The ability for search engines to understand content in a website doesn’t require fancy code or a plugin. The basics of SEO just requires that the content be hierarchical (H1, H2, and content) and valuable. However, adding a plugin, like Yoast SEO, enriches the information that a search engine reads as well as assists a variety of social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest in displaying what a page or post is about.

Yoast SEO is a plugin created since the beginning of WordPress. It’s a standard that can do no wrong as Yoast has been tested over and over by a solid team. The plugin is kept up-to-date with each WordPress version and has support through a dedicated help center and a user community. It’s a solid plugin.

Benefits of Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO comes in to different versions, free and premium. We’ll be discussing the benefits of the free version.

Customized Title and Description

Even though the title and content of a post or page is all that is required for a search engine, having readable title for a SEO may require a shorter title than what is ideal for the page/post itself. What’s great with Yoast SEO is that the title for search engines can be different than the title of the page/post. The title and description can be customized for a search engine listing to bring in a reader such as including details of what the site is about outside of what the page/post is about.

Yoast SEO has defaults that comes in handy that automatically drives the title and description to be more rich and SEO friendly.

Guidance on SEO readability

Yoast SEO is backed by a team that understands how search engines work. The plugin provides indicators to help you understand what information to provide and what works best for the greatest results in SEO rankings.

These indicators tell you if the focus word (the main subject of the page) is missing in key locations such as title, url, description, etc. They also indicate if you need more words, passive tense, structured content (title, subtitles, etc), paragraph lengths, etc.

Creates XML Sitemap

For a search engine to understand what content is available on your site, it needs to know where to find the pages and posts (i.e. URLs) they exist. This is where a sitemap comes into play. A sitemap is a structured outline text file (in XML, for those who are technical) that gives a list of all possible pages and posts that exist on your site. This doesn’t happen with WordPress out of the box, but with Yoast SEO, it will generate the file for you. (FYI – don’t forget to submit your site to a few search engines)

Providing Social Assistance

Yoast SEO contains the ability to create tailored content when sharing to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. These social sites have geek speak of their own when looking at sites. They require a little bit of fine tuning than the average search engine.

Yoast SEO provides the ability to contain different content such as titles, description, and images for social media sites to use. This will be a discussion in a further post.

SO much more benefits

If that wasn’t enough benefits from a free, solid plugin, this plugin can hook up to Google Search tools to verify how the site is performing in a real search engine.

So how do you get this plugin?

How to setup and install this great plugin is in the next post.