Yoast SEO: all the features of the WordPress plugin most loved by Google
We can dance around the issue as much as we want, but the answer is always the same. If you want your site to be noticed, you need to do something to make sure Google starts picking it up. Especially today (if your needs are not too complex), you don’t have to be a developer or a SEO technician to maintain your website correctly optimized for search engines. Using WordPress, plugins help us a lot making this process organized and intuitive. Let’s discover more about Yoast SEO, that according to us is the best SEO plugin for WordPress.
Yoast SEO: improvements, corrections and the famous traffic light
When creating content for your own site, it is always a good practice to follow SEO best practices, which are all the arrangements to make it the most relevant and optimized possibile. However, even paying the utmost attention, it can always happen to overlook something and it’s really important to have “someone” watching our backs. The most important help that this plugin gives us is the possibility to track all SEO “errors” and problems of our content. Thanks to the traffic light, we can find problems and improvements that we can make. Among the most common ones, we find:
- Presence of keyword in H1, H2, URL, SEO title and meta description
- Percentage density of the keyword
- Presence of internal and external link
- Presence of ALT attributes in multimedia content
- Total length of text and meta description
Yoast SEO: snippet management
If on-page optimization of text and tags is important to make our content relevant, even proper completion of the SEO snippet is fundamental. SEO snippet is an advertising space reserved to our content in the search engines. It represents the message that we send to the user who made a research and who has to decide which result to choose. Therefore, it must be simple, easy to read, and attractive. Yoast SEO gives us the possibility to manage it completely and with simplicity, being able to modify the SEO title (the title with which the content appears on Google), the slug (the URL that is shown), and the meta description (the very brief message with which we invite the user to click).
Yoast SEO: readability index
In addition to controlling our moves from a SEO perspective, and suggest all those interesting elements that contribute to the optimization of our content, our friend Yoast SEO help us keeping under control our text readability. Just below the part dedicated to the snippet management, we found a “readability analysis” that provides an overview of the difficulty level of our text. Basically, the plugin analyzes our text and provides us with very interesting parameters such as the “Flesch Reading Ease test” which gives a readability score to our text. Ideally, it should be around 60/70, while the closer we get to 0, the more difficult is our text to read. Other information it provides us with includes the length of paragraphs (it’s always better to keep them “compact”), the presence of transition words, passive voices, and overly long sentences.
Yoast SEO: Facebook preview
It’s not always the case that what we create and think always corresponds for Google to the message and image we want to give to our content on social networks. At least regarding Facebook, Yoast SEO plugin gives us the possibility to decide how to display our contents when we share it on Mark Zuckerberg’s social network. Just halfway between the famous traffic light and advanced settings, with a simple click we can customize the title that will appear in the Facebook preview, a short description, and even a dedicated image, which can be different from the article’s cover.
Yoast SEO: advanced features
All the functions we have seen so far are really useful and allows us to keep many SEO aspects of our content under control, and even customize them for Facebook. But perhaps the most incredible thing about this plugin is how easily it permit us to perform quite complex and not at all obvious operations. Venturing into the plugin settings section, you’ll have the possibility to:
- manage indexing (index, noindex, follow, nofollow) and decide whether or not to index some content, and to permit the crawlers to follow the links inside.
- redirect the indexed traffic of a content to a different URL (very useful in case of website remodelling or content updating).
- automatically create a sitemap.xml for your website and provide Google with a more hierarchical and easy-to-index structure of your site.
- modify the robots.txt and htaccess files to block the scanning of certain pages and correctly perform redirects.