SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches.
The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
SEO is geared towards increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.
This Yoast SEO Tutorial tutorial highlights the basics of SEO with the Yoast SEO plugin.
Installing Yoast Plugin
Yoast is one of the must-have plugins on your WordPress website with many built-in features that allows you to effectively optimize your website for search engines.
It helps you easily manage SEO aspects of a website, such as titles, meta descriptions, slugs, sitemaps and many more.
To install the plugin, go to Plugins > Add New
Type “Yoast SEO” in the “search plugins” area.
Identify “Yoast SEO” by Team Yoast.
Install and activate the plugin.
Configuring Yoast SEO Plugin
You should now see a new menu item in the WordPress admin bar labelled SEO with the Yoast logo.
Switching to the Features tab shows you some of Yoast’s powerful features. You may want to leave the settings by default.
Webmaster tools enable you to work on your website’s search performance. Yoast enables you to verify with webmaster tools of popular search engines.
To verify ownership of the website, Yoast enables you to use one of the verification methods, which is meta tag, as you would soon see.
In this tutorial, we would verify our website with Google and you can use a similar approach to verify with the other search engines.
Let’s proceed to Google Search Console.
By clicking on Google Search Console, you will be able to choose a verfication method. Here, we are choosing the HTMLtag.
Copy the meta tag. Go to Webmaster Tools in the Yoast general settings and paste it as the Google Verification Code. Remove all other characters and leave only those in quotes. Save changes.
Go back to Google Webmaster Central and click on verify.
Permalinks are permanent URLs (links) of pages and posts on your website. Permalinks play a vital role in SEO ranking.
In WordPress, there are different forms permalinks.
The question, therefore, arises: What is the best permalink structure for SEO?
You would realise that, in the image below, the “post name” is the best permalink structure.
To configure this setting, hover over Settings from the WordPress dashboard. Then go to Permalinks.
Choose “Post Name” as permalink structure and save changes.
Optimizing Your Pages and Posts for Search Engines
The main function of Yoast SEO plugin is to edit the SEO functionality of your website, like page titles and meta descriptions.
By doing this, you get your website’s contents to meet the standards of SEO, to ultimately improve your search engine rankings.
Hence, we have to edit each page, blog post and Woocomerce product and optimize them to perform well in search engines.
For any page, post or product you edit you will see Yoast SEO Metabox below the post editor, which includes the Focus Keyword, SEO title, slug and meta description.
The SEO title and slug will override the existing title and URL of the page or post.
At the Focus keyphrase section, enter the main keyword. Here, you have to do some analyses: what terms are your potential customers likely use to find your post, page or product?
For the title, yoast will use your title, page, separator and site title as your SEO title. You can change this in the Yoast settings or delete the contents in that section and enter a custom title.
Slug is part of the URL that comes after the domain name. It is actually what tells the content of the page.
In the example above, “yoast-seo-tutorial” is the slug.
It adds to the domain name to make a complete URL.
Meta descriptions help to describe your page, post or product. They usually appear in search results under the title.
Meta descriptions affect the click-through rate of your post in search results. So craft something compelling to get more clicks.
One beautiful feature of Yoast is that it makes you see a preview of how your website will appear in search results, to make you get a clearer picture of how to optimize it.
Follow this approach to edit all the individual pages, posts and products which are really important to you, so as to make them fully optimized for search engines.