• Shannon

Yoast anD real estate SEO

Updated: Nov 3, 2019

If you use the Yoast plug-in on your real estate blog, think twice about chasing after the green dot.

Orange is the new green in real estate SEO

I’m in love. With someone I’ve never met and never heard of until today. But when somebody has me screaming “Yes! Yes!” as I read his article, it has to be love, right?

“Content optimization does NOT mean getting green lights in Yoast – and I think it’s time someone drops the bomb on Yoast’s SEO analysis when it tells you to use your focus keyword,” according to Tom Dupuis at OnlineMediaMasters.com.

And, it’s about time I find someone who, like me, is on a crusade against the back-end dictator that is Yoast SEO. Alas, he is not the only renegade; I found plenty of others and our legions are growing.

WTH is she talking about?

Yoast SEO is a popular WordPress plug-in. In fact, it’s the number one WP plug-in, according to Yoast.

When you finish posting to the back-end of your WP site, the Yoast SEO analyzer will be waiting at the very end, with a list of ways you can improve the post to get additional Google love.

The tips are color-coded to make it easier on we mere infants of the SEO world. Here’s an example, courtesy of wordpress.org:

Easy peasy, right? Red means “ew” and green means “oh, heck yeah.”

However, “ . . .the green light in Yoast SEO doesn’t always mean that you’re being smart about SEO,” according to Karen (no last name provided) in a post at successlynx.com.

While “not a Yoast hater by any means,” Claire Paniccia, self-described “SEO + CONTENT MARKETING SUPER NERD” agrees that Yoast isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Why?

“Because I think the green light content optimization feature is misleading, and I’ve seen it lead to bloggers implementing some bad news bears SEO practices,” she says on her blog.

What Dupuis, Karen, Paniccia and I take issue with is the second red dot in the Analysis Results.

“Your keyphrase or its synonyms do not appear in the first paragraph. Make sure the topic is clear immediately.”

Use your words

If the topic isn’t clear without stuffing keywords into the piece’s first paragraph, the “writer” should be fired. But nobody seems to consider that.

Instead, they chase, obsessively the green dot.

“I’m always chasing that little green dot,” claims CRS Bob Gordon, Rocky Mountain Realtors in Boulder, Colorado. And, guess what, Bob? It shows on your blog.

That’s the problem with the Yoast SEO analyzer – it makes for very stilted reading. Here’s an example. I write for a number of big real-estate related corporations. One of them has a young man who adds the photos to my posts and then publishes them.

He also adds keywords, if needed. I do a bang-up job on my ledes, convincing the reader to wade a bit deeper into the text.

Yet, the backend guy at this company is forever altering my lead, no doubt in his attempts to win favor from Yoast by being awarded a green dot.

In the meantime, he wrecks the intent of the lede and my work now reads like ca-ca, and I look like a dimwit.

The lede (or lead, whichever you like)

There is only one thing that will keep someone reading your blog and that’s the lead. You can make mistakes later on in the post, but that opening statement better intrigue them or otherwise make them want to read on.

Stuffing the lead with your keyphrase, if you don’t understand how to work it in naturally, is the kiss of death for your blog posts.

“It’s 2019 – do you know where your real estate blog is?” is transformed to the ultra-awkward “When it comes to real estate website content ideas, there’s only one question you need to ask: It’s 2019, do you know where your real estate blog is?”

Apparently, “real estate website content ideas” is the company’s keyphrase for this piece. That’s cool, but the kid could’ve been a bit more creative.

Yoast doesn’t demand that the keyphrase be put in the first sentence, only that it be somewhere in the first paragraph.

And, he does this on nearly every post I submit. So, you tell me, which opening line is more likely to get you to read on:

“Whether you’re trying to catch fish, corral cats or capture a lead, a lure is your best tool.”


“If you’re running short on real estate giveaway ideas, this one’s for you. Whether you’re trying to catch fish, corral cats or capture a lead, a lure is your best tool.”

You get the picture, right? Hopefully, you’re running to the laptop to fix your Yoast-approved but spammy sounding leads.

Keyword density is rather yesterday, isn’t it?

To appease Yoast and to create what Yoast assumes the Google gods will reward, bloggers are releasing thousands upon thousands of pieces that are guilty of what was once known as “spammy keyword stuffing.”

Something that Google majorly penalized, kicking keyword stuffing websites to the Google graveyard.

But, hey, when it’s a big corporation advocating it, Google’s fine with the practice?

Use a WP site for your real estate biz?

If so, the chances are good that you use the Yoast plugin. Do yourself a favor and read Dupuis’ post.

Then, consider hiring someone who specializes in content writing for real estate websites – a real estate blogger for hire (gee. . .I wonder who she’s referring to?).

Finally, ignore Yoast’s keyphrase admonitions.

Your readers will thank you for it.

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