Episode 131 | Posted on

WordPress SEO Deconstructed by the Master with Joost de Valk

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Don’t miss the creator of Yoast, Joost De Valk @jdevalk as we deep dive into WordPress SEO on the next @mktg_speak podcast. Click To Tweet

This Week’s Guest:

As a listener of this podcast, there’s a good chance that you know enough about SEO to realize that keyword density concern is a thing of the past (within reason, anyway). What may be less clear is what you should be worrying about instead. It’s easy to say that the key to good SEO is quality content. But what exactly counts as quality content? How do you know whether your content is good enough to optimize your site?


Today’s guest, Joost de Valk, is here to answer these questions. He’s the creator of the Yoast SEO plugin, which is currently active in over 8.5 million WordPress websites. We’ll talk about how his plugin helps you assess the quality of your content, but also take a deep dive into WordPress SEO in general. Joost is also a web developer, SEO and online marketer, and the founder of css3.info, which he sold in 2009.

Find Out More About Joost Here:

Joost de Valk on Twitter
Joost de Valk on LinkedIn

In This Episode:

  • [01:30] – Joost starts things off by talking about the best ways to maximise Yoast’s potential for SEO. He then talks more about readability and what it means.
  • [04:00] – What are examples of some of the actionable feedback that Joost has been talking about?
  • [07:21] – As algorithms dive into our copy more and more, they have a hard time digesting text that is hard to read. This means that easy-to-read copy will generally rank better.
  • [08:26] – Joost discusses keyword density, which isn’t relevant except in edge cases. He and Stephan then dive into the subject of keyword prominence.
  • [10:44] – Are there red herrings that listeners should look out for, or false information that should be corrected?
  • [14:09] – Stephan suggests a feature that identifies how many clicks away each page (or post) is from an external link source.
  • [16:45] – We move into other types of settings in Yoast that optimize SEO.
  • [20:50] – Joost points out that Yoost tries to go with decisions, not options.
  • [22:19] – We hear more about tags on posts in WordPress, with Joost pointing out that you should never have more tags than posts. He and Stephan then talk about using tags and categories.
  • [27:05] – Stephan clarifies another important point about no-indexing content, and then gives an example of a bad site map.
  • [29:40] – What does Joost think of the spider bites page that Stephan has just been talking about?
  • [31:20] – Joost discusses whether he sees a benefit of creating an HTML sitemap page on a typical website.
  • [34:00] – Stephan’s extreme preference is not to include the dates in the URL. Joost agrees that it’s a bad idea.
  • [36:56] – Does Joost have any particular accessibility features that may not be important for SEO but that he highly recommends?
  • [38:50] – Joost talks about some of the capabilities of his plugin in terms of JSON-LD, Schema, and so on.
  • [41:21] – We hear Joost’s thoughts on whether his video plugin or local plugin are must-haves for website owners.
  • [43:12] – Stephan moves onto talking about RSS optimization, which he explains is important for podcasts.
  • [45:10] – What is Joost’s take on scrapers and pursuing copyright infringement issues?
  • [46:24] – Pagination is stupid and should never be done, Joost says.
  • [47:16] – How can people reach out to Joost to work with him?

Links and Resources:


Your Checklist of Actions to Take

☑ Focus on good and valuable content. It’s the first and most important step in site optimization.

☑ Prioritize link quality by doing a regular audit on content in my site. If I have a page without substance, my site will not look credible in Google’s eyes.

☑ Be aware of my keyword density. Overusing keywords may seem like I am writing for the bots instead of actual humans that need information.

☑ Use proper H1 to H6 tags for great and easy usability. This will make my blogs and articles look better.

☑ Disregard attachment URLs and disable it on Yoast so that it redirects to the attachment itself.

☑ Noindex links that don’t need any ranking such as archives, database and tag pages.

☑ Disregard date based and author based archives on my site. These archives are not useful from an SEO or  user standpoint.

☑ Refrain from overusing meaningless tags. Instead, use categories to classify content about a specific topic.

☑ Avoid duplicate content and copyright infringement with the help of Copyscape.

☑ Don’t forget to install the Yoast plugin on my WordPress Dashboard.




S: Welcome to yet another super geeky SEO episode. This is episode number 131. We’re gonna geek out specifically about WordPress SEO. Who better to talk about SEO than Joost de Valk. He is the creator of the Yoast SEO plugin which is currently active in over 8 ½ million WordPress websites. It is the SEO plugin for WordPress. Joost is a 36 year old web developer, SEO and online marketer. He’s also the founder of css3.info–the biggest CSS Three resource on the web. He founded it in 2006 and sold it in 2009. Joost, it’s great to have you on the show.


J: Thank you, thanks for having me.


S: Yeah. Let’s talk about the WordPress plugin first of all because it is after all running 8.5 million WordPress website. It’s a pretty important piece of software for a lot of people. Let’s talk about the best ways to utilize it to maximize its potential. What would be some of the settings and some of the configurations that would maximize the SEO when you have it installed?


J: The first and foremost thing that you have to do is use it.


S: Yup.


J: When I say use it I mean when you have it installed, it gives feedback on your writing and it gives feedback as it gives some SEO tips. If you’re an experienced SEO, you might not necessarily need the SEO side of it but the readability side of it actually makes almost everyone I’ve met a better writer because it gives tips on how to improve readability, how to use passive voice less, how to use transition words, and all these things. What we find more and more is that the texts on the size that we work with ourselves and that we optimize the readability for actually tend to rank better as well because they are just more easily digestible, both by people and by search engines.


S: Let’s talk a bit more about readability and what that means. There’s this score that you’re using, there are other scores out there.

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