What does Yoast SEO do?

The Yoast SEO plugin makes it easy for your site to meet the highest technical SEO standards. It also gives you the tools to bring your content to the highest standards of SEO and overall readability. Here, we’ll discuss how our plugin helps you build the best website you possibly can!

Technical features of Yoast SEO

If technical SEO isn’t your strong suit, much of the following may not make sense to you. But, don’t worry! Yoast SEO exists to make sure you don’t have to know all of these things. The plugin settings are very sensible by default, and our configuration wizard also guides you through the steps to get your technical SEO settings right.

This means that by simply installing the plugin and following the steps in our wizard, you’re already fixing a lot of important technical SEO things for your site! That way you don’t have to know about technical things such as robots.txt, clean permalink URLs, htaccess files and sitemaps. Our plugin will take care of these for you. Furthermore, Yoast SEO also makes sure your site has:

  • canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content;
  • a valid Schema.org structured data implementation;
  • a noindex or nofollow option for every page;
  • OpenGraph tags for every page or article;
  • etc. etc. You can find a complete list of features here.

If you are (a bit more) familiar with technical SEO, you might enjoy reading more about Yoast SEO’s hidden features that secretly level up your SEO. And if you want to dive deeper and step up your technical SEO game, we also provide a technical SEO training course that will help you on your way. This course is part of our Yoast SEO Academy Premium subscription.

Yoast SEO improves your content SEO

Once your plugin is installed and configured, it’s time to get started with your content. Important to remember is that the plugin helps you with your rankings, but they still rely on your content. This means you have to create good content for the right keywords.

After you’ve done your keyword research, you’ll have to start optimizing the pages and posts on your sites for the keywords and key phrases you want to rank for. To do that, you can set a focus keyphrase for an article in Yoast SEO. Then, the plugin uses our content SEO analyses to determine how your content scores on different ranking factors, such as how many times you use your keyphrase, the length of your text or whether you used any internal links.

With this analysis, the plugin is able to tell you how you can optimize your post or page to rank with that keyphrase. And does this by using red, orange and green bullets to indicate how every factor scores. This gives you an easy overview of the overall score and what you can still tackle to increase your rankings!

The content SEO analysis tells you how to optimize your text for a certain keyword with the use of red, orange and green bullets. This is a screenshot of our Premium plugin.

Yoast SEO improves your readability

Optimizing your content to rank with the right keyphrase is important, but don’t forget your reader! Even if you write amazing content for search engines, your audience won’t benefit from it if they don’t understand it. When a person doesn’t understand your content, the chance of them buying something from you is close to zero. The same is true for the odds of them sharing one of your articles with their friends. So, you need to make sure your content is also easy to understand. And that’s where the readability features come in.

Yoast SEO’s readability features are well-researched analyses that give you feedback on how to optimize your writing. Now, this may sound strange, because the way you write can be very personal. So let me explain how it works. The plugin uses an algorithm to check your content on different factors that are proven to increase readability. We look at the use of transition words, the use of passive voice, your sentence and paragraph lengths and more. But we carefully crafted this algorithm to make it as accurate as possible without being too strict.

This means you’re able to adopt the feedback in a way that suits you and your content will still have your personal tone of voice. If you’re interested in all the factors that increase readability, you can read more about the Yoast SEO readability features.

The readability analysis tells you how to optimize your text to make it easy to read with the use of red, orange and green bullets. This is a screenshot of our Premium plugin.

Read more: Does Yoast SEO really work? »

A quick recap

In this article, I’ve shown you what Yoast SEO can do for your site. To sum it up, it improves your technical SEO by taking care of a lot of technical things in the background. Secondly, our plugin helps you improve your content SEO by helping you set a keyphrase and telling you exactly how you can optimize your content to rank with this keyphrase. Lastly, our plugin helps you improve the readability of your content by providing feedback that you can easily incorporate into your own writing style.

I hope this article gives you some insight into our plugin and what it can do for you! It’s also worth noting that we offer two versions of our plugin, so have a look to decide which one suits you best. We offer a free version of the plugin, that will definitely get you started with your SEO. But I advise you to also take a glance at our Premium plugin to make sure you’re not missing out on the features that will get you that top position in the rankings. Finally, we also save some cool integrations in Yoast SEO (Premium), such as a SEMrush and a Zapier feature, that can help you get even better SEO results!

16 Responses to What does Yoast SEO do?

  1. Benjamin
    Benjamin  • 1 year ago

    I am a begginer of SEO and i really enjoy ready Yoast blogs about Yoast SEO. Thanks to this informative and briefly article.

  2. Romel Adhikary
    Romel Adhikary  • 1 year ago

    Yoast is the best SEO tool I have ever used.

  3. Kalo
    Kalo  • 1 year ago

    Hi Team
    I switched to Yoast recently. Now it shows I have some pages with 0 SEO and bad readability. Those pages though rank on page 1 of google , and some of them in the top 5 positions. In this case, should I work on the SEO and Readability to bring them to green happy faces? Can this mess up my current rankings on the “bad” pages as per Yoast?
    Or it will only improve my positions?

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 1 year ago

      Hi Kalo, Thank you for switching to Yoast SEO! Great to hear your posts are ranking so well already. You could have a look at the advice we give in the checks and try to make your bullets green. It shouldn’t have a negative effect at all. And it might even improve your position or make it stronger when the competition gets fierce!

  4. ravi
    ravi  • 1 year ago

    Hi, thanks for sharing, i tried following all the steps and get upto 90-93% score. But my posts aren’t getting traffic.
    Am I missing something?


    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 1 year ago

      Hi Ravi, There’s more to SEO than getting green bullets. Here are some reasons your post might not be ranking: https://yoast.com/reasons-optimized-content-doesnt-rank/

    • Lomash Kumar
      Lomash Kumar  • 1 year ago

      Yoast SEO is a tool that helps you to optimize your post SEO friendly. It does not drive traffic to your website.
      Getting traffic from search engines depends upon keyword ranking, domain authority, backlinks, appearance on search results, and more.

  5. abhishek dutt
    abhishek dutt  • 1 year ago

    Yoast Plugin really helped me to improve my website’s technical SEO. It becomes easy to rank on google with Yoast SEO plugin. Right now I am using the free version but definitely I am going to buy a premium one.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 1 year ago

      Thanks so much, Abhishek!

  6. Shiwali Shukla
    Shiwali Shukla  • 1 year ago

    I started using Yoast SEO too since last 2 month and i am loving it. However sometimes it shows- Outbound links: No outbound links appear in this page. Add some!
    I added 2 more outbound link, I’m not sure why they are not getting recognized.

    • camillecunningham
      camillecunningham  • 1 year ago

      Hi Shiwali, good to hear that you love our plugin! As for your issue, we recommend adding a relevant outbound link on every page. I think this article will help you: https://yoast.com/outbound-links/

  7. laluabdrahman
    laluabdrahman  • 1 year ago

    When I use Indonesian, the word count feature does not work correctly. The number of words counted is always 1. How do I fix it?

    • Ben Vaassen
      Ben Vaassen  • 1 year ago

      Hi there, I’m sorry to hear that it’s not working for you. There can be multiple reasons why it wouldn’t work. Our comment section isn’t the best place to get help though, so I’d like to refer you to our how can I get support page: https://yoast.com/help/support/#free. Good luck!

  8. Ajay Gupta
    Ajay Gupta  • 1 year ago

    Yoast is very usefull for SEO of any website and improve the ranking of any website on Google. As a Digital Marketer I got a lots of benfits from reading article of yoast and get knowledge about SEO and Yoast is also very helpfull in wordpress plugin.

  9. Vishal
    Vishal  • 1 year ago

    I am also using this tool I am not sure if it works for hindi Language as well.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 1 year ago

      Hi Vishal! The available features for Yoast SEO differ per language. You can check which features are available for each language here: https://yoast.com/help/features-per-language/ . Of course, we’d love to release our features in as many languages as possible. You can help make them available by contributing word lists. If you’d like to help, please send an email to language@yoast.com.