WordPress is open source. Yoast SEO is open source. At Yoast, we’re open source fanboys (and fangirls). We’ve talked about it, we’ve written about it. And still, lots of people do not know why open source is so unique. Most people do not even know what open source software is or how it’s made. That’s why we’re starting a series of interviews with people that love open source as much as we do. We’ll even search outside of WordPress. Let’s start this series with an interview with our very own Joost de Valk, founder and CEO of Yoast.

Q. Why is open source important to you?
“Open source is important to me because it’s what allowed me to learn how to code. I learned to write code by looking at other people’s code. Another reason why open source is so very important to me is that I have a deep feeling that this is how software should be developed and how knowledge should be shared. This might sound a bit grand, but as human kind, it just doesn’t make sense to develop the same things over and over again.”

Q. In what way do you contribute to open source projects?

I actively contribute to WordPress Core myself. In addition, as a company, we contribute to open source platforms by donating development time, design time, marketing time and money.

Q. Who is your open source hero?

“Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia. He’s a hero because he open sourced Wikimedia, the platform on which Wikipedia is build. In a way – with Wikipedia itself – he actually open sourced all knowledge. That’s just really awesome.”

Q. Do you have to be a developer to be involved with open source?

“No, absolutely not. Every open source project needs copywriters, translators, marketers, designers and project managers in order to succeed. Also, we need people with lots of other skill sets for, for instance, organizing a conference. I think that at Yoast, about half of our contribution is not code.”

Q. When and what was your first open source contribution?

“My first open source contribution was a test case for WebKit, the core of Safari and Chrome. This was at the end of 2005. I’ve written hundreds of test cases for WebKit and I started blogging about that on WordPress.”

Q. Does open source say anything about the quality of a product?

“Open source itself is not a guarantee of quality. There’s good and there’s bad open source software. However, with open source software, you’ll always be able to hire a developer to work on a product, even if a product is abandoned. You’ll never end up with a completely dead product because you can always reach the code. I think that is a major advantage of open source software as compared to closed source software.

Q. How do you learn from open source software?

“Open source code is visible to everybody. Because of that, you can learn from other people’s code. You can see and learn from the solutions of other people. Working on open source projects also means that you can discuss and collaborate with others who are working on the same product.

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The developers at Yoast learn from each other, but they also learn from all the other developers in the WordPress ecosystem. Because of that, because they learn from so many, different developers, they quickly improve themselves. They become better developers. I really think that people severely underestimate how important this is.”

Who’s next?

Any ideas on whom to interview next? Which open source fanatic should I reach out to? Let me know!

Read more: Why our mission is: SEO for everyone »

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Last week, I posted an article about the current status concerning Facebook traffic. I shared the fact that for Yoast.com, the Facebook referral traffic is decreasing. I also asked you all whether or not you noticed something similar and invited you to share your tactics to deal with such a decrease. You left lots and lots of interesting replies, so first of all, thank you for that! Most people noticed a decrease in Facebook traffic as well. Today, I’ll share three promising tactics that were shared in the comments.

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Facebook traffic is decreasing

The majority of the people who left a comment on my blog post also noticed a big drop in referral traffic from Facebook in the past few months. Quite some people left Facebook altogether. These people didn’t notice a drop in their traffic. Most people are less active on Facebook than they used to be, but they still use it. Also, three people responded that they didn’t notice any difference. Overall, it is safe to say that the large majority of people replying to my post did notice a significant drop in Facebook referral traffic. But what can you do about it?

Tips and tactics worth trying!

I found three tips and tactics when I was reading through the dozens of comments, and I believe that they are definitely worth trying. I am not at all sure to what extent these actually work. However, these are all things that we will be trying out on our own Facebook account in the near future. So perhaps they will be of use to you as well.

Tip 1:  Posts without external links

One of our readers suggested that Facebook posts that contain external links have far less reach than those with just text or posts with video’s or images. In her case, video (and especially live video), was performing the best.

Another reader suggested pretty much the same thing. He also added that a lively discussion on the Facebook-platform can pay off.

This could be a good approach, since Facebook likes it when people stay on Facebook, instead of clicking to another website. It could well be that Facebook treats posts without external links in it differently and that these are shown to more people. We’ll definitely try this one out!

Tip 2: Facebook groups

Several commenters pointed out that although Facebook referral traffic was going down, Facebook groups were still very active. Sharing posts in active groups does seem to be paying off. Time to get active in those groups! Perhaps we should start a Yoast group on Facebook?

Tip 3: Lengthy posts

One of our readers suggested writing longer posts. His experience was that lengthy Facebook posts performed much better than short posts.

This is easy to experiment with. Adding a bit more text to a post is not that hard. We’ll be experimenting with longer and shorter texts in our posts. I’ll keep you informed on the results of this tactic!

Conclusion

Although Facebook referral traffic is decreasing, there are some tactics we can use in order to get some of that traffic back. Perhaps investing in lengthy, well-written Facebook posts without external links will do the trick. You will not get those people to your site then, but your reach on Facebook will remain intact. That’s something to consider. We’re going to try out all three tactics we discussed in this post. We’ll keep you informed about our findings!

Read more: How to optimize your Facebook reach »

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Facebook is becoming less important as a source of traffic to your site. We wrote about it before, but mid August a lot of internet-sources reported that Facebook “did not care about publishers”. Joshua Benton wrote a nice and nuanced article about the matter, in which he also shared some interesting statistics. Facebook is indeed referring less and less to publishers. In this post, I’ll share what Yoast has noticed in decreasing traffic from Facebook, I’ll share my personal view on the matter and I’ll discuss our current strategy in dealing with it.

What have we noticed at Yoast

At Yoast, we’ve noticed our traffic from Facebook is going down. We share blogposts on our timeline and the number of visitors we attract to our website has halved in the past year-and-a-half. Overall, our traffic is going up though. We still notice a nice growth in organic search (which is a good thing, considering we’re selling SEO).

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Yoast, of course, isn’t a classic publisher, like an online newspaper or a online magazine. However, we use Facebook primarily to share our blogposts. So, I think Facebook pretty much treats us as a publisher. And indeed, we’ve seen our traffic going down.

My personal experience as a Facebook-addict

I am a Facebook user. I use it professionally, for my work at Yoast. Besides that, I am also in a few Facebook groups that give me information on WordPress and SEO. But most of all, I love catching up with friends and family through Facebook. I post pictures of my children and write little anecdotes about my life.

In the last few months, I’ve noticed a lot of people leaving Facebook, or spending far less time there. Some friends left a while ago because of the privacy issues. But others are leaving too. I notice lots of people are sharing less on their timelines. And I am also posting far less on my timeline myself. Some Facebook groups remain very active though. And lots of people aren’t really disappearing; many of them are joining Instagram.

If people are really leaving Facebook and turning to other social media platforms, traffic from Facebook will decrease even more. And if that happens, I’ll need to find another platform to share those amusing anecdotes about my life ;-).

What to do?

A while ago, I wrote a post on what to do if your traffic from Facebook is decreasing. Engaging content, personal accounts, working with influencers and advertising are all possibilities to increase your visibility on Facebook. These are valid options, which we’re working on as well. For Yoast, investing in other social media platforms is now also becoming a new very important strategy.

This week, I decided to put some genuine effort into the Yoast Instagram account. If Facebook indeed turns out to be on its way down, now is the time to dive into ‘new’ social media platforms. I’ve challenged myself to double the current amount of followers on Instagram before Christmas. I’m now experimenting with writing SEO tips in an Instagram Stories format. I really enjoy exploring new possibilities, but I am not a professional yet. If you would like to witness (and help with) my enthusiastic (and somewhat sad) attempts to double our followers, please follow the Yoast Instagram account.

What about you?

I am curious if you noticed anything different on your Facebook timeline (personal or professional) in the past six months? Are you a publisher of some sort? And I would also like to know what your tactic is. Are you focusing on different social media platforms? And which one? Or is Facebook still the most important one?

Read more: As Facebook’s algorithm changes, SEO becomes crucial »

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Keyword cannibalization means that you have various blog posts or articles on your site that can rank for the same search query in Google. If you optimize posts or articles for similar search queries, they’re eating away each other’s chances to rank. Here, I’ll explain why keyword cannibalism is bad for your SEO, how you can recognize keyword cannibalization and how to solve it.

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What is keyword cannibalization?

If you optimize your articles for similar terms, you might suffer from keyword cannibalization: you’ll be devouring your own chances to rank in Google. Google will only show 1 or 2 results from the same domain in the search results for any specific query. If you’re a high authority domain, you might get away with 3.

Why is keyword cannibalism bad for SEO?

If you cannibalize your own keywords, you’re competing with yourself for ranking in Google. Let’s say you have two posts on the same topic. In that case, Google isn’t able to distinguish which article should rank highest for a certain query. As a result, they’ll probably both rank lower. Therefore our SEO analysis will give a red bullet whenever you optimize a post for a focus keyword you’ve used before.

But, keyword cannibalism can also occur if you optimize posts for focus keywords that are not exactly, but almost the same. For instance, I wrote two posts about whether or not readability is a ranking factor. The first post is optimized for ‘does readability rank’, while the second post is optimized for the focus keyword ‘readability ranking factor’. The posts have a slightly different angle but are still very similar. For Google, it is hard to figure out which of the two article is most important. As a result, you could end up ranking low with both articles.

How to recognize keyword cannibalization?

Checking whether or not your site suffers from keyword cannibalism is rather easy. You should search your site for any specific keyword you suspect might have multiple results. In my case, I’ll google site:yoast.com readability ranks. The first two results are the articles I suspected to suffer from cannibalization.

Googling ‘site:domain.com “keyword” will give you an easy answer to the question whether you’re suffering from keyword cannibalism.

Solve keyword cannibalization with internal linking

You can help Google to figure out which article is most important, by setting up a decent internal linking structure.  You should link from posts that are less important, to posts that are the most important to you. That way, Google can figure out (by following links) which ones you want to pop up highest in the search engines.

Your internal linking structure could solve a part of your keyword cannibalism problems. You should think about which article is most important to you and link from the less important long tail articles, to your most important article. Read more about how to do this in my article about ranking with cornerstone content.

Solve keyword cannibalism by combining articles

In many cases, the best way to solve the keyword cannibalization problem is by combining articles. Find the articles that focus on similar search queries. If two articles are both attracting the same audience and are basically telling the same story, you should combine them. Rewrite the two post into one amazing, kickass article. That’ll really help with your ranking (Google loves lengthy and well-written content) and solve your keyword cannibalization problem. That’s exactly what I should do with my two posts about whether or not readability is a ranking factor. In the end, you’ll delete one of the two articles and adapt the other one. And don’t forget: don’t just press the delete button; always make sure to redirect the post you delete.

Keyword cannibalism will affect growing websites

If your site gets bigger, your chances increase to face keyword cannibalism on your own website. You’ll be writing about your favorite subjects and without even knowing it, you’ll write articles that end up rather similar. That’s what happened to me too. Once in a while, you should check the keywords you want to rank for the most. Make sure to check whether you’re suffering from keyword cannibalism. You’ll probably need to make some changes in your site structure or to rewrite some articles every now and then.

Read more: Keyword research: the ultimate guide »

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My husband – Joost de Valk – and I often have discussions on how technology will change our day-to-day life. Joost is an early adopter, while I am much slower and more reluctant to technological change. Our discussions are pretty heated. So, what’s Joost’s opinion on the future of voice search? How dominant will voice search be? And how will search be affected by it? I interviewed my early-adopting-voice-addict-husband  to shed some light and perspective on the matter of voice search. I did some thinking myself as well. Here, I share our views on what the future of voice search could look like. 

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Voice queries make a lot of sense

Joost just likes voice. He likes talking to machines. Joost asks Siri to set the timer while he’s cooking dinner and gives orders to Google Home when he wants to listen to some music. So what is it what attracts him in voice search? ‘I like voice whenever I cannot type,’ Joost answers,  ‘So, I use it while I am cooking, or when we are in a car together and we have a discussion. Using a voice query is just as easy as typing in a keyword. And if you do not have access to a keyboard, voice search is especially useful.’

I think Joost is right about that: voice queries just make sense. Voice search is easy to use (as long as your voice is recognized properly). For most people, speaking to a machine is quicker than typing. And, you can use voice search everywhere, even when you’re doing other things.

Voice results do not (always) make sense

The results that voice gives us are always singular. Siri will set a timer, Google Home will play the song. Joost:  ‘Voice results only make sense if you’re looking for a singular result. If you want to know something specific. If you want to end the discussion you’re having in the car and need to know exactly how many people live in France. And also, if you search for a specific restaurant. But if you want to have dinner in a nice restaurant and you’re not sure which one it ‘ll be,  you’ll probably prefer to see some options. And right then and there, is where I think voice results as they work now stop making sense.’

I started thinking about that. Most search queries people use are not aimed at a singular result. People like to browse. People want to choose. That’s why physical stores have a lot of options. People like to browse through different pairs of jeans before they choose which one they’ll buy. Online, we’ll probably check out different sites or at least different models before we add a pair of jeans to our shopping cart.

If you’re searching for information that is longer than a few sentences, voice result is not very useful either. That’s because it is hard to digest information solely by listening. As a listener, you’re a very passive receiver of information. As a reader,  you can scan a text, you can skip pieces information or read an important paragraph twice. You cannot do that as a listener. As a reader, you’re much more in control. So, if you’re searching for information about what to do in Barcelona, it makes much more sense to get that information from a book or a screen.

Search engines are growing towards singular results

Joost thinks that search engines are working towards singular results. They are developing that type of functionality. ‘The answer boxes you see in the search results are an example of that,’ Joost explains. ‘Search engines are trying to give one single answer to a search query. But, in a lot of the cases, people aren’t searching for one answer. In many cases people want to make a choice, they want to browse.’

So what will the future bring?

‘I think you’ll see different applications being connected to each other,’ Joost answers when I ask him what the future of voice search will look like. ‘Siri, for example, would then be connected to your Apple TV. Search results and information would appear on the screen closest to you that Apple controls. I think voice will become the dominant search query, but I think screens will continue to be important in presenting search results.’

Read more: How to prepare for voice search? »

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In the latest version of Yoast SEO Premium, we’ve released a new feature: synonyms. In the next months, you can expect even more updates making our SEO analysis smarter and more advanced. These changes will help you to write awesome, engaging content that’ll rank in the search engines. In this post, I’ll explain to you why we added synonyms to Yoast SEO and what changes lie ahead.

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Why you should use synonyms

Google is getting really good at understanding what texts are about. If you want to rank for a certain term, for example for ‘SEO’, Google will know that ‘Search Engine Optimization’ is pretty much the same thing. It makes sense to use them both. Synonyms make sure a text is nice and easy to read.

A few years ago, we added the multiple focus keyword functionality to Yoast SEO. Multiple focus keywords were often used to optimize for synonyms as well. We feel that the new synonym-functionality is a better solution to optimize for synonyms. Read my post about the difference between multiple focus keywords and synonyms if you want to know more.

Why is the exact match focus keyword still important?

Google understands synonyms, but that does not mean that focus keywords are not important anymore. Every SEO strategy should start with keyword research. You should know what words your audience is using when they are searching. The exact match keyword should be the keyword or keyphrase that your audience is using most often. That’s also the thing they expect to find. The exact match is always a little bit more important than the synonyms, just because your audience uses these words instead of others.

Vocabulary people are using is important. If people are searching for volunteering, they’ll probably not click on civic participation, although the two are supposed to be synonyms. Some words are more high-end than others and might not fit your audience as well. In your keyword research, you should take this into account. What words are your audience using?

In our SEO analysis, we’ll treat the exact match focus keyword different from the synonyms. Read more about that in our release post.

Keyword distribution

Along with the new support for synonyms, we’ve added a new keyword distribution check. Before, we would just count how often you used the keyword with our keyword density check. If you used it 4 or 5 times in the first paragraph and then never again, you could have gotten all green bullets from us. That’s no longer true.

We now have a check to see whether you’ve distributed your use of your focus keyword (or its synonyms) evenly across the text. This makes sure you stay on topic throughout your text, which will increase your chance of ranking.

Roadmap for the SEO analysis

Context is the SEO word of 2018. Google is getting really good at determining what a text is about. Google understands plurals and singulars. It has a related entities database. We’re working hard to make Yoast just as smart as Google is.

Embed synonyms in our SEO analysis

We now released our keyword distribution check in which synonyms are taken into account. We’re currently determining in which other checks we should take synonyms into account as well. Of course, we’re open for suggestions and opinions.

Morphology: plurals and more

In the past weeks, our awesome developers have built morphology recognition. This enables our analysis to recognize singulars, plurals, and other forms of the same word. So, if you want to rank for the focus keyword ‘link’, Yoast SEO will (in the near future) recognize ‘links’ and ‘linking’ as a similar keyword. We’ve built this for English and are planning to do so for more languages. We’re currently testing how to integrate this new morphology recognition into our SEO analysis.

Related keywords

The multiple focus keyword functionality is not optimal yet. In the near future, we’ll change this functionality into related keywords. You can optimize your post for a specific keyword and take synonyms into account. Next to that, you can optimize for related keywords. These are not your main keywords and not exact synonyms, but you still want to use them regularly.

We know that Google has a related entities database. If you’re searching for ‘tagliatelli’, results with the words ‘spaghetti’ and ‘pasta’ could also turn up. It’s smart to focus on related keywords when you’re writing a post. So, if your post is about ‘tagliatelli’, including ‘pasta’ and ‘spaghetti’ will probably help in your ranking as well.

We are currently working on modifying our multiple focus keyword functionality into related keyword functionality.

Recalibration of the SEO analysis

In the past year, we’ve been working on a recalibration of our SEO analysis. Many of the checks in our SEO-analysis were established based on our own experience in the SEO industry.  We wanted to be able to account for every check in our analysis more thoroughly. A team of linguists, developers, and SEO-experts dove into scientific literature and SEO blogs in order to re-assess all of our checks. The recalibration resulted in some changes in the checks of our analysis. For instance: the keyword distribution check was added as a result of it. We’re planning to release the new SEO analysis in September of this year.

Big improvements in our SEO analysis are coming

Context is gaining importance in 2018. That’s why we invest heavily in improving our SEO analysis. At the end of this year, we can really account for context in your blog posts and articles. This could mean that some of your articles that get green bullets now, will have orange or red bullets later on. That does not mean that your content became worse. It only means that we’re able to give you better, smarter feedback on your writing.

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

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Last week, Google announced a new feature in their knowledge panels. You’re now able to verify your branded or personal panel and add or change some of the information in it. But what exactly are knowledge panels? Are these useful? Should your company have one?  I’ll tell you all about it in this post!

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What is a knowledge panel?

Knowledge panels contain information about businesses or people. Such a panel appears on the right in the desktop search results. It contains information about the company, for instance when the company was founded and where the company is situated. A panel also contains pictures.

There are two types of knowledge panels: local panels and branded/personal panels. Google calls both of these knowledge panels, but the process of verifying them is totally different. For the local panels, verification was already possible through Google My Business. The new feature actually only applies to the branded/personal panels.

Why should we care about knowledge panels?

If you want to be found on your brand or business name, a knowledge panel is really useful! If Google decides to show your knowledge panel,  you pretty much dominate the search results on the right side of the screen in desktop search. In mobile, the knowledge panel will appear between other results but is pretty dominant as well. A knowledge panel will thus make sure your company or brand will stand out in the search results when people are specifically searching for it. That’ll give you lots and lots of clicks. And this makes sense too: if people are searching for your brand name, they want to find your website.

How do you get a knowledge panel for your business?

As with other types of search results, Google will decide whether or not it’ll show a knowledge panel in the search results. If you’re a local business, you can do some things to increase your chances to rank with a knowledge panel. For the branded and personal panels, it is much harder to obtain such a knowledge panel.

Local panels

If you want a chance of Google displaying a local panel for your business, the first step is to open a Google My Business account.  You’ll then be able to verify that you are the owner of your business. After that, you can add or edit all relevant information about your business, such as address information, opening hours and photos.

In the end, Google will decide whether or not to show a knowledge panel. Relevance, distance, and the prominence of the business are all important aspects for Google in determining if it’ll show knowledge panels. Making sure your website is really awesome and working on a high-authority domain could enhance your chances.

Read more: ‘Improve your local SEO with Google My Business’ »

Branded/personal panels

It is not possible to apply for a branded or personal panel. Google will decide whether or not your brand is worthy of a knowledge panel.  If your brand has enough authority, a knowledge panel will appear. Brands and people who have Wikipedia pages, often have knowledge panels as well. For Yoast, we do have a knowledge panel.  Joost de Valk also has a personal knowledge panel. I do not have a knowledge panel. I’ll keep working on that level of authority.

How to verify your panel

So, Google’s news from last week was that people could now verify their brand or personal knowledge panel. Verifying is not all that hard. If you have a knowledge panel, make sure to verify it. Follow the steps Google has outlined for you in this article. You need to log in to your Google account and sign in to one of your official sites or profiles to get verification for your business. For Yoast, it was pretty easy.

Once verified, you’ll be able to make changes in the knowledge panel and make sure it looks the way you want it to look.

Conclusion on knowledge panels

Knowledge panels are a great asset to have in the search results. For local panels, you should make sure you’re doing everything you can to get a knowledge panel. For branded or personal knowledge panels, it is much harder to influence your chances of getting one. It all depends on your level of authority, and that’s something that probably won’t be fixed overnight.

Keep reading: ‘Ultimate guide to small business SEO’ »

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YoastCon 2019 is going to be epic. On February 7 & 8, we’re hosting Europe’s best SEO and marketing conference in the Netherlands! It’ll take place in the Vereeniging in Nijmegen, just around the corner of our Yoast offices. Let me tell you all about our amazing speakers and the chock full schedule we’re currently working on. You do not want to miss this!

Buy your ticket before July 1 and get it for 449 euro instead of 499 euro.

Get your YoastCon early bird ticket nowOnly €449 (ex VAT) incl. exclusive gift

Speakers

We’re still working on our schedule, but we can already confirm some amazing speakers. Rand Fishkin (founder of Moz and Spaktoro) is going to keynote at YoastCon 2019. Els Aerts (of AG consult) and Purna Virji (of Microsoft) also promised to come as well. And what about Geraldine DeRuiter (of Everywhereist) and our very own Joost de Valk and Jono Alderson?

Hot of the press: Aleyda Solis (European Search Personality of 2018, founder of Orainti and blogger for Moz and Search Engine Land), will take the stage too! Get to know all YoastCon speakers.

Schedule

We want to give a stage to the very best of the SEO industry. We’ll have 9 awesome keynote speakers (two of which we’re currently persuading to come and speak for you!).

In addition to listening to these world-class keynote speakers, you can join in three rounds of practical workshops. We’ll offer workshops on the Yoast SEO plugin, site structure, keyword research, SEO copywriting and reviewing your own website. Workshops will be offered both in Dutch and English. Team Yoast will prepare and lead the workshops. As the groups will be small, you’ll have lots of opportunity to ask practical questions.YoastCon2019 schedule

Call for speakers

We still have room in our two-day schedule to fit even more awesome speakers! Are you an expert in the field of SEO, marketing, UX, copywriting or development? Let us know and apply to speak at YoastCon 2019. We’re looking for speakers to shine on our stage! Check out our call for speakers for more information.

Venue and ticket information

YoastCon will take place at ‘de Vereeniging’ in Nijmegen, a beautiful old venue nearby Nijmegen Central Station. Tickets are 499 euro – or 449 if you get them before July 1! – and include full access to all talks, three workshops, lunch on both days, coffee and drinks on Thursday night and Friday afternoon. We’ll make sure you’ll leave with lots of new ideas on how to improve your marketing and SEO strategy.

Get your YoastCon early bird ticket nowOnly €449 (ex VAT) incl. exclusive gift

More information?

Want to know more about YoastCon 2019? Read more about it on our YoastCon page. And, do not forget to check out our video impression of YoastCon 2017! That’ll get you in the perfect mood for the next YoastCon.

Make sure to buy your ticket before July 1 and profit from a 50 euro discount! And, make sure to reserve your hotelroom as well. Due to multiple events, hotel rooms are rather scarce during YoastCon. Don’t miss out and buy your tickets today!

See you at YoastCon!

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As you might know, Google is rolling out mobile-first indexing as we speak. But what does that mean for your ranking? Should you be worried? Should you do anything? Last week, Google explained a bit more about mobile-first indexing. In this post, I’ll talk you through five things you need to know about mobile-first indexing.

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Mobile-first indexing

Last March, Google announced that they were going to start with mobile-first indexing. But what does that entail? It means that from now on, Google will base what it places in the index based on the mobile version of your site, whereas they used to index the desktop version of your site first. This switch is made because more and more searches come from a mobile device and to give those users a better experience, Google decided that it was time to prioritize mobile results. It is important to note that the mobile-first index is not a separate index, Google has only one index from which it serves the results.

1. Do not panic!

More and more sites are in the mobile index. That does not mean that anything big is happening. In fact, it probably doesn’t do anything to your rankings. If your site is in the mobile-first index, you’ll get a notice in your Google Search Console.

If your website is in the mobile-first index, Google will determine by the content available on your mobile site how you will rank — both on the desktop as well as on mobile. This sounds pretty big, but for most WordPress sites it’ll have minimal consequences. If you think about it, most WordPress sites have a responsive design. This means that both mobile and desktop display the same content. You’ll have nothing to worry about in this case.

If you have different websites for mobile and desktop and your mobile website has far less content – you do have something to worry about. 

2. Do a mobile friendliness test. Ranking without mobile is going to be hard…

You do not have to have a mobile site to be in the mobile-first indexing, as Google will index desktop sites as well. But, it’s going to be hard to rank if your site is not mobile friendly. So there’s work to do for all of you who have not yet have a mobile-friendly site.

So what do you need to do? Check out Google’s mobile friendliness test and check whether or not your site is mobile friendly. In our experience, this is a minimum requirement. If your site does not pass this test, your mobile version is bad.

3. Think about UX on mobile

A mobile website needs a different design than a desktop version to appeal to your audience. Your screen is tiny. Google explained last week that hamburger or accordion menus are perfectly fine to use. These kinds of menus make sense; they help a mobile user to browse through your website. Putting content behind a tab to make the mobile experience better is also totally fine.

Read more: ‘10 ways to improve mobile UX’ »

4. Write mobile-friendly

Reading from a screen is hard. And reading from a mobile screen is even harder than reading from a big screen. To attract a mobile audience, you’ll need to have mobile-friendly copy. This means short sentences and compact paragraphs. You need to make sure your font on your mobile site is large and clear enough, and you need to make sure to use enough whitespaces.

Keep reading: ‘Copywriting for mobile’ »

5. Check out those mobile snippets

Is your audience mainly mobile? Do they come from the mobile search results to your page? Or does most of your organic traffic come from the desktop SERP’s? Make sure to check this in your Google Analytics.

If your search traffic is mostly from mobile Search Result Pages, make sure to optimize your mobile snippet in our snippet preview.

Mobile snippet preivew

Conclusion on mobile-first indexing

Don’t panic about the mobile-first index Google is rolling out. If your website has a responsive design, your content will be similar on both desktop and mobile versions. If so, the mobile-first indexing will have little consequences for your ranking.

Do take some time to evaluate the mobile version of your website. Check out its mobile parity — are your desktop and mobile site equal? Is your design good enough? Or could you improve? Are the buttons large enough to tap? What about your content? Could you make your text more readable for a mobile audience? Making sure your website has a kick-ass mobile experience is something you need to get started on. This will make a difference in your rankings shortly.

Read on: ‘How to improve your mobile site’ »

The post 5 things you need to know about mobile-first indexing appeared first on Yoast.

Five years ago, I met Taco Verdonschot for the first time. He applied for a job at Yoast. He brought a cake to his job interview. So smart! He was the first developer we ever hired and probably the worst one we had. And although Taco wasn’t much of a developer, I knew right from the start that he was right for Yoast. 

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Taco is a perfect fit for Yoast. He understands Yoast. He’s a vital part of Yoast. This week, Taco is one of the co-organizers at WordCamp Europe. He has grown so much in the past five years, and I am so proud of him. Earlier this week, I asked him about his experience as an organizer of WordCamps. What are his dearest memories? Why does he like WordCamps so much? Read on and get to know Taco a bit better!

How did you get sucked into organizing WordCamps?

Only a few weeks after I started working at Yoast (almost five years ago), I was sent to WordCamp Europe in Leiden. That was my first WordCamp. I met a lot of people there. Soon afterward, I began organizing WordPress Meetups (thanks to Barry Kooij of Never5).

Right, I remember that. And after that? You started volunteering and then?

I was a speaker at WordCamp Netherlands in 2015 and applied as a co-organizer for WordCamp Netherlands in 2016. Marcel Bootsman made me responsible for organizing the volunteers, which I believe is the most fun part of organizing a WordCamp.

What is your best memory of a WordCamp?

I liked WordCamp Europe in Sofia best, the second WordCamp Europe. The city of Sofia was marvelous, and the audience pretty much knew what to expect. They all wanted to enjoy a great, laid-back event. I especially enjoyed the afterparty in which we danced the night away. Our CEO Joost de Valk and Danny van Kooten even did a limbo competition!

Really? I’ve never heard about that before. Curious.

The best thing about WordCamps is meeting ‘friends I’ve never met before’. I love the WordPress community, which is tight-knit but also very welcoming to new people. People want to help each other. That atmosphere is awesome and that’s something you feel at WordCamps. That’s the best thing for sure.

What’s so unique about this WordCamp Europe in Belgrade?

It’s the first WordCamp Europe outside of the European Union. That causes some logistic challenges for both the organizing team as well as sponsors.

Tell me about it. We couldn’t get our stroopwafels to Belgrade. It was terrible.

At the same time, Belgrade is a perfect choice. It is central and it is rather cheap. Lots of people can travel for relatively low costs and hotels are affordable. That’ll make the event accessible to people from all over Europe. And that’s kind of the idea.

Is there anything about WordCamps you don’t like? Except for missing your wife and daughter that is…

Well, I don’t like that there are still WordCamps without contributor days. During a contributor day, we all work on the WordPress project together. And whether you’re a translator, developer, marketer or a Matt Mullenweg, everybody can join and contribute to the project. On a contributor day, you’ll learn just how to do that and that enables more people to participate. Every WordCamp should have a contributor day.

Anything to add, Taco?

I talk to a lot of organizers of WordCamps from all over the world, and they all face the same problem; It’s hard to find speakers for our conferences. That’s why I would like to invite everybody to go and speak on a local WordPress Meetup or a WordCamp. Tell your story, share your thoughts on a project you’re currently working on and which challenges you’re facing. It’s so cool — and exciting — to share your experiences on stage!

Thank you so much, Taco, for your time to do this interview. And thank you for the (almost) five years you’re working for Yoast. You’re making a difference in the WordPress Community and at WordCamp Europe. More importantly, you’re a crucial part of Team Yoast and an indispensable part of my personal life as well. Thank you for five amazing years! Have an awesome WordCamp Europe!

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The post 5 questions for Yoast’s community hero Taco appeared first on Yoast.