The Yoast SEO plugin is awesome. I’ve been using it for years now. Previously, I wrote about WordPress SEO plugins that I have used. WordPress is the only CMS I use for my websites. But, there are so many SEO plugins available it can be tough deciding which one to use. There is a free and paid version of Yoast. I will be going over the features of the free version of this article, though. So, in this article, I want to show you what Yoast can do for your website.
Meta Box With Yoast
Here is what the meta box with Yoast looks like. As you can see, there is a spot where you type in your title and meta description. Then, there a field where you type in your “focus keywords.” This is the keywords that you are going to be focusing on your page or post.
You don’t want to make the mistake of leaving your title and meta box fields empty. Otherwise, Google will automatically come up with your title and meta box for you. This probably won’t end up helping you in the long run for SEO.
Writing Better Content For SEO With Yoast
Yoast uses colors to help make sure your content is not making any critical mistakes. There is a green, orange, and red circle that will help make sure your pages pass the readability factors. This is done in real time so you can easily see if there are any problems with your posts readability.
Readability is a factor in SEO that a lot of webmasters don’t utilize correctly. Therefore, their visitors will bounce from there site, and a high bounce rate will actually result in lower search engine rankings.
First, you want your content to be at least 1,000 words. Obviously, the more, the better. Because the search engines love content. The Yoast plugin does recommend that you keep the content a maximum of 300 words between your heading tags.
Also, you want to make sure your paragraphs are not too long. You don’t want to overwhelm your readers with massive paragraphs.
Yoast displays your Flesch Reading Ease. This is referred to as your “Flesch Score.” This score should be greater than 70. This means that it’s easy for your readers to read the content. Try to use smaller words and smaller sentences.
Also, Yoast recommends that you don’t use a passive voice with your writing. The threshold for this is 10%.
Hide & Show Content With The Search Engines
There are times when you want to hide pages from being crawled by the search engines. A prime example of this would be a landing page. To do this, you want to “no-index” the page. Additionally, you can no-index categories, tags, and archive pages. This will help with duplicate content (which Google hates).
Also, Yoast uses canonical link elements on your site. This will tell the search engines which pages you should index on your site. Therefore, your category, archive, and tag pages will not get indexed by the search engines.
One novice mistake a lot of webmasters make is they don’t create a sitemap and submit it to the search engines. Yoast makes it very easy to create sitemaps.
Sitemaps help the search engines spider all the pages on your site. A lot of SEO plugins like All In One SEO come with an XML sitemap feature. Therefore, you don’t need to install Google XML. Yoast will generate XML sitemaps for you. Then, you can submit them to Google Console and Bing.
Stop People From Scraping Your Content
Have you ever been Googling something and realized someone actually used your content without you knowing it? It happens all the time.
Years ago, I had a real problem with people taking my GoDaddy review content word for word. This hurt my site because Google would rank these sites higher than my content. Therefore, I lost out on lots of traffic from Google. I had to send a DMCA takedown notice to the site’s host to get that duplicate content removed.
Yoast will solve this problem by adding a link to your RSS feeds article. It does this automatically with each of your post or pages. This helps prevent scrapers because it tells the search engines where the content originated from.
Manage Your .htaccess File
Managing your .htacess file is always a pain. At least for me has been. Years ago before I started using Wealthy Affiliate for my managed hosting, I would always edit my .htaccess file myself. In the past years, I have messed up my site by editing my .htaccess file and then uploading it on my own. It was always a pain to find out which line of code I goofed up when I uploaded it to my server. With Yoast SEO you can easily manage your .htaccess file within the WordPress dashboard.
Furthermore, you can always edit your robots.txt file, too. Here you can block the search engines from crawling entire directories.
I should mention that your .htaccess file and robots.txt file are located in your root directory.
Yoast SEO Tools
There are some extra tools that Yoast comes with. These tools make making SEO changes to your website easier. These are the tools:
- Bulk editor. This allows you to quickly edit your titles and descriptions without having to edit each individual post or page. You simply click on the bulk editor and then you can edit your title and descriptions all in one place.
- File editor. I have briefly touched on this. But, this allows you to edit your .htaccess and robots.txt file while logged into the WordPress dashboard. Therefore, you don’t have to use your FTP client to manually update the two files.
- Import and Export. This allows you to important and exports your SEO settings in Yoast. It’s really pretty self-explanatory.
Final Verdict For Yoast As An SEO Plugin
Personally, I feel Yoast is a great SEO plugin for WordPress. It is vital for new webmasters. The color indicators can help you in fixing any problems that your posts and pages may have.
Yoast SEO is very easy to use. You simply download it, activate it and start using it. There are links inside the plugin which will show you the reasons on why you’re making the changes that it recommends.
The best part is this plugin is free. They do have a paid version, but I have used the free version for several years now. I can’t stress the importance of using this plugin for newbie and advanced site owners. All to commonly, people make mistakes that could easily be solved just by installing this plugin and doing exactly what it says to do.
However, I would like to hear from you. Do you think Yoast SEO is a good plugin? Have experience using Yoast? Please leave your comments down below and let me know if you have any questions that are not answered in this article.