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Taking the Yoast SEO Plugin to the Next Level


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Presentation from 2016 Sacramento Wordcamp where I shared ways Blast Analytics & Marketing takes the Yoast SEO plugin and uses it to enable a content strategy instead of just as tactical SEO tool.

Here's the Wordcamp "Taking the Yoast SEO Plugin to the Next Level" session description:

The Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin is the best SEO (Search Engine Optimization) solution available on WordPress and has over 32 million downloads to date. For the novice, using it out-of-the-box is a great step forward in their SEO efforts. For more experienced users, it’s time to move beyond the built-in recommendations and to optimize their site like an expert.

In this talk, I’ll briefly explain that effective SEO is based in data and is deliberate and measurable, and define the often misunderstood “keyword” and how they as relevant today as ever. I’ll then give specific ways web managers/masters can apply keyword and content strategy to the Yoast plugin.

We’ll cover the most common and important elements: page titles, meta descriptions, robots meta, Open Graph, page copy (briefly — it’s a big topic), headings, and multiple focus keywords (for Yoast Premium users). For each of these elements you’ll get a definition and specific recommendations for length, structure, keyword usage, and why it’s important, and the expected result.

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Taking the Yoast SEO Plugin to the Next Level

  1. 1. WordCamp 2016 Take the Yoast SEO Plugin to the Next Level @McCormickDavid
  2. 2. David McCormick Senior Marketing Strategist @McCormickDavid
  3. 3. Yoast SEO Plugin is AWESOME If you’re not using it, Start Today
  4. 4. Great SEO starting point Robust Yoast blog is great resource Great support
  5. 5. What is SEO?
  6. 6. SEO
 is not Voodoo
  7. 7. SEO is not Sorcery
  8. 8. SEO is Based on Data
  9. 9. SEO is Understanding User Demand
  10. 10. Providing The right thing To the right people At the right time In the right way SEO is
  11. 11. “f-ing kwrd!” Keyword is not a 4-letter word
  12. 12. Think About, Refer To, Search For How users what you have to offer
  13. 13. Connect with your audience
  14. 14. Google’s Knowledge Graph is amazing Google’s goal = helping Google
  15. 15. Change comes too quickly SEO must be strategic 2 Greatest Obstacles
  16. 16. Today’s Focus: Page Titles Meta Descriptions Open Graph Page Copy Headings Multiple Keyword Focus Meta Robots
  17. 17. Page Title: What is it?
  18. 18. Page Title: Yoast SEO • MUST use focus keyword! • Put Keyword towards front • Do not keyword stuff
  19. 19. Page Title: Next Level The single most important on-page SEO element
 • Goal: to get the click. (just like PPC ad) • Include benefits to the customer • Communicate your brand • Be specific, descriptive, and relevant Write like an ad
  20. 20. Page Title: Results • Increase search visibility • Increase click through • Decrease bounce rate • Increase conversions/revenue
  21. 21. Meta Desc.: What is it? Affect click through rates (CTR) from the SERPs CTR directly affects rankings in the long-term Meta descriptions ARE important to rankings
  22. 22. Meta Desc.: Yoast SEO • 135 - 150 characters • Write like a miniature ad • Avoid “we”. Use “you!” (Write for the user) • Use keywords. Put primary keyword toward the front. • Goal is not perfect grammar
  23. 23. Meta Desc.: Next Level WTF!?
  24. 24. Meta Desc.: Next Level
  25. 25. Meta Desc.: Next Level Put keywords in first sentence of paragraph below the heading
  26. 26. Meta Desc.: Results • Increase search visibility • Increase click-through • Decrease bounce rate • Increase conversions/revenue
  27. 27. Open Graph: What is it? og:image og:title og:description
  28. 28. IS NOT Organic Search Social Sharing
  29. 29. Open Graph: Yoast SEO • Keyword-rich content • Title: • 55-60 characters (at the moment) • Best when specific
  30. 30. Open Graph: Next Level • Longer descriptions = more opportunity • Keep to 250 to be safe • Minimum image size: 200 x 200 pixels • Best size is 1200 x 630 pixels • Use all possible tags
  31. 31. Open Graph: Results • Increase social shares • Increase traffic to site • Increase brand affinity
  32. 32. Page Copy: What is it? Demand-Driven Content
  33. 33. Page Copy: Next Level Each page should: • Have unique messaging • Focus on one keyword theme. (exception is home page) • Stand by itself without relying on other pages. Every page is a possible landing page
  34. 34. Page Copy: Next Level • Get to the point quickly • Grab user’s attention early • Make scannable • Deliver primary message in the first paragraph • Keep paragraphs short Write for humans, not search engines.
  35. 35. Page Copy: Results Better, Stronger, Faster Impact depends on the page’s purpose
  36. 36. <h1>Chocolate Donuts from Mary’s Bakery</h1> <p>text</p> <h2>Types of Chocolate Donuts</h2> <p>text</p> <h3>Chocolaty Frosted Donuts</h3> <p>text</p> <h3>Chocolate Donuts with Sprinkles</h3> <p>text</p> Headings: What is it?
  37. 37. Headings: Yoast SEO • One H1 tag per page • H1 headline is first thing people see • Include primary keyword • Do NOT make page titles and H1s the same
  38. 38. Headings: Next Level • Use meaningful headings (not clever ones) • One clear idea per paragraph • 7 words or less • Stay true to page structure hierarchy • Make it scannable
  39. 39. Headings: Results • Increase search visibility • Improve user experience • Improve page performance
  40. 40. Multiple Keyword Focus
  41. 41. Multiple Keyword Focus Yoast SEO
  42. 42. Multiple Keyword Focus Yoast SEO
  43. 43. DO NOT stuff keywords Next Level Multiple Keyword Focus
  44. 44. Before After Next Level Multiple Keyword Focus
  45. 45. Meta Robots: Yoast SEO Index? Follow?
  46. 46. Categories & Tags noindex to prevent dilution / confusion Meta Robots: Yoast SEO
  47. 47. Include: • Internal search results • Paginated pages • Blog archives • Query parameter-based URLs • Paid search landing pages • “Thanks you” pages Meta Robots: Next Level
  48. 48. • Don’t include files needed for render • Use “noindex,nofollow” on page before adding to robots.txt file Meta Robots: Next Level Robots.txt File
  49. 49. • Clean implementation • Easier site maintenance • Faster crawls of new content Meta Robots: Results
  50. 50. Page Titles - Write like an ad Meta Descriptions - First sentence under heading Open Graph - Don’t forget audience Page Copy - Start with takeaway Headings - Meaningful, not clever Multi Kywrd Focus - Need hierarchy Meta Robots - Use a robots.txt file Take the Yoast SEO Plugin to the Next Level
  51. 51. David McCormick Senior Marketing Strategist @McCormickDavid Thank you… Questions?
  52. 52. Rocklin Office 6020 West Oaks Blvd., Suite 260 Rocklin, CA 95765 San Francisco Office 156 2nd Street San Francisco, CA 94105 New York Office 54 West 40th Street New York, NY 10018 Seattle Office 500 Yale Avenue North Seattle, WA 98109 Los Angeles Office 7083 Hollywood Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90028 Chicago Office 220 North Green Street Chicago, IL 60607 Boston Office 745 Atlantic Avenue Boston, MA 02111 London Office 22 Upper Ground London, SE1 9PD Web | Blog | Phone (888) 252-7866