Last Updated on December 15, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress helps writers create optimized content for their websites. It’s one of the most popular SEO plugins available for WordPress and is exceptionally easy to use. Out of the many plugins I have tried, this may be one of my favorite. If you’re looking to revamp your content, it may be a good idea to read the rest of this post.
Why You Would Want Yoast SEO
I’ve spent a great deal of time looking for free alternatives to SEO plugins and settings. I want my sites to be the best they can be, but I don’t have a lot of money to invest in various tools. When I came across Yoast SEO, I near-instantly fell in love. It is probably one of the easiest optimization plugins to use, at least it was at the time of this post.
Yoast helps you create content that is optimized for search engines to crawl. It will give you suggestions of how to fix problems while monitoring the overall creation of the content. Thanks to this real-time scanning, it can help you write better pieces for both search engines and your visitors.
Notable Features of the Plugin
Yoast SEO uses a red-yellow-green light icon that will signify if the content is ideal for readers and search engines. This system is controlled by algorithms used to gauge everything from the readability score to whether or not your images have alt tags with the keyword. Some of these aspects weigh heavier than others in terms of score. If you have the “green” light, then the article is good enough for publishing.
One of my favorite features of the plugin is its ability to give you suggestions of how to fix the content. For example, you’ll get a “red” light if your article doesn’t have an image. Yoast will then provide the text, “consider adding some as appropriate.” For those who are new to optimizing their content for SEO, these suggestions are quite beneficial.
This plugin also handles social engagement on a minimal level. You’re given control over how each post is delivered to Facebook and Twitter. In fact, you can also change the image itself if you want to use something different for those social sites. Title and descriptions can also be changed instead of using the default segments of your site.
Scanning Past Content, Too
Yoast SEO will scan every post you have ever created. It will default these posts to a “grey” light only because no keywords have been set in each article. This allows you to easily go back and modify the content in order to meet current optimization standards. I’ve found that optimizing past content has helped those pages rank higher in Google and are displayed more often in search results.
Can it Really Help You Drive Traffic?
Search engine optimization is the practice of getting more traffic to your website from sites like Google and Bing. It’s difficult to say for certain that Yoast SEO has made a profound difference, but I have noticed older pages being crawled more often. Unfortunately, I can’t tell if this is because of editing them with the plugin or because of increasing internal linking. Perhaps it’s a mixture of both.
Pros and Cons
It’s rare that I come across something that doesn’t have some kind of a drawback to it. However, Yoast SEO doesn’t have a lot that I can tell. It’s a stable system that offers a great deal of insight.
Here are the good points of the plugin. Keep in mind, these are all based on what I have observed and used of the system. Others may hold different aspects in higher regards. These are just the things I like most about Yoast SEO.
- Easy to use and set up
- Fix suggestions for trouble areas of content
- A wide range of settings to maximize optimization
- Flesch-Kincaid reading ease counter
- Aggregates content that hasn’t been optimized for easy access on the dashboard
- Displays keyword density so you can avoid saturating your content
- Multiple keyword focus – but you need to buy the premium account
- Very easy to use and understand
I was hard pressed to find anything negative about Yoast. As such, I am pretty much nick-picking when it comes to the negative aspects of the plugin.
- Optimization for additional social media sites would have been nice
- $69 for a single site for the premium account is a bit much for me
Would I Use it On My Sites?
One of the biggest reasons why my “cons” list is so short is because Yoast SEO does everything I need it to do. While I’ll keep my eye out for better plugins, this has been my free SEO plugin of choice for writing content on all of the blogs I manage.
What it all boils down to is whether you can trust the developers of Yoast to continue updating the plugin with the most up-to-date metrics for gauging SEO practices. Personally, I’ve found it to be a worthwhile tool and my exposure on search engines have been on the rise.
There are many SEO plugins available for WordPress. The hardest part is choosing those that are ideal for your situation. Yoast offers an easy to use interface and comes with a vast array of settings to control the various aspects of creating content. Find something that works the best for you and create material optimized for search engines. It may vastly increase your site’s exposure.