Identify yourself! Yoast and WordPress SEO

It rhymes with toast

Trust me, SEO is still on everyone’s mind. Don’t believe me? Try this: get a group of 30 small business owners together to talk about their business online. Make it a nice mix for fun: dentists, photographers, real estate agents, therapists, spin studio owners. Once they’ve all got their doughnuts and coffee, start off the discussion like this:

“Howdy, folks. We’re gonna talk about the Internet and your business. Whatever you want. What do you wish you knew more about?”

One hundred dollars says that SEO is in the Top 3. Everyone is thinking about it. They’re all wondering what they can do to increase their chances of showing up on Google®.

Getting started with on-page SEO

Here’s the first step: make sure that your website clearly identifies what you do using the words that everyone else uses.

Check out a real-world example: Let’s say you buy a place outside Butte, Mont. It’s a lovely, retro-looking setup right off of Interstate 15. What are you going to do with it? You’re going to offer rooms to weary travelers. As an added bonus, they can buy razors and candy and ice. Just in case they forgot them at home. It’s gonna be great. Now, what’s the word or phrase you need to put on your sign that tells people passing by what you do?

Simple, right? Motel. Hotel. Inn. Resort (if your place has a really nice pool and extra special candy). But, if you decide to get clever and put something like “Charming Mountain Goat Club” on your sign, you’re only going to confuse people. If you’re a place they can stop for the night, they’re expecting your sign to say motel. Anything else will hurt your business.

The words you use on your website, the headlines and content on your site, serve the same kind of purpose. You’re telling the world, in a way they expect, what you’re all about.

Knowing where to put those keywords on your website can feel a little like Pin the Tail on the Donkey. You shuffle forward, feel around, guess, make your move, and then take off your blindfold and hope for the best.

If you have a WordPress® website, Yoast can make this a lot easier.

SEO, WordPress, and Yoast

Yoast helps you place your keywords in the right places. It shows you what your search results will look like. It even rates your pages and posts to let you know how search-ready they are.

What do you think? Want to give it a whirl?

Virginia DeBolt over at Web Teacher has a great tutorial for Improving Your SEO with the WordPress SEO Plugin. In it she explains how Yoast analyzes your content, helps you structure descriptions, rates your SEO, and ties into social media. In her words:

WordPress SEO by Yoast is one of the most useful WordPress plugins available. It’s been downloaded by millions of WordPress users. At the WordPress plugin review page, there are almost 1,000 reviews, with a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. If you are like me and always check reviews before you download a plugin, you will agree that those are some impressive stats.

Bonus tip: How to figure out keywords for your website

And if you’re really not sure what words people search for to find a business or organization like yours, check out the Google AdWords™ Keyword Planner. You can type in words or phrases you think people would use, and the Keyword Planner will show you how often people look for those terms and make other recommendations. It’s very helpful for clever, creative folks like you who need a reminder: your customers are looking for a motel, not a utilitarian set of rooms with vending machines nearby.

For more great tips, check out the GoDaddy Tool Kit on BlogHer.

Shawn Pfunder
Shawn's been working with freelancers, entrepreneurs, and business owners for more than 20 years. He's consulted companies large and small on communication, social media, and marketing strategies. At heart he's a small-business superfan. He believes that working for yourself is one of the most courageous and creative moves anyone can make. Currently, he's the Editor in Chief for The Garage. When he's not hanging out with solopreneurs, Shawn loves to write, run, and travel. He's passionate about teaching and he's convinced that a good story is the best way to do it — especially if it involves El Caminos, potato fields, and really loud music.