensure that my branding extends to those social media platforms by customizing this section.
Other valuable resources
- YOAST Blog
- Moz Blog
- Simple 10 Point SEO Checklist for Your Website
- 5 Ways to Improve Your SEO
- Optimizing Blog Images
If you realize that you might need to overhaul your site, here’s what I would recommend:
- Review the related links and resources that I’ve linked to in this post. It will help you get a thorough understanding of YOAST SEO.
- Focus on key pages first – About, Services, etc. Make sure that these pages contain rich content and also are thorough.
- Implement SEO practices as you add posts and pages to your site.
- Update other posts a little bit at a time starting with the most recent ones!
After you’ve updated everything, make sure you submit a sitemap to Google Webmasters. I submit a sitemap every month (even though it says you should do it every time you have new content).
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