If you’re looking to get more traffic to your delicious food blog, but you’re overwhelmed by learning about search engine optimization (SEO), you almost definitely need to learn about (and use) Yoast.
One of the best ways to get more eyes on your words is through search engine traffic: people who search for key terms on sites like Google and Bing and find your posts in the results. But in order to be ranked highly on search engines, and then found by new fans, your posts need to look extremely attractive to the search engine bots that crawl through your content.
Founded in 2008, Yoast is a company that specializes in search engine optimization education — but when people say “Yoast” in conversation, they’re probably referring to the wildly popular content management plug-in that allows users to improve their SEO by following a series of simple recommendations (like making sure your post is longer, or picking a shorter keyword).
When you have Yoast installed on your blog management system (like WordPress), it allows you to see how strong your SEO is by placing a red (bad), yellow (OK), or green (great!) check next to your post. Below the post, it tells you what you are doing wrong (next to red bullet points), what you could be doing better (next to yellow bullet points) and what you’ve nailed (next to green bullet points).
In a nutshell, Yoast allows any writer, no matter their online marketing knowledge, to post like an SEO expert. All you have to do is follow most of their recommendations and your post will be more Google-ready and more likely to be seen by the readers who are looking for content like yours.
Yoast has a free version as well as a paid premium version — the premium version allows you to optimize for more than one keyword, see social media previews and keyword reports, among a few other perks.
But Yoast isn’t just about plug-ins, it’s about SEO education and community. Yoast’s mission is to equal the playing field for SEO so that not just the experts have the edge. To help with that mission, they have a series of online training courses that you can take to learn more about optimization in depth — from learning the most basic SEO info, to understanding how to conduct keyword research, to understanding site structure. These courses, which range in price from $40 to $200, can be bought individually or in bundles, although the intro course is free.
Finally, Yoast also offers a free blog to all. Their blog not only covers important updates about the plug-in, but also important SEO news and tips — since SEO strategies change quickly and regularly as search engines update their ranking algorithms. If you’re a regular blogger who’s looking for more traffic and success, adding the Yoast blog to your daily reading can help you slowly but surely understand SEO strategies and help you integrate them into your writing and posting.
Are you convinced and ready to get started with Yoast? Here’s the installation guide for the free WordPress version to help you get started, step by step.