At NameHero’s we’re big fans of Yoast SEO. We use it for all our posts, and it provides us with useful guidance to keep us on track. Even on my own website, I’ve switched to using Yoast after trying all the others. These days it seems, there’s no other game in town. When you think of WordPress and SEO, there’s just one plugin that comes to mind – Yoast. But is it good enough? Do you need more tools for your SEO? Let’s take a look.
Yoast’s “Approval” Can be Misleading
There’s a strange satisfaction to be had by optimizing your article to fit Yoast’s recommendations and getting all the “green” checkmarks next to the various bullet points. Take this article I wrote on the NameHero blog a few days ago about Web Application Firewalls for your site:
You can see that I’ve hit all the right spots to satisfy Yoast – good usage of the keyphrase, a good article length, the right meta description, and more. In fact, it’s easy to feel you’ve done a good job of SEO on the article if you get all of this right. But you have to remember that Yoast is a 3rd party product that’s not reflective of whether or not you’re really going to rank well on Google. It’s easy to feel that your job is done if you’ve got Yoast’s approval, but there’s a lot more to SEO than just Yoast. In fact, it’s not even the complete picture for on-page SEO.
True SEO is a lot harder than just writing an article and making sure that you hit all the right notes for Yoast’s approval. So the answer to the initial question is “no”. Yoast is NOT good enough. It’s a useful guide to have, and that’s it.
So what more do you need besides Yoast?
1. A Keyword Research Tool
To start with, you need a process that generates keywords for you to target. Yoast doesn’t help you with this. It assumes you have the right keyword at the start. But does your keyword bring the kind of customers you’re looking for? Is it within your competitive range? Does it have sufficient volume to be useful? These are things for which you need a tool other than Yoast. Yoast has its own suggest tool, but this merely piggybacks off Google’s query expander.
Instead, you can get your own keywords by navigating to google.com, and start typing in your key product. You’ll get two kinds of data:
- The autocomplete list that comes as you’re typing
- The “related searches” list at the bottom of the first page of results
These two lists will help you identify the kinds of keywords you should be targeting. Keyword research is an art by itself. I might do another post dedicated to it in the future!
2. On-Page Engagement and Conversion
Another thing that Yoast can’t help you with, is checking to see whether or not your content is engaging. It tries to use second-hand hints like “passive voice checks” and the like, but these are just suggestions. It’s up to you to engage the reader, break up your text with images, bullet points, and other visual tools to relieve the stress of an unbroken sheet of text.
Then there’s the matter of whether or not your pages convert well enough with a good CTA. But Yoast can’t help you with creating and designing CTA buttons to improve your conversion rate. I’ve written earlier on how to add CTA buttons to your site, so you can take a look at that. But this is something that no tool can help you with. Only you can get into the minds of your customers and divine what they’re looking for, and how best to lead them to conversions.
Bottom Line: Yoast Isn’t Good Enough
And that’s where the art of SEO comes in. We can try and package it as much as possible with metrics like article length, and the percentage of active/passive sentences, but finally it all comes down to experience, and how well you can read your audience. Yoast is merely a helping step to ensuring that you have your most basic bases covered. It won’t get you any further than that!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!