Almost every business organization has a website. New companies first think seriously about a website & SEO even before the inception of the company. WordPress is a highly popular platform to build websites and here we are discussing how to improve SEO for WordPress Websites using Yoast.
Companies reserve a budget for creating and maintaining a website. This is because the necessity of a website has been realized and accepted even by the most adamant and conventional business people. One just has to change as per times and having a website for an organization is one example. Even individuals, especially professionals have their own websites these days.
The Google search result is important!
Everyone has realised the factor Google plays in making or breaking a business. Higher rankings mean more leads, more credibility and more sales!
It has become a common practice to write blogs on websites. These blogs promote the cause of the company in a number of ways; they are highly informative. They not only include information about the structure of the organization, the products, new additions etc. but also draw customers towards their websites by employing SEO strategies.
SEO is an important aspect of web content. SEO or Search Engine Optimization techniques play a role in ranking a website at a higher position on search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo. It will not be an exaggeration to say that there is a deadly virtual struggle among competitors to reach the highest position on the search engine list and businessmen do not hesitate to employ every possible means of increasing their SEO.
What is Yoast & how does it help in SEO for WordPress Websites?
WordPress being the most popular CMS platform, has a number of SEO-friendly plugins. Again, the most popular SEO plugin is Yoast. It can create wonders for your search engine rankings if you know how to make the best use of it. SEO for WordPress Websites using Yoast as a guideline is a must learn technique to ensure your WordPress website pages & blogs are optimized to maximum potential!
Writing web content – A different skill
Writing articles for newspapers, for magazines or for academic journals all have their own norms. The norms are decided according to the purpose of the article, the readers and their expectations and interests etc. Similarly web content writing has its own norms that decide the quality and standard of the articles or blogs. In order to make the content suitable for websites and social media, there are certain guidelines that must be followed. In addition, the kind of language, sentence structures, diction, style and all other aspects of writing have to be adapted to suit website norms. Hence, it is necessary for writers to acquire a set of new skills when they take up web content writing.
The basic aim of web content is marketing. Hence, the language has to be persuasive, reinforced by strong phrases that create an immediate impact. The impact of content is of prime importance even more than the informative part. A blog that has an immediate and strong impact on the reader and that has the ability to top the list in a search engines is considered to be ideal. In this aspect, Yoast serves as a comprehensive solution to all onsite SEO needs.
Yoast provides a checklist for refining blog content to suit modern SEO standards. In fact, Yoast gives two checklists related to the two key aspects of web content, viz. Keywords and Readability.
The Yoast Keywords Checklist
Keywords are signal words. They are the words that an individual types into the search box of a search engine when he is in search of related information. Keywords drive the targeted web traffic to your website; hence they are a very important aspect of web content. In fact, keywords are the key aspects of content. Using the right number of keywords at the right places can serve the desired purpose at no extra costs. The success of a website and its ranking relies to a great extent upon appropriate use of keywords.
Using keywords as per Yoast guidelines
- The keyword must appear in the first paragraph of the article. The keyword is directly related to the topic of the blog. If a keyword appears after a couple of paragraphs, the attention of the readers will not be attracted towards it. The search engine bots also take this into consideration – The keyword appearing in the first paragraph is a signal that reflects the theme of the article. A keyword must ideally appear in the title and also in the first paragraph.
- The density of keywords must be appropriate. Density is the percentage of the number of times a keyword appears on the page and the total number of words on that page. Ideally the density must be 2 to 3%. You are likely to incur an over-optimization penalty if the density percentage is very high. Using keywords more number of times is not an indication of the best use of keywords. In fact, keywords must appear to be integral part of the content and appear at natural junctures. They must not appear like added patches.
- Ideal positions of keywords are specified. Key words must appear at the beginning of the article, end of the article, in the permalink, H1 tag, H2 tag and in the anchor text of relevant images.
- The Meta description must contain the focus keyword. Although meta data does not appear on the page, key words in meta descriptions must be used competitively.
- Key words can be used in sub-headings in the article. This is a factor from the SEO angle and is certainly beneficial. At least one sub-heading must contain the keyword.
- The images must be relevant to the focus keywords. - Use at least one image and ensure the alt tag of the image contains the main keyword.
- The article must contain minimum 300 words. Falling too short of this limit is not recommended.
- The focus key word MUST appear in the URL of the page. This is a very important factor that directs and channelizes engine search.
The Yoast Readability Checklist
This entire generation is not much inclined to read, read text books, newspapers, books, magazines or read any kind of content for that matter, including web content. In addition, if the content is presented in a difficult to read format, it reduces the chances of being read by a visitor. If valuable web content goes unread, its very purpose will be defeated. Search Engines like Google feel this way too. Hence, Yoast has provided a useful checklist to examine the readability of web content which improves the SEO of WordPress Websites.
- Sentences must essentially be short.
- Simple words must be used – So that they are easily understood by laymen. No one cares to refer to a dictionary even if it is there in the same device they are using, just for the sake of a word here and there. One cannot blame the generation; one should rather understand its characteristics and adjust the content.
- A paragraph should ideally contain approximately 150 words. A big paragraph with no breaks looks too texty and becomes unreadable.
- A paragraph must have unity. It means that each sentence in the paragraph must be related to the same topic.
- A paragraph must be cohesive and coherent. The sentences must follow each other smoothly, with linking words that link the sentences in the paragraph together in a logical and chronological manner. Around 30% linking or transition words are recommended within a paragraph.
- The active voice is preferred and the use of the passive voice is not preferred. More specifically, use the active voice instead of passive. Active voice directly addresses the readers and helps to connect with them on a personal level. It may not be possible to use the active voice throughout; about 10% sentences in the passive voice are acceptable.
- Avoid using the same words repeatedly. Also do not repeat sentence structures. Do not begin several sentences with the same word, phrase or grammatical element, particularly in consecutive sentences. Any kind of repetition creates a monotonous effect. There must be sufficient variety in diction, style, sentence structures and tone.
- The length of the sentences is also important. Sentences with 20 words are considered to be good. They should not contain too few or too many words. Long and meandering sentences with several transition words within are confusing. Readers lose track and fail to make sense.
The Flesch – Kincaid readability tests
The Yoast plugin makes use of the Flesch test for readability in its plugin.
Readability refers to the ease with which a reader can read and understand the meaning of the text. This test calculates the reading ease level of a text. The score in this test should be 7 to 8 if the text is extremely readable. This test calculates readability on the basis of sentence length and number of syllables.
Readability Ease or RE should be higher, indicating the ease with which a text can be read.
RE is based on ASL that is Average Sentence Length and ASW or the Average number of Words per Syllable. RE ranges from 0-100.
The structure of the text
One thing that most blog writers neglect is the structure of the entire text. just as the structure of a single sentence, a single paragraph is significant, the text is a combination of these sub-structures and must possess its own outlined structure. The body of the text contains a number of ideas the crucial part is the arrangement of the ideas or information. A haphazard combination of ideas will hamper the meaning. The ideas or information must be systematically organized. Similar topics should be brought together. One topic or theme must lead to the next. Reserve one paragraph for each new idea.
Leave some white space to separate paragraphs. Do not leave white space randomly. The visual aspect complements words and sentences.
Ordering can be logical, (cause-effect), chronological (old-new), didactic (easy-hard) or thematic (based on themes).
A writer who has good command over English language can develop the skill and art of blog and web content writing. It is necessary to understand the mode, the technology, the spirit of the new age that revolves around mobile devices and is engaged in online transactions for a major part of the waking hours. So writers must wake up, shake themselves and be prepared to adapt to new styles and new norms.
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