If you write a lot about events on your site, odds are that the content on your site changes rapidly. Whether it’s food events, concerts, antique fairs, you name it, it’s a lot of work to maintain a site that lists all the fun events in a certain category and area. With new events being added regularly, and past events becoming less important, you should definitely give your site structure some extra thought.

For example: what do you do with past events? You don’t want a load of irrelevant pages bloating your site’s structure, but some of these pages might still attract visitors to your site. And how do you properly delete these pages from your site? Let’s go into expired event pages and SEO in this week’s Ask Yoast!

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Carsten Lentfer emailed us quite a complicated dilemma on the subject, which I distilled to this main question:

My website is a calendar for food events. If I delete and redirect event pages once an event has passed, I will end up with loads of redirects, mainly to the homepage versus a relatively small number of ‘live’ pages. How does that affect my SEO? Is it better to keep the old pages?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Keep event pages or delete and redirect them?

“Well, if that event is a yearly thing, then it’s definitely better to keep the event page around and just update it for the next year. If that event is a one time only thing, then I would delete it or keep it around, if there’s a lot of content on it that people might want to look at later.

It depends a bit on how thin these pages are. If they are very thin, I would delete them. If they’re rich then I would just keep them around and keep them as a sort of history.

But for the yearly events, it’s a very good idea to actually have a page that returns every year because then you’ll start ranking for each of those events better and better as time goes by. Good luck.”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Maybe we can help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: ‘How to clean up your site structure’ »

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Podcasts are a popular medium these days, as a great, relatively low-cost way to engage with your audience. You can make a podcast about every subject imaginable: science, health, arts & culture, family life, news and technology, to name but a few possibilities.

At Yoast, for example, the Yoast academy team releases an internal podcast every monday to get everyone up to speed on developments in the academy. Since this podcast is for Yoast employees only, it won’t show up in the search engines. But if you’re making a livelihood with your podcasts, you’ll definitely want your podcasts to rank well.

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Optimizing your site’s pages for podcasts can be a bit tricky because the bulk of your content will be audio content, which Google can’t listen to. Some general SEO rules still apply, for example: the title of your podcast should be clear and engaging: write titles you’re proud of! And, as always, make sure that your site is user-friendly. But is there anything else you can do to optimize your site for podcasts?

Steve Eisenberg emailed us his question on podcast SEO:

I was wondering if you have some advice on the best way to optimize for audio podcasts using Yoast SEO or another tool.

Podcast SEO

“Well, you can use Yoast SEO just fine, but you’re going to need something else, which I don’t necessarily think you’ll like. You’ll need a transcript. This is the same for videos as it is for audio podcasts. You will need a full transcript because Google really only is good at optimizing and finding content in text. It doesn’t necessarily always find stuff that you’ve spoken about. So, if you have a full transcript, then you can optimize like any other page. Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Maybe we can help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: ‘3 SEO quick wins’ »

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Maintaining a website is hard work, and to do it right, you have to be skilled in many things: writing, editing, SEO, marketing (if you own a business) and perhaps even a bit of coding, to name but a few. But that’s not all. If you handle and collect the data of your site’s visitors, you should also familiarize yourself with relevant laws on data protection and privacy.

In April 2016, a new regulation on privacy and data protection was adopted by the European Parliament and the European Council. After a transition period of two years, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will become enforceable from 25 May 2018 onward. This means you can get a fine if you don’t comply with the GDPR.

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It’s important to note that the GDPR doesn’t just apply to organizations located within the EU. It also applies to organizations located outside of the EU, if they offer services or products to, or monitor the behavior of people residing in the EU. The consequences of this law for you and your business depend on the kind of data you handle and if (and how) you get consent for that. So, what to do when preparing for the GDPR? Let me give you my take on the subject in this week’s Ask Yoast!

Joerg Gastmann emailed us his question on the GDPR:

At YoastCon 2017, Dixon Jones mentioned that certain plugins collect data about users and this might cause problems with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). What should a webmaster do to avoid legal penalties for using plugins, like Jetpack, that process statistical/user data on their servers?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Preparing for the GDPR

“Well, you don’t get a penalty specifically for the fact that these plugins are using that data. You get a penalty for not getting your user’s consent for doing that. So you should get your user’s consent, or stop doing that. Some of these things you can put into your general terms of service because they’re required for your business to work.

But if you’re doing things like profiling people based on what they visited, based on information they’ve given you them about them, then you should really dive into the GDPR. This is not something I can easily answer in a couple of minutes. It’s a lot of work. There are a lot of people that are very hard at work, making sure that we can do all the things in WordPress that you should be able to do under the GDPR. So yeah, dive in, consult a lawyer- I’m not a lawyer. Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Maybe we can help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read on: ‘Yoast and the GDPR’ »

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Today’s Ask Yoast will discuss a problem that may be familiar to you if your site is in a non-ASCII language, like Arabic, Persian, Hebrew and many other languages. You work hard to write good, SEO-friendly URLs, so people will click to your website. However, when your site is linked to or shared, for instance on social media, the slug doesn’t show the right characters. Instead, it changes into a long string of percent signs, capitals and numbers.

To give you an example: check out this link to an Arabic Wikipedia article on SEO. In the address bar, it looks good:

arabic URL in address bar

However, when I try to copy it into this post, it turns into this:

arabic URL copy-pasted

Of course, a slug like that looks weird and a bit unsettling: it doesn’t tempt people to click, and doesn’t reveal much about the content of a page either. So, if you come across this problem with your non-ASCII slugs, what are your options for dealing with this?

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Ahmed Saad emailed us on this subject:

My site’s content is in Arabic and that means that the slug looks very bad when it’s shared on social media. Should I change the URL language to English so it looks better or does that hurt my SEO?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Dealing with bad slugs for Arabic URLs

‘I honestly don’t have a good answer to that because this slug is not good for your SEO either. This slug doesn’t really entice people to click. I guess that the best solution would be to get the shortest slug as possible in Arabic, because you can have i18n URLs. But support for that is not always as good across CMSes.

If that doesn’t work then you can certainly fall back to English, or to an English ‘way’ of writing your Arabic strings, which is something that a lot of Indian languages do. Good luck!’

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Maybe we can help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: ‘How to create SEO-friendly copy in a foreign language’ »

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On March 6, we released a major update of our Yoast SEO plugin. This update was aimed at making SEO easier and more understandable for our users. We removed quite a few settings and options. In other cases, we changed the names of settings making them easier to understand for non-technical users. All in all, the reactions on this update were rather positive. We received some questions as well, mostly about why we removed certain settings and options. In this post, I’ll explain why we chose to remove those settings. 

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If there’s a button, people want to click it

The main reason why we deleted settings is because in 99% of the cases it should not be altered. But if you give people a toggle or a button, generally they’ll think they have to do something with that toggle or button. Totally understandable. If I have a new watch and it has many fancy buttons, I’d also want to know what they’ll do. By offering all those settings, we gave the impression that our users needed to do something with these settings.

The things we removed were the things people should not worry about: the things that didn’t make much of a difference in their chance of ranking in the search engines. These buttons and toggles were rather useless anyway.

More agreement on proper SEO settings

Working on our new online Yoast SEO plugin training helped us to make the plugin more understandable for a large audience. We had to really make an effort when explaining the settings in videos and text. And we noticed we had a hard time explaining some of the things. It made us question and reassess our decisions. That process lead to a lot of the changes made in the plugin release of March 6.

On top of that, there was another reason why we decided to remove quite a few settings from our plugin. For a long time, the SEO community had strong and opposing opinions about the need of, for example, XML sitemaps. Because of these different opinions, we always offered different options, allowing people to make their own SEO choices. As the profession of SEO matured, SEOs reached more consensus on what things were important to rank high in the search engines. As those influences are rather clear nowadays, we were able to make those changes in the plugin. Important changes, because now, the ease of use of our plugin is improved.

SEO for everyone

The mission of Yoast is SEO for everyone. We believe the web will benefit from all people having an equal chance in the search results. Not only those big international companies with large marketing budgets, but also that small online shop with handmade toys. We believe every idea should get a fair chance in the search results.

When developing our plugin, we always keep our mission in mind. And that’s the reason why we recently decided to make some big changes in our plugin. We really hope that more people will be able to benefit from our plugin. If you really want to know all the ins and outs of Yoast SEO, I would strongly advice you to buy and follow our online plugin course. It will help you to get the most out of our plugin. Because, although we deleted quite a few settings, we still have a lot of toggles, settings and choices left :-) Good luck!

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Allowing people to comment on your content is a great way to increase engagement and get in touch with your audience. So, it pays off to choose a good comment system that works for you. Besides the standard WordPress comment system, there are several other systems out there you can implement on your website so your readers can directly respond to your posts.

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It’s good to keep some things in mind when selecting what comment system you want to use. Do you want integration with social media, for example? Do you want to be able to keep your comments if you ever need to change your comment system, and what features do you need? You may want more functionalities than WordPress’ standard comment system provides and therefore choose another system. But are there really no downsides to that, keeping the importance of site speed in mind? What about comment systems and SEO? Let’s get into this dilemma in this week’s Ask Yoast!

Max sent us his question on comment systems:

There is no question that the Disqus service takes a little while to load on a webpage. So, do these blog commenting services, like Disqus, affect SEO in some way?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

The impact of comment systems on SEO

“Do they affect SEO? Well, yes, they do. Because, in fact, they’re so slow to load that most of the time, what you see is that Google doesn’t load the content of those comments, and doesn’t use them to rank that page. Which might be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how good your comments are and whether your comments have a lot of content or not.

I personally don’t like these services because they slow down the page load so much and because they make it slower for people to be able to repond to your content, which is why, on yoast.com, we use the plain vanilla WordPress commenting system with some added features that are in the Yoast Comment Hacks plugin, which we’ve released for free on the repository. So that’s why we use that, and not any service like Disqus. But I know there’s a lot of fans of services like Disqus because of all the other features they have. So it’s a trade-off. We made our choice, you have to make yours. Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Maybe we can help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: ‘How to handle comments on your blog’ »

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Keeping your articles up to date is always a good idea, as it shows to your readers that your site offers current and relevant information. Furthermore, search engines will pick up on changes to your articles, and consider your site alive and up to date. That’s never a bad thing, right?

It’s especially important that you keep your cornerstone content articles up to date, but many other pages will benefit from updating as well. One question remains, though: what to do with the publish date? You may worry that people don’t want to read a blogpost that was published five years ago, even if the content is evergreen or if you’ve updated it just last week. Want to know how we handle the publish date on updated articles at Yoast? Let’s check this week’s question!

Kees van den Berg emailed us saying,

We’re often advised to update old articles. What to do with the publish date? Republish it on a new date? Or add a note that it has been updated?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

 

What to do with the publish date on updated articles

“Now we do this all the time on Yoast.com, we go through our old content and we update as necessary. If we completely rewrite the article or if a major part of the article is new, then we actually publish on a new date.

If only a tiny portion of the article changes, then we add a note to the article that we’ve updated it and we keep the old date. It’s that simple… so a bit of both. Good luck.”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Maybe we can help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: ‘Keep your content fresh and up to date!’ »

 

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Paginated archives have long been a topic of discussion in the SEO community. Over time, best practices for optimization have evolved, and we now have pretty clear definitions. This post explains what these best practices are. It’s good to know that Yoast SEO applies all these rules to every archive with pagination.

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Indicate that an archive has pagination

When a search engine crawls page one of an archive, it needs to know it’s a paginated archive. For the longest time, the only way for it to know that something was a paginated archive is when it found a “next” or “previous link”. This was solved by the introduction of rel="next" and rel="prev" link-elements, to be applied in the head of a page, a topic we’ve written about before.

For a while, there was a discussion in the SEO community about how to combine this with rel canonical. Should page 2 and further of an archive have a canonical link to page 1, or to itself? The idea was that you mostly want visitors to end up on page 1 of an archive. That page is usually the most relevant for the majority of users.

Google is very clear now: each page within a paginated series should canonicalize to itself, so /page/2/ has a canonical pointing to /page/2/.

Should page 2 etc. be in the search results?

For a while, SEOs thought it might be a good idea to add a noindex robots meta tag to page 2 and further of a paginated archive. This would prevent people from finding page 2 and further in the search results. The idea was that the search engine would still follow all these links, so all the linked pages would still be properly indexed.

The problem is that at the end of last year, Google said something that caught our attention: long-term noindex on a page will lead to them not following links on that page. This makes adding noindex to page 2 and further of paginated archives a bad idea, as it might lead to your articles no longer getting the internal links they need.

Because of what Google said about long-term noindex, in Yoast SEO 6.3 we removed the option to add noindex to subpages of archives.

Annoying SEO side effects

So you can no longer keep page 2 and further out of the search results. This has the annoying side effect that Google Search Console might start to give you warnings. Specifically, it might warn you about duplicate titles and duplicate meta descriptions. You can safely ignore these warnings, a fact I’ve confirmed with Google this week:

I guess, in time, Google will stop showing these warnings for paginated archives in Google Search Console.

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

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XML sitemaps are an important part of your site because they ensure search engines can crawl all the pages on your site that you want to appear in the search results. It’s up to you to decide what pages you want to include, and what pages are better left unincluded. Keep an eye out for thin content pages, for example, as these can harm your rankings.

Yoast SEO allows you a lot of control over what will and what won’t appear in your XML sitemap and the search results. With good reason: many sites have pages that add little value, and are better off not being crawled. But how do you determine if including a page in an XML sitemap is beneficial? Let’s go into that with this week’s question!

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Marek emailed us his question on this subject:

Is it beneficial for SEO to include WooCommerce product tags in an XML sitemap? They are currently added by default by Yoast SEO.

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Including WooCommerce product tags in your XML sitemap

“Whether or not it’s beneficial depends. If your product tags are a good entry point for Google to find more of your products on your site, then yes it’s beneficial. If your product tags are lousy pages that add no value, then no, it is not beneficial. So you should make a decision about that yourself. Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Maybe we can help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

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

 

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In this post, I’ll explain why we’ve created the Yoast Diversity Fund. This fund pledges a minimum of €25,000 each year. It aims to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for speakers that increase the diversity of speakers at a given conference.

Why do we need a Diversity Fund?

To make a conference inclusive and have it feature a diverse set of speakers is hard. Women, but certainly also other minorities, tend to speak less, and they do so for all sorts of reasons.

We believe that encouraging diversity among conference speakers and attendees is incredibly important. These types of events are where we go to learn, get inspired, meet life-long friends, and make significant career or life decisions. The people on the stage influence those outcomes, and the people around us shape that experience.

For a long time, especially in digital, conferences have not done a good job of representing minorities and disadvantaged groups. We need to change that. If we want to broaden our horizons, we need to remove the barriers which prevent everybody to be able to share their experiences. That’s why we’re working to give everybody a chance, and to make these conferences a fair, safe and level playing field.

At Yoast, we’ve been thinking about what we can do to improve the inclusivity of conferences. One of the things we can do is remove hurdles, and specifically, the hurdle of costs. Costs for speakers from a diverse background to come and speak.

There are WordCamps throughout the world, these are conferences about, by and for the WordPress community. While we already sponsor a lot of them, they tend to not have the budget to pay for speakers’ travel and accommodation cost. The same applies to other conferences about open source, certainly those that are not commercially run. We want to take away that particular reason for not having a diverse conference.

The Yoast Diversity Fund will, therefore, starting today, reimburse travel and accommodation cost up to €1,000 per event.

Which conferences and speakers can apply?

Either a conference or a speaker can apply if:

  • The speaker is part of – or identifies as part of – a typically underrepresented group.
  • The conference is not commercial.
  • The conference targets either the WordPress, Magento, or TYPO3 community.
  • The speaker has been accepted as a speaker to the conference.

How can I apply?

Email diversity-fund at yoast.com. Tell us:

  • who the speaker is;
  • which underrepresented group the speaker is a part of;
  • what conference you’re applying for.

We’ll review applications within one week. If needed we can help with or take care of travel arrangements.

International Women’s Day seemed like a great opportunity to launch this fund. Marieke has written more: Let’s celebrate International Women’s Day!

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