Content Marketing / SEO & Search Marketing / WordPress

Yoast SEO – Guide to Content Optimization

Author:  Debra Murphy


Reading Time: 5 minutes
Yoast SEO - Guide to Content Optimization

Small business owners really don’t need one more thing to think about when it comes to online marketing. To add anything else to our already overflowing plates will make us ineffective. But small businesses, regardless of their industry, should add a blog as the central component of their content marketing activities. Creating relevant content for your target audience and optimizing it for search engine visibility is too important to ignore.

Optimizing Your Web Content

For the sake of simplicity, let’s view search engine optimization as two components:

Optimizing your content for each page and post of your website is essential to helping your site get found.

Good content marketing requires that you understand your target customer’s needs and then develop content to help them discover why they should buy your products and services. Effective use of keywords in content marketing makes your content more relevant to your target while helping search engines optimize the content.

Yoast SEO WordPress plugin makes content optimization simpler. The plugin makes analysis more visual, helping you optimize your pages and posts. If you are just learning how to optimize your pages and posts, this plugin will help. Here are some nice features that I’d like to point out.

Yoast SEO – Guided On Page Optimization

One thing I’ve always liked about Yoast SEO is that it tells you where to focus in order to best optimize each piece of content of your website. By selecting one keyword on which to base your writing, you create better, more relevant content for your reader while helping the search engines do their jobs.

The plugin gives you several features to help with the SEO process. The first, shown below, enables you to select your focus keyword phrase.  The SEO Title (what appears at the tab of your browser) and Meta Description create the snippet that will appear in the search engine results pages. Craft both in a way that attracts searchers to click through to your website.

Adding the focus keyword phrase enables the plugin to give you information on whether you have used the keyword in the right places.

Yoast SEO Plugin - General Screen

The SEO analysis tab highlights key optimization areas and provides insight into how well your page is optimized. The red, yellow and green icons indicate whether you have met the suggested criteria for well-optimized web pages. Don’t stress over not having all criteria in the green. Sometimes proper grammar is more important than satisfying SEO criteria.

SEO Analysis Tab

In the Advanced tab, you can set various index and follow options to guide the search engines. Mostly you can leave the settings as defined in the general plugin settings. But these are good to have if you need to create an exception.

Advanced Tab

Yoast SEO Readability Tab

Although not necessarily tied to optimization for search engines, the Readability Tab is to ensure you are providing content that is easy to consume. Using more active voice, shorter and easier to scan paragraphs and shorter sentences, helps the person reading your content to get more value from it. Again, don’t sacrifice grammar for the green happy face, but making sure your content is easy to read is important to keeping you in the search engine results.

Yoast SEO Readability Tab

Visual Triggers to Keep Your SEO on Track

In the new release, there are now more visual triggers to help you get the most from your content. In the top right of your WordPress block editor window is a little indicator that is red, yellow or green depending on whether the page has met the criteria.

Optimization & Readability Cues

I really like the the information listed in the pages and post WordPress dashboard. The plugin adds three columns to show the Title, Meta Description and the Focus Key Phrase that you used. This is a great reminder in case you forget to optimize the page or post. If the area is blank or the SEO indicator is gray, you need to do some work.

SEO in WordPress Posts and Pages Dashboard

The plugin also adds four columns with the SEO and readability rating, outbound links and internal links so you can tell if you’ve done all you can for on-page optimization.

All of these new reminders keep SEO very visible. Optimize each post as you write it.  Review pages for visibility and update when needed. Check your list of pages and see which ones you need to work on.

On page SEO is important but in my experience, it is too easy to overlook because of all the details. Most small business owners have enough on their task lists and SEO is one that never rises to the top. However, this plugin makes it easy to see if your content is optimized. Look at SEO as a challenge to turn your indicator from red to green.

3 thoughts on “Yoast SEO – Guide to Content Optimization”

  1. Hi Debra,

    Good content marketing is another way of saying that you’re convincing your viewers/customers to purchase your products. I love your great steps about wordpress SEO. They are very useful in my opinion.

    • Hi Barry,

      My view is that good content marketing is educating our prospects on who we are, what we do and how we help solve that burning problem. If that doesn’t convince them to buy our services, then they are not a prospect in the first place.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Thank you for sharing this very helpful article. I am new to SEO world and this would help me in a lot of ways.

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