Why Yoast green dots don’t always mean ranking

Reasons why your green Yoast dots might not translate into rankings

There’s no doubt about it – a series of green dots on the posts and pages of your WordPress website sure do look satisfying! It’s a sign that everything is pretty healthy across your site, and it certainly won’t do you any harm at all.

So it’s a little disappointing then when these green dots across your site don’t always translate into ranking success. It’s worth spending a little time carrying out some investigative work to find out why your green dots aren’t sending you up the rankings in the way you might have expected. Read on to find out more.

You’ve not captured search intent

There are different intentions when it comes to search queries, and perhaps you are not optimising the correct search intent that you need. Sometimes searches are informational or investigative – that is to say that the browser may not yet be ready to buy. Other searches can be transactional (usually preceded by a word like ‘buy’ – e.g. ‘buy cheap shoes’). You need to be clear on the intent of people coming to your site, and matching your SEO to that search intent. Make sure you do your keyword research and see what people are searching for around your search terms.

You’re wasting time on the wrong pages

Functional pages such as Privacy notices and Terms & Conditions don’t need the same level of optimisation – if anything at all. If you’re spending time trying to get the traffic lights to turn green on these pages then you’re wasting your time. Unless, of course, it’s your dream to be found for the search term ‘Privacy Notice’ – and if it is… good luck with that.

Look at synonyms

Google’s 2013 algorithm Hummingbird was a huge step forward in terms of SEO. Before this upgrade, it was all about exact search terms. Once Hummingbird kicked in then synonyms became more important. So while you may be looking to be found for a search term such as ‘freshly baked cakes’, you’ll also need to do work on relevant synonyms that are similar terms such as ‘cupcakes’, ‘muffins’ and ‘baked treats’, for example.


Yoast may well reward what they deem to be ‘good readability’ with a green traffic light, but they’re not always right! Great quality content should always be written for human beings, and while robotic, ‘well-written’ content on a page might tick the Yoast box, Google may well disagree. Dodge this by always working with a professional writer to create your content, and don’t scrimp on the proofreading, either.

There are many other reasons why your website’s SEO might not be performing for you in the way that you’d like it to. At Studiovine we can take a look at your Yoast plugin and the way it has been set up, and give recommendations for how you might be able to improve your visibility on the rankings with a few amendments.


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