The One SEO Plugin You Need and How to Use It

Way back when; I said I was going to do a post on the one SEO plugin that has helped me enormously. I seriously regret not getting it sooner, as it meant I had over 200 posts to go back over and sort out. Which wasn’t exactly the best fun I’ve ever had. This is The One SEO Plugin You Need and How to Use It.

The Plugin is called Yoast. I hear people talking about it all of the time, so you may have already heard of it. I used to see people talking about it, but switch off at the mention of SEO, as it just sounded difficult. Spoiler; it isn’t. Once you get it, it pretty much walks you through it. I had to do a bit of Googling at the start, as I had no clue what a Slug was, or a stop word, but I’m getting there.

I’m no expert on this kind of thing, but this is the plugin that has really helped me and I’ve seen results. My search engine referrals have increased.

Just to warn you this post is very long, so I hope you’re ready.

Hosting Platform and Costs

Unfortunately this is a WordPress plugin, so I’m assuming it won’t work on Blogger or anything else. You can pay, or download the free version.

For one site it’s £69, so I quickly decided to go for the free version. You get benefits for paying, but the free version works just fine.

Downloading and Installing 

Once you hit download you’ll be left with a Zip file ready to install to your blog. Head back to your blog and along the side hover over plugins and click on ‘add new’.

 

 

At the very top of that page, you should see a ‘Upload Plugin’ near the right corner. Click on that and you’ll then be able to upload the zip file you have just downloaded.

You’ll then get taken to another page that will tell you if it’s installed.

I’ve not included the screenshot here, as mine says not successful, as it’s already installed.

You must click ‘activate plugin’ in order for it to work.

Configuration

You should now have a tab at the side that says SEO, click on it and you should see this page.

I’ve had a quick look on the Yoast Configuration guide, and it says that the configuration wizard should be the first place to start.

Where the picture of the girl waving is click on ‘Open the configuration Wizard’ to get started. The text may be slightly different, but it’ll be in blue.

A new tab will open, and you’ll have to answer a few question, I think there’s 12 steps, but the end 3 are Ad’s and trying to get you to sign up to the newsletter. The information is beneficial to Google, as it: defines your name for Google’s site name markup and modifies whether you are a company or a person for Google’s Knowledge Graph.

That is all I used that screen for. To be honest this is the first time I’ve clicked on that tab in a while.

The Overview

On your dashboard right at the very bottom, you’ll get your very own overview, so you can see how your posts are doing. Yoast works on a traffic light system. Green is the colour you’re aiming for, but orange/ amber means it’s okay and red means that it needs improvement.

 

This is a really great tool, to quickly see the state of your posts. This is what mine currently looks like. As I’ve already said I’ve been through all of my posts and given them a tweak already.

You should start with zero, as it doesn’t start calculating the SEO until you’ve put a Focus Keyword in. We’ll come on to that in a minute.

 

Changes in ‘Posts’ Tab

The next biggest change comes in the post tab. You get four new columns along the left hand side. These are:

‘Number of Internal Links in this Post’

This tells you how many links in the post lead to other places on your site.

‘Number of Internal Links Linking to this Post’

Bit of a mouthful. This is how many of your other posts have links to that post.

SEO Score

This uses the traffic light system

Readability Score

This uses the traffic light system

 

Changes Whilst Writing

I’m not good with subheadings okay.

You now get a section at the bottom of the post titled Yoast SEO. In this section you get a breakdown on how it ranks your SEO and readability score.

For example, I’m going to use my Beauty Wishlist post.

Readability

This is what the readability tab looks like.

I’ve tried my best to understand the Flesch Reading Ease test, but I’ve never not green for that, so I didn’t look into it further.

I’ve started using subheadings a lot more because of this, and I feel it makes everything easier to read.

Paragraphs are suggested to be kept to a certain length under each subheading for simplicity. It makes it a lot easier to read.

Sentences should be less than 20 words which is something I struggle with, as I have a tendency of making them too long. Luckily if you click the eye it will highlight the problem sentences and you can change them. You do however have to scroll down and keep clicking the eye.

Transition words is another area that is not my strong point. When I finish writing a post, I hope that one is green so I can skip over it. If it’s not I try to reword the sentence or take it out completely.

Passive voice is the final area I can’t really help on. I struggle with this one, and luckily mine always tends to end in the green. If not I tweak the sentence until it changes. Great advice.

You don’t actually need to get them all in the green to get an overall green score. You can have one or two in the orange, but the overall will still be green.

SEO

I’m starting with the analysis part first, and then I’ll move onto the Focus Keyword and Snippet Preview afterwards. Remember that you only get the analysis if you’ve entered a keyword.

As you can see from mine, I don’t get the SEO all in the green. I find you don’t have to, as you still get a green overall score.

Keyword density is a funny one. My only advice would be to ignore it. It only counts it, if it appears exactly as you’ve put it in the box. So you can end up spamming your post trying to get the words in.

I completely ignore the focus keyword in subheadings, as I don’t find it’s needed.

I’ve added ALT tags to photos before, but it still stays in the orange, so I ignore that one too.

You’re not supposed to use the same titles, but I’m not creative enough to come up with new titles every time.

Most of everything in the green is to do with what I’m about to go through, so I’ll go through that when there are screenshots too.

As long as you have one internal link, you’re good. The reason I have an abnormal amount of outbound links is because it’s a wish list and I left a link to everything.

The Snippet

This is the main part I pay attention to when sorting my SEO out, as I find getting this right is enough to get an overall green score.

Start with the Focus Keyword. I always put as the title of the post. It’s the easiest way of doing things.

You’ll get a SEO title and Slug automatically, but they may need small changes.

That green bar under SEO title follows the traffic light system too. If it’s red it’s too short, medium good, but not great and finally green is where you want it. Keep it relevant and adding your blog name on the end is a great way of getting it longer.

I don’t tend to change the slug, as it confuses me, hence why mine has a 2 at the end. As it’s the second Beauty Wishlist post I’ve done. I keep this as the title of the post. If the post is already live don’t change this.

For the Meta Description I copy my first paragraph and put it in there and add the title of the post at the end. Sometimes I have to take sentences out, but it’s no problem.

Cornerstone Content is a feature I haven’t used at all, as I’m keeping my focus on getting everything else right.

You might get a warning around Stop words in your slug these are words that Google don’t count. So if you use words like: ‘a’, ‘the’ and ‘and’. These are words that aren’t the focus of the post, so they don’t have to be there.

That is pretty much everything I think. Yoast have a pretty good guide online that I’ve been following to try to come to terms with things, as 99% of these terms are new to me too. I’m sure there are plugins better than Yoast out there, but this is the one that’s working for me, and as a beginner I find easiest to use.

It has a simple system once you get used to what everything means and find a system that works for you. As you’ve just found I ignore half of it.

Do you use something to increase your SEO?

Thank you for reading!

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43 comments so far.

43 responses to “The One SEO Plugin You Need and How to Use It”

  1. Amelia says:

    This was such a helpful post hannah! I have this plugin and try my best at using it but going through it has made me understand it a lot more! Fingers crossed I can crack it xxx

  2. Ella Maybury says:

    I love this post! I will be coming back to it for sure when writing posts myself! I think you have done such a good job at breaking this plug in down so we can all somewhat get our head around the world of SEO! Love it Hannah! xxx

  3. Charlotte says:

    Such a informative and helpful post! I’ve never heard of Yoast before. Will be coming back to this post for myself!

    Charlotte // http://fadingtulips.blogspot.com/

  4. Mollie Quirk says:

    Oh wow, this sounds amazing!!

    Lots of love from Mollie xxx | http://wwwtheperksofmolliequirk.blogspot.com

  5. Anika May says:

    I love Yoast, such a good tool to have. Thanks for sharing!

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

  6. Lauren says:

    Yoast SEO is so helpful! It’s really helped me to get grips with SEO and how to optimise my content. Great post. I love this photo too. So pretty xx

    Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.co.uk

  7. Brynn says:

    My brain also turns off whenever SEO is mentioned. it just seems so overwhelming but this does seem very helpful. I will have to look into it. Love the blogging advice I hope you do more of these posts in the future

    Brynn

  8. Nina says:

    I’m glad, you found the plugin that helps you with SEO. Unfotunaly, I’m on Blogger so I can’t use it.

    Nina’s Style Blog

  9. PerlaGiselle says:

    Dang! I was really excited until I read it’s a WordPress plug-in! Still, it is really nice of you to share with your readers. Have a lovely Monday!
    -PerlaGiselle
    https://www.iamperlita.com/

  10. Kara says:

    This was such a helpful post! I use Yoast too and it’s great, but there are some things I just never understood what they meant, so I’ll be using this as a reference on what I need to include and what I can skip.

    x Kara | http://karascloset.net/

  11. I use Yoast and I agree its a total game changer. It took me awhile to fully make use of it but now I don’t think I could write a post without it! There are definitely a few things on this post I didn’t know about though so its still be really helpful xx

    Violethollow.com

  12. I have never tried it, but I’ve heard of it and I think I might just try now. Thanks for the tips!

    Natalia | Lindifique

  13. Kaithlin says:

    How have I never heard of Yoast – I definitely need to check it out – thanks!

    K x

  14. Chloe says:

    This is such a helpful post! I know hardly anything about CEO (which I should by now, oops!) but this has definitely helped me learn!
    Chloe X http://chloelxuise.com

  15. Diana says:

    Yoast SEO definitely helped me step up my blogging game! It’s a must have plug-in for any blogger! x
    Diana | http://www.cettedame.com

  16. Julia says:

    Yesss I totally love the Yoast plugin as well! I was so clueless about SEO as well and that plugin makes things ten times easier for me.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

  17. Emily says:

    I am most definitely bookmarking this post – it’s been so incredibly helpful Hannah, thank you! I do use Yoast but I definitely don’t make as much use of it as I should and you’ve highlighted lots of things it can do that I never even realised! So handy!

    Musings & More

  18. This is such a helpful post, I am certainly going to install this plugin Xx

  19. Gemma Etc. says:

    I LOVE Yoast so much, it’s amazing isn’t it!? Totally upped my blogging game xx

    Gemma Etc. ❤️

  20. Anu says:

    Thank you so much for writing this post! I moved from Blogger to WordPress at the beginning of this year and have been using Yoast ever since. However, there are sooooo many features I didn’t even know existed! Readability wasn’t turned on and neither were links. That has changed now though! I definitely need to read and learn more about Yoast to make sure I’m using the free version to its full potential! Xx

    Anu | Based On blog

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