Although WordPress is already an SEO-friendly publishing platform, there is always room for improvement. One of the best free plugins available is the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. This plugin has had over eight million downloads and is designed to improve your website’s SEO by taking care of technical optimisation and allowing you to write more SEO-friendly content. Here we will take a look at some of the key features and benefits.
The WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast allows you to control your website’s Meta and link elements. Using the plugin, you can choose which pages Google shows in its search results. The plugin also adds rel=“next” and rel=“prev” link elements to the head section of your archives automatically. This is something which Google looks for when crawling your site.
Automatic XML Sitemaps
One of the plugins most valuable features is its XML Sitemaps functionality. The plugin actually boasts the most advanced XML Sitemaps functionality of any WordPress plugin. Sitemaps include the images you use in your blog posts and on your website pages, making it easier for them to be found in searches. The plugin automatically creates Sitemaps and notifies search engines like Google and Bing of their existence.
Beat the scrapers with RSS optimisation
Unfortunately many websites get outranked by scrapers. These are websites that steal content and images from other sites and publish them on their sites. Whilst this can be extremely frustrating, with the help of the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin, you can use them to your advantage. Using the plugin you can automatically add a link to your RSS feed which points back to the original article. This will tell search engines where they can find the original article and therefore increase your chance at ranking better for your chosen keywords.
An example screenshot of the Yoast WordPress SEO plugins entry screen
The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin comes complete with Breadcrumbs. This is a feature that allows you to create simple navigation, making it easier for users and search engines to view your site. In order to use this particular feature, you will need to make sure your theme is compatible. Themes by Genesis or WooThemes should work just fine!
Edit powerful SEO files
Using the built-in file editor you will be able to edit your WordPress blogs .htaccess and robots.txt files. These are both important files in terms of your website’s SEO.
The benefits of using the WordPress SEO plugin
We have already outlined many of the benefits in the features section, however if you still need a little more convincing, read on!
Write better website and blog content
The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin provides you with a snippet preview of what your posts will look like in search results. Using this tool, you will be able to see whether your title is too long or short and whether or not your Meta description makes sense. Remember if words are cut off or titles are too long, users could be put off from clicking on your link. By ensuring your title and Meta descriptions are good, you have the potential to achieve increased rankings and higher click through rates.
You will also be required to choose a focus keyword when creating content. The plugin will then encourage you to use this keyword in all areas of your post, helping you to optimise it correctly for SEO purposes.
Analyse the SEO of your web pages
When publishing new site content or a blog post on WordPress, it can be sometimes difficult trying to remember to perform all the necessary SEO checks. Luckily the WordPress SEO plugin comes with a feature called Linkdex Page Analysis which is designed to check the things you would usually forget. For example it makes sure that your image alt tags, Meta descriptions and sub heads contain your focus keyword. It also gives you the option to write Meta titles and descriptions for your category and tag archives to further optimise those pages.
To put it simply, WordPress SEO ensures that your content is the type of content that search engines want to see.
As you should know by now, search engine optimisation and social media intertwine and work very well together. The WordPress SEO plugin comes with Facebook OpenGraph implementation and will also soon support Google Plus sharing tags.
Unlike other plugins, WordPress SEO is multi-site compatible. Its XML Sitemaps will work well in all set ups. You can also easily copy your settings from one blog to another. This means that if you have multiple sites you do not have to set up the plugin on each one. Simply export the settings after setting up the plugin on one of your blogs and import them on your other blogs or sites.
As a website owner, you should understand the importance of SEO and the need to continuously improve it. If you are looking for a simple way to make your website more SEO friendly, then look no further than the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. Whilst the Yoast team do not provide support for their free plugin on the WordPress forums, you can benefit from one to one email support if you sign up for the premium version. WordPress Website Pros install and configure the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast on all of our clients websites as standard but if you need any further help or advice on SEO please click here.