Are you going crazy trying to get all of the dots on the Yoast SEO plugin to turn green?
Do you have nightmares every night of red and orange dots that you cannot turn green no matter how desperately you try?
First of all, take a deep breath.
It’s going to be okay.
Like with any tool that helps you write, you should take Yoast’s suggestions with a bucket of salt. It’s like a spellcheck for your SEO, but just like those red squiggly underlines, it isn’t infallible.
For example, I accidentally typed “Toast” instead of “Yoast” about four times while I wrote this post. Did spellcheck flag it? No. Will there be SEO issues in this post that Yoast won’t flag? Hopefully not, but it’s possible.
Full disclosure: We use the Yoast SEO plugin on our blog. I’m using it right now! This isn’t meant to be a takedown of Yoast, nor are we saying that you shouldn’t use it. We’ll describe how we use Yoast below.
How does Yoast help me write SEO-Friendly blog posts?
Yoast offers a lot of handy options for search engine optimization like reviewing your page titles, descriptions, and keyword density. It complements WordPress’ already SEO-friendly designs, so you can publish content that Google will crawl and index easily. All of that is important if you want people to find your posts organically.
However, it isn’t a magic wand that will make your post The Most SEO-Friendly Post Ever Created™.
Yoast and similar plugins help you with little things that you otherwise might have to code or customize – like how it helps you change the meta description of your post (the little snippet that shows up on a SERP).
On the other hand, there are a lot of things that Yoast will suggest that you don’t necessarily have to do to optimize your post. SEO plugins can only help you so far as your own SEO knowledge goes. If you don’t know at least a little what you’re doing, even the most helpful plugin won’t work for you or your site.
For example, the Yoast plugin keeps telling me that the URL for this post is a little too long and perhaps I should change it, but I know that it contains an important keyword and also conveys what I’m talking about as briefly as I possibly can while still being relatable to the content.
I also know that people don’t just type in brief keyword phrases into the search bar anymore. They type sentences like “why shouldn’t I trust Yoast” and Google will (hopefully) recognize that this post answers that question and show it on the SERP.
What the pirate and I are trying to say is that many plugins – not just Yoast – will suggest things and that’s how you should look at it.
They are just suggesting things for you to do, but it shouldn’t be your only SEO strategy.
How Digital Strike Uses Yoast
Like I said above, I’m using Yoast right now – but I’m not slaving away until every dot turns green.
That’s a waste of my time.
But here are some of the useful Yoast features that Digital Strike uses every day for ourselves and our clients:
- Edit the SEO title and meta description so that it is search engine optimized
- Meta robots setting to tell Google which pages we want them to index
- Add canonical URLs so that we can avoid problems with duplicate content
- Create and edit XML sitemaps so search engines can crawl the site more effectively
- Automatically redirecting attachment URLs to the parent post URL so that Google doesn’t index the image page
SEO plugins should only make your life easier – not make you too worried to schedule a post because there are some dots that aren’t green.
The Bottom Line
Whether you become an SEO expert in your own right or you hire a digital marketing agency (*cough Digital Strike *cough*), Yoast shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all for your site and SEO.
So, if you’ve been driving yourself insane trying to get all of the dots next to Yoast’s analysis to turn green for every single one of your blog posts, just stop. Getting all of those green dots doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve written a good post that people will find valuable and that Google will show it in the number 1 spot on the SERP.
It just means that a plugin you installed approves of what you wrote without actually knowing much about your intentions and goals for the content.
To learn more about SEO and digital marketing as a whole, check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide. It’s everything you ever wanted to know about SEO, PPC, and content marketing.
Or, if you’re ready to talk to us about a comprehensive digital marketing solution, contact us for a free consultation.