Free SEO Plugin for WordPress

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If you’re just starting your website, you’re definitely going to need some help with SEO. SEO stands for ‘search engine optimization.’ It’s the process of getting more traffic to your website, by getting it to show up when people search for things on Google (or Bing, etc.).

A new website does take some time to start getting traffic. Don’t panic if it’s been a few weeks or even a month and you still don’t have many visitors! Keep working on your site and adding content and optimizing your site for SEO. You will start to see growth soon, promise!

Meanwhile, there are lots of things that you can do to optimize your entire website for search engines. But, much of that work will be done on individual pages or blog posts. (Pages are the static, more permanent content on your site. Posts are the articles and content that you add as you grow.)

To help me optimize my pages and especially my blog posts for SEO, I use a free SEO plugin for WordPress called Yoast SEO. You can add it from your WordPress dashboard > plugins > add new. Just search Yoast and install & activate it. Once you do that, you’ll start to see red, orange, and green lights next to your posts and pages. Those lights indicate how well each post is optimized for SEO. If you already have Yoast, read this article if you are looking for more advice on SEO basics for new websites.

Yoast uses two main metrics to guide you in optimizing your posts: SEO Analysis & Readability.

Keyword SEO Analysis for WordPress

Keyword SEO Analysis allows you to set a focus keyphrase and then see how well your post (or page) is optimized for that keyphrase. You choose your own keywords here. So, make sure to choose something that is relevant to your content but is also something people might search for. Imagine what your ideal website visitor might be searching for when they find your page.

Once you choose a keyphrase and have some content on your page, the plug in will automatically give you some advice on how to optimize. If you scroll all the way down to the bottom, you’ll see the Yoast seo section and all of the specific advice it gives you for your post.

For SEO analysis, you might be prompted to add internal or external links. Internal links are links to other posts or pages on your own site. This helps Google figure out what content is related. External links go to outside websites. Getting other websiere to link back to yours is also important for SEO, but that’s a different topic for a different day!

The plugin might also suggest you add images with titles using your keywords, or use your keywords in more headings and subheadings. Or, it might suggest that you shorten or lengthen your title, add more words to your article, or add a meta description.

Readability SEO Analysis for WordPress

The other guide is for ‘readability.’ That means, is your article easy to read and easy to skim through. People don’t read the internet the way they read a book, so there are different strategies involved in writing for each. Readability is important because if people stay on your site longer, reading your articles and content, that tells Google that people are finding what they are looking for. Then, they send more traffic your way. The Readability Analysis is at the bottom, next to the tab for SEO, there’s another tab for the readability guide.

In readability, the plugin might prompt you to add headings and subheadings. (If you’re not sure how headings work, this article explains it nicely.) Basically, the idea is to organize your content into a sort of outline. The title should be the main topic, and then have subheadings or subtopics underneath. Organizing your content this way helps search engines understand what your post or page is about and helps them rank your content properly.

In addition to organizing all of your content for SEO, the plugin could also give you advice on writing shorter sentences. It also helps with using more transitions, and avoiding the passive voice. (Apparently, I need constant reminders for both of those!) The readability tab will also alert you if you start too many sentences in a row with the same word.

Other Factors that Affect SEO:

Psst… Don’t forget that the quality of your web hosting also affects your search engine rankings! If your hosting is slow or outdated, then your website will load slowly as well. Google doesn’t like slow websites, so if you have bad hosting, it likely could affect your rankings and traffic. Plus, if someone does click on your site and it doesn’t load properly, they won’t stick around very long. The faster they ‘bounce’ off of your site, the lower Google and other search engines will rank you.

If you’re going through all the trouble of installing Yoast and working on your content to get all the green lights, do yourself a favor and also get yourself good hosting. You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste just because your site didn’t load quickly enough! I use and recommend SiteGround for all my websites, and I’ve been very happy with their services.

Most of us go into our businesses or blogs because we love what we do and we want to spend more time doing that. Some of us truly love the marketing side of our work, but for most of us, it’s extra work that isn’t our favorite thing. So, it can be hard to realize that we need to put in some effort to get traffic to our websites. It’s definitely not a ‘build it and they will come’ situation. And anyone who tells you that it is probably started their blog in 2008. But with a little extra work and your Yoast free seo plugin for WordPress, we can all get there!

For more about SEO, check out this article with the basics of what you need to know about SEO before building your website.

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