Yoast SEO is one of the most widely popular WordPress plugins around and it’s easy to understand why. Whether you’re running a personal blog or you’re an SEO professional managing a website for a client, Yoast is a powerful tool that can help you make your site as search engine-friendly as possible.
Yoast makes it easy for you to do things like control titles and meta descriptions, set your targeted keywords and track how often you’re using them, manage sitemaps, and so much more.
Using Yoast SEO
when you installed Yoast SEO you can see some shows a dot indicating how Yoast SEO has rated that page. Yoast SEO uses a pretty simple system for rating a page’s SEO friendliness.
A gray dot means Yoast SEO doesn’t have any information available for that page,
A green dot means the page is good,
A red dot means there are some significant problems,
And a yellow/orange dot means there’s room for improvement.
If you’re in the process of going through all the pages or posts on your site and optimizing them, this column can be very helpful because you can sort pages/posts based on that column, making it easy to identify which pages need attention.
Controlling titles with the Yoast SEO plugin
You can control your SEO titles with our Yoast SEO plugin. There are two parts of the plugin that control these. First of all, as soon as you install & activate the plugin, you get an SEO section in your admin. Navigate to SEO → Titles & Metas and you’ll see a bunch of tabs for different types of pages on your site.
For titles the following things are important:
They should always contain your brand, preferably at the end, so people may recognize you in consecutive searches.
They should always contain the keyword you think is most important for the current post or page, which we’ll call the focus keyword from now on. The focus keyword should preferably be at the beginning of the title.
Optimize your descriptions
Now that we’ve got proper titles, we should start to focus on meta descriptions. The meta description can be used by search engines to show in the snippet, it’s the black piece of text shown beneath the URL. The meta description is usually only used when it contains the keyword the searcher was searching for.
Some plugins use so-called “automated descriptions”. They use the first sentence of a post to fill the meta description by default. That’s not very smart. That first sentence might be an introductory sentence which has hardly anything to do with the subject.
An often overlooked part of WordPress SEO is how you handle your images. By doing stuff like writing good alt tags for images and thinking of how you name the files, you can get yourself a bit of extra traffic from the different image search engines. Next to that, you’re helping out your lesser able readers who check out your site in a screen reader, to make sense of what’s otherwise hidden to them.