How to Properly Use Yoast SEO
When I was at SBSCon a few weeks back, one of the questions I got a lot had to do with Yoast SEO. Lots of bloggers told me they had it installed, but couldn’t figure out why they weren’t getting that green light to show up.
This is actually one thing that took me a few tries to figure out. I guess I could have read the instructions, but I have a bad habit of skipping those and just trying to figure things out for myself, but the good news is, I did! And I’m sharing it with you today.
If you’re not familiar with Yoast SEO, it’s a really popular SEO tool that works really well. They also make it really easy for you to configure each post so that it’s good for SEO. I’m going to walk you through how I do my SEO for a blog post on The Fox & She and explain each chunk so it’s easier to understand! Ready to get wild with SEO?! Sorry, I’m truly a #girlgeek at heart.
If you’ve installed and activated the plugin, you’ll start seeing the panel when you create a new post. It’s after the actual post editing box, so scroll until you find it.
Snippet Preview: This is what it will look like if someone was to come across your post in Google.
Focus Keyword: This is the most important part! You only want to put ONE keyword or phrase here. When selecting a keyword/phrase make sure that it’s not too broad and descriptive of what your post is about. Think about what people will be searching for and how they would type it into a search engine. In this post I was talking mostly about our lunch in at Gee’s, but I thought that ‘day trip to oxford england’ was a better search term than ‘lunch in gee’s restaurant’ because more people would search more generally if they were looking to go to Oxford. I also thought that Oxford England was too broad, so this narrowed it down to make it applicable to the content and easy to search.
Under that you’ll find the ‘Keyword Usage’ – this will tell you where the keyword is being used within your post. Ideally, you want at least 3-4 of these to say ‘Yes’. All ‘No’s will give you a low SEO rating.
Article Heading: Your post title. I typically name my post something more creative, so this one is usually a ‘No’ for me.
Page Title: If you want to use a creative title, make your SEO Title the keyword so this turns to a ‘Yes’. Having a creative title won’t take away from your SEO score if you’ve used the keyword as the SEO title under the Yoast settings.
Meta Description: The meta description is a short excerpt or snippet of the post or a description of what the post is all about. This is what gets pulled into Google and you can customize it here. Your post excerpt can be different than this (excerpt is found even further down the post editing page).
Once you’ve done all those, hit ‘Save Draft’ so that it updates and you can see what your current score is! If it’s green, then good, if not, click on the ‘Page Analysis’ tab to see what you can improve to make your post better for SEO.
The page anaylsis breaks down a number of things that make your post better or worse for SEO. If you have any reds here, you might want to make some changes to your post or consider changing your keyword.
One that I used to run into a lot was that I’d use the keyword too many times or have a post that wasn’t long enough. So beware of those!
This is one that you don’t have to use if you don’t want, but it can be useful for when people share your post. You can set the Facebook title and description here so when someone shares it, it’ll populate with this instead. This is good because it allows you to be more creative with your headlines. Readers are more likely to click on a witty headline or description than the boring SEO keyword title, so it’s worth doing! You can also set a picture here to pull — I’ll be talking more about how to pick a good image and why it’s important in next week’s newsletter, so make sure to subscribe if you’re not already!
I did skip over the ‘Advanced’ tab because I don’t use it. But feel free to poke around there if you want. I hope that covered all your questions on how to use Yoast SEO for a blog post, but if not, please leave your question or comment below so everyone can find the answer too!