Want to learn how to make your site rank high? Get better at SEO and practice your skills in a fun way? We think our Yoast Academy SEO courses are exactly what you need, but maybe you’re not so sure yet. You can now try them out, for free! You can get free access to some of our lessons now to test if our SEO courses fit your needs. What are you waiting for? Get your free trial now!

How do I get a free trial?

Just go to my.yoast.com and create an account, if you don’t have one yet. Log in and go to courses. You’ll see an overview of all the SEO courses we offer. You’ll notice a purple label saying that a free trial is available:

free trials of yoast academy SEO courses

Click on ‘Start free trial’ and get a taste of the SEO training you’re interested in. Not sure which training you’d like to take? You can check out a lesson of all courses with the ‘Free trial available’ label.

Which lessons can I try?

All of them! For instance, you can try a sampling of our Basic SEO training, the Yoast SEO for WordPress training or Structured data training. Basic SEO is a must-take training if you want to learn about all aspects that influence your site’s rankings. The Yoast SEO for WordPress training focuses on how to configure Yoast SEO to get the best out of it for your website. Our Structured Data training is what you need if you want to get those coveted rich results that make your page stand out in the search results.

Is it for me?

Everyone can try out these SEO lessons from Yoast Academy. Even if you’ve already bought a course or if you did the free Yoast SEO for beginners training you can try out another one. Just log in to MyYoast and see if that other SEO training meets your expectations.

Why should I try an SEO training at Yoast Academy?

SEO experts and educational professionals develop our courses. This means we know all about creating websites that rank and how to teach you how to achieve that. We know what kind of issues you encounter as a website owner, and we love to help you develop the skills to overcome these. On top of that, our quizzes are just plain fun. Even SEO experts can enjoy our courses. So what’s stopping you? Try a free trial lesson now!

Let us know!

Did you check out one of our lessons? We’d like to hear what you think. Enjoyed it? Or left with some questions? Drop them in the comments below!

The post Try your free SEO lessons today: Yoast Academy trials available now appeared first on Yoast.

Being part of the blog team at Yoast I spend much time writing, correcting and editing content in the editor. Of course, I’ve heard about Gutenberg (it’s quite the thing here at Yoast) and glanced over it, but I didn’t take the time to do much with it myself. When the Gut Guys asked me if I would like to feature in one of their videos I couldn’t escape it anymore, I had to start testing Gutenberg for real! So I did. As Marieke already wrote about using Gutenberg as a writer, I’d like to share my experiences with using Gutenberg as an editor.

Free course! Learn what makes your site rank with our SEO for beginners training »

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Gutenberg?

In case you’ve missed it: the content editor in WordPress is going to get a complete overhaul. Instead of just a big blank field where you type your text, with some options to format it on top of your screen, it’s going to transform into smaller blocks. You can select a block to have a particular appearance, for instance, a paragraph, a heading or an image. And you can move these blocks around or duplicate them. In the sidebar, you’ll have more options to do all kinds of things with your content. That’s it in a tiny nutshell, if you want to know more, read Edwin’s highly informative piece on what Gutenberg is exactly.

Start the test!

You can already install the Gutenberg plugin and already use Gutenberg on a (test) site to see how it works. Another option, if you want to get acquainted with Gutenberg, is to go to testgutenberg.com and create and edit some content right there in your browser. Not all functionalities work as they should there, but it’ll surely give you an impression.

First impression

I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to use Gutenberg in the beginning. I guess it’s just hard to let go of what you’re used to and start learning something new. Moreover, in my previous job, I’ve worked with the Oracle ATG CMS which works with blocks as well, and that CMS has a very steep learning curve. On the other hand, that experience also made me already see the advantages of using blocks with pieces of content, instead of one big field.

But starting out I was pleasantly surprised! This didn’t feel that different at all. OK, I had to click around a bit to find the functionalities I was looking for, but that was to be expected. It felt quite intuitive to me. I happily clicked around adding, moving and editing blocks and jotted down what I noticed. I tried to test things I often do as an editor, like copying content people shared with me in Google docs, edit a bit of HTML somewhere, search for a certain paragraph, move them, change a heading or adding a conclusion to a text. Here are my findings:

Copy content from Google Docs

Copying content from Google Docs to the classic WordPress editor can be a hassle. But with Gutenberg, it’s much easier. You copy it from your doc and paste it right into the editor. To my surprise, this gave an excellent result. No weird span tags, the headings where correct, paragraphs transferred correctly, and the links were still in place. Nice! I didn’t discover any flaws at all. For me, this is an enormous improvement, as it is not that easy in the classic editor. Of course, I’m aware there are workarounds for issues with it in the current editor, but how wonderful if we wouldn’t need those!

Switch a block to HTML in Gutenberg

If you want to edit a piece of content in HTML you can click on the three dots in the upper right corner of a block and switch to HTML:

This feature made me so happy! We’ve got some pretty lengthy articles here at Yoast, especially our cornerstone articles, and the time I’ve spent to find exactly that sentence or paragraph that I wanted to edit… I think this feature will make me work much more efficiently.

Search for a paragraph and move it

In Gutenberg, you can find a table of contents in the sidebar when you click on the information icon above your article. I didn’t really expect to find it there – perhaps some ‘structure-like’ icon would make more sense – but I like the fact this table of content exists. I can click on a heading and jump to that part of the copy directly.

If one of our authors has written a long article, this comes in handy! When editing a text, I sometimes search for a paragraph because I’d like to change it a bit, add something or move it to another location to improve the flow. In that case, I can just drag and drop a block and move it to another location. You can also use the upward or downward arrow on the left side of the block to move a block up or down. Not sure if I would use that much though.

Placing the mouse correctly to make the hand icon appear to move the block can be a bit of a struggle. I also noticed that if I’d like to move two blocks together, for instance, a paragraph and a header, you’d have to move them separately. At least I didn’t achieve to select and move them together.

Headings and anchors in Gutenberg

Headings are essential for your users and SEO. They guide the reader, show the structure of your text and should mention the most important (sub)topics of it. In my daily work, I notice that sometimes writers get enthusiastic and start writing a lot of paragraphs after one single subheading. In that case, the readability analysis of Yoast SEO will throw off this notice:

readability too much text subheading

So I’ll have to add some subheadings to improve the readability of the copy, which is easy with Gutenberg. Just click on the plus or hit enter where you want the additional heading to be. It will be an H2 by default — which I like — but you can quickly change it to an H3 or H4 if you want.

add heading in gutenberg

Select the right heading for a block

Ok, this might not be the hardest thing to do in the classic editor either – especially if you know you can use ## before the heading and hit enter to create an H2 – but not everyone knows these kinds of tricks.

Easily create an HTML anchor to link to a heading

And what I like most… there is a way to add an HTML anchor to your heading without having to switch to HTML! Click on Advanced on the Block tab in the sidebar, and the option will unfold.

Just add the text you want, let’s say ‘example’, and you can link directly to this heading from everywhere by adding #example to the URL of the page! No need to add id=’example’ in the HTML of your copy. Awesome, right?

Duplicate and share blocks

Reusing a useful piece of content you’ve already created is music to every web editor’s ears. In Gutenberg, you can duplicate a block (create an exact copy of it in your article), or you can share it. If you share it, you can use it again on another post or page. It’s one of the few things I sometimes actually miss from Oracle ATG, a feeling I don’t get very often ;-)

“But what about duplicate content?” I hear you think. Of course, you should reuse blocks sensibly and be aware of not duplicating or recreating entire pages. This could confuse Google which page to show in the search results.

But sometimes you’ve created a nice-looking layout which you’d like to reuse. Or you’ve written a small piece of copy you’d like to add in multiple articles. With the shared block function, you won’t have to type it over and over again or copy and paste it all. I can imagine we could use this to link to our cornerstones at the end of a post, or if we want to add a short notification to a certain set of posts. And I’m sure much more great use cases will come up!

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Adding images to the content

As an editor, quite often we add illustrations and screenshots to a blog post. I tried to add some using Gutenberg and it’s easy. Just hit enter, click on the plus and upload the image you want to add. What I liked immediately is that you can write a caption below the image right away. Good captions can help the reader to understand what the image is about. Just seeing this option might trigger the writer to add one, which could increase the reader’s understanding of the copy. In the sidebar, you can add an alt text too, which is great.

I got a little less enthusiastic though when I tried to select and scale the image. When I selected it, it selected the paragraph below it too. This might be caused by the fact that I aligned the image left or right, but I think it shouldn’t happen anyway. The scaling functionality appeared to be off a bit too. It only seemed to scale properly when I moved the mouse vertically, not horizontally, which took me a while to find out. This probably still needs some work.

No issues?

Until so far this has been a fairly positive article. What about the downsides? To be honest, I didn’t encounter much inconvenience working with the editor yet. What I found a bit odd is that the plus only appears after you hit enter after a paragraph. For me, it would make sense if it would be there and you could click it after you’ve finished your sentence. But that’s just a minor thing. Apart from that, the image editing functionality requires some finetuning, as I explained. But that’s about it!

Go and try it out too!

I’ve had a very positive experience working with Gutenberg and got more excited along the way! But I can only judge it as an author or editor on our blog. Of course, there are much more roles and technical implications that don’t directly affect me in my work. That’s why I’m curious how other people experience using this editor. So I’d say, don’t be scared and go for it! Use Gutenberg and try to do with it what you usually do. And please share your findings in the comments below!

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

The post Using Gutenberg as an editor: does it make my life easier? appeared first on Yoast.

Want to know what makes your site rank higher in Google? Understand how Google works? This is your chance to learn it… for free! For the first time ever, we’re launching a completely free course: the SEO for beginners training. In this course, you’ll take your first steps in the world of Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO. The course will be launched on May 7 and is easy, fun and free! So what’s stopping you?

Learn what to do to make your web traffic grow. Create a My Yoast user account now and we’ll give you access to the course on May 7!

Why take this course?

You want to rank higher

Whatever your expertise is, whether you’re a hairdresser, a consultant or a plumber, you probably have a website. And you want it to rank on top in Google. But what if the competition is outranking you? You can beat them through search engine optimization or SEO. SEO is the art of creating a website that search engines and users like. This can give you a head start on the competition that’s still in the dark about SEO. In the SEO for beginners training, you’ll learn why Google likes certain websites more than others. So you’ll know what to improve on your own website.

It’s easy

As this course is for beginners, it doesn’t matter if you know nothing about SEO or not so much about websites yet! We won’t use too many technical terms. We want everyone with a website to be able to understand what makes one website better than the other.

It’s fun and for free!

And on top of that, it’s free and much fun to do! You’ll get access to over two hours of instructional videos, lots of reading material, and challenging quizzes to train what you’ve learned. 

What will you learn?

In this training, you’ll learn which factors make a website rank high in Google’s search results. It will give you a fundamental understanding of how search engines work. You’ll learn about keywords, why they are important and how to choose them well. Also, you’ll get insight in writing SEO-friendly posts and how structuring your site well can improve your rankings.

Why is this course free?

At Yoast we believe in fair changes in the search results for everyone. We think SEO isn’t something only the big companies should be able to do. Small businesses or non-profit organizations, or great ideas in general should get a platform and should be easy to find on the internet as well. That’s why our Yoast SEO plugin is for free, you get a free eBook when you sign up for our newsletter and next week we’ll even add a free course to the list!

How do you get access?

As of May 7 you’ll be able to enroll in this course. It’s completely free. If you don’t want to miss it you can already create a My Yoast account. The course will be automatically added to your account on May 7. We’ll send you an email when it’s available!

The post Get ready for our FREE training: SEO for beginners appeared first on Yoast.

Today we’re launching the Personal configuration review: an extra personal assignment you can add to the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin training. You can now test if you’ve understood the subject matter of our training well and do an extra assignment – on your own site! When you’ve configured Yoast SEO on your site, we’ll check it for you and give you personal feedback. This assignment is only available in combination with our plugin training. Buy them together now for only $99!

Get The Yoast SEO Training + Configuration Review Now$99 (ex VAT) for training and assignment

What is it?

The Personal configuration review is an extension of the existing Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin training. In this new assignment we’ll take you by the hand and guide you through the settings of Yoast SEO, like the Search appearance section, the integration with Google Search Console and the Social tab. For instance, we’ll help you decide which content you should have indexed and which not. Get ready to apply the skills you’ve learned in the training!

You can only do this assignment when you buy the Yoast SEO for WordPress training. We recommend doing that because it will give you the opportunity to test your comprehension of the Yoast SEO plugin. And even better, you’ll know directly if Yoast SEO is configured optimally for your type of website.

How does it work?

Adding this extra assignment to your course is easy! Just follow these steps:

  1. Buy the course and the assignment together (the assignment is only available as an extension of the training).
  2. After you’ve finished the course you’ll get access to the Personal configuration review assignment.
  3. Get started and configure Yoast SEO on your own website with help of the assignment.
  4. Once you’re done inform us that you’ve finished it and grant us access to the backend of your WordPress Install via a guest account.
  5. We’ll check your configuration and we’ll provide personal feedback by email.
  6. If you’ve set it up well, you’ll get an additional certificate and badge.

Why this assignment?

At Yoast we want to deliver the best online SEO courses. We believe good training requires some personal attention. That’s why we’ll top up more courses with assignments that will be checked by members of our team in the future. Because nothing is more valuable than true customized feedback by SEO professionals!

Get The Yoast SEO Training + Configuration Review Now$99 (ex VAT) for training and assignment

The post Personal configuration review: Train your skills and get our feedback appeared first on Yoast.

Team Yoast often attends WordCamps and other conferences. We’d like to keep you updated on the highlights of these events and share the knowledge we gained and the fun we had there. In March we went, for example, to WordCamp Oslo, WordCamp AntwerpWordCamp RotterdamWordCamp Kathmandu and The Social Conference. We’ve picked some of the highlights for you. Read on!

Want to meet us and know which events we’ll be going to soon? Check out our events page

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

WordCamp Oslo

Remkus de Vries, our remote colleague from the north of the Netherlands, went even higher up north to Norway to join WordCamp Oslo. Of the presentations he watched, the very first one by Magne Ilsaas was the one that stood out the most for him:

“Magne talked about Gutenberg, the printing press, and how it sparked a revolution some 500 years ago. But of course, he also talked about Gutenberg as the new editing experience expected to ship with WordPress 5.0 and the opportunities and possibilities it brings. It’s a presentation that sparked a lot of conversations the rest of the day. I couldn’t agree with him more: Gutenberg will, indeed, revolutionize how we’re using WordPress.”

Want to know more about Gutenberg? Follow the knowledgeable Gut Guys on YouTube. We will be publishing about Gutenberg a lot more in the coming weeks, starting with Marieke. She will publish a post on content writing with Gutenberg soon!

WordCamp Antwerp

While Remkus was traveling north, other Yoasters went south to WordCamp Antwerp in Belgium. That’s where our sales superstar Anneloes found out everyone can contribute on a contributor day, no need to be a developer! She joined the WP Marketing team – an initiative which our marketing team had already joined on WordCamp Noord Nederland – and was thrilled by the friendly and helpful atmosphere she encountered.

karin

Our awesome Karin volunteering at WordCamp Antwerp

At WordCamp Antwerp, our Research Team Lead Annelieke gave a presentation on Multilingual SEO, not the easiest of topics. She guided visitors with international websites through the Multilingual and Multiregional forest to help them make the right sites rank in the right countries. She discussed hreflang, multilingual copywriting for SEO and more. Check the highlights of her presentation on this Twitter thread.

WordCamp Rotterdam

At Yoast we not only like sustainable SEO, we care about environmental sustainability too. And that’s the first thing we loved about WordCamp Rotterdam. It was held at the awesome venue BlueCity, the old swimming pool Tropicana, now a hotspot for environmentally-friendly entrepreneurs. There was no printed schedule, cookies were made from yesterday’s bread, and badges were recyclable and filled with plant seeds. Awesome!

A lot of Yoasters in Rotterdam!

At this event, Monique Dubbelman gave a live demo of Gutenberg, which is always good to increase awareness. The talk by Andree Lange on style tiles was of particular interest to the design team, offering a low barrier way to create a library of design elements for a project without having to spec out every little detail from the start. And Jules Ernst shared some illuminating examples of accessibility problems and how you can already improve your website’s accessibility a lot with a little bit of work.

The Yoast team organized the closing session of the event doing some live site reviews. Michelle, Annelieke, Tim and Judith scrutinized some of the visitors’ websites and sent them home with lots of practical tips to improve their SEO and sites in general. You can check the full session (in Dutch) on our Facebook page.

WordCamp Kathmandu

Our support engineer Suwash went to WordCamp Kathmandu in Nepal. He found the presentation of Chandan Goopta one of the most interesting:

“The talk focused on how we can optimize the server, use server commands, and add our custom scripts to monitor bottlenecks on site and fix those issues: sometimes external tools don’t exactly give the cause of why a site is acting slow. He talked not only about the optimized performance of a site but also enhanced page load time (less than 2 seconds load time) and more.”

Contributor day was the first in the history of WordPress Nepal community and there were around 115 attendees. Fond of giving support, Suwash joined as a Team Lead for Support focusing on encouraging attendees to contribute by answering support questions on the WordPress.org support forum.

Support engineer Suwash at WordCamp Kathmandu

The Social Conference

Dushanthi and Siobhan of Team Marketing also visited Amsterdam for The Social Conference, a day full of talks about different social media and how to use them. KLM kicked off with an awesome talk on using social media to give customers the best possible experience. They’re very advanced in using chatbots and providing relevant information through the most convenient channel. Another talk our team was pretty impressed by, was by outdoor gear brand Patagonia, on doing business in unconventional ways. More so: using your business as a tool for environmental activism. This talk hit home as their community building was so like our belief in Open Source.

A lot of the other talks were about changing algorithms like Facebook’s. As no-one knew anything other to say than ‘create engaging content’, we’re even more convinced of our message: as Facebook’s algorithm changes, SEO becomes crucial. The most important takeaway for us this day: if all else changes, your website is still in your control!

Go to WordCamps

We’ve had an awesome time at these conferences. We would encourage you to visit WordCamps as well. It as great oppurtunity to meet likeminded people, to contribute to WordPress and to learn a great deal from the talks. You can find WordCamps all over the world. Hope to meet you there!

Want to meet us at future events? Keep an eye on our events page

The post Yoast conference update: Where were we in March? appeared first on Yoast.

Making your website rank high can be a challenge. Making your international sites rank high can be an even bigger challenge. There are just a lot more things you have to do for multilingual SEO: create content for different markets, set up sites for those markets and implement hreflang, just to name a few. Plus there are additional choices you have to make. Like this one: on which domains will you publish your internationalized content? Here we’ll list the most common options you have, and we’ll help you decide on the best option for your situation. 

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

New: Multilingual SEO training Info

ccTLD, subdomain or subdirectory?

Let’s say you own a site for your business in the US: myepicbusiness.com. You’re expanding to Australia and want to create multiregional websites. In general, you’d say, there are 3 options for your internationalized content to reside:

  • on a country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD): myepicbusiness.au
  • on a subdomain: au.myepicbusiness.com
  • on a subdirectory: myepicbusiness.com/au

All options have pros and cons, and it all depends on your business which one will suit you best.

ccTLD

Do you have a large multinational business with lots of resources? Then, a country code domain, like epicbusiness.au is a good option for a multiregional site. It’s the most effective way of telling Google and your audience which country your targeting.

However, it also means you have to acquire the domain and have to build up domain authority from scratch. Domain authority means that Google knows your domain epicbusiness.com and sees it as a trustworthy source. A ccTLD, like .au, will not profit from the domain authority of your .com domain.

Before you choose a ccTLD you should always properly investigate if it’s worth investing a lot in that market. You should only decide to go for the ccTLD if there are enough opportunities for growth in that country and if you have enough resources to exploit them. In general we’d say: if your .com domain ranks high and your marketing budget is limited, choosing one of the others probably is the better choice.

Subdomain or subdirectory

If the ccTLD isn’t the right choice for your business, you’ll have to choose between a subdomain or subdirectory. In that case, what would be the best choice: myepicbusiness.com/au or au.myepicbusiness.com?

Even though you might suspect differently, Google will not see a subdomain as the exact same domain. It’s not exactly clear how Google sees it, but it’s clear the domain authority of myepicbusiness.com won’t completely flow to a subdomain, like au.myepicbusiness.com. This means you can’t take full advantage of the domain authority you’ve built up for your .com domain. So in this case we’d advise to pick a subdirectory, like: myepicbusiness.com/au

Countries with multiple languages

There are countries that have two – or more – official languages. If you want to target audiences speaking multiple languages you’ll have to create multilingual sites. This will force you to make even more choices for your domain structure. In Canada, for instance, there’s a French speaking part and English speaking part. What if you want to show the French and English speaking part of Canada a different website?

ccTLD

Let’s say you’ve got a major business and plenty of resources, so you’ve selected the ccTLD. This means that for Canada you’ve chosen myepicbusiness.ca. In that case you can easily add two language variations as a subdirectory to your site:

  • myepicbusiness.ca/en
  • myepicbusiness.ca/fr

Subdirectory

If you’ve chosen to place your Canadian content on subdirectories, you could best create the URLs below. Do remember to refer to the language first and then to the country:

  • myepicbusiness.com/en-ca
  • myepicbusiness.com/fr-ca

If you want to dive deeper into this matter, we’d advise you to take our Multilingual SEO training. In this course we explain in more detail which pros and cons there are, how you can do your geotargeting well, how to easily create awesome copy in different languages and other important stuff for international SEO, like implementing hreflang. Check it out now!

Multiple countries with the same language

But what about using one website in the same language for multiple countries? Can’t you just use the same English website for, for instance, Australia and the UK?

Country websites or language websites?

If possible, we’d recommend creating different sites for different countries, even if people are speaking the same language. Although it might require more resources, it will be easier to target that specific market with the right content. Things that can differ from country to country are the local vocabulary, contact information, product availability and the currency. If you don’t create different content for the countries you’re targeting, users might get confused about what service and products you deliver in their country.

So this means that, in case of the example above, you’d choose myepicbusinness.com/uk and myepicbusiness.com/au Or, if you have enough marketing capabilities, you could use myepicbusiness.uk and myepicbusiness.au.

Don’t forget hreflang!

If you’re targeting multiple countries with websites containing content in the same language you should never forget to implement hreflang! With hreflang you’ll tell Google which of your websites should rank in which country and for which language. On top of that, it will prevent duplicate content issues, which is almost inevitable if you target countries with the same language. 

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

New: Multilingual SEO training Info

TL;DR

Choosing domains for internationalized content on your site can be a challenge. If you have a large marketing budget you should choose ccTLDs for every country your target and build strong domains for each country. If you’re not capable of doing that, you should choose subdirectories. In case you target countries with multiple languages, you can create subdirectories for each language in a country. In general, always choose country sites instead of language sites to target your audience with the right content and to prevent confusion. And, don’t forget to implement hreflang!

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

The post International sites: the best domain structure for SEO appeared first on Yoast.

If your online business is doing well in your country, you might consider expanding to international markets. To be successful in new markets requires some extra investments in SEO though. You’d better start thinking about multilingual SEO, if you want to be sure your website will be found and used well in other countries! Here, I’ll explain what multilingual SEO is, why it’s important and which elements it consists of.

What is multilingual SEO?

Multilingual SEO deals with offering optimized content for multiple languages or multiple locations. Let’s explain this with an example. Imagine you have an online shop: you sell WordPress plugins in many countries. To increase your sales in Germany, you’ve decided to translate your content into German and create a German site. Now, you have two variations of the same page: an English and German version. Pretty straight-forward, you’d say? Well, there’s more.

Especially if you want to target countries with similar languages or countries where multiple languages are used, this will pose some challenges. Let’s explore the situation displayed in the image below. This is a simplified example; there are obviously many more potential audiences than we’ve included, like British users.

multilingual SEO

Multilingual SEO scenario: targeting audiences with German and English content

Obviously, you want people who search in German to be directed to the German site. Maybe you even want to have a specific site for German speakers in Switzerland. It would be even better to have a French alternative for speakers of French in Switzerland as well, of course. Let’s assume for now that you don’t have the required resources for that, though. In that case, it’s probably best to send users from Switzerland who speak French to the English site. On top of that, you need to make sure that you send all other users to your English site, as they are more likely to speak English than German. In a scenario like this, you need to set up and implement a multilingual SEO strategy.

Because it’s not easy to get the right website ranking in the right market we decided to set up a Multilingual SEO training, which will be available soon! In this course we’ll guide you step by step through all important multilingual SEO elements. Don’t miss the launch, subscribe to our newsletter now!

Why is multilingual SEO a thing?

You want your website to be found with Google. In a standard SEO strategy, you optimize your content for one language: the language your website is written in.  Sometimes, however, you want to target audiences in multiple countries and regions. These audiences are probably similar, but there are always differences. This presents you with an opportunity. By targeting your audiences specifically, it is easier to address their needs. One of these differences is the language they speak. When you make your site available in several languages and target specific regions, you achieve two things:

  • You expand your potential audience;
  • You improve your chances of ranking for a specific region and in several languages.

Let’s revisit the example we discussed before in light of this. By making a German variation of your original English site, you’ve made it possible for users searching in German to find your product. In the end, multilingual SEO is all about addressing the needs of your users.

It all sounds rather clear-cut, but multilingual SEO can be hard. A lot can go wrong, and a bad multilingual implementation can hurt your rankings. This means that you need to know what you’re doing.

One of the biggest risks of multilingual SEO is duplicate content. If you present very similar content on your website on multiple pages, Google won’t know which content to show in the search engines. Duplicate pages compete with each other, so the individual rankings of the pages will go down. You can avoid this particular issue with hreflang, an element of your multilingual SEO strategy. But there’s more to multilingual SEO. Let’s discuss the main aspects below.

Multilingual SEO: content, domains and hreflang

Content for international sites

Content is a very important aspect of your multilingual SEO strategy. If you want to write content in different languages, you’ll need to adapt existing content or create new content. Adapting your content while maintaining good SEO can be a challenge.

Your content strategy should always start with keyword research for the region and language you’re targeting. You can’t just translate your keywords using Google Translate. You’ll have to get inside the heads of your new audience. You need to know which words they are using. Same words can have different meanings in languages used in multiple countries, as my colleague Jesse explained before.

Translating content is a challenge as well. Take into account the cultural differences that exist between countries. Otherwise, your copy won’t be appealing to your new audience. If possible, you should have native speakers translate or at least check your translated content to prevent your from making awkward mistakes. If you want a complete list of what to consider when translating content read Marieke’s post on how to create SEO-friendly copy in a foreign language.

Domain structure for international sites

To successfully target your audiences, you need to consider which pages you want them to land on. There are several options as to what domain structure you’re going to use. Do you need to get the ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain) like example.de for Germany? Or could you create subdirectories for countries like example.com/de? Or, will you use a subdomain like de.example.com? And what about countries where multiple languages are spoken? How do you set up a domain structure for those countries?

There’s a lot you have to consider to take these decisions. This is where domain authority, but also the size of your business and marketing capacities in your target countries come into play. If you want to really dive into this, you should check out our Multilingual SEO training, that we’ll launch February 7!

Hreflang

Hreflang is the technical implementation you’ll need to put in place if you’re offering your content in multiple languages. Simply put, you’ll tell Google which result to show to whom in the search engines. It’s not as easy as it might sound though and this is something that often goes wrong, even on the big sites. Joost wrote an extensive post on how to implement hreflang the right way.

International ambitions? Get your multilingual SEO right!

Multilingual SEO focuses on optimizing content for different languages for the search engines. With a proper multilingual SEO strategy, people in different countries will be able to find your website for their market, in their native language. Multilingual SEO can be hard though and you need to know what you’re doing. It touches on a lot of different aspects of website optimization. If you really want to get it right, take our Multilingual SEO training!

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

 

The post What is multilingual SEO? appeared first on Yoast.

You might have heard us say it before: the UX of your site is essential for SEO. But what is UX? And why is it important for SEO? In this article, we’ll explain what it is and why you shouldn’t forget working on it if you want to rank high in Google. On top of that, we’ll shortly give you some pointers what to do to keep the users of your website satisfied.

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What is UX?

UX stands for User eXperience. As you might have figured, it’s all about how users experience a product. This can be a website, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be an app, a mobile phone or any other physical product that you can use, even a milk carton. It’s all about how someone feels when using a particular product. Does the product make you feel excited or happy, is it a joy to use it, does it help you effortlessly achieve what you’ve been aiming for? Or does it make you feel angry and frustrated because it doesn’t work or look the way you expected it to?

UX or usability?

UX and usability are sometimes used interchangeably. They’re both used to describe the ease with which a visitor uses your site. However, UX is often considered to be broader than usability. If a website is very usable – or user-friendly – visitors will be able to find or do what they want to do easily. A great user experience involves more, for example, esthetics. A website can be straightforward to use, but boring at the same time. This means the usability is excellent, but the user experience could be improved.

For instance, the illustrations of our blog posts are not necessary to improve usability. However, they do contribute to the experience users have on our site. I’m quite a fan of the drawings our illustrators Erwin and Tim make, and I hope they make you think or smile too. These images contribute to the UX of our site. Without them, you would experience our site differently. This way, UX can be part of a branding strategy, even more than usability.

Why is it important for SEO to improve UX?

So why should improving the usability and UX of your site be part of your SEO strategy? Google, or other search engines, want to provide people with the best result for their query. The best result does not only mean the best answer, but it also means the best experience. For instance, if you’re looking for the answer to “What is keyword research?” Google wants to give you the best answer in a swift, pleasant and secure way. So even if you’ve written an excellent answer in a post, but your site is slow, a mess or unsafe, Google won’t consider your post the best answer.

How does Google know?

Google uses different methods to make an educated guess about how users experience your site. They look at elements like site speed – there’s almost nothing more annoying than a page that takes ages to load -, mobile friendliness, the way you’ve structured your content and the internal and external linking of your pages. Lots of high-quality links to your web page probably indicate people had a pleasant experience with it, right?

In addition to that, Google uses user signals to find out how visitors experience your website. User signals are behavioral patterns that Google sees on your site. If a lot of people leave your website very quickly, they might not have found what they’re looking for. Of course, there are some exceptions to this, read Annelieke’s post on bounce rate to find out which. Some other user signals are the time spent on a page and how often people return to your website. If these are high, visitors most likely enjoy your site or find it useful. You can check these kinds of statistics for your site with Google Analytics and other website analysis tools.

It’s no coincidence that the factors mentioned above are important both for UX and SEO. Google tries to grasp how humans experience a website. That’s why a positive experience on your site can contribute to your rankings. If you want to learn more about this, you should read Michiel’s post on the relation between SEO and UX.

Holistic SEO

So should you work on usability and UX just for search engines? I think you can guess our answer to that… At Yoast, we advocate holistically looking at your website. This means you’re striving to make your website excellent in many ways: great content, easy to use – also on mobile – and secure. You’re making these changes for your visitors. In the end, it’s the user who’s going to buy your products, come to your event or subscribe to your newsletter.

Where to start?

As always, start by thinking about the goal of your website and specific pages. What do you want visitors to do on your site? Buy stuff? Read your articles? Donate money to your charity? The purpose of your website or a specific page on your site should be on the top of your mind when you’re making improvements. Your design and content should support this goal. Having a clear goal in mind will also help you prioritize the improvements for your site.

Learn how to structure your site well with our Site structure training! »

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If you want to improve the UX on your site also try to look at it from a user’s perspective. Ask yourself some questions – and be honest:

Most people develop blind spots if they work a lot on their site. You should, therefore, take the opportunity to ask people to evaluate your site, whenever you can! Try to get people from your target group to test your site and ask them if it worked as they expected it to. You can also use questionnaires on your site, or, if you don’t want to bother them too much, use an exit intent question and ask them why they’re leaving your site. Another option is to do some A/B testing to find out which design of your page gives the best results.

So, no excuses anymore. Start working on the UX of your site, and you might boost your rankings too!

Read more: ‘How to perform an SEO audit. Part 1: Content SEO & UX’ »

The post SEO basics: What is UX (and why bother)? appeared first on Yoast.

Today we’re launching My Yoast, a new customer environment where you can view and manage the purchases you’ve done at yoast.com. These last few months, our development team worked very hard to create this easy-to-use user portal. Read here how My Yoast will make your life as a Yoast customer easier.

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What is My Yoast?

My Yoast is an easy-to-use interface to view and manage your Yoast purchases. At a glance, you can see your order history; which products you’ve bought and what the status of that product is. In addition, you can manage your plugin subscriptions and download your eBooks now. In the future, we’ll gradually expand the functionalities of My Yoast so that it will be the go-to place where you can access all your Yoast products, including SEO courses.

Since we now have a fully functioning WooCommerce store with multi-currency support, at some time, we will be accepting more of the world’s most important currencies. For now, we’re only accepting Euro’s and Dollars.

Watch this video and see how it works! If you have any more questions about My Yoast, please see our knowledge base.

Plugin overview

Forget about copy pasting your plugin license key or going through your email archive to retrieve it. From now on, you can activate your Yoast plugins directly on my.yoast.com, so you won’t need a license key anymore. If you log in to My Yoast you can:

  • access your downloads;
  • manage your subscriptions (previously known as licenses);
  • find your order history.

On top of that, you can indicate which plugins run on which of your websites. Just enter the URL of your website and set a plugin to active if you have it running on that site. This way, you’ll enable updates for the Yoast plugins on your site, and, in case you own multiple site subscriptions of one plugin, you’ll always know how many subscriptions you have left for other sites.

sites overview My Yoast

No more renewals

Did you ever forget to renew your license? That won’t happen anymore. We’ve transformed licenses into subscriptions, which means that, from now on, you’ll get a subscription to a plugin. This entails that you won’t have to go through the entire payment process again once you’ve bought a plugin.

subscription overview My Yoast

Existing licenses have been converted to subscriptions which will remain valid until the original license expires. We’ll ask you to setup a new subscription for those before they expire.

Sounds great! So how do I get in?

New customers

From now on, if you purchase on yoast.com, you’ll receive an account on My Yoast where you can access your downloads and manage your subscriptions. You’ll need this account to receive updates for your Yoast plugins.

Existing customers

In case you’re a Yoast customer, you’ll receive an email to access your My Yoast account in the upcoming week. When you first log in to My Yoast, a screencast will guide you through this new environment, to make sure you’ll understand how everything works.

Can’t wait until next week to get access? Go to my.yoast.com and get access to your account now. You can do so by filling out the email address you’ve used when you’ve purchased a product and by clicking ‘reset my password’. After verification of your email address and resetting your password, you’ll be able to access your account.

Go to My Yoast »

The post Introducing My Yoast: our brand new customer portal appeared first on Yoast.

Today we’re releasing Yoast SEO 5.2. In this brand new version you’ll find some feature enhancements, accessibility improvements and a couple of bug fixes. In addition to that, we’ve laid some groundwork that will help us make Yoast SEO work well with the plugins our users use most. Read about all the improvements here!

Accessibility

Web accessibility is something we always urge website owners to think about and improve. As we can’t let our own products fall behind, we regularly work on the accessibility of the plugins we develop. This time, we scrutinized the accessibility of the onboarding wizard of Yoast SEO and improved it so everyone will be able to use it well. 

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Redirects for private posts

The redirects manager of Yoast SEO Premium is one of the features we’re most proud of. It makes creating redirects – and therefore preventing 404s – so much easier, and helps site owners to be less dependent of developers. As of this release, we’ve added an enhancement to this feature. From now on, if you trash a post that’s set to private, Yoast SEO Premium will also ask if you want to redirect the old url to a new one. 

Compatibility

One thing that keeps challenging plugin developers like us is to make plugins work with all the different plugins that our users use. There are so many plugins out there – not even to mention the various combinations of plugins that exist. To improve the compatibility of our plugins, we’ve added tracking to find out which other plugins our Premium users have installed. This will help us tremendously in making Yoast SEO work flawlessly on more WordPress installs. For the same reason, we’re tracking which PHP version our user’s websites are running on.

Speaking of PHP, if your site is running on PHP version 5.3 or lower, you couldn’t have missed the notice to urge you to move to a newer version since our 4.5 release. Does this WHIP notice keep annoying you? Then we have some good news for you. You can now dismiss the notice. After 4 weeks it will pop up again though, as we still believe upgrading to a newer PHP version is the best way to go.

That’s about it. Go update to 5.2 and enjoy this brand new version of Yoast SEO!

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