How to Use Yoast SEO

How to use Yoast SEO
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Written by Simon

Last Updated 15/12/2023

How to Use Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO assists you in organising your website for SEO. It utilises a traffic light system to visually communicate your website’s search result score. As you add and remove words, the colours of the respective sections will change from grey to red to amber and finally, green. You want your content to be green across the board for a good SEO score.

Recommended Reading: Yoast Setup Wizard

What is Yoast SEO?

Yoast is one of the most popular Search Engine Optimisation plugin tools for WordPress websites. Its huge archive of helpful articles and tips can assist you in formatting and organising your websites to squeeze out the best possible SEO score. Straight out of the box, it is free, quick and easy to set up, with additional paid-for features that can take your website to the next level.

Recommended Reading: How to install a plugin

KeyPhrase and KeyPhrase Density with Yoast SEO

Focus KeyPhrase

A Focus KeyPhrase is a search request that you want your post, page or product to be offered as a result in search engines. This can be a single word but usually consists of a few words. This is why people call it a KeyPhrase. For instance, if you wish for a particular webpage to appear in search results when individuals look up “smoothie recipes,” choose this as your Focus KeyPhrase.

Recommended reading: What is SEO?

KeyPhrase Density

KeyPhrase Density is how often your KeyPhrase appears on the page, post or product. If the goal is for search engines to present your page in results for the query “smoothie recipes,” incorporate this KeyPhrase not only in your titles but also throughout the text on your page.

Do not, however, overload the page with this KeyPhrase as this could negatively impact your SEO score as this provides a poor user experience. Yoast will tell you how many times you need to use your Focus KeyPhrase. You can locate this in your page editor under the SEO analysis section.

Recommended Reading: Google Site Kit Installation

H2 & 3 Titles and Paragraphs

Pepper your Focus KeyPhrase throughout your page, ensuring its presence in your H2 and H3 titles, as well as within your paragraphs. In your titles, you will require the KeyPhrase to appear several times (Yoast will advise) and the same applies to the paragraph text. Furthermore, your opening paragraph should include your Focus KeyPhrase.

Examples of Titles and Paragraphs in Yoast SEO

Key: H1 – Page Title. H2 – Heading. H3 – Subheading. P– Paragraph

Recommended Reading: Yoast SEO Readability

Search Engine Optimisation with Yoast SEO

SEO Title

So that search engines know that your KeyPhrase is correct, it helps to include it in your SEO Title. Our KeyPhrase for this web page is ‘What is Yoast’. As you can see, it is included in our SEO title:

What is Yoast: A detailed overview into optimising your site for SEO – 2021

Our KeyPhrase is highlighted in bold. Let’s dissect this title a little further. 

The first thing the search engine reads is “What is Yoast” – this is called ‘front-loading’. By putting the KeyPhrase first we are telling the likes of Google that this is the most important bit. 

Yoast SEO Title

The next section “A detailed overview into optimising your site for SEO”, uses LSI Keywords. LSI Keywords are words associated with your KeyPhrase. In this case, our LSI word is “SEO” as this is associated with Yoast.

Finally, the title is finished off with “- 2021”. This instantly tells the viewer the article’s year and relevance. Titles with the current year have a higher click-through rate, so remember to update yours each year.

Meta Description

The Meta Description is a few lines that briefly outline a page or post topic. The same rules apply here too, we’re looking for a front-loaded sentence that contains LSI words associated with the KeyPhrase. Looking at the image above we can see:

What is Yoast: A free, powerful SEO tool to boost your search score and get your website ranking on google.”

Our LSI words here are “SEO, Search score, website ranking and Google”. This is a great example of LSI use, as you can see here this section is full of words that associate with Yoast whilst keeping the description concise.

Images

Alt Text

When you upload an image to your website you will be given the following options to add on additional information:

  • Alt Text
  • Title
  • Caption
  • Description
  • File URL

Title and File URL will be automatically updated so they don’t need to be changed. What you need to focus on is your image Alt Text. Alt Text assists search engines in knowing what the image is referring to. Images that display on this page need to include the Focus KeyPhrase or LSI keywords. 

Your image Alt Text can be located at Back Office>Media>Edit

Alt Text on Images

Featured Image

A Featured Image appears next to your Meta Description in Google on mobile devices. This is a good way for your brand to stand out from the competition. Your Alt Text on the image MUST include your Focus KeyPhrase.

Example of a featured image

Page Images

Images that appear on your page will need to include your Focus KeyPhrase. However, if you overload too many images with the same KeyPhrase, this may negatively impact your score. It is best practice to use a mixture of LSI words for your Alt Text and your Focus KeyPhrase.

Backlinks

A great way to reassure Google that your topic is related to your Focus KeyPhrase is to connect it to similar articles through Backlinks

Using backlinks is a great way to reference or substantiate a claim on your site. For example, let’s take our “What is Yoast” Focus KeyPhrase. Linking this article to a website that covers a similar topic via a backlink will confirm to Google that the article is related. There are three types of backlinks, Outgoing, Incoming and Internal. 

You can check the status of your page’s back links: Back Office>Pages on the far right, next to the SEO and Readability are two more icons. The arrow pointing up is Outbound links and the other is Internal links. 

Looking at the page titled ‘Branding’ we can see this has 10 outgoing links and 1 internal link

Screenshot of Yoast's traffic light system - indicating content quality

Outgoing Links

Outgoing links are a great way to reference other sites with similar topics to your Focus KeyPhrase. 

Incoming Links

Persuading other websites that rank higher on Google to link back to your site will give your website a better SEO score.

Internal Links

Internal links are when you link the page you are working on to another part of your website that has a similar topic. 

How to Link

Backlinking is quick and easy to do. 

  1. Navigate to the page you wish to edit and type your text. 
  2. Highlight the text you wish to link
  3. Select the link icon in the editor
  4. Paste the URL into the popup and click the blue save icon

Slug

A slug is not as slimy as you might think! 

A slug is a suffix at the end of your domain name. Let’s look at the example below:

example of how URLs are broken down into different sections

In this case, the slug is “/wp-admin”. A slug must be less than five words separated by hyphens. If your WordPress settings are set up correctly, after you fill out the Focus KeyPhrase and update the page, your website will auto-generate the perfect one.

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