Understanding how to breakthrough with better SEO knowledge while you construct that top notch blog post is very important. Luckily, there is an SEO WordPress plugin that gives you a great checklist to follow once you finish writing. I don’t recommend going through the checklist until you are finished. Otherwise, you could lose focus and the flow of your creativity.
I have spent days, weeks, and months gaining better SEO knowledge from books, videos, and prominent SEO blogs. But, most writers don’t have the time or desire to learn all of the ins and outs. This is understandable. We all have a limited amount of time especially when starting your blog and still have to hold down that full-time job you are working to escape.
Luckily, there is a plugin. Whether you have spent the time learning all about SEO or just need a checklist. The plugin below is an essential tool too keeping your posts search engine friendly. This, in turn, will help increase your exposure and gain more traffic.
The plugin is called Yoast SEO and is basically the standard in the blogging world. There are some other plugins that do basically the same thing but Yoast SEO knocks it out of the park. I will be focusing on the list that this plugin provides at the bottom of every editor. So please, download the plugin if you do not have it already installed and activated.
Once you understand how to use this plugin and what every line means. You will be able to take your great content and be sure it is optimized to it’s fullest potential. Making it easier to be picked up by search engines. So let’s dive in!
Better SEO Knowledge Thanks To Yoast
Here you will find the snippet preview and the button to edit the snippet. A snippet is what you see for each result on Google, Yahoo, and Bing after you perform a search.
You should make sure your target keyword for the post is in the title, the URL, and someplace in your description.
This is the keyword or phrase your post is about. This needs to be entered for the plugin to know what it is you’re trying to rank for and what your post is about.
Make sure to do some research during this process and be flexible with it. Changing it to a less competitive subset or version could lead to more traffic.
Here is where you will put all the variations of your keyword or phrase. Be creative and try to put yourself in the searcher’s shoes.
This is the bread and butter of the plugin. The goal is to have an overall green light at the top left of the plugin’s box. Under this section though you will see a breakdown of what the plugin looks for.
It will give you red if you have done a poor job on that checkpoint, yellow if you did a good job, and green if you did a great job. Let’s dive into these a bit more for better SEO knowledge.
These are words like “the”, “and”, “so”, etc. These types of words Google typically leaves out of search results and making them a part of your key-phrase may not be helpful.
That being said Google is getting much better at using these stop words so this checkpoint will not count for our against your overall color.
Number of Words
This plugin want’s you to have at least 300 words; I like to shoot for 500 to 1,000 but don’t draw it out if you have run out of useful things to say.
This wants you to manually place a meta description. Remember to make sure you keyword/phrase is included in this short paragraph.
It’s good to have images on the page. If you are using WordPress make sure to make the “alt text” the same as your keyword to help rank in Google image searches.
Keyword in first paragraph
This is to make sure your focus is clearly expressed from the start of your copy (writing). This should be fairly easy to accomplish and I even tend to go back and rewrite the paragraph to make sure it flows.
Flesch Reading Ease
Lower the score the harder the post is to read. Keep it easy for your visitors to read and they will not feel like reading your blog is a chore.
Linking to other sites shows the search engines that you are participating in the internet community.
Use your keyword in at least one subheading (like H2 or H3). This will help Google understand what your blog post is about.
Focus Keyword in the URL
This will happen automatically if you have your keyword in your title if using WordPress. Be sure to check since long titles do get truncated.
Focus Keyword in the title
This is a must. Learn how to write magnetic headlines and incorporate your keyword in the mix.
Too long and it will get chopped up in Google’s search results
It’s always a good idea to use a new keyword to help expand your site within your niche.
Make sure this is not red! You do not want to have too many instances of the keyword or phrase in your post.
This will not only make it sound weird to your readers but it can also cause the search engines to penalize you. The correct density changes depending on how many words are in your post.
Few! That’s a lot of information. Don’t worry, you have no need to memorize all of that. The plugin has enough information in the box that you will know what needs to be done in order to get those green lights.
One last thing. Don’t get stuck on trying to get every light at the bottom of the plugin green. It can be a waste of time and might even make your writing sound forced and weird.
All you need to do is make sure the overall light is green. This can be seen at the top right of the post editor screen or at the top left of the plugin box at the bottom of the editor screen.
Tell us how this plugin has helped you gain better SEO knowledge.