Website copywriters are getting nervous when Yoast is around!
Hold onto your hats, they may blow off from excitement because we’re about to tackle a quick and dirty guide to bootstrapped SEO copywriting via Yoast. It’ll have you playing happy camper with your website and blog posts in no time.
What is Yoast?
Yoast is like having a team of website copywriters in your WordPress website’s back pocket. Yoast is a pretty awesome little plug in that not only tells you how well you are performing for SEO keywords you’ve chosen, but will also give you helpful tips on how to improve your performance.
It’s basically a bunch of fields you fill in that displays information on the Internet when people search via Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Here is what Yoast looks like:
Easy Sneezy Breakdown on Yoast is this:
Snippet Preview is how it shows up in places like Google with the headline in blue and the description in black. That blue link is what you see in the search results as the link, and the description is the preview you see below.
Focus keywords is what you’re looking to be picked up in search for (otherwise, optimised for). Best thing to do is pick a 2 to 3 word term that a human being would put in to find the kind of page or blog you have. You need to optimise for key terms that you want to turn up in people’s searches for (e.g. theatre project management, scenic design), as well as think about individual pages/posts and what they are about (e.g. world stage design, stage terms).
You nominate the appropriate keywords based on what someone would be entering on their end to find that page, not what you think it should be called.
That’s a big point because a lot of places have their own special language or waffle talk and to be honest, it injures their chances of being found by not thinking enough about what a person who has no idea about your company would put into Google to find you. It may be great to call things “online monetisation service” because it sounds all Batman slick, but if a person wants an “online bank account”, that is what they will use.
SEO Title- is what will help boost the SEO and also show up in search results. If you leave it blank, Yoast will pick what it thinks is the title based on your other information. Again, it’s in your best interests to use your keywords here.
Meta Description- remembers that black description we talked about in the preview? This is where you enter it. A happy meta description tells a story that is about that post or page in a way that is appealing to someone who is browsing, as well as includes the nominated keywords.
In SEO copywriting with Yoast, website copywriters need to care about:
The Page title- which is the title of the page or post you have put at the top. It too needs to include the keywords.
The Page URL– this is the permalink featured below the title and above the body copy of your post and page. In my experience, you can forgo including the keywords in the page URL if you need to. Circumstances that would warrant this may be if the url would be too long to be consumer friendly, if you have established social shares that you don’t want to lose (if you change a permalink, this gets reset unless you have a redirect, and some redirects may not carry that through), or if you would prefer to have a shorter link than title for cosmetic reasons.
Content- Content is the phrase Yoast uses to describe the body copy. The more you include your nominated keywords in the copy, the better your keyword saturation will be.
The better optimised the page and the more you satiate Yoast’s desire for keyword happiness, the better off your page or post will be in terms of search…well, at least until social media and sharing are taken into account. Google and other search engines really dig that whole peer seal of approval and will promote pages that people show they like through social media as well, even if the keywords aren’t brilliant.
But if you can get both happening, boy oh boy, magic sure does happen.
How do I know its working?
Website copywriters benefit from the ease in which Yoast lays out the SEO ranking. Yoast looks at your SEO copywriting based on the terms and phrases you use and how well they perform across key metrics. How things are working is colour coded like traffic lights (which is my only pain in the neck with it, seeing I am colour blind and can’t distinguish with the red and the green) with one extra level. This is displayed in the tab on Yoast called Page Analysis.
Once you have filled in the details above and hit the SEO check button above the Update button for your page (or update your page straight ahead), a colour will appear that tells you how well you have optimised your page overall.
Like most things in SEO copywriting, it sounds like it’s difficult, but really, its pretty easy once you get the hang of it.
Green = Nicely optimised for your keyword
Orange = need to go back and fix a few things
Red = not working for those keywords
In the Page Analysis, this is taken one further in terms of advice on what is done poorly through to done super well.
The aim of the game is to get into the green (or yellow as a minimum) zone but tweaking based on the advice given by that page analysis.
You can get super geeky by reading the Yoast blog if it tickles your fancy (it is a super duper helpful blog so don’t feel ashamed about getting your geek on!), or you can skim over the common issues and tricks I have found work.
- Include your keywords. A common mistake many people make when writing blogs is ignoring the title of their chosen topic. In fact, many people don’t even refer to it at all! If you want to choose something for a title, your content should reflect it in use in the body copy. A title is a summation and celebration of your story- so make sure what your summing up is included!
- Optimise your photos: You’d be surprised how many website copywriters don’t think to work with the designer or developer to name key images. Or make use of alt image tags when blogging. It’s overlooked a lot but using your keywords as part of the naming of your images really, really helps with ranking.
- Use photos on the page: Try to use photos on your blog. Not only for search, but for humans too. The web is a visual medium. We look at it. So do your best to give people something to look at and Yoast will reward you.
- Word limits: Google spiders are hungry little poppets, so attempt to give them a meal of 300 words each sitting if you can that have chewy keywords within the writing. Just make sure you don’t end up cramming keyword phrases in there like circus clowns in a mini because it will be off putting to your readers, and may also give the Google spider’s indigestion.
- More on word limits: Website copywriters work best when they have something to aim for. The word limits for titles and meta descriptions include spaces and should be adhered to. In these instances, if your title or meta description is too long, the search engine won’t bother to read it, or will read it to the character limit, potentially missing out vital information. Word limits on the super information highway are like speed limits on the road- pay attention or end up in trouble.
- H2 and H3 headings: Treat Google spiders a little bit like they are in need of glasses but too vain to wear them. Give them headings to skip onto so they can understand the sections of your blog and page. Also use bold to highlight key points so they can’t get it confused.
- Keywords in first sentence: Again, Google Spider really does love it if you’re right in their face with the keywords, so if you can pop in a sentence right at the beginning that includes your nominated keywords, the happier our little spider friend will be, and the better you’ll rank. Incidentally, if you haven’t nominated a meta description, Yoast will most likely pull the description from that first line, so training yourself to write an intro line that includes your keywords is a smart thing to do in case you do forget occasionally to meta up.
- Flesch reading Ease: Website copywriters love this because it stops us from using too many flowery words and long sentences. This is a nifty little meter that pops over your article and sees how easy it is to read, which is an especially important thing for web. The better the score (OK and up to excellent), the better off you will be for both search and when someone comes to read your copy. If your copy is difficult, it may be due to long sentences, overflowing paragraphs and names and terms not being featured in commas, confusing the reader both of the electronic and human kind.