Search engine optimization (SEO) allows website owners to achieve a higher search ranking for their target keywords. Here are some of the reasons why SEO is important and how the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress can help.
When a user searches for one of your target keywords in Google, how many pages does he or she have to flip through before finding your website? According to some reports, 91% of Internet do not go past the first page of search results.
Optimizing your website for a higher search ranking will increase its visibility while attracting more visitors in the process. With that said, you might be surprised to learn just how much of an impact search rankings have on traffic. A study conducted by Chitka found that websites ranking in the #1 position on Google (organic, not paid) received 32.5% traffic share. Websites just a little farther down in the #7 position, however, only received 3.5% traffic share.
Search rankings also affect a website’s authority and trust. Users generally view high-ranking websites as being more authoritative and trustworthy than their low-ranking counterparts.
In addition to increased traffic and authority/trust, maintaining a search ranking builds stronger brand recognition. Even if a user doesn’t click your search listing, he or she may still read your website’s name. This allows for increased brand recognition and overall exposure.
Of course, maintaining a high search ranking will help you attract backlinks as well — a primary ranking signal used by all of the major search engines. When your website ranks high in search results, more people will see it. And when more people see your website, they’ll create more backlinks pointing to it.
WordPress and Yoast SEO
As you can see, maintaining a high search ranking is paramount for your website’s success. While using the content management system (CMS) WordPress can assist with SEO, you can further improve your search rankings by installing the Yoast plugin. See below for a list of five powerful SEO features included in Yoast.
#1) Custom Post Titles and Meta Descriptions
The title tag and meta description are among the most important on-page optimization signals, according to Moz. WordPress automatically uses post or page titles for the title tag, along with an excerpt for the meta description. Using Yoast, you can set both custom title tags and meta descriptions for each post or page.
#2) Focus Keyword
Once installed and activated, you’ll see a new options box at the bottom of your posts and pages when logged into your website. Along with setting a custom title tag and meta description, this box allows site owners to define a focus keyword. Yoast SEO runs your focus keyword through an algorithm to determine whether or not it’s search engine-friendly.
You’ll have complete control over your site’s taxonomy when using Yoast SEO. This is particularly useful for optimization, as search engines pay close attention to these “breadcrumb” links.
#4) Meta Configuration
#5) XML Sitemaps
You can’t expect Google to index all of your site’s pages unless it knows where they are located. This is where Yoast SEO’s XML sitemap features comes into play. Using Yoast SEO, you can generate an XML sitemap of your website, showing search engines exactly how many pages you have and where those pages are located.
What About the Premium Version?
It’s important to note that there’s both a free and paid version of Yoast SEO. The free version contains all of the features mentioned above, while the paid version contains the following extras:
- Redirect Manager — while you can always set up URL redirects manually in your site’s htaccess file, the premium version of Yoast SEO has a built-in redirect manager.
- Multiple Focus Keyword — the premium version supports multiple focus keywords (see above).
- Social Previews — upgrading to the premium version of Yoast SEO allows you to access previews of your Facebook and Twitter posts before making them live.
- Premium Support — if you ever encounter a problem or bug, you can seek assistance directly from the Yoast team.
To learn more about Yoast SEO and how it can help you achieve higher search rankings contact us today.