How One Amateur Blogger Improved Her Writing with an SEO Plugin

Attention Amateur Blogger!

An amateur blogger can benefit from plugins not available on WordPress.com. Adding the Yoast SEO plugin improves and focuses writing skills.

What Is Your Blog’s SEO Score? As an amateur blogger, I paid very little attention to anything SEO. If I saw those three letters together, my eyes glazed over.

An amateur blogger needs to know about SEO & plunge in liker these kids swimming
Amateur blogger, hold your nose. Plunge into the unknown with me.

“SEO by Yoast will allow you to control which pages Google shows in its search engines, as well as which pages you don’t want to show. As WordPress itself only shows canonical link elements on single pages, using this plugin makes it output canonical elements everywhere.” Social Media Hat

Huh?

When I started blogging, I received a barrage of emails promising me that they could improve my site’s SEO rate.

Who cared? Why should you care? What was an SEO anyway?

Blogger, Dan Alatorre wrote a good definition. “SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. But maybe you already know that. What you DON’T know is what the hell that actually is. Seriously. What is it?

At its core, SEO is how likely it is that someone will see your blog come up in a search engine result.”

Now you know.  Do you care more?

NO?

Me either. In my life, blogging was a hobby. When I retired, I bought a new computer, a new camera, a premium WP theme. I was good to go.

Events Happened to Change This Amateur Blogger

Since I started researching and wrote the book, Because of Blogging (not published because I started researching as I edited my posts.) However, in my research, I noticed something important. I observed that often pro bloggers write just like I do.

For fun. They write about makeup, recipes, old cars, poetry, homeschooling, vacations, staycations, photo challenges, and blogging. The same stuff I’m writing. Well, maybe not make-up. But they get paid!

What’s up with that?

You know me, I love to experiment! This amateur blogger decided to plunge  – into the lake of PRO BLOGGERS! I want to get paid to write for fun. Why not?

Splash!

  • First, I changed to a self-hosted blog. Seemed like more trouble than it was worth at the time. I don’t get snowflakes at Christmas time. It seems like my other blog gets all my new followers. (It does!)
  • Next, I started a newsletter through Mail Chimp. As an amateur blogger, I did not know what Mail Chimp was. I sent out two newsletters six months ago.
  • Still an amateur blogger, with no product, I self-published a book, So You Think You Can Blog? You need to have a giveaway.
  • Later, I joined groups on Facebook and Google to promote the articles I wrote on my professional blog.
  • I paid for an upgrade on Buffer, so I could promote more and post less frequently.

Amateur Blogger – Post Plunge?

In an amateur blogger – SPLAT! SPLURT! BLUB BLUB! – out a pro blogger. Right?

Wrong. Nothing’s happened. YET

Last week I took the plunge to have a professional designer help me improve the functionality and appearance of my blog.

Daniel Renteria, my friend, and design expert, suggested I try the free Yoast SEO plugin.

Glassy-eyed stare at the email screen.

“SEO Whaaaaa?”

He brought me back. “It will grade you on each post and tell you how to improve your post.”

That’s music to a teacher’s heart. The Yoast plugin rates EVERY post you write.

“I can get a grade? Wahoo! An A+, easy,” I thought to myself. hahaha

The Yoast plugin rates EVERY post you write. When it rates the post as good enough to publish, you get a green light. Computers respond to things matching their set requirements. NO DEVIATIONS!

Computers don’t have teacher’s pets.

Most of my posts had red lights. It took me several many tries to get the desired green light.

Why? The how-to articles seemed simple enough!

Warning! Amateur Blogger!

Blogging CAN Make You FEEL Stupid!

WHEN? Whenever you stretch and learn something new. And trust me – you will learn something new if you WRITE more than two or three posts.

For example, I respect smart blogger, Jon Morrow. He agreed with Daniel. “In fact, it (Yoast SEO Plugin) … has additional features, for instance making it easy to add social metadata for Facebook and Twitter.”

Does that make a lot of sense to you?

I have spent my entire life teaching and going to school. I am an expert learner. My pals are the best of the best in the teaching community. Jon assumed that as a blogger I knew the SEO jargon. Fundamentally, as an amateur blogger, I did not understand what metadata was and why I should care about it.

Bottom Line – Fellow Amateur Blogger

THE REASON I CARE IS THAT THIS PLUGIN IMPROVES MY WRITING.

This plugin makes suggestions to improve my content that other proofreading services leave out. It concentrates on photo labels. Labeling each photo with an alt text that refers to the keyword takes some time to get used to.

The Yoast SEO plugin looks for the length of sentences. And it scans your post for paragraph length, too! I typically write sentences longer than 20 words, so I have to edit.

The free plugin allows you only one keyword. Marieke van de Rakt recommends using long-tailed keywords in her Yoast article.

Do you know what that is? It is not the same as the tag words you might use on WordPress or Blogger. AMATEUR BLOGGER is my long-tailed keyword for this post. It counts as one word. If you write AMATEUR, BLOGGER, it counts as two words. Lose the comma.

NOTE: The free version of the plugin will clock out on you and rate your post as red, red, red if you use more than “one keyword.”

Plugins are mindless. If you write AMATEUR BLOGGERS – plural – the SEO plugin is blind to your keyword and says it is missing. No green light for Marsha.

Marieke’s articles helped me, but I had to experiment with her ideas to understand them.

Take Heart, Amateur Blogger

Go ahead and be stupid. It’s not you. Here are more stupid questions I had. The plugin writers tell you to use the backend to change the tag words.

  1. What backend? Did I need to use HTML, Text, go to another part of the website? I looked for the backend. The answer turned out to be easy. When I scrolled down, the backend of the plugin was at the end of the post.
  2. The Yoast SEO Plugin Backend did not agree with CoSchedule about the title length or wording.When I added my first keyword words, I got a lower score. I compromised and added the keyword to the title. I played with it until I pleased both program algorithms – Yoast SEO green light and 70+ CoSchedule Score.

What can I say? Once a teacher, always a teacher. Teachers want high scores.

The SEO Plugin gives a green, red or yellow light. You alter the backend info to get a green score both in readability and SEO. I wish I had this plugin when I started blogging. Now I have ONE GREAT reason that justifies my move to a self-hosted blog. I love green lights.

But, I miss the snow at Christmas that I had on WordPress.com.

Summary

  • If you use WordPress.com or Blogger.com, you cannot use plugins.
  • A plugin will add function to the word processing function of your blog.
  • Blog writing is a different form than what you learned (or taught) in school.
  • The Yoast SEO plugin makes writing and labeling suggestions. These simple changes will help people searching for your topic to find your blog.

Related  Articles

Please share if this is helpful to you.

Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, author, blogger and retired teacher/consultant - Promoting Hobby Blogging

17 thoughts on “How One Amateur Blogger Improved Her Writing with an SEO Plugin”

  1. Wow Marsha! Fantastic, informative post. You’re like a wizard. I love learning things from you. Somewhere soon I’ll be reblogging this too! Thanks for the tips my friend. P.S. I miss the WP snow too, lol, and a reblog button for those many people who don’t know how to reblog without it using ‘press this’. 🙂

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  2. I don’t reblog a lot but I share all posts I read. I only reblog maybe one article a week of interest to my readers, and posts I don’t usually see reblogged over and over. I try not to let my blog be all over the map. I write personal posts, weekly book reviews, author interviews, and post about helpful apps and/or articles I’ve come across that would be helpful to my readers.:)

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  3. Hi Marsha (and Debby!), When I self hosted my blog for a while, I used Yoast SEO along with jetpack’s SEO and I just found it frustrating. It would just nag me about the problems with my titles or the article itself. Algorithms for searches change so rapidly (look at Pinterest Stumble Upon and Google +), that you can’t rely on these after a while. Anyhoo, your post is helpful and I can use the info for my consulting website. I will be writing keywords as a freelancer soon and all this tips can be helpful!!

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    1. I was frustrated to the point of pulling out my hair when I started. Now I get it. Writing key words is the trickiest part. I did not get that two or three words can be considered one word if you don’t put a comma between any of them. But you have to use the words in that exact order for the program to recognize them. Order is key!

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    2. I know a lot of self hosters using Yoast, but I’m now using Ultimate SEO plugin which is pretty darn good and doesn’t include suggesting other things such as headlines, which isn’t distracting. Keep in mind that if you want to test your headlines you can always use ‘coscheduler.co’

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    1. I agree. I paid no attention to it until I got Yoast. I have done about six or seven articles. It takes me a LOT longer to get my ducks in a row, but I feel I’ve accomplished something when I’m done! Time will tell! ???Thanks for the comment.

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