Yoast SEO 9.5: Hej Sverige!

It’s great to help people write better content in their own language. Of course, Yoast SEO works with any language, but languages that have full readability support get access to an even better content analysis. In Yoast SEO 9.5, we’re adding a new language to our roster: Swedish! In addition, we also improved the transition word support for German. Find out what else is new in Yoast SEO 9.5.

An improved understanding of Swedish

There’s an ever-increasing quest for quality. We know customers value a flawless piece of content aimed at wherever they are in their journey to find out what they need. But, we’re also increasingly aware of how much search engines value a great piece of content — and they can judge quality more easily every day. Luckily, our content tools can help you improve your content. What’s more, the Yoast SEO content analysis even has checks that are tailored to specific languages. Today, we’re adding a new one: Swedish.

Swedish joins a growing list of language that fully supports the specific Yoast SEO readability checks. The list as of today consists of English, Russian, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish and French, with more on the way. For these languages, we understand and recognize, among other things transition words and passive voice, so we can calculate an accurate Flesch Reading Ease score, give relevant suggestions for related links and generally give better feedback on how to improve your writing. English language users can also enjoy the awesome word form support, which we’re developing for other languages as well.

Besides providing readability support, we’re also improving the keyword functionality. This means that we can make a distinction between content words and function words, so we can provide better feedback based on words that have true meaning.

Reminder: Help us test a new SEO analysis!

Almost 80.000 people are helping us beta test the new SEO analysis that will arrive in Yoast SEO 10.0. Can we add you to the list? The more the merrier!

Our new analysis is the result of months of hard work by a dedicated team of experts looking to align the plugin with research. This gave us a lot of insights into what works and what doesn’t, what’s old and outdated and what’s missing. We used these insights to improve the analysis in Yoast SEO. At the moment, we’re testing this before we roll it out.

You can start testing by switching on the toggle in SEO > General > Features. You’ll be added to a special mailing list which we only use to send you a couple of questionnaires. Read all about the upcoming changes in Yoast SEO and more about why you should help us test.

Update to Yoast SEO 9.5

While Yoast SEO 9.5 mostly consists of bug fixes and enhancements — which you can find in the changelog —, we’ve added a new language to our roster and updated support for German. Flawless content is incredibly important in this day and age and we hope our tools can help you to improve yours!

If you haven’t signed up for testing the new analysis of Yoast SEO, please do. Together we’ll make Yoast SEO 10 an incredible release. Thanks!

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Yoast SEO 9.4: Help us beta test the new SEO analysis!

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about SEO. We felt the impact quality content and a technically flawless site has on a successful SEO strategy, so we built tools that help you to improve your own site. We’ve developed a strong set of defaults that can be applied to a broad spectrum of sites. As with everything, after a while, you need to evaluate what you are doing and see if you can make improvements. That’s what we did — in Yoast SEO 9.4, you’ll find an updated SEO analysis that you can beta test. It will be released in Yoast SEO 10.

Help us test the new SEO analysis, due for Yoast SEO 10

SEO is always changing. What worked years ago, might not work anymore. Sometimes ‘rules’ have become stricter, while other times looser. Since there is no SEO rulebook, we need to rely on experience, common sense and expert insights to make the right decisions. We need to keep up-to-date so we can keep our plugin up-to-date so we can keep you up-to-date, so to say.

Our latest project does just that. We carefully selected several Yoasters from different backgrounds — SEO experts, content specialists, linguists and developers — to form the research team that needed to align Yoast SEO with the latest insights in SEO. The outcome of this research, combined with your feedback, inform the choices we make that will result in the release of a new and improved SEO analysis in Yoast SEO 10.

Ready to help? Great! Activate the beta analysis and fill in the questionnaires you’ll receive. We’ll use your feedback to make the final version even better! Here’s more information on why you should test the new SEO analysis.

We need you!

As mentioned, we need feedback. We’re not going to change anything without your input. By activating the beta analysis, you can provide us with insights into how you experience the new analysis. Please use the new version of the SEO analysis like you normally do and report back. You’ll notice that it grades your content slightly different. We’ve made it extremely easy for you to take part in our beta test. Here’s how you can start:

  • Switch on the toggle for the new SEO analysis in SEO > General > Features
  • We’ll automatically add you to a special mailing list
  • Start using the new SEO analysis
  • Fill out the questionnaires we send you periodically
  • Success!
  • Done testing? Simply turn off the beta analysis

What’s changing in the new Yoast SEO analysis?

The project team thoroughly researched current SEO knowledge. They evaluated other SEO tools and writing software and carefully looked at all the analyses in Yoast SEO. Together, they came up with a solid set of improvements for the plugin. You can read more about the project or watch the documentary that gives a great overview of the how and why.

We launched parts of the updated analysis already, like keyword distribution, word form and synonym support in Yoast SEO 9.0. The bulk of the changes, however, will be in Yoast SEO 9.4 — which will eventually become Yoast SEO 10. Here are some of the changes you’ll notice once you activate the new SEO analysis:

New assessment:

  • A new single H1 assessment: The single H1 assessment checks whether the body of the text contains an H1 at any position other than the very beginning.

Gone from the SEO analysis:

  • The assessments that check the length of your URL and whether your URL contains stopwords.

Changes to the SEO assessments:

  • Keyphrase density. This assessment now takes the length of the focus keyphrase into account, because it can be much harder to use a longer keyphrase in your text. In the new version, you’ll need to use your longer keyphrase less often in the text than a shorter keyphrase to get a green bullet. In addition, if you write in English, Yoast SEO Premium recognizes various word forms of your focus keyphrase — for instance, [dog], [dogs] or [dogged]. Naturally, your keyword density becomes higher. This is not because you are trying to over-optimize your text, but just because the plugin became smarter. We adjusted the formula so that you do not get penalized.
  • Outbound links. We now show a red bullet instead of an orange one whenever we find no external links in a text. The web is built on links and you can help sustain that by adding relevant outbound links wherever it makes sense.
  • Image alt attributes. As of now, the plugin not only looks at the number of images with alt text on a page but also whether the number of images with the keyphrase in the alt text falls within a certain percentage when you have multiple images, preventing you from over-optimizing.
  • Keyphrase in title. For various languages, we’ll now filter out function words that precede the keyphrase in the title. This means that if you use words like [the], [on] or [what] before your keyphrase in the title, it won’t affect your score. The analysis will understand that you use your keyphrase at the beginning of your title and you’ll get a green bullet.
  • Keyphrase length. In the new Yoast SEO analysis, languages without function word support can have longer focus keyphrases, because there might be function words like [the] or [for] between your content words.
  • Keyphrase in subheading. Depending on whether we’ve already added support for your language, different rules apply when it comes to checking if you used the focus keyphrase in the subheading or not. For supported languages, you need to use all content words in your subheading for it to be recognized as reflecting your topic. For non-supported languages, we will check if you used at least half of the words from your keyphrase within a subheading.
  • Text length. We’ve upped the word limit for taxonomy pages to a minimum of 250. This gives you more incentive to write enough, good quality content on your tag and category pages, making it easier for search engines to rank these pages.

You can find all the different checks in Yoast SEO on the assessment overview page. Please use the new SEO analysis like you always do and give us your feedback. Together, we make Yoast SEO better than ever!

What else is new in Yoast SEO 9.4

Yoast SEO 9.4 is mostly about the new SEO analysis, but you can find plenty of other enhancements and bug fixes under the hood. For instance, we’ve improved the accessibility of the analysis results and the Title Separator settings. We’ve fixed numerous bugs, including one where pagination elements were not shown in the Genesis theme. In addition, we’ve had a lot of help from Saša Todorović for this release, mostly with WooCommerce related improvements. You can find all the changes in the changelog for this release.

Update and help us improve the next generation SEO analysis!

There you have it. Yoast SEO 9.4 gives you a glimpse of what’s coming to Yoast SEO 10 in the near future. We took a long hard look at the current state of SEO and how Yoast SEO fits into that picture. Where necessary, we made changes that bring Yoast SEO into the now and maybe even the future. What’s more, you can help build that future! We would love for you to help us improve this new SEO analysis. Thanks!

Read on: Why try out the new Yoast SEO analysis? »

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SEO in 2019: Improve, improve, improve

For most sites, SEO in 2019 is not much different from the past couple of years: you still need to improve the same stuff, but you do need to set the bar higher and higher. Competition is getting fiercer and Google — and your potential client — is getting better at recognizing true quality. Also, you need to take a step back to see if you are still reaching the right people at the right time. Search intent needs to determine your keyword research and content marketing decisions. Here, you’ll get a quick overview of SEO in 2019.

It’s all about quality

2019 is all about quality. Improving quality across the board should start with determining what exactly it is you do. Evaluate your products and services, and the way you describe these. Have trouble describing what you do? Well, maybe you need to go back to the drawing board. Your product must be excellent, as there is no use in trying to rank a sub-par product. No-one would fall for that. A killer product needs a killer site and a killer plan to get that site noticed.

SEO in 2019

I could talk about the rise of artificial intelligence, machine learning or conversational interactions, but I’m not going to do that. You should take note of these developments to see where search is heading, but for this moment, for most sites, it’s all about improving what you have right now. Site quality is key. So, these SEO trends for 2019 is not hyped up stuff, but subjects we’ve been hammering home for a while. Remember Holistic SEO?

A few weeks ago, we hosted our first live webinar titled ‘SEO in 2019’. Many of the points mentioned here were discussed in the webinar, so please watch it if you haven’t yet.

Mobile-first, yeah really

First up, 2019 is the year mobile-first truly is the default. Since Google switched over to mobile-first indexing, it judges your site by how it works on mobile, even when a lot of your traffic is from desktop. Give your mobile site special care. You should test whether your mobile site works just as well as your desktop site. Is the structured data functioning and complete? Do images have relevant alt-texts? Is the content complete and easy to read? Make it lightning fast, easy to use and useful.

Improve site quality

If you’ve been playing this game for a while, you’ve been working on your site for a long time. Over the years, there’s been a lot of talk about all the things you really should focus on because that’s what the search engines would be looking at. Experts claim to know a lot of the factors search engines take into account to rank a piece of content for a specific term. That’s simply not possible. While nobody knows exactly what happens behind the scenes of a search engine, you can look back over a greater period of time to determine trends. One thing that always keeps popping up?

Quality.

In 2019, your site needs to be technically flawless, offer a spectacular user experience and great content, targeted at the right audience at the right time in their user journey. And, of course, your site’s speed needs to improve. It also means incorporating and improving Schema structured data, as Schema.org is one of the key developments for next year.

Let’s go over some of the things you need to focus on in 2019.

Improve site speed

Site speed has been an important factor for a couple of years, but it is going to become critical. If you can’t keep up with your competition now, you’ll soon find yourself having a harder time keeping up if you’re not speeding up your site. If one of your competitors becomes a lot faster, you become slower by comparison, even when you’re not actually becoming slower. Improving loading time is a lot of work, but as it might make you much faster than the competition, it’s a very good tradeoff.

Enhance the user experience

Is your site a joy to use? Can you find what you need in a jiffy? Is the branding recognizable? How do you use images? Improving the user experience is a sure-fire way to make your — potential — customers happy. Happy customers make happy search engines!

Untangle your site structure

Loads of sites were started on a whim and have grown tremendously over time. Sometimes, all those categories, tags, posts and pages can feel like the roots of trees breaking up a sidewalk. It’s easy to lose control. You might know that keeping your site structure in check is beneficial for your visitors, as well as search engines. Everything should have its right place and if something is old, outdated or deprecated, maybe you should just delete it and point it to something relevant.

This year, you should pay special attention to your site structure. Re-assess your site structure and ask yourself if everything is still where it should be or are there improvements to be made? How’s your cornerstone content strategy? Is your internal linking up to scratch? Are redirects screwing with the flow of your site?

Implement Schema.org structured data

Structured data with Schema.org makes your content instantly understandable for search engines. Search engines use structured data to make connections between parts of your page and the world around it. It helps to provide context to your data. Besides making your site easier to understand, adding structured data to your site makes your site eligible for so-called rich results. There are many types of rich results, from star ratings to image highlights, and search engines continue to expand this. Structured data forms the basis of many of the most exciting developments of this moment, like voice search (speakable Schema!).

Implementing structured data is not very easy, but we’re working to get that problem solved. Our new structured data content blocks for the new WordPress block editor lets you automatically add valid structured data by simply picking a block and filling in the content. We now offer blocks for FAQ pages and How-to articles, with more on the way. In addition, we also have an online course on structured data.

Content quality

There is a ton of content out there — and there’s a lot of new content published every day. Why should your content be in the top ten for your chosen focus keyphrase? Is it really good enough to beat the competition?

Keep search intent front and center

Search intent is the why behind a search. What does this person mean to do with this search? Is it to find information or to buy something? Or maybe they’re just trying to find a specific website. Or is it something else entirely? Search engines are getting better and better at understanding this intent and the accompanying user behavior, although we need to help search engines pick the right version of our content. By determining the intent behind a search, you can map your keyword strategy to the specific intents a searcher has. Map these intents to your content and you’re good to go.

Re-do your keyword research

It’s high time to re-do your keyword research. There is bound to have been an enormous amount of changes in your market. Not only that, your company itself is bound to have changed. Not updating your keyword research is missing out on important opportunities. So go back and ask yourself these questions:

  • What changed in my company?
  • What changed in and around my audience?
  • What changed in people’s language?
  • What changed in where people search?

Content is context

Context is one of the most important words of the past year. Context is what helps search engines make sense of the world. As search engines become smarter and smarter, it is becoming more important to provide them with as much related information as possible. By offering the necessary context about your subject and entities, you can help search engines make the connection between your content and where that content fits in the grand scheme of things. It’s not just content; the links you add and how you add these links also provide context that helps search engines. Also, Schema provides another way to show search engines what’s connected.

By mapping the context of your subject, you might find you have a hole in your story. It could be that you haven’t fully explored your topic. Or maybe you found new ways of looking at it, or maybe science threw you a curveball. Who knows! Stay on top of your topic and incorporate everything you find. Sometimes, it also means going back through your old content to update, improve or fix things — or delete stuff entirely.

Re-assess the content and quality of your most important pages

If you are anything like us, you have been at this game for a while and produced loads of content in that time. That’s not a bad thing of course, unless you are starting to compete with yourself. Keyword cannibalization is one of the big issues these days. Content maintenance is a thing. Keep an eye on the search results of your chosen focus keyphrase. Do you have multiple articles in the top ten for a specific keyphrase? Well, that’s probably not what you want.

To find out how you are doing, you need to re-assess your content. Is everything in tip-top shape? Do you need to write more? Or less? Maybe combine several weaker articles in one strong one? Content pruning is going through your posts to see what you can take out to improve the rest. Sometimes, the best SEO strategy can be not to write more, but to improve what you have!

Hone those writing skills!

Quality content is well-written content. Quality content is original, in-depth and easy to understand. Search engines are getting better at determining the text quality of an article and make decisions based on that. Also, readers value well-written texts more and get a sense of trust from them. If content reads well and is factual and grammatically correct, it will come across more professional and people will be more likely to return to read more of your content. So, brush up those writing skills! We have an awesome SEO copywriting guide and an SEO copywriting course if you need help.

Search is on the move

As much as we’d like everything to happen on our website, it’s not. Depending on where you are and what you’re doing: your search engine optimization might need to happen elsewhere and not specifically in Google. For some searches and actions, search is moving beyond the website or social media platform. There are loads of devices that can answer a spoken question with a spoken answer. Devices that can book tickets for you or reserve a table. There are huge e-commerce platforms that seem to get the majority of product searches, not to mention all those app-based services out there. Visual search is also on the rise. Maybe these have value for you?

Conversational search (voice, assistants, bots)

Did you see that Google Duplex demo? That virtual assistant that called a barbershop to make an appointment for its owner? How cool was that, right? Well, that’s one type of conversation we can expect soon. Virtual assistants will become mainstream and voice search one of the easiest ways to search for stuff. We will even be able to turn a single question into a dialogue, complete with action points.

Conversational searches differ from the searches we type in the text field. When we ask a question out loud, we make it a full sentence, which we hardly do while typing. Not to mention that we often use a location and add a value to the voice search. It has to be seen if every company should adopt a voice search strategy. It is something you should look at, though. If it makes sense for you, please do!

(Progressive web) apps

Links to apps are continuing to pop up in search, especially on mobile. Loads of sites bombard you with links to their apps on the home screen. Some services are app-only, like Uber. Apps are everywhere, even Google is now testing structured data for software apps. What’s more, Google is expanding its own homepage on mobile with a Discover feed app.

Where’s an app, there’s a customer to reach. Uber might be the ultimate taxi hailing service, but why can’t a local taxi company replicate that? Apps offer another way — and sometimes better way — of reaching your audience. Depending on your product and market, it might be a good idea to look into apps. If you’re not willing to go down the native route, there’s always progressive web apps — which we’ll see a lot off this year!

Other platforms

Traditionally, a lot of search happens not on search engines, but social media and other types of platforms. Now, this past year we’ve seen a steady decline in traffic and conversion coming from social media. Totally different platforms are taking their place. YouTube is a powerful search engine, as is Amazon. And did you see the meteoric rise of alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo? People are getting more privacy-aware, which is a good thing! Depending on the searcher and his/her goal, platforms like these are becoming increasingly important. Surely, something to think about!

One system for getting traffic in 2019

Now, if we’d recap all this, what does it all boil down to? We know it sounds easy when you read it like this, but this is what you should keep in your head at all times:

  • You should have a fast, easily usable, technically flawless website with high-quality content that truly helps visitors.
  • This website needs to be supported by a brand that offers high-quality products and services.
  • Depending on your niche, this might also mean that you need an app strategy or a strategy for an external platform.

SEO in 2019: What’s next?

It’s easy to say that your site must be better than ever in 2019, because it’s true! Those ten blue links and rich search results are what it’s all about for most sites. The majority of traffic will still come from organic search. Social media traffic is down, conversational search is on the rise, but not big enough to put a dent in organic. So you have to keep improving your site in all the right places.

Of course, there’s a lot of other stuff happening at the same time and most of it concerns an ever-changing Google. Next year, we’ll start to see Google less as a search engine and more as a visual assistant — a person who lives in your phone and solves problems for you. And that’s what they want to get to. It’s been a promise for a long time, but now we’re starting to see it with all these rich results and answer boxes. This will be interesting to watch.

Have a great 2019!

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Yoast SEO 9.3: Fixes and enhancements

It’s an interesting time for WordPress users and plugin developers. Last week, WordPress 5.0 was released, one of the biggest releases of the CMS ever. Because it was such a big release, there were bound to be issues during the roll-out, mostly because of incompatibility issues between plugins and/or themes. Yoast SEO works well in the new block editor, with only some issues due to external factors, mostly plugins in need of an update. Today’s release of Yoast SEO 9.3, brings several fixes and enhancements, including a speed boost for our awesome structured data content blocks.

Yoast SEO & WordPress 5.0

First, a little recap of the launch of WordPress 5.0. We shared our concern over this hurried release and we’ve been asking users to hold off updating until the new year, when the latest version of WordPress will be much more stable and performant. While WordPress 5.0 and its new block editor are awesome, we think they are not ready for primetime yet. We’ll keep you posted on this, of course. Looking to see how Yoast SEO works in the new block editor? Read Willemien’s visual guide to Yoast SEO in WordPress 5.0.

While Yoast SEO was ready for the editor formerly known as Gutenberg since version 8.0, a lot of other plugins were not. These caused Yoast SEO to crash in the new block editor in some cases. Users reported conflicts with WPML, Pods, and the Gravity Forms Gutenberg add-on. We’re also still investigating another specific issue with a disappearing meta box. Except for the Gravity Forms plugin, all these plugins have been updated by their makers. Now, they shouldn’t produce any more errors. If you run these plugins, be sure to update to the latest versions.

Performance fixes coming in WordPress 5.0.2

The other reports we’ve received mainly concern performance issues. Using Yoast SEO in the new block editor leads to less than stellar performance due to issues on WordPress’ side. This is not something we have much influence on, but things should improve dramatically in upcoming minor versions of WordPress. You don’t have to wait very long for that, because WordPress 5.0.2 — which is due for release tomorrow, December 19 —, features some drastic speed improvements and many other bug fixes. There’s a particular focus on vastly improving the typing experience when there are loads of blocks on a page. WordPress project lead Matias Ventura said up the upcoming 5.0.2 release:

“The cumulated performance gains are around 330% faster for a post with 200 blocks. This might be even bigger for certain setups and plugin configurations — seeing the same test post be 540% faster with Yoast, for example.”

So, that’s looking awesome!

Enhancements in Yoast SEO 9.3

While Yoast SEO 9.3 is mostly about fixes, there are some nice enhancements under the hood. One of the nicest things we added is an improved marker system — you know, the eye icons — for the new block editor that automatically updates itself when you change your content. So, if you’ve marked sentences that are too long, the highlight will update itself once you shorten that sentence.

In addition, we’ve refactored our Yoast SEO structured data content blocks. These blocks are now very speedy even when adding many, many fields. Please check out the content blocks for FAQ pages and How-to articles. These content blocks make it incredibly easy to add valid structured data to your content. We’re bringing you many more blocks in the near future. We’ve also changed the output of Schema to prevent unnecessary escaping of forward slashes and this is only available on sites running PHP 5.4 or higher. Last but not least in regards to structured data, we changed the website Schema @id attribute and now include the home URL as a unique identifier.

Fixes in Yoast SEO 9.3

There are quite a bit of fixes in Yoast SEO 9.3, you can find everything in the changelog. Let’s go through a few of them. In the previous version, Yoast SEO stripped the numbers from keyphrases, e.g. [Yoast SEO 9.3], which is something we don’t want, so we’ve restored that. We can now recognize keyphrases in the URL when the words in the URL are separated by an underscore instead of hyphens. Moving on, the ‘Select primary category’ label in the primary taxonomy picker doesn’t overlap the ‘Add new category’ button and the og:description tag doesn’t stay empty anymore after setting the author description.

Update Yoast SEO now!

As always, please update your plugins to make sure you’re using the latest and greatest. Yoast SEO 9.3 brings a number of fixes that will improve the way the plugin functions. We’re always working on improving our plugins to give you the best possible experience. Remember, if you’re not ready to push an update — of any plugin or update of WordPress — to your site immediately, please test it thoroughly. We have a guide on how to set up a local WordPress test environment to help you with that.

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Indexing in Yoast SEO: Show x in search results?

Before a search engine can rank a page or a post, it needs to index it. A crawler must discover a piece of content before it can evaluate if it is a valuable addition to its index. One of the ways crawlers discover pages, is by crawling XML sitemaps. After a page has been indexed, a search engine can rank the piece of content if it fits the users search query best. Yoast SEO makes it easy for you to determine what should be indexable.

Show x in search results?

Determining what has to be indexed by crawlers and what not tends to be hard to understand and it’s easy to make a mistake. You wouldn’t be the first to have unknowingly set a whole post type to noindex, making it unavailable to search engines. We’ve thought long and hard about this and drastically simplified this process for you. Now it all boils down to asking you a straightforward question: Do you want x to appear in search engines?

Search Appearance

You can find the individual settings for making your content available for indexing in the corresponding parts of Yoast SEO. You’ll find the settings for posts and pages in the Content Types part of the Search Appearance tab. Taxonomies like categories and tags can be found in the Taxonomies tab.

By saying Yes to the ‘Show Posts in search results’ question in the post settings, for instance, you make sure that your posts will appear in the XML sitemap and, therefore, in the search results.

If you want to exclude something, you can switch this toggle to No, and the taxonomy or post type will not appear in the XML sitemap. Because of that, it will not appear in the search results. Whenever you set something to not appear in search engines, it will be noindexed and kept from the XML sitemap.

Exclude individual posts

Of course, you can also exclude individual posts from the XML sitemaps from the Yoast SEO meta box in the post editor. Click on the cog icon and select No to the ‘Allow search engines to show this Post in search results?’ question.No index

View your XML sitemap

You should always check your sitemap to see if the content you want to include appears in the XML sitemap. While you’re there, you should also check if the content you want to exclude from the sitemap doesn’t appear in it.

You can find your XML sitemap by going to General >Features > XML Sitemaps > ? (click on the question mark).

xml sitemaps yoast seoWe’ve taken away a lot of the confusion around indexing content and XML sitemaps by simplifying things. But, most importantly, it is now so much easier to determine what should and should not appear in search results.

More on XML sitemaps

XML sitemaps are a kind of treasure map for search engine robots. They crawl them to discover new or updated content on your site. Every site benefits from a sitemap. Your rankings won’t soar if you add one, but it does help the crawlers to discover your content that much easier. If you need more information about the use of XML sitemaps on your site, we have some further reading for you:

Read more: What is an XML sitemap and why should you have one? »

Keep reading: The sense and nonsense of an XML sitemap »

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Yoast SEO 5.1: Internal linking suggestions in Italian

Our development team is steadily chugging along and today provides you with a new and improved edition of Yoast SEO. This release features mainly enhancements and fixes, plus a slew of updates to our language support. Let us walk you through the new version we know as Yoast SEO 5.1, starting with our main focus point in this release: languages.

Optimize your site for search & social media and keep it optimized with Yoast SEO Premium »

Yoast SEO for WordPress pluginBuy now » Info

Updated language support in Yoast SEO 5.1

We like to know a language inside and out to be able to offer the best possible content and readability analysis. That’s why we’re continually improving the support we provide for languages and add new languages in the process. This release, we’re doing a lot of work on our language support. The highlight? Thanks to Abramo Tesoro, we’re now offering complete Italian Insights and Linking Suggestions in Yoast SEO 5.1 Premium.

Our Italian friends can now write a couple of hundred words to see the related post tool automatically suggest internal links to add to their posts. It’s a helpful tool that helps you build a solid site structure, and we’re happy that our Italian speaking users can use it now. Additionally, we’ve improved the Internal Linking Suggestions and Insights for Spanish, Dutch, French, English, and German.

Even more language news

In this release, we have a lot of new language additions. For instance, we’ve added additional English and French transition words, that last one thanks to Vianney Andre who also helped us with the Yoast SEO 5.0 release.

Yoast SEO can now filter out plural ordinal numbers for Spanish, Italian, and French. That means we can filter out things like octavo, ventunesimo or zéroième, when we encounter them in illogical places. This way, we can build a clean and useful prominent words list. Also, we’ve added filters for time words for English, Dutch, German, French, and Spanish. Words like afternoon, middag, nachmittag, matin or tarde will no longer influence the link suggestions.

Enhancements & fixes

Since releasing Yoast SEO 5.0 a couple of weeks ago, we’ve been hard at work improving that version and getting things ready for future releases. Besides fixing bugs and enhancing the performance of the plugin, we’ve made some changes that will improve the way the plugin works. In addition to that, we’re also fine-tuning some workflows and thanks to a couple of UX changes you’ll have to guess less what some little things mean. Lastly, we’ve added an importer for Jetpack SEO data.

Conclusion

Yoast SEO 5.1 is a significant step forward in the language department. We now support multiple languages: English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish and Italian, and our understanding of these languages is only increasing. With this knowledge, we can provide you with helpful information that not only helps you to write brilliant content but also to build a solid site structure by suggesting internal links based on what you write.

I hear you thinking:

“Maybe my language is next?”

Could be! Let us know in the comments which language we should look into, and we’ll see what we can do.

Read more: ‘Why every website needs Yoast SEO’ »

Mobile SEO: the ultimate guide

We are addicted to our smartphones. For many people, the smartphone is the first thing they check when they get out of bed in the morning. It is also the last thing they check before they go to sleep. People use it for everything. It’s huge. Mobile has changed our lives. It has also changed SEO. Mobile SEO helps you to reach customers and satisfy their needs in an enjoyable way. This guide to mobile SEO will show you everything you need to deliver a perfect mobile experience.

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Why is mobile SEO important?

Mobile SEO is so important because it helps you get in the right place at the right time and makes sure the experience you offer consumers is stellar. Mobile traffic has eclipsed desktop traffic. Every day, more and more people are discovering the enormous advantages of the smartphone. Our whole lives are in those machines – it’s almost scary to see how attached we’ve become to our smartphone. Many people call it an extension of themselves and something they couldn’t live without. To reach these people you need mobile SEO.

Mobile does not necessarily mean on the go. Studies find that people often grab the nearest device to look something up and in most cases that’s their smartphone. They use it to inform themselves about products before making the decision to buy something. Anywhere any place. According to research by Google, smartphone users have a higher buyer intent than desktop users. They’re focused and ready to buy. It’s your job to be there when they are looking for your products.

Mobile SEO vs. desktop SEO

There’s a difference between desktop SEO and mobile SEO, but the goals are often comparable. You want to reach your audience and turn them into customers. In some ways, desktop SEO tactics also work for mobile SEO, but in a slightly different form. Three big themes still apply: focus on performance, user experience, and content. In desktop SEO you’ll often focus more on the general public, while mobile SEO is somewhat more local oriented.

Google’s mobile-first index

The importance of mobile SEO is made even clearer by Google’s recent announcement. Sometime in 2018, Google will switch to a mobile-first index. What does this mean? For the first time, Google will determine rankings based on the quality of the mobile version of the site instead of the desktop version. A new Googlebot will crawl your mobile site and determine if its performance, content and user experience are up to scratch. If so, you can get a good ranking. If it fails somehow, other sites will be higher rated and will pass you by. Even if you’re not focusing on mobile you will still be judged by your mobile site, so now is the time to take action.

Things will change

Right now, nobody knows exactly how this process will differ from the current one. We do know, however, that you must keep your mobile site crawlable by taking down all possible barriers like poorly loading scripts. Don’t block stuff in your robots.txt. It also has to offer the highest possible performance if you want to be indexed well.

You can no longer present less information on your mobile site than on your desktop site. Your content has to be the same on both, because, in the future, you can only rank on the information that is on your mobile page. Or, like Google’s Maile Ohye told us in an interview:

“To “optimize” for a mobile-first index, make sure that what you serve to mobile users is the version of the content you’d want Google to index, not a paired down version, or a version that gets updated later than desktop, or version that redirects to the mobile homepage.”

Don’t forget to tell Google your site is mobile-proof. You can add a viewport declaration – if you’re using responsive design – or a Vary header when using dynamic serving. More on later on in this article or in Google’s developer documentation.

Know what to do

Mobile SEO is – just like regular SEO – all about making sure your site is crawlable and findable. Also, you need stellar performance, great content and a flawless UX. To get it right, you need to know how your site is currently performing and what your visitors are doing right now. For instance, do people use the same keywords on mobile to find you? People often change how they search while using a mobile device. And what do you want people to do? Offering to navigate to the nearest Whole Foods is less than ideal when you’re on a desktop machine. It makes total sense on your smartphone, though.

Mobile SEO tools

You need to become best friends with Google Search Console. Its search tools are legendary and a big help if you want to find out how your site is doing in the search results. For instance, by using the Search Analytics feature, you can see how mobile and desktop users use words to find what they need. Are you targeting the right words? Should you focus on something else?

One of the other Google Search Console tools that make your life a bit easier is the Mobile Usability tool. This tool checks your site and presents an overview of posts and pages that don’t follow Google’s mobile-friendly rules. This is an excellent way to start improving your mobile SEO.

Learn how to write awesome and SEO friendly articles in our SEO Copywriting training »

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Another Google tool is PageSpeed Insights. This tool shows you exactly how fast your site loads on mobile and desktop. It also suggests performance improving enhancements. Use this alongside the Developer Tools in browsers to see how your site is rendering its contents. Some other great tools to up your mobile SEO game are Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, Analytics, SEMrush, OnPage.org, ScreamingFrog, and SimilarWeb.

Read more: Google Search Console: Search appearance
Read more: DIY: Test your mobile site

Design for performance

It’s the number one thing you’ll be working on when you’re trying to improve mobile SEO: performance. In this case, performance almost entirely boils down to site speed. It’s a given: the faster your site is, the happier your users will be. We all know that a site has to load within a couple of seconds or else your visitors will be gone. If you combine this with the knowledge that sites are only increasing in size, you know you have your work cut out for you.

Optimizing performance, however, is a continuous process. Your site will never be fast enough because there’s always more to improve. And that’s ok. By keeping a close watch on how your mobile site is performing, you can immediately jump onto every opportunity to improve it. Google loves fast sites, and so do your customers.

Read more: How to improve your mobile site
Read more: Page speed as a ranking factor, what you need to know

Responsive design vs. dynamic serving vs. separate domain

While developing your mobile site, you’ll have three options: responsive design, dynamic serving and a separate site on a subdomain. Google prefers responsive design. This way, you have one site that adapts to the device it’s used on. There’s only one code base, so maintenance is easy. According to Google, using responsive design will make your site eligible for addition in the new mobile-first index. Always let Google know that your site is mobile-proof by adding the meta name=“viewport” declaration in the head of your documents.

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">

Dynamic serving takes a different approach. It uses server-side technology to serve a different version of your site to mobile users, depending on the way they access your site. The URL stays the same, but the files sent differ completely. You need to add the Vary header to get Google to crawl your site. This way, Google immediately knows that it will receive mobile-optimized files from somewhere else. A Vary header appears like this when a browser makes a request:

Vary: User-Agent

The third option is a separate mobile site on a different URL – usually an m. domain – and with different content. Google supports this method, but only if you make correct connections between your regular desktop domain and the mobile domain. Use rel=”alternate” and rel=”canonical” to tell Google how these pages are connected. More on these different types and how Google uses them on this Developers page.

PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights is a powerful tool to analyze the performance of your mobile site. It’s easy to use and gives you loads of insights into the loading speed of your site. Put in your URL and Insights will give you two scores: one for mobile and one for the desktop. These will differ. If your score is red, you have work to do. Orange means an average performance and green is good. You’ll receive suggestions to enhance the performance of your site. Follow these suggestions, and you’ll be on your way.

I hear you thinking:

“Nobody has a score of 0/100, right?”

Well, think again. It’s a combination of things that can do your mobile site a lot of harm. Find a bad hosting provider, install WordPress on a crappy shared hosting program, activate thirty plugins and upload a hundred non-optimized images to your blog and you are well on your way to a bad score. But these things can easily be undone. Run PageSpeed Insights and other speed analyses tools and follow their advice.

What can you do to improve your site speed?

When improving your page speed, you should always ask yourself if you need all these assets, libraries, images, plugins, theme features and so on. The famous saying “less is more” is still as valuable as ever.

Read more: Site speed tools and suggestions »

Think about implementing AMP

The Google-led open source project AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, has one goal: loading your pages as fast as possible. It’s been in development for some time now. It has reached new heights with the release of amp-bind, a JavaScript library that adds interactivity to AMP pages. Now, one of the biggest drawbacks of using AMP is fixed.

In the beginning, AMP was used on static posts, like blogs or news articles, that didn’t need interaction from the user. For e-commerce purposes, AMP fell short. Until now, that is. Look into what AMP could do for your site and how you might implement it. Not every site needs it, but the ones that do could gain a lot from it.

Read more about implementing AMP with WordPress »

New kid on the block: Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

PWAs offers another way of targeting that mobile user. A progressive web app is an all-in-one solution that works on all devices, for all users. It’s the perfect crossover between the app world and the web world. The web app works like an app, without the need to publishing it in an app store. PWAs combine the loading speeds of mobile sites with the best functionality of a native app. If done correctly, a good PWA might fool users into thinking they are using a native app.

Thanks to technologies like service workers, the browser can do a lot more in the background, while keeping the front end updated in real-time. This makes it a viable option if you need an app, but can’t justify the cost. There will be a lot happening with progressive web apps in the next couple of years. Google has a must-read blog post if you want to know how to create indexable PWAs.

Focus on user experience

Besides being findable and lightning fast, your mobile site should offer an enjoyable user experience. Try to take away any obstacles and make sure users can reach their goals quickly. There’s a lot you need to consider when optimizing your user experience. I’ve listed a couple of things you can think of below:

  • Fix your font size: your typography needs to be top notch.
  • Keep enough room between the clickable elements.
  • Make your sub-menu clickable, so users don’t automatically go back to home instead of the submenu.
  • Put your phone number on the homepage and make it clickable. This way, people can call you if they want to do business.
  • Don’t make users pinch and zoom to see – and use – your interface.
  • Make your buttons large enough for fingers.
  • Fix your forms: bad forms are unusable on mobile.
  • Cut the clutter.
  • Test, adjust and test again!

Read more: 10 ways to improve mobile UX »

Optimize for local

While we use our smartphones a lot in our house, these devices become extra useful when we’re out and about. Google found out that 76% of the people who search for something nearby visit a related business within a day. 28% of those visits lead to a sale. To cope with that local demand, you need to work on your local SEO. Local search results can look very different from regular desktop searches, so you have to know what to target and how to target that. Here are some things you can to do to improve your local SEO for mobile:

Read more: Ultimate guide to small business SEO
Read more: Local ranking factors that help your business’ SEO

Finetune your mobile content

The screen of a smartphone is small, that’s a given. On that screen, text gets truncated or wrapped in a seemingly never-ending stream of paragraphs. A user has to scroll endlessly. Text on a mobile screen has the potential to give every web designer a headache. But the design – and use – of text is of crucial importance to the success of your site. If your site is unreadable or plain ugly, people will not read your 1,000-word article. Hell, not even your 100-word summary. Fix your typography.

People read a lot on their smartphones, but you have to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Also, you have to make sure that your content is up to scratch as well.

Read more: Optimize your mobile content

Write for the small screen

Always keep the restrictions of the small screen in mind when creating or editing content. Don’t use too many long sentences, keep your paragraphs around four sentences and use many stops like lists and headings to break up your text. Nothing is more daunting to your visitor than a massive block of unformatted text. Check your content on a smartphone to see how it works and if it’s possible to improve it.

Read more: Copywriting for mobile (coming soon!)

Write better meta descriptions and titles

Google will show less information in the search results on mobile than on a desktop. Your meta descriptions and your titles will be truncated if you made them too long. Thinks about that when you optimize your posts and pages. You lose several characters when optimizing your meta descriptions and titles for mobile. In Yoast SEO’s snippet editor, you can switch between a mobile and desktop preview. This way, you can see how the differences between the two and pick a perfect middle ground.

Read more: The snippet preview in Yoast SEO

When working on your content, you should take the next biggest thing into account: voice search. Yes, it’s been around for a while. But with the advent of Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s nameless Home assistant, things are moving fast right now. More and more people are using their voice to perform actions on the web, and your content has to provide answers. If done correctly, you might kill two birds with one stone: you’ll not only respond to questions mobile users have, but it might also lead to so-called featured snippets or answer boxes on desktop searches.

To prepare for voice search, you need to take a good look at your current content. Ask yourself, does it answer any question a user might have? If not, change it. Find out which questions people use to find your content and optimize for that. Use Google’s autofill or tools like Answer the Public to find alternative questions to answer.

Read more: How to prepare for voice search

Add structured data to a mobile site

Structured data is hot. By adding structured data in the form of Schema.org to your site, you can open a line of communication with search engines. Structured data makes it clear for search engines what all the different elements on your site mean. If done correctly, search engines can use this data to give you highlighted search results, known as rich results or rich snippets. This way, your site immediately stands out from the crowd, and that might lead to a higher click-through rate.

Want rich snippets for your site? Try our Structured data training »

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Structured data forms the basis for many new ways of presenting search results. The rich results we used to know as rich cards, for instance, use data you can add to your mobile site. The result is a snippet that is mobile-optimized and very enticing to click. Structured data is one of the most important topics you have to read up on. Follow our structured data course if you need an easy way to add structured data to your mobile site.

Read more: Structured data with Schema.org: the ultimate guide

A mobile SEO guide

This ultimate guide to mobile SEO gives a lot of pointers to improve the performance of your mobile site.  Mobile SEO should always be a work in progress because there are always new things to improve. Also, technologies arrive or get discarded. The world is always changing, and you have to keep up. If you do, the rewards can be great. So, what are you waiting for? Get your smartphone, check your site in a mobile browser and find and fix those issues. Use this mobile SEO guide well, because 2018 is going to be an important year! This is the time to take action because if you don’t, you might miss out in the new year.

Read more: ‘Why every website needs Yoast SEO’ »

What are breadcrumbs and why are they important for SEO?

Breadcrumbs are an important part of almost any good website. These little navigational aides not just help people visualize where they are on your site, but also help Google determine how your site is structured. That’s why it makes a lot of sense to add these helpful little pointers. Let’s see how breadcrumbs work.

Want rich snippets for your site? Try our Structured data training »

Structured data training$ 149 - Buy now » Info

What are breadcrumbs?

When Hansel and Gretel went into the woods, Hansel dropped pieces of bread on the ground so they could find their way home if the two of them ever got lost. These breadcrumbs eventually became the model for the breadcrumbs we see on websites nowadays. A breadcrumb is a small text path, often located at the top of a page. On yoast.com, for instance, the path to our Yoast SEO plugin page is Home > Software > WordPress Plugins > Yoast SEO for WordPress. This breadcrumb immediately shows you where you are. Every part of that path is clickable, all the way to the homepage.

Breadcrumbs also appear in Google. If you use Yoast SEO or add the correct form of structured data to your site, search engines can pick up this data and could show your breadcrumbs in the search results. These provide users an easy to understand overview of where the page sits on your site.

Different kinds

Looking closely, we can distinguish different types of breadcrumbs. These are the three most common types of breadcrumbs you will find on sites:

Hierarchy based breadcrumbs

These will pop up most often. We use them on our site as well. Breadcrumbs like this will tell you where you are in a site structure and how many steps you can take to get back to the homepage. Something like Home > Blog > Category > Post name.

breadcrumbs hierarchy

Attribute based breadcrumbs

Attribute based breadcrumbs appear after a certain selection has been made, for instance, while searching for a product on an e-commerce site. Maybe, Home > Product category > Gender > Size > Color.

breadcrumbs attribute

History based breadcrumbs

History based breadcrumbs do what it says on the tin; they are ordered according to what you have been doing on the site. Think of these as a replacement for your internet history bar. These would appear like this: Home >  Previous page > Previous page > Previous page > Current page. It’s also possible to combine these like Macy’s does in the screenshot below.

breadcrumbs history

Advantages to using breadcrumbs

There are a couple of advantages to using breadcrumbs on your site. Let’s go over them quickly:

1. Google loves them

Your visitors like breadcrumbs, but Google likes them as well. Breadcrumbs give Google another way of figuring out how your website is structured. In addition to that, Google might use your breadcrumbs to show these in the search results. This way, your search result will at one become much more enticing to users. To increase the chance to get these breadcrumbs in Google, you need to add structured data or use Yoast SEO.

2. They enhance the user experience

People hate to get lost. When confronted with a new location, people often look around in search of recognizable objects or landmarks. The same goes for websites. You need to keep visitors happy and reduce as much friction as possible. Breadcrumbs can help your user experience since it is a well-known interface element that instantly shows people a way out. No need to click the back button!

3. They lower bounce rates

Hardly anyone comes in via the homepage anymore. It’s all organic search nowadays. That means every part of your site could be an entry point. You must come up with a way to guide these visitors to other parts of your site if the selected page does not meet their expectations. Breadcrumbs can lower bounce rates because you’re offering visitors an alternative means of browsing your site. Don’t you think it’s better to send a visitor to your homepage than back to Google?

How to add breadcrumbs

There are several ways of adding breadcrumbs to your site. Firstly, if you use a WordPress site, you can use one of the many breadcrumb plugins or just use Yoast SEO. If you use a different CMS the process might be different. It is also possible to add them by hand. If you want them to appear in Google as well, you need to use structured data in a way that Google understands. You can find more information on this in Google’s developer documentation on breadcrumbs.

Yoast SEO offers an easy way to add breadcrumbs to your WordPress site. It will add everything necessary to add them not just visible on your site, but get them ready for Google as well. To add breadcrumbs to your site, you need to add the following piece of code to your theme where you want them to appear:

<?php
if ( function_exists('yoast_breadcrumb') ) {
yoast_breadcrumb('


','

');
}
?>

This code can often be placed inside the single.php or page.php files, just above the title of the page. Some themes want it at the end of the header.php file. Try not to add it to functions.php since this could create problems.

After adding the code, you can go to the advanced settings of Yoast SEO and switch on breadcrumb support. Here, you can also determine how the breadcrumb structure will look and what prefixes will be used. Find out more on our Knowledge Base page on implementing breadcrumbs with Yoast SEO.

Conclusion

While using breadcrumbs, Hansel and Gretel still got lost in the woods. Don’t let that happen to your visitor. Breadcrumbs provide an easy to grasp way of navigating for users. Visitors instantly understand how the site structure works. For the same reason, Google loves them as well. Use Yoast SEO to add breadcrumbs to your site easily.

Read more: ‘Site structure: the ultimate guide’ »

Google Search Console and structured data

Google Search Console is an incredibly important tool for website owners. This tool shows you how your site appears in the Google search results. It also shows you what to improve to make the most of your listings in the results. One of the many cool features of Search Console is the structured data analyses found in the Search Appearance section. Let’s dive into that!

In this post, we’ll cover the Structured data tab in GSC, the Rich Cards tab and the Data Highlighter. If you don’t have Search Console yet – and you really should -, sign up on Google’s website.

Google search console home

Search Appearance

First, log into Search Console. On the left-hand side of your screen, you’ll find the Search Appearance menu item. This tool gives you insights into how your website appears in the search results. You can click any item to see how Google treats your site.

Structured Data

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In this post, our main focal point is structured data, so we’ll jump to the Structured Data section of GSC. Clicking on Structured Data will show you an overview of all the pages that have some kind of structured data attached to it. This could be in any form, like RDFa or Microdata, but usually, it will be in JSON-LD.

Structured data is all the extra information you give search engines to understand what a page is about. For instance, as the writer of this article, I am both a Person and an Author. If I add this data to the source code of this page, search engines can use that data to do cool things. If you sell products, you can enhance your search listings with reviews and ratings, prices and availability. These might all become visible in the search results.

Rich snippets products

Google Search Console shows a red line for the pages on your site that have incorrectly implemented structured data. Red indicate items with errors. You’ll notice that Search Console automatically sorts the list by the number of errors on a page. This way, you can start by fixing the most important issues first.

Google search console graph

Click on the lines in the table to see which pages have errors with the selected data type. Use these errors to prioritize your work. The big graph shows the progression of your structured data implementation as seen by Google. Let’s see how that works.

We’re going to take a closer look at the data. Above the graph, we see how many structured data items Google has found on how many pages, in this case, 218 items on 56 pages. Look closely at the left and right-hand side of the graph. The left side – in blue – goes from zero to 240 and this shows the number of pages with structured data items. The right side – in red – goes from zero to sixteen and shows the number of errors. At the bottom of the image, you see all the different data types Google has found on your site and all the items that have errors.

Errors

Now that we’ve analyzed all the different data on the structured data tab, it’s time to look at our errors. So click on an item with errors.

Google search console errors

After clicking on an error you’ll see this screen. This is where all the errors are listed individually. It’s the same kind of information as the screen before this one, so I won’t cover it again. However, now click on the individual error to see what happens:

Google search console popup

When we clicked on the individual error, a pop-up appeared. It shows information of the domain we’re on, information about the data item that gives an error and a button to test it with the Structured Data Testing Tool. Try to test with live data because GSC might give you an incorrect message. Also, the Structured Data Testing Tool allows you to tweak the code until it doesn’t give an error anymore. This way, you can safely test and improve on the error. Let’s move on to Rich Cards.

Rich Cards

Rich cards are new ways of presenting search results. These results are often amended with special, rich search features that make the results more interactive. For instance, a recipe site might get swipeable cards in the search results or a restaurant might get an option to immediately reserve a seat from the results. These are just a couple of examples. And since this is one of the areas Google is increasingly focussing on, you’ll see a lot more of these in the coming years.

Rich cards aren’t that different from structured data types. You can see structured data as the language used to describe the content on a page, while a rich card is a visually compelling way to present search results. And yes, more often than not, rich cards rely on the structured data that Google finds on a page. That’s why the Rich Cards tab is kind of complementary to the Structured Data tab instead of it superseding it. 

By the way, these are all the rich cards Google creates.

Add structured data to your site, validate it and you’re ready to get rich cards. If Google deems your site the best possible result, that is. In Search Appearance, you can check if your implementation is correct and if Google has already awarded you rich cards.

Google search console rich cards overview

Click on the Rich Cards tab and you’ll see a graph like the one above. On top of the graph, you can tick and untick the boxes. We’ve got invalid cards, cards that can be improved and correct cards. You can probably guess that each box shows a different graph. Also, our issues are sorted by severity. First, we’ll try and find out what our critical issues are by clicking on them.

Google search console rich cards

Now we see all the individual URLs with errors. We know that these are all image-related problems because that’s mentioned in the previous screenshot. Just click on one of the URLs.

Google search console cards popup

A pop-up will appear, similar to the one in the Structured Data tab. It gives you the option to test your live data and read the card documentation. You always want to double check your live data with the Structured Data Testing Tool. As said before, you can edit the code right away and see whether your changes validate. All good now? Great, you can start to implement your new code.

Data Highlighter

The Data Highlighter is a tool within GSC that allows you to markup your pages without any knowledge of coding. There are a couple of things you need to know before you start marking up your structured data with Google’s Data Highlighter. Firstly, your highlighted data is stored in Google’s databases, not on your site itself. Since the data is stored externally from your site, other search engines won’t be able to benefit from it. Ask yourself if you want this. Secondly, Data Highlighter only offers a limited set of schema you can implement. So it won’t be for everyone.

The Data Highlighter does make fixing the issues you’ve found in the Structured Data section easier. For instance, choose one of the URLs that had a faulty Structured Data setup and tell GSC what kind of information you want to highlight.

This will bring you to a live view of that page and you’ll be able to select any element on the page. By selecting an element you’ll be given a choice of what you want to highlight that specific element for. For example, for a Product, you’ll be given these markups to add to the corresponding element on the page:

google search console data highlighter

This makes adding Structured Data, for Google at least, as easy as a few clicks.

You can find the Data Highlighter under the Search Appearance section. Click on the “Start highlighting” button and you’ll see a new screen. Now we can fill in the URL (a product page, for example), select the type of markup we’d like to implement (Product Schema.org) and select if we just want to markup this single page or similar pages like it as well. We’ll only show multiple pages because marking up single pages shares the same core functionalities – only with fewer steps.

You can easily select elements on a page. Google automatically shows the available Schema.org you can select, see the first arrow. Once selected, you’ll see an overview of the data items on that page, check the second arrow. When you’re done, you click on finished – it’s the big red button in the top right corner.

google search console data highlighter save

In the end, Google shows you random pages from your selection to check the implementation. You can verify whether the information holds true for all of your products:

● Did Google unexpectedly include a page it shouldn’t have? Click Remove page.
● Did Google mistakenly apply the wrong Schema? You can correct it by selecting the element and change the Schema.
● Did Google do it right? Just click Next.

The Google Data Highlighter is just one of the tools that helps you implement structured data with Schema.org. It is, however, fully tied into the Google ecosystem and might not be the best option when you want to keep full control over your data.

You’ve reached the end…

Structured data gives you an excellent opportunity to open a conversation with search engines. By adding structured data, you make your site instantly comprehensible for engines. This way, they can use your data to present your content in innovative, highly visible ways that are guaranteed to catch the eye of your customers or readers.

Structured data is becoming so important that we’ve developed a course to educate you on this subject. In this course, we’ll show you exactly what structured data encompasses, what it can do, how to implement it using JSON-LD and Google Tag Manager, and how to check its performance in Google Search Console. This course will be available from June 29.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article! Keep an eye on yoast.com for more articles on structured data and SEO. And don’t forget to sign up for our brand new Structured data course!

Read more: ‘Structured data with Schema.org: the ultimate guide’ »

Why there’s only one model: the open source model

WordPress was built by the community. In just a few incredibly productive years, it grew to become the most popular CMS in the world, and all of us in the WordPress Community played a role in the evolution and development of WordPress. Together, we made it into the popular powerhouse it is today. If there was one thing that made it possible, it was the open source philosophy. Just like WordPress, Yoast was born from an open source world. In this interview, Joost de Valk shares his views on a topic dear to his heart.

Joost began his journey into the open source world many moons ago. As a contributor to the WebKit project, which built a layout engine for web browsers, he saw how a group of like-minded people could go up against mainstream, rich companies. WebKit’s small team made waves with their product. Different browsers adopted it and it helped them to hold their own against the incredible power of Internet Explorer. Joost says: “We were unbelievably efficient. I discovered very early on that it was better to build something together than on your own.” 

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A passion for open source

Talk to Joost about open source and his eyes light up. Open source formed him – it shaped his thoughts and visions. Even now, as CEO of a successful company, he’d still choose open source as the business model every time. Joost: “If I had to start over, I’d do a million things differently. But I would choose open source again in a heartbeat. I actually do think it’s better to create together. Take those design agencies that develop bespoke CMS’s. Why? It’s nonsense. It leads to vendor lock-in and that is horrible. There’s only one model: the open source model.”

‘‘If I had to start over, I would choose open source again in a heartbeat ’’

Running a business with an open source mindset is better than keeping everything behind closed doors. Joost: “Why should a school build their own site when there are hundreds of schools with the same requirements and questions? Join hands to make it manageable and cheaper. Just think how much the government could save if they used open source everywhere.”

“To me,” says Joost, “open source is a combination of community, not just friends, and a shared responsibility to find solutions to problems together. Take WordPress for example, collectively we are fixing the problem of publishing to the web. Other projects tackle different problems in the same way, together. This is how society should function; when we set our minds to it, we can achieve anything if we combine our efforts.”

David vs. Goliath

Joost sees open source as a David vs. Goliath struggle: “It’s money versus community. A lot of money versus no money. As a community-driven CMS, WordPress continuously has to figure out how to go up against large-scale commercial efforts. But, in spite of all that money, WordPress continues to grow like wildfire. We’ve reached critical mass and it will only go up from here.”

While WordPress grows, its community continues to expand. According to Joost, the community is diversifying at a rapid rate: “It’s not just developers anymore – the project attracts a wide range of people, from designers to writers. People are willing to invest loads of time into it. Just look at all those WordCamps around the world; all of them are organized by people from all walks of life.”

Open source politics

In theory, open source may sound like the perfect way to get something done, but oftentimes, good-old politics can cause everything to grind to a halt. “The political games are no fun,” Joost says. “It’s a community and therefore pretty diffuse. It takes time to reach a consensus. It’s hard to navigate the waters when there’s no one actually in charge. You have to figure out where decisions are being made and try to be there to influence them. That’s when you find out that not having anyone in charge can make it harder.”

‘‘It takes a lot of time and effort to develop a tool like Yoast SEO’’

Yoast now and in the future

Yoast as a company was built on open source and this philosophy continues to play a big part in its future plans. The Yoast SEO plugin is now spreading its wings, moving to other open source platforms like Drupal, TYPO3 and Magento. But Yoast has to sell something to make money, so in our case it’s a Premium version and other products, like services and education – aspects Joost wants to expand: “In the future, I’d love to be able to give away my plugins for free and generate enough income from our services and education platform. But, that moment is not yet in sight.”

Making money on open source seems strange and contradictory to the openness of open source. Yet, to pay nothing towards the development of products you use every day feels wrong as well. Joost: “It’s almost as if people think it’s rather easy to develop something for WordPress and that it doesn’t cost anything. That’s not true of course. It takes a lot of time and effort to develop a tool like Yoast SEO. Think about it, the readability analysis in Yoast SEO took about six man-years to develop. We could have put it in the Premium version, but we thought about the impact it would have if we gave it away for free. So we did. Come to think of it, I’ve never thought about taking something out of the free version of Yoast SEO to make people pay for it.”

Read more: ‘Yoast WordPress core contributions ’ »