You may have the most beautiful site in terms of design and animation, but it is of no use if it can’t be found on the internet. For your customers to find you, it is imperative for your site to appear on page 1 of the search result. If you are managing a WordPress site, there are plenty of SEO techniques you can apply yourself to improve your website’s search engine optimisation.
Yoast SEO plug-in is one of the most powerful and popular plug-ins to manage the SEO of sites developed on WordPress. The most important functionality of Yoast — editing of title, slug and meta description — is free to use, but the plug-in offers some premium features as well.
With Yoast, you can easily take charge of your site’s SEO and manage titles, meta descriptions, targeted keywords, sitemaps and much more.
In this article, we will discuss core 5 SEO techniques for WordPress site using the Yoast SEO plug-in.
Editor’s note: Are you a web developer with a number of clients? Manage all your WordPress sites from one dashboard — even update core, plug-ins and themes for all your sites with one click.
Top 5 SEO techniques
In this article, we will discuss some critical SEO techniques that can skyrocket your site’s SEO and help you show up in customers’ search results.
- Title, slug and meta description.
- Meta robots configuration.
- Content analysis – readability and SEO.
- XML sitemaps.
- Webmaster tools verification.
Let’s dive in further.
1. Title, slug and meta description
Yoast SEO supports snippet preview and editor, which shows how your link will appear in the search result.
You can preview for both mobiles as well as desktops and optimize it as per your target audience.
The title and meta description of your link should entice the user to click and visit the page.
That’s why keyword research and targeting is very important to meet your SEO goals. Keywords tell the search engines about the type of content on your website and for whom the content is meant.
You can do detailed keyword research for your business on Ubersuggest and Google Keyword Planner.
Below is a screenshot of the Yoast snippet preview window.
The title is the most important element here and is the first thing that your user notices in the search results. The meta description is placed just below the title and it gives the user a sneak peek or summary of what he is going to find on that page.
Below is the example of a brilliantly crafted title, meta description and slug.
Editing the slug makes your URL more search engine- and user-friendly. For example, the link www.upthereach.com/products is better than www.upthereach/87eP34 — for both the user as well as a search engine to understand.
Pro tip: Please mind the length of your title and meta description, as Google trims the length after a certain number of characters in desktop and mobile search. It is advisable to keep the title length under 60 characters.
2. Meta robots configuration
There are some pages or posts on your site that you don’t want Google to index and show in the search results. The most common ones are the post-subscription ‘Thank You’ pages.
You can easily remove these pages from indexing by setting up noindex and nofollow in the Yoast editor.
- Noindex keeps search engines from adding this page to their indexes and therefore prevents them from showing it in the search results.
- Nofollow tells the search engines not to follow the link on the mentioned page.
When you are working on the page or post in WordPress, locate the meta box in the advanced section of the snippet editor window as shown in the pic below.
Related: WordPress SEO in 6 steps
3. Content analysis – readability and SEO
The content analysis tool of Yoast SEO analyses the SEO and user-friendliness of your content. You can check the results of the analysis in the meta box by scrolling down on your post or page.
The goal of readability analysis is to make content easy to digest so that the user will spend more time on the page, thereby telling the search engine that the result is useful to them. If Yoast shows your page or post has poor readability, you can refine the content until your score improves.
Yoast analyses the content with respect to the Focus Keyphrase. This is the keyword or phrase for which you want your post or page to rank in the search engine. Yoast scans the title, introductory paragraph, URL, meta description, content of the post and distribution of keyword (and lots more) to arrive at the SEO score of the article or page.
Green emoji in the content analysis window indicates that you are doing well (good results), Orange is OK with some improvement required, whereas Red means that there are some serious problems in the content or keyword strategy.
4. XML sitemaps
XML sitemap is like a map of your website that leads Google to your important pages. Why XML sitemap is important? It helps Google in crawling your site efficiently, even if the internal links of your site are not well managed.
In the General > Features tab of your Yoast plug-in, turn on the XML sitemap functionality. Yoast will automatically generate a sitemap, update it as you add new content to the site and ping search engines.
5. Webmaster tools verification
Webmaster tools are your means of communicating with the search engine giants. With the help of webmaster tools, you can:
- Check the errors that crawlers are indicating at your site
- Request search engines crawl your site
- Submit site maps
- Instruct the crawler to not crawl particular pages
For navigating to the Webmasters tool, you can locate the SEO tab on the left of your WordPress dashboard and select the option ‘General’ below it. You can easily navigate to the window as shown below.
To connect with webmaster tools for each search engine like Bing, Google, Baidu you need to verify that you are the owner of the website. Yoast helps you to easily copy and paste the verification code and verify your site. The process is simple and similar for all the search engines.
Only building a beautiful and functional site is not enough. You must get yourself found by customers on the search engines where they are looking to close the purchase.
SEO is a continuous exercise that takes time to yield results.
Apart from the technical on-page SEO, you should also develop high-quality customer-oriented content on your website consistently. Content marketing can provide you a competitive advantage by pushing your links to the top of search results. As such, it’s worth every minute you spend on it.