WordPress is certainly better than other CMS in SEO perspective. But, is it enough to rank higher in search engines? Certainly not! After all, you have to focus on the content of your site more often for better SEO. There are several other aspects as well that you need to configure in your WordPress website to be able to beat your competitors in Search Engine ranking. And, we all aren’t SEO expert. So, what do we do for better SEO? The answer is SEO plugin. Here, I’m going to do the review of Yoast SEO plugin (Free version). Yes, we are currently using the free version of Yoast SEO plugin in WPCounsel.

What is Yoast SEO?

Yoast SEO is one of the best WordPress SEO plugin available in WordPress Plugin repository. Besides, it is one of the most used WordPress plugins. WordPress plugin repository shows that currently 3+ Million websites and blogs have installed Yoast SEO plugin. So, certainly, it is one the most popular and trusted plugin in WordPress community. Yoast SEO is feature-rich WordPress SEO plugin which takes your site’s SEO level several miles ahead when configured and used properly. It allows have in-depth control over SEO factors of every part of your site. In addition to making the site and post metadata SEO friendly, it does effective content analysis as well for the chosen keyword. What I like the most is the way it rates the post within 3 SEO levels and readability levels and makes real-time suggestions for improvements.

Major features of Yoast SEO (free version)

Among the several features of Yoast SEO, here are the tools and features which I loved the most. They make your life much easier in your struggle for better Search Engine Optimization.

Real-time SEO analysis by Yoast SEO

For SEO, content is the king. Your content should have certain keyword density (percentage of keywords in relation to total words). Besides, you need to have keywords in the title, description, headings and content. Even the position of keywords in the title and the post content matters a lot. These are very technical issues, which we miss to address while writing the post. But, these are the things which determine your SEO strength. Yoast SEO does real-time content analysis and gives recommendations. The thing is 3 colors rating is the really awesome feature which helps you determine your SEO level for the keyword you have chosen. For example, I’ve chosen focus Keyword ‘SEO Yoast’ for this post. At now, it is showing green signal (good SEO level) for my post as I’ve followed most of the recommendations of best SEO practice. While writing further I any bigger issues are seen, I’ll immediately see orange (Good but needs more improvements) and even red (if serious SEO issue appears). Yoast SEO focus keyword and SEO signal You can see this SEO signal in the Admin header bar of the page. This bar shows you this signal every time you view the article after logging in your account. Admin header bar with SEO signal of Yoast SEO If you see the orange or red signal, you should check out the SEO recommendations. You can see all the recommendations in the Analysis panel of Yoast SEO below focus keyword module. For the test, let me change the focus keyword to ‘Yoast SEO plugin’ and show you the recommendations from Yoast SEO. Recommendations of Yoast SEO after content analysis After changing the focus keyword, SEO signal has gone to orange. And, you can see the bunch of recommendations for better SEO on this particular keyword. On following these recommendations, SEO signal turns green again. This way, I’m always made to follow the best SEO practices which help me rank higher in the Search engines. Isn’t it amazing? I’ve not seen such great feature in any other WordPress SEO plugin because of which we at WPCounsel love it.

Real-time readability analysis by Yoast SEO

You are writing for the humans, not for the Search engine bots. So, your content must be readable for your readers. Search engines like Google observe the readability level as well for their ranking purpose. Your article should be divided under different headings, the number of words under a heading also matters. The density of sentences with passive voice is also checked. Your sentences shouldn’t be too long making it difficult to comprehend. You, while writing, certainly cannot consider all these factors. Or if your start concentrating more on these technical things, you may not be able to concentrate on the message you want to deliver to your readers. Isn’t it? Yoast SEO plugin understands this very well and does the brilliant content analysis for readability. It follows same 3 signal model with readability recommendations. Not only that, it helps you to identify where exactly you need to correct. Readability analysis by Yoast SEO plugin This way, Yoast SEO plugin, helps you to ensure that your article is readable for your readers. And, this certainly helps you in SEO perspective as well. And, readability analysis is the feature which you get in Yoast SEO plugin only. (If you know any other SEO plugin with this feature, please let me know from the comment)

Easy configuration wizard

After you install and activate the plugin, you need to configure it. Yoast SEO has very easy configuration wizard through which you can setup the plugin. Just 10 simple steps which you can complete in 5 minutes. This configuration wizard prepares the plugin to serve your site. Confugaration wizard of Yoast SEO plugin

Tell search engines about your social profiles

Yoast SEO plugin lets you tell search engines about your all major social profiles. All the social links you add here will be added to pages as meta-data. You can add default image for the post and page link shared to facebook. You can confirm the ownership of your site for the Pinterest from here. For this, you just have to go to the SEO >> Social menu. You open different tabs and manage the social profiles links.

XML sitemap by Yoast SEO

A Sitemap is any document which tells the Search engine crawlers or users about the pages in the website. Pages are ordered in the hierarchical order for easier understanding. These days, the sitemap is made only for the search engine crawlers. So, they are written in XML rather than HTML. Sitemap helps the search engine to find all the internal pages of website easily. You can manually submit your website’s sitemap to Google from its search engine console. Other search engines also accept XML sitemap which helps them for quicker indexing of your website. Yoast SEO makes the XML sitemap of your site according to your preferences. You can set the maximum number of entries per page, allow or disallow author archives, control the post-types and taxonomies to be included in the sitemap, and even exclude certain posts from the XML sitemap. For this, you just have to go to SEO >> XML Sitemap menu and set your preferences. Need to download your sitemaps to submit to search engines, visit this page ‘ http://www.mysite.com/sitemap_index.xml ‘ and download the required sitemaps. You can find this link on the General tab of XML Sitemaps page of Yoast SEO.

Bulk Editor of Yoast SEO

What if you want to edit the SEO Title and SEO Description of each post or may be several posts of your website. Editing each page takes lots of time. So, to help you in such case, Yoast SEO has bulk editor tool. To access this tool, go to SEO >> Tools menu, then click on the Bulk Editor link. Bulk Editor - Yoast SEO

Search Console by Yoast SEO

The free version of Yoast SEO offers least features for Google Search console. But, you can certainly see all the ‘not found‘ errors of Google Search Console and mark them solved it. For this, you need to authenticate your site with Google from Yoast SEO plugin. In premium version of Yoast SEO, you’ll be able to redirect the links which have 404 error (not found error). You can reach to the Search Console by clicking on the SEO >> Search Console menu.

Advanced setting of Yoast SEO

In the advanced settings, Yoast SEO offers you 3 different tabs. The first tab has settings for Breadcrumbs. You can enable or disable the breadcrumbs, choose the separators between the breadcrumbs, prefix the paths and even choose the taxonomy for the breadcrumbs of different post types. The second tab is for the Permalinks. You can strip the category base. Or even redirect all your attachment URLs to parent post URL. You can clean up the permalink by removing the stop words or even choose to redirect all the ugly URLs to clean permalinks. Similarly, you can choose the content that you want to have before each post in the feed and after the post in the feed. For this, you need to use RSS tab of Advanced settings. This way, you get very important features under the advanced setting of Yoast SEO plugin.

Wrapping Up

We are very happy with the features and performance of Yoast SEO plugin and would like to recommend it to everyone with WordPress website and blogs. Hope this review was helpful for you. If you have anything to share about Yoast SEO plugin or any other SEO plugin, please leave a comment below. We’ll be posting the review of different WordPress themes, plugins and hosting services in the upcoming days. So keep following WPCounsel.