Guest Post: SEO Basics: Optimize your blog with Yoast and improve traffic

The following is a guest post written by Debby from the blog DebbySEO. *Please note that certain plugins may not be available to all WordPress accounts due to them only being available for certain plans.


Often I am asked what the best SEO tools and plugins are that I recommend. This comes as no surprise as search engines are a major source of traffic for most sites, and every blogger wants to increase website ranking in an effort to get more sales. Sometimes we just don’t know what to do or where to start in order to make SEO work for us.

In this article I will share the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools for you to use. I have noticed that many WordPress sites on are offering great content, but simply lack the SEO plugins required to perform well. In this article I will explain how to install the Yoast WP plugin for SEO, and lightly touch topics such as keyword analysis, off-site link building and more.

Note that when reading SEO tips found in top 10 results, or when searching for phrases like “best free WordPress SEO plugins” you will find many results and recommendations. The truth is that the top recommendations are not always the best ones. After all, everyone in the Google top 10 listings seems to be out to sell something. I have been providing affordable SEO services for years and will provide you with reliable information so you can kick-start your business and blog using whitehat SEO techniques without paying a penny.

Obsessive Compulsive Keyword Disorder

Do you suffer from obsessive compulsive keyword disorder? Yes Ma’am! Keywords are extremely important for SEO as they draw the right visitors to your website. They can make or break a website. Having a better understanding of the specific keywords your visitors are searching for allows you to offer better services and products on your blog.

On the other hand, you should be careful not to use SEO tools to over-optimize. If you use keywords too frequently the website will look spammy and you may even be penalized. The Yoast plugin is designed to help you optimize SEO by spreading out keywords in a responsible manner, taking into consideration the proper density and placement based on a real-time comparison with top ranking websites.

I think of Google Analytics & Google Webmaster as a friend

Proper use of keywords has the biggest impact on your SEO campaign, make sure to use Google to better target them. If you have not already done so, I recommend that you first sign up for a free Google Analytics and Google Webmaster account. This will enable you to measure the difference in traffic before and after installation of SEO plugins such as Yoast.

There is nothing more important than SEO titles and descriptions

And Yoast is all you need to successfully complete this task. You can quickly add SEO titles and descriptions to all blog posts and pages on your website, and you can even include open graph metadata and social media images to your postings. The best way to decide what title is appropriate, is to look in Google analytics to see what your audience is searching for, and then decide on which keywords you wish to target. The descriptions should always take some special consideration as this will be listed in search engines and as such determines your click-through rate.

And at the end of the night, they realized how important those little XML Sitemaps were, which they ignored while adoring the beauty of their sites

Yoast SEO will generate your XML sitemap with images in no-time! All you have to do is press the button and it will create a highly optimized cached page that will quickly load and be automatically updated every time you make a post. You can also easily import SEO data if you have been using another plugin. Yoast is the all-round solution for both rookies and veterans.

Let me quickly line out the features here. Yoast offers to change post’s SEO titles and meta descriptions on a per post basis, it supports meta descriptions for taxonomies (for example category and tags), it will focus on your keyword testing, configure your robot.txt file in order to add noindex, nofollow pages etc. You will additionally be able to configure an RSS footer/header, get Google search result snippet previews, clean up permalinks while still allowing for Google custom search, import data from other SEO plugins such as Platinum SEO pack and All in One SEO pack and more. Did I just dazzle you?

This might indeed all sound a bit overwhelming but it is in fact really easy and it just requires you to play around until you become comfortable with the full functionality. So far I have discussed only the free version of the plugin but there is paid version too which offers a redirect manager, focus on multiple keywords, ability to export focus keywords, internal linking suggestions, video tutorials to help you better understand how everything works and premium support to get the most out of your site’s SEO. The paid version can be obtained for less than $90, but in my opinion the free version offers plenty of functionality.

It does not do to dwell on Yoast SEO and forget to build offsite links

Yoast has been around since I just started my first SEO Company, and their plugin has worked miracles for the websites I have worked on. All the websites I have worked on increased their traffic by focusing on important keywords for their niche market, but still, if you don’t spend time on off-site link building your SEO campaign will not be very successful. Google must see links pointed to your site in order to determine that your content is relevant.

A good way to get some link juice flowing is to install a plugin that allows you to setup a resource directory where you can exchange links with content related websites. If done right, this will also add value to your blog. Another SEO technique that is often employed is to write guest postings and to obtain offsite links in topic related directories. The more links pointing to your website, the higher the relevancy. Obviously keywords used for the anchor text and surrounding content is very important for relevancy. SEO always has a high payoff in the long run, it may take time but it is definitely worth it.

Yoast drowns out all but the brightest SEO plugins

I will now mention some other SEO plugins for you to enjoy. SEMrush is said to be the most effective SEO tool but it does come at a cost. You can use it to find organic keywords and search terms that you can easily rank for. Such keywords are known as niche market keywords which are in high demand as they have little competing websites. Next up is Ahrefs, you have probably heard of the name, it is an all-in-one SEO tool for bloggers, marketers and businesses. It is an alternative to SEMRush and offers similar features and tools.

More free SEO tools are offered by AllinOneSeoPack, a popular WordPress SEO plugin offering a comprehensive set of tools to improve your ranking. You can use it to optimize SEO titles and metatags, image sitemaps, open graph meta tags and more. I have used All in One SEO Pack in the past and would rate it just below Yoast. Both offer their plugins for free so don’t wait and start optimizing. SEOPress is another free Yoast alternative that offers a premium version at lower cost. It comes with easier setup for beginners and advanced controls for more experienced users so it may be something you may wish to consider.

Remember, install only one SEO plugin at a time and frequently check for broken links on your site as these are harmful to your listings. I hope you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out the Yoast SEO installation video at:   https://youtu.be/4KOc-oM7Yr8


Thank you to Debby from the blog DebbySEO for contributing the following post to #MillennialLifeCrisis.

Quarantine Day 5,000

Dear Patrice,

I know that it feels like just yesterday that I was writing we were on day 3,000 and something. What can I say? When you’re in the middle of an International Health Pandemic, you really lose all sense of time.

My mom has this ‘schtick’ that she does where she pretends she doesn’t know how to use technology. Part of me thinks she does it because she thinks it’s charming to be the grandma who doesn’t know how to use technology, but mostly, I think she just does it as an excuse to not have to do things for herself.

Thinking I was being smart, I bought her a tablet of her own. Reasons for this were many, but most importantly because she could keep all of her accounts logged into, so all she had to do was open an App.

Today, I was informed that she broke her tablet.

Her response to not being able to check her bank balance? Not to use the computer, no. She’s just going to get in her car and go to the bank. Because… there’s no Pandemic ongoing. She’s not less than a year in remission. Who gives a fuck?

I told her that she needs to use the computer and not go out unless she has to. She told me that she has to because she doesn’t know how to use the computer. This started a twenty minute argument about how poorly I treat her and try to force technology on her that she just doesn’t understand and that she’s a grown woman and if she wants to go to the bank, she can go to the bank.

Yeah, you bat-shit crazy old woman, on any normal day feel free and go to the bank, I wouldn’t give a fuck. But today there’s a deadly disease sweeping the globe. I think you can handle logging in a computer rather than your tablet.

I got the computer out.

I opened up the website.

I said ‘Input your card number where it says card number, then input your password where it says password’.

All she had to do was input her information.

‘I don’t know how to do that!’ She yelled at me.

Feeling like she was just fucking with me to purposefully to make me angry at this point, I said: ‘You don’t know how to use a fucking keyboard?’

‘I don’t need your abuse’, she said, knowing that she was swinging low when she said that.

I took her card, I typed the card number into the computer. Then she proclaims she doesn’t have a password.

You literally cannot have online banking services without a password, but OHHHHHHHHHKAY.

This started another argument about how I always think I know more than her about things and that she genuinely doesn’t have a password. OOOOOOOHKAY. I left. I went downstairs to cool off.

10 minutes later she comes downstairs to:

  1. Tell me that she could have been to the bank and back already by now.
  2. Tell me that she now remembers her password so I need to log in for her.

Knowing she was trying to bait me to start another argument, I didn’t bite. I silently followed her up the stairs, sat down in front of the computer and waited for her to tell me the password.

She tells me that her password is her first and last name.

I told her that’s not possible, banks require at least one number to be used.

She told me that it’s her first and last name and that I need to type that in.

I typed it in.

It obviously didn’t work

Then she yelled at me because, and I quote, ‘Your attitude is appalling’.

You’re right. Stupid me, the stupid little Millennial trying to teach her mother how to sign into online banking on a computer so that she doesn’t go out, unnecessarily, in the middle of a health pandemic. You being less than a year in remission, you’re right, my attitude is awful.

She walks away, presumably to go stick pins in my voodoo doll. Upon returning she’s had an epiphany. She now knows what her password is and it’s not her first and last name.

She also now knows how to use the keyboard because she reaches overtop of me and types it into the computer herself.

MIRACULOUS!

She even knows how to hit the ‘Sign In’ button. When did that happen?

Being now signed in, after the longest twenty minutes of my life, she tells me to leave because she doesn’t want me to see her banking information.

No arguments from me. I left and came back downstairs.

Less than five minutes later she comes back downstairs to bring my my computer. Instead of saying thank you, or I am sorry, or even just saying ‘Here’s your computer!’ she opens the door and sticks the computer in the doorway and says ‘Come get it. And next time you want to force technology on me that I don’t understand, just mind your own business’.

This…

This is why we don’t get along.

This is why I don’t like being around her.

I love her. She’s my mother and that will always be the case, but we’re cut from a different cloth. The two of us in the same room is like mixing mixing vinegar into the jar of baking soda.

I’m the stupid spoiled millennial who abuses her and has a horrible attitude and she is the world’s smartest grandma who can do no wrong.

Quarantine day 5,000 has been a long one. And it’s only 2:30 pm.

Quarantine Day 3,487

Dear Patrice (HIMYM Reference),

The days are so long and tiresome, they’re all morphing together. How long has it been? When will it end? Much like the theme of my blog suggests, I have a lot of questions and zero answers.

This morning, at least I think it was this morning (let’s face it, it could have been yesterday at this point, or perhaps even tomorrow seeing as I’m so delusional) the snowplows came down our road at 6:15. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the sound of graters scraping against pavement for thirty minutes straight, but it’s not the most pleasant sound to have to listen to, let alone wake up to.

The snowplows grinding our street at 6:15 am made next to no sense given the fact that it was snowing… as they were plowing. And we had six inches of snow in the forecast for today. Perhaps they’re occupied tomorrow. Perhaps they were just excited that being a snowplow driver allows them to work while social distancing.

Anyways, enough about snowplows.

I want to talk about home.

I’m one of those delusional characters who is of the belief that home is where the heart is. For that reason, I’ve actually felt the genuine sense of home for very little of my life.

Earlier this month, I felt like I was getting close. I’ll admit, I had my hopes up. I thought there was a chance I’d be on my way home soon. After two successful interviews with the Engineering firm, I had one final interview scheduled with the CEO on March 10th. On March 9th the HR Manager reached out and said that the CEO’s wife was ill and he wasn’t going to be at work so the interview would have to be postponed. On the 5th when the interview with the CEO was scheduled for the 10th, I was hoping it was going to be for a job offer. They rescheduled my interview for the 17th and well, shit hit the proverbial fan and all my dreams are postponed. The Engineering firm has been closed since the 13th, with only the Engineers themselves working at this point, and only for emergency services.

Don’t get me wrong. International pandemic, I totally get it. I absolutely understand. We’ve been aware of the Corona Virus in Canada since January. In fact, when I went to the hospital in January, they were already taking precautions at that point and had me tested for it. I’m well aware of the serious nature of this virus and do not blame the firm for closing. I think it was smart of them.

I just… am mourning the loss of what could have been whilst simultaneously facing a day to day misery of not feeling welcome where I’m living, whilst simultaneously recognizing that virtually no one is hiring right now. Except Wal-Mart. And yes, I applied.

I’m whining. It’s 12:30 am and I am whining. I fully understand that. I also completely grasp that there are people in this world in absolutely worse situations than mine all around. But, sometimes you just have to let things out. Sometimes you just have to free the thoughts from your brain so that you can think clearly again.

Will this help? Well, if I sleep even in the slightest tonight, I’ll consider it a win.

I had a brief FaceTime call with Knight tonight. It’s amazing how, even in just ten minutes time at one-o-clock in the morning, he makes the whole day better. He just gives me a whole different perspective on things. He changes me. Makes me better. I need that in my life.

There’s a great big world out there. One that needs conquering tomorrow.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay at least a six foot distance from people. #FlattenTheCurve

Goodnight, World.

Is this Instagram or Reality?

I love Instagram. I really do. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve likely seen just how much useless nonsense I share on the platform. My stories make zero sense. Anyways, quarantine has given me a lot of extra time to browse. There’s so much of a fake reality on the platform that I just breeze past typically, not giving it a second glance. But hey, now that I’m under quarantine, I’ve got lots of time to look.

Disclaimer: I have no ill will towards any of the people who posted any of these photos. I am merely sharing for the purpose of 1) Good Fun and 2) To remind everyone that a little brightening or lightening can make a photo pop, but please don’t take it too far. A curated life isn’t really a life… just bits and bobs of photoshopped memories that won’t mean as much as the over the years.

I really hope each of these people kept their originals. I bet their originals were so much better.


  1. PILOTS FLY THIS LOW?

Firstly, Paris is offended. One of the most beautiful cities on earth, where virtually EVERYTHING seems to be ‘Instagrammable’ so to speak, and you feel the need to do this?

Secondly, who do you think you’re fooling? Is there anyone on earth who would believe this realistic? Are there people in this world who believe that pilots fly this close to freestanding towers and internationally renowned tourist destinations?

2. JUST A BAREFOOT GAL IN ROME

“Don’t mind me. Felt cute just going on bare-foot frolic next to the Colosseum. How perfect is my life?”

ROME? ROME? You don’t think people are going to be able to tell when you’ve photoshopped yourself into Rome? I see what you did there, being on your toes and all. That’s a clever trick to make it easier to plant yourself on any surface. Next, lets take this exact same photo to… the Vowing Hands of Vietnam.

3. WHEN THE SKY AND THE CITY ARE ONE AND THE SAME

The caption said this was at the Chicago Skydeck. This photoshop is bad. Just baaaaaaad. The stitching around each of their frames is so evident, the sky has been far too saturated to look real, and somehow, they managed to catch a windy enough day… inside, for their gowns to blow.

Just ignore the bottom left and right corners where the city is the same colour as they sky. They did not photoshop the sky and accidentally photoshop small bits of the city too and hope no one would notice.

4. NORTHERN LIGHTS AND A UFO!

As someone who lives in Northern Canada and sees the Northern lights several times a year, I can assure you, this sky is not real. Can you see stars at the same time as you see the Northern Lights? Yes. Do the stars shine through the Northern lights like you can see in this photo? No. Because her stars are fake. Also, is that a UFO in the top left, or did she bring a spotlight with her, or is there absolutely zero light pollution from the moon?


There’s a big beautiful world out there filled with wonder and amazement. If you are one of the lucky ones who gets to see it, or at the very least pieces of it, and you feel like sharing it on Instagram, please don’t take the editing too far.

Word to the wise.

Do not answer your phone whilst you are doing the dishes. You will, in fact, drop your phone in the sink. I don’t care how careful you think you are. Lightning does strike and phones do drown. Don’t make the same mistakes I make.

Today is off to a great start.

It’s currently sitting in a bowl of rice. Rice is good for so much. I mean… cross your fingers for me.

KEEP ON SMILING. Don’t let them know your inner penguin.

1:30 am thoughts

I had thoughts, but honestly, quarantine brain is getting the better of me. I’m feeling disconnected from the people that matter most to me and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it in this time. I’m insecure and second guessing every decision I’ve been making.

I feel like this is a really accurate depiction of life right now. What people look like on the outside versus how they feel on the inside. Because I know I’m not the only one going crazy with this self-quarantine.

BEWARE: Scammers are trying to take advantage of the unemployed during this pandemic.

As many of you know, I am an unemployed Canadian citizen who has been applying for jobs on Indeed and LinkedIn for throughout 2020. I was worried that, when shit really hit the proverbial fan with respect to the Corona Virus, there would be scams coming out to take advantage of all of the people who’ve found themselves without work due to this pandemic. And, recent days have taught me that this is a rampant problem at the moment.

I received the above email this morning.

I did, in fact, apply for a data entry position on Indeed 48 hours ago. Since receiving this email, I have reported this job posting to Indeed as being fraudulent/misleading and left them a comment that I believe it to be a scam.

If you are unemployed, or have found your job temporarily suspended during this pandemic, it’s important to pay close attention to any communication that you might be getting. Being unemployed can bring on a lot of stress and often times it can be quite easy to see a promising email and not look closely at the details, thinking you need to jump on an opportunity, any opportunity right away.

Please don’t get scammed.

Using my email as an example, here are some things to look for:

  • Who is the email from? In the case of this email, who it’s from is a pretty big giveaway that it’s a scam. The sender’s name is Maggie Susan whilst the email address is MarcThomas055@hotmail.com. The job that I applied for was with what presented itself to be a legitimate Technology Company.
  • Who is the email to? This might seem like a stupid thing to check for, but in the case of this email, it’s not ‘To’ me. I am not ‘iooiioioo@gmail.com’. For privacy reasons, I am not sharing my personal gmail address. But, seeing as this was not addressed to me, and I was clearly BCC’ed, it leads me to believe this was likely sent in a group email to anyone who applied for the position, in their hopes that people would glance over who it was addressed to.
  • Who is the greeting too? A legitimate job prospect, whether with a company that has 3,000 employees or one that has 30 employees, will ALWAYS address the email to your first name. If you applied for a position, they already have your name and information. Any legitimate job seeker will say ‘Hi [Insert First Name Here]’. If they do not, it’s probably because the software they’re using to group send this scam isn’t advanced enough include your first name.
  • Who is it from? Did the sender sign their name? Is the company included? Is their a company signature linking to their website or online portfolios? A legitimate job seeker would NEVER leave their name off the end of an email.
  • Is there a sketchy looking link in the email? Of course there is. Please don’t click it. This is a bait tool to give hackers remote access to your desktop. In the case of this email, what are they asking me to register for? They have my information. If they were actually wanting to hire me, employment contracts need to be signed, and those cannot be done through sketchy links.
  • Do they name their company in their email? If they don’t, why wold a legitimate job seeker leave the name of their company off an email to prospective candidates? Perhaps because it’s not legitimate.
  • Does it make your spidey senses tingle? Because if it seems too good to be true, it is.

If you’ve found yourself without employment during this time, please know that you’re not alone. Please, please, please be diligent in where you respond to your emails. Pay attention to the small details. It might sound stupid when you read it, but A LOT of people fall for scams just like this one. With everyone in a hard enough situation already, I do not want you to get taken advantage further.

Thanks for reading.