Yoast is a hard taskmaster to please. You write a beautiful post, with amazing content, ready to share it with the world! …Then you see the two red marks Yoast left on your post. You sigh and return to your keyboard, typing away, making endless edits. The question may arise: Can I ever make Yoast happy? The answer is yes. In this post, I’m going to walk you through how to write a post that Yoast will love. But first of all, why should you even bother to make Yoast happy?
Why Even Bother Writing a Post that Yoast Will Love?
Yoast is a plugin designed to help you navigate the vast world of search engines, and help you figure out how to use SEO effectively. Basically, you make Yoast happy, you make Google happy. You make Google happy, and your pages will be seen by more people.
So, what is SEO, anyway? SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. SEO is the process of optimizing your post to rank higher in search engines like Google. If you do your SEO correctly, over time your page will rise higher in the search results. This will make your pages much easier to find.
Google is trying its very best to bring quality content to the searcher. It ranks URLs by the one it thinks will be the best for the searcher by using algorithms. This means that one of the best and most important ways to bring your site to the top is to create quality content that is targeted toward your audience, using words your audience is searching for, and answering the questions that your target audience is asking. However, there are lots of other things that could help a lot with SEO.
That’s where Yoast comes in. Let’s take a look at how we can effectively use Yoast to write a readable and Search Engine Optimized post.
Yoast SEO Analysis
Alright, I’m going to give a quick summary of how you can write a post that Yoast will love, and that will bring your page to the tops of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Then we’ll go into more detail about each of the things on the Yoast sidebar on WordPress.
Make sure you keep SEO in mind while you’re writing the post. Editing it afterward is not nearly as effective as writing it SEO optimized in the first place. So how do you do this?
First, make sure you pick a keyphrase using an SEO tool like Bramework or Ubersuggest before you start writing. Then, include this keyphrase at the start of your title, in your introduction paragraph, and a few times throughout. Try not to make this clunky and awkward, but bring it in naturally. It should come pretty naturally if your keyphrase is related to the topic like it should be.
Just a few more things. Make sure you include at least one internal link, and at least one external link. Your meta description should be between 120 and 156 characters. Your meta description is the first view visitors get of your post, so make it count.
And last of all, images. Images are a lovely flair that both readers and search engines love. They are totally worth it, and there are lots of free resources like Pexels and Unsplash where you can get them. Just make sure your alt text includes the focus keyphrase.
Now, let’s get into the definition of all these words I’ve been using.
What Are All These Things in the Yoast Sidebar for SEO in WordPress?
If you click on the Yoast Icon as shown above, then a menu will pop up on the right-hand side. Click on the dropdown titled “SEO analysis” with a colored dot next to it. Your goal is to make the dot turn green. You can do so by improving your SEO rating. Scroll down to where it says “Problems”, and it will show a list of things that you could do to improve your SEO rating.
These are the possible problems that you could have in the SEO analysis:
- Internal Links: Internal links are links that are to another page within the same website. For example, if you are writing on HomeChurchLife.com, you need to link to another page on HomeChurchLife.
- Keyphrase length: Click on the arrow at the bottom-right of the page to open up the SEO area, then scroll down and enter a “Focus keyphrase”. This keyphrase should be somewhat short. In fact, it could even be just one word.
- Meta description length: Your meta description should be between 120 and 156 characters. You can write a meta description by scrolling down to the SEO area and entering a meta description in the field below the title “Meta description”. Underneath the text box, there will be a bar that starts filling up, and once you put enough words, it will turn green. However, if you put too many, it will turn red again. Try to get green if at all possible.
- Image Keyphrase: Click on an image, then the gear in the top-right corner, then in the box titled “Alt text”, then type in a description of the image. This is so that screen readers can “read” the images. Also, if an image doesn’t load, it will show the alt text instead.
- Outbound links: Outbound links are links that link to a page outside of the website that you are using. That means that you can use any link off the internet. It also means that citations will count as well. You could also link to other sites within Kontent Network (e.g. HomeJobLife.com, FailOops.com, Buhkhub.com (pronounced book hub), etc.), and it will count as an outbound link as well!
- Images: Every post should have an image. This could be an image in the post or simply a featured image. You can add a featured image by clicking on the gear in the top-right corner, then scrolling down to “Featured Image” and following the steps there.
- Text length: Every article should be a minimum of 300 words long.
- SEO title width: As mentioned above, the title width is usually about 512 pixels, which should add up to about 50-60 characters. It is fine, however, to have it shorter than that. It only has to be a few words long.
There we go, now we know how to write a post with SEO that Yoast will love, what about a post with readability that Yoast will love?
How to Write a Post with Readability that Yoast will Love
Readability sounds simple, right? Spell your words correctly, and use grammar the way it was intended. But… there’s a little more to it. Yoast is going to get on to you over a whole host of things that seem trivial but actually make a huge difference. Let’s go over some quick tips on how to write in a way that makes Yoast and your readers happy. Then we’ll go into what on earth all these things in the sidebar are.
Most importantly, write as simply, precisely, and clearly as possible, while not losing meaning. Make sure that you are transitioning smoothly, and using lots of transition words (e.g. firstly, and, again, then, next). Don’t be ridiculous, though. We don’t need a sentence that begins with “Firstly again, and then next, you need to..”
Now another important thing, though it might sound strange. Avoid passive voice as much as possible. Active voice engages readers, passive voice detaches them.
Alright, two more big things. Make sure your paragraphs don’t get too long (Nobody wants to read a wall of text) and make sure you have enough subheadings. You should have one at least every 300 words.
Alright, let’s get into what all these things are in the Yoast sidebar on WordPress!
What Are All These Things in the Yoast Sidebar for Readability in WordPress?
Most of the problems Yoast will mention on your readability are pretty straightforward. You can pretty much tell what the problem is from what Yoast calls it. But just in case, here’s a list with definitions and how you can solve these problems, and write a post that Yoast will love.
The possible problems are:
- Subheading distribution: All sections should be less than 300 words if at all possible. In other words, you should have an H2 or H3 every 300 words or less.
- Flesch Reading Ease: If you have this problem, it basically means that your content is using too many big and difficult words that may be hard for some people to understand. If you run into this problem, try using a narrower vocabulary.
- Passive voice: Passive voice is talking about the form of your sentences. It is when “something happens to something”, rather than “someone doing something to it”. For example, a passive voice would be, “the door was opened by someone”, whereas an active voice would be, “someone opened the door”.
A more tricky example would be “The better your content the more likely it is to be found.” Yoast would mark that as passive because of the “it is to be found”. It is “being found”, not “someone finding it”.
Yoast wants at least 90% of your sentences to be active, so it is fine if you leave some passive if it makes it more clear. If you want to read more about passive and active voice, check out this site.
- Consecutive sentences: If you have more than two sentences that start with the same word, it gets kinda redundant. For that reason, Yoast penalizes you for having too many “consecutive sentences”.
- Paragraph length: In order to have good readability, each paragraph needs to be less than 150 words.
- Sentence Length: You shouldn’t have too many sentences that are longer than 20 words. If you do have too many, Yoast will give you an orange or red dot in the readability analysis to let you know.
- Transition words: Transition words are words like firstly, however, therefore, for instance, but, etc. In order to get a good readability score on transition words, at least 30% of your sentences should have transition words. For an okay score, you need only 20%. However, you should always aim for a good score rather than just okay.
How Can I Write a Post that Yoast will Love on Kontent?
Aha, great question! Most of the time you will be provided with a content brief with everything you need to know to write a post that will make Yoast very happy. That includes SEO research and a pre-picked keyphrase and title.
But what if you have your own idea for a post to write? No problem. You can pitch an idea to us at any time. If we like your idea, we will take your pitch and turn it into a content brief. If you do the SEO research yourself, your pitch suddenly gets a whole lot more likely to become a post. Just sayin’.
Anyway, now you know how to write a post that Yoast will love. Your SEO and readability will be beautiful, and Google is bound to notice eventually. Keep at it, you’ll get somewhere.
If you have any more questions about how to use WordPress, check out our article on How to Use WordPress as a Writer for Kontent.
What are you going to do with all this knowledge you have? You’re ready to write stellar posts, what better thing than to get paid to put that knowledge to use and write for us? Or maybe you’d like to help us in some other way? Maybe you’re interested to know what content is coming up on our sites? Check out our content briefs!