Web Garden Consulting, LLC

Plugin Spotlight: WordPress SEO by Yoast

This is a MUST-HAVE for Every WordPress-Based Site

WordPress SEO by Yoast improves upon the “out-of-the-box” optimization which is already pretty good. In fact WordPress was recently named Google’s preferred platform for blogging, small business, index-ability, & AdSense (Google’s affiliate ad network).

The significant advantage that WordPress SEO by Yoast offers over the out-of-the-box optimization is that in each blog-post, page, product, etc that you upload to your site can have unique and carefully tailored SEO information associated with it so as to achieve the MAXIMUM relevancy as far as search engine crawlers go.

What’s the Big Deal?

Ok, sure, so relevancy makes sense, but why is that such a big deal? In the past, Google’s algorithms were simpler. They used to highlight websites that had long lists of keywords in their meta tags with meta descriptions & titles that reinforced them. This is no longer the case unfortunately – it made getting found on Google too easy! Today, the algorithms Google uses are much more complicated. They look for good grammar, focus-keyword densities, relevancy of information contained on the domain overall, among other things. Enter WordPress SEO by Yoast! This great little plugin puts all of that control right at your finger tips!!

At the bottom of every page you will notice that you have a WordPress SEO by Yoast single-cell accordion that contains 4 tabs. For the purposes of this post, we’ll be investigating the 3 main functions on the General Tab. I will go into detail on the other three Tabs (Page Analysis, Advanced & Social) in another posting next week!

Focus Keyword: pick out 1-3 word/s that highlights ALL of the content contained on your page/post/or product in the case of an e-commerce posting. HINT: try and clue into the specific subject matter you’re writing about! Type it in the text box next to Focus Keyword: and then click off the box. You will notice that as soon as you move the cursor (remember to click somewhere else or the cursor just stays in the text-box) that the plugin does some quick analysis for you. For example, I just used the acronym “SEO” for this posting. It came up like so:

At the time it contained 6 mentions of the letters ‘SEO’ in my content (now it’s up to 17 that I’ve finished the post), it also showed up in the Article Heading (post title), Page Title (the SEO title that you specify below the Focus Keyword in the plugin), the URL of the page and in the Meta Description even though we haven’t written it yet!

By default WordPress SEO by Yoast creates an SEO Title and Meta Description for you based on the content of your page and the Post Title. And although that can be sufficient for some applications, generally it is good practice to customize these fields specifically for each page, post, product, etc.

Next is the SEO Title. This is what will appear in the browser title area and also what appears in the title of a search engine link to that specific post/page/product. Being consistent with your SEO Titles is REALLY important because it builds brand identity. For example, my SEO Titles for every page/post is structured this way: [Description/Phrase] | Web Garden – Grow With Us. So, for this post it will say: Plugin Spotlight: WordPress SEO by Yoast | Web Garden – Grow With Us. Pick something easy to remember that includes your business name, tag line and of course the Focus Keyword!

Lastly, the Meta Description… wait didn’t he say that these weren’t used anymore? Well, yes and no… They aren’t relied on as heavily when Google is determining your pagerank. However, the meta description can be used to lure potential readers, customers, etc to your site! WordPress SEO by Yoast generates a meta description you can see in the Snippet Preview at the top of the General tab in the plugin itself. If you’re satisfied with that, then proceed as planned and don’t worry about it. However, more than likely, it can be improved upon! See if you can mention your focus keyword more than once, see if you can add in a current promo/discount or your phone number/other contact info. But remember, it has to READ well!

Here’s mine for this post:
WordPress SEO by Yoast brings control of your websites optimization to your finger tips! Click to read our blog and learn how to optimize your SEO settings!

Once you publish your post, and you’ve followed my suggestions, you should see a SEO ‘Green Light’ in the Publish area at the top right of your post. This let’s you know that your posting is good to go and is ready for being indexed online!