One of the biggest internet buzzwords is SEO (an acronym Search Engine Optimization). I use Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress and I tell everyone I work with to do so as well. There are a few excellent plugins to help, but what puts Yoast SEO way out in front is its ease of use and it guides you to good SEO practices.
This guide is not comprehensive. It focuses on the process to set up good SEO on a post or page, the everyday stuff. It deals with the General and Page Analysis tabs of the free Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress and includes some SEO best practices. This guide is built so you can run through the steps on your own at any time. Here we go!
Accessing the SEO Interface
When you create a new post, the Add New Post window opens. In the Publish box on the right side of the page you will see SEO: N/A Check with a gray dot next to it.
Click or Tap the Check link
– This will take you to the bottom of the Add New Post and the Page Analysis tab of the Yoast SEO section with a “No focus keyword…” error message.
To set a focus keyword, click or tap the General tab in the upper left corner of the Yoast SEO box
– This will open the General tab of the Yoast SEO section
NOTE: When you view the General section for the first time, the Snippet Preview will show what the search results would be based what is in the title, URL and text area of the post/page. The Focus Keyword will be blank, the SEO Title will show what is in the title area of the post/page and the site title and the Meta description is blank.
The four areas of the General Section are:
This sections shows you what displays as the search results of a Google search. The example above is blank, but if you have information in the event itself, it will display what would be pulled by Google by default.
This is a word or phrase about the event and is the basis for the scoring of the SEO on the event itself. It should be a combination of:
- Specific to your post/page (longtail)
- Audience targeted (Who are you most trying to reach with this post or page?
- Audience friendly language (What words would they use to search for this conference?)
As you begin to type, a drop box with possible keywords will appear, these are results from Google Suggest and will change real time. Once the focus keyword is filled out, the event will be ranked based on its usage and additional factors.
This is the Title that will show in the search results. It defaults to the title of the event. Recommended length of a title is 40 – 70 characters. If the title is too long, it is cut off and an ellipsis (the three dots “…”) is added to the end. For good SEO it’s not recommended to have a title that is too long. By default, WordPress adds the site name to the end of every title.
This is a brief description about the post or page. The section is limited to 156 characters and by default pulls from the beginning of the event, so it is best to have a short, descriptive paragraph about the event ready to place here for anyone searching the web to help them know what the event is about immediately.
The following is an example of a completed General section with a good ranking:
To start (or update) the SEO scoring, enter a focus keyword in the Focus Keyword field, then go to the top of the post/page and click or tap one of the following buttons in the Publish section in the upper right of the page:
- Save Draft – recommended if you haven’t already published the post/page
- Publish – least recommended as the first step
- Update – Use when the event is already published, the Update button replaces the Publish button
NOTE: Clicking or tapping to Save, Publish or Update to show the scoring will not be necessary starting late October or November of 2015. The upcoming upgrade will change to real time updating once you enter a focus keyword.
-Once you have entered a focus keyword and saved it, you will see one of the following 4 SEO scoring indicators:
To improve your score, click or tap the Check link to the right of your indicator
– The screen will return to the Page Analysis tab of the Yoast SEO plugin.
NOTE: The circled phrase “focus keyword” in the example below is replaced with the actual keyword you use.
IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to save your revisions/changes or they will be lost and you will have to start over!
Some SEO targets:
- 300 word minimum in the event/article
- Use of focus keyword (target is 2.5 – 5% for entire post/page) in these areas:
- Meta description
- Use of subheading tags (H2, H3, H4, H5 or H6) Think outline headings!
- Outbound links
- 40 – 70 character Page title length
- Uniqueness of focus keyword
- Use of images (photos, graphics)
- Readability of content based on the Flesch reading ease scale
NOTE: these targets are not hard and fast rules, different combinations will still score the good SEO ranking! The biggest factor in good SEO is to start with good content!
SEO works best when it is a habit, whether it’s a page, article or post. Yoast SEO gives you an easy to use, logical framework to help develop SEO at every level.
If you want to print out a copy of this guide, you can download the pdf guide. You can just have it, No e-mail signup, no joining anything, it’s yours.