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WordPress Plugin Spotlight: Yoast SEO

You don’t have to be an expert content creator to create good content, nor do you need to be leading search engine optimization (SEO) specialist to effectively strengthen your website content for maximum search results—not when you utilize the power of the WordPress plugin Yoast SEO. We’ve touted the benefits of using this plugin on a small business website before, and here are some of the reasons why:

  • It’s easy for non-writers and non-SEO experts to use

  • It guides you through the process of creating SEO-oriented content

  • The premium version offers features that help streamline the process of sharing content on social media

To be clear, there’s the free version of Yoast SEO, which you can download from the WordPress plugin repository, and there is the premium version of the plugin available for $89 per year. So, what’s the difference and how do you decide which one you need for your small business website?

Yoast SEO (Free)

The whole purpose of Yoast SEO is to enhance your content so that it appears at the top of search results for your industry or business category, whether that content is a blog post or a web page. With the help of a content analyzer in a meta box located directly below your WordPress text editor, you can set a focus keyword and content description. Yoast will then analyze the copywriting of your content and measure its effectiveness taking into consideration keyword density, readability, and outbound linking. The plugin rates your SEO with the use of a traffic light icon. The red light means that your content is missing important key elements for proper SEO. Orange means that your copywriting needs improvement. And the much-desired green light means that you’ve nailed it and your content is good to publish.

So, for example, if you have a pizza restaurant website in Detroit, and you’ve selected ‘Detroit pizza restaurant’ as your keyword phrase on your About page, but nowhere in the content of that page do you have that phrase written anywhere, you can expect to see the Yoast red light. When you do get that dreaded red light, don’t publish your content! Analyze it yourself and see what you can do better. This SEO Copywriting Guide from Yoast can help with your analysis.

If you’re skeptical about paying for the premium version of the plugin, then consider downloading the free version and experimenting with it. Once you get into the habit of aiming for green-lit content, you will most definitely see improvement in the SEO of your small business website. Eventually, you will become curious about how much more the premium version can strengthen your content.

Yoast SEO Premium

Here at eWebscapes, as well as at our parent company’s website, we rely on the premium version of Yoast SEO. Not only are we guided by the traffic lights of the plugin, but it also allows us to select more than one keyword or keyword phrase (with the free version, you can only select one). Plus, Yoast premium offers suggestions for internal linking (linking to other pages of your website) and allows you to control how the preview of your content will appear on Facebook and Twitter, including selecting an image to accompany that preview.

Relying on Yoast SEO Premium to assist you with your on-page SEO is kind of like having an editor on-hand who makes helpful suggestions and points out anytime you’ve missed something. And there is no way you could ever hire an editor to do for you what Yoast SEO Premium does for less than $90 a year.

Of course, no small business owner should ever discount the usefulness of a professional SEO expert. Yoast SEO definitely does not replace that type of knowledge, experience, or customized strategy. But, the plugin is a good way to begin your journey toward great SEO.

Use this handy chart to compare the free version of Yoast SEO to the premium paid version. Once you’ve selected the right one for you and your small business, start implementing its abilities. You will see an improvement in your content’s search engine results, which will lead to more website traffic, leads, and sales.

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