I have been using Yoast SEO a plugin for WordPress to guide me through optimizing pages and post for search engine optimization for years and though there are plenty of guides out there on how this works, it takes a lot of time and research to fully understand and take advantage of this amazing tool for WordPress. So nothing new under the sun here, but I am going to try to give you a simple process of how best to use this tool and optimize your blog and pages for search.
But first a quick explanation of SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It means to optimize your content so that people can easily find it on the web when searching for answers. There are a number of aspects to SEO of which we cannot possibly cover in a single post, but suffice to say “Content is King.”
One way I like to understand SEO is Google is a business, and people searching Google is their customers. Their product is the advertisements, and their brand is the search experience. So with Google providing their customers with the best search experience possible is number one. They want to always display the most relevant content possible for a search query so they can also display relevant ads which allows them to charge their other customers businesses for highly targeted advertisements with trackable results. Understanding Google’s business model is key to understanding SEO.
So what is Yoast SEO?
Yoast SEO is a plugin for WordPress that analyses your content and makes recommendations based on a Focus Keyword that you choose. It steps you through modifying your content to get the best results for that keyword. But the key is understanding which content to optimize for what keywords. And that is where we begin the process.
Step One: Cornerstone Content
Using Yoast SEO you have an option to designate a post or page as Cornerstone Content. This changes the requirements for that page to be considered optimized as Yoast steps you through your content. Cornerstone Content is content that is optimized for your websites main keywords. For example, my website would have “graphic design”, “branding”, and “marketing” as cornerstone content keywords. Your cornerstone content might be, “Church in Rockford, IL” if you are wanting to localize your SEO. You can have more than one piece of content optimized as cornerstone content using the same keyword, however, non-cornerstone pieces should use their focus keyword only once. You can make a post as part of your cornerstone content, but most of the time its a page.
Step Two: Longtail Keywords
So what about all the other content you might ask? This is where “longtail keywords” come into play. Content that is not Cornerstone Content Yoast recommends that you use a focus keyword only once. So what you want to do is discover keywords that relate to your cornerstone content to focus on. Many times when people search the internet they don’t search directly for the keywords that you are trying to target. Instead, they search more often with a phrase. Such as “graphic design services in Rockford, IL” or “a good church to attend in Rockford, IL” So for your other content, you want to target these phrases as your focus keyword. You do want to try to avoid “stop words” such as “and”, “the”, etc. But sometimes this is difficult.
Step Three: Linking
So the idea is to create links from your content that has longtail keywords or phrases as the focus keyword back to your cornerstone content. This builds your reputation in Google’s eyes for that content. Think of it as a hierarchy.
Cornerstone Content: Keyword: Graphic Design
Link all your articles dealing with the various aspects of Graphic Design back to this content.
Focus Keywords: Longtail:
- is graphic design important
- where can graphic design take you
- how graphic design solves problems
- how graphic design helps business
- what graphic design is all about
- why graphic design is important
- why graphic design matters
- why graphic design is not art
- why graphic design
- graphic design versus web design
I generated these ideas from a great website for content ideas: https://answerthepublic.com
Another great tool for keyword research is: https://keywordtool.io
This content hierarchy will let Google know that you have an extensive variety of content on the subject and they will begin to point traffic to you for answers.
In conclusion, this is only one part of a larger picture of SEO, but this would be a good way to get started and Yoast SEO is one of the best plugins for your WordPress blog that can help you begin to optimize your content.
Here is some other great content from ChurchMag on SEO!
How to Structure a Perfect SEO Optimized Page [Infographic]
SEO Matters: Start a Blog
Curate & Create Great Content: Don’t Be A SEO Sellout
The Hidden Value of Long Tail SEO [Infographic]
3 Easy SEO Tips For Church Websites
A Beginners Guide to SEO [Infographic]
SEO 101: A Beginners Guide to SEO [Infographic]
Blogging 101: SEO Tools