An Honest Review Of Yoast Academy

yoast-academy-review

Our team completed Yoast SEO Academy to learn from the best in the industry.

Here’s what we learned.

Article updated 6/24/19

We apply SEO best practices every week with our clients across multiple industries and one of the turning points for our organization was Yoast Academy.

This article covers what you can expect from the content of Yoast Academy.  

Two years later, what we still use, and where we’ve changed our methods compared with the original content that we implemented.

These courses gives you a solid foundation based on their methodology and help you get the big things right for SEO.

You can definitely find many parts of this content within the Yoast blog – but the advantage of going through Yoast academy is within the video content and downloadable PDFs for each module.  These resources give you and your team a wealth of knowledge and a huge reference library for SEO guidance.

The Bottom Line: Yoast Academy provides an immense value, especially for the SEO novice. Yoast is one of the best SEO agencies in the world and handles SEO for companies such as Disney.

What’s included in Yoast Academy?

  • SEO For Beginners (9 Modules)
  • All-Around SEO (25 Modules)
  • Site Structure (12 Modules)
  • Structured Data (7 Modules)
  • Yoast SEO For WordPress (26 Modules)

SEO For Beginners

Modules:

  • 1. What is SEO?
  • 1.1 Google
  • 1.2 Holistic SEO
  • 1.3 The Yoast SEO plugin
  • 2. Content SEO
  • 2.1 Keyword research
  • 2.2 Copywriting
  • 2.3 Site structure
  • 3. Technical SEO
  • 3.1 Crawlability
  • 3.2 Rich results
  • 3.3 Bonus: practical site speed tips

SEO For Beginners is just what the title sounds like. However, even if you are not an SEO novice, you can still glean some great value from this content.

The key value comes from understanding how Yoast, an industry leader for SEO approaches and values the very basics of SEO principles.

If you are attempting to express the value of SEO to someone in your organization, the very first module (1.1) covers what exactly Google does and how that can directly affect your business or organization.

Key Concept:

Understanding that Google is in the business of providing the highest quality search results for their customers: people searching.

The practice of SEO helps your website position itself in the best way possible to show up in the right searches. You help Google and you are rewarded as a valuable resource.

SEO for beginners also gives you your first introduction to what Yoast calls “Holistic SEO”. In other words, a balanced SEO approach. You’ll see this principle repeated several times throughout Yoast’s modules.

Holistic or balanced SEO is the principle of ensuring that you are not over-valuing one specific metric for your site’s growth within the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

There are several aspects of SEO that we have to keep track of on a regular basis and they require monthly maintenance to ensure your site remains healthy from an SEO perspective.

SEO for beginners does a great job of giving you an overview of all the different aspects and factors that can affect SEO for a website. These include topics like: Keyword Research, Site Structure, Technical SEO, Crawlability, and Content. (Hint long form is still king of content).

Key Concept: Keyword Research

If you don’t understand how to do keyword research, you are failing at laying the foundation for your website and , in turn, your content strategy will ultimately end up flawed.

It is far far better to get the research right, especially at the beginning of your project, rather than constantly going back and trying to re-align your content for specific keywords.

This can lead to 404s, and orphaned, out of date content that does not help your site gain ground.

SEO For Beginners Prepares You For The Rest Of Yoast Academy

SEO For Beginners provides you with a great overview for each of these other deeper dives within Yoast Academy and is definitely recommended to complete first. Great value here.

All Around SEO

Modules:

  • 1. Introduction to SEO
  • 1.1 Google
  • 1.2 Holistic SEO
  • 1.3 The Yoast SEO plugin
  • 2. Keyword research
  • 2.1 Focus key phrases
  • 2.2 Keyword research
  • 3. SEO Copy writing
  • 3.1 SEO copy writing basics
  • 3.2 Optimizing your SEO text
  • 3.3 Common SEO copy writing mistakes
  • 4. Site Structure
  • 4.1 Site structure basics
  • 4.2 How to organize your site structure
  • 4.3 How to create a contextual linking structure
  • 5. Technical SEO
  • 5.1 Crawlability
  • 5.2 Site speed
  • 5.3 Security
  • 5.4 Rich results
  • 6. Off-page SEO
  • 6.1 Link building
  • 6.2 Email marketing
  • 6.3 Social media
  • 7. UX and conversion
  • 7.1 UX
  • 7.2 Accessibility
  • 7.3 Conversion
  • 8. Optimizing your images
  • 8.1 Why optimizing your images is important
  • 8.2 Preparing your images
  • 8.3 Adding images to articles
  • 8.4 What if images are your main content?

All Around SEO is a great 2nd step to go deeper into the world of SEO.

Yoast even tells you that some of the modules will have some of the same material from SEO For Beginners but those are automatically marked complete for you.

You’ll also see some material repeated in more in-depth sections, such as site structure.

I can tell you though, first hand, this material bears repeating because it can get dense, especially if you are trying to plow your way through it and learn as much as possible – as quickly as possible.

The sections that are new for this module include:

  • Off-page SEO
  • UX and Conversion
  • Image Optimization

Yoast SEO Review

Off Page SEO

Off page SEO is a big deal and a lot goes into it.

You’ll hear Off page SEO be referred to as “Link Building” or “Getting Backlinks”.

This is one of the weaker points of the Yoast Academy in my opinion because they ignore a lot of the common ways that you can begin building backlinks for your website.

Instead they focus on email marketing, social media marketing and guest blog posting.

The truth is, link building is a constant effort when it comes to SEO, especially for businesses. Most businesses are not spending time and writing article after article on their website or guest blogging in hopes of getting a backlink to their site.

Instead they focus on cornerstone content around the services they provide and information that their customers search for in order to become a trusted source and glean business as a result.

At Nozak Consulting, we work on building backlinks for each of our clients every month.

This includes hundreds of hours of finding sites that can link back to our client’s businesses.

Why is backlinking important?

Backlinks matter because Google uses a measurement of both the number of links pointing to your site, and the number of unique domains pointing to your site in order to size you up as an authority.

Referring Domains and Backlinks

If you’re in competition with another website and they have more backlinks AND more referring domains than you do, the majority of the time, they will show up first for the keyword that you’re trying to win for.

 

UX and Conversion

Having a great UX (User eXperience) has a two fold purpose and Yoast helps us understand that if we have a good web page that is easy to navigate and easy for the searcher to find what they’re looking for, then Google will keep sending us traffic.

At the same time, having a great UX means that we are more likely to convert visitors into customers AKA conversions.

The focus here is more on usability than visually pleasing interfaces.

Image Optimization

Man, this one’s huge.

If you have a website or a Google My Business for your business and you’re not optimizing your photos, you are missing out BIG TIME.

Yoast Image Optimization Covers:

  • Why optimization is important for images
  • How to prepare your images
  • How to add images to articles strategically
  • What to do if images are the main content on your site

Summary For All-Around SEO

If you have multiple people using your site or blogging to it, this is a great course to make them go through to ensure that people are properly formatting content so that it actually benefits your site and that it will actually show up within search results. 

A very powerful all in one course to help your team get on the same page when it comes to content creation for your website.

 

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Site Structure

Modules

  • 1. Overview Site structure
  • 1.1 Holistic SEO
  • 1.2 What is site structure?
  • 1.3 The importance of site structure
  • 2. Organizing your site
  • 2.1 Organizing your site
  • 2.2 Taxonomies
  • 3. Contextual linking
  • 3.1 What is contextual linking?
  • 3.2 Choosing your most important pages
  • 4. Landing pages
  • 4.1 Search intent and content intent
  • 4.2 Cornerstone content pages
  • 4.3 Product landing pages
  • 5. Maintaining your site structure
  • 5.1 Why you need to maintain your site structure
  • 5.2 Managing your content

One of my personal favorite courses from Yoast.

This course will help you keep the bones of your site (The infrastructure) set up properly to make it even more attractive for search results.

One of the best practices of SEO, at least for our team, is ensuring that we have a site structure that enables both users and Google to get from one place to another easily without too many clicks.

The more your website makes sense, is easy to use and easy to navigate, the longer users will stay on your site and possibly end up customers, subscribers or whatever your end goal may be.

Sections include:

  • Introduction To Site Structure
  • How To Organize Your Site
  • Contextual Linking
  • Landing Pages
  • Maintaining Site Structure

Even if you think you understand what site structure is, this course drills down deep to understand the massive impact it can have on your SEO.

Structured Data

Modules

 

  • 1. What is structured data?
  • 1.1 Introduction to this course
  • 1.2 Structured data: why does it matter?
  • 1.3 Schema.org: Commonly used types
  • 2. Implementing structured data
  • 2.1 JSON-LD
  • 2.2 Alternative implementation tools for JSON-LD
  • 3. Practical use of structured data
  • 3.1 Google Search Console
  • 3.2 Structured data and Yoast SEO

This course was not included when we originally purchased the Academy, but has since been added.

I can say that our team spent hours researching and learning structured data and this course would have been an amazing time saver. 

Structured Data is another amazing method for maximizing SEO on your site. 

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there and it can oftentimes be unclear what type of structured data markup would be best for your site.

Some people over-do it and put everything under the sun into their structured data which can send Google some mixed messages when it comes describing exactly what’s on your site or even a specific page.

SEO Copywriting

Modules

  • 1. Introduction to SEO Copywriting
  • 1.1 Holistic SEO
  • 1.2 SEO Copywriting @ Yoast
  • 2. What To Write About?
  • 2.1 Keyword Research
  • 2.2 Coming Up With Ideas
  • 2.3 Assignment
  • 3. Setting Up An Article
  • 3.1 Preparing Your Text
  • 3.2 Structure Of A Text
  • 3.3 Assignment
  • 4. Readability And Style
  • 4.1 Readability
  • 4.2 Style
  • 5. Editing and Using Yoast SEO
  • 5.1 Editing Your Text
  • 5.2 Optimizing Your Text With Yoast SEO
  • 6. Publishing
  • 6.1 Publishing Your Content

 

The Yoast team goes over how to create memorable content and basic writing ideas.

This was a good refresher, but the most valuable part of this section was the structure section on how to space out your text for crawlability.

This section did feel a little basic and was not as fun to go through as some of the other areas.

The writing section was a big contrast to how you may have learned to write in college, and could really turn around your content that you put out there.

This isn’t scammy writing techniques, but how to clearly communicate your point and present in a way that is easy for Google to understand.

The intent is still the same – to provide high value content to folks who are looking for it.

After you’ve learned or brushed up on your SEO writing and get someone to land on your site – then you need to work on conversion.

Conversion is covered in this course as well and really provides some key insights for getting a passer buy to turn into a customer.

Yoast provides real world examples from their website, and re-tells stories from client sites.

This information will really help you start thinking about conversion in the right way.

 

Yoast SEO Plugin

Modules

  • 1. Introduction to Yoast SEO
  • 1.1 Holistic SEO
  • Yoast SEO For WordPress
  • 2. Yoast SEO: Meta Boxes and Overviews
  • 2.1 Yoast SEO in WordPress
  • 2.2 Yoast SEO Meta Box
  • 2.3 Yoast Internal Linking Meta Box
  • 3. The Yoast SEO Content Analysis
  • 3.1 Focus Keyphrases
  • 3.2 Snippets
  • 3.3 Content Analysis Factors
  • 3.4 The Yoast SEO Feedback
  • 4. General Settings
  • 4.1 Dashboard Tab
  • 4.2 Features Tab
  • 4.3 Webmaster Tools Tab
  • 4.4 General Settings Quiz
  • 5. Search Appearance Settings
  • 5.1 General Tab
  • 5.2 Content Types & Media Tabs
  • 5.3 Taxonomies & Archive Tabs
  • 5.4 Breadcrumbs & RSS tabs
  • 5.5 Search Appearance Settings Quiz
  • 6. Social Settings
  • 6.1 Social
  • 7. Tools
  • 7.1 Tools
  • 8. Redirects Settings
  • 8.1 Redirects
  • 9. Bonus: Under the hood of Yoast SEO
  • 9.1 Canonical Links
  • 9.2 XML Sitemaps
  • 9.3 Guiding The Search Engines

This was the lengthiest section of the courses – and was a difficult to push through.

It was comprised of what felt like an endless amount of 2 minute videos that break down each individual setting on the Yoast plugin for WordPress.

Some of the features are amazing – but you had to watch every video to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

If anything, this was the weakest part of the course as far as presentation goes.

I definitely think it could’ve been improved upon with different sections such as an “Essential” section, or “Advanced” settings etc…

Since the original writing of this article, the Yoast Plugin modules have been updated and are separated into two separate mini-courses for WordPress:

  • One for using the Yoast SEO plugin with the classic editor
  • Another for using the Yoast SEO plugin with the newer block editor.

Certification And Badges

That’s right, Yoast makes it official with a certificate at the end of this whole process.

This is really great, especially if you have anyone working for you, to have them go through this process and have a certification on file.

We even had our copywriters go through this entire course, and it was definitely a benefit to them.

Yoast also provides unique badges to add credibility on your website for the completion of these courses – but they also try to sneak in a backlink here by asking you to copy and paste code instead of downloading the badge image.

 

Summary

The Yoast Academy was incredibly helpful.

I’m really glad we have it as a resource to revisit and learn from.

Each module has its own PDF download.

The PDF is not repeated information from the videos, but actual, additional information.

The Yoast academy definitely exceeds the value for price point.
We’ve seen dramatic increases for our clients since implementing the lessons we learned through this training.

If you can’t really afford to spend the money on Yoast Academy right now, don’t worry – their blog is also a great resource and always being updated with great information.

The biggest take away from the Yoast course was definitely a shift in thinking about how we create content and the way that content is presented.

 

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Dave Victorine, Lead Web Developer

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Hi. I’m Dave.

I’m the lead web developer here at Nozak Consulting.  I learned front end web development through Treehouse online. I’m Yoast SEO certified and completed SEO training from Ahrefs as well.  I build websites for businesses that want to improve their position within search results and be found be the right customers.

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