We recommend two tools for improving your content writing skills.  Install them on your computer today. They will make your life easier writing content for your business and personal for that matter. I consider them our ‘on-the-job training’ tools. They are the Yoast SEO plugin and Grammarly. Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin. And Grammarly is installed at the browser level. We will show you how to install Grammarly in Chrome in a separate blog article.

QUOTE: “Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors.” Google, 2017

I run a “Get Your Blog Done” monthly workshop and one of the first things I have my students do is install the Yoast SEO plugin. Why? Because this handy plugin gives you warning on all sorts of areas for optimizing the content for search engines. Yes, you write your content for humans, but you have to also write for search engines. The job of the search engines is to serve up your content based on what people are searching for.

Yoast SEO is for people who don’t understand SEO. This is a tool to help you as you write to find out what the search engines expect from the content in regard to SEO.

Using Yoast SEO for improving your content writing skills

Two Tools to Improve Your Content Writing Skills - Yoast for SEO by Carol Scalzo of Hit-the-Web MarketingAs you are writing, you can see the content readability and SEO score by looking at the right-hand column within the WordPress post. If your SEO is not complete it goes from red to yellow, to green. If it turns green, you’ve done a great job optimizing your content. It tells you if SEO is not available and when it is good. Yoast SEO grades the content for readability. If you use the simple wording, you’ll reach more of an audience. If you write like a college professor, you’re going to lose certain people. The readability scale goes from not available, to needs improvement, to ok, to good.

What types of improvement makes Yoast SEO score better?

I’m glad you asked. Because, as you get used to what it is telling you,  you’ll wonder how you ever wrote without Yoast SEO. Scroll down toward bottom of your blog you see three tabs in the Yoast SEO section; Readability, keyword: tools for improving your… and + Add Keyword (by upgrading to Yoast SEO Premium). I like to start with keyword section first. You ‘ll see that Yoast fills the snippet field for you. you can take what Yoast writes in or you can write your own version.

Edit Snippet in Yoast SEO

Read your article and write a snippet that is engaging to get the reader to click on your article. this is the first thing they see as you search. this snippet is what invites the viewer to click further. Create a lead magnet. For Example, If your blog is about “7 Tips for … “Give the first tip and then make them click to see the other 6.

This is the goal of writing content. Getting the viewer to click on your content. This is inbound marketing.

Focus Keyword

The focus keyword is the keyword phrase that you are using to get your content found. It is the main idea of your content. You have to make it relevant to the article at hand.

Need help? Join us the second Wednesday every month to “Get Your Blog Done”. Contact Carol Now.

The next time we meet is February 14, 2018, 9:30 am – 12:30. We sometimes meet in Providence RI and we sometimes meet online via ZOOM. We’ll set you up for whichever location suits your schedule. 


TwoToolstoImproveYourContentWritingSkills - Yoast ANalysis by Carol Scalzo of Hit-the-Web MarketingProblems

It’s telling me I’m not using the keyword in the first sentence, say it right up front. Once you decide n a keyword phrase that will give your content ranking power, Yoast wants you to use it in the title, the first sentence of the article and a couple more times throughout the content. Throw it into a couple headers and all the better for SEO ranking.

Yoast wants to see at least one image in the post. This image should include an Alt Tag using your “focus keyword”.  For example, the image in this Analysis section, the alt tag looks like this – “Two Tools for Improving Your Content Writing Skills by Carol Scalzo of Hit-the-Web Marketing”. This does a couple of important things for your content. Search engines index your content not only on text but by images. Google throws them into their google images container. Having this Alt Tag describes what the image is about, gives credit to the author and to the company behind the author. For blind viewers, the alt tag is read aloud. For viewers who turn off images, or if the image goes missing, the alt tag is there describing the image.

  • The keyword density is 0.3%, which is too low; the focus keyword was found 2 times.

  • No images appear in this page, consider adding some as appropriate.

  • No internal links appear in this page, consider adding some as appropriate.

As you fix the errors YOast points out you’ll see the number of problems decrease.


  • You have not used the focus keyword in any subheading (such as an H2) in your copy.

  • No outbound links appear in this page, consider adding some as appropriate. The strategy for linking to external sites on the web are to find those that already have high ranking power. Since Yoast SEO is a wordpress product, I’ve decided to link to Yoast SEO plugin wordpress site. 

  • The focus keyword does not appear in the URL for this page. If you decide to rename the URL be sure to check the old URL 301 redirects to the new one!  Copy and pasting the url into the permalink field.
  • The slug for this page contains stop words, consider removing them.

At this point, I checked on this documents Readability and SEO score and I have the green signal gone good. Yes!


Considerations (1)

Yoast never likes stop words. I tend to ignore Yoast on this one.


  • The meta description contains the focus keyword.

  • The meta description has a nice length.

  • The text contains 1017 words. This is more than or equal to the recommended minimum of 300 words.

  • This page has 0 nofollowed outbound link(s) and 3 normal outbound link(s).

  • This page has 0 nofollowed internal link(s) and 2 normal internal link(s).

  • The SEO title contains the focus keyword, at the beginning which is considered to improve rankings.

  • The SEO title has a nice length.

  • The focus keyword appears in the URL for this page.

  • You’ve never used this focus keyword before, very good.

Isn’t it nice to know when we are doing a good job? And you thought this was easy. Optimizing the content can take as much time as writing the content. In the end, it is worth the effort. Its an investment in time and skill with long-term return asset for your online presence.


Two tools for improving content writing skills - Readability highlights by Carol Scalzo of Hit-the-Web Marketing

Page Down and select the Readability tab. Click the eye. Yoast SEO is telling you to make improvement in the following area

  • 18.7% of the sentences contain a transition word or phrase, which is less than the recommended minimum of 30%.

As you scroll back up, you see sentences highlighted. These are the sentences Yoast is saying to increase the number of transition words. As you make corrections, the issues will disappear.

Grammarly  – a Tool for Improving Your Content Writing Skills

Two Tools for Improving Your Content Writing Skills - Grammarly by Carol Scalzo of Hit-the-web MarketingOnce you install Grammarly extension into your browser, it will begin redlining your words that may be grammatically incorrect, incorrect punctuation, remove any unnecessary, change out words (of, for, this, that, in, with). As you write, it is flagging words sentences, you hover over the words, Grammarly provides corrections. you select the best option, or not. It’s so helpful. You know how it is when you’ve been writing for a while. You can read and reread your document several times and miss grammar errors. Maybe it’s the way you talk. Maybe you’re tired. Grammarly has saved me countless hours.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to email me with questions and comments.

Relevant articles

How to Install Yoast SEO Plugin in WordPress.  Coming Soon!

How to Install Grammarly Chrome browser extension. – Coming Soon!

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