For many website owners today, SEO seems to be a very broad and complicated field to get into. But it isn’t as complicated as you think. There are so many easy to use SEO tools and customizable content management systems (CMS) out there that will give you a great edge to getting your website ready for SEO.
In this case, I would like to talk about optimizing your WordPress website for SEO.
“My name is Ayomide Johnson. Your friendly neighborhood techie and I’m here to answer your questions once more and I believe this piece of information I’m about to share will impact every one of you. Let us share this together may we?”
WordPress is a powerful, very easy to learn, really flexible to use and customizable content management system. If you are out to build a new website for your company, you should look no further as WordPress is the solution.
WordPress is an open source project, making it very flexible, customizable, and easy for developers all over the world to contribute and as well create plugins.
Plugins extend the power of WordPress, helping you perform a whole number of amazing tasks simple by a push of buttons. What would take a programmer 2 days, you get done in 2 minutes. That’s how powerful plugins are.
There are thousands of plugins available, each with different functions to power your WordPress website. If you get really good with WordPress, you can use it to build anything you want. Personally, I have used WordPress to build a number of complicated websites.
At first, when it was introduced to me by one of my tech friends some years back, I didn’t like the idea of just building a website by just clicking and plugin and playing. I was a new and passionate developer and I basically wanted to write everything by hand and code. I ignored his suggestion.
A few months later, I began a small web development startup, started getting some clients. Most of them would always want me to complete a huge website in say, hours. I started losing jobs because I couldn’t possibly code it all within that period as a new developer back then. I didn’t have too many old templates or projects to replicate, or reuse.
My tech friend also had his small startup, and he was doing considerably well with his jobs. Most times I would look at his WordPress websites and get so jealous because I possibly couldn’t code such in even 48 hours. How could he be doing so much, he didn’t even have deep knowledge of coding as I did.
Later on, after so much hesitation, I finally opted for using WordPress. I hated it. To me then, it was so boring. It took me a lot of time to grasp the whole flow because I was reluctant to even learn it in the first place. But I noticed later on that there were so many high-end tasks I could achieve with WordPress.
What made me fall in love with WordPress more? When I realized it also had a code editor, that is, I could even write my own code and tweak it, create my own themes and plugins!
Today, I will literally boast I am better than the friend who suggested WordPress to me then (LOL, Don’t let him hear this).
My knowledge of coding also helped me not get stuck in whatever limitations the platform offered. I finally had a framework to work with and I delivered my web projects more quickly. I basically finish a website in 1 hour.
My SEO also leveled up because the functionalities WordPress Plugins offer. This will lead us to a popular plugin called – Yoast SEO, and how you can use it to set up your website’s SEO.
Below is what the admin dashboard of WordPress looks like:
And here are some of the most popular WordPress plugins:
You can also find the most popular plugins by going to your WordPress dashboard, then click on Plugins –> Add New –> Popular.
Now that you have an idea what WordPress is and how plugins can help you extend the power of your WordPress website, let’s talk about Yoast SEO.
This plugin is super awesome and if you are not using it, you are missing out on a lot.
WHAT IS YOAST SEO?
Yoast SEO is a plugin developed to make SEO very easy for everyone to use, most especially WordPress users.
Yoast makes SEO look very simple. You do not need any coding experience to use Yoast.
Here is what Yoast looks like on your WordPress backend.
Yoast comes in two versions, the free and the premium version. For someone getting started, you have all you need in the free version.
Both versions offer the following functionalities:
- Access to adjust your SEO title, URL and meta description that all appear on Google.
- SEO tips for each of the properties I listed above.
- You get a relative preview of what your website will look like whenever it shows on search results (Mobile and PC)
- Added ability to use multiple keywords
- Keyword Density and Usage Analytics.
- Internal linking tools
- Readability checks
- Social shares
You’ll find that Yoast is simple to use, and I’m going to walk you through each step from the very beginning.
HOW TO DOWNLOAD AND SET UP YOAST SEO
If you have probably installed Yoast in the past and just need guidance on how to use it, you can skip to the next step.
If you have never installed it for no reason whatsoever, then follow this guide.
The first thing you should do is log into the backend of your WordPress website. WordPress websites are logged into using the following URL
Please note that you should replace “yourwebsite.com” with the name of your website. Once that is done, you should see this:
Logging in will take you straight to your admin dashboard. Move your mouse cursor to the “Plugins” section and click on it.
Choose “Add New” from the drop down menu that follows. That should take you to the WordPress plugin store.
Type and search for “Yoast” in the search box. The results for Yoast will show up before you are done typing that.
Click the “Install Now” button beside the Plugin. WordPress will handle the rest by downloading and installing the plugin. WordPress would request that you activate the plugin, please do that immediately.
Once you go through these steps, you are good to get started.
If you go back to your admin dashboard, you will see Yoast as part of the items on the dashboard.
The next step is setting up Yoast SEO and preparing your website for Search Engine Optimization.
SETTING UP YOAST SEO
Click on SEO on your Dashboard; this will take you to Yoast SEO’s dashboard. This is where you will know if you have any major SEO issues or any notifications related to your website’s SEO.
We have to configure Yoast SEO settings first. We will do this through the configuration wizard. Click on Geneal–>Configuration Wizard to open up the wizard.
Once you open it, you will be presented with two options; to configure Yoast yourself or pay for the team behind Yoast to configure it for you.
Why would you want to pay someone anyways when I’m teaching you free?
Let’s get going 🙂
The first set up is the environment of the website. Yoast wants to know to know the current state of your website. Select the appropriate option. Select “Production” if your website is online already. Select “Development” if your website is still running on a local development server (WAMP, XAMPP, LAMPP), but make sure you come back to re-configure Yoast after launching your website, else Google will not be able to crawl it. Yoast allows you to configure and re-configure your website as many times as possible.
The next configuration step is the site type. Select the appropriate option that relates to your website.
Next step, Yoast wants to know if we are an individual or a company. In this case as well, select the option that is best suited to your website.
Next configuration step, Yoast asks for our social profiles. Add the most important and active ones or all if you wish.
The next configuration step walks you through your website’s visibility. Usually, Yoast has already ticked the best options for us. So if you don’t have any idea what to do here, you can easily just click Next. The best options are already ticked by default.
The next asks us if we have multiple authors. This means Yoast wants to know if two or more people will be writing for or editing the website. Select as it applies to your website. Then click next.
On the next step, Yoast wants to help us connect to Google Search Console.
Choose “Authenticate with Google”, it will open a new window for you to login to your Google account. Afterwards it will give you a code to enter in the Yoast authenticate box. But you need to have set up Google Search Console first for your account. It’s free.
But you can still choose to skip this step anyways if you don’t have a search console account, although I still strongly recommend you get it. You can always come back to this step later.
The next configuration step is the Title Settings.
This is where you determine what variation of your website name appears in search results.
Enter your website name in the box, then select the preferred separator you want for your website. Anyone goes, but I use this “|” most of the time.
On the next configuration step, Yoast would like you to sign-up for their newsletter. You can choose to sign up if you want to receive helpful SEO tips, and you can as well choose to skip the sign-up process.
If you followed this, you have successfully finished setting up Yoast SEO for your website and your website is ready to be fully optimized. Yoast will do the rest of the hard work in optimizing your website for you. All you have to do to start ranking high is to write high-quality blog posts that answers to the needs of your readers.
Most WordPress users see Yoast in action when publishing new posts regularly.
I hope I have been able to answer most of your questions related to using Yoast. It’s a very useful and straightforward SEO tool for website owners.
I highly recommend it to all website owners as well.
Stay tuned to more posts from me on Advanced Yoast SEO use.
So, have you been able to use Yoast successfully?
Share your experiences through the comment box below.