Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Yoast Plugin: Writing for People and Search


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This is a short presentation for our February 2014 WordPress Meetup Group in Iowa’s Creative Corridor.

Writing for People and Search
The Yoast plugin is a great tool to help you write for people and search. This session talks about how to use the plugin as a tool in your toolkit to write engaging and focused articles that work for search and are still readable by and engaging to our human readers.

This session covers:

How to install the free plugin
How to determine a keyphrase for a post
How to use the plugin while you are writing the post to help refine the content as you are putting it together

Takeaways:
Understanding how to install the plugin
Understanding how to use it

Listen to the audio while clicking through the slides:

Audio not playing? Try the transcript below:

The Yoast plugin helps us write for search and for people and of course what that means is we don’t want just to stuff our articles with keywords that search engines pick up for to get us more traffic. We want to use relevant language that tells a story, but that also is clear enough so search engines can find our content, but it’s also
readable by people when they actually get to our site.

The Yoast plugin helps us use concise consistent words and language used by audiences and that actually helps us with connecting with people, existing people and new people and some of those new people of course are people that find the website through search, but it’s important to use the right language so for example if we are writing about how certain activities can help our job search or our career and we only say, “Job Search.” But in actuality, the audience uses the term “career,” we might not get all the different people coming to our site that use different words for the same thing. It’s important to keep those things in mind.

If you don’t have it installed, you can go directly to http://www.yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo and download it
from there. If you are already in your WordPress install, you can also click on plugins on the left there, click on add new and then search for Yoast. Click on install now and install the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin and then it shows up in the bottom of a post so this is a look here on Slide 7. This is how your editor looks like so this, for example, is a post I did on counting calories with the My Fitness Pal app and that’s how the editor looks and then when you scroll down, you see the Yoast SEO plugin typically right there. Of course, you can move things around so if you like it on the top or at the bottom or I think you can even move it over to the sidebar.

Related: Optimize your site for SEO with Dustin Hartzler

I pick a focus keyword or key phrase, really keyword phrase, counting calories is my keyword and then Yoast analyzes if I did a good job mentioning the keyword, if I used it correct, if I used the correct language, if my sentences are easy enough for people to understand. In the main description area usually I type something like “this article discusses how the My Fitness Pal app makes counting calories easier.” So you do want to have the keywords in there, but of course you don’t necessarily need to have them first, but then once you save a draft, you can click on page analysis and it tells you what is going well and what is not going well.

One best practice for writing for search especially you want to have three hundred words at the least and what I found actually is that if you have less than three hundred words, that’s usually note enough content anyway so you really want to add some meaningful content that might be interesting for your readers. Flush it out so even though I go got a hundred sixty-eight words in this post, it’s telling me red light on that one if you can add some things. Then,
the next one, you have not used any keywords, key phrases, any subheadings such as H2 in your copy so if possible and relevant add sub headlines that also makes it easier for people to actually read the article.

The last I heard only about only about 6% of web users actually read word for word in articles so those things also
help people with scanning and reading and comprehension so then the reds are obviously things that should be definitely fixed. The yellows not necessarily as bad, so the yellows here the copy score 68.5 and the flesh reading these tests which is considered okay to read so I think the categories are easy to read, fairly
easy to read perhaps, okay to read and then difficult to read.

We want articles to be easy to read because we want to make sure everybody understands what we’re talking
about. If it’s hard to read, it will give us some options, it will give us some ideas on how to make it easier to read, for example, shorter sentences. The green things are good. They are good to go so the more green you have, the quicker you’re going to get Yoast telling you it’s a post that’s good to publish, the keyword phrase appears in the url, the image on this page contains alt text with a target keyword. There are links. The keyword density
is 1.8 percent which is great. The keyword was found three times so sometimes that can turn into red when we mentioned the keyword too many times then search engines might think we’re stuffing the page so and then of course you got the
keyword in the first paragraph of the copy so if it’s really about counting calories, your first paragraph should actually talk about that so then over there on the right in the box where you can publish the post, it actually gives you a color. It starts with red. Every post starts with red now. Yellow, I think there’s a couple darker yellows in there or something like that, and then, it goes to green. You want to get to green, now, you don’t have to hit all the areas to get to green. Sometimes a post with 220 words can get to green, but you do want to try to be as friendly to search as possible.


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