So now you have composed a blog or an article almost as beautifully written as Salingers The Catcher in the Rye. You now want to make sure your post ranks in search engines. In this final chapter about writing content, we will guide you through the Page Analysis tool in the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.
The Page Analysis Tool
The Page Analysis Tool of the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin measures many aspects of the text you are writing. It helps you to make your text SEO-friendly. We will describe the most important features of the Page Analysis Tool. In the following paragraphs, we will explain in more detail how to use and interpret these features.
- The plugin allows you to formulate a meta description. This description has to be a short text which indicates the main topic of the page. If the meta description contains the search term people use, the exact text will be shown by Google below your URL in the search results.
- The plugin analyzes the text you write. It calculates a Flesch reading ease score, which indicates the readability of your article. The Flesch reading ease score takes the length of sentences into account, for example.
- The plugin does numerous checks. It checks whether or not you used your keyword in 5 important locations: the article heading, the title of the page, the URL of the page, the content of the article and the meta description. The plugin also checks the presence of links in your article and the presence of images in the article. It calculates the number of words and the density of usage of the focus keyword in the article. Apart from that, the plugin also checks whether or not other pages on your website use the same focus keyword, to prevent you from competing with yourself.
If you write a text which is relatively SEO-friendly (based on the aspects mentioned before) the plugin will indicate this with a green bullet. Writing pages that are awarded green bullets will help you improve the ranking of the pages on your website.
Two warnings before you start!
While optimizing your post for a certain keyword, you should keep two things in mind. The first thing is that in this phase (the final, optimizing phase) you should not change any major things in your article. You have put effort into writing an attractive, structured and readable text and the optimization process should in no way jeopardize the excellence of your text.
The second thing is that you should not change your keyword strategy in this phase. If you have done your keyword research properly. and you have written your post or your article with a focus key- word in mind, don’t go changing your focus keyword now! Read The temptation of the green bullet article for more in depth information about that.
We will now describe the optimization process in 7 simple steps.
- Step 1: Put your text in the WordPress backend
You have written your article or your blog post. You can write directly in the backend of WordPress or write in any kind of text editor and copy your text into the WordPress backend. Do whatever you like!
If you choose to copy your text in the WordPress backend, choose to copy without the layout and adapt your layout in the WordPress backend. Make sure to set subheadings into heading 2, sub sub headings to heading 3 and so on. Then put the title of your post in the title box.
- Step 2: Enter your focus keyword
Scroll down to the Page Analysis Tool in the WordPress backend and enter your focus keyword in the appropriate box. As explained before, your focus keyword thus is the keyword you would like your post to rank on. Ideally, this should be a keyword which emerged from your keyword research and which you have kept in mind during the entire writing process.
You could have written a post or an article not only because you would like to rank, but because you had some news you wanted to share with your audience. In this case, you may not have a clear focus keyword before writing.
- Step 3: Write the meta description
Enter the meta description of your post. Make sure you use the exact phrasing of your focus keyword in the meta description and give a clear description of what your post or article is about. The meta description will be shown by Google below the URL if people search for your focus keyword.
It’s important that the focus keyword is contained in your meta description. Not because it will improve your rankings, but because otherwise Google won’t show your meta description. Google will try to match the search query with the description, so if people search for your focus keyword and the focus keyword is not contained in the meta description, it’ll just grab a random piece of content from your page containing the keyword.
The meta description shouldn’t be too long, but there’s no ‘penalty’ for having it be too long either. So what you should really optimize for is that logical bits of it are of the right length and that when it’s cut in half, it still makes sense and still entices people to click.
- Step 4: Finetune your headings
Look critically at your title, the headings and subheadings or your article. Do these contain your focus keyword? Can you alter them (without changing the structure or content of your article) in such a way that they will contain your focus keyword? Do not put your focus keyword in all of your headings! That is too much! Using your focus keyword in one heading and in your title should be enough.
- Step 5: Finetune your text
You should also mention your focus keyword in the text a couple of times. Make sure to mention it in the first paragraph. Throughout the text, you should mention it again. As a general rule of thumb: try to use your search terms in about 1 to 2 percent of your text. Make sure your articles have a minimum of 300 words. So in an article of 300 words, you should mention your search terms 3 to 6 times. The minimum of 300 words isn’t an exact science, nor is the amount of keyword mentions, but 300 is a decent minimum number of words for an article that needs to show authority.
- Step 6: Check your bullets!
Clicking on the Page Analysis tab will allow you to see which aspects of the search engine optimization process were successful. The green bullets show which aspects are good, while orange and red bullets indicate where you can improve your SEO strategy. You don’t have to keep on optimizing until all of your bullets are green. In posts on yoast.com, we often have a few orange bullets and sometimes even one or two red bullets left. The overall bullet (the one on the upper right in the backend of your post) should be green. The overall bullet will become green if the majority of your SEO aspects are covered.
- Step 7: Fill out the Social tab
The final tab in the WordPress SEO meta box is the Social tab. If you fill out a description or title for a social network on this tab, it’s shown in the metadata for the page. This means this description, title or image will be shown when sharing the page on this social network. These descriptions basically have the same requirement as the meta description (which is what they fall back to), but can usually be longer. They should tell people what to expect; why they should click.
we have tried to shed some some light on the subject of content writing for the internet. If you are reading this, you will now have all the knowledge you need to write a great blog post, or an optimized page for your website from scratch. Besides that, you will know how to incorporate that post or page in the structure of your website and guide Google and your visitors to that page in a very natural manner. We believe this strategy and setup will help you a lot in ranking on the desired keywords in Google and trust they will bring you more visitors.
If you want to further optimize your content, you could think along the lines of template optimization or speed optimization. Especially for these kind of optimizations, we have developed a number of plugins that for instance add schema.org markup or OpenGraph markup to your website, like our Video SEO and Local SEO plugins. If you want to make sure all angles are covered, you should definitely check our Website Reviews as well.