Today, we’re releasing Yoast SEO 11.2 into the wild. This release contains several enhancements to our Schema structured data implementation, plus a number of community contributions and general bug fixes. In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about Yoast SEO 11.2, so dive in!
More Schema improvements
These past couple of weeks saw quite a bit of development in the structured data department. In Yoast SEO 11.0, we launched a structured data implementation that automatically generates a graph for any given website and its pages. In Yoast SEO 11.1, we improved the way we handle images in structured data, among other things. We said we wouldn’t be done on the Schema front for some time. Well, Yoast SEO 11.2 brings even more structured data goodness.
As mentioned in the release post of Yoast SEO 11.1, we’ve been working on a better way to pick images correctly for use in the generated structured data. In this release, we’re introducing a new way to make sure we always include an image in the structured data. Now, we pick the first image in the content for the Schema output if you haven’t set a featured image.
Tailor the Schema output
Of course, it’s possible that you’d like to incorporate your own Schema pieces into our graph. We already have the wpseo_schema_graph_piecesfilter to help you extend the Yoast SEO Schema. This way, you can tailor the implementation to your own needs. In addition, we’re now introducing a new filter that will help you control what Yoast SEO outputs. The new wpseo_schema_needs_<class_name> filter helps you disable or enable specific pieces of the graph.
Last but not least, we’ve also added a filter called wpseo_schema_person_social_profiles for adding or deleting social profiles to show. Read our Schema API documentation to find out how our Schema implementation works and how you can tailor it to your needs.
Yoast SEO 11.2 is a community-driven effort. We love getting outside help, so thanks everybody. In this release, David Tolnem and Saša Todorović came up with a filter for adding posts with a custom post statuses to the sitemap: wpseo_sitemap_post_statuses. This means you can now use the custom post statuses made in tools such as Edit Flow and add these to the sitemap. Saša also helped fix a bug together with Jessica Zehavi. This one was a bug where URLs with a non-Yoast SEO related xsl query string parameter would result in a blank page.
Rami Yushuvaev helped us make translating the plugin easier by merging near identical strings and he fixed a bug concerning an incorrect URL leading to Pinterest’s claim page.
Better sitemap debugging
To help you debug your sitemaps, we’ve decoupled the sitemap debug information from the general WP_DEBUG flag. Instead, we now offer the YOAST_SEO_DEBUG_SITEMAPS flag to better control this functionality. Now, we can output more specific debug information on the sitemap pages.
Yoast SEO 11.2 fixes several bugs and enhances the Schema implementation. Thanks to our highly valued community, we have a number of fixes and improvements. We always enjoy seeing so many people contribute to our open source plugin. Interested in contributing? Please read our contribution guidelines on GitHub.
As you might know, Yoast SEO isn’t exclusive to WordPress. Together with our partners, we’re looking to bring our popular SEO plugin to more open source platforms. After releasing Yoast SEO for Magento 2 and TYPO3, together with MaxServ, we’re now launching a new integration: Yoast SEO for Neos CMS! Sebastian Helzle, core developer in the Neos team and freelance consultant, built it with help from us.
Neos: a flexible, innovative content management system
Neos began many years ago as a proposed follow-up to TYPO3, but has been moving in its own direction since 2015. It is a fully React based CMS offering many innovative features to manage content. The system is highly flexible and allows for some impressive options to custom build high-profile sites.
For content managers, working with Neos is a dream. Due to this flexibility, there are many ways to work with and maintain content. One of these options is to let content managers edit content directly from the front-end or use the writer mode to focus on getting those articles written in the first place. In addition, you’ll also find a fully customizable, personal workspace. The workspace is a copy of the website you’re working on and lets multiple editors work on a part of the site or a piece of content at once. It can also be used to draft and fine-tune pages before publishing them.
In that workspace, users will now find the Yoast SEO analysis to help them improve the SEO-friendliness of their content.
Neos recently received a powerful native SEO module called Neos.SEO 3.0, which handles the most important SEO options, like XML sitemaps, canonicals and hreflang natively. The integration of Yoast SEO in Neos, therefore, focusses mainly on the content analysis part. It will also help users visualize how their content will appear in the search results and on social media channels. Together, these tools help site owners and editors publish awesome content on a well-optimized site powered by Neos.
In Yoast SEO for Neos 1.0, you can expect the following features:
Top-notch SEO tools right inside the Neos Inspector: helping you improve your posts and pages.
Readability analysis: making sure that content is easy to understand for your audience.
SEO analysis: by entering your focus keyphrase, this helps you to improve the overall quality of your content.
Snippet preview for Google search results: see how your post appears in the search results and make it stand out.
Social previews for Facebook and Google: this is how social media will see your post.
Available in workspaces: Yoast SEO for Neos will work inside your workspace, giving you everything you need at your fingertips.
Supporting open source platforms
For years, we’ve been big fans of the open source community. Yoast SEO itself is open source and we owe a lot to this way of thinking and working. We want to support open source wherever we can, by giving back to the community. This also means that we’re actively looking for partners who can bring the incredible value of Yoast SEO to other platforms and communities.
Everybody needs to stand a chance in the search results — SEO for everyone, remember?
The first version of Yoast SEO for Neos gives editors everything they need to improve their content for both readers as well as search engines. We’re looking forward to seeing the platform and our integration with it evolve. As always, your feedback is welcome.
You’ve probably noticed we’re doubling down on our Schema structured data implementation. In Yoast SEO 11.0, we rewrote what we output and how we do that. Not only that, we put every piece of structured data in a neat, interconnected graph. We’re not done yet! In Yoast SEO 11.1, we’re introducing proper image markup and tying our Video SEO output into the graph.
Video SEO tied into the Yoast SEO Schema graph
Our Video SEO add-on for Yoast SEO helps your videos to show up in video search. In this new release, we make the plugin even more useful by adding the correct structured data. Not only that, we’ll also tie everything into the main graph as generated by Yoast SEO.
In the structured data code, you’ll find everything search engines need to make sense of the video, from duration to embed URL, and from video thumbnail to description. Search engines like Google may use this information to get your video into a carousel or give it a badge so it can be distinguished as a video in image search thumbnails.
We use Schema’s VideoObject to output the correct structured data and made video a real entity in our graph. The beauty of it is that you don’t need to do anything out of the ordinary to get search engines to pick up your video. Simply give it good meta data like titles and descriptions, add an attractive thumbnail and you’re good to go! The plugin will automatically generate all the valid Schema code in the background.
Another thing that was not final in Yoast SEO 11.0, was the way we handle images on a page and how we tie those into the graph. In Yoast SEO 11.1, we’re introducing a proper way to handle single images on a page. For the next version, we are also looking at ways of handling multiple images and how to determine the main one. Read all about how we generate the image parts for the Schema output.
Exposing the imageObject is very helpful for image SEO purposes. Google has said many times that adding structured data to your images is beneficial. Now, you can give search engines loads of context for your images. As we know, they still struggle to figure out what’s in an image, so they need every bit of help they can get. Schema provides the context by telling what an image is and what its properties and meta data are. Keep this in mind when working on your image SEO — which you should do naturally, of course.
Yoast SEO retrieves the image caption if set, or uses the alt tag if that’s set. It is easy to forget, but the caption and/or alt text are incredibly important for search engines. Please make use of it! Also, make sure that the filenames of your filenames are descriptive and recognizable. We have an extensive guide with loads of tips on image SEO, please read that.
Yoast SEO Premium: Better recognition of German keyphrases
In Yoast SEO Premium 10.1, we introduced word form support for the German language. This made it the second language, after English, to receive the full language support. In Yoast SEO 11.1, we’ve fine-tuned the language support. The plugin is now better at recognizing German keyphrases that include words with an i or e in between vowels (e.g., schrieen, schreien, speie). In addition, we’ve also improved the recognition of German 3rd person singular verb forms (e.g., “arbeitet”).
Update to Yoast SEO 11.1
Yoast SEO 11.1 not only features a number of Schema enhancements, improvements to our Video SEO add-on and better German language support, but also several bug fixes. You can find every change in the changelog of this release.
For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been improving our structured data support with an innovative implementation that includes a full graph. We’re not done yet! There’s still a lot to do and you can expect much more from us in the near future. Remember our structured data content blocks for WordPress’ new block editor?
Once upon a time, a little robot came to a site to figure out what it was about. The robot read some words and followed some links and said: “Well, there are a lot of mentions of this particular word, so this page must be about that!” She sent out orders to the mothership to file the page in a giant register so the page could be retrieved for this particular term. The robot worked long hours to get all the pages she could find in that register.
After a couple of years, the robot was very experienced and smart. Her programmers trained her to read better so she could figure out what a piece of text was about. She could even distinguish in what cases it would make the most sense to show it. She even started to use context to judge a piece of text instead of just finding mentions of that particular term.
But, smart as the robot was, her makers needed outside help to get her to fully understand the world. The robot did not have the capacity to grasp all the knowledge and she needed help connecting what she knew.
Luckily, some smart humans built something incredible called SCHEMA: a giant thesaurus for robots just like our little hero.
In it, she found everything she needed. It told her what she could look for to determine a particular page was about a product, an event or a person. She learned about movies, books, authors. About recipes, ingredients and cooking instructions. She found out how people relate to each other, to past events and to abstract concepts that were always a mystery to her. Everything she read was instantly clear to her — she was so happy!
Websites using this SCHEMA thesaurus well, helped robots like her to make sense of the world. She finally knew everything. In return, she could reward those sites with spectacular shiny stuff in the search results. But she could only reward those sites that implemented it well and that was a problem.
She soon found out that there was much to be desired. Many sites offered only small pieces of magical SCHEMA and none of it was interconnected to sources that could help her do her job better. She tried asking for help — pleading for site owners to improve their use of SCHEMA, but to no avail. Until, years later, a massively popular plugin for the biggest content management system in the solar system offered to help the little robot.
Nervously, she looked at the internals of the SCHEMA implementation of the plugin codenamed Yoast SEO 11.0. “Wow, this is just what I need!”, she said. “I’ve never seen this before. This is SCHEMA that I can read and understand. It is complete, it shows me where pages reside and how people and organizations connect. Most importantly, it is interconnected! No longer do I have to guess where everything goes. It’s all in a graph — a neat little package —, ready for me to gobble up!”
Schema-powered structured data is one of the hardest, most abstract pieces of web technologies to describe, while also being one of the most important ones. I hope the story above has made the concept a lot clearer for you. Now that you’ve formed a mental image of what we’re talking about here, let me show you what adding structured data to your site can lead to.
A better understanding of your site
We always say you should do everything in your power to help both search engines and searchers to find out what your site is about. Using structured data gives you superpowers in the eyes of the search engine. Since you are labeling the most important parts of your content or site elements and connecting them to other parts, you are making sure that search engines truly understand your site. No longer do they have to guess about what everything means — you can just tell them.
Getting stuff into Google’s Knowledge graph gets a lot easier once you add relevant Schema to your site. Not only that, other platforms like Pinterest love this kind of data as well.
Another reason for implementing structured data is the spectacular shiny stuff our robot heroine promised: rich results. Rich results are enhanced search results and they come in many forms, from star ratings to fully enhanced recipe snippets. Many are powered by structured data, but sometimes, you get them without doing anything — besides having an awesome site, of course.
Here is an example of a structured data powered rich result:
With the new structured data implementation in Yoast SEO 11.0, you get a firm foundation to build on. While you’ll have a bigger chance of getting rich results by using Yoast SEO, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get them — in the end, the search engines decide who gets what.
Here’s a selection of what we do at the moment. You can find a complete overview of all Google’s current rich results in the Search Gallery:
Logo and social profiles in the Knowledge graph
If you have an Organization, you can get its logo to show up in the Knowledge panel. The same goes for social profiles. Simply add these in the settings of Yoast SEO and they’ll eventually show up.
If you have a site representing a person, you can add the necessary social accounts. Your image will be grabbed from Gravatar. You can set this in Yoast SEO. Not every person will get a Knowledge graph panel — there’s more at play here. Google combines this input with other sources to build a panel. Once you have one, you can claim it and suggest edits.
Search engines might do cool stuff with articles marked up with structured data. For news publishers, this is important because this might also mean a top spot in the news carousel. For this, you need NewsArticle Schema in your articles and our News SEO plugin provides this for you. Yoast SEO itself, automatically adds regular Article structured data to your articles, including information about the author and how the page connects to the main entity of the site.
Our Local SEO plugin takes care of everything you need to get your local business correctly visible in the search engines. You can add opening hours, geographical information, contact information, business locations — including multiple locations under one name, et cetera.
A breadcrumb is a navigational tool that helps searchers and search engines figure out where they are on your site. If you activate this in Yoast SEO, you might get something like this in the search results:
Our WooCommerce plugin adds a cool possibility for getting rich results for products. If you combine this with other structured data, you can get really expansive rich results in search results with ratings and everything. You can also be featured in image search and different product carousels. In addition, Pinterest will pick up the main product on your page more easily.
Structured data is hot
This article, including the adventures of our little robot, aims to show you a small sampling of structured data powered search results. Working with structured data was always hard, but we’re fixing that — and you don’t have to do much for it!
Yoast SEO 11.0 has a completely rebuilt structured data framework that adds more sensible, and more importantly, interconnected structured data to your site. Search engines can pick this up and do interesting things with. We’re not done yet, because we have a lot more cool stuff coming up!
Structured data is incredibly important. Many of the current and future search enhancements are — or will be — powered by structured data. While search engines are good at reading content, structured data can help them to understand. Yoast SEO has supported some basic Schema markup for ages, but now we’re going much further. Yoast SEO 11.0 features a completely rewritten Schema.org implementation — the first one of its kind, offering a fully integratedgraph.
Revamped Schema implementation
Optimizing for entities — i.e. people, places and things — and how they relate to each other makes a lot of sense for search engines, as it gives them all your connections on a silver platter. With structured data, they can much more easily understand what your pages are about, and the properties of those things. It can help them understand that this web page is an article about a product, made by a specific brand. They no longer have to figure everything out themselves, by just reading content and following links.
Note: Search engines will still follow links in order to discover content and to help them to understand those relationships, but entities help them to really reinforce that knowledge.
Google is moving from a search engine to a discovery engine in an effort to provide searchers with relevant content, answers or products before they even know they need to search. There’s a reason they called Google Discover just that. Google is looking for concepts and connections to help them understand the world, and to present these in new ways. Rich results will become much richer as time goes by.
Good SEO strategies must consider entities. That’s why we’ve paved the way to help you tell Google exactly what your site is about — automatically — just by using Yoast SEO 11.0. Now, we build an entity graph for you, behind the scenes.
An entity graph is a representation of a topic, which describes the entities — people, places and things, for instance — and defines their relationships via properties. Or in this case, how your site is connected to your pages, organization, authors et cetera.
What does this mean for you
The age-old problem with structured data is that adding the necessary code is tricky. Schema structured data relies on JSON-LD to get that data to search engines. Yoast SEO has added bits and pieces of structured data for ages, but Yoast SEO 11.0 raises the bar tremendously. And you don’t have to do much to make use of it. Just fill in the information we ask — simple things, like if your site is for a person or an organization — and you’re good to go!
Traditionally, every piece of structured data added by WordPress plugins or content management systems itself was put in contained little blobs. This lead to pages having many individual pieces, which had no way of talking to each other. And since the end goal of working with entities is to make connections for discovery, something had to be done.
Working on a document set up by Jono Alderson (with input from Google engineers, among others), we set out to rewrite how to best approach implementing Schema markup, and how WordPress can use this efficiently. Not only that, it had to be extensible as well, so every piece of structured data out there can hook into this proposed standard.
Yoast SEO 11.0 comes with a completely rewritten Schema structured data implementation. This new implementation uses a concept that is different from most other approaches to structured data. Here, we’re not relying on complicated arrays of nested properties, but a clean, complete graph that uses IDs to connect different nodes inside of it. The end result is stunningly effective.
What does this look like?
As an end user, you don’t need to know much about what goes on behind the scenes of Yoast SEO. Looking at structured data code, however, helps your understanding of how everything fits together and why you should fill out the information we ask in the plugin. As an SEO or a developer, you’re really going to enjoy this beautiful piece of interconnected code.
Here’s an example output of Yoast SEO new Schema implementation, seen through the eyes of Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. This is generated for one of our most popular articles: WordPress SEO — The definitive guide.
Yoast SEO will now output a lot more structured data about your website and how its pages fit together.
The structured data is based on the initial setting of Person or Organization. If your site represents an organization or business, please select Organization. If the site is your personal blog or anything representing a person, please select Person. You’ve probably set this up correctly ages ago, but there’s no harm in checking again.
Yoast SEO will automatically fill in the correct structured data with whatever you fill in during the setup of the plugin, or later in the settings of Yoast SEO. You can switch between these two settings in SEO → Search Appearance → General.
Here’s a very high-level overview of the types of structured data we produce. We output a so-called “base script”. This a @graph object in JSON-LD, which describes the Organization or Person, the WebSite and WebPage. These parts are on every page and will be appended with structured data specific to the page you are currently on, so an article on your site will get all of the above plus article Schema.
Single pages: like homepage, plus date information and breadcrumbs.
Single posts: adds full Article and Author support, the latter only when the website represents an Organization or the author is not the Person. Supports loads of properties, so see the code example above for an idea of how the Article code works.
Taxonomy and date archives: a single page with CollectionPage as WebPage.
Post type archives: a single page with CollectionPage as WebPage.
Author archives: a single page with ProfilePage and Person.
Search result pages: type of WebPage becomes SearchResultsPage.
404 error pages: Like the homepage but without WebPage.
This leads to the following base script generated by Yoast SEO. This will be extended based on which page you are.
For local SEO, having correct Schema structured data about your business is essential. Combining this with a Google My Business account, for instance, helps make it clear to search engines what your business is all about. In the new Schema set-up for our Local SEO add-on, we now offer multiple ways to correctly specify what do with a single or multiple physical locations, for instance. Our Local SEO Schema documentation has more information.
For WooCommerce e-commerce sites, our WooCommerce SEO plugin now takes the standard outputted Schema and builds a product graph that actually makes sense. We now make sure everything is connected like it should, for products as well as sellers. Read more about the output in our WooCommerce Schema documentation.
Our News SEO plugin now converts every article into a NewsArticle, and adds a publication year and copyright holder to give you a better chance of ending up in that coveted Top Stories carousel. More on that in the News SEO Schema documentation.
Built to be extended
We’ve built our Schema framework to be extended. It’s pretty straightforward, and we ask everyone working on these kinds of implementations to adapt this. Together, we can truly put the Linked Data part in JSON-LD and link up large parts of the web — something that benefits us all! Start with the Schema integration guidelines.
Structured data blocks are coming
But wait, there’s more coming! With this intelligent, innovative Schema framework in place, we are working hard on rebuilding and expanding our structured data content blocks for WordPress’ block editor. These blocks help you visually build content like how-to’s, FAQ’s, recipes and job postings. In the background, it automatically generates Schema structured data that neatly ties into the graph we build for that page. How awesome is that! More on that soon.
Update to Yoast SEO 11.0 now
So there you have it. Yoast SEO 11.0 features a brand-new, revolutionary Schema implementation — one that is destined to give search engines all your connections on a silver platter. This is a great development, not only for you and for search engines, but, more importantly, for the web in general.
A while back we released Yoast SEO 9.0. This was a huge release for us, as we made our SEO analysis smarter. Thanks to something called stemming, i.e. breaking words down to their smallest form to do complex analysis on, we can now detect word forms. Since then, improving your content has become a much more realistic process as the plugin is better at finding your most important words inside your content. In addition, users of Yoast SEO Premium can improve their content using synonyms and related keyphrases. Today, we’re rolling out word form support to a new language: German.
Wortformen auf Deutsch!
While writing a German language article about the joys of Yoast SEO, your keyphrase might be “Die Yoast SEO Analyse richtig verwenden”. As of today, Yoast SEO Premium will now take other forms — for instance, singulars, plurals, comparatives or past-tense variants — of those words into account as well, even if they are spread across a sentence:
“Wie verwendet man die Yoast SEO Analyse?”
“Wie du die Yoast SEO Analyse richtig verwendest”
“Wie ich die Yoast SEO Analyse richtig verwendet habe”
und so weiter.
No longer do you have to fight to use the words in the same form as in your focus keyphrase. Awesome right? Word form support makes it a lot easier to improve your text, because the Yoast SEO plugin automatically takes different forms of the same word into account as well. If you write naturally, these words and word forms often end up in your text without you thinking about it. By using word forms, Yoast SEO Premium makes the process of optimizing content more flexible, natural and realistic. It’s liberating!
We’d also like to remind our German language Yoast SEO Premium users that they can use related keyphrases and synonyms. Using these features together, you can use Yoast SEO to paint a complete picture of your subject and have it checked thoroughly. Together, we make your best content yet — enjoyed by both users and search engines!
Read our glossary of terms if you need more insights or watch the video below, this explains some of the concepts mentioned:
And don’t forget the infographic that makes these definitions instantly clear!
Our team of linguists spent a serious amount of time bringing the morphology features to other languages. Following English, German is the first in what will, hopefully, be a long line of languages to receive full language support. Stay tuned to see what’s next!
Other language updates in Yoast SEO 10.1
Besides working on getting German full morphological support, our linguists also worked on improving the current languages. For instance, for Swedish we now use a much improved list of transition words. And thanks to Sílvia Fustegueres, we can introduce a better list of Catalan transition words. Not only that, she helped us increase the recommended sentence length limit for Spanish and Catalan. Now, these are more in line with best practices in these languages. Thanks, Sílvia!
Spring cleaning and enhancements
Spring has arrived and that means it’s time to clean up some stuff. Once every while, we go through the plugin to identify and remove all the functionality that we deprecated. This time we looked at functionality from before Yoast SEO 6.1.
Out with the old, in with the new. Here are some of the other changes in Yoast SEO 10.1. With the demise of Google+ it doesn’t make sense to keep mentions of that, right? In return, we added a LinkedIn profile URL field in the user profiles. We’ve also added a Wikipedia URL field to the social accounts list, to be used in sameAs Schema.org output. We’ve aso removed the og:image:alt tag as it causes potential accessibility issues when sharing content via Facebook.
Update to Yoast SEO 10.1
So there you have it, Yoast SEO 10.1 offers a lot on the language front. Users in the German speaking market can now enjoy everything Yoast SEO and Yoast SEO Premium have to offer. Word form support unlocks a whole range of ways to improve content by using the improved SEO analysis, synonyms and related keyphrases. Yoast SEO has your back!
Sometimes you wonder if Google even knows how Google works. Search is getting more complex by the day and there comes a point where it’s anybody’s guess. Yesterday, Google ‘announced’ that its search engine doesn’t use the pagination markup rel=prev/nextat all and hasn’t for years. That’s curious because they have been advocating using it until very recently.
So what are we talking about here?
The web standard rel=prev/next was introduced many, many years ago to help determine relations between part of URLs or different pages. In 2011, Google started using those links as a strong hint to discover pages that were related. Almost every site now uses these links to provide these hints. Yoast SEO automatically adds these links for our users. Now, it turns out Googlebot is deemed so ‘smart’ by Google that it doesn’t need help anymore.
Some smart SEOs found the official help docs for how to use this for pagination gone. Yesterday, Google was pressured into giving an official announcement on this. Here’s that announcement:
Nice and easy, right? Although it is unclear what the pagination changes mean for huge e-commerce sites, for instance: good luck trying to cram 10.000 products on a single view-all page.
The old advice
Google’s advice on its now deleted Webmasters Help page gave the following three options to handle paginated content:
Do nothing. Paginated content is very common, and Google does a good job returning the most relevant results to users, regardless of whether content is divided into multiple pages.
Implement a View All page. Searchers commonly prefer to view a whole article or category on a single page. Therefore, if we think this is what the searcher is looking for, we try to show the View All page in search results. You can also add a rel="canonical" link to the component pages to tell Google that the View All version is the version you want to appear in search results.
Use rel="next" and rel="prev” links or headers to indicate the relationship between component URLs. This markup provides a strong hint to Google that you would like us to treat these pages as a logical sequence, thus consolidating their linking properties and usually sending searchers to the first page.
That page was available up until early this week and it’s not a good practice to simply delete such a page. It would have made much more sense to update the article or show a notice that something changed. Just deleting it without even redirecting it to something else useful feels off. For now, the original blog post announcing the use of rel=prev/next by Google is still available — with a new notice at the top.
What’s Google saying now?
Google’s current stance is that Googlebot is smart enough to discover the next page by analyzing the links on a page and, therefore, a strong signal like rel=prev/next isn’t necessary anymore.
That, however, doesn’t mean you should go and delete all those rel=prev/next links you’ve worked so hard to implement.
It’s important to remember that this is a web standard and that there are other search engines besides Google. Bing’s Frédéric Dubut already said they’re using rel=prev/next as hints for discovering pages and understanding site structure, but not to group pages or rank them.
While we wait for the dust to settle and maybe see if Google details a new way of handling pagination, here are a couple of things you should keep in mind:
So, for the moment keeping everything as it seems like the most sensible option. As this is a W3C standard and not just something Google dreamed up, it’s best to stick to it. It is a good time to take a long hard look at your site structure though!
And what does this mean for Yoast SEO?
Yoast SEO has handled pagination for WordPress sites for ages. As I said, we automatically add everything search engines need to understand how things fit together, like rel=prev/next and a self-referencing canonical.
Not too long ago, we changed the way we handled indexing of paginated content. Initially, we offered the option of noindexing archive pages, but as Google mentioned several times that long-term noindexing eventually leads to them not following those links after some time. This makes adding noindex to page 2 and further of paginated archives a bad idea, as it might lead to your articles no longer getting the internal links they need.
As it stands now, we are talking about how to best go about handling pagination. The need for proper pagination is still there, but it might just turn out that Google has indeed become much smarter at figuring out how everything fits together — and what to show in search or not.
For now, we think that it makes sense to keep everything working the way it does at the moment. Pagination tags can still be useful to other systems — and, if paginated pages are just ‘normal pages’ now, then it makes it even more important not to noindex them.
It’s been in production for many months, capped off with two months of beta testing, and now it’s finally here: Yoast SEO 10.0! Yoast SEO 10.0 features a new SEO analysis, based on thorough research and fine-tuned with your feedback. More than 100.000 people helped us test this release to make it our best yet. Thanks, everyone! Please welcome to the stage: Yoast SEO 10.0 and its state-of-the-art SEO analysis.
We’d like to celebrate the release of Yoast SEO 10.0 with you. Get 10% off Yoast SEO Premium — today only!
Why change the SEO analysis?
SEO is never done. SEO changes constantly. While the basics keep fairly static, a lot of the playing field is different from years ago. We’ve learned a lot over the years about SEO in general, the importance of language, information extraction, and content analysis, among other things. One thing we learned, was that we should put more effort into researching our recommendations. Turned out we could improve communication about why we do what we do. That’s one of the things we wanted to fix in our new SEO analysis.
Almost a year of research went into Yoast SEO 10.0. We turned every nook and cranny of the SEO analysis upside down and inside out. We combined the insights of many SEO experts, linguists, developers and content specialists with research and common sense to come up with a set of improvements. All this lead to this moment, the release of a new SEO analysis in Yoast SEO 10.0. As of today, optimizing your content with Yoast SEO 10.0 is a lot more realistic.
What changed in Yoast SEO 10.0?
There were so many findings that we spread the development of features. One of the main focus points was improving the way we analyze and handle languages. Yoast SEO had to get smarter. These were no easy fixes, so these were developed separately by our team of linguists. That’s why we launched parts of the new SEO analysis earlier, like keyword distribution, word form and synonym support in Yoast SEO 9.0. The bulk of the changes coming from this project, however, are in this release, Yoast SEO 10.0.
Here are some of the changes you’ll notice once you start optimizing content with the new SEO analysis:
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.
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 [doggie]. 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.
Gone from the SEO analysis:
We’ve deprecated the assessments that check the length of your URL and whether your URL contains stopwords.
The rest of the assessments of the SEO analysis remain unchanged. You can find all the different checks in Yoast SEO on the assessment overview page.
New Premium feature: Stale cornerstone content filter
Yoast SEO Premium users also get a new feature: the stale cornerstone content filter. We already offered the possibility to mark your most important posts as cornerstone content, but we’re adding a feature that helps you keep that content fresh. The stale cornerstone content filter helps you keep these updated. It gives you a notification in the WordPress post overview once a cornerstone content article hasn’t been updated in over six months. Here’s how you can use the stale cornerstone content filter.
People love the new SEO analysis
We’ve been beta testing the new SEO analysis with you, our valued user. Many of you gave us very detailed feedback on their experiences with the new SEO analysis. Of course, there are always improvements to be made, but in general, users are positive about the new SEO analysis. Here are a few of the reactions we got, republished with permission:
Yoast has continued to improve the way they help content producers like myself achieve better SEO with respect to our articles and reviews. I’ve grown to trust their prowess in staying up to date with changes in best practices as it relates to Google and other search engines. As a result, my SEO writing has improved, and I tend to trust their opinions when it comes to subtle shifts in content and formatting recommendations. Their newest SEO analysis changes are no exception.
Clint DeBoer, Lakeland, USA
I thought the previous version was good in that it improved the way I wrote and presented my webpages and blogs. However, in my opinion, the new version is more user-friendly and produces better results. I rate it 5 stars.
Jurie Fourie, Pretoria, South Africa
I think Yoast SEO analysis is an awesome tool that has helped improve my online writing immensely. I can’t imagine doing what I love to do without the help of Yoast’s SEO analysis. Yes, it’s a pain in the behind at times. But at the end of the day, SEO analysis is that omnipresent, yet silent content editor and writing coach we all need. Thank you Yoast for building such an outstanding product.
Rod Thomas, Lake Forest, USA
Yoast is constantly analyzing their processes to help me optimize my content. I like that they don’t waste my time with unnecessary analysis. Everything is on point and relevant.
Keith Lauby, Gainesville, USA
I think especially the live marking of text areas is a really good thing. For instance for transition words or keyword distribution, the analysis a tremendously helpful. When I change something, I see the effect it has in real time with no save or refresh necessary. It’s demanding but fun to work with Yoast!
Jacqueline Pohl, Berlin, Germany
It was a great tool before, now it feels more polished and more helpful.
Julia Kaldenhoff, Versailles, France
Keeping the SEO analysis updated
You might think we’d rest on our laurels for a bit after all this hard work, but that’s very far from the truth. Part of the why of this project was to fully update the SEO analysis and to make it easier to keep it up to date. SEO is never done, so we’re never done improving the best SEO plugin out there! We keep researching, testing and tinkering until the end of our days. And, of course, there are a couple of search engines we closely follow that sometimes like to shake things up. We’re ready for that!
How did this come about?
Want to know more about the background of this project? We’ve made a documentary about the process, which you can view below. Or you can read Marieke’s behind the scenes post — she was the project’s lead.
That’s Yoast SEO 10.0 for you. We’ve revamped the SEO analysis and made it more relevant and helpful for you. We’ve enriched the feedback you get, so you can improve your content in a more natural, realistic way. Enjoy this new release! As always, we’re open to feedback and we’ll continue to fine-tune our releases based on user feedback.
We’d like to thank all participants in our beta test and, of course, you, for using Yoast SEO!
Sometimes it’s the little things that count. The new SEO analysis introduced in Yoast SEO 10.0 also comes with a new feature for Premium users: the stale cornerstone content filter. This handy little tool monitors the posts you’ve marked as cornerstone content and warns you if they haven’t been updated for six months. As you know, cornerstone content is extremely important and keeping these up to date imperative. That’s why we remind you to do so!
Need help keeping your cornerstone content in tip top shape? You’re in luck! While celebrating the release of Yoast SEO 10.0, you get 10% off Yoast SEO Premium! Now is the best time to get access to all awesome features.
It’s your most important content — treat it so!
Cornerstone content forms the heart and soul of your site. This is your crucial content that you want to rank in search engines. This content should show how authoritative you are on your chosen subject. You should give cornerstone content extra special care and keep it updated so it doesn’t lose its edge or valuation.
But we get it — it’s easy to forget things like this. There’s always so much work do on your site. That’s exactly why we introduced this stale content filter. It helps you keep essential content on your site fresh and updated. As you’ve marked specific articles as cornerstone content — thus being very important to you and your audience —, we treat them differently. Thanks to the cornerstone analysis, we grade them stricter and now also keep track of whether you keep them updated or not. If you haven’t done that in six months, we show a notification reminding you to do that. Easy, right? If not, read our article on how to keep your content fresh.
How does the stale cornerstone content filter work?
The stale cornerstone content filter is incredibly easy to use as you don’t have to do anything! If you’re anything like us, you’ll never notice it as we try to keep our ultimate guides — our cornerstone content — updated at all times. But if one should slip through the net, we’ll now see it in the post overview of our WordPress dashboard. Just to the left of the cornerstone content filter you’ll find the stale content filter. Does it have a number next to it? Then you have one or more articles that haven’t been updated in at least six months. Click on the filter to see the posts in the post overview.
See the screenshot below:
Then what? Well, that’s up to you! It’s high-time to start working on that post. The least you can do, is read it again critically to see if it is still factual, accurate and relevant. If so, and nothing has changed in your company, market or niche that could warrant an update process, just make some small changes and save the post — the notification will be gone. But in most cases, there’s a lot that can happen in six months and it will be a good idea to reevaluate your content and add, delete or rewrite parts of it. It’s also a good idea to come up with a strategy for your cornerstone content.
Always strive for the best!
If you want to rank, you need to put your heart and soul into your work. Your site must be of impeccable quality, full of high-quality, engaging and relevant content. And that’s a lot of work. We know, because we are in the same position as you. Sometimes, we too find ourselves struggling to keep up and making sense of this never-ending stream of content. Luckily, little helpers like the stale content filter helps to keeps us on our toes!
Do you know what’s inching closer? The release of Yoast SEO 10.0, featuring a new and improved SEO analysis! If you’ve participated in our beta test, you know what to expect. If you haven’t, please stay tuned! It’s only a couple of weeks away. In the meantime, we’re keeping up with our two-week release schedule, so now it’s time to present Yoast SEO 9.7. This release mostly concerns bug fixes and enhancements.
There’s a lot happening behind the scenes at Yoast HQ — we’re hard at work at all kinds of cool stuff. Before we present some of that work, we’re going to do some more cleaning up. So let’s go through some of the improvements in Yoast SEO 9.7.
First, something new for Yoast SEO Premium users. If you fill in your related keyphrases for your article, Yoast SEO can now highlight those keyphrases in the text — just click the eye icon. This makes it easier to discover how you use your related words and concepts inside your articles.
In both versions, we’re now providing better feedback for the cornerstone assessment that checks the length of your most important articles. In our never-ending quest for a product that’s accessible for everyone, we’ve improved the accessibility and focus management for the How-To and FAQ structured data blocks. We’ve also improved the headers for the Internal Links feature on the post overview to allow for better translations and accessibility.
Turns out we were using inch marks around the search term in the breadcrumbs, we’ve now replaced these with smart quotes. We’ve also added a description of the SEO and Readability score to the posts and taxonomies overview in mobile view.
Bug fixes in Yoast SEO 9.7
In this release, we’ve fixed some specific bugs. For one, there was a bug where a Flesch Reading Ease score of exactly ninety would trigger incorrect feedback, so we fixed that. Here are some of the other bugs we fixed — you can find all changes in the changelog.
There were instances where the taxonomy sitemap provider would not handle private taxonomies as expected, which meant that sitemaps would not be accessible in specific situations. We fixed that. There were also bugs related to empty Twitter descriptions, and an ‘undefined index’ warning when saving a Facebook image. Also, some people reported the Recalibration Beta not loading on specific server configurations. All fixed!
Coming up soon: Yoast SEO 10.0!
As you can see, this is a regular bug fix release with nothing too spectacular. We’re saving the spectacular stuff for our next release. As I said, Yoast SEO 10.0 is around the corner. You can expect to hear about that real soon. We’re very excited!