How to Use the Yoast SEO Plugin for Dispensaries

Posted on November 22nd, 2022 to Learn

When it comes to DIY search engine optimization (SEO), the Yoast SEO plugin is by far one of the most popular options. The Yoast plugin works along with your dispensary website to supposedly guide you on how to structure content to get the best search engine page ranks possible. Both free and paid versions of Yoast can be helpful, but the paid or premium version of Yoast SEO has far more functions and features. The question is, which Yoast features are actually helpful and which features are simply not worth your time? We’ve pulled together a bit of guidance to get you started as you work to get your dispensary recognized online.

Most Valuable Functions and Tools of the Yoast Plugin

Yoast SEO offers simple ways to configure sitemaps, suggestions for adjusting your URL and metadata, and more. Take a look at a few of the most valuable functions of the SEO tool from Yoast.

SEO Analysis

The number-one use for Yoast is naturally to amp up your SEO score. While there are several aspects of SEO, one of the most important is keyword usage and distribution. The Yoast tool will analyze your web pages for certain keywords or phrases and show you what you are doing right and what could pose a problem. For example, if your keyword is “cannabis dispensary in city,” Yoast will look at things like:

  • How many times the keyphrase is used
  • Whether the keyphrase is used in titles and subheads
  • Whether the keyphrase is used in your meta title and description
  • If the keyphrase is used in the appropriate paragraphs to make a difference

The tool will give you recommendations to fix certain elements, so you get the best results. For example, if you have no internal links on the web page or no keywords in your subheadings, these could hinder the overall SEO value of the page. Keep in mind, if you are using the free version of Yoast, the tool will only let you optimize for one keyword or phrase.

Readability Analysis

The Yoast readability analysis tool shows you different ways you can adjust the content on your website to make it more readable for your audience. Content that is not easy to read can actually affect your ranks on search engines, and, of course, it can affect your bounce rate. The readability analysis will show you how to optimize the content on each page by:

  • Breaking up large chunks of text into smaller paragraphs
  • Using less passive voice
  • Shortening or varying sentence length
  • Using a good distribution of subheadings
  • Improving the Flesch reading score

This tool will show you whether your content is difficult to read or easy. You simply make the recommended adjustments until you have a green light in each area to achieve a better readability score.

XML Sitemaps

XML sitemaps are incredibly important when it comes to making sure your website is indexed properly with search engine giants like Google. Essentially, the sitemap makes it possible for Google to crawl across the site on all the pages and know what routes to take to get there. With the XML sitemap in place, search engines know what URLs belong to your website and how to access them, which also means better SEO value.

Yoast does make it easy to build and submit your XML sitemap to Google, Bing, Yahoo, or otherwise. Once you have everything laid out the way the tool has recommended and your URL names optimized, you simply grab your sitemap from the dashboard in Yoast and submit it to the Google Search Console or other search engines for indexing.

Tricky Features That DON’T Really Matter with Yoast

As valuable as the Yoast SEO plugin can be for your website, not every function or feature is worth the time or any extra money you may have to pay for a premium service. Take a look at a few downfalls and tricky features that may not be worth their effort.

Greenlights Are Good, but Not the Be-All End-All

When you get your analysis on things like readability and SEO, it is easy to get obsessed with turning every recommendation green. The thing is, these recommendations don’t account for something really important: actual human interaction. If you get too caught up in turning every recommendation green, you can easily lose your human voice, lose readers, and lose SEO value.

Google Preview Is OK but Not All That Reliable

The Google Preview tool allows you to get a glimpse at what your website might look like on a Google search engine results page (SERP). However, there is no guarantee that this is exactly what Google will portray; Google can make changes however it wants. Your inputs are more advice on how you prefer the snippet to look.

Twitter and Facebook Previews Are Not Directly Relative to SEO

Yoast has a tool that allows you to see how certain posts will appear on social media. You can further optimize posts for things like SEO and readability using the tool, but this has little relation to your overall SEO rank. And, there are a ton of nuances that go along with posting anything about cannabis on Facebook or Twitter that are not configured into the tool.

Need human help with SEO? We can help.

Yoast has a lot to offer for the new-to-the-game website owner that wants to dip their toes into the SEO pool. With a little understanding of how the plugin works, you can no doubt make a difference in how visible your website is online. However, nothing compares to having a professional set of eyes on your dispensary website, especially in an industry that comes along with so many unique challenges. And, that’s what we’re all about at CannaPlanners. Want to talk about getting the word out about your cannabis brand? Let’s start a conversation.

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