Jump to content
DrQuincy

What to say to clients who ask for Yoast SEO?

Recommended Posts

I haven't used WordPress in a long time, I never liked it really for reasons I won't bother going into.

One thing that comes up from time to time, not just for PW site but in general, is something like “Will there be something similar to Yoast in my new site?”

As a default in PW I add a SEO fieldset with optional meta title, description and H1 (title property from PW is used for meta title and h1 if these fields are not set) with some simple guidelines in the notes on how to fill them out.

I understand Yoast has some additional tools that advise on the actual body content (word count, paragraph length, etc). Obviously PW doesn't have this. To be honest, I have always thought things like that are really for making poor SEO become mediocre and they can't do the job of a human and create excellent SEO. Also one of the things I love about PW is that I can let clients build pages on a modular basis (using repeater matrices) as opposed to a single body HTML field and so I do not even know that such tools could effectively evaluate such content since it is assembled dynamically.

I have been familiar with SEO since before it was a term and have worked with a lot of pro SEOs and none of them have ever been bothered about having something like Yoast so long as the fields I mentioned above are editable. I may be wrong but Yoast seems to appeal more to those less familiar to SEO. No offence is intended if you are a pro SEO and use Yoast. 🙂

What are your thoughts on this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/26/2020 at 5:59 PM, DrQuincy said:

As a default in PW I add a SEO fieldset with optional meta title, description and H1 (title property from PW is used for meta title and h1 if these fields are not set) with some simple guidelines in the notes on how to fill them out.

Same. I also tend to bundle these with fields for open graph metadata, option to override page title separately, and whatnot.

You might want to check out module solutions if you haven't yet. Seo Maestro is a neat one, and MarkupMetadata is what we use for our web projects (though latter one doesn't provide a GUI for content editors, it's just for generating proper markup).

On 10/26/2020 at 5:59 PM, DrQuincy said:

I understand Yoast has some additional tools that advise on the actual body content (word count, paragraph length, etc). Obviously PW doesn't have this. To be honest, I have always thought things like that are really for making poor SEO become mediocre and they can't do the job of a human and create excellent SEO. Also one of the things I love about PW is that I can let clients build pages on a modular basis (using repeater matrices) as opposed to a single body HTML field and so I do not even know that such tools could effectively evaluate such content since it is assembled dynamically.

My experience is similar: the content analyzing features of Yoast have never been particularly useful for me, in part because I've mostly worked on non-English sites where they don't seem to work so well. Also these reports seem to — at best — provide a rough estimate of how good your content might be, and (in my opinion) there are better tools for that. If your clients are often interested in doing "hardcore SEO", I'd definitely dig into external tools and see if there are some that you can recommend instead.

Yoast has some nice features for working around WP's shortcomings, and I've found their "helper" tools (such as breadcrumb creation) pretty handy in the past. ProcessWire, on the other hand, makes things like breadcrumbs and canonical links trivial, and the structure is often so straightforward that you don't need to do a whole lot to make your site "SEO friendly".

One thing to note is that Yoast actually does handle "modular pages" relatively well. Last I checked it required a separate plugin and only worked if your content was all visible in the editor, though. My understanding is that it just mashes it all together and then does its magic. Crude perhaps, but in many (if not most) cases this provides decent results 🙂

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, teppo said:

You might want to check out module solutions if you haven't yet. Seo Maestro is a neat one, and MarkupMetadata is what we use for our web projects (though latter one doesn't provide a GUI for content editors, it's just for generating proper markup).

Just to go against the grain a bit: Those modules are way, way overkill for 99% of sites. Just looking at the screenshot in the Seo Maestro thread, all those options would confuse most of my clients. Who really wants or needs to manually edit the change frequency of a single page? Some of those options should also be generated automatically (Locale, based on the current language) or set globally (Site Name, for example). I get that you can control which fields to show and that it's kind of a framework which you can use for all kinds of sites. But in my experience, showing five screens of SEO settings on every page is the best way to get clients/editors to be scared of them and never use them.

Three fields - title, description, preview image - are all you need most of the time. KISS.

Quote

I understand Yoast has some additional tools that advise on the actual body content (word count, paragraph length, etc). Obviously PW doesn't have this. To be honest, I have always thought things like that are really for making poor SEO become mediocre and they can't do the job of a human and create excellent SEO. Also one of the things I love about PW is that I can let clients build pages on a modular basis (using repeater matrices) as opposed to a single body HTML field and so I do not even know that such tools could effectively evaluate such content since it is assembled dynamically.

I would use external tools for this. There are many tools that are much better at this stuff than Yoast, and they look at the page as a whole, not just the body content. For example, at work we have at some points used the following tools among others, in no particular order: Ryte, Seobility, Semrush, Sistrix. And many more ...

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/26/2020 at 10:46 PM, MoritzLost said:

Those modules are way, way overkill for 99% of sites. Just looking at the screenshot in the Seo Maestro thread, all those options would confuse most of my clients. Who really wants or needs to manually edit the change frequency of a single page? Some of those options should also be generated automatically (Locale, based on the current language) or set globally (Site Name, for example). I get that you can control which fields to show and that it's kind of a framework which you can use for all kinds of sites. But in my experience, showing five screens of SEO settings on every page is the best way to get clients/editors to be scared of them and never use them.

To be fair I believe we're on the same page here, except for one detail: those modules — Seo Maestro and Markup Metadata — are actually two very different solutions. In fact what you're describing is exactly why we use Markup Metadata by default in our projects: there's no GUI, and a big part of the markup is based on globally defined values or values from (pre-existing) page fields. It's just a markup module for handling the repetitive task of rendering a standard set of metadata elements, correctly and consistently, from project to project.

That being said, in my experience some people prefer a more complex approach, either because they actually need it or because they think they do — and if a client was specifically requesting feature set similar to that of Yoast, a solution such as Seo Maestro might be just what you need to convince them that they don't need to go with WordPress just for that 😉

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fantastic, thanks to you both. This community is excellent.

I will look at those plugins but like @MortizLost I favour the KISS approach.

And the important point is external tools can not only be more specialist you are always evaluating the final complete HTML document as opposed to whatever the CMS can do. I find in PW, for example, I will have blocks of includes that pull in a list of content from elsewhere in the site tree (such as a list of team members or featured case studies) but anything Yoast-type would have no way of knowing this as the template decides it. Yes, it could pull the HTML via AJAX based on the page's path but this is overkill, in my opinion.

Also, these tools make help you pick up on things you've missed but they can't evaluate anything within the context of a wider SEO strategy.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I get specific questions about WordPress, WordPress plugins and/or other services, I will (sometimes, not always) ask the client (or client to be), something like:

I understand that you have the need for [general tool description, i.e. SEO editing tools ]. What part(s) of [specific tool name, i.e. Yoast SEO] do you find most useful, and would like to use? Maybe a custom solution would fit your needs better, and save you time on a daily basis. Also, we could look at what could be done automatically when it comes to [short tool description, i.e. SEO] if we look at a custom solution.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apart from body copy, content links, navigational links and breadcrumbs, image filenames and attributes, etc., I usually just need more or less the following most of the time:

<html lang="<?php echo _x('en', 'HTML language code'); ?>">

,

<title><?=$page->get('browser_title|headline|title') . ' | ' . $siteTitle?></title>
<meta name="description" content="<?=page()->summary?>">
<link rel="canonical" href="<?=$page->httpUrl?>" />

and

<h1><?=page()->get('headline|title')?></h1>

NBI was going to forget mentioning image (and code) optimization for speed/performance, etc.
Like for header images, if one doesn't want Google to fill in the description, it can be stated, for example, that if the page doesn't have a summary, the parent summary will be used, then the grandparent summary if needed, then the homepage summary, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...