Yoast SEO – Amazing SEO or Disaster – Yoast decide

Yoast is a name well known in the WordPress community and from its early roots has grown into a large and established brand in its own right.

But with a world beating reputation, is this respect well earned.

Personal experiences with Yoast SEO

Starting a web design business in the financial crash of 2008/2009 is a frightening prospect and getting your first few clients can seem a mountain that’s simply too large to climb.

Early on it was made very clear to me that the worth of me as a web designer was closely linked to my own ranking on Google. From that moment my obsession with SEO started.

Reading every article on the subject and trying out every technique was an interesting learning curve and after a few years it became easier to sort the myth from the fact.

Soon after starting my web design business I built my first WordPress site and this was when I had my first experience with Yoast SEO.

Battle of the SEO platforms

Anyone who builds websites or runs an online business will tell you that no matter the claims a top 10 listing on Google is the main goal of any page and this can mean the difference between no work and too much work.

Many SEO products over promise and under deliver. They simply are not honest or do not know how to achieve a top ten search engine position for its users.

For anyone who has studied SEO, they will tell you it’s all about competitor analysis.

Competitor analysis and why it is important

With all search engines, how they actually rank webpages is a fairly closely guarded trade secret. This is very true of Google who seem to make it their mission to continually tweak things.

But with all Search engines we can see the result of the algorithm.

By looking how these best performing pages work we can apply this logic to our own sites and with all things being equal rank in the same sort of way.

Most paid for SEO platforms and all professional SEO platforms offer this facility.

On Google outside of backlink analysis and building this is perhaps the most important aspect of SEO.

What Yoast SEO does well

With the majority of WordPress websites using Yoast SEO (including many web designers), it’s obvious that Yoast SEO is not all bad. In fact for a quick snapshot, it does keep you mind on some of the important aspects, like title tag and content. And for something free it could be said anything that works at this level is more than worth it.

What Yoast SEO is poor at

The way Yoast SEO works is by looking at the content in your editor window and page title and makes certain assumptions.

Where this approach falls short is that it means Yoast SEO is not aware of the unique features of your site, its theme layout or even how the custom fields are used.

This means on some themes, an article title may not be an h tag and SEO phrase words in custom fields and navigation are not taken into account when it offers its advice.

The upshot is you can have all green lights in Yoast SEO and have a page that is over optimised and end up getting penalised by Google.

In addition because it’s not undertaking Competitor analysis, you are not even in the same park.

Another way

For many years I have been using a couple of profession SEO products which do offer Competitor analysis and earlier this year I decided to start working on my own take of Competitor analysis SEO as a free WordPress Plugin.

The alpha version is now available and will soon be published on this website.

Please follow https://www.FaceBook.com/websitesbymark/ is you want to be notified when the Plugin is generally available.

The top 10ish secrets the SEO industry does not want you knowing

Speak to business and the majority of them have heard of the phrase SEO, see it as an unlimited pot of revenue generating magic and have no idea how to get there.

The SEO industry does nothing to dispel this mystique and this probably accounts for the growth in business for anyone offering SEO and related services.

But it does not need to be this way, the following guide will help you get in the right head space to see if SEO is right for you and how not to get burned.

1) Defining your goal

SEO companies love people who ask to ‘be found on Google’. The generic nature of this question means whatever work is done its impossible to quantify the results and ultimately increase the revenue the SEO company charges.

Think in terms of something that can be defined and measured. So something more valid would be ‘To be in the top 10 on Google UK for the phrase web designers in London’. With this phrase we not only are thinking about what our audience wants, but this can help up to define what our landing page should be about and most importantly we have something we can measure the success of.


2) Is Google and organic SEO the right vehicle for me?

Most companies believe the hen that lays the golden egg is a number 1 listing on Google. While its true Google is the dominant search engine, other search engines can outperform Google on some searches and target demographics. With Google, as an example, the search results page features multiple types of information. It can contain PPC adverts, map listings, shopping results and organic website listings. Although an organic listing might be the gold standard, if it’s easier and most cost effective to appear in the other areas of the search page, then it’s something daft not to consider.


3) The truth about Google and backlinks

A badly created website can rank well due to the back links it has going to the site. Simply put Google places more weight on back links than any other search engine. The upshot is a thriving industry for buying and selling back links. Google considers this practice as being bad and bans websites it finds that has bought links. Google also looks at your historic back link profile as well as a gauge to how trusted the site is. This means that’s it’s harder for an established website to get banned. But it’s possible to actively grow the back links to your website, you just need to do it manually and simply makes sure the back link looks legitimate. So adding a link to your dry cleaning business on a gaming forum probably is not a good match. Good back links are hard to get and take time. For most companies to do it right simply takes too much time and if outsourcing, too expensive.


4) The truth about Google and on-page optimisation

While not including search phrases on your landing pages make it very hard for the page to be found on Google, spending a lot of money on purely on-page SEO will only ever produce limit effects in a limited amount of cases. Where on-page SEO works well, is when you’re able to a) define a decent long tail, b) competing websites are either limit in number or quality and c) you have a decent back link profile already in place. On-page SEO can be effective but you need to understand the battle you are fighting.

5) The most effective method which when done wrong will get you banned

Above everything else the hardest paradox anyone conducting SEO will comes across, is the idea that if your SEO is too successful, there is a chance that a search Engine like Google might actually ban you. This is simply down to Google actively looking for websites where techniques are being used to artificially inflate the sites natural position in search. The best defence is to simply not take short cuts… Don’t buy mass back links, look to slowly build them over time. Add content to you website that has value to your audience. In short build an empire which has value in its own right.


6) The more you automate, the less effective you will be

Some SEO services and application will have high on the feature list some form of automation. Some examples of this would be an application that lets you post links automatically to forums or social media, or software that automatically adjusts your on page content. Simply put SEO works best when you spend time looking at the explicit situation and formulate a plan to exploit it. The upshot is that decent SEO companies are expensive and if you are going to automate to save time or money, the result will be poor.


7) Most of the ranking signals wont actively have an effect, but they all do

Another paradox which needs squaring is that with search engines like Google to rank your page, they look at a host of ranking signals, and it’s the combination of these which gives you your rank when you search. Most of these signals are minor, and only a few carry the most weight… Apart from inbound links, on page the most important factors are: – The title tag, URL of page, H tags and visible body copy. If you just concentrate on these factors the rest will just happen.


8) Why competitor SEO analysis works best

If you had not noticed, Google changes its algorithm regularly. Any SEO technique which works on applying a hard coded set of universal rules will fail at some point. By comparing you webpage and backlinks against the top 3 (5 or 10) webpages for you chosen phrase will mean no matter how Google changes it algorithm, you will always be looking at the sites which Google values. This technique is bullet proof and never fails. While it’s possible to apply this technique to the best performing site alone, by widening to the top 3, you help to remove the factors which are unique to any one site, which might skew your analysis.


9) Don’t blindly follow recommendations

Perhaps the worse failing of anyone who gets into SEO is to find a tool and then blindly follow its recommendations like a lemming jumping off a cliff. Take time to think about what you are being asked to do and think about it in a human way. Does the advice make sense? Does it sound too good to be true? If it causes problems, what’s the effect?


10) It takes time

Google not only looks at your page as a single instance, but also websites which link to the content as well as other content on the same website. It also looks at things in a historic context. In other words, older content has a history, a trust factor. The upshot is the more related content on the same website, which is trusted over time, the more Google is likely to improve, not only the pages rank in search, but the site as a whole. As a minimum, think in terms of waiting at least six months to see the ‘proper’ rank.


11) SEO is more than just SERP’s

Sounds daft right, but for SEO to work you need to start with your audience and the sorts of search phrases they will use, from there you need to form landing pages with content that matches these search terms, and finally the page needs to have a call to action. In other words if the page does not convert, what’s its purpose and why should you resource creating something that does not drive revenue.


There may be a coherent reason for creating pages that do not convert, but if you don’t have a reason and it’s just there to bulk out, then you need to ask if this is for your benefit or the SEO Company you are working with.