Achieving a full set of green lights on the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress can become like a game. Just like “Angry Birds” or “Mario Brothers,” it can be an addicting challenge to win at all costs. That yellow light staring back at you becomes the evil villian and you must prevail to save the kingdom!

Ok, hold on. Before you vanquish the army of missing keywords and passive phrases let’s take a look at what those light really mean for SEO purposes.

What Do the Yoast SEO Lights Mean?

The colored bubbles on the Yoast plugin serve the purpose of a guide or checklist. All of the bubbles are relevant to SEO best practices and are areas of your content that should be taken into consideration. A green light means that by Yoast’s standards you have met all of the requirements for great SEO. Yellow is ok and red means that you missed it on that one. Do these bubbles actually translate to the findability of your content? No.

The Limitations of Yoast

The Google algorithm is a complex system with more ins and outs than any one plugin could mimic. Yoast does a good job, but has limitations. Let’s say you were ranking for the term “Donkey Kong Player Tips” because your keyword research show that it is a commonly searched term. If you were to use the phrase “Check out this Donkey Kong Tip,” Google would understand that you are still talking about the same thing. Yoast would not.

Trying to fit keywords in content where they don’t necessarily fit is called “keyword stuffing.” It makes your content sound spammy and no one wants to read a spammy sounding blog no matter how bad they need Donkey Kong tips.

The Important Stuff

Yoast is a great tool to understand what type of things make your content findable and readable. Your readers are far more important than robots, so stop writing for the robots!

The Yoast SEO guidelines do a good job of reminding you to look at certain areas of your content with a closer eye. Re-evaluating your use of passive voice can make for better content, as can the use of subheadings. You may even find that you failed to notice your overuse of a single word when starting a sentence. There are a plethora of useful ways that Yoast can help generate better SEO content, but it is not the end-all-be-all.

Stop Trying to Beat the Game

It is very tempting to sit for well over an hour trying to get a full spectrum of green bubbles. Though you may get a sense of satisfaction when you make it happen, your real challenge is producing great content that meets the real world requirements of readers and search engines. Video games have their own set of rules. So, does the Yoast SEO plugin. Don’t forget which is a game and which is a guideline.

If you have any questions about how to optimize your content using Yoast and SEO best practices, feel free to contact the experts at Tree Ring Digital.