Why we love Yoast for search engine optimisation

The market for search engine optimisation is saturated with tools, infographics, and software promising ‘top notch results’. It’s enough to make your head spin, and you haven’t even gotten around to writing SEO-friendly content yet. Yoast is a simple tool that delivers satisfying results that everyone can use.

We love Yoast because, for one, it’s FREE. There’s a premium version available, but when you’re starting out, the free version covers the basics you need. Plenty of search engine optimisation widgets charge through the nose for the right to download and install. Yoast is free to install and comes with enough features for those on a budget, or just starting out their website, to use.

Using it is just as simple. Each WordPress page has the Yoast dashboard located at the bottom of the page. To get accurate metrics, fill out your focus keyword and the algorithm will come back with results in seconds.

 

search engone optimisation

 

As you can see here, the widget is listing what needs improvement for better search engine optimisation. It might seem like a lot of information, but it’s broken up into a ‘traffic light system’ to reflect the severity of the issue. Red is ‘urgent’, yellow is ‘could be better’ and green is ‘best’. Writers should aim for a green light for a page that will perform well for the focus keyword.

Another reason to love Yoast? The results are written in plain English. Not everyone who installs the widget is a web developer or a content marketer. They don’t all know robot.txt or how meta tags work. Simple is sometimes better, and Yoast’s algorithm delivers results that anyone can understand. This includes bloggers who write as a hobby, or senior content marketers in  large companies.

Yoast is the most popular search engine optimisation widget in the world. Over four million websites, or 1.2% of all sites on the web, use it. The freemium version offers enough for beginner bloggers or novice website owners to improve their content for SEO. . The results are easy to understand with the traffic light system and user-friendly instructions to help the author make quick, effective fixes.

seo techniques tips

SEO techniques to avoid

SEO is a hard game where some rules are openly disregarded. Sometimes people don’t know the rules at all and stuff up. Google penalises these “mistakes” and that leads to a drop in rank. This will have a “ripple effect”. For example, in 2014 Expedia got penalised for a link-buying scheme. Their share prices dropped by 4.5%, along with their ranking on SERPs. To avoid the same fate, here’s what NOT to do when you’re chasing a good SEO ranking.

 

Stuffing the keywords in

One of the dirty tricks made to look friendly for a search engine, not the people reading the website. Keyword stuffing is when you cram in your target words or phrases as much as possible in return for a better ranking. Google has long since moved to penalise this. You’ve been “stuffing” if you’ve written the same keyword or phrase over three times every one hundred words.

 

Hidden links

Having visible links from a few trusted sources is an excellent way to get a good ranking. Hidden links from lots of unrelated crummy ones, though, is a good way to lose your position. Blog writers and websites with low traffic aren’t above putting links in full stops and other punctuation marks.

 

White on white

This is another kind of keyword stuffing when you “hide” keywords on a background. Programmers do this by making the text and the background the same colour. They’d put in the words as many times as possible, often in tiny text. In the past, this was successful, until Google bots started crawling and realised the problem.

 

Forgetting your metas

Having keywords in your text and website is important but you get extra ranking power when they’re included in your metas. You’re now asking “what the heck are meta-whatsits?”

Meta keywords are in the HTML address on a webpage. You don’t see meta tags; they’re lined in the website’s code. These describe what your web page is about to the internet server, and the bots will crawl to check if the tags and keywords are related.

 

Level-up plagiarism

Never plagiarize; you’ll get caught, full stop. But when writer’s block hits (or just pure laziness), some website owners and bloggers aren’t above copying and pasting content from one site to their own. When this gets crawled, though, Google will find the exact same keywords and metas in two unrelated sites. The result of trying to manipulate content to get better results on SERPs is a penalty.

Long Tail and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Time to get your math nerd on! Long Tail refers to a Power Law graph, which is a particular shape of data when describing the frequency of each event in a distribution. It has become widely adopted in SEO circles to explain the thinking needed when selecting the keywords you wish to target.

CAUTION: Using this thinking will reduce your cost per click and improve your conversion rates! ;o)

Where is it from?

It was originally popularised in the late 40’s by economists after the war to describe some of the market dynamics of the time. Typically you show demand/popularity across a number of variants/products. It can be used for sales volumes, plotting population of animal species, supply and demand or anything that takes your fancy.

How does it work?

It doesn’t work, quite so much as it is evidenced. And it is seen where a small number of an observed population account for a large portion of the activity.

For example if we recorded the colour of cars on the roads we would find white cars make up a large portion of the distribution, while yellow cars a lot less. Yellow cars would be in the long tail.

And in a market place like Google it is very effective at highlighting those terms that are hyper-competitive (in the head) and those that are less often searched for but similarly less competed for by other websites (in the tail).

How this might look when it comes to SEO is as follows;

Power Law graph used to describe SEO behaviour.

Power Law graph used to describe SEO behaviour.

How do we target Head Terms vs Tail Terms?

For sound SEO we need to target terms that are in all three areas – Head, Body and Tail.

The head terms are those that any competitive business needs to target, but are competitive as most businesses are targeting them. For these terms we often go stronger with SEO activities and aim to build organic rank, with some ‘top up’ of ad spend.

For the tail terms we find we can get high conversion from users who know what they are looking for and we might find costs per click are a lot lower (certainly relative to head terms). So we often find ourselves steering more of our ad spend into these terms for a solid return on investment.

And for Body Terms it is generally a 50/50 as to how hard you want to focus on them.

So what do I do about it?

As in all SEO and marketing this is a guiding principle. Every case is slightly different and how you define your market has a huge influence over the competitors and traffic you are targeting.

So do solid keyword research, target the areas of your business that are unique and try some new angles while measuring the outcomes and adjusting accordingly.

And if in doubt at all drop us a line, our team will only be too happy to help you amke the right choice or even do this work for your business.