Please note, this guide only applies to websites that have the Yoast SEO module installed.
If you’re interested in having this system installed on your website, please contact us.
When people type in a certain phrase into their search engine (e.g. Google, Bing), you may want to increase the chances of your webpage being listed for this particular search.
You also want to make sure your pages look as appealing as possible in search engine results, so your pages has a nice title and description, which encourages people to click on this result.
This is where the SEO module comes in. By following a few tips, you can improve the chances of your page appearing higher in search engine results for your chosen phrase.
This module runs a series of checks on your content and guides you through creating better SEO-optimised pages, but in an easy-to-understand way.
Let’s take you through an example to explain the basics of the Yoast SEO module:
1) Choosing a search phrase for your page:
You can choose a target search phrase for each of your pages or posts.
Doing this first step is purely so the SEO module can give you guidance. Doing this step on its own will make no difference to your page’s SEO quality, unless you also follow the rest of the steps in this guide.
The Yoast SEO module has a box called “Focus keyword”. Here, you should think about what keyword or phrase people are likely to be typing into Google. You can then use these same keywords within your webpage, so Google thinks your webpage is relevant to people’s searches.
Ideally, choose your keywords / phrase before you’ve started writing your page. This will help you concentrate on writing SEO-focused content.
In the example below, we want to target an article specifically for people searching for a conference called “WordCamp London 2017“. This will be our focus keyword / phrase.
When adding a new page or post, you’ll see an SEO box at the bottom of your screen. Add your chosen “Focus keyword” into the box highlighted below in red:
When choosing a keyword:
- Make this realistic. It’s not realistic to rank highly in Google for something like “web design conference” because they’ll be thousands of other webpages competing for this same phrase.
- Keep it short.
- Think – what will your visitors type into Google to find this page?
2) Writing your page:
Now, start writing your page content, with your chosen SEO phrase in mind.
As you’re doing this, take a look back at your SEO analysis box:
The Yoast SEO module uses a traffic light system to guide you through the technical aspects of SEO, but in a simple and easy-to-understand way.
In our example above, in red, it says we’ve only mentioned our chosen key phrase (“WordCamp London 2017”) once in our page (called the “keyword density”), which is not enough. It also suggests mentioning the phrase at the top of the page. These sorts of tips will increase the chances of you ranking higher in search engines for your chosen key phrase.
In green, it says we’ve already done some good SEO practice. For example, our webpage URL contains the focus keyword. (Find out how to change your page’s URL).
3) Improve how your page looks in search engines:
Search engines display a title and description of every webpage.
By default, our article might look something like this in Google’s results:
At the moment, it’s not very appealing for people to click on.
So, in the Yoast SEO module, you can suggest your own page title and description, which helps entice people to click on your page. You can summarise to people, very briefly, what your page is about.
Click on the section, indicated here in red:
In the box (shown in blue), you can choose your own description. Search engines only display a limited number of characters in this description, so the green indicator bar will show how much space you have left. If you go over this limit, your description will get cut off.
The SEO title of your page is automatically generated from your page headline, but you can change this under the “SEO title” box if necessary. Generally, you don’t need to change this box.
Please note, search engines may choose to ignore your own description if they feel it’s too spammy, or doesn’t relate to what a user has searched for.
Let’s see how well we’re doing now with our SEO optimisation now:
You can now see we’re getting lots of green (good) indicators!
It’s not always possible to get green for everything, so don’t worry if you have a couple of alerts. Your page obviously still needs to make sense for your readers, not just for search engines, so over-optimising your page can be a bad thing.
Overall, we now have a green rating for our keyword SEO:
4) Readability improvement
Finally, check the readability of your content, by clicking on the tab indicated below (in blue):
By clicking on the preview icons (indicated in green), the module will highlight the relevant sentences in your content, so you can find them easily.
You can make adjustments as appropriate.
5) Ready to publish!
Now, your content is optimised for your chosen SEO key phrase.
You should hopefully have two green indicators – one for SEO, and one for readability:
6) Looking at all your pages at a glance:
On your index screens, you’ll see these same SEO / readability indicators:
When going into each page or post, there’s also this quick summary at the top right-hand side of your editing screen:
Good luck with your writing!