To keep everyone aware of big projects and efforts across WordPress contributor teams, I’ve reached out to each team’s listed representatives. I asked each of them to share their Top Priority (and when they hope for it to be completed), as well as their biggest Wins and Worries. Have questions? I’ve included a link to each team’s site in the headings.

Accessibility

  • Contacted: @rianrietveld, @joedolson, @afercia
  • Priority: Working to make sure that Gutenberg is reasonably accessible prior to merge. ETA is before 5.0
  • Struggle: Lack of developers and accessibility experts to help test and code the milestone issues. The team is doing outreach to help solve this problem.
  • Big Win: Interest from companies like The Paciello Group and Tenon.io to help out with Gutenberg code review and testing tools.

CLI

  • Contacted: @danielbachhuber, @schlessera
  • Priority: Very first global Hack Day is coming up July 20. Version 2.0.0 is still in progress (new ETA is end of July).
  • Struggle: The team continues to need new contributors. The current team is tiny but tough.
  • Big Win: WP-CLI is currently one of the project’s four main focuses, as mentioned in the Summer Update at WordCamp Europe.

Community

  • Contacted: @francina, @hlashbrooke
  • Priority: Focusing on smoothing out the processes in our community management by building up our team of volunteers and establishing what tools we need to keep things running well. ETA is ongoing.
  • Struggle: Our two biggest struggles at the moment are tracking what we need to get done, and making final decisions on things. There is current work on the tools available to assist with tracking progress.
  • Big Win: After making a concerted effort to get more contributors on the Community Team, we now have a much larger group of volunteers working as deputies and WordCamp mentors

Core

  • Contacted: @jeffpaul
  • Priority: Following the WordCamp Europe summer update (and the companion post here), the team is getting Gutenberg (the new WordPress editing experience) into a strong state for the 5.0 release. Potential ETA as soon as August.
  • Struggle: Coordinating momentum and direction as we start seeing more contributors offering their time. Still working our way through open issues. The team is starting multiple bug scrubs each week to work through these more quickly and transparently.
  • Big Win: Had a sizable release in 4.9.6 which featured major updates around privacy tools and functionality in Core.

Design

  • Contacted: @melchoyce, @karmatosed, @boemedia, @joshuawold, @mizejewski
  • Priority: Better on-boarding of new contributors, especially creating better documentation. ETA is end of July.
  • Struggle: It’s hard to identify reasonably small tasks for first-time contributors.
  • Big Win: The team is much more organized now which has helped clear out the design backlog, bring in new contributors, and also keep current contributors coming back. Bonus: Joshua Wold will co-lead the upcoming release.

Documentation

  • Contacted: @kenshino
  • Priority: Opening up the work on HelpHub to new contributors and easing the onboarding process. No ETA.
  • Struggle: Some blockers with making sure the code and database can be ready to launch on https://wordpress.org/support/
  • Big Win: The first phase of HelpHub creation is complete, which means content updates (current info, more readable, easier discovery), internal search, design improvements, and REST API endpoints.

Hosting

  • Contacted: @mikeschroder, @jadonn
  • Priority: Preparing hosts for supporting Gutenberg, especially support questions they’re likely to see when the “Try Gutenberg” callout is released. ETA July 31st, then before WordPress 5.0
  • Struggle: Most contributions are still made a by a small team of volunteers. Seeing a few more people join, but progress is slow.
  • Big Win: New team members and hosting companies have joined the #hosting-community team and have started contributing.

Marketing

  • Contacted: @bridgetwillard
  • Priority: Continuing to write and publish case studies from the community. ETA is ongoing.
  • Struggle: No current team struggles.
  • Big Win: Wrote and designed a short Contributor Day onboarding card. It was used at Contributor Day at WCEU and onboarding time went down to 1 hour instead of 3 hours.

Meta (WordPress.org Site)

  • Contacted: @tellyworth, @coffee2code
  • Priority: Reducing manual work around the contributor space (theme review, GDPR/privacy, plugin review). ETA for small wins is end of quarter, larger efforts after that.
  • Struggle: Maintaining momentum on tickets. There are also some discussions about updating the ticket management process across teams that use the Meta trac system.
  • Big Win: The new About page launched and has been translated across most locale sites.

Mobile

  • Contacted: @elibud
  • Priority: Getting Gutenberg in the mobile applications. ETA is late December.
  • Struggle: Consuming the Gutenberg source in the ReactNative app directly. More info can be found here: https://make.wordpress.org/mobile/2018/07/09/next-steps-for-gutenberg-mobile/
  • Big Win: The WordPress mobile applications now fully support right-to-left languages and are compliant with the latest standards for accessibility.

Plugins

  • Contacted: @ipstenu
  • Priority: Clearing ~8,000 unused plugins from the queues. Likely ETA is September.
  • Struggles: Had to triage a lot of false claims around plugins offering GDPR compliance.
  • Big Win: Released 4.9.6 and updated expectations with plugin authors. Huge thanks to the Core Privacy team for their hard work on this.

Polyglots

  • Contacted: @petya, @ocean90, @nao, @chantalc, @deconf, @casiepa
  • Priority: Keep WordPress releases translated to 100% and then concentrate on the top 100 plugins and themes. ETA is ongoing.
  • Struggle: Getting new PTEs fast enough, and complex tools/systems. Overall, the volume of strings awaiting approval.

Support

  • Contacted: @clorith
  • Priority: Getting ready for the Gutenberg callout (it got pushed last quarter). Needing a better presence on the official support forums, and outreach for that is underway, ETA end of July. 
  • Struggle: Keeping contributors participating post-contributor days/drives. Considering the creation of a dedicated post-contributor day survey to get some insight here.
  • Big Win: The increase in international liaisons joining for weekly meetings, helping bring the wider support community together.

Theme Review

Tide

  • Contacted: @valendesigns (but usually @jeffpaul)
  • Priority: Storing PHPCompatibilty results inside the WordPress.org API and building a UI to display those results, an endpoint to request an audit is required for this work to continue.
  • Struggle: Development has dramatically slowed down while team members are on leave or pulled into internal client work.
  • Big Win: Migration to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) from Amazon Web Services (AWS) is complete and the audit servers have all been rewritten in Go. (This allows us to be faster with greater capacity and less cost.)

Training

  • Contacted: @bethsoderberg, @juliek
  • Priority: Lesson plan production. ETA is ongoing.
  • Struggle: The workflow is a little complex, so recruiting and training enough contributors to keep the process moving is a struggle.
  • Big Win: WordCamp Europe’s Contributor Day was very productive. New tools/workflow are in place and two team representatives were there to lead and help.

Interested in updates from the first quarter of this year? You can find those here: https://make.wordpress.org/updates/2018/04/24/quarterly-updates-q1-2018/

Geotargeting is when you serve a user content, based on their location. There are several ways to determine where a user is located, for example by checking IP-address, device ID or even using GPS. It can be beneficial to present your user content that’s customized for their locale, for instance using familiar imagery.

Still, it pays off to give some thought to the implications for your site’s SEO if you start using geotargeting. And of course, make sure you don’t go through all this trouble, without properly implementing everything!

Rufino emailed us his question on the subject:

“We’re considering using a geotargeting tool on our WordPress site, in which images and content on the landing page will change based on the city the person viewing is located. How will doing this impact SEO?”

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

Changing content based on the location of your visitors

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

Multilingual SEO training Info
“Well, to be honest, even if a lot of this stuff on the page changes, Google always comes from Mountain View, California. That’s what it will report. So, that’s the only version that will be in the search results if all those changes are being shown everywhere.

If content really changes then I would suggest changing the URL and doing an hreflang implementation. If it’s just images, you don’t need to worry as much. But if it’s really content that’s changing, then you should probably look at our Multilingual SEO Course and look at how Hreflang works and what you can do about that. Good luck.”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Perhaps we can help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

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 the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: hreflang: the ultimate guide »

The post Ask Yoast: Geotargeting and SEO appeared first on Yoast.

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

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Why you should use synonyms

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

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

Why is the exact match focus keyword still important?

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

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

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

Keyword distribution

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

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

Roadmap for the SEO analysis

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

Embed synonyms in our SEO analysis

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

Morphology: plurals and more

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

Related keywords

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

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

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

Recalibration of the SEO analysis

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

Big improvements in our SEO analysis are coming

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

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

The post Synonyms and keyword distribution in Yoast SEO Premium appeared first on Yoast.

Semantics is hard. What does a certain word mean in a specific situation? Which ‘mars’ are you talking about? Have you ever tried to discover all definitions of ‘run’? In most cases, context is everything. You can help humans and machines understand a text better by adding context. This is one of the reasons Yoast SEO is now adding support for synonyms and related keywords, giving you more flexibility to improve your text! Now available for Premium users of Yoast SEO 7.8.

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

New Premium feature: Synonyms

Content SEO has long been about finding out what your main keyword was and adding that focus keyword in a couple of places in your text. While that worked pretty well, there’s a lot more going on at the moment. Not only is search intent more important than ever, but search engines get smarter and smarter every day. They increasingly ‘know’ what a text is about by looking at the context in which these focus keywords appear. This context is what makes or breaks a text.

Yoast SEO always worked by a single focus keyword or multiple focus keywords in our Premium plugin. We understand this can be a bit restrictive; we’re not even looking at plural instances of the keyword. Luckily, that’s about to change!

We’re working on some very nice new language-based SEO checks, and we’re presenting the first updates today: synonyms and keyword distribution! Yes, you read that right: Premium users can now add synonyms and related terms to check. Writing about bikes? Your synonyms will probably include ‘bicycle, cycle, ride, two-wheeler,’ and now you can add those terms. The Yoast SEO plugin will check how you use these terms in your article.synonyms in Yoast SEO 7.8

New Premium feature: keyword distribution

The new synonym feature also works in conjunction with another new feature in Yoast SEO Premium: keyword distribution. If you added a couple of synonyms for your focus keyword, Yoast SEO now checks to see if these are distributed well throughout the text. Before you could add your focus keyword in the intro a couple of times and that would be fine by us. That’s over. We’re taking the complete text in regard and want you to evenly and realistically distribute your focus keyword and synonyms. The gif below shows what the highlighting of keywords and synonyms looks like.
keyword synonyms yoast seo premium 7.8
We keep using the focus keyword exclusively to determine keyword density. In our opinion, optimizing your post for the most common keyword — the one that your keyword research uncovered as being most used by your audience — continues to be imperative. 

More on the way

This is just the start. At the moment, we’re hard at work to improve the language capabilities of Yoast SEO. Marieke wrote a post describing what you can expect from Yoast SEO in the coming months. Read about morphology, related keywords and the upcoming recalibration of the SEO analyses in Yoast SEO.

Feedback welcome!

We’ve added these new checks for you to try out. We’re very much looking forward to your feedback. How are you using synonyms and related topics in your texts? What do you want Yoast SEO to do with your synonyms? Are there ways to improve how we handle the analyses of your text? As we’ve said, this is the first step to a Yoast SEO that is far more capable of understanding language and using that knowledge to provide you with the best possible feedback. Help us get there! You can either add an issue to GitHub or comment on this post. We’re looking forward to your help!

Language improvements for French, Spanish and Italian

Yoast SEO 7.8 has turned out to be a release focused on language because we’ve also expanded the language functionality for French, Spanish and Italian. Users writing French and Spanish can now use the Flesch Reading Ease assessment to check the perceived difficulty of their texts. Users writing Italian can now improve their texts using the new passive voice assessment. French, Spanish and Italian now fully support all Yoast SEO features.

Other improvements and fixes

As always, we’ve fixed loads of bugs and improved various parts of the plugin. For instance, we’ve improved the way we determine the OpenGraph for front pages, especially in the case of static front pages. We’ve also fixed several bugs regarding the look and feel of the new snippet variables that we introduced in Yoast SEO 7.7.

Update now to Yoast SEO 7.8

Yoast SEO 7.8 is an exciting new release, one that marks a new direction for us. We’re giving you much more flexibility to enhance your articles by using synonyms and providing you with more tools to determine how well you present your keywords. This is the first step to an even more relevant, useful and indispensable Yoast SEO!

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

The post Yoast SEO 7.8: Synonyms and keyword distribution appeared first on Yoast.

Most people find it difficult to go from reporting the basic stuff in Google Analytics, like pageviews and sessions, to analyzing data. Drawing valuable and actionable conclusions based on data is even more challenging. Everyone searches for ways to do this, and learns while doing so. Here, I want to discuss a metric in Google Analytics that can help you with putting data into actions. It’s called: Page Value.

What is Page Value

Page Value is a metric you’ll find in the All Pages report in the Behavior section. This metric tells you if the page has contributed to a conversion or not. Google’s definition is:

Page Value is the average value for a page that a user visited before landing on the goal page or completing an Ecommerce transaction (or both).

You can only see a true value in the Page Value column if you have implemented enhanced eCommerce tracking and/or if you’ve set up goals and assigned goal value to them.

If you have none of the former, the Page Value of your pages will be $0.00. As you can see in the screenshot below:

zero page value in Google Analytics

Goals and goal value

The Digital Marketing Evangelist Avinash Kaushik is pretty clear when it comes to goals.

If you don’t have goals, you are not doing digital analytics. You are doing I am wasting earth’s precious oxygenalytics. 

And he has a similar opinion when it comes down to assigning a value to your goals.

Without goals and goal values you are not doing web analytics, you are doing web I am wasting your life and minelytics.

I tend to listen to Avinash Kaushik and I’d recommend you do the same ;-). If you have a clear goal for your website, which means that you know what you want your visitors to do on your site, then translate that into goals. And assign a value to your goals. This means that every website should have goals, for I hope that every website has a goal to exist.

Start with reading this awesome post about goal values on Kaushik’s website. It’s about how to add economic value to goal conversions that don’t directly lead to revenue for your website. Because these conversions probably lead to indirect revenue for your business. Once you’ve set up goals with a Goal Value, the Page Value metric in Google Analytics gets more and more interesting.

Page Value for eCommerce sites

If you’ve implemented eCommerce tracking in Google Analytics, Page Value will be added automatically. Please don’t add Goal Value to the eCommerce goals you’re creating. The eCommerce tracking will take care of that for you.

How Page Value is calculated

Like a lot of things, Page Value is best explained with an example. In this case, I’m going to use the example Google gives:

Example by Google: How Page Value is calculated

In this example we’re going to calculate the Page Value of Page B. The formula is:

(eCommerce Revenue + Total Goal Value) / Number of Unique Pageviews for Page B

We see two sessions in which page B was viewed. Each session had a unique pageview so the number of unique pageviews for Page B is 2. We also see that the Goal of Page D is completed two times and Goal page D has a goal value of $10. Which adds up to $20. Then in Session one, an eCommerce transaction of $100 has taken place. This will result in the following formula:

($100 + $20)/2

This means that the page value of Page B is $60.

What does the Page Value of a page tell you

Your pages should have a purpose. Some pages sell stuff / convert and some merely inform readers about a certain topic. Others assist in making a conversion. If pages that are meant to sell or convert have a low page value, something is going wrong. And if you see that pages you’re not actively using in your strategy have a high Page Value, you might want to consider adding that page to your strategy.

It also works the other way around. If you notice that some pages have a lower than expected Page Value, then these pages are driving people away from a conversion. The same goes for pages with high traffic but low Page Value, and pages with low traffic but high Page Value. As you might’ve guessed, looking at page value is insightful and useful to optimize your conversions!

Blog and Page Value

It all depends on the goals and goal values you have. Let’s say you have a blog and one of the goals of your blog is to get newsletter subscriptions. So you want to set up that goal and add a certain goal value. By doing so, you can identify which blog posts lead to more newsletter subscribers than others. This gives you information about what kind of interests your audience has. You might even conclude that putting posts of interest in your newsletter will lead to more engaged newsletter subscribers.

Also, if you want to start a campaign or promote something on Facebook, for instance, you can choose to share a post with a high Page Value. This makes sense, because you know that it will lead to more conversions / newsletter subscribers (or whatever the goal is) than a post with a lower Page Value. Think about the information the Page Value metric can give you for your marketing as well as your website optimization strategy!

Online shop and Page Value

You can use this principle if you have an online shop as well. If you’ve enabled and correctly implemented enhanced eCommerce tracking, you can see those transactions in the page value of your pages. Of course, you want high page values for your product pages. And you want to find out which other pages lead to conversions. Use this information to identify which pages can be used best in your marketing campaigns. And check where these pages are on your website, can people access them easily?

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an actionable metric in Google Analytics to optimize your website and your marketing campaigns the Page Value metric is the way to go! It gives you information about what works and what doesn’t work for your business. Of course, Page Value doesn’t come by itself, you need Goals with Goal Values and/or eCommerce tracking if you have an online shop. But it’s worth to set this up. Good luck!

Read more: ‘Perfecting your goals in Google Analytics’ »

The post Annelieke’s Analytics: What is Page Value in Google Analytics? appeared first on Yoast.

Progress on the Gutenberg project, the new content creating experience coming to WordPress, has come a long way. Since the start of the project, there have been 30 releases and 12 of those happened after WordCamp US 2017. In total since then, there have been 1,764 issues opened and 1,115 closed as of WordCamp Europe. As the work on phase one moves into its final stretch, here is what you can expect.

In Progress

  • Freeze new features in Gutenberg (the feature list can be found here).
  • Hosts, agencies, teachers invited to opt-in sites they have influence over.
  • WordPress.com has opt-in for wp-admin users. The number of sites and posts will be tracked.
  • Mobile app support for Gutenberg will be across iOS and Android.

July

  • 4.9.x release with an invitation to install either Gutenberg or Classic Editor plugin.
  • WordPress.com will move to opt-out. There will be tracking to see who opts out and why.
  • Triage increases and bug gardening escalates to get blockers in Gutenberg down to zero.
  • Gutenberg phase two, Customization exploration begins by moving beyond the post.

August and beyond

  • All critical issues within Gutenberg are resolved.
  • There is full integration with Calypso and there is opt-in for users there.
  • A goal will be 100k+ sites having made 250k+ posts using Gutenberg.
  • Core merge of Gutenberg begins the 5.0 release cycle.
  • 5.0 moves into beta releases and translations are completed.
  • There will be a mobile version of Gutenberg by the end of the year.

WordPress 5.0 could be as soon as August with hundreds of thousands of sites using Gutenberg before release. Learn more about Gutenberg here, take it for a test drive, install on your site, follow along on GitHub and give your feedback.

Hooking up your site to services like Google Analytics provides you with a wealth of knowledge and data about visitors on your site. But it can be hard to know how to interpret all this data. And of course, you should also think about what your goals are. What’s most important for you may differ, based on the purpose of your site.

For example, you can have a site with a low bounce rate, but also with a low amount of traffic. Is that a good or a bad thing? The truth is, it probably depends on several things. Like what? Let’s get into that in this Ask Yoast!

John Brown emailed us his question on interpreting analytics data:

From an SEO point of view which is better to have: a lower bounce rate and lower traffic to the site or a higher bounce rate and higher traffic to the site?

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

Which is better: low or high bounce rate and traffic?

New to SEO? Learn the Basics of SEO in our Basic SEO course »

Basic SEO training Info
“That’s a tough question to answer in a generic form, but usually, I would say that if you’re relevant to all the traffic, then having more traffic is probably better because then you can optimize for people not to bounce away.

But if you’re not relevant for a lot of that traffic, then having less traffic is probably better because that means you get more targeted traffic, which actually wants to see you and that usually means that you’ll stick around longer in the long run. Good luck.”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Perhaps we can help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

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 the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: ‘Understanding bounce rate in Google Analytics’ »

The post Ask Yoast: Which is better in terms of bounce rate and traffic? appeared first on Yoast.

WordPress 4.9.7 is now available. This is a security and maintenance release for all versions since WordPress 3.7. We strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

WordPress versions 4.9.6 and earlier are affected by a media issue that could potentially allow a user with certain capabilities to attempt to delete files outside the uploads directory.

Thank you to Slavco for reporting the original issue and Matt Barry for reporting related issues.

Seventeen other bugs were fixed in WordPress 4.9.7. Particularly of note were:

  • Taxonomy: Improve cache handling for term queries.
  • Posts, Post Types: Clear post password cookie when logging out.
  • Widgets: Allow basic HTML tags in sidebar descriptions on Widgets admin screen.
  • Community Events Dashboard: Always show the nearest WordCamp if one is coming up, even if there are multiple Meetups happening first.
  • Privacy: Make sure default privacy policy content does not cause a fatal error when flushing rewrite rules outside of the admin context.

Download WordPress 4.9.7 or venture over to Dashboard → Updates and click “Update Now.” Sites that support automatic background updates are already beginning to update automatically.

The previously scheduled 4.9.7 is now referred to as 4.9.8, and will follow the release schedule posted yesterday.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to WordPress 4.9.7:

1naveengiri, Aaron Jorbin, abdullahramzan, alejandroxlopez, Andrew Ozz, Arun, Birgir Erlendsson (birgire), BjornW, Boone Gorges, Brandon Kraft, Chetan Prajapati, David Herrera, Felix Arntz, Gareth, Ian Dunn, ibelanger, John Blackbourn, Jonathan Desrosiers, Joy, khaihong, lbenicio, Leander Iversen, mermel, metalandcoffee, Migrated to @jeffpaul, palmiak, Sergey Biryukov, skoldin, Subrata Sarkar, Towhidul Islam, warmlaundry, and YuriV.

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.

A redirect happens when someone asks for a specific page but gets sent to a different page. Often, the site owner deleted the page and set up a redirect to send visitors and search engine crawlers to a relevant page. A much better approach then serving them an annoying, user experience breaking 404 message. Redirects play a big part in the lives of site owners, developers, and SEOs. So let’s answer a couple of recurring questions about redirects for SEO.

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

1. Are redirects bad for SEO?

Well, it depends, but in most cases, no. Redirects are not bad for SEO, but — as with so many things — only if you put them in place correctly. A bad implementation might cause all kinds of trouble, from loss of PageRank to loss of traffic. Redirecting pages is a must if you make any changes to your URLs. After all, you don’t want to see all the hard work you put into building an audience and gathering links to go down the drain.

2. Why should I redirect a URL?

By redirecting a changed URL, you send both users and crawlers to a new URL, therefore keeping annoyances to a minimum. Whenever you perform any kind of maintenance on your site you are actually taking stuff out. You could be deleting a post, changing your URL structure or moving your site to a new domain. You have to replace it or visitors will land on those dreaded 404 pages. If you make small changes, like delete an outdated article, you can redirect that old URL with a 301 to a relevant new article or give it a 410 to say that you deleted it. Don’t delete stuff without a plan. And don’t redirect your URLs to random articles that don’t have anything to do with the article you’re deleting.

Bigger projects need a URL migration strategy. Going from HTTP to HTTPS for instance — more on that later on in this article, changing the URL paths, or moving your site to a new domain. In these cases, you should look at all the URLs on your site and map these to their future locations on the new domain. After determining what goes where, you can start redirecting the URLs. Use the change of address tool in Google Search Console to notify Google of the changes.

3. What is a 301 redirect? And a 302 redirect?

Use a 301 redirect to permanently redirect a URL to a new destination. This way, you tell both visitors and search engine crawlers that this URL changed and a new destination is found. This the most common redirect. Don’t use a 301 if you ever want to use that specific URL ever again. If so, you need a 302 redirect.

A 302 redirect is a so-called temporary redirect. This means that you can use this to say this piece of content is temporarily unavailable at this address, but it is going to come back. Need more information on which redirect to pick?

4. What’s an easy way to manage redirects in WordPress?

We might be a bit biased, but we think the redirects manager in our Yoast SEO Premium WordPress plugin is incredible. We know that a lot of people struggle to understand the concept of redirects and the kind of work that goes into adding and managing them. That’s why one of the first things we wanted our WordPress SEO plugin to have was an easy to use redirect tool. I think we succeeded, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Lindsay recently said:

The redirects manager can help set up and manage redirect on your WordPress site. It’s an indispensable tool if you want to keep your site fresh and healthy. We made it as easy as possible. Here’s what happens when you delete a post:

  • Move a post to trash
  • A message pops up saying that you moved a post to thrash
  • Choose one of two options given by the redirects manager:
    • Redirect to another URL
    • Serve a 410 Content deleted header
  • If you pick redirect, a modal opens where you can enter the new URL for this particular post
  • Save and you’re done!

So convenient, right? Here’s an insightful article called What does the redirects manager in Yoast SEO do, that answers that question.

5. What is a redirect checker?

A redirect checker is a tool to determine if a certain URL is redirected and to analyze the path it follows. You can use this information to find bottlenecks, like a redirect chain in which a URL is redirected many times, making it much harder for Google to crawl that URL — and giving users a less than stellar user experience. These chains often happen without you knowing about it: if you delete a page that was already redirected, you add another piece to the chain. So, you need to keep an eye on your redirects and one of the tools to do that is a redirect checker.

You can use one of the SEO suites such as Sitebulb, Ahrefs and Screaming Frog to test your redirects and links. If you only need a quick check, you can also use a simpler tool like httpstatus.io to give you an insight into the life of a URL on your site. Another must-have tool is the Redirect Path extension for Chrome, made by Ayima.

6. Do I need to redirect HTTP to HTTPS?

Whenever you plan to move to the much-preferred HTTPS protocol for your site — you know, the one with the green padlock in the address bar — you must redirect your HTTP traffic to HTTPS. You could get into trouble with Google if you make your site available on both HTTP and HTTPS, so watch out for that. Also, browsers will show a NOT SECURE message when the site is — you guessed it — not secured by a HTTPS connection. Plus, Google prefers HTTPS sites, because these tend to be faster and more secure. Your visitors expect the extra security as well.

So, you need to set up a 301 redirect from HTTP to HTTPS. There are a couple of way of doing this and you must plan this to make sure everything goes like it should. First, the preferred way of doing this is at server level. Find out on what kind of server your site is running (NGINX, Apache, or something else) and find the code needed to add to your server config file or .htaccess file. Most often, your host will have a guide to help you set up a redirect for HTTP to HTTPS on server level. Jimmy, one of our developers also wrote a guide helping you move your website from HTTP to HTTPS.

There are also WordPress plugins that can handle the HTTPS/SSL stuff for your site, but for this specific issue, I wouldn’t rely on a plugin, but manage your redirect at a server level. Don’t forget to let Google know of the changes in Search Console.

Redirects for SEO

There are loads of questions about redirects to answer. If you think about it, the concept of a redirect isn’t too hard to grasp. Getting started with redirects isn’t that hard either. The hard part of working with redirects is managing them. Where are all these redirects leading? What if something breaks? Can you find redirect chains or redirect loops? Can you shorten the paths? You can gain a lot from optimizing your redirects, so you should dive in and fix them. Do you have burning questions about redirects? Let us know in the comments!

Read more: ‘How to properly delete a page from your site’ »

The post 6 questions about redirects for SEO appeared first on Yoast.