If you started your website as a newbie to all things internet, chances are that your site’s URLs aren’t pretty. Perhaps the URLs contain the post-ID, or the date when it was first published. URLs like that don’t say much about the content of a page and look cluttered. If you want to change your URL structure for this reason, or whatever other reason, it could affect your rankings. In this Ask Yoast, I discuss to what extent changing your URL structure will have an impact on your rankings, and if it’s still worth the effort.

Chris asked us a question on this subject:

We are changing our URL structure to make it look cleaner (by leaving out numbers etc.). When we launch our new site, will this new URL structure negatively affect our existing Google rankings?

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

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

The impact of changing your URL structure on rankings

Well, if you launch a new site and you have new URLs, you’ll need to redirect all the old URLs to the new URLs and it’ll take some time for Google to pick up that those URLs have changed. If you’re staying on the same domain name, your traffic will probably stay the same, but you will need to redirect all those URLs and it might take some time.

You might lose some traffic for a while, up to even six months and then after that everything should be fine. It’s probably worth it if your URLs look really bad though, so it’s a trade-off but I’d probably still go for it. Good luck!

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Let us 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: ‘The perfect WordPress SEO permalink structure’ »

The post Ask Yoast: changing URL structure and rankings appeared first on Yoast.

First things first. Conversion isn’t SEO. Conversion is an end of the customer’s journey on your website. It’s not the end, as that customer could come back and start a new part of the journey. Conversion can be improved by good SEO, that much is true if you:

By making sure your visitor is served to his or her best needs, you will provide a warm welcome. You will establish a kind of trust, which will make it easier for that visitor to convert.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

But what is conversion?

The question remains: what is conversion? Conversion is often associated with a sale, but in online marketing, defining conversion just by that is too narrow-minded. Conversion, the way we define it, happens every time a visitor completes a desired action on your website. That could be a click-through to the next page, if that is your main goal on a certain page. It could be the subscription to a newsletter. And it could be a visitor buying your product. In short: conversion happens when someone completes the action you want them to complete.

And what is conversion rate?

If 100 persons visit your page, and 10 of them subscribe to your newsletter, your conversion rate is 10%. The conversion rate is also a number you’ll find in Google Analytics, for instance:

Conversion rate is used to monitor the conversion on a web page, depending on the thing you want to monitor. So, for instance, if you hire our conversion friends at AG Consult, they will (among other things) perform A/B tests on your website and tell you which variant has the highest conversion rate (test winner). You’d better implement that test winner asap, as you will understand :)

How about CRO?

You might even have heard of something called CRO when talking or reading about conversion. CRO is Conversion Rate Optimization. This is the process of optimizing the number of conversions compared to the number of visitors. There are a lot of ways to do this, but again, we’d rather refer you to the conversion experts instead of sharing our basic CRO knowledge. There is just so much to it.

CRO versus SEO

They clash. CRO and SEO clash sometimes. In SEO, we will always tell you to keep the visitor in mind. If you serve the visitor the best way you can, you are optimizing for a brand, for brand loyalty, for recognition in Google, for more and quality traffic. And although the next step might indeed be converting that visitor, there’s no need to shove your products down their throat, really. There is a fine line between serving the visitor and annoying him.

CRO at Yoast

You might think that we, at Yoast, are pretty focused on optimizing that conversion to the max. You see our banners in the plugin, on our website, and indeed, conversion is very important for us. More newsletter subscriptions lead to a larger reach, which leads to more attention for our products, which leads to more reviews, more downloads, more sales. And with the money made, we develop the free plugin and sponsor for instance WordCamps.

Conversion, in any possible way, helps to create a sustainable business growth. But trust me, if we wouldn’t keep that SEO, our core business, and our mission (SEO for everyone) in mind, our articles could have six buy buttons. And we could annoy you with a surplus of exit-intent popups and so on. It would upset you, increase bounce rate, trigger you to never come back, and ruin the SEO you so carefully worked on.

So, what is conversion again?

A successful conversion is every instance when a visitor completes a desired action on your website. And still feels good about your brand, your website, and your products, and is likely to come back to your site!

Read more: ‘eCommerce usability: the ultimate guide’ »

The post SEO Basics: What is conversion? appeared first on Yoast.

Major Customizer Improvements, Code Error Checking, and More! ?

Version 4.9 of WordPress, named “Tipton” in honor of jazz musician and band leader Billy Tipton, is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. New features in 4.9 will smooth your design workflow and keep you safe from coding errors.

Featuring design drafts, scheduling, and locking, along with preview links, the Customizer workflow improves collaboration for content creators. What’s more, code syntax highlighting and error checking will make for a clean and smooth site building experience. Finally, if all that wasn’t pretty great, we’ve got an awesome new Gallery widget and improvements to theme browsing and switching.


Customizer Workflow Improved 

Draft and Schedule Site Design Customizations

Yes, you read that right. Just like you can draft and revise posts and schedule them to go live on the date and time you choose, you can now tinker with your site’s design and schedule those design changes to go live as you please.

Collaborate with Design Preview Links

Need to get some feedback on proposed site design changes? WordPress 4.9 gives you a preview link you can send to colleagues and customers so that you can collect and integrate feedback before you schedule the changes to go live. Can we say collaboration++?

Design Locking Guards Your Changes

Ever encounter a scenario where two designers walk into a project and designer A overrides designer B’s beautiful changes? WordPress 4.9’s design lock feature (similar to post locking) secures your draft design so that no one can make changes to it or erase all your hard work.

A Prompt to Protect Your Work

Were you lured away from your desk before you saved your new draft design? Fear not, when you return, WordPress 4.9 will politely ask whether or not you’d like to save your unsaved changes.


Coding Enhancements

Syntax Highlighting and Error Checking? Yes, Please!

You’ve got a display problem but can’t quite figure out exactly what went wrong in the CSS you lovingly wrote. With syntax highlighting and error checking for CSS editing and the Custom HTML widget introduced in WordPress 4.8.1, you’ll pinpoint coding errors quickly. Practically guaranteed to help you scan code more easily, and suss out & fix code errors quickly.

Sandbox for Safety

The dreaded white screen. You’ll avoid it when working on themes and plugin code because WordPress 4.9 will warn you about saving an error. You’ll sleep better at night.

Warning: Potential Danger Ahead!

When you edit themes and plugins directly, WordPress 4.9 will politely warn you that this is a dangerous practice and will recommend that you draft and test changes before updating your file. Take the safe route: You’ll thank you. Your team and customers will thank you.


Even More Widget Updates 

The New Gallery Widget

An incremental improvement to the media changes hatched in WordPress 4.8, you can now add a gallery via this new widget. Yes!

Press a Button, Add Media

Want to add media to your text widget? Embed images, video, and audio directly into the widget along with your text, with our simple but useful Add Media button. Woo!


Site Building Improvements 

More Reliable Theme Switching

When you switch themes, widgets sometimes think they can just move location. Improvements in WordPress 4.9 offer more persistent menu and widget placement when you decide it’s time for a new theme. 

Find and Preview the Perfect Theme

Looking for a new theme for your site? Now, from within the Customizer, you can search, browse, and preview over 2600 themes before deploying changes to your site. What’s more, you can speed your search with filters for subject, features, and layout.

Better Menu Instructions = Less Confusion

Were you confused by the steps to create a new menu? Perhaps no longer! We’ve ironed out the UX for a smoother menu creation process. Newly updated copy will guide you.


Lend a Hand with Gutenberg ?

WordPress is working on a new way to create and control your content and we’d love to have your help. Interested in being an early tester or getting involved with the Gutenberg project? Contribute on GitHub.

(PS: this post was written in Gutenberg!)


Developer Happiness ?

Customizer JS API Improvements

We’ve made numerous improvements to the Customizer JS API in WordPress 4.9, eliminating many pain points. (Hello, default parameters for constructs! Goodbye repeated ID for constructs!) There are also new base control templates, a date/time control, and section/panel/global notifications to name a few. Check out the full list.

CodeMirror available for use in your themes and plugins

We’ve introduced a new code editing library, CodeMirror, for use within core. CodeMirror allows for syntax highlighting, error checking, and validation when creating code writing or editing experiences within your plugins, like CSS or JavaScript include fields.

MediaElement.js upgraded to 4.2.6

WordPress 4.9 includes an upgraded version of MediaElement.js, which removes dependencies on jQuery, improves accessibility, modernizes the UI, and fixes many bugs.

Roles and Capabilities Improvements

New capabilities have been introduced that allow granular management of plugins and translation files. In addition, the site switching process in multisite has been fine-tuned to update the available roles and capabilities in a more reliable and coherent way.


The Squad

This release was led by Mel Choyce and Weston Ruter, with the help of the following fabulous folks. There are 443 contributors with props in this release, with 185 of them contributing for the first time. Pull up some Billy Tipton on your music service of choice, and check out some of their profiles:

Aaron D. Campbell, Aaron Jorbin, abrightclearweb, Achal Jain, achbed, Acme Themes, Adam Silverstein, adammacias, Ahmad Awais, ahmadawais, airesvsg, ajoah, Aki Björklund, akshayvinchurkar, Alain Schlesser, Alex Concha, Alex Dimitrov, Alex Hon, alex27, allancole, Amanda Rush, Andrea Fercia, Andreas Panag, Andrew Nacin, Andrew Ozz, Andrey "Rarst" Savchenko, Andy Meerwaldt, Andy Mercer, Andy Skelton, Aniket Pant, Anil Basnet, Ankit K Gupta, Anthony Hortin, antisilent, Anton Timmermans, apokalyptik, artoliukkonen, Arunas Liuiza, attitude, backermann1978, Bappi, Ben Cole, Bernhard Gronau, Bernhard Kau, binarymoon, Birgir Erlendsson (birgire), BjornW, bobbingwide, boblinthorst, boboudreau, bonger, Boone B. Gorges, Brady Vercher, Brainstorm Force, Brandon Kraft, Brian Hogg, Brian Krogsgard, Bronson Quick, Caroline Moore, Casey Driscoll, Caspie, Chandra Patel, Chaos Engine, cheeserolls, chesio, chetansatasiya, choong, Chouby, chredd, Chris Jean, Chris Marslender, Chris Smith, Chris Van Patten, Chris Wiegman, chriscct7, chriseverson, Christian Chung, Christian Nolen, Christian Wach, Christoph Herr, Clarion Technologies, Claudio Sanches, Claudio Sanches, ClaudioLaBarbera, codemovement.pk, coderkevin, codfish, coreymcollins, Curdin Krummenacher, Curtiss Grymala, Cătălin Dogaru, danhgilmore, Daniel Bachhuber , Daniel Kanchev, Daniel Pietrasik, Daniele Scasciafratte, Daryl L. L. Houston (dllh), Dave Pullig, Dave Romsey (goto10), David A. Kennedy, David Chandra Purnama, David Herrera, David Lingren, David Mosterd, David Shanske, davidbhayes, Davide 'Folletto' Casali, deeptiboddapati, delphinus, deltafactory, Denis de Bernardy, Derek Herman, Derrick Hammer, Derrick Koo, dimchik, Dinesh Chouhan, Dion Hulse, dipeshkakadiya, dmsnell, Dominik Schilling, Dotan Cohen, Doug Wollison, doughamlin, DreamOn11, Drew Jaynes, duncanjbrown, dungengronovius, DylanAuty, Eddie Hurtig, Eduardo Reveles, Edwin Cromley, ElectricFeet, Elio Rivero, Ella Iseulde Van Dorpe, elyobo, enodekciw, enshrined, Eric Andrew Lewis, Eric Lanehart, Evan Herman, Felix Arntz, Fencer04, Florian Brinkmann, Florian TIAR, FolioVision, fomenkoandrey, Francesco Taurino, Frank Klein, Frankie Jarrett, Fred, Fredrik Forsmo, fuscata, Gabriel Maldonado, Garth Mortensen, Gary Jones, Gary Pendergast, Geeky Software, George Stephanis, Goran Šerić, Graham Armfield, Grant Derepas, Gregory Karpinsky (@tivnet), Hardeep Asrani, Helen Hou-Sandí, Henry Wright, hiddenpearls, Hinaloe, Hristo Pandjarov, Hugo Baeta, Iain Poulson, Ian Dunn, Ian Edington, idealien, Ignacio Cruz Moreno, imath, implenton, Ionut Stanciu, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), ivdimova, J.D. Grimes, Jacob Peattie, Jake Spurlock, James Nylen, jamesacero, Japh, Jared Cobb, jayarjo, jdolan, jdoubleu, Jeff Bowen, Jeff Paul, Jeffrey de Wit, Jeremy Felt, Jeremy Pry, jimt, Jip Moors, jmusal, Joe Dolson, Joe Hoyle, Joe McGill, Joel James, johanmynhardt, John Blackbourn, John Dittmar, John James Jacoby, John P. Bloch, John Regan, johnpgreen, Jon (Kenshino), Jonathan Bardo, Jonathan Brinley, Jonathan Daggerhart, Jonathan Desrosiers, Jonny Harris, jonnyauk, jordesign, JorritSchippers, Joseph Fusco, Josh Eaton, Josh Pollock, joshcummingsdesign, joshkadis, Joy, jrf, JRGould, Juanfra Aldasoro, Juhi Saxena, Junko Nukaga, Justin Busa, Justin Sainton, Justin Shreve, Justin Sternberg, K.Adam White, kacperszurek, Kailey (trepmal), KalenJohnson, Kat Hagan, Keanan Koppenhaver, keesiemeijer, kellbot, Kelly Dwan, Kevin Hagerty, Kirk Wight, kitchin, Kite, kjbenk, Knut Sparhell, koenschipper, kokarn, Konstantin Kovshenin, Konstantin Obenland, Konstantinos Kouratoras, kuchenundkakao, kuldipem, Laurel Fulford, Lee Willis, Leo Baiano, LittleBigThings (Csaba), Lucas Stark, Luke Cavanagh, Luke Gedeon, Luke Pettway, lyubomir_popov, Mário Valney, mageshp, Mahesh Waghmare, Mangesh Parte, Manish Songirkar, mantismamita, Marcel Bootsman, Marin Atanasov, Marius L. J., Mariyan Belchev, Mark Jaquith, Mark Root-Wiley, Mark Uraine, Marko Heijnen, markshep, matrixik, Matt Banks, Matt King, Matt Mullenweg, Matt PeepSo, Matt van Andel, Matt Wiebe, Matthew Haines-Young, mattyrob, Max Cutler, Maxime Culea, Mayo Moriyama, mckernanin, Mel Choyce, mhowell, Michael Arestad, Michael Arestad, michalzuber, Miina Sikk, Mike Auteri, Mike Crantea, Mike Glendinning, Mike Hansen, Mike Little, Mike Schroder, Mike Viele, Milan Dinić, modemlooper, Mohammad Jangda, Mohan Dere, monikarao, morettigeorgiev, Morgan Estes, Morten Rand-Hendriksen, moto hachi ( mt8.biz ), mrbobbybryant, Naim Naimov, Nate Reist, NateWr, nathanrice, Nazgul, Ned Zimmerman, net, Nick Halsey , Nicolas GUILLAUME, Nikhil Chavan, Nikhil Vimal, Nikolay Bachiyski, Nilambar Sharma, noplanman, nullvariable, odie2, odyssey, Okamoto Hidetaka, orvils, oskosk, Otto Kekäläinen, ovann86, Pantip Treerattanapitak (Nok), Pascal Birchler, patilvikasj, Paul Bearne, Paul Wilde, Payton Swick, pdufour, Perdaan, Peter Wilson, phh, php, Piotr Delawski, pippinsplugins, pjgalbraith, pkevan, Pratik, Pressionate, Presskopp, procodewp, Rachel Baker, Rahul Prajapati, Ramanan, Rami Yushuvaev, ramiabraham, ranh, Red Sand Media Group, Riad Benguella, Rian Rietveld, Richard Tape, Robert D Payne, Robert Jolly, Robert Noakes, Rocco Aliberti, Rodrigo Primo, Rommel Castro, Ronald Araújo, Ross Wintle, Roy Sivan, Ryan Kienstra, Ryan McCue, Ryan Plas, Ryan Welcher, Sal Ferrarello, Sami Keijonen, Samir Shah, Samuel Sidler, Sandesh, Sang-Min Yoon, Sanket Parmar, Sarah Gooding, Sayed Taqui, schrapel, Scott Reilly, Scott Taylor, scrappy@hub.org, scribu, seancjones, Sebastian Pisula, Sergey Biryukov, Sergio De Falco, sfpt, shayanys, shazahm1, shprink, simonlampen, skippy, smerriman, snacking, solal, Soren Wrede, Stanimir Stoyanov, Stanko Metodiev, Steph, Steph Wells, Stephanie Leary, Stephen Edgar, Stephen Harris, Steven Word, stevenlinx, Sudar Muthu, Swapnil V. Patil, swapnild, szaqal21, Takahashi Fumiki, Takayuki Miyauchi, Tammie Lister, tapsboy, Taylor Lovett, team, tg29359, tharsheblows, the, themeshaper, thenbrent, thomaswm, Thorsten Frommen, tierra, Tim Nash, Timmy Crawford, Timothy Jacobs, timph, Tkama, tnegri, Tom Auger, Tom J Nowell, tomdxw, Toro_Unit (Hiroshi Urabe), Torsten Landsiedel, transl8or, traversal, Travis Smith, Triet Minh, Trisha Salas, tristangemus, truongwp, tsl143, Ty Carlson, Ulrich, Utkarsh, Valeriu Tihai, Viljami Kuosmanen, Vishal Kakadiya, vortfu, Vrunda Kansara, webbgaraget, WebMan Design | Oliver Juhas, websupporter, William Earnhardt, williampatton, Wolly aka Paolo Valenti, WraithKenny, yale01, Yoav Farhi, Yoga Sukma, Zach Wills, Zack Tollman, Ze Fontainhas, zhildzik, and zsusag.

Finally, thanks to all the community translators who worked on WordPress 4.9. Their efforts bring WordPress 4.9 fully translated to 43 languages at release time, with more on the way.

Do you want to report on WordPress 4.9? We've compiled a press kit featuring information about the release features, and some media assets to help you along.

If you want to follow along or help out, check out Make WordPress and our core development blog.

Thanks for choosing WordPress!

For us, these last few weeks were mostly about our SEO conference YoastCon, but work on Yoast SEO went on as well. Today, we’re proud to present Yoast SEO 5.8. In this release, you’ll find a truckload of fixes and enhancements. I’ll share some of them in this release post and I’ll shine a light on all those smart community members who helped enhance this release.

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Thanks to our community

If you read the full changelog, one thing becomes instantly clear: this is a community effort. And that is something we’re grateful for. In Yoast SEO 5.8, we’ve got fixes and enhancements from no less than ten GitHub developers. Let’s go over some of these additions, shall we?

Shane GreySaša Todorović and Damian Luszczymak all made suggestions to fix the layout of the Yoast SEO metabox. These fixes make sure that everything in the readability section now performs better on all screens.

Both Chris Wilcoxson and Eivin Landa suggested introducing the wpseo_breadcrumb_single_link_info filter for modifying breadcrumb data. Soulseekah introduced the wpseo_redirect_orphan_attachment action to allow unattached attachment pages to be redirected in tune with the relevant setting.

Tim Nolte suggested removing the max-width on alerts which leads to a better UI. Thanks to William Patton the default Twitter Card option in the social sharing settings of Yoast SEO is now set to ‘Summary with large image.’

SEO roles and capabilities

In Yoast SEO 5.5, we introduced SEO roles. These make it possible to give certain editors access to particular features of Yoast SEO, like the redirect manager. This gives site managers a more fine-grained way of access management. In Yoast SEO 5.8, we’ve enhanced this features, thanks in large part to Jory Hogeveen.

We now integrate better with most role/capability manager plugins using the `members_get_capabilities` filter. We’ve also added a Yoast group to the Members and User Role Editor plugins to find the Yoast SEO capabilities easily. This makes picking and setting the roles even easier.

Cleaning up

This release not only fixes some bugs, but it also contains an extensive clean up of the code base. We’ve removed the old Knowledge Base Search code and now solely rely on the new search feature that was added to the revamped Help Center. Also, we’ve improved the codebase to make it comply with the latest WordPress Coding Standards.

Checking Gutenberg content

While a full integration into Gutenberg is still months away, we did add the possibility to check the content you made in Gutenberg. If you use the Gutenberg plugin to create your content, you can now switch to the regular editor and fine-tune your content with Yoast SEO’s readability and SEO analyses. As you might know, we’re actively working on integrating Yoast SEO in Gutenberg and improving the new editor where we can.

Update!

Yoast SEO 5.8 is a great release chock-full of fixes and enhancements. In this release, we’re both cleaning up after us and looking forward to the future. We’d like to thank our community members that contributed to this and many other releases. We love your input. Now, update!

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

The post Yoast SEO 5.8 appeared first on Yoast.

As a small business owner in the fashion and interior design industry, it’s important to make sure that visitors become familiar with your work and style. But when it comes to making your site SEO proof, some other aspects need attention as well. This case study focuses on the site bedivine.com.au, a great example of a visually nice site, in need of some small SEO finishing touches!

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Homepage optimization

My first impression of the homepage is ‘Cool and visually attractive image, but where’s the rest?’ Fortunately, there is a small arrow that indicates that there’s more when you scroll down. But I have to say that having the first parts of your content below the fold could lose you some visitors who are too lazy to scroll down. Once I see the content below the image, I’m a little bit overwhelmed. The layout is somewhat messy because all text is centered and there’s a combined use of bold, italics and various fonts. This doesn’t feel very inviting.

Bedivine homepage content

Call-to-action

One important thing that’s missing on the homepage (but also on the other pages) is a call-to-action. There’s no button that visitors can click on to get something on this site. In this case, you may want to hire BeDivine as a fashion or interior design stylist. While there are various menu items for all of the services BeDivine offers, none of them have a clear goal, for example, a ‘contact me’ button. The same goes for the homepage: it doesn’t invite visitors to take action. I understand the importance of describing what you can offer potential clients and what kind of look and feel you bring into the mix. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t guide your visitors through your site by enabling them to easily contact you.

Menu

A menu is a valuable part of your site to help visitors navigate to the most important pages of your site. In this case, the menu is clear and focuses on all important aspects of BeDivine. That’s great! However, I do find it a bit odd that, besides the top menu bar, there’s also a menu bar on the bottom left on the homepage.

Bedivine extra menu

It serves no purpose, especially since the top menu bar is sticky. This second menu only causes clutter and should, therefore, be removed.

Broken parts

Make sure that every part of your site is working and regularly check if this is still the case. On BeDivine I came across some broken links to the portfolio and the Instagram feed wasn’t working (as you can see in the screenshot above). These are things that decrease the user experience and make people lose interest in your site.

Mobile friendliness

I can’t stress this enough: in 2018 search will drastically change because of Google’s plans to index the mobile version of sites first. This means that the mobile version of your site becomes leading in determining the rankings. So, if your site isn’t mobile ready yet, make sure to fix this ASAP!
In case of BeDivine, some mobile optimization would absolutely be beneficial. When opening the homepage on my mobile phone, all I see are large letters that fill the screen. They eventually make up the word ‘Be Divine’ if I’m patient enough to scroll all the way down. This immediately illustrates the problem; the content is way below the fold and it’s unlikely that a visitor will ever get to it.

Make sure your customers find your shop! Optimize your site with our Local SEO plugin and show your opening hours, locations, map and much more! »

Local SEO for WordPress plugin Info

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

Local SEO

One question that’s left unanswered at the end of this review is whether this site should be optimized for local SEO? And I would definitely recommend that. The services that BeDivine offers are probably bound to a certain area, which is now not mentioned clearly on the site at all. Optimizing for a specific region could give a lot of benefits in the search results. Therefore you should create a Google My Business account and register your business. Local Search expert David Mihm wrote a great series of blog posts for us on Local optimization. We also have a local SEO plugin which helps you with your local optimizing. Since the services of BeDivine are a source of income, it’s in their best interest to get as much traffic on their site as possible, to increase their conversion rate.

In conclusion

Overall, I think that BeDivine is a site with a lot of potential! They’re already doing many things right, like evoking the ‘feel’ of their business and a nice menu. By changing some relatively small things on their site, they can achieve even better results. This would lead to a great mix of displaying the services you offer your customers, and a usable site. The best of both worlds!

BeDivine’s response to our case study

“Thank you Yoast for taking the time and use my website as a case study. Looking after my own website is very time consuming and having someone else looking into it is a great help. I will definitely fix all the little (and big) things mentioned by you. I don’t like messy so am keen to bring my page back to a functional website with an easy overview and a ‘call-to-action’ function. Thank you very much!” – Beate Pluta, creative director

Keep reading: ‘Avoid these common SEO mistakes’ »

The post Ask Yoast case study: SEO for a fashion business appeared first on Yoast.

The third release candidate for WordPress 4.9 is now available.

A release candidate (RC) means we think we’re done, but with millions of users and thousands of plugins and themes, it’s possible we’ve missed something. In fact, we did miss some things in RC1 and RC2. This third release candidate was not originally scheduled, but due a number of defects uncovered through your testing of RC2 (thank you!), we are putting out another 4.9 release candidate.

We hope to ship WordPress 4.9 on Tuesday, November 14 (that’s tomorrow) at 23:00 UTC, but we still need your help to get there. If you haven’t tested 4.9 yet, now is the time! If there are additional defects uncovered through testing between now and the release time, we may delay the 4.9 release to the following day.

To test WordPress 4.9, you can use the WordPress Beta Tester plugin or you can download the release candidate here (zip).

We’ve made just over 20 changes since releasing RC2 last week (as we did between RC1 and RC2). For more details about what’s new in version 4.9, check out the Beta 1, Beta 2, Beta 3Beta 4RC1, and RC2 blog posts. A few specific areas to test in RC3:

  • Switching between the Visual and Text tabs of the editor, and the syncing of the cursor between those two tabs.
  • Overriding linting errors in the Customizer’s Additional CSS editor.
  • Adding nav menu items for Custom Links in the Customizer.
  • Scheduling customization drafts (stubbed posts/pages) for publishing in the Customizer.
  • Autosave revisions for changes in the Customizer.
  • About page styling.

Developers, please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 4.9 and update your plugin’s Tested up to version in the readme to 4.9. If you find compatibility problems please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure those out before the final release — we work hard to avoid breaking things. Please see the summative field guide to the 4.9 developer notes on the core development blog.

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages!

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

Didn’t squash them all ?
We want to release Tuesday
New features not bugs ✨

Thanks for your continued help testing out the latest versions of WordPress.

If you’re serious about your SEO, you’ve probably set (implicit) goals on what you want to achieve. Perhaps you want to rank in the top ten search results for a specific keyword. Maybe you want your organic traffic to rise with a certain number. But what do you do if you are unable to meet your goals? Simply reset your goals? Or do you adapt and improve your SEO strategy? And how should you do that? In this post, I’ll talk you through the most important and effective tactics in content SEO strategy that’ll help you to achieve your SEO goals.

Why set SEO goals at all?

If you set SEO goals, chances are much higher your content SEO strategy will be successful. Specifying your goals will give you the motivation to meet those goals. They will give focus to your strategy. Also important, you’ll be able to measure the success of your SEO strategy, if you make your goals specific.

You could set goals for ranking top 10, top 5, top 3 or taking the number 1 position in the search engines for specific terms. You can also set goals for the amount of traffic you want to attract from the search engines. Make goals specific and put deadlines on them. That’ll help you become extra focused and determined to achieve your SEO goals.

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Not meeting your goals isn’t that bad…

It can be disappointing if you’re unable to meet your SEO goals, especially if you put a lot of effort into your content SEO strategy. No worries, though. The next step is to analyze what went wrong. If you analyze and evaluate properly, you’ll uncover valuable information. That information will help you to set realistic new goals and to improve your SEO strategy on all fronts.

Are all technical SEO aspects taken care of?

Make sure your technical SEO is in order. Yoast SEO takes care of these things for you. Still, you won’t be the first to accidentally have a noindex/nofollow tag in the wrong place. If you’re blocking – perhaps even without knowing it! – crawlers from your site, you’ll never rank high in Google.

Read more: ‘Technical pointers’ »

Evaluate your keyword research

A common mistake in content SEO is to aim for keywords that are simply too competitive to rank for. It’s understandable that we all want to rank for terms that generate the most traffic. Competition on those terms is killing, though. We can’t all rank for the same terms. If you are unable to meet your goals for certain keywords or keyphrases, you might be aiming too high.

Consider ranking for long tail keywords. The longer and more specific your keywords are, the less competitive they’ll be. If you focus on many of those long tail keywords, you can generate lots of traffic with those. And, after a while, you’ll be able to rank for more head terms as well, as your authority in your domain will increase.

Ranking for competitive search terms is always a longterm SEO strategy. I’m not saying you shouldn’t set goals to enter the top 5 in Google on a competitive term. I’m just saying that you should give yourself some time to achieve those goals. In the meantime, set goals on entering the top 5 in Google on more long tail and less competitive keywords. You’ll be able to celebrate successes while working towards your ultimate ranking goal.

Keep reading: ‘Keyword research: the ultimate guide’ »

Evaluate your content

Another reason you’re not ranking (yet) could be that your site lacks awesome and SEO-friendly content. A successful SEO strategy requires lots of great quality content. A few thin-content sales pages will not get you in Google’s top 10. You need to incorporate several awesome, informative cornerstone content pages. Besides that, writing informative, unique and well-optimized articles and blogposts will do the trick.

When tackling your content to achieve your goals, check the following things: Did you write multiple lengthy articles or blogposts? Are they optimized for the right search terms? Did you update old content? Writing SEO friendly content is a lot of work. It’ll pay off, but you need to make an effort. No shortcuts here.

Learn how to write engaging copy and how to organize it well on your site: Combine our SEO copywriting and Site structure training. »

Content SEO training bundle Info

Update that site structure

A third reason why you’re not ranking well or attracting as much traffic as you’d like could be that your site’s structure isn’t up to scratch. If your website is about ballet shoes, you’re probably writing many related articles about ballet shoes. But you want to tell Google which of these articles is the most important. Otherwise, you will end up competing with your own content in the search results. That could result in lower rankings for all of your articles.

The best way to improve your site structure is to choose a cornerstone approach. Determine which article on each main topic you’re writing about is most important. Link from all other blogposts on that topic to your most important one. Our Yoast SEO plugin has several features to help you improve your site’s structure. Using these will do wonders for your SEO!

Conclusion

Whether you reach your goals or not isn’t the main issue; you just need to set them. If you don’t manage to reach those goals, it’s a good starting point to look for the reasons you did not meet them. And that’ll allow you to improve your SEO strategy.

Read on: ‘The ultimate guide to site structure’ »

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Would you buy a product or service from a website that doesn’t look trustworthy? Probably not. So you understand how important it is to gain the trust of your visitors if you own a business. Adding testimonials to your site can help you with this. They give potential customers some idea of the experiences of others, and why whatever it is you’re offering them is so awesome. If you have some nice testimonials on your site, of course, you want to make sure people can find them. So, what’s the best way to do that?

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Ariette emailed us a question on this subject:

I have 30+ testimonials on my site and all of them are in separate posts. These testimonials don’t have content other than a few kind words from clients. Can I just add keywords like ‘realtor testimonial’ or ‘realtor review’ to every post?

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

The best way to use testimonials on your site

“These testimonials are testimonials for something you’re selling, so you should add those testimonials to the pages that you’re selling those products on. Don’t have them on separate pages, but show them on the pages where you’re selling that individual product and then show a couple. Make them show a picture, make sure that they look genuine and real, but add them next to the product that you’re selling.

Having separate pages for reviews is hardly ever a good idea, unless they are reviews of books or something like that, where the review itself is a read-worthy piece. But don’t add reviews as a single post type on your site. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Let us 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: ‘Testimonials: increase your visitor’s trust’ »

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Picture this, you have an excellent website with nice pages and posts, but you have no clue how these pages perform. Sound familiar? How do you know if people like the posts you’re writing? Where do you find out if your pages convert visitors into newsletter subscribers or customers? The answer lies in the data you’re collecting. In this post, I’m going to show you where to look at in Google Analytics to see how your pages and posts perform.

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The behavior tab

Let’s start with the Google Analytics tab that brings insight into your pages and posts. On the lefthand side, you can find the behavior tab. Expanding that tab brings you the following:

Behavior tab in Google Analytics

When clicking on Site Content, you’ll find the place that hides all of your site’s content: All pages. That shows a valuable grid table immediately!

All pages grid in Google Analytics

In the columns, you see very cool stuff like

  • Unique Pageviews;
  • Average Time on Page;
  • Entrances;
  • Bounce Rate;
  • Page value.

What do these items tell you about your pages? Unique pageviews say something about how many visitors saw the page during a session. This in combination with how many visitors entered through the page (entrances) gives insight into how many people might have come multiple times to see this page.

The average time on page and bounce rate says something about how popular a page is. If people stay long on a page, they’re probably reading something they like. If the post also has a low bounce rate, they want to see more on your site.

And then there’s page value, this value tells you something about to what extent the page contributed to a conversion. You’ll only see page values if you’ve set up goals and attributed values to your goals.

Purpose of a page and bounce rate

Keep in mind what the purpose of a page or post is. If a product page has a high bounce rate, then that’s a bad sign because these people that bounce aren’t buying your products. A high bounce rate for an informative blog post isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’ve written a fairly long post and the average time on that page is low, then people might not be enticed enough to read the post. If it’s a short post, then it’s logical that the average time is low.

Take a close look at the data you’re seeing, which pages stand out in a positive way or in a negative way? Do pages with a high bounce rate need work? Do pages with a low average time on page, need to be rewritten? Analyze and take action to improve your content even more and learn what the audience likes and doesn’t like.

Content goals

If you really want to measure the performance of your content then you can’t live without Google Analytics goals. Setting up goals gives you more insight into what people are doing on your website and if they actually read your content. A pageview doesn’t necessarily mean that the page is actually read, with goals you can find out.

Goals in Google Analytics

Creating a goal in Google Analytics

There are a couple of goals you can think of when it comes down to your pages and posts. You can set up a goal for the number of pages viewed, how long they stayed on your pages and a goal if the page has gotten a comment. With scroll depth goals and how long it takes to scroll down, you can tell if someone read the post. You can even set up a goal if people scroll down the bottom of the page in less than a couple of seconds, identifying the so-called scanners. These last couple of goals are a bit hard to implement, you can read more about that in an article Justin Cutroni wrote about advanced content tracking.

When setting up goals, don’t forget to add goal value. Adding this value really gives you invaluable insight into which pages contribute to conversions and which pages are not. Not sure how to do that, read this post about goal values.

Content grouping

Google Analytics offers something called content grouping, it’s a way to group content obviously. If your pages or post URL don’t follow a logical structure, and you want to group them, content grouping is the way to go. You can group pages into product categories, your posts to certain categories or tags and so on. Once implemented, you can easily see which categories, for example, perform best in term of the variables described above.

Content grouping in Google Analytics

Where to find content grouping in Google Analytics

You can create powerful segments with content groups and check which categories, for instance, are most popular amongst people that come from Facebook. Content grouping in combination with page values will show you which categories or which authors convert better.

Page performance in Google Analytics

As you can see, there’s a lot you can do to find out how your pages and posts perform in Google Analytics. Looking at the general data from the ‘All pages’ in the Behavior tab is a good place to start. Combine that data with segments to give your data more meaning. If you’re serious about web analytics, you can’t go without goals and content grouping.

Read on: ‘Tracking your SEO with Google Analytics’ »

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It’s been a week since the SEO conference YoastCon and we’re still processing all the cool stuff we’ve heard and seen. In a few days, you’ll be able to watch the talks on video and make your own to-do list to make your rankings skyrocket. To give you an idea of the story arc of YoastCon, I’ll share ten takeaways that have an impact on your SEO, now and in the future.

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

All photos in this post by Henk-Jan Winkeldermaat »

1. Voice search is changing/has changed search

Both Joost de Valk and Marcus Tandler spoke at length about how voice search is changing search. Since our smartphone is growing ever stronger, voice recognition is getting better and better and the underlying AI is getting smarter and smarter, we are changing how we search. ComScore says that by 2020 50% of searches will be voice searches.

For many common tasks, a voice search gives you the quickest answer. But in contrast to searching in regular search engines, you’ll often only get one result. As a site owner, being that search result is going to be a real challenge. Your content has to answer these questions.

joost de valk at yoastcon

2. Mobile is everything

For years we’ve been talking about the rise of mobile. Now, mobile is the crucial part you should optimize for. Google’s upcoming mobile-first index will rank sites based on their mobile offering. If it sucks, you won’t rank well. There’s no way around it; if you have an OK desktop site, but no great mobile site, you are going to lose out. Make mobile your top priority! Yes, even if you don’t have many mobile visitors – yet.

3. Copy – not just content – is king

You know that content is often called king, right? Well, that’s still true in this day and age. Even with all these developments in the SEO world, content is still where it’s at. But it’s not just any old content; it’s all about quality content. Google’s AI is getting better at determining what piece of content offers the most value for the reader. You can’t rely on your thin content anymore. Better brush up your SEO copywriting skills.

In addition, copy is getting more important. Of course, copy differs from content as it is used to enhance interfaces and improve UX and conversion. You should make your copy personal and offer users solutions, not products. Or, as conversion genius Karl Gilis said in his talk: “Stop selling the way you want to sell. Sell the way people want to buy!”

4. Links are important

Links played a major part in this edition of YoastCon. Both Dixon Jones and Laura Crimmons put links and link building front and center. The importance of links has long been a subject of discussion, but at YoastCon, Google itself probably said it best: “Ranking without links is really, really hard”.

You should put a lot of time and effort in your link building campaigns. Try and find out who your audience is and where they hang out. Find a suitable subject, write great content – or shoot video or make an infographic – and strike up a conversation with relevant journalists. The reward could be enormous: not just links, but exposure and brand awareness.

laura crimmons at yoastcon

5. Accessibility matters

Rian Rietveld and Andrea Fercia, both accessibility experts, showed that every site should be accessible. Every visitor has a right to use your site even if they have some sort of disability. Try to listen to your site and see where screen readers run into trouble. Find and fix these issues. Make your content easy to understand in any kind of circumstance. It’s like Rian said: “Google is blind and deaf, so everything you do for accessibility is also good for SEO.” In the end, we all benefit from a perfectly accessible site.

6. User experience = SEO

UX and SEO go hand in hand and we expect this bond to strengthen over the next year. Google is increasingly looking at how users behave on your site. Do they bounce back quickly because the content does not fit their expectations or do they visit more pages after reading the content they came for?

You should, therefore, offer a flawless UX that easily satisfies your visitor’s thirst for knowledge or their intent to buy a product. Don’t hide stuff, use a proper call to action button and write your copy in a human-centered and personal way. Because, according to Karl Gilis: “If you don’t care about your words, you are a decorator and not a designer.” Most of all: focus on the things that matter most, not to you, but to your users. Make people happy!

7. It’s all about the user

Like I said earlier: nothing is about you because everything should be about your visitor or client. Keep them in the back of your mind at all times. Ask yourself if what you say you do is the same as what they experience? Do you sell your products or do you sell a solution to the user’s problem? Does your keyword research focus on variations of the exact same words or does it include the words the users really use to find you? In addition, does your content answer the question a user has? Karl Gilis: “Your visitors only care about themselves. They don’t care about you! So make your content about their needs – not yours.”

karl gilis at yoastcon

8. Search intent

There’s not just one type of search query, there are four. There’s navigational searches, informational searches, commercial searches and transactional searches. These are called search intent and they determine what a searcher wants. Search intent impacts everything from keyword research to content writing. Aiming your content at the wrong search type could lead to less than stellar results. Take a look at your goals and find out where your content could have the biggest impact.

9. Site speed: your site is never fast enough

Site speed has been a hot issue for a while now and rightfully so. Both users and search engines love fast sites. Conversion and user satisfaction is higher on fast sites. Joost de Valk showed that even Googlebot loves fast sites because it can crawl more pages in the same amount of time. And now page speed will be a ranking factor in the upcoming mobile-first index. So there’s just no way around it: work on your site speed!

10. Artificial intelligence is shaking things up

“Google is not using AI to make search better, Google is using search to make AI better,” said Marcus Tandler in his epic talk. AI is everywhere and playing a bigger role each day. Lots of current developments in the world of SEO, like voice search, are powered by an AI. While this AI is getting smarter and smarter, the impact it has will be huge. Not only for SEO but for many aspects of daily life – for better or worse.

marcus tandler at yoastcon

Bonus: WordPress’ Gutenberg editor

Not strictly SEO related, but something that popped up many times: the future of WordPress. That future largely revolves around a certain new editor that goes by the name Gutenberg. We’re pretty skeptical, but we also see its potential. At YoastCon, Joost and Omar Reiss, discussed the impact Gutenberg will have. They showed the audience where it’s currently at and what will be coming up. Be sure to watch this session and read up on all things Gutenberg. You can even participate in the development of Gutenberg.

YoastCon helps to improve your SEO

YoastCon was an SEO conference of epic proportions. The speakers were exceptional, the workshops impressive, the location awe-inspiring and the visitors kind and smart. We loved every second of it and we hope you did too. If you couldn’t make it, you can always watch the talks next week. Plus, you can always join us again in 2019.

Here, I’ve discussed several topics that came up during the conference. I hope you find this small overview useful and get inspired to improve your site. There’s always something to improve. Good luck!

Read more: ‘YoastCon 2017: The day after’ »

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