TECH TALK WITH MIKE: Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress

SEO. It’s a short little acronym, but it strikes fear into anyone when it comes to their website.

That’s because Search Engine Optimization has always, for one reason or another, been shrouded in mystery. The rules tend to change every time you turn around, which doesn’t exactly make it easy to master the learning curve.

The good news is that there are tools that take the sting and the panic out of SEO, and Yoast is one of the best out there.

Favorite web platform

WordPress is the most common CMS platform for building websites. It’s not the only one out there, but it gets the job done, and it’s easy enough for most people to master with a little practice.

Yoast SEO is a free WordPress plugin that makes mastering and implementing SEO best practices as simple as following a few steps. No wonder it’s so popular!

How does it work?

On your site dashboard go to plugins. Search for Yoast SEO and add the plugin. There is a paid version with more features and a whole range of add-ons, but the free version is good enough for most people who are just getting started.

Once you activate the plugin, you’ll need to configure it. Yoast will walk you through this step by step. It’s built so a beginner can use it.

Under each article editor, you’ll see an additional set of dialog boxes, buttons, and options. You’ll also see a set of “traffic lights” on the right-hand side, under the publishing options.

You’ll be prompted for a keyword to optimize around, a slug or URL, and a meta description, among other things. Use your keyword in your title, URL slug and meta description or complete enough of the criteria that the plugin measures and Yoast will green light your article! Ready for publishing, and optimized for your chosen keyword.

Is it worth it?

Since Yoast is free to use and takes the guesswork out of SEO on WordPress sites, it’s really a no-brainer. It’s a great tool to get basic SEO right, and we use it and wholeheartedly recommend it for every WordPress site.

Mike Gingerich is president of Digital Hill Multimedia (www.DigitalHill.com), a Goshen web design and marketing agency. He is also a co-founder of TabSite.com and Waftio.com, leading software tools for contests and lead capture, and author of the book Game Plan for Social Media Lead Generation. Find out more at www.MikeGingerich.com/book.

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