Your keyword research is done and you know what to write about. Nothing is going to stop you from getting all that traffic with your new articles. But when you start writing your article, you notice it can be hard to keep your text focused. Yoast SEO Premium has a helpful little tool to guide you: prominent words in Insights. Here, I’ll show you how it works.

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What is Yoast SEO Insights?

Yoast SEO Insights is a section in the Readability part of the plugin that is meant to hold tools that give you more insights into what you are writing. Currently, the section holds the Prominent words check. Our plugin analyzes your text in real time and provides you with a list of words you use most in your article.

By checking the prominent words against your intended keyword(s) for this post, you should see if there are any discrepancies. If you write about ‘off-page SEO’ and the most prominent word in your text is ‘on-page SEO’ you’re probably going in the wrong direction. You can edit your text until it becomes more focused on your main focus keyword and its supporting or related keywords.

What’s more, you might find new words in that list that should really be on your keyword list. Great, add them to the list and maybe even write a new post about them.

Prominent words are not tied to the SEO and readability analyses in Yoast SEO. Follow their lead to find out if you’ve used your focus keyword correctly and use the prominent words feature to get an idea of what your artice is actually about. If it doesn’t align with your goals you can fix that.

insights prominent words yoast seo

Internal linking uses Yoast SEO Insights

The prominent words feature is a great tool to help you focus your text. While using it, you can get a good feel of where your text is going and you can make changes right away or after you’ve finished your draft. In addition, the prominent words also serve another purpose as they are used to determine which articles are suggested by our internal linking tool.

The internal linking tool is also a premium feature and it suggests links to add to your article based on what you write. These suggestions are super relevant and by automatically suggesting them, you won’t have to find them yourself. Click on the icon and paste the link over the relevant piece of text.

Want the prominent words check? Get Premium!

Both the prominent words in insights and the internal linking features are available in Yoast SEO Premium. In addition to these two cool tools, you’ll also get, among other things, a killer redirects manager, the possibility to optimize your articles for multiple focus keywords and social previews for Twitter and Facebook.

What are you waiting for, go get it!

Read more: ‘SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide’ »

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We’ve been on quite the hiring spree at Yoast HQ and today, we’d like to introduce you to our newest Yoaster. This, however, is not just any old hire. No, it’s none other than the incredible Jono Alderson. Jono has been a leading figure in the world of SEO for some time now. He leaves his job as a principal consultant at Distilled London behind to join Team Yoast in our quest to make SEO available to everyone. So, without further ado: Meet Jono Alderson!

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Q. You’re a well-known figure in the world of SEO, with years of hands-on experience under your belt. What’s more, you are a keynote speaker at many SEO conferences. However, there are probably loads of people who don’t know you: could you introduce yourself?

Sure – though I suspect my story is similar to many others in the industry!

I started out as a bedroom web developer many years ago, and became a bit obsessed about code quality, standards, accessibility, and so on. Tweaking titles, refining HTML, adding alt attributes, etc. I was doing technical SEO before I’d even heard of SEO, and I loved it.

My first exposure to ‘grown-up’ SEO was when I got a job at a digital marketing agency (I lucked my way through the interview with nothing but enthusiasm – thanks Ryan Scott), and then spent five years growing and leading a team of awesome marketers. We learned as we went when SEO was still a bit “wild west,” but we were always trying to be the good guys. We did some great work for some really big clients, and I’m proud of what we achieved.

More importantly, I learned a lot about business, strategy, and other technologies and channels.

From there, I’ve just kept learning. As SEO grows increasingly more ‘holistic’ and connected to other channels, I’ve kept pushing myself out of my comfort zone to learn new skills, embrace new ideas, and to grow as a person.

Q. What did you do at your previous employer, Distilled?

jono aldersonI was ‘Principal Consultant’ in the London office for just over a year, and it was a great time and experience. I’d wanted to work for Distilled for as long as I can remember – they were one of the big influences on my learning and thinking when I started out in the field – and they’re some of the smartest people I’ve met in the industry.

I did a bit of everything – mostly floating around the edges and tackling some of the more interesting, technical or complex briefs and projects which didn’t quite fit into the day-to-day flow of the agency.

Some of the most interesting projects ranged from owning and delivering enormous strategy pieces for big brands (“What should our five-year strategy be, to win the market?”), down to very technical stuff, like un-picking flakey Angular implementations across international, multi-domain, websites.

I’m already missing the team, and the kinds of projects which we worked on – but I’m excited to be doing something new!

Q. You know Joost de Valk quite a while, right? How did you meet and when did he offer you a job?

Embarrassingly, I was once very dismissive of both Joost and the Yoast SEO plugin in a conference talk about web performance, blaming both for making website owners ‘lazy’ when it comes to optimisation.

I think word got back to him, and it made for an interesting rivalry, where I was just some upstart SEO geek calling out a legend. Oops.

I’m still a little nervous that many users of the Yoast SEO plugin just turn it on and forget about it, and how many missed opportunities that represents, but that’s something we can tackle together!

So when I first met Joost in person at SEOktoberfest 2016, I was a little nervous! But we had a great time. And after the 2017 event, we got chatting about joining forces – it all happened pretty organically, mostly over Facebook messenger in the middle of the Christmas break!

Q. What are you going to do at Yoast?

I think we’ll mostly work it out as we go! I’m keen to roll my sleeves up and start to prototype and play with some features and functionality in the plugin. I still find myself getting frustrated with parts of the WordPress editing and management experiences, so it’ll be great to attack some of that from closer to the inside. Gutenberg’s pretty exciting, too, so I’m looking forward to exploring what we can achieve in a block-based world!

I’m also going to maintain strong links with the SEO industry. I’ve made a lot of friends at agencies, tool vendors and organizations who’ll be important allies as we continue to strive to make SEO more accessible and to raise the bar on technical SEO. I’m looking forward to speaking at a bunch of conferences, too!

Q. What are you hoping to achieve at Yoast?

I really love the core mission – SEO for everyone. I want to make the web a better place, to improve the quality, accessibility and performance of websites, and just to solve technical SEO. It still astounds me how many sites have basic faults, broken links, malformed HTML, and so on. I’ll be in a position to make a measurable improvement to the quality of millions of websites and to help all of those people perform better in search. That’s awesome.

Q. You are both a search strategist and a developer, not unlike Joost himself. What does this allow you to do?

I’m really uncreative. I have no dexterity. I can’t draw, kick a football, or hang a shelf.

But if you put me in front of a computer, I can dream in CSS. I can think in database structures. I can see in JavaScript. The web is where I can be creative, and I can make anything I can think of.

So joining up the ideation, strategy and business side to the development side lets me play. It’s incredibly liberating to be able to come up with an idea for a thing, to validate that it should work commercially/strategically, then to build a functioning, scalable proof of concept.

The drawback is, I’m a terrible finisher! I’ve piles of half-completed projects, where I’ve solved the problem in my head, but have got bored by the long-slog to the finishing line.

So it’ll be great to work with a team where I can do my bit, then let people who’re much better at rigorous, process-driven testing and development ship something complete!

Q. What’s your view on the current state of SEO and search in general? Which developments excite you? What should we look out for in the coming months?

I think that we’re finally starting to think beyond links, rankings and ranking factors. I’m seeing the spotlight gradually shifting to quality – conversations about rankings are talking about UX and brand/product quality, rather than links and click-through rates.

Google’s so close to having closed the gap on approximating and extrapolating ‘quality’ from link and site metrics, which means that improving that ‘quality’ means actually improving the thing you are/do/sell. That’s the kind of SEO I want to do and see.

That said, I’m also enjoying technical SEO becoming cool again. For a long time, ‘content marketing’ occluded technical SEO. But now performance, JavaScript and accessibility are just as commonly discussed – maybe more so – than content, links and ‘inbound’ stuff.

There’s so much more coming, too – the web itself is maturing and moving forwards, and SEOs will need to stay on top of the latest tech and trends. I’m excited to see more people talking about Progressive Web Apps, and some of Chrome’s newest toys (like server-side timings) are really neat!

Q. You also call yourself an amateur futurologist, so I have to ask this question: Are robots going to take over the world?

They already have! Your mobile phone already runs your life, increasingly your Alexa or Google Home will run your home, and there’s more to come. It’s no coincidence that all of the big global players are investing in machine learning, in-home devices, and mobile hardware.

I don’t think we need to be too scared, yet. We’re still a long way from any kind of Terminator scenario, and before we get to that, we’ll get some really neat stuff in scaled computation and processing.

Having said that, if I was a robot from the future wanting to take over the world, maybe I’d do it by flooding the internet with a powerful piece of distributed software, which everybody used and relied on. Then I could subvert it, and control the web. Maybe I’d call it “JonoPress.”

You can find Jono on Twitter.

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

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Something’s brewing at Yoast HQ. There’s no sign of spring yet, but we feel the need for a spring clean-up. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been looking critically at the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin and its many features and thinking: what’s this doing here? And should we get rid of that thing? Some of the results of that process are collected here, in Yoast SEO 6.3. But this is only the beginning.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

We’ve removed the meta keywords box

Meta keywords haven’t had any use for ages. In 2009, Google officially confirmed that they didn’t use them. We, however, kept the box since some of you clamored at the slightest hint that we were even thinking about deleting it. But now, after all these years, it is the time to say goodbye to the old meta keywords box. It was fun while it lasted, but it should have been gone years ago. Read why we don’t use meta keywords and why you shouldn’t either.

The “noindex subpages” feature is also gone

Since Google has gotten much better at working with paginated series, we’ve removed the feature that allows noindexing subpages of archives. According to Joost de Valk, the reasoning behind this is simple: “rel="next" and rel="prev" make sure Google sends people to the first page in a paginated series. There is one catch: sometimes it will send people to a specific page in the series, but that’s when that page is the best match for their query. This, therefore, should be better for the searcher. Noindexing all these pages leads to a lower amount of crawls for them (source), which subsequently leads to lower amounts of crawls for older articles, which is not a good idea on most sites.”

Enhancements: more context, fewer settings

In Yoast SEO 6.3, you’ll not only find loads of new enhancements that’ll improve how the plugin works, but we’ve also provided more context within the plugin so you can find out immediately what a particular toggle or feature does. By deleting a couple of features, we even said goodbye to a tab in the advanced settings. To help you find these settings, we’ve added a step in the configuration wizard for enabling (or disabling) the advanced settings. Also, we’ve improved the Open Graph copy for Facebook and Twitter in the Social settings to explain better what it does.

To help you transfer data from other WordPress SEO plugins we’ve added an importer for the SEO Ultimate plugin and the SEOpressor plugin. We already supported several other SEO plugins, like HeadSpace2, All in One SEO, JetPack SEO, WooThemes SEO Framework, and wpSEO.

In Yoast SEO Premium, we’ve also made several improvements that make it more apparent what a particular feature does. We’ve added a piece of text to the Internal Linking analyzer after completing a full site scan. This gives you more insight into what the effects are of running the analyzer. What’s more, we’ve added an explanation on entries on the features tab and links to explanatory articles on the features tab.

Doing housekeeping

In addition to all these enhancements and the deletion of some superfluous features, we’ve been busy fixing bugs and getting things ready for the next release. You can find every bug fix and feature enhancement in the changelog on WordPress.org. As I said, we’re busy as bees at the moment and cannot wait to show you what we’ve come up with.

Update now!

Yoast SEO 6.3 and its various add-ons all received nice updates today. We’re cleaning up the plugins as part of our quest for keeping our interfaces and features as easy as possible. In the coming weeks, we hope to show you more of what we’ve been up to. For now, update your plugins and stay tuned!

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

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February 7, 2018, marks the release of a brand new course in the Yoast Academy: Multilingual SEO. The Multilingual SEO training is for every site owner, developer or SEO who targets people in various locales and languages. The time-limited introductory price will be $169. After a week, it will go to its regular price of $199. Don’t miss this great Multilingual SEO course!

Loads of sites target consumers from other countries. Sometimes these consumers even speak another language. Targeting these customers with a well-thought-out SEO strategy takes some work, and many sites fail to deliver. Wouldn’t it be great to get some help reaching those customers in other countries? We know it can be a struggle setting everything up correctly so we’d like to help you. That’s why, on February 7, we’re launching the Multilingual SEO course.

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According to Yoast founder and CEO Joost de Valk, many sites make mistakes when implementing the hreflang standard. The new Multilingual SEO training by Yoast makes hreflang easy to grasp and gives a step-by-step guide to implement hreflang correctly.

We’ll also teach you how to set up and maintain a multilingual keyword research strategy. Also, users get practical tips to transfer original content from one language to the next and to pick the domain name that fits their goals best.

The Multilingual SEO course will have an introductory price of $169. The regular price will be $199.

The Multilingual SEO training has over 2 hours of video, loads of reading material and interactive quizzes to educate users on every major issue surrounding multilingual and multiregional SEO. It will take about 12 hours to complete the full training program.

What will you learn in the Multilingual SEO training?

  • How to make sure you use the keywords that your audience is searching for in a specific language.
  • To write and adapt SEO optimized copy for various languages.
  • How to target specific audiences in specific regions and countries
  • To pick the optimal domain structure for your situation
  • Tell Google what variation of a page people from which country should be directed to.

Who is the Multilingual SEO course for?

  • Everyone who is operating – or looking to operate – a multilingual site
  • You maintain sites, blogs or online shops for clients or you have your own
  • You have a technical background, or you don’t – doesn’t matter!
  • It also doesn’t matter if you use WordPress or another CMS

And here’s a brief overview of the contents:

1. Introduction

  • What does Google do
  • Holistic SEO

2. Keywords and content

  • Keyword research, international keyword research.
  • Copywriting, multilingual copywriting, transcreating content

3. Domain structure

  • TLDs
  • Subdirectories and subdomains
  • Targeting multiple languages within a country

4. Hreflang

  • Hreflang basics
  • Implementation elements converning hreflang
  • Hreflang implementation choices
  • Hreflang risks & maintenance

The Multilingual SEO training will be launched on February 7, 2018. Sign up for our newsletter and receive a message when it is available to buy.

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Off-page SEO is about everything that doesn’t happen directly on your website. Optimizing your website is called on-page SEO and includes things like site structure, content and speed optimizations. Off-page SEO is about, among other things, link building, social media and local SEO. Or in other words, generating traffic to your site and making your business appear like the real deal it is. In this post, we answer the question: What is off-page SEO?

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Creating exposure, trust and brand awareness

When focusing on on-page SEO, you’re doing everything in your power to make your site awesome. You write great content, have a solid site structure and your mobile site loads in just a couple of seconds. All is well in the world. Off-page SEO on the other hand, helps you to bring in those hordes of visitors and potential customers. Both are important pieces of the puzzle.

By writing quality content you can rank in search engines, but by getting a few great, relevant sites to link to that content, you’re increasing the chance that you’ll end up a couple of spots higher. The same goes for building your brand and creating trust. This doesn’t just happen on your site, but mostly off-site. Take reviews for instance, these can make or break your company. You need them, but they most often appear on external sites. These are all factors that contribute to your rankings.

It’s not only important for you to rank high for your search term, but also to create trust and a sense of authority. You must appear to be the best search result, not just in technical and content sense, but also in reality. Popularity, quality and relevance are everything.

A lot of it comes down to link building

Links are the glue that keeps the web together. Search engines use links to determine how valuable a piece of content or a particular site is. Getting quality links has always been a great tactic if you’re serious about ranking. And who isn’t? Recently, however, some people seem to debate the relevance of links. We firmly believe in the importance of links. Of course, you need the good ones. Don’t buy stuff, and keep a close eye on where and how you’re being linked to. We’ve written several guides on how to get quality links for your site and what you shouldn’t do when link building.

Social media helps to a certain extent

By itself social media is not essential for ranking well in search engines. It does, however, give you a unique opportunity to get in touch with customers and potential visitors.

As David Mhim wrote in his epic Ranking your local business post series: “”Being active” on social media isn’t really going to help with your local search visibility. And even if you’re wildly popular on social media, it’s unlikely that popularity will translate directly into higher local search rankings. You should primarily focus your social media efforts on engaging your customers with interesting content, promotions (if relevant), and polls and conversations that will increase their affinity for your brand. You can promote your website to a degree, but generally speaking, improvements in your local rankings will come from other factors.”

Local SEO is also off-page SEO

Local SEO is essential if you’re business is locally oriented. For local businesses, part of the off-page SEO is really in-person SEO. Word-of-mouth marketing plays a big role in getting people to your business. Not just that, happy customers can leave reviews online that Google – and potential other customers – can use to see how well you are doing.

Off-page SEO is an integral part of your SEO strategy

As we’ve shown, off-page SEO supplements on-page SEO. Both go hand in hand. You need to focus on your link building, branding and appearance efforts to make the most of your SEO. You can optimize your site all you want, but if isn’t perceived as a quality destination for people, you won’t do well.

Read more: ‘The ultimate guide to content SEO’ »

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Since launching the readability analysis way back when we’ve been steadily adding support for more and more languages. Today, with the release of Yoast SEO 6.2, we’re expanding our knowledge of languages again by introducing passive voice checks for the French and Spanish languages.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Improving language checks

At Yoast, we firmly believe that readability ranks. We’ve developed several tools to help you write awesome articles that please both readers and search engines. The readability analysis is one of our most popular tools. It checks whether your writing is up to scratch. The tool determines how readable your content is and suggests improvements to make sure everyone can enjoy your articles. We use our vast knowledge of languages to offer advice tailored to your situation and language used.

Currently, we can check texts in several languages. We offer full support for English and German, while Dutch, French, Italian and Spanish have varying degrees of support. We’re always looking to expand our knowledge of languages. In Yoast SEO 6.2, we’re growing our support for French and Spanish: we can now run a complete passive voice check in both languages.

Passive voice French and Spanish

You might know that using the passive voice often in your text makes it appear distant and your messages will become less apparent. Sentences become longer and more complicated. Readers have to think harder and longer about what you have to say. Our passive voice check keeps your passive voice in check. As of today, we’re doubling the number of languages we can check for passive voice. French (La voix passive) and Spanish (La voz pasiva) join English and German. More languages are on the way.

English German Dutch French Spanish Italian
Transition words
Flesch reading ease
Passive voice
Sentence beginnings
Sentence length
Function words (for Internal linking and insights)

Security improvements, bugfixes & enhancements

In every release, we try to fix annoyances both big and small. By fixing these bugs, we make sure that Yoast SEO keeps running without fault. With every enhancement, we add we try to make it easier for you to use the plugin. One of the most significant improvements in Yoast SEO 6.2 is the hardening of our security. We’ve adopted several stricter code checks that enforce a more rigorous security policy. This means that our code is less prone to outside manipulation.

Thanks for using Yoast SEO

So there you have it. Yoast SEO 6.2 adds two new passive voice checks – French and Spanish – and several other improvements. So, if that’s your mother tongue or just a language you use regularly, you’ll be delighted with this new addition. Wondering what else is new? Check out the changelog on WordPress.org. Don’t forget to hit that update button!

Read more: ‘SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide’ »

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Search engines love entities. Entities can be people, places, things, concepts, or ideas and they will often appear in the Knowledge Graph. Lots of search terms can be an entity, but specific search terms can also have different meanings and thus, be different entities. Take [Mars] for example; are you talking about the planet entity or the candy bar entity? The context you give these entities in your content determines how search engines see and file your content. Find out how to link entities to your content.

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Let’s talk semantics

Semantics is the search for meaning in words. In theory, you could write an article about Mars without ever mentioning it directly. People would understand it if you provide enough context in the form of commonly used terms and phrases. To illustrate this, we’ll take the keyword [Mars]. Mars is a so-called entity, and search engines use these to determine the semantics of a search.

If you search this term in Google, you’ll most likely get results about the planet Mars. But why? Why isn’t the Mars candy bar in the top listings? Or Mars the chocolate company? Or the discovery district MaRS in Toronto? Maybe the Japanese movie called Mars? Or one of the many Mars-related movies made over the years? This is because Google makes an educated guess using search intent and your search history. Also, it uses co-occurring synonyms, keywords, and phrases to determine which page is about one of these specific search variations and which ones to show.

Co-occurring terms and phrases

Co-occurring terms and phrases are those that are commonly used to describe an entity. These are the terms that are most likely to pop up in content about that entity. Content about the planet Mars will probably contain mentions of the following terms:

  • ‘red planet’
  • ‘northern hemisphere’
  • ’low atmospheric pressure’
  • ‘martian craters’
  • ’red-orange appearance’
  • ’terrestrial planet’
  • ’second-smallest planet in the Solar System’
  • etc.

Pages with Mars candy bar content might feature phrases like:

  • ‘chocolate candy bar’
  • ’nougat and caramel covered in milk chocolate’
  • ’limited-edition variants’
  • ’ingredients’
  • ‘nutritional information’
  • etc

While content about the 2016 Mars movie will probably mention its main protagonists Rei Kashino and Makio Kirishima.

All these words are co-occurring keywords and phrases. It’s a type of content that is semantically related to the main keyword, but that doesn’t contain the keyword itself. This might include synonyms but often expands on that because they clarify the knowledge of the term, instead of saying the same thing differently. Search engine spiders scan your content for these related terms to paint a picture about the nature of your page. This way, it can correctly index the page, ie. file under [planet Mars], not [Mars the candy bar].

Optimize for phrase-based indexing

Over the years, Google was awarded several patents that suggested the development of a phrase-based indexing system and systems using word co-occurence to improve the clustering of topics. This is information retrieval system uses phrases to index, retrieve, organize and describe content. By analyzing the context surrounding an entity – meaning all the phrases that are commonly connected to an entity – Google can truly understand what a piece of content is about. That might sound complex, but it is something you can optimize for. And you are probably already doing that – to a certain extent. First, do keyword research. After that, provide context in your articles.

When writing about an entity in your content, it makes a lot of sense to give search engines – and readers for that matter – as much context as possible. Use every meaningful sentence you can think of. This way, you can take away any doubt about the meaning of your content.

If your subject is the planet Mars, you need to take a look at the Knowledge Graph in Google. Scour Wikipedia. Find out what kind of common terms and phrases co-occur in search results and incorporate them into your content so you can give your term the right context. Also, run a search and open the sites of competitors that rank high for your search terms. What are they writing about and how do they describe the entity? What terms and phrases can you use in your content? By doing this, you’ll find out that there will be much overlap with what you had in mind, but there will be many new – and maybe better – nuggets for you to use.

One more thing: no LSI keywords

Recently, the term LSI keywords started to pop up again as a magical way to play into one of Google’s ranking factors. They are not. Yes, you have to provide search engines context. No, latent semantic indexing has nothing to do with it. There’s no evidence whatsoever that search engines have ever used latent semantic indexing to determine rankings. LSI was a document analysis patent from the 90’s that only seemed to work on a limited set of documents, and it has no place in SEO.

Read more: ‘Keyword research for SEO: the ultimate guide’ »

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Everybody knows the colored bullets in Yoast SEO. There are two parts to the traffic light system, namely the content analysis and the readability analysis. The first checks whether your post is SEO-proof, while the latter checks if it is readable for a general audience. Of course, these two are interconnected as readable content is incredibly important if you want your site to succeed. Here, I’ll show you how to use the readability analysis.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

What does the readability analysis in Yoast SEO do?

The readability analysis uses an algorithm to determine how readable your post is. We’ve carefully crafted this algorithm to make it as valuable as possible without being too strict. It features several checks that’ll give you advice when you write your post. In other words, by following the advice, you can make your text easier to read and understand.

It has been said that Yoast SEO suggests to dumb down your writing. Of course, that’s not the case. We merely want to help people write easy to understand content. I always come back to this quote by content designer Sarah Richards about making your content as readable for humans as possible:

“You’re not dumbing down, you’re opening up.”

By simplifying content, you’re automatically growing your audience as more people grasp the message of your content. Also, you’re not writing your content just for people anymore. Even virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have to be able to work with it as well. And even Google increasingly uses well-written pieces of content for rich results like featured snippets.

That being said, while the advice in the readability section is not the be-all and end-all advice, it does give you important clues to the perceived difficulty of your text. It is crucial to write with readability in mind, as we think readability ranks!

Current readability checks

At the moment, Yoast SEO uses the following checks:

  • Transition words: Do you use transition words like ‘most importantly’, ‘because’, ‘therefore’, or ‘besides that’ to tie your text together? Using these words improves the flow of your article as they provide hints to the reader about what is coming next.
  • Sentence beginnings: Do any of your consecutive sentences start with the same word? This would cause repetition for your reader, and that might be annoying. Always mix up your sentences to keep your article readable and free of obstacles, unless you want to prove something or use it as a writing style, of course.
  • Flesch reading ease: This world-famous test analyzes texts and grades them on a scale from 1-100. The lower the score, the more difficult to read the text is. Texts with a very high Flesch reading ease score (about 100) are very easy to read. They have short sentences and no words of more than two syllables. Usually, a reading ease score of 60-70 is believed to be acceptable/normal for web copy.
  • Paragraph length: Some people tend to use extremely long paragraphs. Doing so makes your text look daunting as it becomes just one big blob of text. Break it up, use shorter paragraphs and insert subheadings.
  • Sentence length: Sentence length is one of the core issues that makes a text hard to read. If your sentences are too long – over 20 words – people might lose track of your point. Often, readers have to jump back a few words to find out what you mean. This very tiring and inefficient. Try to keep the number of words in a sentence in check. Shorten your sentences. Aim for easy understanding, not a complex literary masterpiece.
  • Passive voice: Using a lot of passive voice in your text makes it appear distant, and your message will be less clear. Your sentences become wordy and hard to grasp because you have to work harder understand the sentence structure. Whenever you use the passive voice, always consider whether a better, active alternative is available.

Supported languages

The readability analysis is available in several languages, see the table below. We’re continually working on adding new languages. As we speak, French is receiving support for passive voice.

English German Dutch French Spanish Italian
Transition words ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Flesch reading ease ✅ ✅ ✅
Passive voice ✅ ✅
Sentence beginnings ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Sentence length1 ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Function words (for Internal linking and insights) ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅

readability analysis yoast seo

How to use the readability analysis in Yoast SEO

It’s very easy to use the readability analysis in Yoast SEO to improve your content. Personally, I just start writing the article I want to write. I keep the audience I’m writing for in the back of my head and try to use the words they use daily. Although the readability score is calculated in real time, I won’t look at the score during the writing process. Only after (the draft of) my article is finished, I’ll check the readability score and see if I have to fix anything. If I get an orange or red bullet, I can click on the eye icon to jump to the spot where improvements can be made. Easy peasy!

Everyone has their own writing and editing process, and my way isn’t necessarily how you should use it. For instance, you might be targeting a Flesch level of 80. If so, you have to find out what works gradually. When using the readability tool for a while, you’ll notice that you’ll automatically get a feel for the text level you are aiming for. Practice makes perfect!

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

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Should all bullets be green?

This is a question we often get and no, not every bullet has to be green. What you should aim for, though, is a green bullet overall – the one in the tab that reads Readability. Having an orange bullet like in the screenshot above is ok. It’s not that your article won’t be able to rank if it doesn’t pass all of the tests. This is merely an indication, not a necessity.

We want everyone to be able to read and understand content, but we also know that there are industries where the language used is totally different from what ordinary people would use. That’s perfectly fine. Find out what works in your case. Need help? Please read our ultimate guide to SEO copywriting.

Try it out!

The readability and content analyses of Yoast SEO help you to write killer, SEO-proof articles that are easy to grasp for anyone. In doing so, you make sure that every piece of content you write is ready to start ranking in search engines while staying enjoyable for readers. Don’t have Yoast SEO yet or want to take advantage of the awesome additional features our Premium plugin offers? What are you waiting for?

Read more: ‘How to use the content & SEO analysis of Yoast SEO’ »

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Welcome, 2018! And welcome to our first release of 2018: Yoast SEO 6.1. This is the first in a long line of new versions to be released in this new year. Yoast SEO 6.1 is mainly a bug fix release that makes sure that your favorite plugin runs like butter. Find out what’s new!

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Bye 2017. Hello 2018

Over the course of 2017, we significantly enhanced and improved our SEO plugins. Yoast SEO, in particular, received great new features, including several tools that help you build a solid site structure. You can read more on that in our looking back on 2017 post.

2018 is filled with great plans, so we’re very much looking forward to the new year. We can’t say much yet, but there is one thing that is on everyone’s mind: Gutenberg. Rest assured, we’re going to make an excellent integration with Yoast SEO. What’s more, we’re actively helping to improve Gutenberg itself. Stay tuned!

Enhancements and bug fixes

In building software, there’s always something to improve. Sometimes we spot issues while using our plugins, but most of the time regular people like yourself will find something to improve. We’re thrilled with feedback as it gives us a chance to improve things that bother people.

In Yoast SEO 6.1, the community contributions were from Peeter Marvet and Raitis Sevelis. Peeter suggested adding support for locales without territory (examples: et, fi) and support for 3-letter language codes (example: rhg). Thanks to Raitis from Visual Composer, we’ve fixed a JavaScript compatibility issue by prefixing the webpack jsonP function with yoast. These are just some of the bug fixes in Yoast SEO 6.1. Find out what else we fixed in the changelog.

Translating Yoast SEO

One of the main selling points of Yoast SEO is its fully localized interface. Almost every part of it is translatable. Our community happily lends a hand to translate the plugin into a huge number of languages. Yoast SEO is currently available in 34 locales. In Yoast SEO 6.1, we’ve added even more translatable strings so people can translate every nook and cranny of the plugin. Want to help translate? Go to Translate WordPress and join in!

Update to Yoast SEO 6.1!

This first release of 2018 fixes several bugs and introduces a couple of enhancements that make Yoast SEO easier to use. We’re looking forward to what the rest of 2018 will bring and hope you’ll join us on our adventure. Remember, you can shape the future of Yoast SEO as well. Join our GitHub community and suggest feature enhancements or submit bugs. Thanks a bunch!

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

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A year always seems like such a long time. But whenever we reach the end of one, we tend to say: where did it go? That’s definitely the case for developing and using software. We’re so invested in Yoast SEO that we sometimes forget when we added a feature because we use it so much. So, now’s the perfect time to give you a brief overview of the evolution of Yoast SEO in 2017. Enjoy!

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

To celebrate, we’re having an end of the year sale. Get all our products at 10% off!

Yoast year in review

Starting 2017 with Yoast SEO 4.1

2017 started off with a bang: we added a mobile version of the well-known snippet preview and full support for the German language. We all know mobile has only gained importance this past year and will continue to be essential. Just look at Google’s decision to switch to a mobile-first index sometime early next year.

A strong focus on site structure

The overarching theme of Yoast SEO in 2017 was site structure. We wanted to give you a set of tools to improve your site structure since site structure is one of the most overlooked, but critical parts of SEO. We wanted to build tools that are easy to use and extremely valuable. We’re happy to say we’ve succeeded! During the year, several improvements to current tools and new additions turned Yoast SEO into a fantastic tool to improve your site structure.

Vastly improved internal linking tool

internal linking toolIt all started in Yoast SEO 4.0, in December of 2016, when we launched the initial version of the internal linking tool. So what does the internal linking tool do? While working on your post, our internal linking tool will give you suggestions on which posts you could consider linking to because they are about related topics. Linking to these posts will help you create a better site structure.

To quote our CEO Joost de Valk:

“The internal linking tool is one of the most powerful tools we’ve ever built, and it keeps surprising me. I love it. In its current form, it’ll allow you to improve your site structure by the bucketload, just by suggesting posts to link to. I am very excited about where it will go from here!”

New languages

During the year we added several new languages to our roster. Besides English, we added full support for German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian and French in 2017. Yoast SEO has full knowledge of these languages so the internal linking tool and readability tools can give solid advice tailored to those languages. In 2018, more languages will follow. Our linguists are even looking into complicated languages like Japanese.

Text link counter

As we all know, links – both internal and external – play an important role in SEO. This year, Yoast SEO received several tools that help improve your linking strategy. Since 4.7, for instance, we check the text to see if you’ve added links. If not, the SEO content check will give you a red bullet. If all is well, Yoast SEO will suggest relevant links to other articles you’ve written, and you can just copy and past a new link in your article.

The text link counter, introduced in Yoast SEO 5.0, works in the post and pages section of your WordPress backend. In two columns, you’ll see how many incoming and outgoing internal links an article has. This functionality is very actionable. If you want to improve your site structure and your SEO, the text link counter will help you do that. You can go through your post with few links and improve your site’s structure step by step.

text link counter

Orphaned content filter

Orphaned content, you say? Yes, orphaned content is content on your site that doesn’t get any links from other parts of your site. Content that doesn’t get links will stay undiscovered by visitors and search engines. But if a certain article is important to you and you want it to rank for a specific keyword, you need to link it in your site structure. In Yoast SEO 5.6, we added a filter that finds these articles so that you can quickly remedy this situation and add these valuable articles to your site structure.

Checking and optimizing cornerstone content

While and finding and creating relevant links to your other content is crucial to building a solid site structure, there was another piece of the site structure missing: cornerstone content. Cornerstone content pieces are those articles on your website you’re most proud of. They reflect your business, communicate your mission, are thorough and extremely well written. These are the articles you would like to rank high in the search engines.

To help you determine what those articles are, we introduced several cornerstone content features. First, there’s the cornerstone content check in Yoast SEO 4.6. By marking an article as cornerstone content, this article receives priority over a regular article. These articles are analyzed more thoroughly to increase the chance of them popping up as must-link articles.

cornerstone content

In Yoast SEO 4.8 we expanded that feature. Since then, we analyze your cornerstone content following a particular, stricter set of specifications. These checks will help you build killer cornerstone articles. Among other things, we now check if a cornerstone article has 900+ words and if the keyword is in at least two subheadings. All this will help you to improve your most important content.

This suite of site structure tools gives you everything you need to improve your site structure. Use them!

So what else was new?

Besides helping you fix your site structure, we did loads of other cool stuff. Let’s go!

Redirect improvements

Our redirects manager is one of the most important tools in Yoast SEO. It helps you redirect anything you ever wanted. This year, we improved it drastically, with new filter options and a long-awaited import/export from/to CSV. You can analyze your redirects in a sheet, make edits and import it again.

SEO roles

Yoast SEO was always an on/off affair. There was no way to give site editors, for instance, access to selected parts of the plugin they need to do their work. Since Yoast SEO 5.5, that is now possible! Expanded in 5.8, SEO roles and capabilities give site managers to chance to fine-tune who gets to access what in Yoast SEO.

Tune Yoast SEO to your liking

Getting lost in all the Yoast SEO settings? Don’t need the readability analysis? Just want the basic settings? No problem, an ever-increasing number of features in Yoast SEO gets their own on/off toggle. Keep your workspace clean and focused.

Optimize your site to the max: get all our SEO plugins and extensions at once! Get our Yoast Complete SEO bundle and save money! »

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PHP 7 and beyond

At Yoast, we care about a lot of things, but two things in a very particular order: user happiness first, developer happiness second. A user is happy when he or she has a fast, easy to install, secure content management system like WordPress to build a site in. A developer is happy when he or she can use a modern language and modern tooling to build software with. That’s why we started the Whip project in March of 2017. The goal of this project is to steer users and web hosts away for unsupported PHP versions like 5.4 and move them towards the fast and secure PHP7.

Full support for ACF

2017 was also the year of an awesome collaborative effort: The ACF Content Analysis for Yoast SEO plugin. The Advanced Custom Fields plugin makes it easier to add custom fields to any WordPress site. Custom fields are used to extend WordPress. People use them to build tailored solutions to, often, complex problems. The ACF Content Analysis for Yoast SEO plugin makes it possible for Yoast SEO to work inside custom fields. By using this plugin, you can use the SEO and readability analysis features of Yoast SEO to check your writing and SEO score, even if they live in a complex custom field.

Vastly improved code-base

This year was not all about new features. We’ve been hard at work improving our code to make our plugins future-proof and easier to manage. One of the biggest project at Yoast right now is project Reactify. We are in the process of rebuilding several main parts of Yoast SEO in the JavaScript library React. This makes these easier to port to other platforms, for instance.

Yoast SEO for Magento 2 & TYPO3

Yoast was built for an open source world, and we’re branching out to other open CMSes. This year, we introduced the Magento 2 and TYPO3 communities to the pleasures of working with Yoast SEO. Together with our development partner MaxServ, we built tailored plugins for these popular platforms. We’re already looking where to go next.

Ending 2017 with Yoast SEO 6.0

In a year spanning more than 30 releases, the last one was maybe the most talked about. Not that we introduced a killer new feature or did something awkward. No, it was all about Google’s decision to move from 160 character meta descriptions to 320 character descriptions. This caused quite a stir and people were quickly asking whether Yoast SEO would follow suit and let people use all those characters. In Yoast SEO 6.0, we expanded the length of descriptions. We, however, are still researching what this decision means for the advice we give our users.

Thanks to you, our beloved community contributors

In the end, we couldn’t have done it without you. We love getting input, feedback, bug reports and features requests. Almost every release featured a community contribution, either bug fixes or improving the flow of our plugin. We love getting these suggestions, and we love to see how much thought and care people put in their work. Collectively, we make Yoast SEO better and better!

And 2018?

We’ve got loads of plans for the new year, but first, we’ve got to get a new speed bump out of the way. You know that word? It starts what a ‘G’ and ends with ‘utenberg’. Yeah, Gutenberg is going to take up a lot of our time. We’re pretty optimistic about the project, and we are doing our best to help improve where we can. We’re investing loads of time and manpower to get Gutenberg off the ground and make a killer integration for Yoast SEO. Stay tuned; you’re bound to hear a lot from us in 2018!

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

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