Learn how to optimize your content the right way using Yoast SEO the right way!
One of the most popular SEO plugins is Yoast. This plugin is largely responsible for optimizing the content of many people and alerting to some mistakes that many did not even know could damage their rankings.
Most people use the plugin precisely for its usability, to present the main optimizations On Page within each blog post.
But I have noticed some common doubts and misconceptions that arise regarding those little red and orange circles that represent errors in your posting.
- Can I only post when all the balls are green?
- Will Yoast penalize me if I do X or Y?
- I need to increase the density of my keyword !
Well that’s why I decided to write this post. Let’s clarify once and for all what you really need to worry about in Yoast flags and how you should use it.
I know Yoast has a lot of other features, so if you want to read about the tool as a whole and get technical and installation questions, check out the Complete Yoast Guide !
If you use another plugin to check your On Page optimizations, the principles will be the same. I will use Yoast as a base because it is the most popular.
So come on!
The first piece of information that I think is crucial for you to understand is that Yoast does not punish anyone and will not do anything to reduce their posts.
I have come across questions like “if I do X will Yoast hurt me?”, So I think this clarification is crucial.
What then does Yoast do?
Well, he will be a kind of arbiter of its content .
Yoast will in some ways simulate Google’s crawlers and evaluate a number of On Page issues that it knows may influence a searcher to like or dislike your text. And will advise you on points that he thinks you can improve.
Not all items on Yoast mean that Google will punish you. It is based on good practice rather than rules , which makes some colored marbles often irrelevant.
Yoast is worrying about kinda robotic vision, while Google is increasingly concerned about humanizing its results.
This means that many times a green ball can be worse than an orange ball .
This is Yoast’s assessment of the post I wrote ” Who is Neil Patel “. If you don’t know who you are you need to read.
Well, Yoast rated two items with red balls. And did you know this post came first for the keyword “Who is Neil Patel” and “Neil Patel”?
That’s right. We surpassed one of the most relevant domains in the marketing world .
Even with some negative Yoast ratings .
Read this full case here ! You will not regret.
You see, what’s the point of repeating the keyword “Who is Neil Patel” several times in the text? Will it get boring and repetitive? Google doesn’t want this!
Later I will explain how you really should use your keyword in a text.
Does that mean I shouldn’t worry about Yoast balls?
None of that!
Now let’s understand step by step what you should and shouldn’t worry about Yoast ratings.
SEO and Readability
Well, these are the two main evaluations that the tool has at the time of posting.
These green “Y” s can change in three different colors. Green, orange (or yellow) and red. They look and work exactly like a traffic light:
- Green : Go ahead, post!
- Yellow : Calm down buddy, you can get better
- Red : STOP!
Do you need to worry about them?
Yes, it does. But to what extent?
Let’s look at each one separately:
SEO is going to be a compilation of each of those little balls we mentioned earlier. If you have too many SEO On Page “errors” the plugin will turn “Y” orange or red.
This means your post is not following much of the good search engine practice. Even with some red balls, the “Y” will remain green, so if it is orange, it is worth checking the items that Yoast is pointing to.
If it turns red, then it’s time for you to worry. You must be failing in many On Page optimization factors.
This function is relatively new. And you don’t have to worry so much about her. But just like SEO tagging, it can help a lot.
Readability follows the concept of scan and also to help the reader have a more fluid reading.
That is, it shows you if you are making very long paragraphs, very long sentences, and very long intertitles.
These are details that can damage the look of your text and amaze your readers. Increasing your Bounce Rate and decreasing your time on page. That would be a big damage to your SEO.
However, I do not take this marking so seriously. Also because it is based on writing in English. Which differs a lot from Portuguese in the size of sentences and words and number of syllables (try singing a song translating into Portuguese and you will understand what I am talking about).
Follow good scanning practices, avoid too long sentences and paragraphs, and be quiet .
If the coloration is reddish, check it out and read your text aloud, it may help you realize that reading your text can become more fluid and natural.
No rank punishment or loss will occur here! The goal is just to focus on a better user experience (obviously this will contribute to rankings, but not directly).
Ratings On Page
After this general overview of the two main analyzes made by Yoast, I will now present of all the little lights that Yoast presents, which ones you really need to worry about.
Remembering, the greener the better, but that’s not a rule.
Because the keyword density portion will be a little longer, as I will explain best practices for using keywords in content, I will leave it to the end.
Let’s move on.
Well, here I am going to analyze two little lights at once.
The first is about the size of your Title Tag (or SEO Title) which is the title that appears on Google results pages.
This little light almost always needs to be green. This is because if your headline exceeds the size limit it will be clipped on Google. Just imagine:
The 25 Best Ways To Learn To Handle Mastery In The…
No need to explain that your CTR would not be the best !?
Yoast will draw attention if its title is too short too. This case is not as important as excess. It’s more good practice anyway. A very short title may not attract so much attention.
If you look at Neil Patel’s case you will see that as soon as we overtook him to his own name he increased his SEO Title which was once just “Who is Neil Patel”.
The second light in relation to the title concerns the keyword present in the title and the leftmost in the title.
The word should always appear in the title. This is an important practice. Obviously if the search word is “gym clothes” you will ignore the light and wear gym clothes ok !?
Being more to the left is a good practice that tends to extend your CTR, not a rule . But there is no relationship about it improving your rankings.
Make the headline the way you think it’s best and catches readers’ attention and clicks the most. Do CTR tests .
Google won’t punish you for not using the keyword as the first element of the title. Keep calm. Worry about quality and number of clicks, that’s what matters in the end!
Another assessment of Yoast is in relation to meta description .
The focus here is two: keeping the right size for Google and using the keyword
Meta description is NOT a ranking factor, but serves to increase your CTR.
That said, obey these little lights. Just like the title the ideal is that it does not turn orange because it is bigger to not be cut in SERP. If it is orange because it is a little smaller than ideal, no problem.
The focus is again on the quality of your meta description.
The presence of the keyword in the meta description is important to emphasize that what the persona sought will be in the text and why it is bold. This helps to draw more reader attention.
Repeat the keyword
Yoast warns you if you are trying to rank for a keyword with more than one content.
This really is not a good practice, after all, you will have two posts competing with each other.
In a few cases this will not be harmful at all, for example you have a services page and a complete guide.
Number of words
Yoast marks negative if a post has less than 300 words. You should worry about that.
If your content is to explain something or ask a question, you are unlikely to answer the question that brought your persona there with 300 words.
Of course, there are very rare exceptions. For example a video interview post. You may just write an introduction to the video.
However, if your intention is to rank in Google, try to make this little green light!
This light is critical to you! Not that she needs to be green, but she teaches a great principle.
URL is a ranking factor, so always try to use it in your URLs. But why did I say that this little light doesn’t have to be green?
Never use special characters in your URLs. Google doesn’t read accents, uppercase letters, symbols, and so on.
That is, if your keyword is “content production” your URL must be content-production.
This will cause a little red light, as you did not use the keyword in the URL. This is the best example where the little red light will have absolutely no value for your post.
You are doing the right thing. Do not let Yoast mislead you.
This may be my favorite Yoast factor that few people care about.
Yoast points out a lack of image in your posts. And really the ideal is always to have a picture. And many times you will see the error: the alt texts in the images do not have the keyword.
Let’s see better what this is.
Always save your image with the hyphenated keyword, as in the URL.
Use it in the title. And then we go to alt text.
He is this alternate text that appears there. Most SEO experts indicate that it should be a description of the image containing the keyword .
It has several functions. A screen reader will “read” your image from alt text, if the image is broken it is the text that appears and is a direct ranking factor.
This done, your post should be ready to be published.
Keywords in Heading Tags
This little light is more important.
Using the word in your H1 that is the page title is basically mandatory. Save the rare exceptions I mentioned in the SEO Title.
In H2 it is good practice to use the keyword, but it is far from the norm. Do this when it happens naturally or in a way that does not interfere with the quality of content.
Keyword density: How to actually use them in your content
Anyway, we come to the most delicate moment of this post. An extremely common question is: What is the ideal number of times my keyword should appear in my content?
- At least 10 times
- Once in the first paragraph, once in the last, in a heading tag and at least twice in content
- Once every 100 words
- At least 0.5% of content must be the keyword
Difficult question, isn’t it?
If you answered option 2, congratulations!
You made a mistake.
The right answer is that there is no optimal keyword density in your content ! This will vary.
If she’s “Who is Neil Patel” her little light will probably turn red. There is no way to force the word into content just to have density.
If it is Marketing, it will probably appear much more than “recommended” in the post, culminating in a non-green light.
The personal truth is that Google doesn’t care about that! What really matters today is the LSI (Latex Semantic Index).
Let’s understand what this is:
LSI is a Google ranking factor that in understanding the quality of content will ascertain the semantic field of the words that appear in the content.
Since Humming Bird (Google algorithm update) keyword repetition has become almost irrelevant. Google cares about the quality of your content.
And LSI is a way of showing it. Here are two examples that will help you better understand:
Which of these two content do you think will rank better for digital marketing?
If the answer was second, congratulations, this time you got it right!
Anyway, we can see from the semantic field of the words that appear in content how the content on the right really teaches how to do Digital Marketing. Addressing the top topics that anyone seeking for Digital Marketing wants to learn.
That’s what makes the difference for Google! This is how he understands the quality of his content.
The second example:
Maybe Yoast prefers the first example. Google definitely not!
Much better than relentlessly repeating your keyword by reducing the quality of your text, you use natural variations of it. Google understands. And like it!
He’ll realize that you don’t want to fill your text with the same word just to rank it (which doesn’t work).
This is the main principle regarding the use of a keyword in content.
So is Yoast bad?
Not at all!
It’s a good tool and it will often open your eyes to small SEO errors on page you missed.
Title tag size and meta description, misusing alt text, and other Yoast tips are very helpful.
Use the tool as an aid to your On Page optimizations, not as a legislator of your page.
The greener the better! As long as this does not conflict with the quality of your content.
I hope this content helps you make more accurate use of this popular plugin.
Any questions leave in the comment that I will try to answer as best as possible!
Just please remember that I am not a tool holder, but just a marketer who wants you to have really optimized content!