One of the reasons why WordPress has proven to be extremely popular with bloggers is its ability to publish highly optimized SEO content which search engines love. The existing WordPress SEO functionality can be vastly extended through a variety of free SEO plugins like All-in-one-SEO, Platinum SEO and also paid plugins like SEO Pressor and SEO scribe.
All-in-one-SEO plug-in has traditionally been the clear favourite amongst many bloggers and Internet marketers (including myself) for its simplicity, speed and ease of use. However, I have recently started to migrate all my blogs and niche sites to the highly robust and more advanced Yoast WordPress SEO from WordPress guru Joost De Valk.
You can also read about my top 10 must have wordpress plug-ins for niche sites and blogs in a separate post but I decided to dedicate a brand new post to share some of the cool features available in Yoast WordPress SEO.
Let’s start with some of my favourite post level optimization features offered by WordPress SEO and then go through some of the more advanced and lesser used features later on in the post.
WordPress SEO Awesome feature #1
Search engine snippets preview offers the ability to see how your page will appear in the search results. Simply type in your title and description tags and WordPress SEO will show you a real time snippet preview. Cool!
As most search engines place limits on visible characters for both title and description information, this snippet is a great way to preview what your potential visitors will see in the search results so you can make sure that all key aspects of your title and description tags are preserved and don’t get chopped off due to character restrictions.
When using this feature, I would recommend front loading your target keyword for both maximizing your SEO and improving CTR (click-through rate) through organic results. In this example, my target keyword is “woocommerce” and my title is “woocommerce review – ….”
WordPress SEO Awesome feature #2
Focus Keyword Score
My second most favourite feature is the plug-ins ability to offer you a quick feedback score on the post using some of the key on page SEO factors like keyword in title, description, URL and content body. You can use this as a guide to quickly fine tune your post until you see the green tick in all the boxes. Seems straightforward but you will be surprised, how may people can easily miss these bare minimum SEO optimization factors.
WordPress SEO Awesome feature #3
Detailed page analysis
If you have been using a paid plug-in to perform your detailed page analysis, then you can stop doing so now as WordPress SEO almost gives you all of those features for free! Simply navigate to the “page analysis” section and check if your content confers to all advanced on page SEO factors like keyword usage, keyword density, header tags, internal links, outbound links and even a readability score of your content!
You can further fine tune your content until you see all or as many green ticks as possible and watch your rankings soar in the search engines.
You can also setup your canonical URLs and 301 re-directs through the advanced section on your post. I also want to quickly explain where canonical URLs can be useful. Let’s say your content is linked through several different URLs, by setting up a canonical URL, you essentially inform search engines of your preferred URL which will then be displayed in the search results.
WordPress SEO Advanced features
In majority of the cases, diligent on page optimization using the techniques mentioned above will probably get you the desired results but WordPress SEO doesn’t stop there. You can use the advanced features to do almost anything imaginable.
The main dashboard allows you to easily connect your Google webmaster account to your blog and verify ownership without having to uplaod a .html file to your root directory. If you wish to include keyword meta tags in your posts, then this feature can also be enabled though the dashboard.
WordPress SEO also allows to create several templates for individual sections of your site using pre-defined tags. This can include things like post title and description. For e.g if you want the plug-in to automatically add just your post title without the blog title in individual post, simply use the %%title%% in the post title section.
Other features include the ability to connect your Facebook profile directly to your blog which allows you to view Facebook insights for your site. Additionally, you can automatically generate a search engine friendly XML sitemap to help with faster indexation of your sites, pages and content. Normally this function would require a separate plug-in but comes in-build with WordPress SEO.
For larger sites, you can enable and manage “breadcrumbs” navigation, allowing your visitors to easily navigate from post to post and across categories.
There are numerous other advanced features not discussed in this post but as you can see already this fantastic plug-in can potentially make your blog SEO proof for on page factors if implemented correctly.
Which WordPress SEO plug-in do you currently use? Share your thoughts below on what you think of WordPress SEO.