What to know about using Yoast SEO

By: David Arkin
January 30, 2024
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By Karina Samuel, David Arkin Consulting

Everyone is on the hunt to make their content as SEO-friendly as possible, but do you know exactly how to do that if you use Yoast SEO?

Yoast is really like your personal SEO coach. It’s not just about getting green lights, it’s about understanding why and how your work is turning green, which means you have done a good job optimizing your story.

Yoast SEO helps you with keyword optimization, readability, and even gives you a sneak peek at how your page will look on Google.

So, how do you get the most out of Yoast? Here is a short guide:

Focus on your keywords

Choose relevant keywords and make sure they’re naturally integrated into your content. Yoast helps by showing how often the keywords are showing up and where you’ve used them. When it comes to keywords, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Tie your keywords to the things people are searching for, like:

  • Find something to buy
  • Help me do something locally
  • I need more knowledge

Use keywords not to just help optimize the article but help your reporting:

  • What the competition is writing
  • How to attract new audiences
  • What’s already been covered

Start with long tail keywords (4-5 words)

  • Best pizza places in Austin
  • School ratings in Illinois

Readability Matters

Yoast checks your sentence length, paragraph size, and passive voice usage. Keeping your content easy to read is not just good for SEO, but your readers will thank you too.

Write like people talk and simplify your language so it can be understood by average people. Remember, you write for readers not officials.

Meta descriptions are key

This little snippet is what people see in search results, so it’s incredibly important to fill this area out. Don’t stuff this area with keywords, just describe your article.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • They don’t need to be long; no more than 155 characters
  • If possible, have a call to action in the description
  • Use your keywords that you researched but don’t overdo it
  • Answer a question or provide a solution

Custom URLs

Customizing your URL helps make sure that all of the right keywords can be discovered by Google and can lead to more indexing of your stories. You can do this in Yoast by typing keywords into the slug area.

This is a particularly good strategy to implement for evergreen content though it works well for news content, too.

Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure your URLs are no longer than 50-60 characters, as Google favors shorter URLs
  • URLs don’t need to read like a sentence, utilize keywords that someone might use to search for that story
  • Apply your keyword research to the words you decide to use in your URL

Use internal linking

Linking to other content on your site keeps readers engaged. Yoast suggests pages from your site that you can link to.

Backlinks are particularly important.

Here are tips to consider with backlinking:

  • Build a list in your community and ask to be added to those organizations
  • Discover stories that are popular and create more content (ask those organizations to be linked again)
  • Check for backlink gaps that competitors have (https://backlinkgap.com/)
  • Get you content added to lists and other stories where you offer value

Monitor your snippet preview

Yoast shows you how your post will look in search results. Make sure it’s enticing enough for someone to want to click on it.

Remember, Yoast SEO is a tool to assist you, not to dictate your content strategy. The goal is to strike a balance between SEO best practices and maintaining your unique voice and style.

David Arkin Consulting specializes in SEO content strategies and can help your media company implement successful tactics to grow your SEO traffic. Contact us at david@davidarkinconsulting.com today.

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