If you want to use the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin to its full potential, you obviously need to know exactly what it can and can’t do. The release of Yoast SEO 7.0 at the beginning of March introduced many changes to the Yoast SEO plugin. Because of all these changes, we’ve decided to completely rebuild our Yoast SEO for WordPress training from scratch. Check out what’s new and make sure you’re up to speed with the latest developments in our plugin. And, perhaps the best news, we’ve lowered the price. So get it now for only $39!

Get the Yoast SEO training Now$39 for course, certificate and badge

Get the most out of Yoast SEO, learn every feature and best practice in our Yoast SEO for WordPress training! »

Yoast SEO for WordPress training Info

What will you learn?

The new Yoast SEO for WordPress training contains ten modules which follow the same approach we took when improving the plugin itself. We think SEO should be actionable and understandable for everyone. That’s why we start this course with three modules in which we go into SEO and the practical use of our plugin.

We kick off with a thorough discussion of what Google does, and what SEO means to us. Then, we discuss what the plugin can and can’t do. After that, we start exploring the plugin from the perspective of the daily user. Where can you find Yoast SEO in your WordPress backend? What options does the Yoast SEO meta box offer? What nifty and simple tools can you use to make quick progress towards ranking number one?

Only after you have gotten to known the plugin itself will we explore the settings that are the linchpin of our plugin. In modules four to ten, you’ll learn how to make sure what parts of your site are shown in the search results. You’ll learn how make sure you get those nice big Twitter images which catch your audience’s eyes. You’ll learn how to check whether Google has found any errors on your site, and how to fix them! In other words, you’ll learn everything you need to be able to maximize your chances of ranking with the Yoast SEO plugin.

Get the Yoast SEO training Now$39 for course, certificate and badge

New course

We want to make this quite clear: the new Yoast SEO for WordPress course is a completely new course. We’ve recorded sixteen videos which show you exactly how to use the plugin. Moreover, we’ve recorded new screencasts for every single tab of the settings. The videos are also accompanied by brand new reading materials, so you can always go back to quickly check the specifics. What’s more, our recent switch to Learndash has allowed us to devise meaningful questions in which you can actually practice the tips you’ve just received!

Lowered price

Is that all? No, the best is yet to come. Because we want everyone to be able to become a Yoast SEO plugin expert, we’ve made the new and improved Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin training much more affordable to boot! The new course will be available for only $39, or $29 when you bundle it with our Premium plugin.

Get Yoast SEO Premium and our training Now$128 $118 for our Premium plugin and training

Learn why we decided to reduce the price for our course or learn more about this course here.

The post Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin training: Better than ever & reduced in price! appeared first on Yoast.

Today marks the release of our new multilingual SEO training. If you have or maintain websites in multiple languages or meant for different regions, this course on international SEO is indispensable. By implementing the advice given in this training, Google will send your users to the correct site automatically. This is often done wrong, but we’ve made it easy. Learn how to make your international website rank!

Get this course now, as the introductory price is $169, after this week it will go up to $199!

Get Multilingual SEO training Now199 169 for course, certificate and badge

Optimizing your site for multiple languages? You need our Multilingual SEO training! »

New: Multilingual SEO training Info

Something for everyone

Whether you’re a developer or content creator, this training will help you make the best multilingual or multi-regional site. Besides exploring the technical side, we go into setting up a multilingual keyword research strategy. Using the words your audience uses is the first step to being found, and you need to know how to do this. You simply cannot ignore this when setting up an international site! The same goes for copy: how are you going to effectively translate all those pages? Not by machine or literal translation, that’s a sure recipe for SEO disaster! But should you write everything from scratch? No: there’s a happy medium…

We also go into the domain structure you should choose: is it better to go for separate domains for each language? Or should you make one site with subdirectories? Actually, it depends on your situation! Most importantly, we think everyone should understand how a good multilingual site works, so we’ve broken even the most difficult modules up into easy-to-follow steps.

What does the multilingual SEO training contain?

This course on international SEO consists of four modules. In the first module, we’ll explain what multilingual SEO is and why it’s important. In the second module, we’ll explore content SEO: keyword research and copywriting for international websites. The third module will be about domain structure choices. In the fourth module, we go into hreflang, the code that allows you to tell Google where to send your user.

The course contains over two hours of video, including more than five screencasts that show you exactly what to do, step by step. After each lesson, you’ll take a quiz, in which you can actually practice writing the code you’ve just learned! Completing the course should take around 12 hours. At the end of the course, you’ll receive a certificate and badge to show on your site!

Get Multilingual SEO training Now199 169 for course, certificate and badge

The post New online SEO training: Multilingual SEO appeared first on Yoast.

This is just one of the many misconceptions about the Yoast SEO readability feedback we’re happy to set straight. We’ve often been telling you to go chase those green bullets – or green lights as some are calling them. The bullets are a key part of the Yoast SEO plugin. The Yoast SEO bullets serve to give intuitive feedback on your text and gamify the Yoast SEO experience.

Trying to get all green bullets can become an addiction, but it isn’t necessarily the best way of creating great copy. Over the years, we’ve seen all kinds of misconceptions about the green bullets on social media and in our support channels. Let’s discuss some of them to get a feel for how to approach the bullets feedback.

1. I have some red and orange bullets, so I will never rank!

Generally, the more green bullets, the more SEO fit your text is, as we’ve told you in other posts on this site. But not every bullet has to be green. The bullets indicate strengths and weaknesses in your text. They can help you easily identify some elements you could improve on. Don’t take them as gospel. They are tools, not commandments.

Also, and this is most important: never try to cheat the game by tinkering with your text until your red and amber bullets turn green. Use the plugin feedback to your advantage, and use common sense to determine whether you can make improvements to your text. Therefore, we always advise you to write the text first, and only check the feedback once you feel the text is finished. 

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

SEO copywriting training Info

2. All my bullets are green, but I still don’t rank!

It goes the other way around as well: if all your bullets are green, that doesn’t mean you’ll rank. First of all, green bullets don’t equal a great text. If your text has great readability but doesn’t have good information, you won’t be the best result. Moreover, if you base your text too much on the bullets feedback, your text may actually even be worse than it may have been otherwise.

Don’t become a slave of the green bullet. Of course, it’s also perfectly possible that you’ve written a great text but your competition is stiff and all of them have also written great texts. Or you may have SEO issues in other areas.

3. Every post should be optimized!

Not all posts have to be optimized. You have to consider whether your post will be part of your SEO strategy. Some posts will suffer if you optimize them. Others, like announcements, don’t make sense to optimize for. Consider whether your post fits your SEO strategy and make a conscious decision of whether to optimize it.

4. If I paste Hemingway into the readability analysis, all I see is red and orange, so you can’t trust the Yoast SEO feedback!

The Yoast SEO readability analysis is aimed at optimizing for online content. Hemingway wasn’t looking to sell pens, or maintain a mom blog, or anything like that. Most online authors are not trying to write the Great American Novel, and they shouldn’t. They should write readable online content. That’s the goal, so that’s what the plugin measures.

5. Yoast SEO hates my writing style!

We don’t hate your writing style, so the Yoast SEO plugin doesn’t either. It merely provides you with readability feedback. Your writing style may not fit the guidelines for good SEO copy that is easy to understand.

Research has shown that overusing passive voice leads to worse readability. Research has shown that using too many long sentences makes your text difficult to read. This is especially important when it comes to online copy. We don’t think that’s a question of style. You can decide for yourself whether you agree. If you don’t, ignore the feedback at your own risk!

6. Yoast SEO wants me to dumb down my text!

We want your text to be as clear as possible. And you should aim to write as clearly as possible. Most of you are trying to reach a broad audience. Many of you are trying to reach non-native speakers. Using simple vocab and short sentences does not equal dumbing down your text. It’s the other way around: it opens your copy up to a broader audience. This is especially important when writing online copy.

The longer it takes for your audience to grasp what you are trying to say, the bigger the chances of them bouncing. Attention spans are short, so cater to them. And of course, sometimes you have to use jargon in a technical text. But generally, you should keep things simple. Writing clearly and concisely is an art, not a shortcoming.

Read more: ‘Readability ranks!’ »

The post “Yoast SEO hates my writing style!” appeared first on Yoast.

Are you aware of the risks of overusing the passive voice in your writing? In the readability analysis in our Yoast SEO plugin, we recommend using the passive voice in a maximum of 10% of your sentences. But why? In this post, I will discuss a couple of key questions pertaining to the passive voice. I’ll start by explaining what it is. Then, I’ll explain why it is usually best to avoid using the passive voice in your writing. To cap it off, I’ll describe some situations in which using the passive voice makes perfect sense.

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

SEO copywriting training Info

What is the passive voice?

The passive voice is a grammatical construction. The easiest way to explain the passive voice is by contrasting it with the active voice. The active voice is the standard English sentence structure. The simplest possible sentences feature an actor (the subject), who does (the verb) something to either a person, animal or thing (the receiver).

Word Mom hugged me
Semantic function actor direct verb  receiver

In the passive voice, the actor and receiver are switched around. The receiver becomes the grammatical subject. Note that the meaning of the sentence stays exactly the same. The only difference is the word order.

Word I was hugged by mom
Semantic function receiver direct verb actor

In some passive sentences, you can omit the actor. ‘I was hugged’, for example, is a perfectly sensible passive sentence, although it provides less information.

Why should I avoid the passive voice?

Let’s cut to the chase: using the passive voice almost always makes your writing more distant and your message less clear. There are two main reasons for this.

Wordy

First of all, the passive voice is wordy. The passive alternative to an active sentence is simply longer. Consider these two sentences:

1. The passive voice almost always makes your message less clear.

2. Your message is almost always made less clear by using the passive voice.

You convey the same message by using the passive, but add three words. When overusing the passive voice in your text, this can really add up.

Sentence structure

In addition, the passive voice uses a sentence structure which requires more cognitive effort. Your reader will spend valuable working memory on making sense of the sentence. This decreases the likelihood of you getting your message across.

Let’s explore why the passive voice demands more effort. As I told you before, the basic active sentence structure is quite consistent and logical in English. The passive voice turns this all the way around. You first read what was affected. Then you read what happened to it. Then you learn how it was affected. You discover who or what was responsible only at the very end. This sequence differs from how we usually make sense of events. Moreover, we expect the actor to be in the subject position, so we are slightly disoriented. This means constructing an image of what happens takes a tiny moment longer. Again, these moments can easily add up if you overuse the passive voice.

In the example I gave, there is no added benefit to using the passive: the active sentence conveys the same information. Whenever you use passive voice, always consider whether a better, active alternative is available.

What are the exceptions?

Sometimes, using the passive voice can be the only logical way to word a sentence. Mostly, this occurs when the actor is unknown or irrelevant. Let’s look at an example I used in the first paragraph of this very text:

In the passive voice, the actor and receiver are switched around.

There is no identifiable actor here, nor would he or she be relevant. After all, we’re talking about a general action here, not a specific one. Any alternative active sentence would be less clear and concise than the passive sentence I wrote, so it’s the best option available.

Alternatively, you may want to use a passive sentence to focus on the receiver. This works when the object is more central to the topic than the actor:

J.F. Kennedy was killed in 1963 in Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald.

This means that we’re not here to tell you to avoid the passive voice like the plague. If it beats the active alternative, by all means: use it! Rules pertaining to style are seldom cast in stone, so don’t make the mistake of following the rule of thumb too strictly. Do what seems right to you and what makes your text flow nicely. A maximum of 10% generally suffices. You should be able to achieve numbers even lower than that by following our advice.

Conclusion

Using the passive voice is generally a bad idea. After writing your text, scan it for passive voice constructions. Always ask yourself: is a better, active alternative available? If there is, use it. If not, use the passive voice.

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

The post Why you should actively avoid the passive voice appeared first on Yoast.

False friends are words that seem very similar but have a different meaning in different languages. Take the word sensible. It means reasonable in English but sensitive in French and Spanish. Sometimes, the same term can even refer to something completely different in two varieties of English. In this post, I will tell you why it is important for SEOs to be aware of this. I will also give some practical pointers on SEO copywriting for international websites.

Optimizing your site for multiple languages? You need our Multilingual SEO training! »

New: Multilingual SEO training Info

Multilingual sites and SEO

As SEOs, it is our job to know what search terms people use. After all, that allows us to optimize our pages for those terms. This is a challenge in our native language as it is. If you have a multilingual site, however, keyword research and SEO copywriting can quickly become a minefield.

You should be aware of the terms people around the world use to find your products. This allows you to optimize your copy for any audience. Doing so will increase your number of potential customers. Moreover, you may just be able to snag an advantage over competitors by targeting audiences more specifically.

Do you want to learn how to make your international sites rank? Then get our Multilingual SEO training. The introductory price is $169 instead of $199 for just a few days. Go get it!

Multi-regional sites and SEO

Striking differences also exist between regions. Just because you speak the same language, doesn’t mean you use the same vocabulary. It is important to note that Google is improving at identifying synonyms. There is still a lot of work to be done, though. Less common languages and their variations are still a work in progress. This presents a great opportunity to gain an edge!

Of course, you can’t target every variation. The UK and U.S., however, may be different and sizable enough to target separately. The same goes for some varieties of Spanish and other common languages. Plainly put, not taking variations into account can also lead to missed opportunities.

So, what’s the worst that could happen?

Sure, the theory’s fine and dandy. What are the risks you need take into account, though, when writing copy for international websites? Well, if you use the wrong term, potential customers will not find what they are looking for. Hence, your bounce rate will increase. Obviously, your conversion rates will suffer as a consequence.

It’s an easy trap to fall into. Years ago, Joost helped a company to rank number one in Belgium for the Dutch word koelkast (refrigerator). One of Belgium’s official languages is Flemish, a variation of Dutch. Surprisingly, the company hardly converted. Turns out, the word koelkast is mostly used in the Netherlands. In Belgium, many consumers searched for the word frigo, which Flemish borrows from French!

Multilingual and multi-regional sites: example case

Let’s look at an example case: the word vest. To keep things relatively simple, I’ll stick to Dutch, British English and American English. In this way, I can stress the importance of both multilingual and multi-regional variations.

a vest in dutch uk and us englishAn American vest is a British waistcoat. A British vest is called a tank-top or a-shirt in America. Incidentally, a tank-top is also a piece of clothing in the UK. Americans, however, call that a sweater vest. To top it off, the Dutch vest is either a cardigan or a hoodie with a zipper. Feeling confused? Don’t sweat it, whatever vest you’re wearing. Few examples are as complicated as this. Just know that veste means something different altogether in French and Spanish as well.

SEO copywriting for international sites: What can I do?

Researching your field and the potential risks it presents is crucial. An international clothing company will encounter more difficulties than a book store. Make sure you have a clear strategy. What audiences do you want to target and what vocabulary do they use? Invest time in researching terms you’re unsure about. You can use Google Trends to compare the frequency of search terms. It even gives you an overview of how popular each term is by region.

google trends trainers vs sneakers

Although most of the world prefers the term sneaker for sporty footwear, the UK is an obvious exception, as Google Trends shows.

If you own or manage a bigger organization that has some money to spend, consider hiring a specialist or outsourcing copy translations. If you want to be cost-effective, you can also reach out to native speakers in your network. People may even volunteer to translate parts of your site if they like what you do.

The right copy for the right region and language

Writing SEO copy for international sites requires a lot of effort, especially for non-native speakers. Make sure you research what keywords particular audiences use for your products. Substitute your original copy for these terms to gain potential customers. By breaking up with false friends, you’re one step closer to realizing the potential of a multilingual site!

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

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