The free SEO WordPress Plug-in by Yoast

Everyone seems to have a blog these days, and for those who do will know a thing or two about the importance of SEO. The majority of bloggers will use the world’s most popular content management system WordPress. The platform is very SEO friendly with the design built around the ease of content management.

However, whilst WordPress is described as being SEO driven, the real benefits complete from the installation of WordPress Plugin, WordPress SEO by Yoast. If your website is currently on WordPress and you are looking to increase web performance, Yoast may just be the thing for you!

What is Yoast?

Created by Joost de Valk in 2003, he along with his ever-expanding team at Yoast has one goal; improve your website’s SEO. They make sure they go the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization so you don’t have to do.

To quote Yoast We optimize websites. Not just one aspect of websites, but every aspect. We make websites more usable, easier to navigate, faster and more reliable. In other words: we make websites work. Not just for the owner, but for the visitor.

  • Search Engine Snippet Preview
  • Focus Keywords
  • On Page Analysis
  • Social Media Integration
  • Easy XML Sitemaps

Search Engine Snippet Preview

The snippet preview is a very beneficial tool that provides a real time preview of how your page, blog or post will look in search results. It will inform you if your title is too long, short or if your meta description makes sense and best represents your content and search result.

From a web performance view, this will help not only increase local rankings, but will also increase the click through for organic search results.

Yoast Search Engine Result Preview Example

Search Engine Snippet Preview In Action.

Focus Keywords

If you are writing your article, blog or thoughts based around focus keywords, Yoast provides the perfect platform to help target real search keywords and phrases. You have your title and your amazing content, now it’s time to submit your keywords and phrases.

Simply type in the keywords or keyphrase that you wish to be searched and ranked for on that piece of content and Yoast will suggest keywords and/or phrases based off real search results. From an SEO point of view, this really helps engage what keywords to target.

Yoast Suggested Keyword Tool

Yoast Suggested Focus Keyword Tool.

On Page Analysis

One of the very cool tools that Yoast demonstrates is the Page Analysis functionality. Unless you are an SEO guru, you bound to forget a couple of things so this is where the Page Analysis is really helpful.

As you can see from the image below, it will provide an overview on what is missing and praise you on what has be done well. From images that containing missing alternative tags through to if your post meets the recommended length, the Page Analysis tool will provide in detail on how you can improve your page including keyword meta descriptions, subheadings and so on. If you are looking to increase your SEO skills, this really is the perfect tool to learn from.

Yoast on page analysis example

In-Depth Page Analysis Tool.

Social Media Integration

Along with ‘General’ & ‘Page Analysis’ tabs, Yoast also provides easy access into social media integration. The plug-in supports 3 main social media outlets Facebook, Twitter & Google+

In order for pointing links to your website, users need to talk about you and your website so this is why Yoast supports the major 3 social media platforms.

Facebook Open Graph: This is used by multiple websites and search engines outside of Facebook itself so it is important that Yoast provides Facebook Open Graph information. This basically means that it tells the site what the link shared is where it comes from and a description.

Twitter Cards: Much like Facebook Open Graph, Yoast also supports twitter link sharing which is called a Twitter Card. Much like the open graph, this will inform the website what the link is along with an image and a description.

Google+: Google+ takes every piece of information that it needs from the Open Graph along with one or two additional things that you will need to add yourself such as the author. Using your Google+ profile, the URL will contain a link along with an image or your profile on search engine results.

Easy XML Sitemaps

From a simple checkbox, Yoast automatically creates XML sitemaps for all your pages, posts and categories and instantly notifies Google & Bing of your sitemap existence. This functionality makes it Yoast the most advanced SEO plugin available in WordPress!

Not only will this exercise increase search engine results, it also includes the images used in your posts and pages to meaning that your images also have a better chance of being found too!

The Verdict

With its ease of use added to the in-depth functionality, Yoast gets a thumbs up from the untitled™ web performance team. On top of the general Yoast platform, you can also buy platforms focused on other areas including Video SEO, News SEO and Local SEO.

If you would like any hints, tips or advice on future Plugins to install on your WordPress website, be sure to sign up to our monthly newsletter subscription on the art of growing your website.