Track SEO KPIs, Measure SEO Success with SEO Toolkit & Yoast

Measure SEO Success from these SEO KPIs

We’ve already seen how you can use Yoast SEO and Plesk’s SEO Toolkit to optimize your website’s content. Now we’re going to go one step further, and see how you can measure SEO success and ensure your efforts gain traction exactly the way you want.

You can never stop doing SEO because the online world is evolving quickly and your competition is constantly trying to steal your traffic. To successfully sell products or services online, you need to constantly ask yourself these questions:

  • How are we doing in the search engines?
  • Which keywords are doing well, and which aren’t?
  • Which keywords should we be optimizing?
  • What are our competition doing?
  • Can the Googlebot still crawl my site?

This is where SEO Toolkit steps in as your guide.

Why Do Keywords Matter?

Potential customers search for products and services using specific search queries. A lot of users phrase queries as questions like, ‘How to manage my WordPress website?’ or ‘Which control panel is the best?’

Search engines extract keywords from user queries, then match them against their database. Websites that match query keywords better have stronger SEO. And show up higher in search results. So your goal is to not only reach top keyword rankings on Google, but also to measure SEO success and maintain that status.

How to Track Your Keyword Rankings

The SEO Toolkit can help you find the right keywords and track how your site ranks for each important keyword. To monitor your website’s ranking and measure SEO success, first add keywords related to your product/service to Rank Tracker:

  1. Navigate to the SEO Toolkit main page
  2. Open the tab for the website you want to analyze
  3. Click on the plus icon next to the Rank Tracker link
Track Keyword Rankings
  1. Add the keyword(s) you want to track.
  2. Select the search engine(s) you want to check for your keywords.
  3. Add the domains of as many competitors as you want to see how your keywords rank against them.
  4. Click Add keywords.

The rank tracker will calculate the current rankings for your keywords.

Keywords Ranking

What this in-depth analysis shows you for each keyword is:

  • The keyword’s position per each search engine.
  • For which URL(s) the keywords rank, per each search engine
  • The list of rankings for you and your competitor’s selected keywords (only if you added competitors)

This helps you identify successful keywords easily, as well as find replacements to improve your visibility. To measure SEO success and SEO efforts, you can also see a quick summary of ranking information combined into meaningful categories, like this:

combined into meaningful categories Plesk

The Keywords indicator tells you how many times your website shows up in the first 100 results. Specifically for the monitored keywords in XOVI’s extensive database of common search queries.

Improve Keywords by Using Recommendations

SEO Toolkit bases its keyword intelligence on the XOVI database with over 25 million keywords. You can tap into this power and measure SEO success by requesting keyword recommendations. This will help you improve each piece of your content:

  1. Click Wizard on the main page of SEO Toolkit and select your website
  2. Click Next when you see the quick check results
  3. Add one or more keywords to the keyword field and select the search engine(s) you want to check against
  4. SEO Toolkit now lists suggestions for alternative keywords. You can add them to your list by clicking on the suggested item.
  5. Depending on your content, the tool will also suggest additional competitors you might want to watch.

By clicking Add keywords, you’ll see the keyword(s) you selected in your watchlist.

Keywords in your watchlist

Keep an Eye on the Competition

Rank Tracker lets you compare your website’s search ranking with that of your competition. You can then track that performance over time. Why should I care about my competitors? Your competitors are doing what you do. Which is why they’re competing for search engine rankings with your website, as well as for potential traffic from the search engines.

To become – and stay – SEO-successful, you have to keep track of your competitors and how you’re doing in comparison. With SEO Toolkit’s Rank Tracking, you can respond to ranking changes quickly. Moreover, using the SEO Toolkit, you can always measure SEO success by having an overview of: 

  • Your main competitors
  • How your competitors and your website are ranking
  • If the ranking position of a keyword is improving or decreasing
  • The position history, as well as the position trend per keyword
  • Which competitor page is ranking best for the keyword. An opportunity to examine the page and analyze the SEO strategies your competitor uses
SEO competitors analysis

Additionally, you can drill into each competitor, checking their ranking and non-ranking keywords and associated trends.

Non-ranking keywords

Eliminate Errors by Analyzing Crawling Events

A crucial aspect of SEO optimization is making sure your website is accessible to indexing robots – aka crawlers – of search engines. If a crawler can’t index a page, it won’t be able to add your page to the search index.

Crawling failures can have many causes: the robot could be prohibited to crawl your site by your robots.txt or the hide-setting in WordPress. It could encounter an error, whether due to a typo in a link, web server overload or server failure.

To help you keep an eye on any issues with crawlability, SEO Toolkit analyzes the website’s log files daily looking for possible problems. You can see which search engines crawled the website, how many URLs they indexed, and how many errors they encountered.

Crawl Errors Analysis

The logfile analyzer provides meaningful reports on your web traffic. You can access your reports from the SEO Toolkit dashboard by clicking on the Log File Analyzer link, or from the bottom of the Site Audit overview.

Site Audit overview

First you should look out for any errors that have been reported. These can be web server errors where the HTTP status code begins with a 4 or a 5. In the example above, Google unsuccessfully tried to access the robots.txt file. Because it was missing, a 404 error was reported.

The Log File Analyzer also provides info on the redirects robots follow. This helps you identify outdated or broken redirections. You can use the frequently crawled URLs and directories to match this with your content. The Last Seen data lets you check if the search engine index is being kept fresh for your site’s pages.

Yoast SEO vs. Plesk SEO Toolkit Comparison Chart

In this article series we’ve given you an in-depth look at SEO Toolkit and Yoast SEO functionality. This chart offers a quick summary of all the features we’ve mentioned.

Yoast SEO Plesk SEO Toolkit
XML Sitemap Generate Check
Metadata Generate Check
Schema.org Support Generate Check
Content Analysis Yes Yes
Readability Analysis Yes No
Open Graph Yes No
Multiple Keywords Premium Yes
Internal Linking Suggestions Premium Yes
Canonical URLs Generate Check
Logfile Analysis No Yes
Competition Tracking for Keywords No Yes
Tasks No Yes
Report Duplicate Content No Yes
Report Crawling Issues No Yes
Support Premium Premium

If you want to take your SEO seriously, then you need both Yoast SEO and Plesk SEO Toolkit. These two tools complement each other brilliantly. While Yoast SEO focuses on helping you correctly set up WordPress and optimize content, SEO Toolkit takes a broader approach. Continuously checking the numerous different SEO factors across all your websites. Combined, these two essential tools put you on the road to SEO success.

How do you find working with SEO Toolkit and Yoast SEO? Are they reducing your SEO stress? Let us know in the comments.

Jumpstart Your WordPress SEO with Yoast & Plesk SEO Toolkit

WordPress SEO - Yoast and SEO Toolkit

Now we’ve established that, if you want your website to succeed, you need to understand WordPress SEO and implement best practices. If you’re a WordPress admin, you might think SEO has all been taken care of. But while WordPress does cater for SEO to an extent, there’s still more you can do to improve your website’s performance.

To keep up, you’ll need tools that’ll help you audit your website, and monitor its performance continuously. For this, we recommend the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin and Plesk SEO Toolkit. So let’s dive into how to use these tools so they can get your SEO started right.

Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

With more than five million installations and counting, Yoast SEO rightly claims to be the #1 WordPress SEO plugin. Since 2010, Yoast SEO has been helping WordPress site masters improve their search engine rankings. Yoast SEO is among the top four downloaded WordPress plugins, and is likely to be already installed on your WordPress.

Plesk SEO Toolkit

SEO Toolkit is a Plesk extension which uses the power of XOVI SEO engine. This tool helps website owners improve their website’s SEO, and track their performance. Plesk SEO Toolkit offers insights into website rankings in search engines, as well as social media reach. You can also compare your websites to main competitors, plus receive advice on how to best optimize your website to attract more visitors.

Plesk seo toolkit

Take off with Plesk SEO Toolkit

If you’ve got an existing Plesk installation, you can just login and go to Server Management > Extension. Then Find SEO Toolkit and click Install Now. You’re now ready to start with the free version of the extension. Alternatively, you can buy a license and install it through Server Management > Tools & Settings > License Management > Additional Licenses.

Start with Plesk SEO Toolkit

You can now access the extension at any time through the SEO Toolkit link in the main menu.

If you’re new to Plesk – no problem! If you like, you can Download Plesk free from here. Then install it on your internet host where your WordPress site is located. However, you can also ask your internet hosting provider to install it for you.

The cool thing about the Plesk SEO Toolkit is that it can take care of all your websites hosted on the server where it’s installed. You just need to tell it which website to connect to when you start:

  1. Navigate to SEO Toolkit
  2. Click Wizard
  3. Select the domain of your WordPress website
Domain selection for WordPress website
  1. Click Next. The tool will do a first audit of your website and present the results. You can now follow through the next steps. But, for now, we’ll quit by clicking Skip wizard instead.

Now whenever you open SEO Toolkit, you’ll have direct access to your website(s) with an overview of all important SEO statistics and messages.

SEO statistics

Installation for Yoast SEO

In WordPress – navigate to Plugins > Install new, find Yoast SEO, click Install Now, then Activate. You’ll see a new menu called SEO.

new menu called SEO

Now start the Configuration Wizard found on the Dashboard of the General page. It’ll show you all the relevant basic SEO settings step by step:

  1. Activate site for indexing through search engine spiders
  2. Select the type of site
  3. Enter information about the company represented for use in Google’s Knowledge graph
  4. Select whether pages should be shown in the search results. This controls which content will be included in the sitemaps (see discussion below in the section ‘Creating XML sitemaps’
  5. Select if there will be single or multiple authors
  6. Set up the template for page titles
Set up the template for page titles

Your basic settings are now complete. But you can return to the configuration wizard anytime if you need to change any settings.

Using technical WordPress tuning tools

Once installed, you’re finally ready to get down to the exciting business of SEO.

Connecting to Google Search Console

After adding your website to the search console, Google needs to verify your website belongs to you. Yoast SEO makes this easy:

  1. Choose the verification method HTML tag
  2. Copy the meta tag in the box
  3. In WordPress – open SEO > General > Webmaster tools
  4. Paste the code in the Google field and click Save Changes.
  5. Go back to Google Search Console and click Verify.

Google can run into problems with your site when indexing it. But the Google Search Console tracks and displays these errors, and alerts you whenever something critical happens. It can also guide you through possible solutions.

Creating xml sitemaps

It’s best practice to let Google know about the pages and posts you want indexed by submitting a sitemap.

Yoast SEO takes care of this automatically. You can verify this by:

  1. Navigating to SEO > General > Features
  2. Finding the toggle XML sitemaps and expanding the box
  3. Clicking on See the XML sitemap to view the file that was generated.

Yoast SEO will update your sitemap automatically when you add or remove a page, post or category.

XML Sitemaps

Creating Canonical URLs

Yoast SEO renders the correct canonical URL for almost any page type in a WordPress install automatically.

If you ever need to change it for a specific piece of content – be it a post or a page – you can do so in the content settings.

SEO Auditing with Plesk SEO Toolkit

Plesk SEO Toolkit enables you to keep tabs on everything SEO-related on your website.

The Site Audit feature lets you do a quick SEO check as a first step.

  • To start the site audit:

Click Wizard on the main page of SEO Toolkit, then select the domain you want to check and click Next.

The Site Audit will show you immediately if all of your important settings are correct.

settings are correct - Plesk
  • To do a complete scan:

Open up the domain tab on the main page and click Site Audit. Then click Rescan <domain>.

The scan can take some time to complete, depending on the number of pages your site contains. The results show as a summary of your site’s health.Below that you’ll find a detailed listing divided into Content, SEO and Technology. For each item, the tool displays the state (ok or error), the number of occurrences, and its importance.

The power of Site Audit is in the large number of details it checks automatically. On everything from blocked elements through to problems with indexation, server errors, issues with canonicals, loading time, and content audit. Noone could ever keep all of these in mind, let alone check them manually.

Seo Audit

You can drill down into every issue to find the exact place, setting or page where the issue was found, together with recommendations for solving the problem.

H1 missing - solving the problem

But there’s more! To help you keep track of all fixes, Site Audit creates tasks and task reminders for you.

Seo task reminders

Site Audit rescans your site automatically every 20 minutes. All you have to do is come back regularly to see if any issues need your attention.

SEO Auditing for Yoast SEO

It’s important to make sure that while your site changes and grows over time, you preserve its optimal state. Both Yoast SEO and Plesk SEO Toolkit can help you do this well.

If the Yoast plugin finds any issues with SEO on your site, it’ll show you a message on the dashboard. However, if everything is fine it’ll look like this:

SEO Auditing for Yoast SEO

Otherwise, you’ll see a warning message along with information on how you can resolve the issue:

Problems - resolve the issue

Getting your content right

Are you happy with the results so far? Now that we’ve covered the technical side of things, it’s time to use the power of these two SEO tools to create and optimize content.

1. Audit your Content with Plesk SEO Toolkit

SEO Toolkit’s Site Audit component runs periodic checks on your site, and your content. You’ll find all issues related to content on the Content tab in Site Audit. The Tasks component also helps you work on content issues by creating a list of recommended tasks to help you improve your site’s SEO. Actionable insights cover issues with duplicated content, defective links, missing H1/H2/H3, title tags, and more.

Audit your Content with Plesk SEO Toolkit

To quickly check on recent issues and stats – simply visit the start page of SEO Toolkit where you’ll see the overall health score, as well as the number of open and already completed tasks at a glance.

2. Optimize your content

Yoast SEO supports you with content creation right where you type it. So at the bottom of the page or post editor, you’ll see the Yoast Meta Box. From here, it’ll help you by analyzing your text and document settings on the fly and presenting you with any issues and recommendations it finds.

Optimize your content - Plesk

In the box, you’ll see an instant overall rating of how you’re doing in terms of SEO and Readability –  indicated by the red, orange or green icons.

3. Understanding Yoast’s SEO Analysis

In the section SEO analysis, you’ll find a list of all details checked and issues found, together with clear recommendations on how to fix them. This gives you an idea of which problems to tackle first.

3. Understanding Yoast’s SEO Analysis - plesk

The features in the Yoast meta box can also help you optimize the meta-information for a page or post.

Open the section Snippet Preview to check how your search result will look in Google SERPs. You can also edit and optimize the title and description.

snippet preview plesk

Don’t forget to create a highly-focused meta description – since this is the text Google uses to display a summary of your page in the SERP. Both the title and description have a recommended length, as indicated by the green or red line below the editor box. The SEO analysis tool also automatically checks the readability of your text, taking into account sentence length, use of active vs. passive voice, and the Flesch reading score.

Flesch reading score - plesk

DIY SEO

Hopefully this guide proves that you can confidently tackle SEO yourself – with the help of two SEO tools: Yoast SEO and Plesk SEO Toolkit. Not only do these tools remove the burden of tweaking the technical aspects of SEO, but they also actively support you in creating fully-optimized content.

Next up: How to analyze your on-page SEO success for WordPress.

Gain traction with Google by checking keyword rankings, comparing your site with competitors and ensuring crawlers can do their job properly.

We’d love to hear your experience of working with Plesk SEO Toolkit or Yoast SEO. So let us know how they’ve helped you optimize your WordPress website in the comments below.

Why WordPress Admins Need More Than One SEO Tool

WordPress SEO Tools

Traffic to your website doesn’t come easy. You have to make your site as search-friendly as possible to attract users, promote your brand, and sell your product or service. While WordPress makes publishing content simple, managing SEO is trickier, requiring more time, effort, specialized knowledge, and SEO tools.

The right SEO tools can help you by automating a lot of tasks. So let’s explore why you need SEO for your WP site – and how to do it using a clever combo of SEO tools.

First, Here’s Why You Need SEO Tools

Why SEO

In today’s highly competitive world – first impressions are everything. Regardless of whether you’re a startup, small business owner, blogger, freelance developer, sysadmin, agency or full-blown enterprise. Your online presence needs to resonate with your target audience, so they remain engaged with your website, and ultimately – your brand.

If your website runs on WordPress, you’re in good company because it powers 33.4% of the top 10 million sites. From SMBs to large enterprises, it’s got 60% of the market. Reason being it’s simple and offers a plugin for virtually every need – no developers needed.

However, for your business to succeed, building a great website is not enough. Your audience needs to find you and choose you above a million others. This is where good search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.

Understanding the SEO Basics

SEO is about tracking, monitoring and improving your website’s position in search engine results. Ideally you want to rank as high as possible, since a good ranking means more traffic to your site. More specifically – traffic to your website that you don’t have to pay for via advertising.

SEO Basics

Being found on Google means ranking at the top of page one for a certain keyword. Check out these numbers: Position one receives about 31% of the traffic, position two is at around 15%, whereas position ten draws a meager 1.1 % to your website. Needless to say, website links found on page two or later are hardly visible at all and attract below 6% of all website clicks.

How to Get Google to Rank You Highly

How to Rank You High On Google

Google makes this decision by evaluating over 200 factors from your website. Considering everything from credibility to content relevancy for the user, technical aspects, content quality, user experience, and more. Sounds daunting? Don’t panic! You can start getting your SEO right by simply focusing on these top three critical factors.

1. Creating relevant content for your website.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Content is king!”. Mainly because it’s the most crucial part of SEO. Search engines honor sites that serve relevant content, giving visitors the best possible answer to their search intent. To create optimal content, you need to understand your visitor’s needs, choose the right keywords, and use the correct format.

2. Optimizing your website using on-page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the ongoing ways in which you can optimize your content, technology, and other aspects of the user experience to rank better and attract more traffic from search engines. For example, to rank highly, all links between pages must work, and all resources (images, CSS, and JavaScript) must load smoothly and fast.

3. Promoting your content with off-page SEO

After optimizing on-page SEO, you can think about off-page SEO by building links and engaging in social media marketing. This is important as how many other websites and social media posts link back to the website has a big impact on the website’s search ranking. Moreover, websites that link to other websites based on similar topics usually rank higher.

Don’t Rely on WordPress Alone

Don’t Rely on Just On WordPress

Now that we know how important SEO is, let’s check out how search engine friendly WordPress is. WordPress claims to be ‘search engine friendly’ out of the box. But while WordPress allows you to publish content and have it crawled by search engines – the support for SEO success stops here. WordPress code, however, does follow SEO best practices.

While these are two really important factors that have an impact on your rankings, Google uses over 200 different factors to calculate search result rankings. So we know we have a long list of other aspects to work on and improve.

This is a great first step to help you improve your SEO, as Yoast SEO will help you with a lot of important SEO tasks. But please keep in mind, no tool will do what is your foremost job – create brilliant content. What Yoast SEO does do is help you optimize your content from a technical standpoint.

So while WordPress takes care of some of the basic SEO best practices out of the box, it still leaves room for improvement.

Quick SEO Tips for WordPress

Make sure all the critical aspects of your WordPress site are configured correctly from the get-go. For this, you’ll need to tweak some WordPress settings.

1. Check visibility settings

First check the search engine visibility box isn’t marked, as this can hide your site from search engines. You can check it in Settings > Reading.

Check visibility settings plesk

2. Use a search engine friendly URL structure

Search engines consider yoursite.com and www.yoursite.com to be two different websites. So you need to decide which one you’ll use when you set up your WordPress website. You can set your preferred URL under Settings > General for both WordPress Address and Site Address.

Use a search engine friendly URL structure Plesk

Make sure your website’s URL is human-readable and contains the keywords of your content. You can change the selection under Settings > Permalinks. Add /%category%/%postname%/ in Custom Structure. You also need to leave the Category base field empty, so that the title of your post or page is included in your URL automatically.

included in your URL automatically Plesk

3. Exclude pages from search engines

Search engines honor a clean information structure. To ensure crawlers exclude irrelevant pages (eg. login pages), simply add a robots meta tag with a noindex and/or nofollow attribute to the HTML code of a page.

Example:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow"/>

Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t make this easy. So you’ll either have to edit code or use a plugin.

4. Add schema.org for rich snippets

Google can add additional information, like review stars or images, to your page summary in the search result to make it more eye-catching. But you have to provide this information in a standardized schema.org format first.

Add schema.org for rich snippets Plesk

Some WordPress themes or specialized plugins provide the necessary markup you need to create a rich snippet. If not, you’ll need to edit the code yourself.

Assessing content quality and relevance

Once you configure the technical foundations correctly, you’re ready to create and publish content. Remember: Google honors content that answers a user’s question in the most relevant and complete way first. So,

  • Choose a keyword that’s relevant to your users, matches your content, and has enough search traffic. You can find lots of techniques and tools to support your research.
  • Create a good title and use it as a headline following best practices.
  • Create a readable text – paying attention to critical SEO signals: length, internal linking, use of headlines, use of keywords in headlines, and overall readability.
  • Use keywords in image captions, as well as title tags and alt tags for images.
Assessing content quality and relevance Plesk

You should also regularly assess the quality of your existing content. You can do this by updating content on a particular page, improving internal linking, or adding external backlinks.

Add XML Sitemaps

Google recommends you provide an XML sitemap for your website, containing links to all of the pages you want indexed. WordPress doesn’t come with XML sitemap support. So you’ll have to use a plugin, or create and update it manually. Don’t forget to submit it to Google via the Google Search Console.

Auditing the site

Because things can break or go wrong with your site, you should regularly check for common SEO issues, like:

  • Crawlability: Can the search engine spiders crawl every page you want to be indexed, or are they getting rejected?
  • Orphaned pages: Is every page linked to correctly, and do you provide enough links?
  • 404 errors: Are there any broken links in your site causing a ‘page not found’ error, or code 404?

Every site owner should register their website in the Google Search Console, as it checks everything from indexing and broken links to mobile problems. It also gives you visibility into the traffic you receive from the search engine.

Auditing the site plesk

Rank tracking

To track how your site is doing in terms of attracting traffic and converting users:

  • Keep an eye on your website’s ranking for all important keywords and pages.
  • Follow trends for critical KPIs (key performance indicators): eg. ranking in search engines, ranking for keywords, etc.
  • Compare your site’s performance with selected competitors, and see where your rankings for keywords are doing well.

By continuously analyzing meaningful indicators, you’ll get actionable insight into necessary site optimizations. You’ll also notice immediately if any trends develop on- or off-page. So you can act before something affects the success of your website.

SEO Tools and Best Practices

ongoing seo best practices plesk

You need SEO. Period. Although it can be tedious, you don’t actually need to be an expert to master SEO. If you configure your WordPress website correctly, craft your content well, and use essential SEO tools like Yoast and Plesk SEO Toolkit. Then you’re well equipped to manage SEO successfully for your website.