Yoast SEO Setup and User Guide

Yoast SEO is one of the most downloaded plugins on WordPress, but do you know how to properly use it? Most people just install and activate the plugin without ever changing settings or using the most powerful feature: “Page Analysis”. This post will be broken down into two sections.

  1. Initial plugin installation and setup
  2. Optimizing Pages and Posts

Let’s get started with our Yoast SEO Setup guide!

Initial Installation and Setup
  1. Go to “Plugins” then “Add New”
  2. Search “Yoast SEO”
  3. Click on “Install Now”
    yoast seo setup install
  4. Then click “Activate” once the installation completes.
    yoast seo setup activate
  5. Now that the plugin is installed and activated, go to left menu and hover over “SEO”, then click “Titles & Metas”.
    yoast seo setup click titles
  6. I have had the most luck when I click “Enable force rewrite titles”, which will allow the plugin to make your titles SEO friendly. I also select the bar separator, although you could use the dash instead.
    yoast seo setup force rewrite
  7. The last step is to enter your social media accounts into Yoast so they can be used for Open Graph tags in your page. Hover over SEO, then click “Social”.
    yoast seo setup social
    Enter your social media details here:
    yoast seo setup social profiles

That is all the initial setup need with Yoast SEO. Pretty easy, right? Your site’s code is now optimized to look good to Google, but this only gets you part way there. To have any chance of getting ranked in Google, you need to be creating optimized content on a regular basis. That is where Yoast really shines with its Page Analysis tool. Let’s take a look at how that works.

Optimizing Pages and Posts

When you are creating a new page or post, you should be optimizing it for one keyword. Using Yoast’s Page Analysis tool, you can do just that. The goal is to give your page or post a “green light” for your SEO grade. Let’s go through the steps of optimizing your post.

  1. Everything starts with keyword research. If you don’t know what keywords you should try to rank for, there is no point in optimizing your post. For keyword research, I recommend purchasing a keyword research report from a vendor on Fiverr or use Google Adwords’ keyword tool, called Keyword Planner. You can also do a Google search on a term you think might be a good keyword and look at the amount of ads for that keyword. This will tell you how competitive the keyword is. In this example, we will optimize this post you are reading for the keyword: yoast seo setup.
  2. Before you do anything, you will notice that your SEO score is N/A in the publish box at the top of the page.
    yoast seo setup na
  3. Now let’s go down to the “Yoast SEO” settings box on your edit screen. Your score is N/A because you have not entered a “Focus Keyword”. Go ahead and add your focus keyword phrase (ours is yoast seo setup) to that field and click “Save Draft” at the top. You should now see a color next to the SEO label in your publish box.
    yoast seo setup focus keywordThis made our SEO score yellow based on how our focus keyword is used throughout the post:
    yoast seo setup yellow
  4. We can go back down to the Yoast SEO meta box on the edit screen and see that we have passed some tests, but not all:
    yoast seo setup focus keyword tips
    A further explanation of these items:
    – Article Heading: this is also your page title.
    – Page Title: our page title has the exact phrase we are trying to rank for:
    yoast seo setup title – Page URL: your URL has the exact phrase:
    yoast seo setup permalink– Content: we will use the page analysis tool to see why or content is getting a “No”
    – Meta description: this is the content that shows in search results pages (SERPS) on Google. It should also contain your keyword phrase.
  5. Now click on “Page Analysis” to see why our score is not green:
    yoast seo setup page analysis
    I will go ahead and try to satisfy the red and orange items in my page analysis and then check my score again.
  6. After making edits to my content and adding alt text to my images, my page analysis now shows:
    yoast seo all green

That is it! We now have a perfectly optimized page (according to Yoast). Remember that this is only your “on-page” SEO score. There are many other factors in ranking your page including how many links are pointed to your content as well as the amount of social shares. Having done this optimization, you know you are setting yourself up for the best chance of being ranked for your keyword.

Let us know if you have any questions!

Plugin Review: Firehose Chat

Update 11/14:
This post was written in July, 2014 and I have since decided to use a different chat provider.  I was reluctant to switch because I do really like the benefits of Firehose Chat, but there were some issues I couldn’t get past. The main one was not saving chat logs, so if I couldn’t respond to someone, they were gone forever. You can upgrade to their paid version to get chat history, but it seems too expensive for one person. I wished they had a better plan for less users. Let me know if you have any questions!

Have you been thinking of adding a live chat box to your website? Live chat can be a powerful tool to capture website visitors before they leave. It has less friction than having to email or give you a call because it is fast, easy and has no strings attached. So you want to try a live chat out, but one one do you choose with so many options out there?

Here at wpONcall, we have gone through a few different products and we think we have found the solution that works best for us. Keep in mind that we have only used Firehose Chat for a week, but it has features that make it the best we have tried so far

The problem with live chat: “We are currently unavailable”

nolongerLive chat is only good if you are there to answer a request or question. Most live chat providers force you to:

  1. Log in to their website to access your account.
  2. Go to the chat page, which activates the “I’m here” message on your website.
  3. Keep that tab or page open to allow visitors to chat with you.

If you do not keep your chat window open, it displays a message like: “We are currently unavailable, please leave us a message”.

This is where Firehose Chat makes live chat more effective:

With Firehose, your chat window is always “open for business”. This is because they have a Mac and iOS app that allows you to chat at anytime, even if you are not at your computer. If you are at a computer, a notification will tell you if a visitor is trying to message. If you are away from the computer, it will alert you like a text message, so you can go right into a chat at any time.

firehose chat review

Get alerted on the Mac app instead of a browser window.

firehose ios

Chat on iOS like a text message

This solved my biggest problem of never remembering to keep the Live Chat browser window open to talk with potential customer.

Any negatives?

Unfortunately, right now Firehose is only available for Mac and iPhone users, so no Android or PC support right now.

Update!
The team at Firehose chat have now added support for Android and a browser version for any desktop. Now anyone can use Firehose chat, regardless if they are on Mac, PC or Android.

Otherwise, it is a free, well designed application that can help you connect to website visitors.

 

What has been your experience with adding Live Chat to your site? Has it helped you connect with customers that would have otherwise left your site?