Search Engine Optimization

1.Introduction #

When I create a new website for a client I always include a plugin called Yoast SEO. This plugin allows you to update your pages/posts with SEO relevant keywords and descriptions so your website gets noticed in Google.

Part of my job is to install the plugin, create a Google webmaster account for you and verify your website with Google and setup the SEO plugin for your website. After that it’s up to you to fine tune your keywords and descriptions for each page/post in your website. I have included some links explaining the setup of the Yoast SEO Plugin in the last sections of this manual, in case you want to setup the SEO plugin yourself.

This manual will give an idea of how to use the Yoast SEO plugin and I will try to give you some links to other websites that explain in detail how to optimize your website for the best SEO results.

2.Short explanation about the Yoast SEO plugin #

Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that gives you fine control over your page descriptions and keywords to ensure your website gets listed in Search Engines.

With the help of green orange and red dots it tells you when one of your pages/posts needs better text and gives other recommendations. You can create descriptions and search words for each individual page/post of your website.

3.On-Page SEO #

Now we’ll look at using Yoast SEO in your everyday blog use to optimize your content for search engines. On every post type, Yoast SEO will place a “meta box” below the Visual Editor in WordPress. You can use Yaost SEO on Posts, Pages and if your website has them, custom Post Types.

This meta box is the bread and butter of Yoast SEO. Here’s what it all means.

Snippet Preview – this takes your meta data (ie, the page title and description) and shows you what it will look like in Google search results.

Focus Keyword – “what is focus keyword yoast seo” is a very common question about using Yoast SEO. It is the keyword you most expect your post to rank for, and best describes your post. In other words, if someone searched for your focus keyword, you would want (and expect) your post to show up in Google.

Filling out the Focus Keyword field in Yoast is not necessary, but can generally help you align your language with the language you expect people searching to use. Yoast will take your focus keyword and run a check to make sure you’ve used it appropriately throughout your post so that it will be obvious to search engines what your post is about. Additionally, even though Yoast SEO allows 1 field, you should be targeting a “theme” of keywords with your post so you don’t start stuffing the same keyword over and over. Read more on keyword mapping here & keyword research here.

SEO Title – often the title you want to use on your blog is not the most descriptive title for visitors coming through search engines (additionally, your page title is the #1 on-page factor search engines use to evaluate the relevance of your post). Filling out this field will replace your post title in the <title> tag while leaving the main title on your actual site. Read more on how to write a great title tag here. Note – if you want to write a title tag that is longer that 512 pixels, you can. You’ll have to paste it into Yoast since the meta box won’t show it (though your website will).

Meta Description – this field allows you to customize the 2 lines of description that appear in the search results (and many social shares). It’s a great way to have a descriptive “advertisement” to potential visitors to click through. It’s not a ranking factor, but any keywords that appear in it will be bolded to stand out a bit more. Here’s a guide to meta descriptions .

If you look at Content Analysis, Yoast SEO runs a quick check of your post for SEO best practices based on your focus keyword. Take all these recommendations as a very rough guide, and keep in mind that you should always write for the end user, not specifically for search engines. That said, usually these are best practices for SEO particularly because they also help the user. Look at the page analysis for ideas, but also look at your post with a critical eye towards what a user searching would be looking for and how you can answer their question.

4.Further Reading #

Good SEO is a work in progress. Don’t think your website will have a high listing on Google just because your website is there. Google likes fresh content and a good way of updating your website is adding content with a blog. If you don’t have a blog it will help to generally update and re-write your website’s page content once in a while and replacing photos and or videos.

What is also important is good content. Google wants your website to be as meaningful to visitors as possible. Just using a few words to describe your services, or worse, using bullet points, is not enough. You have to aim at at least 4 paragraphs of text to explain about your service.

Below are some links to other articles about SEO in general and the use of the Yoast SEO Plugin for you to explore.

4.1.Setting up Yoast SEO Plugin #

For most of my clients I do this, but in case you want to do it yourself or refine the settings here is a nice article that explains in detail which are the best settings for your website.

The Ideal Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Settings: And Complete Guide To Optimizing WordPress Sites With Yoast

 

4.2.SEO Basics #

A list of articles from the creators of Yoast SEO that explain How Google Works and how to improve the SEO of your website.

SEO Basics

4.3.Focus Keyword Research #

Using keywords effectively on your website will help you tell a better story to both your visitors and search engines, and it will help communicate what searches your website is relevant for…so that you can get more visitors from search engines.

Keyword Mapping for SEO: How To Use Keywords On Your Website

How To Choose Focus Keywords In Yoast

4.4.Titles #

Writing an effective title tag for SEO & branding should be the first on-page SEO website improvement you make after you map your site’s keywords.

How To Write A Title Tag For SEO

 

4.5.Meta Descriptions #

Potential visitors are choosing whether or not to visit your website based on your meta description. Meta descriptions make their most important appearance in the search results.

How To Write A Meta Description For SEO & More Visitors

 

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