Yoast SEO tops the list of best free SEO plugins for the WordPress sites due to the ease of use, scalability, efficiency, and actionable insights it provides to the users. The tool offers you a collection of all the ideal options and features to optimize your content as per the best Search Engine guidelines. It also empowers you to write reader-friendly content by showing you vital stats that analyze the readability of your content. While the free plug-in cones with all the major features the premium plug-in also offers you a few extra options along with the premium Yoast support. In this post, we are going to review the Yoast plug-in and see if it is the right choice for making your webpage search engine friendly
Introduction to Yoast
Yoast started as a tutorial on SEO by Joost de Valk but it later gained more functional capabilities and emerged as a robust SEO plug-in that is being used by different businesses across the globe today.
Quick overview and main functionalities
Click SEO > General to check the different SEO settings in Yoast. Here you will get a wide number of setting to fine time all the key aspects of your webpage that affect your SEO potential. The settings section offers you to choose from five different tabs to match your immediate SEO goals. While each tab helps you accomplish an important goal one tab is of vital importance- Webmasters Tools tab. It offers you an easy and quick integration option to connect your site with 4 major programs namely Alexa, Yandex, Google, and Bing.
It allows you to determine and categorize your functional ecosystem for streamlined project management. For that you need to access Titles and Metas screen. Here you can give a relevant title to different website aspects like pages, posts, custom post types, homepage, tags, archives pages, and categories.
You will also get various other options like determining if a specific post type should be indexed (by default), activate Yoast SEO meta box, or display date in the Google (or other search engines) snippets.
Once you install the plug-in you would be taken to the features tour. In the Title and Metas screen you can create title templates for diverse website aspects like posts, pages, homepage, custom post types, archives pages, categories, and tags. You also have options to show date in SERP results, set a specific post type as no index by default, enable Yoast SEO Meta box.
Analyzing content with Yoast
You would get extensive features and tools to analyze your content and optimize it to meet the ideal search engine guidelines. For instance you can preview and control your content appearance in SERPs customizes SEO title of your post and edit the Meta description. All these factors can have a deep impact on your CTR rate and eventually helps you in improving your rank on selected keywords.
Just below your WP editor you would see Yoast content analyzer inside a Meta box. Here you can control your content management and optimize it for better ranking. For instance the snippet editor allows you to preview the content’s appearance in SERPs and also edit it for optimum benefits. You can define your Meta description to make it search engine and reader-friendly. Likewise you would get the SEO title customization option.
Functionalities of Yoast Snippet Editor
As the name suggests the content analysis tool helps you to analyze the different aspects of your content so that you can fine-tune it to meet your SEO objectives. The first thing is to enter your focus keyword. Keep in mind that free users can enter only single keywords and for entering multiple keywords you need to buy a premium plan.
Yoast SEO automatically analyzes different aspects of your content by matching them against the latest SEO guidelines and practices. It includes but is not limited to readability, keyword density, outbound links, keyword position, strategic use of keywords at important places, – and various other related factors that affect your SEO.
Along with content score it also offers you light-based indicators that allow you to quickly analyze your content at a glance.
The best thing is that by wisely using the Yoast content analysis you can also make your content reader-friendly as the tool offers you to test and optimize the major aspects of your content that shape and affect the readers experience like readability, use of power words at important places t help them quickly distend the gist of your content, preventing the use of long paragraphs, etc.
Social Media Optimization
The tools offer an easy integration option to link your site with the top 4 social media tools including Facebook Open Graph, Twitter Cards, and others.
Click SEO>Social to explore more options for social media optimization of your URL.
Yoast also empowers you to optimize the social media image and post for promoting your content so that you can fine-tune them to meet the interests of target audiences. It enables you to easily capture the attention of diverse audiences across different social media platforms. For instance o can specify custom Meta descriptions, change the title, and insert the social media-friendly image to instantly attract the visitors.
Content indexation is quintessential if you wish to be ranked on SERPs. If the content is not being indexed, you cannot expect to be ranked on SERPs even during most relevant searches with less competition.
For that Yoast SEO ships with an inbuilt functionality for XML Sitemap. To activate it you need to click SEO > XML Sitemap. Now check the checkbox option.
Once you activate the XML the tool automatically informs Google as soon as you post any fresh content which adds momentum to your overall SEO efforts. Along with the content it also indexes the images in the Google images. It thus streamlines speeds up the indexing process.
You can further customize the indexing process by instructing Yoast not to index specific posts by specifying individual post URLs, post types or typographies that need to be excluded.
The Yoast premium comes with a dedicated support service provided by the expert support team and it can resolve most of your queries within half an hour (many of them within a fraction of this time).
Along with the premium support the premium version of Yoast also comes with 404 errors fixing through redirects and targeting multiple focus keywords that can widen the SEO potential of your webpage. You would also get as many as 13 video tutorials that will enlighten you on how to extract the maximum benefit out of Yoast SEO plug-in.
You can start with the free Yoast plug-in, understand its functionalities, and use it for a few months or any reasonable period. Then you would be in a better position to decide if you need to invest in the premium plug or you are happy with the free version.>
Moreover you will also get the extra extensions if you wish to have full control over specific aspects of your websites. These extension include
· Video SEO
· Local SEO
· News SEO
· Woocommerce SEO
- Comprehensive content and SEO analysis including readability based on Flesch reading score
- Canonical URLs Setup for avoiding duplicate content
- Enhancing site indexing with advanced XML Sitemaps functionality
- Automated provisions to optimize the technical aspects like sitemaps, robots.txt, permalinks, and .htaccess files.
- Extended control over the breadcrumbs
- Title and meta description templates for snippet branding on the Google
- Cornerstone content to analyze your content quality based on powerful parameters
Exclusive features for premium version only
- LSI optimization
- Local/News SEO/WooCommerce SEO
- Annual support by the expert team
- Local/News SEO/WooCommerce SEO
- Extended insight tool features
- Detailed social previews
- Redirect manager
- Actionable suggestions on Internal linking
- Google, Facebook, Twitter Previews
- No ads in the background
- Keyword export in CSV format
· Purpose-built content analyses tool to make your content friendly for readers and search engines
· Real-time SEO capabilities while working in WordPress editor interface
· Actionable insights
· Quick overview with the help of light indicators to understand SEO compatibility of your content
· Improved keyword optimization
- Lack of keyword variation analysis
- Based on Search engine algorithms which keep on changing
- On the instances of keywords are measured, not the value of keyword itself (So users have to invest manual efforts on keywords research)
- Much of your productive time can be spent on fine-tuning the nitty-gritty of the content like passive. Active voice transient verbs, stop words, etc.
- The plug-in uses only the uniform system to check different types of content but individual posts may have individual requirements that don’t need to align with all these guidelines or may need additional guidelines (like research articles)
Many people have the notion that all greens and high scores on Yoast SEO mean that your content is SEO friendly and eligible for a good ranking on Google. It isn’t so. The plug-in only offers you the easy way to analyze the SEO compatibility of your content and making it reader-friendly. Having said that, the tool offers a wide variety of options to control all the key aspects of your webpage SEO. The interface is easy and intuitive. You would also love the extended options in a premium version like the detailed social preview, specific SEO like news SEO or local SEO, more detailed insights, and keyword file export. It doesn’t overwhelm you with a truckload of options and also allows you to take care of all the prime aspects of your content affecting its SOE compatibility.