Yoast SEO Plugin: Advanced SEO advices to take your blog to the top

  • February 16, 2016
  • SEO
12 Comments

If you are using a known CMS like WordPress, Magneto or Drupal for your website or blog, then you must have heard of a plugin called ‘Yoast SEO’. It is efficient and takes care of your basic SEO needs, which is why so many people use it. You can download Yoast SEO from their official website.

Other than guiding you with your SEO requirements, Yoast SEO Plugin, under the hood, also teaches you some advanced level things that most webmasters and bloggers are unaware of.

In this post, I have tried to explain why you should take advice from Yoast a little more seriously, and how doing so could benefit you.

If you are already using the Plugin, you should be able to find the below ‘box’ somewhere in your ‘edit’ section:

yoast seo plugin

Now, grab a cup of coffee and let’s dig into the advanced lessons this plugin has to offer and why you should pay attention to them.

Is there an ideal length for a blog post?

When we talk about the world of blogging and digital marketing, we find that there are two major mindsets at work. One that believes that the length of a blog post isn’t so important, as long as the content is of good quality and engages the target audience. Then there are those who think the length of a blog post does matter, especially if you are looking to grab more links, social shares and rankings in SERPs from your targeted key phrases.

I personally think both concepts come with their share of benefits. Needless to say, the quality of your content is the first thing that matters. If your work is not cutting it, or does not offer anything valuable to your readers, all the relentless hours spent spreading your content for a wider audience will go vain.

On the other hand, the length of the blog post also matters and is directly correlated to the number of shares, links and higher rankings in SERPs from targeted key phrases.

Now the question is, if the length of a blog post really does matter all that much, then how does Seth Godin’s blog get so much traffic and shares even when he sometimes writes less than 300 words  —  the minimum length required for a blog post as recommended by Yoast Plugin.

In Godin’s case, the most powerful reason for his loyal following is that he has made his place as one of the most prominent professionals in the world of digital marketing and every word penned by him matters to his audience.

Even if he continues to break the rules, he will still be able to get his audience hooked, all the while increasing shares and virility. And this is largely because of the brand name that he has carved for himself over the years within the industry.

Let’s be honest. Most of us are not Seth Godin, and do not have blogs as popular as Moz.com or Kiss Metrics which is why we should heed the advice from Yoast SEO Plugin.

Don’t agree with me? Trust the data.

According to SERPiq, the length of a blog post is closely linked to being among the top 10 in search engine rankings.

serpiq chart

This data proves that if you want your blog post to rank among the top 10, your content per blog post should contain at least 2,000 words or more. The number of social media shares that this length could bring is another important factor. If your blog post does not get enough social shares, probably it’s not that well-liked by your audience.

A popular online journal observed that if the length of their content goes beyond 1,500 words, they tend to get higher number of shares on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

online journal

Therefore, in order to increase the social shares of your blog post; each of your blogs should be more than 1,500 words.

Also, in order to get a bigger number of quality links, I would recommend this article by Co schedule that shows data taken from Moz, proving that the length of a blog post is correlated to more links pointing back to your website.

Having better rankings, more links and social shares will bring more targeted traffic to your website, which means more leads and eventually bigger revenues for your business.

Note: The above-discussed points do not provide an exact formula for success, but is a correlation vs. causation data so results could differ slightly for each individual website or blog.  But if you are doing it right you are going to achieve the same results, give or take.

Bloggers and webmasters should focus on writing posts that are longer, without compromising the quality of the articles, in order to gain more links, shares and higher rankings in search engines. At the end of the day, this is what will make us digital marketers happy!

Is self-cannibalization harming my blog rankings?

A tab in Yoast SEO Plugin will go red if you target the same keyword used in any of the previous posts. I frequently see many webmasters and bloggers do that, especially when they write on similar topics.

Yoast recommends you not to target the same keyword on multiple posts or pages. But how does this help improve SEO?

According to Rand of Moz.com:

cannibilization

This is what you call ‘keyword cannibalization’. When you create several pages with the same keyword targets, Google tends to confuse which one to pick and display in its search results. This means your different pages will start to fight each other to rank higher against a keyword and usually,  no one wins!

I’m sure you don’t want that.

Yoast SEO Plugin guides you to stay away from self-cannibalization and recommends you to choose unique keywords for each page and blog post.

Is linking another page with the same keyword to mine the smart thing to do?

Another mistake that webmasters and bloggers make frequently (and unintentionally) is linking another page on their own website with the same keyword they are targeting on their post or page. For example, if you are working on page ‘A’ with the keyword ‘Queen’, it’s suggested not to link it to page ‘B’ with the same keyword, according to Yoast SEO Plugin.

Here’s why.

What does a link mean?

When you are linking internally or externally, you are somehow telling Google that you endorse a particular page. Each link passes a value (popularly known as ‘juice’) to that page. The more valuable and authoritative your website or post, the more juice will flow to the linked page.

The Anchor Text:

anchor text

According to Moz.com:

Anchor text is the visible characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another document or location on the web.

Search engines use this text to help determine the subject of the linked page.

In simple words, when you link to another page, you are telling the search engine that  you recommend or endorse that page (unless it’s a no-follow) while the anchor text represents the ‘subject’ of the linked document.

The reason why it’s recommended not to link with targeted keywords from page ‘A’ to ‘B’ is because it tells Google that you recommend page ‘B’ from page ‘A’.

Google understands this as page ‘B’ to be more valuable compared to page ‘A’.

Unless you really want page ‘B’ to rank for the key term that page ‘A’ has, it’s necessary to take this important piece of advice from Yoast SEO Plugin and implement it.

In conclusion, I want to emphasize that this tool  is well-equipped to give you some advanced technical knowledge that bloggers and webmasters should have about SEO and on-page optimization, but usually don’t.

These may seem like small things, but can make a big difference in the long run to businesses and marketers. Install this and you will be able to do smarter SEO for your blog or website.

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12 Comments
  1. Reply

    It seems hard not to mention the same keyword in multiple blog posts if you’re writing in-depth articles about a niche topic. I mean, HubSpot surely uses the keyword ‘Inbound Marketing’ in loads of posts. What’s your take on this?

    • Reply

      Honestly, as far as I know Hubspot bloggers are amazing and well-versed SEOs. I don’t think they are focusing single keyword in multiple posts/pages unless they will be sure that they are not going to get into the self-cannibalization issue.

      I mean if you have 2 pages targeting the same keyword and have all other factors equal, obviously they will start fighting each other for better rankings and as a result no-one will win. But if there two pages and one have let’s say significantly more link value as compared to other, its defiantly easy for Google to figure out the important page to display in search results.

      If you are using exact same keyword in multiple post, the risk will always be there which is why I recommend not to use same keyword in multiple page or post.

      Just a thought!

  2. Reply

    It seems hard not to mention the same keyword in multiple blog posts if you’re writing in-depth articles about a niche topic. I mean, HubSpot surely uses the keyword ‘Inbound Marketing’ in loads of posts. What’s your take on this?

    • Reply

      Honestly, as far as I know Hubspot bloggers are amazing and well-versed SEOs. I don’t think they are focusing single keyword in multiple posts/pages unless they will be sure that they are not going to get into the self-cannibalization issue.

      I mean if you have 2 pages targeting the same keyword and have all other factors equal, obviously they will start fighting each other for better rankings and as a result no-one will win. But if there two pages and one have let’s say significantly more link value as compared to other, its defiantly easy for Google to figure out the important page to display in search results.

      If you are using exact same keyword in multiple post, the risk will always be there which is why I recommend not to use same keyword in multiple page or post.

      Just a thought!

  3. Reply

    It seems hard not to mention the same keyword in multiple blog posts if you’re writing in-depth articles about a niche topic. I mean, HubSpot surely uses the keyword ‘Inbound Marketing’ in loads of posts. What’s your take on this?

    • Reply

      Honestly, as far as I know Hubspot bloggers are amazing and well-versed SEOs. I don’t think they are focusing single keyword in multiple posts/pages unless they will be sure that they are not going to get into the self-cannibalization issue.

      I mean if you have 2 pages targeting the same keyword and have all other factors equal, obviously they will start fighting each other for better rankings and as a result no-one will win. But if there two pages and one have let’s say significantly more link value as compared to other, its defiantly easy for Google to figure out the important page to display in search results.

      If you are using exact same keyword in multiple post, the risk will always be there which is why I recommend not to use same keyword in multiple page or post.

      Just a thought!

    • AvatarPatrick B
    • February 16, 2016
    Reply

    Mmhemani, thank you for your post! What if my page links to an external source that incidentally is targeting the same keyword that I am? Is this something I need to investigate everytime beforehand by using something like the MozBar?

    • Reply

      When you are linking out, you are telling Google that you endorse that URL (with anchor text) so Google consider it more relevant against the anchor text.

      And if anchor text contain the keyword that you are targeting on your post, I am sure this means you are telling Google that I am less and this URL is more important against this anchor text.

      Honestly, I know there are times when linking out with the same anchor text makes more sense but there are many times when you can link out with their own brand name or general keywords like “click here”.

      I would recommend, if there is an option of linking out with something other than your own keyword that you are targeting, go for it!

    • AvatarPatrick B
    • February 16, 2016
    Reply

    Mmhemani, thank you for your post! What if my page links to an external source that incidentally is targeting the same keyword that I am? Is this something I need to investigate everytime beforehand by using something like the MozBar?

    • Reply

      When you are linking out, you are telling Google that you endorse that URL (with anchor text) so Google consider it more relevant against the anchor text.

      And if anchor text contain the keyword that you are targeting on your post, I am sure this means you are telling Google that I am less and this URL is more important against this anchor text.

      Honestly, I know there are times when linking out with the same anchor text makes more sense but there are many times when you can link out with their own brand name or general keywords like “click here”.

      I would recommend, if there is an option of linking out with something other than your own keyword that you are targeting, go for it!

    • AvatarPatrick B
    • February 16, 2016
    Reply

    Mmhemani, thank you for your post! What if my page links to an external source that incidentally is targeting the same keyword that I am? Is this something I need to investigate everytime beforehand by using something like the MozBar?

    • Reply

      When you are linking out, you are telling Google that you endorse that URL (with anchor text) so Google consider it more relevant against the anchor text.

      And if anchor text contain the keyword that you are targeting on your post, I am sure this means you are telling Google that I am less and this URL is more important against this anchor text.

      Honestly, I know there are times when linking out with the same anchor text makes more sense but there are many times when you can link out with their own brand name or general keywords like “click here”.

      I would recommend, if there is an option of linking out with something other than your own keyword that you are targeting, go for it!

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