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Tool review: Yoast SEO

27 August 2021
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Tool review: Yoast SEO

This Yoast SEO review takes an in-depth look at how the popular WordPress plugin can be used to optimise content in order to increase engagement and get more clicks from Google and social media.

Yoast SEO is one of the most widely used plugins on WordPress, thanks to its feature-rich free version that covers a wide range of basics for content writing and search engine optimisation. While keyword and copy writing optimisation is the main draw, there are a variety of other benefits on offer when you dig a little deeper.

How can Yoast SEO help my business?

Yoast SEO promises to help you to “outrank your competitors” via search-driven tweaks made to copy within WordPress. There are two versions available – free and Premium. Just by logging into WordPress and installing and activating the plugin, you can get access to:

  • Keyword optimisation for one keyword or keyphrase
  • Schema markup for faster indexing and rich results
  • Manual checks for outdated pages
  • Previews for how content looks on Google
  • Readability scores for your writing
  • Technical optimisation for robots.txt files and more
  • SEO academy courses

While the free version is a great primer for beginning the process of optimising content, the Premium version should be viewed as an essential upgrade for any business serious about improving the quality of their content to increase visibility of pages and clicks from search.

What are the benefits of Premium?

One glaring limitation within the basic offering is the ability to set only one focus keyword. When you are crafting content to reach and engage with a wide audience, you really need to add a range of related keywords, which is a feature only available in Premium.

Another major benefit of using the paid tier is internal linking. With premium, you can get suggestions for links to pages on your WordPress site as you are writing copy, add hierarchical links quickly to improve site structure, and use something called ‘SEO workouts’ to clean up underperforming URLs and identify pages without any links.

Premium supports these features using an automated system that makes it easy to implement changes on the fly. In contrast, the free version is heavily reliant on manual actions. While you can do most things with the basic feature set, it will take more time and require more workarounds to achieve similar results.

Premium is currently available for a flat rate annual fee. By partnering with an SEO agency that already has access to Yoast SEO Premium and has vast experience in how to wield its toolset to improve the performance of campaigns, you can quickly overhaul your strategy and start publishing better content.

What is Yoast SEO best at?

Keywords, content readability and technical SEO are among Yoast SEO’s strengths. The tool is designed primarily to take your content SEO to the next level so it will constantly provide feedback about how a piece of content you are writing will perform in search on Google and Bing.

Keywords

The keyword functionality is centred around a focus keyphrase, which is the target search term that you will want to rank for in search. You can input one of these for each of your pages and Yoast SEO will then helpfully provide feedback on how to optimise your text for it. It might, for example, suggest using a keyword in a subheading or adding it more within the main copy to increase its density.

The feedback is listed using a bullet system with problems highlighted in red, and improvements and good results shown in amber and green, respectively. You can work through this list and make changes to your content to improve your overall score. This is an excellent tool for optimising pages to increase your rankings and organic traffic.

Readability

Writing natural copy for an audience is just as important as tailoring it for search engines. The readability tool uses the same green, amber and red system, but this time to highlight how sentences, paragraphs, headings and writing style can be improved to make it easier for people to read and understand.

Yoast SEO says it carefully crafted an algorithm to analyse content on a range of different factors that are tied directly to readability. It also does it in a way that is accurate but subtle, to ensure your brand’s tone of voice still shines through.

Technical SEO

The technical side of optimisation can be confusing but Yoast SEO promises to take care of the “stuff in the background” even if you are not well-versed in code, files and sitemaps. A simple process after installation will fix many critical technical elements. The more technically minded can also access a plethora of hidden features, such as self-referencing canonicals, and nofollow and noindex tags.

Yoast SEO keeps it simple by turning on anything that will be beneficial for users, while allowing developers, engineers and webmasters to change certain elements if they need to. The configuration wizard for technical SEO should be your starting point. From here, you can get things just how you want them to be.

Previews

Moving back to content, you can preview how your pages will look on social media and search. The free version limits this to Google only, while Premium extends the functionality to Facebook and Twitter. In addition to setting up default templates to increase efficiency, you can also tailor images, titles and descriptions here to make everything more eye-catching and engaging for users. The right changes can help to attract more visitors.

Finally, Yoast SEO is also updated every two weeks to ensure it works seamlessly and effectively with the latest algorithm from Google. Everything this plugin offers is centred around excellent writing and technical optimisation within WordPress, which can take your content marketing and SEO to the next level.

If you want to work with an agency that already has access to Yoast SEO Premium and knows how to use it to craft content that converts, contact us today. We offer a range of services that can increase your visibility in search and drive traffic to your website.

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