How to use the content analysis of Yoast SEO
The Content Analysis Tool in the Yoast SEO plugin measures many aspects of the text you’re writing. These checks run real-time, so you’ll receive feedback while writing! The content analysis helps you to make your text SEO-friendly. In this post, I’ll first describe the most important features of the Content Analysis Tool. After that, I’ll explain how to use and interpret these features.
Most important features
1. The plugin allows you to formulate a meta description. This description has to be a short text describing the main topic of the page. If the meta description contains the search term people use, the exact text will be shown by Google below your URL in the search results.
2. The plugin analyzes the text you write. It calculates the Flesch reading-ease score, which indicates the readability of your article. The Flesch reading-ease score takes into account sentence length, for example. In the future, we’ll add more checks on readability. This will allow you to check the SEO and readability of your text simultaneously.
3. The plugin does numerous content checks on your page. It checks whether you use your focus keyword in:
- the title of the page;
- a heading;
- the URL;
- the content of the article;
- the meta description;
- the alt tag of the images.
The plugin also checks the presence of links and images in the article. It calculates the number of words and the density of usage of the focus keyword in the article. Moreover, the plugin checks whether you’re using the same focus keyword on other pages of your website. This should prevent you from competing with yourself.
If you write a relatively SEO-friendly text (based on the aspects mentioned above) the plugin will indicate this with a green bullet. Writing pages that are rewarded with green bullets will help you improve the ranking of those pages.
Two warnings before you start!
When you optimize your post for a certain keyword, keep two things in mind:
- The first thing is that in this phase (the final, optimizing phase) you shouldn’t change any major things in your article. If you’ve put effort into writing an attractive, structured and readable text, the optimization process should in no way jeopardize that.
- The second thing is that you shouldn’t change your keyword strategy in this phase. If you’ve done your keyword research properly and you’ve written your post or your article with a focus keyword in mind, don’t go change your focus keyword now! Read The temptation of the green bullet for more in-depth information about that.
7 simple steps to optimize your text
Step 1: Put your text in the WordPress backend
Distraction free writing
WordPress has a distraction-free writing mode that enables you to write in the WordPress backend without being distracted by the menu, the toolbar, the categories box, etc.
You’ve written your article or your blog post. You can write directly in the backend of WordPress or write in any kind of text editor and copy your text into the WordPress backend. Do whatever you like!
If you choose to copy your text in the WordPress backend, copy without the layout. You should adapt the layout in the backend, as otherwise you might run into some layout problems. Make sure to set subheadings into heading 2, sub-subheadings to heading 3 and so on. Then put the title of your post in the title box.
Step 2: Enter your focus keyword
Scroll down to the Content Analysis Tool in the WordPress backend. Enter your focus keyword in the appropriate field of the Yoast SEO Metabox. Your focus keyword is the keyword you would like your post to rank for. Ideally, this should be a keyword which emerged from your keyword research and which you have kept in mind during the entire writing process.
: ‘How to choose the perfect focus keyword’ »
Yoast SEO premium offers the possibility to optimize one article for more than one focus keyword. Optimizing your post for more than one search term allows you to rank for more keywords and to gain traffic to your site through more keywords.
Step 3: Write a meta description
Enter the meta description of your post. Describe clearly what your post or article is about. And make sure you use the exact phrase of your focus keyword. The meta description will be shown by Google below the URL if people search for your focus keyword.
It’s important that the meta description contains the focus keyword. Not because it will improve your rankings, but because otherwise Google usually won’t show your meta description in the search results. Google will try to match the search query with the description. If the focus keyword isn’t mentioned in the meta description, Google will just grab a random piece of content from your page containing the keyword.
The meta description shouldn’t be too long. On the other hand, there’s no ‘penalty’ for having too long meta descriptions either. What you should pay attention to is: 1. the logical bits of it are of the right length and, 2. when it’s cut in half, it still makes sense and still entices people to click.
Keep reading: ‘How to create the right meta description’ »
Step 4: Fine-tune your headings
Look critically at your title, the headings and subheadings of your article. Do these contain your focus keyword? If not, can you alter them (without changing the structure or content of your article) in such a way that they will contain your focus keyword? Don’t put your focus keyword in all of your headings though! That is too much. Using your focus keyword in one heading and in your title should be enough. You can read more about headings in one of Michiel’s posts.
Step 5: Fine-tune your body text
You should also mention the focus keyword in your text a couple of times. Make sure to mention it in the first paragraph. Throughout the text, you should mention it again. As a general rule of thumb: try to use your search terms in about 1 to 2 percent of your text. Say your article has 300 words, that means you should mention your search terms 3 to 6 times. 300 words isn’t the exact goal, nor is the amount of keyword mentions. However, 300 is a decent minimum for the number of words of an article that needs to show authority.
Step 6: Check your bullets!
Clicking on the Content Analysis tab will allow you to see which aspects of the search engine optimization process were successful. The green bullets show which aspects are good. Orange and red bullets indicate where you can improve your SEO strategy. You don’t have to keep on optimizing until all of the bullets are green. Posts on Yoast.com, often have a few orange bullets and sometimes even one or two red bullets. The important thing is that the overall bullet (the one on the upper right in the backend of your post) should be green. The overall bullet will become green if the majority of your SEO aspects are covered.
Overall SEO score in the publish box
Want to know what your posts will look like when shared on Facebook or Twitter? Yoast SEO Premium now has Social Previews! »
Step 7: Fill out the Social data
The final step to take in the Yoast SEO meta box is filling the Social data. If you fill out a description or title for a social network on this tab, it’s shown in the metadata for the page. This means this description, title or image will be shown when the page is shared on the respective social network. These descriptions basically have the same requirement as the meta description (which is what they fall back to), but usually can be longer. They should tell people what to expect and why they should click.
The preview screenshots on the left are taken from Yoast SEO Premium, in free, you won’t see those previews, just the fields!
Read on: ‘10 tips for an awesome and SEO-friendly blog post’ »