Master SEO With a Single Plugin
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process where grow your site’s visibility organically in search engine results. I first learned about SEO when I attended the Creative at Heart Conference a little over two years ago. Like many young business owners, I had no idea what it was and how important it is to your business. Even though I was able to walk away from the conference with an understanding of its importance, I still had no idea how to apply it to my site. For two years, I convinced myself that it didn’t matter too much. I felt like my entire business was already a juggling act, and I didn’t need to worry about all of little details for every single blog post I wrote. Boy was I wrong…
My new website has been up and running for 8 months now, and only recently did I start seeing traffic on my site continuously grow. Back in June, I was trying to figure out why I wasn’t able to get more people to visit my blog, until I realized it was because I wasn’t showing up in search results. Why? You guessed it: my SEO was non-existent. Begrudgingly, I decided to do more research on Search Engine Optimization to try to figure out how to make my posts show up more in search results. It wasn’t long before I discovered a single plugin that makes SEO a breeze, and today, I’m sharing it with you!
Introducing the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress!
Yoast has been a complete game-changer for my business, and the best part: you can get it for free! They do have a premium version that you can pay for, but the free version produces some really amazing results. This little plugin increased traffic to my website within a week after installing it! It makes it SO easy to write posts with intention, and now my site is showing up more in searches. Showing up in more searches has not only resulted in more traffic to my site, but has also led to more inquiries! Let me tell you how easy it is to use this plugin:
Yoast is perfect for someone like me who has no idea what to include in their blog posts to optimize it for search engines. Once you install it onto your WordPress site, you can see the plugin underneath each blog post and page of your website. You have the ability to choose a keyword, edit the description, and edit the title. With the premium version, you are able to pick multiple keywords.
The “Snippet” preview shows you how it will look when it pops up in a search engine. It tells you if your title or description is too long, and it tells you if you’ve used the focus keyword before on another post. In the example below, everything is just the right length because it is green, but if the title or the meta description becomes too long, they will turn red.
If you scroll down past the Snippet preview, you’ll find an analysis for the keyword you chose. You must choose this keyword wisely because you need to include it a certain amount of times in your post, in headings, and in your title. You also have to be careful when choosing the keyword because you don’t want it to sound unnatural. I’ve seen tons of blog posts where it was obvious what the keyword was because it was just shoved into every sentence, and it did not sound right at all. Frequently what I’ll do is write my post and choose a keyword based on that, but there are many other tricks to picking the perfect keyword that I won’t get into today.
You also need to make sure you’re including both outbound and internal links in your post. Including internal links to other pages on your website drives your audience to content they might be interested in. Using external links in order to drive traffic to other websites is not only helpful for your audience, but helps boost your rankings in search engines. If you can’t remember all of this — don’t worry! The analysis gives you an easy checklist to complete right below each post!
Yoast also tells you how your post ranks on readability, which is another factor that affects your SEO. You can see from the image below some of the things it looks for in your post. You don’t want your paragraphs to be too long, or have too many words in each sentence. If you don’t pass on all of these things, it’s not the end of the world, but you want to get as close as you can to these recommendations!
If you can’t figure out what the analysis is talking about when it’s giving you suggestions, you can select the little eyeball next to each one and it will go through and highlight what it wants you to change in your post in bright purple.
Once you’ve made adjustments and all of those bullets turn green, then your post is good to go! After you publish it, you can go back out to the main page to see an overview of your posts. The right column shows you your post’s readability score, and the left shows you it’s SEO score. If any of the bullets are orange or red, then you may want to go back and address some of the issues affecting the scores.
If you have WordPress, then you definitely need to download Yoast and install it on your site! In this post, I gave the basic rundown of how it works with each individual blog post and page, but you can do so much more with this plugin! Next week, I’ll talk about how you can use this plugin to get more traffic from Pinterest, so check back next Tuesday because you don’t want to miss that post!