Optimizing your Content for SEO

Optimizing SEO for your site will increase your chances of being found in Google and other search engines. A correct SEO strategy will ensure that when you show up in search engines, the results are relevant to the reader’s queries and your blog’s digital window display looks spotless.

How to optimize my SEO with Yoast SEO?

An amazing plugin that would help you with this process is Yoast SEO. After adding it to your active plugins, you will find the YOAST SEO area on your backend when editing a page, blog post or category if you keep scrolling down after the editing section.

Please note that the process will be the same either you use Gutenberg or the Classic Editor to create and edit your blog posts.

Grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and let’s take a look at all the specifications for the different fields: Focus Keyword, SEO Title, Meta Description and Alt-tags.

Focus Keyword (or Focus Keyphrase)

The Focus Keyword is one of the most important aspects when optimizing your content. It can be short or long but needs to be a sentence/word that reflects what you wrote. The 5 key spaces to add your Focus Keyword is:

  1. SEO title
  2. Meta Description
  3. Post Slug
  4. The first paragraph of the copy
  5. Image Alt Tags

So make sure that at least these fields contains your keyword.

Optimizing for SEO with YOAST SEO focus keyphrase

Title Tags (or SEO Title)

A title tag is a description that tells your audience and search engines what your content is about and whether the page on your blog is relevant to the keyword or keyword phrase an audience is searching. Title tags should be unique for every page because it shows up in the first line in the search results page. Search engines seek out keywords in your title tag and serve up your blog in page rankings if the users have used that keyword in their search queries.

How to create a Title Tag and what you need to know:

  • Choose a title that accurately reflects the content on the page
  • Your title tag should be written like this: Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
  • Use a dash in between your keyword phrases and a pipe at the end before your brand name
  • Avoid duplicate title tags
  • Be brief. Keep title tags at 55 characters or less in length, including spaces.

Where to edit

  1. Click on “Edit snippet”
  2. Write your title in the SEO title ( Note: these are the exact words that will appear in search results for this particular post. The SEO title can be different from your blog post title)
  3. Close snippet editor

Optimizing for SEO with YOAST SEO title

Meta description

A meta description provides a summary of what your article is about. A meta descriptions purpose is to provide an audience with a reason to click on your page so you want to write in a compelling way to drive engagement. Keywords are important to include in your meta descriptions because like title tags, search engines will serve your page if it aligns with the audience’s search behaviour.

Think of meta descriptions as the window display to your blog – their display should be spotless and invite people in! You can also find out more about how to write a great Meta Description in this blog post on our CD Blog.

How to create a meta description and what you need to know:

  • Keep your meta description to 150 to 160 characters
  • Avoid duplicate meta descriptions
  • Include your focus keyword
  • Do not use quotes or any non-alpha characters (Google, cuts them out of the meta description)
  • Practice writing compelling meta descriptions
  • Tip: If you want to see other blogger’s meta descriptions, copy and paste their URL into a blank page. Once completed (if in place correctly), it will appear underneath the URL name.

Where to edit

  1. Click on “Edit snippet” (Note: You can edit the SEO title and meta description in one go)
  2. Write your meta description in the box
  3. Close snippet editor

Optimizing for SEO with YOAST SEO meta description

Alt-tags (or Alt Text)

An alt tag is a name you put to an image. I know you have been adding them but there is still some room for improvement. What is amazing about alt tags are they not only help search engines find your page but from an accessibility perspective, the alt tag will read what the image is to an audience who is using a special reader. Make sure all your images contain a unique alt-tag.

How to create alt tags and what you need to know:

  • Name all of your images in a way that describes what they are. It is not compulsory to include your keyword or phrase in every picture in the post but you should add it as often as it makes sense. If some images are not related to the keyword, it is best to just describe them clearly and accurately even if the Yoast SEO rating is orange.
  • Use dashes between the words, rather than underscores ( purple-hat.jpg rather than purple_hat.jpg)
  • Do not use non-alpha characters in your image or file names (so no %, &, $, etc…)

Where to edit

  1. Click on a picture and then click on the pencil
  2. Write your Alternative Text in the box
  3. Click update and you’re done!

Note: when editing with Gutenberg, when you click on the image, you will also find an area on the sidebar where you can add your Alt Tag.

Optimizing for SEO with YOAST SEO alt text

You should be doing this SEO optimization not only for your articles but also for your pages. The process for pages is exactly the same process as for individual blog posts.

Always aim to optimize your content as much as possible (within reason). Spending those extra couples of minutes on revisiting your post can make all the difference.

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