YOAST SEO KEYWORD SETUP
Let me get straight into the topic. Your blog is not ranked by search engines but your posts are.
When someone inputs a search query, the search engine matches the word with the keywords in your post. Thus your post is ranked according to the keyword filtration.
These targeted keywords are known as focus keywords. You cannot rank for all the keywords used in your post. You should use some focused keyword and that focus phrase should be used strategically so that you can rank for that particular phrase.
Yoast SEO keyword provides us with some very useful data and analysis of our keywords while writing our posts.
BUT, BE VERY CLEAR THAT YOAST SEO OR ANY OTHER SEO TOOL WILL GIVE US JUST SUGGESTION OF USING OUR KEYWORDS IN PLACES AND THIS IS WILL NOT MAKE US ANY SEO EXPERT.
As a beginner, (as well as myself when I started) I have seen many bloggers believe that an SEO tool is all you need. NO. There are lots and lot about SEO else every post would be ranking in Google.
In fact, I have many posts that do not have a green signal from Yoast SEO plugin but, still rank decent.
FEATURES OF YOAST SEO PLUGIN
Just a brief of what this plugin does, apart from the analysis of your focus keyword.
1. Yoast has made everything so easy. You can verify your social profiles like Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus & many others.
2. With one click you can now verify XML sitemaps.
Above are the links for verifying your site and creating a sitemap in Google and Bing web search engine, that you can easily submit to Yoast SEO for easy verifications.
The tutorials are written in 2019 and I believe many screen-shots are changed by now. So if you are having trouble anywhere, feel free to comment.
2. With Yoast SEO, you can even exclude the posts which you do not want to index.
4. You can set your meta keywords, meta descriptions of your blog.
5. You can authenticate your website with Google Search Console using the Yoast Plugin.
6. You can enable breadcrumbs, re-direct permalink structure and many more.
I cannot believe that Yoast is a free plugin 🙂 Though the Premium version is there. But we can do so much with the free plugin too.
UNDERSTANDING CONTENT ANALYSIS OF FOCUS KEYWORD
Yoast provides a fantastic feature called Content Analysis of the post. Let us take a look at the example.
I am writing a post about Colorful Butterflies. Remember this is just an example so I have not done any keyword research before choosing my focus keyword. I have chosen my Focus Keyword to be colorful butterflies in garden.
Check to understand the Keyword research process and see how to find the most searched keywords (keyword volumes) for free.
If you understand the keyword research process thoroughly then you might want to search for the long- tail keyword generators.
Click on Edit Snippet
By clicking on Edit Snippet you will be able to check the slug and write the Meta Description on your own.
It is the set of words that appears in the URL of your post and the MOST important place where you should put your keywords. It is better to keep the slug short, sweet and meaningful.
What are stop words?
A slug may contain stop words. Stop Words are words that we frequently use while writing a post. Stop words do not hold any significance in search queries.
Google ignores stop words completely. So the stop words are usually filtered from search queries as they return massive unnecessary information.
Example of stop words: your, with, is, on, of, and, was, a
Does stop word hurt SEO?
What if Google starts showing results considering stop words? Can you imagine the chaos? Words like ‘your’, ‘the’, ‘with’, ‘in’ will appear in every article so how is it going to display the result?
So Google makes a very low priority for these stop words, mostly ignoring them completely.
Definitely, search engines are much more interested in other keyword queries.
For example, Suppose my focus keyword is ‘ black paper for wrapping board’. If someone has to search for it, they will generally write as ‘black paper wrapping board’. So, we as a user also do not use stop words while entering search terms. Ask yourself how many times you have entered search queries with ‘your’, ‘with’, ‘a’? In this case, if someone is having a focus keyword as ‘black paper wrapping board’ is likely to rank higher than the person using ‘for’ in the focus keyword phrase.
So, stop words do affect SEO. Avoid it using in the URL’s.
You can read handling stop words by Yoast Seo.
A meta description is a very important feature so do not let the search engines choose your meta descriptions.
The starting lines of your post are usually taken by default as Meta descriptions. It is always necessary to edit the snippet and write our own meaningful, keyword-rich Meta descriptions.
The meta description is as important as the Title of the page; as it is visible in the search engines and it makes your post clickable to the user.
Meta description describes your web page and is one of the most important ingredients of On-Page SEO. The meta description should be very catchy and it should tell the readers about the post content.
The meta description is a ~160 character snippet, a tag in HTML, that summarizes a page’s content. Search engines show the meta description in search results mostly when the searched for phrase is contained in the description. Optimizing the meta description is a very important aspect of on-page SEO~ Yoast
CONTENT ANALYSIS DETAILS
This feature of the Yoast SEO Plugin gives plenty of useful information. We can already see that it gives the keyword density, tells us if our meta description consists of the focus keyword and many more.
Getting clear on each point:
Focus keyword contains stop word:
We have already discussed what is a stop word and whether to use it in our focus keyword or not.
The text contains 124 words:
Long posts with 2000-3000 words are mostly successful. It is seen that long detailed posts are the ones that get the most number of clicks and shares in social media.
Long post does not mean you can uselessly rant about things just to cover word counts. The posts should be meaningful, well detailed about the topic you are writing about.
When you start writing a well-detailed post, then you naturally use different combinations of keywords and phrases that make your posts rank in search engines.
On average, a post should consist of 600-700 words.
Yoast plugin tells us that a post should contain a minimum of 300 words (that is way too minimum for any posts to rank).
Focus keyword doesn’t appear in the first paragraph:
Yoast SEO Focus keyword is the word or phrase which we are targeting for our post to rank in search engines.
So, it is better to use it in the first para itself as it will clarify the motive of our post and also increase our keyword density (keyword density-will come to it later).
Images missing alt attributes
It is a very important thing. Your image name should always contain the focus keyword in it.
Suppose you write about baking.
Someone searches for yummy cakes in image search or Pinterest and your image text describes it as picture003.jpg. So will it show up in the results? No.
Click on the edit tab. Now you can put your own alt text for best SEO practices.
Slug contains stop word:
We have already discussed it.
This page contains 1 normal outbound link means that the post has been linked to an external page. Here I have given the link to ‘Yoast stop word handling page’. So it makes a normal outbound link.
You can always and should link to some authority sites (well-establish sites).
When you are linking to some authority sites it makes search engines think that your site has some good info about the topic too.
Tip: Do not link with the same anchor text as your keyword.
The meta description contains focus keyword:
Meta Description has already been described. The use of seo focus keyword in meta description is highly recommendable.
Length of meta description:
As mentioned above, the meta description is a 160 character snippet. Make the most out of it by writing some useful description of the post.
Meta descriptions are equally important as the title of the post.
Focus keyword appears in subheading:
We give sub-heading to make our posts more organized. So when a focus keyword is used in the subheadings it clearly says that the focus phrase is an important part of the post.
Keyword density 1.6%
1-2 % of Keyword density is considered good by Yoast Plugin.
Here I do wanna say something CLEARLY, do not go overboard with your keywords.
You will hurt your SEO badly.
You can use Semrush, keysearch or any other keyword finders that will give you a number of keyword combinations.
It is okay to have your focus keyword mentioned 5 times in a 1000 word post. But definitely not in a 300-word post.
So, do not run after the green signal of Yoast SEO for keyword density.
Page Title length:
Page Title length can consist of 140 characters. Beyond 140 characters it will be wider than the view-able limit. You can write long post title and include your target keywords within the recommendable limit.
Focus keyword in URL
Using a focus keyword for the slug is definitely good (and should be) for SEO. It helps search engines to filter the post for your targeted keywords.
Never used this focus keyword before
You can write another post using the same focus keyword to rank both your posts for the same targeted word (I do not see any point though).
But surely when you use it for the first time it is better. Using the same focus keyword for a 2nd post can cause duplicate content issues. Duplicate content issues must be avoided as it will impact SEO negatively.
A WRAP UP OF YOAST SEO SETTING FOR WORDPRESS
This post is written with just blogging beginners in mind.
There is much more to SEO than any seo tool can provide.
Your On-page SEO should be perfect, there should be many backlinks pointing towards your post.
And most importantly, your content should be strong.
Yoast seo plugin is just a start to understanding SEO.
More than On-page SEO it is the off-page SEO that contributes to a post ranking.
Related Blogging for Beginners Ideas:
- How to start a blog to earn a living. Many of us do not understand the roadmap to create a blog and what should you do after knowing SEO or when should you start applying it.
- What is meant by Digital Marketing and how can it affect your blog?
- How to make your new blog look like a PRO?