The smarter, sexier way to optimize your blog posts

Ok, fine. SEO optimization really isn’t the sexiest of topics. If you would rather lick a car tire than tackle SEO, I’m with you. But if you regularly publish content it is SO necessary to optimize your blog posts so hear me out.

If you are an SEO newbie, or if you just need a well-timed reminder, this article will give you an easy step-by-step breakdown to optimize your blog posts using Yoast SEO for WordPress, making you feel smart and sexy and accomplished. (It's already working!)

Why Should You Even Bother

There is far too much watered down, useless clickbait on the internet. If you are one of the few brands taking the time to create useful content for your users, then it needs to be findable. And as we know too well, Google has its own rules about what content is findable.

If your blog posts don’t follow the rules, they go to the back of the line (page 63 in a user’s search results) where it will never be seen or heard from again. Why go through the trouble of creating and posting valuable content if it’s not even going to be seen?

You can post content links on social media, but after a few days users will have forgotten all about it. And when that information becomes relevant to them again, your competitor is the one who moves in, because their post ranked higher on a google search.

SEO is tricky, and time-consuming, and completely necessary. That’s just the way it is. 

But fear not. 

Optimizing your blog content is a pretty straightforward process. Do it a few times, and you’ll be a pro. Just follow the guide below to get started!

How To Optimize Your Blog Posts

First of all, make sure you have Yoast SEO installed and activated on your website.

screenshot of the install page for yoast seo in wordpress

If you don't have it installed yet then login to your site, go to Plugins and click "Add New"  to search for and install Yoast SEO. Click "Activate" once the plugin installs. 

After Yoast is activated, go to the Edit page of your blog post or draft. Scroll down to the bottom to open the Yoast analysis tab and see where the problem areas are. For example:

screenshot of yoast seo analysis results to optimize your blog posts

Monitor Yoast analytics as you write or edit your blog post. Identifying your problem areas is as easy as that! Yoast tells you exactly what you need to fix in order to have a more searchable post. Think of it as a minor deity that needs to be constantly appeased. 

Second, let’s tackle your SEO keyphrase. You’re going to need to nail this throughout your entire blog post.

How do you determine your Keyword phrase for each post? It’s simple really.

  • Consider the main topic of your post.
  • Ask yourself what your users will be searching for.
  • Identify the most searchable, relevant phrase (2-6 words) that can naturally appear throughout your text.

Enter your keyphrase and comb through your text to make sure your phrase is used often (and naturally). This is one of the most effective ways to optimize your blog posts so that they rank higher in search results.

screenshot of keyword phrase section in yoast seo

 

Where you need to put your SEO Keyphrase

 

Into the Yoast Focus Keyphrase bar (shown above).

 

At the beginning of your blog title.

 

In your intro paragraph.

 

In a section title of your post.

 

Scattered 3-5x throughout your text.

 

In your meta description.

Every Blog Post Should Have...

Short Blog titles (urls) 

Make sure your target keyphrase is present at the beginning of your blog title. Yoast will tell you if your title is too short or too long. You may have to tweak it a bit to get the perfect combination of irresistibility, length, kephrase usage.

 

Shorter sentences

This can be a hard one, but please understand, nobody has time for ramblings and run-on sentences. In other words, the more scannable your text is, the more valuable it is to your readers (and Google). 

 

Active voice

This is a hard one for me, but I found a cool technique that's easy to remember:

active passive voice example to use to optimize your blog posts in yoast seo
Transition words

This one can suck a doorknob for all I care. (Clearly, another difficult one for me). Honestly, sometimes what you’re saying doesn't need transition words, and so manufacturing them can be a pain. However, try to structure your posts with a clear idea of time, or cause and effect. See Yoast examples here.

 

Meta description 

Found in Yoast under "Edit snippet." Make it juicy, make it pop, and make sure your keyphrase is represented. Keep attacking this until you have compelling text that turns your bar from orance to green. Yoast must be appeased at all times, so sacrifice what you must to get this right!

 

image Alt text

It's a pain, but you get used to it. Name your images descriptively and use alt tags to get even more descriptive. For instance, your image titled green.couch.jpg could have an alt description like “green couch with blue cushions in an empty room”. 

 

Above all, beware keyword stuffing. Google knows, and doesn’t like it.

 

Social Media image and title/description

A Premium feature, using the Social tab in Yoast is a must if you want your article shared. But honestly, who wouldn't? This is where your Meta description comes in handy. Use the “too long” version you cut to build a compelling, sharable description. 

 

Finally, view the Yoast analytics results and take care of as many red items as possible. In my experience, you can get away with a couple reds and 2-3 oranges and still have a green rating.

Tackle the easiest items first, then deal with the harder items one-by-one until Yoast is happy. 

Once you get the green smiley faces, you’re all set!

yoast blog post analytics screenshot showing green rating needed to optimize your blog posts

Here's What To Do Next

Keep the momentum going! Now that you’re familiar with the process, grab this handy checklist to ensure all your future posts are methodically optimized.

Download, pin, share, or take it on a hot date. Keep it around however you want, but USE IT for every article you post, and know it will serve you well. Get the smarter, sexier checklist here:

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