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With little knowledge of SEO and how to optimise your website for search engines and users, it can be hard to achieve the rankings you deserve. However if your website is built on WordPress optimisation has never been easier! With the help of the Yoast SEO plugin you can easily and quickly optimise your entire site with the many features available within the tool. The Yoast SEO plugin gives you real-time insights into your webpages and any crucial elements that could be improved that you otherwise may have missed! There is a premium version of the Yoast SEO plugin which gives you access to further features, however the free version offers you all the basics you need to ensure your website is optimised with SEO in mind.
It has never been easier to monitor and track your website than with Yoast SEO. In the General Settings of the plugin under the Webmaster Tools tab you can add in your verification code to verify your ownership of the domain and begin gaining valuable information about your website using Google Search Console. However, you will still have to manually insert the Google Analytics/Google Tag Manager code within the code itself as Yoast have yet to add this functionality.
By installing the Yoast SEO plugin you can easily set a template for all your title tags and meta descriptions site-wide, this will not only save you time but also help keep your webpages consistent. With Yoast SEO installed you will see a meta data box when you are editing any of your webpages, this shows you how your webpage will appear in search results. If you would like to break away from your template, you can easily edit your title, description and URL path to match your requirements. An additional feature in the meta data box is that you can enter a ‘focus keyword’ for each page and the plugin with analyse your content for that keyword, showing your areas that are not fully optimised for your chosen term such as the page URL and image alt tags. However, in the free version you are only able to have one focus keyword which may be problematic if you are targeting more than one keyword to a page.
Title Tags & Meta Descriptions.
The Yoast SEO plugin automatically defines every page you create as the canonical version however it is easy to add the canonical URL of a page into the meta data box in the field ‘Canonical’. The Yoast SEO plugin removes the hassle of tampering with code, simply pasting in the canonical URL and updating the page – it’s as easy as it gets! As well as this, in the same meta data box in the Breadcrumbs Title field you can define what you would like the breadcrumb to appear as for every category, subcategory, page and post.
With Yoast SEO you can also manage your meta robots by identifying pages you would like to be kept hidden and out of the index, as well as pages you would like to appear in search results. Your meta robots settings can be found under the Advanced tab in the meta data box on every page of your website, whether than be one singular webpage or an entire category. However, you should first define whether you would like to use the meta robots tag or a robots.txt file.
There are many XML sitemap plugins available for WordPress however by having a sitemap feature within your SEO plugin; this ensures the changes made on your webpages communicate with your XML sitemap. The Yoast SEO plugin prevents discrepancies and ensures that pages you do not want to be indexed by Google are removed from your XML sitemap; you can also define which types of pages you don’t want to appear within your sitemap such as images and other media files. Not only is this a highly useful functionality to have in place, Yoast also use an XSLT style on your sitemap so that they are formatted correctly and can be easily read by users as well as search engines!
If you upgrade to the premium version of the plugin, you gain an additional 3 features including redirect management, multiple focus keywords per page and premium support from the Yoast team. Although being able to speak to Yoast would of course be an advantage, there are multiple resources online that can help you with any technical questions you have. There are also further trusted plugins that allow you to create 301 redirects so upgrading to a paid package may be an unnecessary purchase for some webmasters.
Canonical URLs & Breadcrumbs.
What really happened was Yoast had decided to focus on a narrower set of objectives, and sold the plugin to another well-known person within the WordPress space, Syed Balkhi.
Syed is the entrepreneur behind OptinMonster, Soliloquy, WP Forms and WPBeginner. Syed was recently named one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 by the United Nations.
I know I was surprised, as were many other people, to see the name change from Google Analytics by Yoast to MonsterInsights.
How Could This Transition Have Been Handled Better?
If you had Google Analytics by Yoast installed on your WordPress website, you were probably surprised last week (mid-April 2016) to see a new icon in its place in the admin menu in the back end of your site.
One of the plugin developers also pointed out that they got rid of the green monster icon, and put the plugin back in the same menu position it was in before. (The roll-out on the first day had a vivid green icon that was at the top of the menu, instead of near the bottom of the left hand menu).
Yoast is one of those brands that has a solid reputation in the WordPress space, as their main plugin, Yoast SEO for WordPress is one of most installed plugins in the ecosystem.
So seeing their plug and disappear and seeing a new plugin appear in its place had a lot of people scratching their head. Or worse, believing that their site had been hacked and that’s where the new plugin had come from.
Since then, the name in the admin menu has also been shorted to just Insights , instead of MonsterInsights .
So what happened?
Except the problem was that it wasn’t familiar, and entirely unexpected.
My sentiment is when you’re expecting to see one brand name and icon (Yoast), and then all of a sudden you see another name and brand icon (MosnterInsightss), the experience is very jarring.
So one thing that perhaps could have happened was a more gradual transition, for the sake of consumers and their peace of mind. The change logs for the plugin can be a good place to document ownership change. Another suggestion from the forums was to temporarily add the tagline (Formerly by Yoast) to the plugin name or title screens.
In the WordPress forums, one of the plugin authors also mentioned the MonsterInsights name tied in with the branding in rest of their product line (OptinMonster), so perhaps the reasoning was: it would be a familiar brand to consumers.
It’s not uncommon for business assets to get acquired and change hands. But when the change is abrupt, it can be disorienting to people, especially when it affects something on their business website.
John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown SEO.
So in case you were wondering what happened in the back end of your WordPress site, if you were running the Yoast Google Analytics plugin, that’s the story.