Yoast SEO Plugin – The Definitive Guide

Yoast SEO Plugin is one of the best free plugins on WordPress platform and certainly the best when it comes to SEO and it is designed to help beginners, with basic or no knowledge about SEO. However, it can be beneficial even to the experts. SEO is an ever-changing field and with Yoast SEO plugin you will be up to date with recent changes Google implements constantly. The best thing about this tool, at least for me, is that it will remind you if you failed to complete some simple tasks, such as putting the sub-headings in h2 tags.

I will presume that you successfully installed the plugin and that you are ready to post. Therefore, I will focus on formatting individual posts. After installing Yoast SEO, click on “Posts” and then “Add New”. Scroll below the text editor and you will see your new plugin like this:

Yoast SEO plugin New Post

As you can see from the picture, Yoast SEO plugin consists of several fields – Snippet editor, Focus keyword, Analysis, and Readability. If you comply with the guides your SEO and readability will be green. That means your post is ready for publishing. I will cover each of the fields separately.

Yoast SEO Plugin Snippet editor

The snippet editor is the most important part of Yoast SEO plugin. If you fail to format it correctly, the SEO won’t be green in that post, as simple as that. When you click on “Edit snippet” button, you will see three more fields – SEO title, Slug, and Meta description.

SEO title

SEO title consists of the title of the article headline and your site/brand name in the end. Google recommends inclusion of a website/brand name into every headline and Yoast SEO plugin is a great tool to remind you of that. The bar below SEO title shows whether or not your title will be fully visible on Google search. Google will show up to 70 characters in a headline, but it isn’t possible to lay down an exact number of characters that will be visible. Google displays as many characters as it can fit into ”a block element that’s 512px  wide and doesn’t exceed 1 line of text”.

However, you don’t have to worry about that with Yoast SEO – as long is the bar below the SEO title is green, you should be fine. Of course, the most important thing about headlines is to have them consist a keyword and to make them as engaging as possible.

Slug

Slug is a part of the permalink in each post. Post title automatically creates slug. Yoast SEO will also automatically generate it from the title, but it will leave out the stop-words.

Meta description

Meta description is the text you can see below the link in search engines. It should describe the post and it should contain the focus keyword. Also, it should not be too long or too short. If it is too short, it will be regarded as a bad or incomplete description, if it is too long, Google will cut it short, similar to post title. However, as opposed to the title, we know that meta description shouldn’t be longer than 156 characters and shorter than 120 characters.

Here is how our plugin looks like after we filled in the blanks in the snippet editor:

Yoast SEO plugin Snippet editor

Yoast SEO Plugin Focus keyword

The focus keyword for this article will be, of course, Yoast SEO plugin. SEO is all about building your content around keywords and this plugin will help you with all the major techniques you have to implement. At first, it will remind you that focus keyword should be found in the post title (preferably in the beginning), in the first paragraph, in the URL, in the meta description, sub-heading and in alt image attributes. Also, it will show a keyword density in the article – how many times the focus keyword was found in it. If you fulfill all of these tasks, your post will be surely graded as good in terms of SEO.

Yoast SEO Plugin Analysis

In the analysis section you will see if everything is ok, SEO-wise. If something is orange and it would be very hard for you to alter the post to fix it, leave it. It is important that you don’t have any red dots. When something is red, it is considered as a huge mistake in your SEO, so you should take care of that instantly.

Here is how this part of the plugin should look like:

Yoast SEO Plugin analysis

 

Yoast SEO Plugin Readability

This is probably the most helpful part of the whole plugin. If technical SEO is for machines, readability is for humans. This part of the plugin will show you how your post may look like in eyes of a reader. Your text has to have easy style and be appealing. Shorter sentences should occur three times as often as longer ones. You shouldn’t use passive voice way too often. Formatting the post is very important – you should break it down, so it doesn’t look like a “wall of text”. Flesch reading ease is also very important, as well as using transition words. Here is how good readability according to Yoast SEO plugin looks like:

Yoast SEO Plugin readability

 

The best thing about this plugin is that it will point at your mistakes instantly. Maybe you know everything about SEO, but when you format a post with more than 1000 words, you can always miss something. But, this plugin will catch your errors and help you to make the best post possible.

Do you agree with us? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

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Janko Glavonjić

Freelance copywriter interested in sports, science, gaming and fitness. And, of course, the best brother in the world :)

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