What Does Yoast SEO do?

Last Updated in March 2021 by Lukasz Zelezny

Reading Time:14 minutes

Learn all about Yoast SEO – How it helps to improve organic visibility Everybody wants to drive the traffic towards their blog or website. I know I want to, You do too! Right?

Anyone with a little knowledge knows that SEO is the way of getting organic traffic, but how should you do your SEO? If you have a website on WordPress, then the bad news is it isn’t going to rank you high in google search result page.

But the good news is there are many plugins available on WordPress to make it dead simple for you to do your website SEO, even if you don’t know the technicalities or basics of SEO.

There are many plugins to help you achieve your website SEO. Some of them are

  • Yoast SEO
  • All in one SEO
  • Semrush SEO

But we are going to tell you about the Yoast SEO in detail as this is the plugin we are using and finds most helpful in all. Since 2008, it has more than 5 million activations up till now and has helped millions of websites to achieve high ranking worldwide.

Obviously, you are not convinced by us!

And if you are, you don’t know how to use it.

Don’t worry! We will tell you in detail and would walk you through the whole process of installation and all its features to make it easiest for you.

What is the Yoast SEO plugin in WordPress

WordPress SEO is a complex topic. Hence every WordPress site needs an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO. Yoast SEO is the most popular SEO plugin available on the market for WordPress. It has been built with plenty of features and set of tools to address all your complex issues and give you control over your site’s SEO.  Yoast SEO can be used by beginners as well as expert digital marketers.

Yoast plugin developers have done a great job to make it easy to use by beginners, but still, there is a good chance that you will need some help with how to use Yoast SEO plugin as many beginners are not familiar with all the features that Yoast SEO offers and find it challenging to decide which one to use to optimize their website.

In this article, we will guide and walk you through the complete Yoast SEO plugin setup in WordPress and will answer some critical questions like:

  • what does Yoast SEO do
  • what is a slug in Yoast SEO
  • how to add multiple keywords in Yoast SEO free
  • which is better all in one SEO or Yoast
  • how much is Yoast SEO premium
  • how to add keywords in Yoast SEO
  • what is focus keyword in Yoast SEO
  • how to use the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress

What does Yoast SEO do?

Yoast SEO is the most comprehensive WordPress plugin. Whether you are running a personal blog or managing SEO for clients’ websites, then you need a plugin to help you out. Yoast is a powerful tool that can improve your website’s ranking on search engines by helping you to optimize your website’s content and keywords and making your site search engine friendly. It also offers a plethora of tools and features that innumerable can-do things to boost your website. Some of those features are-

  • SEO analysis tool: this tool helps you in writing a quality content according to the right focus keyword of your choice.
  • Readability analysis to make sure you are writing east to read and digest content for both users and google engines.
  • Focus Keyword testing.
  • It changes the post’s SEO title and meta description on a per post basis for better branding and reliable snippet in GSRP.
  • Improved canonical support and adding canonical to taxonomy archives, pages, and single posts. So basically, set your canonical URL to avoid duplicate content.
  • Breadcrumbs support with configurable breadcrumbs titles.
  • Permalink clean ups while still allowing for Google Custom Search.
  • txt and .htaccess editor
  • Title and meta description support for taxonomies
  • RSS footer/header configuration.
  • Ability to verify Google Search Console, Yahoo Site Explorer, and Bing Webmaster Tools
  • XML Sitemaps with Images, pages, or posts that have been nonindexed will not show in the XML sitemap.
  • XML News Sitemap
  • Meta Robots configuration.
  • Improves readability of your ost to make it user friendly and easy for both users and google engines.
  • Google search result snippet previews. Our snippet view would show you how your post would look in the search result.
  • It also gives you FAQ & HOW TO block for your WordPress editor so that google crawlers know that you are serving how-to guides and FAQ page.
  • It has a bulk editor to help you make large scale edits of multiple posts titles and meta-description.

With the premium version of the Yoast SEO plugin, you get even more features and tools.

  • Internal linking to gives you automatic suggestions of the post to link to and link building suggestions for your post from other posts
  • Video tutorials to help you understand every feature of the plugin in detail.
  • It gives you the ability to use multiple focus keywords and exporting focus keywords.
  • The Premium version also provides you with technical support by people at Yoast to help you make the most out of your site’s SEO.
  • It will help you to show how your post will look on social media like Facebook and Twitter.
  • It also has an insight tool to give you an idea that what your text is focussing on so you can keep in line your content with your focus keywords.
  • It gives you the ability to optimize your article according to synonyms and related keywords. So, write more naturally with automatic recognition of your words form.
  • Cornerstone content check to point search engines to your website
  • It also gives you the ability to expand your SEO with video SEO, news SEO, woo-commerce SEO extensions.

Most of the work done by Yoast SEO is automated, but still, it needs your input and proper planning to realize its full potential.


How much is Yoast SEO premium?

Yoast SEO premium is, without a doubt, a fantastic plugin. Although you get many features with the free plugin, the Yoast SEO premium is one step ahead. With Yoast SEO premium you get the following additional features-

  • Redirect Manager- Easy redirecting from old to new URLs. It has a full redirect manager to keep your site healthy by shifting the deleted pages and changed the URL.
  • Multiple Keywords- Multiple keywords optimization.
  • Internal Link Suggestions- Suggestions for linking one page to another within a website.
  • Focus Keyword Export- Clear overview of your focus keywords and their scores,

Many other additional features are offered by Yoast SEO premium. Click here to view the full comparison table.

The Yoast SEO Premium costs $89.

Now, the question is, should you buy the Yoast SEO premium plugin?

Well, it is not easy to answer. If you are a beginner who is just starting a blog or doing affiliate marketing, which is not making money right now, then buying the premium version is not recommended. But if you are looking to invest in creating website content for which you need an additional suggestion, then Yoast SEO premium is worth the investment. If you are starting an online business, you have to look and consider the cost-benefit analysis. Would you be willing to spend $89 on a plugin that could take months to recoup on a new website?  On the other hand, if you are a large business who can afford the upfront cost of the plugin, then go for it without thinking twice. Yoast SEO premium can help the website to rank better on search engines and can keep users on your site longer.

It comes down to two things.

  1. Do you have the money to invest?
  2. How long are you willing to wait to get ROI from your website?

So, if you are starting, you can skip it for now. However, once you are established, it is worth every penny.

How to install and use the YOAST plugin for WordPress?

Yoast slogan is SEO for everyone, and they stand on their motto. Everyone and everywhere, this Yoast plugin can be used. And the good thing, it doesn’t need you to know about the coding as it is auto-configuring for it. If you have installed the plugin on your WordPress website, then skip it and go to the setting. For others, let us walk you through the whole setup and setting process.

  • Open your WordPress back end account and log in.
  • Go to the dashboard, and you will see the plugin option. Click on it.
  • Search Yoast SEO in the search bar. There you will find your plugin.
  • Hit install, and it will be automatically installed.
  • Now all is left to activate the plugin

The setting of Yoast plugin:

After activation, a new menu item will appear in the dashboard by name SEO.

The first step in your setting depends upon whether you were using previously any SEO tool or not. If you were not, then skip it. For those who were, then you will see import and export options to make it easy for you to import those settings. Select it and go to the import setting. You will know that you can select the configuration from other plugins like wooSEO, All in one SEO, wpSEO.

So, select your previous plugin and click import. It will start importing your settings like XML sitemap, default title templates automatically.

IMPORTANT NOTE: you would only see this option if you are a premium user of the YOAST plugin.

Suppose you want to transfer all your data from the previous plugin to this before deactivating the last plugin. Then you can use SEO data transporter by Studio press.

Now I will show you how to set up new settings:

First, hit your SEO button in your WordPress sidebar, and it will take you to the YOAST dashboard. In the dashboard, you will see your major SEO problems and new notification.

Configuration wizard:

Click on general, and the first option would be configuration wizard, which helps you in configuring you sire step by step. And the good news is you can use this configuration wizard from time to time to make sure. All your settings are in optimal condition and validate them.

Once you opened the wizard, it will ask you if you want to do the setting yourself or you want to pay to do settings for you.

But why waste the money when you can do it yourself plus it is more fun. It will ask you a lot, basically eight questions, and you have to answer at each step, and it will configure your setting according to your answer. All these eight questions are below:

  1. Have you prepared your website to be indexed?
  2. Type of website you have
  3. Are you an organization or an individual?
  4. You want to show pages & posts or not?
  5. How many people would publish on your website?
  6. Optimize your title
  7. Boost your efforts of SEO
  8. Become a premium user

Step 1:

The first step is the environment; Yoast wants to know what type of website you have. It will have three options

  1. Production (it is a real website with real organic traffic)
  2. Staging (it is a dummy site using only for testing)
  • Development (runs locally for development purpose)

I will select the first option as we are using a live website with traffic. Remember this: the choice at first step is going to define whether your website would be indexed & found by a search engine or not. If you are doing this for a client website or not for development, then you should also choose the first option.

If you are using a dummy website or development and choose the 2nd or 3rd option then keep this in mind, your website will not be indexed and found in the search result, which can avoid problems like duplicate content.

Wisely choose your option and then click next

Step 2:

The next option is the site type. Yoast wants to know the kind of site you have. It could be a

  • Blog
  • An online shop
  • A news channel
  • A small business
  • A corporation
  • Portfolio
  • Something else

Choose your option carefully. It also helps you decide what your website is actually and what is your purpose. And let Yoast customize it accordingly because if you are a blog, then it will discuss mainly on SEO content writing. If you are an online shop, then you would get many online courses and extensions recommendations.

Step 3:

It will ask you if you are an organization or an individual for the right metadata. If you are an individual, then it will ask you to enter your name. If you’re an individual representing an organization, then it will ask you to add title and logo.

This information will be included in metadata to provide the google search engine with the right information to rank you on the base of the keyword graph. The keyword graph shows at the sidebar when you search for a company.

Next, it will ask you about the social profiles. Try to connect as much as possible. Because social profiles being a part of the keyword graph helps google show your profile to their visitors.

Step 4:

Next, it will ask you about post visibility. It is an essential step as it is asking you posts and pages you want to index or deindexed. You can say that you don’t want to index your static pages like thank you, FAQs, testimonial, about us page, or printer-friendly pages. If you are using a specific theme, then you could also find other pages to select in post type visibility.

I will recommend you go for the default setting. But it’s your choice.

Step 5:

Its next step is multiple authors. It will ask you if your website has numerous authors or not. This will help you avoid duplicate content. If you write you’re all post yourself, then your all articles will show in author category as well as on the blog page. Which will confuse google crawlers what page to rank first and it might de-rank them both? Which we want to avoid. Duplicate content is the content present on multiple pages at the same time. So, let the wizard handle this configuration on its own.

Step 6:

This step is about optimizing your page title. Think about your branding and write your website name. Yoast will use it at the end of each page title as default.

Try to use a short but unique name for your website, which should be user-friendly. It will help your visitors focus on your page title and remember your web name easily.

Step 7:

In the next step, it will ask you to subscribe to their newsletter to keep you updated with their new tools and tips for SEO. It would also give you a suggestion for online courses. It is totally up to you if you want to subscribe.

Step 8:

Next and last, it will ask you if you want to become the premium user of Yoast to access the full potential of this plugin.

How to use the Yoast plugin and its features:

You will see the Yoast plugin action when you are creating content. Yoast helps in ON-PAGE SEO of your website, including helping you optimize your title, meta description, and key terms.

I will walk you through the plugin options and features. It helps you optimized your content in the back end. When you scroll down, then you will see a box with SEO analysis.

The first tab in SEO analysis would be the focus keyword.

What is focus keyword in Yoast SEO?

The focus keyword is the word you want to rank your post or page. It is a term that users search mostly worldwide. If you add the keyword in the box, then Yoast will help you optimize your content according to focus keyword.

It takes care of your keyword’s density; it means the keywords in your content should be found at least 6 to 8 times. You can add them more, but it has a limit of about 1-2 % to avoid keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is your negative SEO point in terms of google search engine. If keyword stuffing is found in your content, then it could be penalized by google engine.

This SEO analysis will also make sure that your keyword is in your meta title and also in the first 160 characters of the meta description. It also wants you to add synonyms or related keywords to use in subheadings.

How to choose your focus keyword?

The focus keyword is the most important thing which will decide the fate of your post and its ranking.

I think the following 3 things are important to find a focus keyword

  1. Find a word, people search the most
  2. Check its search volume using google keyword planner or other tools like AHREF.
  3. Google your keywords or niche and analyze your competitors.

How to add multiple keywords in Yoast SEO free?

Add a focus keyword in the keyword tab and the content analysis part under it will show you what changes are required to be done in the content. Correct your all mistakes and optimize your article.

Now you will see a plus button with your focus keyword and clicking it a message will pop up that it is an only premium feature.

So, the trick is to delete your keyword after correcting all mistakes and write the new keyword and now make changes according to it. That is how you can use many keywords one at a time.

But there is some limitation in it. You cannot use every keyword in the title and meta description as it is only 60-70 words. But yes, you can use two small keywords with the natural order.

You can only use one keyword in URL at a time because it is recommended to use a short URL and writing many keywords will make it difficult and less user-friendly.

NOTE: maximum use of 3 keywords in a post as it should look natural in a blog post

Yoast google preview or snippet preview:

Yoast google preview is found right after the focus keyword. It is a preview of your website that how it will look in the google search result. It helps you optimize your meta title, meta description, and breadcrumbs so you can optimize it to the full potential.

While checking this snippet preview, you will notice that it has two versions for you to check. One is a desktop and the other is the mobile version. It makes sense because google displays search results differently on desktop and mobile. So, you can check on both that how your website is looking, and you can change its elements to make it look appealing.

Elements of snippet preview:

  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • Image
  • Slug/breadcrumbs/ URL
  1. The first thing is the meta title, it automatically detects your title and writes it down. If it doesn’t then you can write yourself a compelling yet short title. As the title is the first thing in the search result the reader will read and decides whether it’s useful or not. Your title must contain the focus keyword and no more than 40-70 words long.
  2. Next thing is the meta description, try to add the keyword in your meta description too as google wants to show 2 to 3 lines which contain your focus keyword and if your meta description doesn’t contain it then it will pick any random snippet.
  3. Try to add an attractive image to lure readers towards your website.
  4. Next is slug

What is slug in Yoast SEO?

A slug is a part of URL which specifies a specific page on a web in an easy to read format. You can say that it is the part of URL that explains the content of your website.

Try to keep the slug as short as possible and must contain the essential words including your keyword. That’s how it will be easy to read by google engines and display in google search. Use short and descriptive words and use only lower-case letters.

Readability analysis:

Readability analysis is important for the best quality of your content. Because producing readable content which should be user friendly and also google engine friendly is important according to rules of SEO. Always remember content is king. So, readability analysis will make sure that it is king. It will give you the following services in readability analysis.

Flesch reading score tells you about the score of your content easiness to read. It should be more than 60 to make it easy to read for everyone. If it is for a specific audience like science article, then a lower score is acceptable.

Passive voice usage: use of passive voice distance you from your readers and active voice makes your content more energetic and engaging. But it is impossible to write an article in a natural tone without a passive voice. So, the limit is up to 10 percent.

Use of heading and sub-heading: it gives you alarm when any subheading content is more than 300 words. It gives your content an easy look and readers could scan your page easily.

Consecutive sentences: if your content contains sentences start with the same word continuously in a row. it would be repetitive.

Paragraph length: a longer paragraph in content would make it difficult to read so try to make it short and no more than 150 words.

Sentence length: sentences should be of proper length as longer sentences make users confused. It gives you an alarm if a sentence is larger than 20 words.

Transition words ratio: transition words make flow in your post. And the use of at least 30 percent transition words is the criterion. As transition words make links in sentences and also alarms your readers if something related or important is coming.

Which is better all in one SEO or Yoast

Both All in One SEO Pack and Yoast SEO plugins are among the most popular and most used WordPress plugins of all time.

All in One SEO Pack was created in 2007, and since then, it has earned a massive user base and has become one of the most downloaded plugins of all time. On the other hand, Yoast SEO was started in 2010. Since then, with consistent hard work and continuous improvements in the plugin, it has become the major rival of All in One SEO.

They are both excellent plugins that offer several amazing features that you need to get maximum SEO benefits. Let us compare them both and find out which one is better.

  1. Installation and Setup – Both the plugins have a lot of options, which makes the setup look overwhelming for a new user. However, both plugins have tried to simplify the process and make it easier for users to set up their SEO settings. But, according to us, to some extent, Yoast SEO does a better job than All in One SEO with multi-page and tabbed settings.
  2. Day to Day tasks – Editing SEO setting on a post by post basis is easy in both the plugins. All in One SEO pack, take a clean approach, and allows users to add additional fields if they want to. Whereas Yoast SEO goes with the decisions over options approach and adds features they believe are essential for all sites. However, elements such as content analysis, focus keywords, and SEO scoring gives Yoast SEO a significant advantage.
  3. Additional Tools and Features- Both the plugins nearly offer the same sets of tools and features. All in One SEO Pack does not provide breadcrumbs navigation and importing data from google search console. The absence of these two features does not make any drastic impact on your website’s SEO.
  4. Pricing – Both plugins offer free as well as premium versions. Yoast SEO premium costs $89 for one user for one website, whereas All in One SEO Pack provides three different plans ranging from $79-$699. If you want to use a plugin for one website, Yoast SEO is cheaper, but for multiple sites, All in One SEO pack is cheaper.

Both are excellent plugins and will serve you exceptionally well. It isn’t easy to pick a winner. Overall, we prefer Yoast SEO over All in one SEO pack- primarily because of a better range of features, especially content analysis tools that are perfect for making SEO-friendly tweaks to your posts. It is also neater and more user friendly.

Now you are ready to use Yoast for SEO for your content. We suggest you take these steps before publishing your content. Good LUCK!