SEO tutorial for beginners with Yoast for WordPress
In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to set up SEO for a page or a post. If you have WordPress it’s really convenient as you can use this great plugin called Yoast, which will guide you along the way. Included in this SEO tutorial for beginners is a detailed video to make it easier for you to understand and learn SEO. Be sure to watch it!
Install Yoast plugin
What we need to do first is install the plugin ‘Yoast’ to help us perform the SEO per page or post.
- So login to your WordPress admin
- Go to Plugins
- Click > Add new
- Type Yoast into the search field
- You can see it’s a very popular plugin as it has 5 million+ active installations worldwide
- And it’s been updated seven days ago which is great!
- Next click > Install Now
- Once it’s installed, click > Activate
In this SEO tutorial for beginners we won’t go through the main settings for Yoast. Basically today I’m just going to show you how to set up a page. We can get more into advanced SEO in future videos.
Before we start, one of the most important things for SEO is to research your keywords. How do you know which words people are typing into Google to find your goods or services? You can’t just guess; you actually have to do some research to make sure that the words you think people search for in Google are the words that people actually search for in Google.
There are many tools, free and paid out there to help you search for keywords. The one I’m going to use is called the Keyword Planner. This tool comes for free within a Google Ads account.
If you don’t have a Google Ads account, set one up (for free), setup a dummy ad and just don’t proceed to activating your ad. Then you can get access to the keyword tool.
How to search for keywords
- So, once you’re logged in to your Google Ads account
- Scroll up the top and click on > Tools
- Then click on > Keyword Planner
- What you will see next is two boxes. See image above.
- Click on > Discover new keywords
- Type in your keyword.
- I’m going to use ‘SEO tutorial for Beginners’ then click > Get results
If you look at the results (see image below), you can see ‘SEO tutorial for Beginners’ is between ten and a hundred average monthly searches. Which is quite good, so I will use this keyword for my post or article.
This competition column refers to the Ads. Obviously we’re not doing a Google Ad in this video, as we want to try and rank this page organically for ‘SEO tutorial for beginners’ without paying Google. But it does give you a good indication of whether this keyword is competitive or not.
Then if you scroll down the bottom it’s got ‘Keyword Ideas’. Keyword ideas can be very useful, because you can also put maybe one or two of these words into the page content. They can also help you rank for those keywords. Making your page more ‘keyword enriched’.
So for now, let’s just start with this focus keyword.
Setting up your page or post
In this section we will add our focus keyword or keyphrase to the page or post that we are optimising. I will refer to the keyword phrase as a focus keyword.
- Let’s go back to our wp-admin.
- Go to your page or create a new page.
- When you create the page name, you must include the focus keyword in the name, that’s really important. The reason why this is so important is quite logical. You are introducing a topic, so the keyword needs to be clearly stated.
- When writing your text make sure you have at least 300-500 words minimum. Anything under that is not considered substantial enough.
- Add some headings to make it clear what each section of your text is about. Include heading tags. Start with H2, H3, H4.
- Headings make the text easy to read and scannable. Google loves this! Anything that makes your content more user friendly is SEO friendly!
- Add some images. Make sure the file size is low resolution.
- Lastly add a call to action. Like a link to your contact us page. This becomes an internal link.
- Next we will scroll down to the Yoast SEO section on the page.
- And add our focus keyword to the focus keyphrase section. See image below.
Using the Yoast plugin
The Yoast plugin is great because it tells you what you need to fix or what SEO you have achieved within the page or post.
- You will notice the orange sad smiley face.
- Ideally we want this to go green.
- So if we scroll down you’ll see the Google preview. This is how your snippet will appear in Google.
- The blue line is the SEO title and text underneath is the Meta description.
- So with the Yoast plugin, you get to control what goes in here.
- Sometimes Google will take some text from the page and just put their own version in if they think their version is better than yours.
- And if you don’t put anything in the SEO title and description, they will just put in their own version based on the text on the page.
- AS you can see I have added the focus keyword – ‘SEO tutorial for beginners’ in the SEO title and just the words in the description.
Adding the SEO title & description
- I always delete the purple tags in the SEO title and start fresh.
- So you need to add a title including your focus keyword.
- See my example in the image above.
- Next we add a description – this should be your pitch for that page including your focus keyword.
- Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to add your ‘exact’ focus keyword.
- You can add the words separately if that makes more sense. Google will still pick up those separated words as your keyphrase.
The SEO analysis
The SEO analysis will tell you what you have done correctly and what still needs to be done on the page. I will just use a call to action to the contact me on the contact page.
- If you scroll down to the SEO analysis – see image above.
- You will see the things I still need to fix have a red dot next to them.
- So, another really important element to have – is an internal link.
- You want your page to be as helpful to the user as possible. By having the option to contact you or link to another page or another product that maybe useful to them.
- Thus, I will add a call to action link.
- For e.g. ‘Click here to contact us about our ‘SEO tutorial for beginners’
- You can see I have included the keyword in this sentence. And I will also make this a Heading 2 tag. Because it is important and I want it to stand out.
- Next I need to add my keyword in the text a few times. Obviously when you write your text you should include the focus keyword as your writing so it comes across naturally and not just dumped into to the text for the sake of adding keywords.
- Always make sure the focus keyword is in the first paragraph.
- The SEO analysis is also suggesting I add more heading tags. So I can add some more headings to break up the text into sections, making it easier for my users to read.
- Once I have completed these suggestions I need to update my page. And I should get more green dots. And eventually get my green smiley face.
- If you watch the video above I do go into more detail about setting up the page with headings and images etc.
The size of your images is so important. I cant stress this enough!
If you have 10 images on one page and they are all really high resolution for e.g. 1mb each. That means the total size of all your images is 10mb. This may take along time for the page to load. So optimising your images is a crucial step in SEO.
My images tips for optimal SEO include
- The size in dimensions for an image in a page or post (not full width) can be approximately a maximum of 900 pixels wide.
- The resolution size – under 100KB.
- Always add your focus keyword to the Alt text – this is for Google images. And can be found when your inserting the image – in the image properties.
- Or after the image has been inserted into the page.
- See image above.
Let’s just talk about outbound links. Outbound links are links that go to a website outside of yours. And you would only add an outbound link if it’s useful to the user.
For example, if I had a very technical word on this page that the average non SEO person wouldn’t understand. I could link that word to the Wikipedia website so they can click on it if they want and find out what that word actually means.
- All you need to do is, go the external website.
- Copy the URL.
- Highlight the word in your text back in your wp-admin.
- Click the link icon in your tools.
- Add paste in the link.
- Making sure you select – ‘Open new tab’. As you don’t want your web page to close.
- Only add the external link if it is relevant to that content on the page.
- And never link to a page that you may be competing against.
There’s another tab in the SEO analysis called Readability. Readability includes elements like; is the text easy to read, are there transition words, are the sentences and paragraphs a good length, do you have headings and more.
So, let’s check the readability of our page.
- You can see I have an orange sad face on that tab. See image above.
- Let’s have a look. The Flesch Reading Ease score is low, but that’s because I’ve got the dummy text in my test page. If I had normal text, then that probably would be green.
- One of the things I notice a lot is, when people write copy for their pages, they make their sentences and paragraphs too long.
- Therefore, try to make shorter sentences and paragraphs for easy reading. It makes the page more visually appealing and scannable.
- Another thing is consecutive sentences. Try to make sure that you don’t repeat the start of a sentence more than a few times.
- Transition words are another great way to make your text sound conversational. So, try to include transition words like firstly, secondly, lastly, honestly etc.
- Yoast includes links to a page on their website that explains all these elements in great details.
Therefore if you fix your readability you may get the green smiley face for that also.
One thing that I forgot to mention is, just make sure that you only use the focus keyword on one page only. This also applies to the SEO title and meta description. These are always unique to a particular page. You never ever repeat these on another page.
And basically that is it. That is how you write SEO for your page or post. Once you’ve done that, then you can share that page/post on your social media platforms. Thanks for reading or watching my video.
Click the link for more information about our SEO training or consulting
Web Designer/Trainer – Adv Dip, Dip, TAE
Jodi is a qualified WordPress Trainer and Designer with an Advanced Diploma in Digital Media (2D And 3D Animation, Web Development) and a Diploma in Web Development. She has been a Website Trainer at the Northern Beaches Community College since 2008 and a WordPress Tutor for NSW TAFE since 2016.
Jodi has developed several web design courses including, a WordPress Beginners Course and Build your own WordPress Website for small businesses. These courses will teach you how to update and manage your website ongoing. Giving website owners more control over their website, thus helping to keep costs down.
View Jodi’s credentials here.