For quite a while I routinely recommended the All in SEO WordPress plugin, but that changed when Yoast introduced his WordPress plugin. I’ve used it on four WordPress sites and each time my appreciation of this wonderful plugin has grown. Not just for myself, but also because it helps my clients write more SEO optimized posts and pages.
I used to get frustrated after carefully explaining to new bloggers and site owners how to write SEO friendly permalinks, page titles and meta descriptions — and then watching them forget everything I told them by creating poorly optimized posts and pages. Now I can lead the horse to water, and he (or she) actually drinks it! Another great bonus about this plugin is that is it so comprehensive is that it does the job of several plugins. For example there is no need to install a sitemap plugin – Yoast’s plugin will take care of that too for you.
There is so many features in this plugin, that I am not going to cover them all, but I would like to show how it helps you optimize your pages and posts to be SEO friendly. When installed, the plugin adds an additional form to your page/post edit screen that has three tabs. The key to the first tab is to first choose your focus keyword (a drop list appears to help you refine the keyword even further – and there is a related keyword button). Once you’ve decided on your keyworde, you can then customize the page title and meta description (here I have customized the title but not the meta description tag). Then you can use the initial page analysis results as a guide to optimize further. Perhaps you need to weave in your keyword into your content? You’ll be reminded to do so here:
The second tab takes the page analysis a level deeper. You’ll get reminders on placing your keyword in the first paragraph of your copy (as I am reminded here) and a reading level score.
The third tab has a lot of power. Here you can noindex your page if you need to, setup a 301 redirect, also define your canonical URL, and even tweak your sitemap priority settings.
The plugin has many more features available in a separate menu on the sidebar. Yoast has taken the trouble to add commentary to help you use the settings correctly. Just taking the time to read through his comments could help many learn SEO. The plugin is available in the WordPress plugin repository (search on “WordPress SEO Yoast”) and by download from his site.
Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.