The Yoast SEO plugin is a great tool for bloggers. There’s more to SEO than getting that little green light. In fact, after reading about how I use Yoast SEO you’ll realize that I don’t even get a green light every time.
To be clear, Yoast SEO is my favorite SEO plugin for WordPress and I highly recommend having it. My purpose here is not to discourage you from using it. I write today because when I ask bloggers what they know about SEO or what they’ve been doing for their SEO the response I get is “I’ve gotten really good at getting that little green light to come on.”
Don’t Be Ruled By The Green Light
Getting that Yoast green light to come on is good, but don’t let it rule you. It’s ok if that green light does not come on. Let me repeat that, there’s nothing wrong with not getting the green light…when you know a little more about SEO. I do it all the time and I seem to do just fine. The green light is simply a robot doing a little math and checking some aspects of your page for you. Your readers are not robots! Your readers are human beings and in 2017 Google has gotten really good at using human elements in their algorithms.
What Does Yoast Do For You?
- Keeps you on your toes when you miss something. There are many elements to SEO and having a tool show you when you might have missed something is nice. I may not go for the green light, but I always double check those red and yellow lights.
- The snippet preview is helpful to visualize what your post might look like when it shows up in search results. Just ask yourself ‘Would you click on that?’
- The readability feature is nice to have. It checks sentence and paragraph lengths, transition words, sub headings, and even checks how often you’re using passive voice. I don’t live by it, but it’s one more check that is helpful before I hit ‘Publish’.
- All the things you probably didn’t know about – Configuration for your Robots.txt, canonical settings, breadcrumbs control, set a primary category, cleaning your permalinks, xml sitemap settings, and more.
What Yoast Doesn’t Do For You
- How do you know what keyword to use? You can literally enter anything into that “Focus Keyword” box within Yoast. Knowing how to research your keywords will go a LOOOONNNNNGGGG way!
- What about secondary keywords? Ok, so Yoast Premium does have this functionality, kind of. It will allow you to optimize for 2 focus keywords. There are so many keywords out there, how can a page just be relevant for 1 or 2 keywords thought? I typically shoot for 3-5 keywords when I can, and I have to keep track of those with my own spreadsheet. This is where a little SEO knowledge comes in.
- How long should your content be? Yoast checks for a minimum word count, but in 2017 long-form content is heavily rewarded depending on the topic. A “watermelon recipe” can be shorter, but what about “Summer Recipe Ideas”? You have to know how to research a keyword, but also research what searchers are actually looking for when they type in that keyword.
- Seeing where you already rank for certain keywords. My favorite SEO strategy is going back to a post that was written a few years ago and ranks on the second page of Google. SEO doesn’t end when you hit “Publish”.
- Optimizing for clicks, not just keywords. Ever heard of click-through rate? Well, that’s an important ranking factor with search engines.
- Keeping readers on your site when they get there. There’s no way for Yoast to even check for this. Again, another factor for getting and staying ranked.
- How quickly does your page/site load? Site speed affects SEO like you wouldn’t believe and there are easy ways to check this and optimize your posts.
- What off-site referrals and social engagement do you need to have? Your content is only a piece of your SEO, you also need to have people referring you and building your authority.
- How friendly is your content on mobile devices? There are ways to check how the user experience is for your post on the different mobile devices.
- Look at the competition. Ranking is all about being more relevant and having more authority than the next person. If you’re not looking at your competition in search even a little then you may not realize what you need to do to beat them.
What If SEO Actually Saved You Time
How much time could you save if instead of writing 20 new posts this month you went back and updated 8-10 articles you wrote 2 or 3 years ago? Having a successful blog is not about having tons and tons of new content each and every month. How many lists of ‘Mother’s Day Crafts’ have you put together over the years? You can go back, update and republish those articles, it’s ok. Both readers and search engines like when you do so.
Phew…So What Now?
That’s up to you, I can’t tell you what to do. Yes, a lot of people get lucky with SEO because they have focused on creating great content and have excellent engagement. I’m not here to change your world and to tell you to spend hours every week on your SEO. But when you educate yourself and know how search engines work as well as what people are actually looking for you’ll have so much more success. Success with SEO is in your processes. Add a few activities into your current processes and you see your organic traffic grow. It’s as easy as a few extra minutes when writing your post and knowing what else to look for when you’re planning next month’s posts.
Long story short, learn about SEO! It’s an investment you won’t regret.
Where To Learn About SEO For Blogging
Glad you asked! I actually have a course specifically for bloggers.
It’s not your typical SEO course where I post a boatload of videos for you to watch and you pay me a thousand bucks. It’s a membership where you get to learn at your own pace and are able to ask questions.
But wait, there’s more! As a member, you also get access to my closed Facebook group where I will share successes we are having currently. It’s not about what successes we’ve had in the past, these are real live cases where we show you what we did when we did it, and now the results we are seeing. Join today and become your own ‘SEO Expert’!