Anna Nuttall

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a beginner’s guide on using the Yoast plugin

A Beginner’s Guide On Using the Yoast Plugin

For any WordPress users, it critical to use the Yoast plugins. However, lots of people still get confuse. Here is a beginner’s guide on using the Yoast plugin.

This is for anyone who starts a WordPress blog and want a quick easy way to do their SEO. Then you will need to start using the Yoast Plugin.

Yoast is by far the best plugin on WordPress to do your SEO. Without it – your site will have difficult swimming against the huge tidal wave of sites and might easily get lost at sea. Basically it will drown and your site is likely never seen again. Well only in the eyes of Google, anyway.

So yes, getting Yoast plugin is important. Unfortunately, as with everything, there is a problem. While Yoast Plugins does everything and greatly help your SEO. It can be so overwhelming for any beginners. Every day I keep reading about more and more people getting confuse with this plugin.

Well no need to be confuse anymore, help is at hand.  Here is a beginner’s guide on using the Yoast plugins. I will only be scratching the surface, for a more detailed guide, then you can find it here.


a beginner’s guide on using the Yoast plugin

Installing the Yoast plugin is fairly easy. You would install it like any other WordPress plugin by looking for the plugins tab on your WordPress dashboard. Then once you click on the plugins tab > Add News > using the search features type Yoast plugin > install > activate.

After it’s installed, first go to the Yoast tab (SEO) that is now on your dashboard. Click on it dashboard mini tab. And then click on General, as highlighted in red.

a beginner’s guide on using the Yoast plugin

The Yoast plugin has done a basic good job with creating defaults setting that will work for your site. However, you still need to customize a few things.  While on the Yoast plugin (SEO) dashboard look for a few of these things:

Features: This is where you can enable/disable certain features for your Yoast plugin. My advice would be to have a play around and to see how much features you want.

Your Info: This is where you put in your website name and whether you are a company or a person.

Webmaster Tools: This is where your put in your Bing and Google Analytic codes. I never got this to work successfully so I tended to ignore this.

The Traffic Lights System:

Now let look at Yoast plugin traffic lights system. You will be using this on all your blog posts in order to optimize your content for search engines.

a beginner’s guide on using the Yoast plugin

On every blog entry, Yoast plugin will place a “meta box” below the main box in WordPress. Go to Posts > Add New and you will see what I mean.

This meta box is the key that will unlock all your SEO. Here’s what it all means.

a beginner’s guide on using the Yoast plugin


The top line in bold is your title tag.

The second line is your URL slug.

The third line is meta description.

Now you understand what each line does, let look at what you need to do.

First, enter the ‘focus keyword’ for the blog post. For example, if you’re writing about a little black dress, your focus keywords would be ‘a little black dress’. This is also where your keywords research comes in.

Now write your blog post on a little black dress. The Yoast plugin will then analyze the written content of the blog post and provide a real-time traffic-light style system, that will tell you how well your post is going to be in search engines.  Let look at the example:

This relates to this blog post.

a beginner’s guide on using the Yoast plugin

As you can see, I’m mostly green but have a few orange lights; for example, I have:

  • No Outbound links.
  • The SEO title is too short.
  • The focus keywords use a stop words.
  • The focus keywords aren’t in the URL.

The orange lights are merely suggestion and any changes are not as important as the red light.

Ultimately you will be aiming to get all green. If you can get nearly all green and two oranges, then you have done a good job. The higher the green – the more it will help your SEO.


This little tab ensure your blog post is readable and it will score highly on search engine. It also works on a traffic lights system. It does offer suggestion on how to improve the writing to make it more SEO friendly. Do be aware that this is still relatively a new feature of Yoast plugin and can be a little buggy. Don’t get upset if you can’t get any green lights.


a beginner’s guide on using the Yoast plugin

Just before you hit publish on your new blog post, you will see your Yoast plugin result. It will tell you if you are green or orange. Sometime this can be helpful to look at and make any changes before you hit publish.

(in the picture example, it showing ‘update’ that because I have already published the post.)

Open discussion:

I will leave it here, as I said it’s a beginner guide on Yoast plugin. If you have any questions, then feel free to ask.

A Beginner’s Guide On Using the Yoast Plugin


Hello, it’s so lovely for you to join me. Let me introduce myself. I’m Anna Nuttall living in London and married to my husband, Richard. I worked in retail for ten years before I left and fulfilled my addiction to social media and blogging, where I’m now working as a fashion, lifestyle and travel blogger and also in digital marketing.


  • I am using the yoast now for more than a month. I found many good and bad things about it.
    Good things: 1. It helps you stay on top of all the things. 2. It covers all different type of web pages. 3. It has readability check which serves handily for non-English writers.
    Bad things: 1. Readability check is not accurate. It makes mistakes in understanding the text or understanding the position of text many times. 2. yoast follows some SEO rules which are not important. There should be option to enable/disable different rules.

    23rd July 2017
  • Thank you thank you! I have recently startes using Yoast and played with a few settings, but I couldn’t figure out where to find this meta box. Thank you for simplifying this!

    23rd July 2017
  • Great post. Very handy. It took me a while to get my head around it.

    23rd July 2017
  • Very helpful, I’ve just recently started using Yoast, those red dots are really frustrating but it’s a very useful tool and you just made it easier.

    24th July 2017
  • LOVE this post, Yoast can be confusing so I’m glad you’re here to help!


    25th July 2017
  • Someone mentioned Yoast readability here and I agree. It’s very inaccurate. It just makes you write like you want your blog to be read by 5th-graders. What if I want my blog to be read by professionals in the industry? Edit and proofread your post by yourself, even if it takes longer. No software can do it better than you.

    25th July 2017
  • I’ve never heard about Yoast before! Thanks for informing a new blogger about it and how to use it!

    25th July 2017
  • This is a great beginner’s guide. It was so confusing to me at first but thankfully I think I got the hang of it!

    25th July 2017
  • LOVE!!!! THis post!

    25th July 2017
  • So helpful! I gotta say, it was really confusing for me at the beginning! Thanks for sharing:)

    25th July 2017
  • Thanks so much! I use this plugin as well, but I’m just starting out and found it to be a little bit frustrating at times. It is really helpful once you figure it out, though. Great post.

    25th July 2017
  • This is SUPER helpful! I’m one of those people who’s still confused, or at least I was until I read this! Thanks!!

    25th July 2017
  • This is one of my favorite plugins. Great tutorial!

    26th July 2017
  • Great guide to get a new blogger started with Yoast and I am sure if they have more questions you could help them out Anna!

    26th July 2017
  • I use Yoast SEO all the time. It’s really helpful with verifying things such as Google site console and Pinterest. I also like to use the meta description editor for every post.

    26th July 2017
  • I hope I read this post earlier! I learned to use the plug-in a month ago but I had to go through daunting trial-and-error.

    28th July 2017
  • I have recently launched my site this site is for imparting information on agricultural practices for enhancing productivity. the site explains about soil, e.c. and ph, fertilisers, diseases and pests and drip irrigation. So I was wondering is I should use any SEO tool also but was stuck on some points of Yoast seo. Thank you for your article and for clearing these aspects.

    23rd February 2018

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