Without Search Engine Optimization (SEO), no website can reach its target audience. There are millions of websites on Google alone and, if you’re to make sure yours comes up on the first page of Google’s search results, you need to master SEO — even if you think you’re only good at writing.
In fact, mastering SEO isn’t as daunting as it seems at the first glance. In our blog post, 3 Ways to Learn Basic SEO From Scratch, we discussed the free resources available online to learn SEO even if you don’t know the first thing about it.
If you’ve gained a basic understanding of how SEO works, this post is for you — because here we explore several hidden features of Yoast SEO that will put you one step ahead of your competitors.
1. Self-referencing URLs for duplicate content
Duplicate content, as the name suggests, is content that has multiple working URLs, which can confuse you search engines.
For example, if your book falls under both Fantasy and YA categories, it will show up on both pages. And when someone looks up your book, it will have two URLs that are slightly different from each other. Now the question arises: which URL should the search engine display on its search results?
You can manually add self-referencing canonicals to these duplicate content, but that’s too much work — and, frankly, too technical. But by using Yoast SEO, you can easily take care of duplicate content because Yoast SEO automatically includes a canonical URL tag on all of your pages and templates.
2. Google Search Console
Using Google Search Console (previously known as Webmaster Tools), you can find out how your website is performing on Google’s search results. Google Search Console (GSC) is completely free and helps you diagnose any technical SEO issues and lets you analyze your website’s performance and ranking.
If you have signed up for GSC, you can give your Yoast SEO access to it by importing the GSC information and data by clicking on the “Get Google Authorization Code”.
3. Social Media Tab and Features Tab
When you share your website’s content on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it might sometimes look and feel out of place and unprofessional, with indenting and paragraph errors. You can manually change these settings and curate how your content will look like using the social media tab. This is, in fact, something most people don’t know about because Yoast SEO automatically configures it based on your SEO title and content featured image.
Learning to navigate the Features Tab is also a vital skill when it comes to mastering SEO. You can turn on/off the Readability option, and even enable/disable security for authors. You can manually give or take certain features to and from authors — features which are by default enabled only for editors and administrators.
4. Search Appearance Tab
Structured data helps search engines make sense of your site and the things you talk about by structuring the specific set of properties that specifically belongs to an item on your site. For instance, structured data helps search engine robots to figure out if something is a blog post or a product, or if someone is real or fictional.
Yoast SEO compiles this structured data into a graph for ease of access — but what’s really cool is that you can edit this graph using the Search Appearance Tab, and help search engines understand your content better!
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.