SEO Plugin for WordPress by Yoast requires short (often four-letter) words and patience.
I recently enabled the SEO Plugin by Yoast for my WordPress site. While it is well-documented and easier to use than the last SEO plugin I tried, it is still a Pandora’s Box. On average I have spent an hour with each page finessing content to meet the parameters outlined by Yoast.
One of my problems is the wealth of information out there. It is overwhelming to sift through the SEO tutorials, articles, and the many expert reviews. As a result, I skim the information. At some point I have to dive in.
The Page Analysis tab has proven to be the most useful for walking me through the SEO objectives. For each goal met I am rewarded with a green button next to that SEO line item. Writing unique Keywords, Meta Descriptions, Titles, and Tags is challenging. After many hours I feel a little short on patience and skill. However, I think I’m getting the hang of it.
The primary objective seems to be selecting keywords and then using them in heads, subheads, content and the page URL with just the right saturation. Too little recurrence of those keywords and you receive a red to yellow light, too much receives the same red to yellow signal; but use them properly and you earn your green light before you move to the next hurdle.
See Kim try. Write Kim, write.
I like writing. Maybe I like it too much? Google doesn’t seem to appreciate that I want my blog to be interesting and engaging. After thoughtfully constructing my post drafts, I am met with the following warning: Your copy scores (crappy score here) in the Flesch Reading Ease test…try making shorter sentences, using less difficult words to improve readability. Clearly Flesch doesn’t appreciate my “brilliant” prose.
Scoring well on the Flesch Reading Ease test and coming within spitting distance of the 300 minimum meaningful words is proving more difficult than I bargained for. I have decided to be content with the light-weight word count of my portfolio pages and worry about the recommended 300 words for blog posts. This post is currently at 506. So I’m not completely hopeless. It seems best to write my content and then break it into sections with subheads that summarize the paragraph or two that follow. Once that is done I check for readability with my friend Flesch. Then I dumb things down—Large words receive shorter synonyms, thoughts are simplified, and sentences get cut until the Flesch test flashes a green light. (I’d like a four letter word with Flesch.)
Bogged down by Blogging.
This particular plugin appears to be popular and I have no doubt that eventually I’ll stumble across just the right tutorial to validate my efforts. In the meantime, I recently had a conversation with a photographer that insisted the solution to true SEO was blogging. As far as he was concerned all this Yoast stuff wouldn’t pay as much as an interesting weekly blog.
I do not have a weekly blog; however, Yoast must be onto something as comments are now coming in telling me all the things I’m NOT doing to achieve SEO Nirvana. Given that this will only be the second post to my blog, I have to assume that the noticeable increase in traffic is a result of the plugin itself.
In spite of the pressure to blog on a weekly basis I still believe quality over quantity should be the goal. I also believe that blogging should not become a chore. If I enjoy the process there is a better chance people are going to enjoy reading the results; and if they don’t, at least I’ll enjoy the journey. Therefore, I plan to ignore the weekly deadline in favor of a schedule that promotes creativity. We’ll see how that goes. I am beginning to wonder when I’ll be able to get back to being a designer!
The Final Steps in the Yoast Gauntlet
Adding links to my post should be one of the easy tasks. So I saved this for last. (Friggin’ Flesch is still giving me a 69.6 for readability. I choose to ignore this!) The obvious link to add would be to Yoast. The other, as much as it pains me, should go to explaining my nemesis, Flesch. My goal of achieving a green light score for all Page Analysis Posts hangs in the balance.
Achieving SEO Nirvana
I have finally accomplished a 72.7 on the Flesch Reading Ease test score. Flesch would most likely suggest I sum up my feelings on the matter with these words—It feels good.