[SEO] Optimize Blog Posts For Search Engines Using Yoast

When you write a blog post, you need to optimize it for search engines. Optimizing means to do the on-page SEO of the post, which helps your blog posts rank and gives you free traffic.

One thing you need to do before writing the blog posts is keyword research.

Let’s head straight to the process.

Step By Step Process To Optimize Blog Posts

To follow this tutorial step by step, make sure you install Yoast SEO. Once you’ve done the research, you need to optimize your blog post for that keyword using Yoast.

How?

Let’s find out.

Step 1: Set Focus Keyword

The keyword that I used as an example in the keyword research article was ‘what is SEO.’ The keyword found by you through keyword research must be set as focus keyword.

The option to do that with Yoast is available below the post editor. Scroll down to find it out.

Look at the image below.

Set Focus Keyword

Set focus keyword in the given field. Note the other places the keyword appears.

Keyword placement is explained under a separate heading later. Let’s see what we need to do to create the snippet preview as visible in image above.

Step 2: Edit Snippet For Search Results

It’s simple. Click the Edit Snippet button and follow instructions in the image below.

Edit Snippet

Edit Snippet as shown.

Step 3: See Keyword Analysis & Make Corrections

Set focus keyword before you start writing, so that Yoast starts analyzing it and gives feedback. You can do it at the end too, but why delay when you have found a keyword already.

Let’s see what Yoast suggested me on this post.

Keyword based and general SEO analysis. Grey is harmless. Ignore it. Red means bad. Orange means just ok and may be improved. Green means good.

Note that I didn’t bother correcting keyword density. There’s a strong argument that keyword stuffing in an unnatural way hurts SEO.

This article is long (2379 words) so to increase the percentage of my keyword, I should have used it too many times and stuff it unnaturally. It was best to avoid that. Keyword placement guidelines (below) will clarify it for you.

I did correct the ‘alt attribute missing error’ in the image, though. Here’s the revised analysis.

The orange is now green because I added alt attribute containing the keyword.

Step 4: Place Keywords at Important Places

The crux of on-page SEO is keyword placement. Why do we do keyword research, set focus keyword, and edit snippet? Why is it necessary? What would happen if we don’t do it?

The answer is in the term SEO. SEO means Search Engine Optimization. We place keywords at different locations so that search engines can know what our content is about.

It helps these engines to index our content in the database for that keyword. If our content is great and has good on-page and off-page SEO, the search engines will rank it higher in search results.

So, Why Do We Use Keywords?

We basically tell search engines, mainly Google, that I have written content about ‘what is SEO’,  so if any searcher types that query, show him/her my post.

If Google agrees that our content is the most suitable for that keyword, it shows it to searchers. They come to our website, and we get traffic and conversions.

It increases our reach and fills our pockets. That’s the whole point of SEO; ranking higher to earn more. It all happens for FREE!

Ok, But Where to Place Keywords?

SEO experts have different opinions about it. But almost all experts and Google advise us to place keywords at following locations.

  • Page Title: Place your keyword as near the start as possible. Keep the title below 56 characters. Yoast will advise you. Nice length is what you should look for.
  • URL/Slug: URL is the unique web address of your post/page. Slug is what you write after your domain (domain.com/this-is-slug).  Google only considers first 4-5 words in the slug so insert your keywords there. Keep the slug short.
  • First Paragraph: Remember, Google doesn’t read the whole post. You need to tell Google what you’ve written about. A good way to do it is to place your keyword (naturally) in the first paragraph. Some experts say that you should place it as early as possible. The first paragraph is the earliest.
  • Image Alt Attribute: What is image alt attribute? Sometimes, due to the slow internet of some other issue, images don’t load. The text we enter in Alt Attribute appears in this case, explaining what the image contains. But the main benefit in SEO is that this text tells search engines what the image is about. Google can’t see and understand a picture as we do.
  • Heading: Not all the headings but one heading should contain your keyword in a natural way. Headings indicate what the content is about.

If you place the keyword at these places, your content will have better chances of being indexed and ranked for that keyword.

You can find more about SEO in Moz’s Beginners SEO Guide and this (pdf)  SEO Guide for Starter by Google.

Continuing my example, let me show you how I have placed my keyword.

Keyword placemet in the post

See how I placed the keyword in my post.

And let’s talk about tags too.

Add relevant tags

Add relevant tags. Including keyword enhances SEO.

Now let me tell you how to add Alt Attribute in the images.

Adding Alt Text

That’s where you add Alt Text for SEO. Include your keyword in at least one.

Step 5: Analyze Readability

Web pages these days need to be user-friendly to have a better chance to rank. Users are Google’s top priority. Readability is one of the most important user-friendliness factors.

Yoast knows that. That’s why it analyzes the whole post/page and gives suggestions. Improve readability to have better SEO. Green is good again.

Readability analysis by Yoast SEO

Readability analysis by Yoast SEO

Follow the instructions provided by Yoast until you achieve overall green.

Step 6: Edit Social Title, Description, and Image

If you don’t want to use the snippet and featured image that you created using Yoast on social media (Facebook) shares, you can edit here. I don’t feel the need of doing it, though.

Edit Social Title, Description & Image

Edit Social Title, Description & Image

One last option we still have is…

Step 7: Yoast Advanced Options

I don’t edit them, neither I feel the need of it because default settings are enough. But, for the sake of discovering this hidden option, here’s what it looks like.

Yoast SEO Advanced options

Yoast SEO Advanced options

You’re done. Just another small thing that you should know..

View Live Feedback

I just love Yoast. When you’re creating a post or a page, Yoast gives you live feedback. You change anything in the content, feedback changes accordingly.

Here’s a look at the Yoast feedback options available at the top side of WordPress editor page. Rest of the feedback is found below the post/page editor.

Yoast SEO Live Feedback

Yoast SEO Live Feedback. I got the green lights!

That’s it! You’re done with on-page SEO. Remember, keywords hold the key. Research them well otherwise the whole activity will prove to be futile.

Conclusion

The whole concept of SEO revolves around keywords. Searchers go to Google and type the keyword. Google goes to its indexed data and looks for results containing that keyword.

It shows the top ten results for that keyword on the first page. One of them can be your post or page. It can happen if you have done the SEO right and placed keywords at important places without stuffing it unnaturally.

Let’s recap what we have learned in this article.

  • How to do on-page SEO using Yoast SEO
  • Why on-page SEO is important
  • How and where to place keywords in a blog post/page.
  • How to improve readability of text using Yoast plugin

That’s it. I am sure the tutorial has helped you learn how to do blog posts SEO using Yoast. Please do not forget share this valuable resource for others to learn.

Ilyas Tarar
 

My mission is to ‘make a positive difference in lives of people’. I love writing content and I hope I can use this passion to fulfill my mission.

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