Whenever you click on a link to visit a site a request gets made to the server. The server answers with a status message (header) and a file list for that website. After viewing that list, the browser asks for the files one at a time. On the ‘old’ HTTP1.1 protocol, this process takes ages as there is only one line available that has to open and close after each file has been sent. HTTP/2 offers a dramatic speed boost as the line can be kept open and a lot of stuff can be sent at once. Meet HTTP/2!

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How does HTTP/2 work?

Let’s say you want a brand-new box of LEGO. First, you go to the store to get a specific box. When you get home, you open the box and see the instructions. The instructions say what you have to do: one brick at a time. Now, you can only get one brick at a time. You have to keep asking the instructions: “Which brick do I need now?” And the instructions will look and give you the right brick. This back-and-forth keeps happening until you have finished the entire LEGO set. Does the set have 3300 bricks? Well, that’ll take a while. This is HTTP1.1.

With HTTP/2 this changes. You go to the store to pick up your box. Open it, find the instructions and you can ask for all the bricks used on a part of the LEGO set. You can keep asking the instructions for more bricks, without having to look at the manual. “These bricks go together, so here they are.” If you want it really fast, you could even get all the bricks at once so you can build the set in an instant.

http1.1 vs http2

HTTP/2 can handle more things at once

HTTP/2 has a lot of cool features that can help speed up your loading times. The most important one, of course, is full multiplexing. This means that multiple requests can happen at the same time over a connection that stays open for the duration of the transfer process. Another cool thing is Server push; this starts as one request but when the server notices the HTML requires several assets, it can send these all at once without asking. This might be a good fit for your site, but that depends on factors too hard to explain here.

Like I said in the intro, with HTTP1.1 a browser requests a site -> server sends a header back -> that header contains a status message and HTML body -> for every file needed to build the site, a single connection has to be opened and closed and opened and closed. Whenever a piece of this puzzle acts up it can hold back the rest, slowing the process down even further. This is called head-of-line blocking and it sucks big time. This is one of the many reasons why HTTP1.1 can use an update.

Why HTTP/2 for SEO? Because site speed is important

We need speed. Site speed has been an SEO ranking factor for years. Now, with the introduction of the mobile-first index Google will take a critical look at the loading speed of your mobile site. Over the past few years, sites have only gotten bigger. Big sites have loads of assets like HTML, JavaScript, CSS, images et cetera and that equals longer loading time.

Another big issues is latency — especially on mobile devices. The longer your latency is, the longer it takes for your request to reach the server and for the server to send back the response. That’s why you should always use a CDN to reduce the time it will take to get your stuff to your readers from a nearby location. While browsers can handle a small amount of multiple connections, which in itself, adds additional time to the whole ordeal, the process of sending stuff back and forth doesn’t really change.

There are some things you can do to improve site speed by fine-tuning how your server handles these things, but at its core, HTTP1.1 isn’t a very efficient process. HTTP/2 makes this process a lot easier to manage for servers and browsers, therefore, drastically speeding things up. Keep in mind that the advent of HTTP/2 does not retire HTTP1.1 as browsers will still use the old protocol as fallback.

Implementing HTTP/2

Implementing HTTP/2 is fairly easy and it could be that your server is already using HTTP/2. Check with your hosting provider what your options are. You can also choose a Content Delivery Network, also known as a CDN, that offers a full HTTP/2 solution. HTTP/2 offers a quick performance win and it even lets you secure your site, because it uses HTTPS connections by default.

Conclusion to what is HTTP/2

HTTP/2 is a newish protocol that will drastically speed up the web. It uses new technologies to take away one of the biggest bottle necks of the web introducing full multiplexing connections. Servers can now open a single connection with a browser and keep sending all the files of a site until everything is done. After that the connection closes and the browser can render the site.

Read more: ‘Performance optimization in an HTTP/2 world’ »

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Two weeks ago, Yoast SEO 7.2 brought a solid update to the import features of the plugin. In Yoast SEO 7.3, we’ve expanded this improved importer with a slew of newly supported plugins you can import your data from. Find out which plugins we support in this post. But of course, there’s more!

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Importing from even more WordPress SEO plugins

We have always made it easy for users of other WordPress SEO plugins to migrate their settings to Yoast SEO. The last couple of years, we offered support for all the big players: HeadSpace2, All in One SEO, JetPack SEO, WooThemes SEO Framework, wpSEO, SEO Ultimate and SEOpressor. Today, — in addition to improving import from wpSEO — we’re adding a long list of newly supported plugins from which you can import your data:

  • Premium SEO Pack
  • Smartcrawl SEO
  • Squirrly SEO
  • Platinum SEO Pack
  • SEO Framework
  • Greg’s High Performance SEO
  • WP Meta SEO

Yoast SEO Premium users can also import redirects from other redirection WordPress plugins. The redirects manager in Premium is a great tool that helps you to make and manage redirects.

Updated translations

Yoast SEO 7.3 isn’t just about importing stuff, because it’s about translations as well. We’ve updated the translations of almost all locales, plus we’ve added quite a few new locales to our premium plugins like Local SEO, WooCommerce SEO and News SEO. We strive that everyone on earth can use our SEO plugins in their native language and this is a big step in that direction. Of course, we couldn’t have done it without our awesome community! You’re welcome to help out if you don’t see your language yet or if you can think you can improve the current translation. Please visit translate.yoast.com and get started!

Fixes and enhancements

We have enhanced Yoast SEO in several ways. Among other things, we fixed a number of bugs that caused several filters to give unwanted results. One of the new enhancements is support for Baidu Webmaster Tools verification. You can now verify your site just like you do for Yandex, Bing and Google. Find out how to add your sitemap to these search engines.

Update now!

Yoast SEO 7.3 is a solid new update. We’ve fixed several issues, improved translations and added a ton of plugin support to the importer. You can now import settings from every major WordPress SEO plugin. This makes it easier for you to make the transition from other plugins to Yoast SEO. With that, I can only give you one last advice: please update!

Read more: ‘The beginner’s guide to Yoast SEO’ »

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You might have felt some tremors in the WordPress world. There is something brewing. Something called Gutenberg. It’s the new editing environment in WordPress and the impact it’s going to have will be massive. Some welcome it with open arms, while others are critical. There is also a large group of WordPress users who don’t have a clue what’s going on. Here, we’ll introduce Gutenberg.

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It’s the first step for a bright new future for WordPress

It’s something many people often gloss over, but Gutenberg is not just a new editor for WordPress. It’s the start of something much bigger. Gutenberg lays the groundwork for incredibly exciting developments. Gutenberg is stage one of a three-pronged roll-out strategy. First, WordPress will get a redeveloped editor, after that it the project will focus on page templates and in the final stage WordPress will become a full site customizer. You can imagine, this gives us endless possibilities and it is a necessary step to keep WordPress the #1 CMS for years to come.

Today, we’re focusing on stage one. The new Gutenberg editor will land in WordPress 5.0 sometime this year. As it stands now, it is not nearly finished, but loads of people are working around the clock to turn this editor into a solid and stable product. We have a big team working on it as well, both on the editor itself and our integration with it.

Opening Gutenberg for the first time

When you open the new editor for the first time you’re probably looking for the interface we have all grown accustomed to. That, however, is gone. We now have a very clean writing environment, with great typography and lots of space for your content to shine. On the right-hand side, you can open the settings — per document or per block — by clicking on the cog icon. Clicking on the three dots beside that cog lets you switch to the code editor so you can make your edits on the code side of things.

gutenberg blank canvas

Now, seeing this screen might cause you to turn around and run — please don’t. We all know people have a hard time changing from one thing that they know well to something new. Even Marieke had reservations regarding writing in Gutenberg, which she addressed in a post.

People find it hard to accept change when they don’t see why it’s necessary to change something that was working ok. Well, in this case, it’s relatively easy to understand: to get ready for the future, WordPress needs to adapt. Gutenberg introduces concepts and technologies that help make WordPress future proof. Most visible right now? The concept of a block.

In Gutenberg, everything is a block

Gutenberg introduces blocks. Previously, your content lived inside one big HTML file and for every enhancement there had to be something new: shortcodes, custom post types, embeds, widgets and the like. All with their quirky interfaces and weird behavior. Now, you can build your content precisely like you make a LEGO set: all from one box, following a standardized and straightforward set of instructions. In the animated gif below, I’ll quickly show you some blocks and add an image as a block:

By using this blocks concept, you can now determine what every part of your content is. Not only that, you can define their specifications per block. So, for instance, you can turn a single line of text into a quote by changing its block type. After that, it gets a new set of options that you can set. You can change the type of quote, its placement, text decoration et cetera. This goes for all blocks. There are blocks for, among other things:

  • Paragraphs
  • Lists
  • Quotes
  • Headings
  • Code
  • Images
  • Galleries
  • Shortcodes
  • Columns
  • Buttons
  • Widgets
  • And a ton of embeds

Every block you make can get its own layout and settings. And you can save these as reusable blocks!

Gutenberg

Reusable blocks

One of the coolest things about Gutenberg is reusable blocks. Think of these as a completed block that you can save along with its settings. For instance, if you’ve made a cool looking layout for the intro of your blog articles, you can save this as a reusable block. After that, you only have to go to Add Block -> Saved to pick your reusable intro block. How cool is that!

This is an incredibly basic example, but you can think of a lot more complex uses for this! How about a complete gallery where you only have to drop in the images. Or a multi-column article template with great typography for killer blog posts. And of course, developers can hook into this as well, so there are bound to arrive some great blocks that’ll make our lives so much easier. There is no limit to this. This is all made possible because we have full control over all individual blocks.

Yoast SEO and Gutenberg

We’ve been heavily investing in Gutenberg since the beginning. We have several developers that are helping to improve Gutenberg full time. Also, we are actively researching how, why and where we should integrate Yoast SEO inside Gutenberg. Even for us, the possibilities are endless. We won’t be able to build everything we’re dreaming up right away, as we’re focusing on giving you the best possible basic integration from the moment Gutenberg gets released. But, keep in mind, there is a lot more to come from us!

Let The Gut Guys explain Gutenberg for you

Two of the most active Yoasters in the Gutenberg development team is our UX designer Tim and software architect Anton. These guys are so passionate about Gutenberg that we’re featuring the dynamic duo in an exclusive video series called The Gut Guys — Gut as in ‘good’. They will show you around the Gutenberg editing experience and explain the why and how of the new editor. We’re regularly adding new installments. Watch it and subscribe!

Need more? Check this essential talk

We know thinking and talking about Gutenberg can be tiring, but that’s mostly because we are keeping those thoughts in the now. We should most definitely look at the broader picture and see where Gutenberg can take WordPress. To explain that, I’d like to ask you to invest 45 minutes of your time in watching this essential talk by Morten Rand-Hendriksen.

Conclusion to what is Gutenberg?

There’s no beating around the bush: Gutenberg is coming. We’re getting ready for it and you should as well. The new editor will probably take some getting used to and it might break some stuff, but in the end, we will get a much more streamlined environment with a lot of cool possibilities down the road.

The most important thing you can do right now is installing the plugin. Play with it, test it, break it. Add every issue you find to Gutenberg’s GitHub: things that don’t work or should work better. We need as many eyes on this as we can, so we need you. Don’t just talk and yell: contribute! Your contributions will make or break this project.

Read more: ‘Gutenberg: Concepts for integrating Yoast SEO’ »

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These past few weeks were all about the 7.0 release of Yoast SEO. That release brought many changes and made a lot of SEO work easier to understand and do. In 7.1 we fixed some bugs, improved the importers and added a new language to our roster: Portuguese. Yoast SEO 7.2 — out now — is taking it a bit easier. No substantial new features, but enough improvements all around.

Better import from All in One SEO Pack

Over the past few releases, we’ve been steadily improving and enhancing the data importers in Yoast SEO. We’re slowly getting there and Yoast SEO 7.2 adds another new enhancement to one particular importer: the one for All in One SEO Pack. As of now, we can import noindex, nofollow and OpenGraph tags from this WordPress SEO plugin. Also, we’ve fixed a bug that could overwrite existing Yoast SEO data when importing data from All in One SEO Pack.

Bug fixes in Yoast SEO 7.2

As always, we ran into bugs that we needed to fix. Some we uncover ourselves, while others are handed to us by our highly valued community. In Yoast SEO 7.2, we needed to fix several bugs. Some are very small, like the Ryte notification that didn’t go away when users turned the feature. But some are more serious, like a bug where attachments connected to password-protected posts ended up in the sitemaps.

A couple of other fixes were related to the wpseo_robots filter where setting a page to noindex did not correctly remove the canonical element. In Yoast SEO Premium, there were issues regarding the handling of changes in parent/child relationships of pages; we have resolved these all. Of course, you can check the changelog for Yoast SEO 7.2 to see what else was fixed.

What are you waiting for: update now!

With every release, we keep the ball rolling at Yoast HQ. We’re finetuning, fixing and improving anywhere we can. Since Yoast SEO is open source, you can help us make Yoast SEO even better. Why don’t you follow our GitHub account to see what we’re working on? If you have issues, features request or enhancements don’t be afraid to post them. Please follow the instructions in the Yoast Contribution Guidelines.

This wraps up our bi-weekly release update. We now just have one more assignment for you: update now!

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

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Yesterday we released a new add-on to Yoast SEO: Fact check for Yoast SEO 1.4. Were you getting excited to use it already? Then we’re very sorry to disappoint you, but it’s an April Fools’ joke. Or is it…? Our dear colleagues Danny and Irene genuinely built this plugin. Read this short interview and learn why and how they did that!

Is the Fact Check plugin a joke?

Yes. We’ve created Fact Check as an April Fools’ joke. The plugin is not to be taken seriously, except when you are planning on writing posts about conspiracy theories.

Irene and Danny, working on our Fact Check add-on

Irene and Danny, doing some daily fact checking

Why did Yoast make this plugin?

A couple of years ago, when we were writing the code for the Yoast SEO readability analysis, we thought of all the cool things we could do with the text analysis. Almost all the building blocks we needed for this April Fools’ plugin were already there in our library. We even came up with almost all of the current conspiracy checks back then. However, we’d never built it. Until now. We thought it was a fun idea for an April Fools’ joke. Besides, it gave us the possibility to learn some things about Webpack, Grunt and Babel and extending the existing Yoast SEO plugin.

Will the plugin do my website or my SEO any harm?

No, not at all. The added checks in Fact Check for Yoast SEO only add some bullets with feedback. As long as you don’t actually add conspiracies in your texts, having this plugin in your WordPress install will not change a thing.

How could we have known that this is a joke?

The plugin was released on April 1st. That should be a dead giveaway. Furthermore, the version is 1.4. Also, in the release video we’ve put a couple of hints. The most visible hint was the ‘I want to believe’ wallpaper on the computer in the background. Next to that, there was a Beatles record on the table. The cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is rumored to contain a number of hints that confirm that Paul McCartney is dead. We’ve also put a subliminal message on one of the screens. In the shots of the screen of the notebook, you can read ‘Don’t let Google fool you, buy Yoast SEO Premium!’ if you pause the video at the right moment. Finally, the outro of the video contains a number of beeps. These beeps are morse code, and spell out “April 1”.

Can I still trust Yoast?

Of course you can. We like the occasional joke, but we understand a lot of people use our software daily and rely on our feedback in Yoast SEO or Yoast SEO Premium. That is why we created a separate plugin for this joke, instead of interfering with the workings of Yoast SEO itself.

What can I use this plugin and its code for?

The Fact Check plugin is a nice example of how easy it is to extend the Yoast SEO plugin. The plugin is, like most of our software, open source, and everyone who would like to know how it works, can take a look at the code, or fork it into a new project. You can find the code on GitHub.

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While developing and benchmarking for new releases of Yoast SEO, we keep a keen eye on requests made by users. An issue that consistently raises concerns is the uprise of fake news. So today, we present Fact Check for Yoast SEO 1.4 Beta, a free add-on for our Yoast SEO plugin.

Download Fact Check for Yoast SEO 1.4 Beta»

Why this add-on?

Fake news is on the rise and it’s a world-wide problem. People and companies are losing grip on on the authenticity of sources and the trustworthiness of their message. What sources are authentic? What makes a source reliable? And more importantly: how do you decide for yourself?

Currently, the Yoast SEO plugin runs several checks on your content. Readability, the use of keywords and internal linking: we help you optimize your text. Today, we’re launching an add-on that adds multiple new checks to the original ones: so-called fact checks.

At Yoast we believe that you should be the best result. And the best result has to be true. Fact Check for Yoast SEO integrates seamlessly with Yoast SEO and Yoast SEO Premium. This plugin scans your text and gives you feedback about the stated facts. This will allow you to only write believable content.

Test our beta!

Please help us test this beta, so we can publish it on the WordPress repository soon. If you find a bug or would like to help improve this plugin, you can leave your feedback by creating an issue hereLike Yoast SEO, the Fact Check add-on is open source. The source code can be found on GitHub.

Download Fact Check for Yoast SEO 1.4 Beta »

Installation instructions

1. Download the zip above.
2. In the WordPress backend, go to Plugins > Add new > Upload plugin.
3. Click ‘Choose file’ or ‘Browse’ (depending on your browser).
4. Select the zip and click ‘Install now’.
5. Click ‘Activate plugin’, and you’re ready to go.

The post Get our new free plugin: Fact Check for Yoast SEO 1.4 Beta appeared first on Yoast.

Your site needs to be up and running if you want to be found in search engines. If you aren’t blocking anything — deliberately or accidentally — search engine spiders can crawl and index it. You probably know that Yoast SEO has lots of options to determine what does and doesn’t need to be indexed, but did you know it also has a check that monitors your site’s indexability? This is the indexability check, provided by our good friends at Ryte.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

What does it do?

The indexability check checks regularly if your site is indexable. You can find the Ryte indexability check on your site’s dashboard inside the Yoast SEO Posts Overview box. It is straightforward to use as it is just a colored bullet showing the indexability status of your site:

  • Green: All is well, your site is indexable.
  • Grey: Yoast SEO hasn’t been able to determine the status of your site.
  • Red: Your homepage cannot be indexed, and you should look into this immediately.

Dashboard overview Yoast SEORemember, something is up if you should ever get a red bullet. If you do get one, and you are sure your site should be indexable, please check if your site is available by running a Mobile-friendly test by Google. Your site should appear if it is indexable. If it does, it might be that Ryte had the hiccups.

Should Google be unable to run the test, you could hit the ‘Analyze entire site’ button in your WordPress backend and follow the instructions given by Ryte. Sign up with them and give your site the once-over. The phenomenal Ryte suite gives you loads of advice on how to cope with indexability errors and more.

A grey bullet means that your server is unable to connect to the Ryte servers to get the indexability status of your site. There are several reasons why this could be the case. Please see the Indexability check fails post on our knowledge base for more information on how to evaluate and fix this.

What do I have to do to get it?

We add this check automatically when you install Yoast SEO. Find it in your WordPress dashboard. If it doesn’t show a green bullet, you can manually run a check by clicking ‘Fetch the current status’ button inside the Yoast SEO Posts Overview box.

If you don’t need the Ryte indexability check, you can always turn it off. Go to General > Features in Yoast SEO and switch the Ryte integration button to off.

Yoast & Ryte

Ryte & Yoast SEO

Ryte offers a free indexability check for Yoast SEO users. This way, you can quickly see that your site is still reachable for both search engines and visitors. If you need help fixing technical SEO issues or if you are in need of a great suite of SEO tools to help you fix or improve your rankings, you can always sign up for the free Ryte introductory plan. Just hit the purple ‘Analyze entire site’ button and follow the instructions!

Read more: ‘SEO basics: What is crawlability’ »

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Two weeks ago, we released one of our most significant updates yet: Yoast SEO 7.0. This release featured some much-needed spring-cleaning and a wholly revamped XML sitemap experience. In it, the focus is much less on the sitemap as it is on easily getting indexed what you want to get indexed. Yoast SEO 7.1 — out today — builds on that release with fixes and enhancements.

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

First up: support for Portuguese

As you know, Yoast SEO understands quite a few languages. While most of the content checks work for every language, there are instances where the checks are language-specific. The list is pretty impressive right now and keeps growing. We support English, German, Dutch, French, Italian and Spanish in various degrees. Today, we’re adding a brand-new language: Portuguese.

More than 200 million people speak Portuguese natively, making it the sixth most popular language in the world. Thanks to our friend Dilmar Ames, we have now taken the first steps towards full support for Portuguese. While it’s still early days for the content analyses, the insights and internal linking suggestions features in Portuguese are fully developed. Users of Yoast SEO Premium can enjoy these two great features to enhance their posts and improve their site structure.

Also, we fixed a couple of other language-related issues. For instance, we added a filter to mark Spanish sentences as non-passive when certain exception words occur between the auxiliary and the participle. The list of exception words includes all forms of the copula ‘estar’.

Enhancements

Besides expanding our knowledge of the world’s languages, we’ve also improved the plugin in various regards.

Importing from other SEO plugins

Yoast SEO 7.1 now detects if you can import data from other SEO plugins data. It allows you to import this data on the Import from other plugins page. After importing, you can check whether the import was successfull and then delete the data. To help you set up your titles and descriptions correctly, we decided we should not import title & description templates from other plugins. You can run the configuration wizard to set up your templates properly.

Filters and variables

Thanks to Akinori Musha, we’ve added support for a new template variable %%archive_title%%. This gives access to the utility function called get_the_archive_title() which gives a nicely localized title for the current archive page.

We’re now providing developers extra context if they want to replace posts and taxonomies. To do this, we’ve added an additional argument to wpseo_replacements filter. This makes it possible to access post, taxonomy or term instances when applying the filter.

To top it off, we’ve removed the Facebook Insights functionality as it’s no longer supported. Plus, we’ve increased the height of the meta description box so it matches the maximum amount of characters without needing a scrollbar.

Fixing bugs

Coming from such a big release like Yoast SEO 7.0 there are always a few bugs to fix. Thanks to our awesome GitHub community, we were able to track and fix quite a few of them. Let’s go over a couple of them. For instance, we fixed a bug where the rewrite rules weren’t correctly removed after stripping the category base. This resulted in 404s. Now, you can safely remove /category/ from your URLs again and it should correctly update itself.

There was also a weird issue where you enabled the Show blog page in the breadcrumb settings, it’d be disabled and vice versa. Previously, it showed the wrong breadcrumb path when using a static blog page and Show Blog page is set to hide.

There were some performance issues reported with the release of Yoast SEO 7.0.2 which we fixed by improving WPSEO_Options::get. This is the main function we use throughout the plugin to fetch settings. This is only a small sampling of the work that went into Yoast SEO 7.1. For a complete list of all the fixed bugs, please check the changelog.

Update to Yoast SEO 7.1 now

Coming hot on the heels of Yoast SEO 7.0, 7.1 packs quite a few enhancements and bug fixes. These fixes improve the way the plugins function and increases stability. We’re still actively cleaning up our plugins to make sure they are lean and mean. So, don’t forget to update!

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

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Anchor text is the visible and clickable piece of text in a link. The text appears in a different color and is often underlined. If done right, this indicates what’s behind that link. Getting your anchor texts right increases the chance of someone clicking on your link. It also provides context for search engines.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

What does an anchor text look like?

The anchor text describes the article and entices you to click. Even search engines get that the linked article is relevant because both the URL as well as the anchor text appears to be in order. Let’s say you want to learn something about anchor text. [What is anchor text] exactly? You see that I naturally linked to the article you are reading now.

What does an anchor text look like in HTML? The first piece of code is the URL, while the second part describes the link. This is the anchor text. See below:
anchor text example

Different kinds

Anchor text is relevant for both your internal links and your incoming external links. External sites that want to link to your content can do so in various ways.

  • Branded links: A link with your brand name as an anchor, like Yoast.
  • The URL itself: Just your site’s URL without a text, like https://yoast.com. Not that helpful in most instances.
  • Site name: written as Yoast.com.
  • Article title: Exact matching the article, like What is anchor text?.
  • Exact keywords: Your focus keyword/keyphrase as anchor text
  • Partially matching keywords: Using variants of your focus keyword to make a readable link.
  • Related keywords: Not a direct match, but a keyword or keyphrase that is closely related to the main one.
  • Generic links: Try to avoid these ‘Click here’ and ‘Read more’ links. Tell people what a link is about. Otherwise, they’re guessing.

Best practices for anchor texts

It’s not exactly rocket science because writing a relevant anchor text is common sense. A link must provide value for a user, and the anchor text is the most important way of conveying the value of that link. Keep it natural. Don’t make crappy sentences to put in your exact match keywords or keyphrases. If it doesn’t sound natural when you say it aloud, don’t write it. Also, don’t turn a complete sentence into the anchor text. Keep it condensed and easy to understand.

Don’ts in anchor texts

First of all, keep your links relevant. Don’t spam your anchor text and don’t use generic anchor text to try to get people to visit your link. Don’t stuff your anchor text full of keywords. You shouldn’t use a text that has no relation to the linked content. Whatever you do, don’t fool your users. Nobody likes this. This also goes for trying to get your site design to stand out from the crowd with a link that doesn’t look like a link. Keep the different font color and underline it. Otherwise, people will easily miss your link.

Of course, you don’t have much control over how other sites link to your site. You can, however, set up a link building strategy that has a bigger chance of getting those coveted relevant links with great anchor texts.

Internal linking and anchor texts

We all know internal linking is essential. Yoast SEO has an internal linking tool built in that makes it a lot easier to find related content to link to on your site. Whenever you add a relevant link to your article, you also need to think about the anchor text. By thinking carefully about how and why you link to these articles to improve your internal linking structure you can help both users and search engines to navigate your site better.

To make the most of internal linking try only to add links that add real value to users. Write great anchor texts for them, so readers know this link has been carefully selected to let you read on. Don’t link for the sake of it. Make it relevant and useful. And of course; don’t spam!

seo basics anchor text exact match example

An example of an exact match

seo basics anchor text freeflowing text

An example of a more free-flowing form of linking

This is anchor text

Anchor text helps both searchers and search engines determine if a link is worth visiting. Some people try to game this system, but you sure shouldn’t do this. Google has become pretty adequate at determining which links are unnatural and even harmful. So, keep it natural and relevant, and you should be good to go!

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

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Show x in search results?

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

show in search results xml sitemaps

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

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

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

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

More on XML sitemaps

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

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

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

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