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

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ccTLD, subdomain or subdirectory?

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

  • on a country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD):
  • on a subdomain:
  • on a subdirectory:

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


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

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

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

Subdomain or subdirectory

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

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

Countries with multiple languages

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


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



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


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

Multiple countries with the same language

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

Country websites or language websites?

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

So this means that, in case of the example above, you’d choose and Or, if you have enough marketing capabilities, you could use and

Don’t forget hreflang!

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

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

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

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Two weeks ago, we released one of our most significant updates yet: Yoast SEO 7.0. This release featured some much-needed spring-cleaning and a wholly revamped XML sitemap experience. In it, the focus is much less on the sitemap as it is on easily getting indexed what you want to get indexed. Yoast SEO 7.1 — out today — builds on that release with fixes and enhancements.

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First up: support for Portuguese

As you know, Yoast SEO understands quite a few languages. While most of the content checks work for every language, there are instances where the checks are language-specific. The list is pretty impressive right now and keeps growing. We support English, German, Dutch, French, Italian and Spanish in various degrees. Today, we’re adding a brand-new language: Portuguese.

More than 200 million people speak Portuguese natively, making it the sixth most popular language in the world. Thanks to our friend Dilmar Ames, we have now taken the first steps towards full support for Portuguese. While it’s still early days for the content analyses, the insights and internal linking suggestions features in Portuguese are fully developed. Users of Yoast SEO Premium can enjoy these two great features to enhance their posts and improve their site structure.

Also, we fixed a couple of other language-related issues. For instance, we added a filter to mark Spanish sentences as non-passive when certain exception words occur between the auxiliary and the participle. The list of exception words includes all forms of the copula ‘estar’.


Besides expanding our knowledge of the world’s languages, we’ve also improved the plugin in various regards.

Importing from other SEO plugins

Yoast SEO 7.1 now detects if you can import data from other SEO plugins data. It allows you to import this data on the Import from other plugins page. After importing, you can check whether the import was successfull and then delete the data. To help you set up your titles and descriptions correctly, we decided we should not import title & description templates from other plugins. You can run the configuration wizard to set up your templates properly.

Filters and variables

Thanks to Akinori Musha, we’ve added support for a new template variable %%archive_title%%. This gives access to the utility function called get_the_archive_title() which gives a nicely localized title for the current archive page.

We’re now providing developers extra context if they want to replace posts and taxonomies. To do this, we’ve added an additional argument to wpseo_replacements filter. This makes it possible to access post, taxonomy or term instances when applying the filter.

To top it off, we’ve removed the Facebook Insights functionality as it’s no longer supported. Plus, we’ve increased the height of the meta description box so it matches the maximum amount of characters without needing a scrollbar.

Fixing bugs

Coming from such a big release like Yoast SEO 7.0 there are always a few bugs to fix. Thanks to our awesome GitHub community, we were able to track and fix quite a few of them. Let’s go over a couple of them. For instance, we fixed a bug where the rewrite rules weren’t correctly removed after stripping the category base. This resulted in 404s. Now, you can safely remove /category/ from your URLs again and it should correctly update itself.

There was also a weird issue where you enabled the Show blog page in the breadcrumb settings, it’d be disabled and vice versa. Previously, it showed the wrong breadcrumb path when using a static blog page and Show Blog page is set to hide.

There were some performance issues reported with the release of Yoast SEO 7.0.2 which we fixed by improving WPSEO_Options::get. This is the main function we use throughout the plugin to fetch settings. This is only a small sampling of the work that went into Yoast SEO 7.1. For a complete list of all the fixed bugs, please check the changelog.

Update to Yoast SEO 7.1 now

Coming hot on the heels of Yoast SEO 7.0, 7.1 packs quite a few enhancements and bug fixes. These fixes improve the way the plugins function and increases stability. We’re still actively cleaning up our plugins to make sure they are lean and mean. So, don’t forget to update!

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

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Anchor text is the visible and clickable piece of text in a link. The text appears in a different color and is often underlined. If done right, this indicates what’s behind that link. Getting your anchor texts right increases the chance of someone clicking on your link. It also provides context for search engines.

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What does an anchor text look like?

The anchor text describes the article and entices you to click. Even search engines get that the linked article is relevant because both the URL as well as the anchor text appears to be in order. Let’s say you want to learn something about anchor text. [What is anchor text] exactly? You see that I naturally linked to the article you are reading now.

What does an anchor text look like in HTML? The first piece of code is the URL, while the second part describes the link. This is the anchor text. See below:
anchor text example

Different kinds

Anchor text is relevant for both your internal links and your incoming external links. External sites that want to link to your content can do so in various ways.

  • Branded links: A link with your brand name as an anchor, like Yoast.
  • The URL itself: Just your site’s URL without a text, like Not that helpful in most instances.
  • Site name: written as
  • Article title: Exact matching the article, like What is anchor text?.
  • Exact keywords: Your focus keyword/keyphrase as anchor text
  • Partially matching keywords: Using variants of your focus keyword to make a readable link.
  • Related keywords: Not a direct match, but a keyword or keyphrase that is closely related to the main one.
  • Generic links: Try to avoid these ‘Click here’ and ‘Read more’ links. Tell people what a link is about. Otherwise, they’re guessing.

Best practices for anchor texts

It’s not exactly rocket science because writing a relevant anchor text is common sense. A link must provide value for a user, and the anchor text is the most important way of conveying the value of that link. Keep it natural. Don’t make crappy sentences to put in your exact match keywords or keyphrases. If it doesn’t sound natural when you say it aloud, don’t write it. Also, don’t turn a complete sentence into the anchor text. Keep it condensed and easy to understand.

Don’ts in anchor texts

First of all, keep your links relevant. Don’t spam your anchor text and don’t use generic anchor text to try to get people to visit your link. Don’t stuff your anchor text full of keywords. You shouldn’t use a text that has no relation to the linked content. Whatever you do, don’t fool your users. Nobody likes this. This also goes for trying to get your site design to stand out from the crowd with a link that doesn’t look like a link. Keep the different font color and underline it. Otherwise, people will easily miss your link.

Of course, you don’t have much control over how other sites link to your site. You can, however, set up a link building strategy that has a bigger chance of getting those coveted relevant links with great anchor texts.

Internal linking and anchor texts

We all know internal linking is essential. Yoast SEO has an internal linking tool built in that makes it a lot easier to find related content to link to on your site. Whenever you add a relevant link to your article, you also need to think about the anchor text. By thinking carefully about how and why you link to these articles to improve your internal linking structure you can help both users and search engines to navigate your site better.

To make the most of internal linking try only to add links that add real value to users. Write great anchor texts for them, so readers know this link has been carefully selected to let you read on. Don’t link for the sake of it. Make it relevant and useful. And of course; don’t spam!

seo basics anchor text exact match example

An example of an exact match

seo basics anchor text freeflowing text

An example of a more free-flowing form of linking

This is anchor text

Anchor text helps both searchers and search engines determine if a link is worth visiting. Some people try to game this system, but you sure shouldn’t do this. Google has become pretty adequate at determining which links are unnatural and even harmful. So, keep it natural and relevant, and you should be good to go!

Read more: ‘SEO basics: What is a permalink?’ »

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

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

Kees van den Berg emailed us saying,

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

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


What to do with the publish date on updated articles

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

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

Ask Yoast

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

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

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


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When looking for information about keywords in relation to SEO, you get bombarded with information about keyword research. And of course, keyword research is crucial if you’d like your page to rank. But it’s also important to understand what the basic principle of a keyword is. And that’s the thing I’ll explain here.

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What is a keyword?

A keyword, or a focus keyword as some call it, is a word that describes the content on your page or post best. It’s the search term that you want to rank for with a certain page. So when people search for that keyword or phrase in Google or other search engines, they should find that page on your website.

Let’s say you’ve got a website about pianos: you sell all sorts and types of pianos. You blog about what to look at when buying a piano and you share reviews about the pianos you offer on your online shop. You sell digital pianos so you’ve created a product category page about digital pianos. Ask yourself this:

  • What kind of search term do you want to be found for?
  • Which words do you think people will use in search engines to find you?
  • What would the search query look like?

Probably [digital piano], right? Because this keyword reflects what’s on the page best. If you’d have to explain the bottom line of your content, how would that look? What words would you use? That’s your keyword or key phrase – if it consists of multiple words.

We use the word ‘keyword’ all the time, this does not mean it consists of only one word. A lot of times keywords consist of multiple words. So when talking about keywords, a lot of times we mean a phrase instead of just one word.

Why are keywords important?

One of the things Google looks at when ranking a page is the content on that page. It looks at the words on the page. Now picture this, if every word on, for instance, a blog post about a digital piano is used 2 times, then all words are of equal importance. Google won’t have a clue which of those words are important and which aren’t. The words you’re using are clues for Google, it tells Google and other search engines what the page or post is about. So if you want to make Google understand what your page is about, you need to use it fairly often.

But Google isn’t the only reason why keywords are important. Actually, it’s less important, because you should always focus on the user: on your visitors and potential clients. With SEO you want people to land on your website when using a certain search term or keyword. You need to get into the heads of your audience and use the words they use when they are searching.

If you use the wrong keywords, you’ll never get the visitors you want or need, because your text doesn’t match what your potential audience is searching for. But if you do use the keywords people are searching for, your business can thrive. So if you see it like that, your keywords should reflect what your audience is searching for. With the wrong keywords, you’ll end up with the wrong audience, or none at all. That’s why having the right keywords is really important.

How do you use keywords in your pages and posts?

There used to be a time where you could add a lot of keywords to your pages and posts, do some old-fashioned keyword stuffing, and you’d rank in search engines. But a text with a lot of the same keywords in it is not a pleasant read. And because users find this kind of copy terrible to read, Google finds it terrible too. That’s why ranking in Google by doing keyword stuffing, fortunately, became hard to do. 

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So what are the rules of thumb here? First and foremost, it’s very important that your content is easy to read. Of course, you should use your keywords in your text, but don’t stuff your keywords in almost every sentence. In general, if 1 or 2% of all words of your copy, is your keyword, then you’re not overdoing it. Make sure your keywords are well-distributed throughout your text. Don’t put all your keywords in the first paragraph thinking you’re done with that part of the optimization. Naturally spread the keywords throughout your page or post. Use your keywords in a subheading or a couple of subheadings, depending on the length of your page or post. And use the keyword in your page title, first paragraph and in your meta description. You can find all of these recommendations in the SEO analysis of Yoast SEO.

Now you have a common understanding of what a keyword is. This knowledge will really help you with your keyword research, which of course is the next and vital step!

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

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

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Indicate that an archive has pagination

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

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

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

Should page 2 etc. be in the search results?

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

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

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

Annoying SEO side effects

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

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

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

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There are multiple ways to implement hreflang. Perhaps your content management system supports it, or you are using a plugin or extension to add hreflang in any way to your pages. No matter how you implement them, it’s obviously good that you do! hreflang is the glue that binds pages that are the same except for language together. In this post, I’ll show you an hreflang example in a website and break that apart to explain what you should check after implementing this meta tag. 

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International websites

If your websites target more than one language or multiple geo locations with the same language, chances are you have heard of the hreflang tag. If not, here’s some reading material for you:

With hreflang, you can indicate in what language the current page is, and in what other languages, or even dialects or local variations, the content is available.

An hreflang example

Let’s dive right in with this example of a website you probably know: Hubspot is available in:

  • English
  • German
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Japanese and
  • Brazilian Portuguese (and yes, that is different from Portuguese spoken in Portugal)

I know this because of the language switcher in their header, but also because their source code tells me so:

<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="x-default">
<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="en">
<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="de-DE">
<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="es">
<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="fr-FR">
<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="ja-JP">
<link rel="alternate" href="" hreflang="pt-BR">

That’s your hreflang tag right there. By the way, this is one of the multiple ways to implement hreflang on your website. This one goes into your <head>, but another option is to serve it from your XML sitemap or HTTP headers. More on that can be found in the ultimate guide to hreflang I mentioned earlier.

To analyze this example, we break it down into three elements:

  1. Alternates
  2. URLs
  3. Languages

There is a default language, which is probably set in the <html> tag in your template, and we have a couple of alternates. Again, these pages contain the same content as the default page, but in another language. hreflang tells search engines the URL where the alternate content can be found and for what language it is. “de_DE” means German in Germany, “pt_BR” means Portuguese in geolocation (region where the visitor is located) Brazil and another variation in this hreflang example is “es”, which means Spanish in every Spanish speaking region all over the globe. Regions or languages that are not defined, fall back to the default language.

Testing your hreflang

Now that you know what to check in your source code, you might want to use Google to check if the right page is served to a visitor from, for instance, Brazil. Here’s where a bit of knowledge of Google’s URLs comes in. If we look at this URL, two things stand out:

And not because I colored them. hl is interface language (or host language) and gl is geolocation. What we are suggesting here, is that Google boosts results from Brazil that are in Portuguese. If you use Google Chrome as your browser, you get this result:
Google Chrome - hreflang example: pt_BR

As you can see, the Brazilian site is shown, judging from the URL of the site The hreflang tags seem to work! Test likewise for German, Japanese and French, etcetera, just to be sure :) You could even test a language that’s not included like Italian to see if your fallback works. It does at Hubspot.

I hope this hreflang example gives you a way to test the hreflang implementation on your own multilingual site for yourself. If you want to know more about multilingual, you should consider our Multilingual SEO training!

Read more: ‘hreflang: the ultimate guide’ »

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

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

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Marek emailed us his question on this subject:

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

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

Including WooCommerce product tags in your XML sitemap

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

Ask Yoast

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

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

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


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Today, MaxServ and Yoast proudly present Yoast SEO for TYPO3 Premium! With this premium version you can take your TYPO3 website to the next level. Create redirects effortlessly, make your content rank for multiple focus keywords and find out which pages should get more links.
In addition to that, we’re also releasing Yoast SEO for TYPO3 2.1, today. This updated version provides you with tools to make your best content even better.

Get it with a 25% introductory discount now: it’s only $374.25! End of next week it will go up to the regular price of $499. 

Get Yoast SEO for TYPO3 Premium Now$499 $374.25 1 year free access to 24/7 support

Yoast SEO for TYPO3 Premium

Really want to create a TYPO3 website that your visitors and Google love? Then get this premium SEO extension for TYPO3. It’s features will make your live as a website owner so much easier. Preventing your visitors from landing on a 404 error page and creating and maintaining awesome content that ranks will be easy as pie!

Redirect manager

Every time you delete a page you should do something with the old URL. Otherwise, as there are still links to it, people will still land on it. Creating a redirect is the best way to go. Unfortunately creating redirects isn’t easy if you’re not a developer. That’s why this feature is so awesome. If you delete a page it will automatically ask you what to do with the old URL. Just enter a new URL which you like visitors to go to, and you’re done. It will also give you an overview of all the redirects you have on your site and will provide options to create different kinds of redirects. It will even warn you if you’re creating a redirect that doesn’t work.

Multiple focus keywords

Sometimes you’d like your page to rank for multiple keywords. That could be synonyms, or a related search term, for instance. In Yoast SEO for TYPO3 you can set one focus keyword and optimize your copy for it. With our premium version you can set up to 5 focus keywords and create copy that could rank for all these words.

Yoast SEO Insights

You’ve done your keyword research and know what to write about, so you start writing. When writing, you might find out it’s hard to keep your text focused though. This feature tells you what your actual writing is about! It shows you the prominent words of your text. That way, you can check if you’re still writing about what you’d like to be found for.

Orphaned content

If you want your page to appear in the search engines it needs backlinks. Links from other websites, but also internal links, from your own site. Content without any links, also known as orphaned content, won’t be found by the search engines. This functionality helps you retrieve this content on your site. It will give you a simple overview of all pages that lack links from your site. So go ahead and create those links!

Get Yoast SEO for TYPO3 Premium Now$499 $374.25 1 year free access to 24/7 support

Yoast SEO for TYPO3 2.1

In the mean time, we’ve also improved the free extension Yoast SEO for TYPO3. In Yoast SEO for TYPO3 version 2.1, you’ll be able to mark your best articles as cornerstone content. Cornerstone content are the pages on your site that contain the best and most complete information about a topic you’d like to rank for. Marking your most important pages as cornerstone content will have a couple of advantages.

Firstly it will allow you to get an overview of those articles. By creating a simple list for you, we’ll help you determine which articles you should start working on first. Secondly, to help you create those awesome pages, we’ve set the standards for readability and SEO higher. Our content analysis will be a little stricter, for example on the amount of words you should at least have on a page, to help you make the most of those articles.

So get the latest version and start creating content that ranks!

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Here at Yoast, we’re very good at SEO. We’re also very good at telling you why you should focus on SEO: because you want to get the most out of your site. But what if you’re a blogger writing about things you love without the intention of making money? You want to entertain people with your blog posts and hope they’ll come back next time to read about either your new travel adventures, an awesome DIY project you’ve tried or a personal update. The last thing you think you need is something like keyword research or Yoast SEO’s green bullets — especially since Yoast SEO always seems to hate your writing style.

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Introducing: Caroline’s Corner

Hi, my name is Caroline. I’m 29 years old and a technical product specialist at Yoast. In my spare time, I write and maintain a blog about life as a mother. In September 2014 I joined the company as a software developer and to be honest, I had no idea what the Yoast SEO plugin even did — but don’t tell Joost and Marieke I said that. Something with SEO, sure. But who needs that as a blogger? That’s for the big companies out there that are only in it for the money. O, how wrong I was.

In a new blog series on, I will take you by the hand and show you how to make the most of your blog. I hope you’ll join me on my travels! But first…

Six reasons why you should focus on SEO

A lot of bloggers start their blog as a hobby. They don’t focus on SEO at first and who could blame them? You want to write, not worry about Google and their unfathomable rules on how to rank. But as your blog starts attracting more visitors, you might think of the possibility of making a bit of money. You could use it to cover the cost of running the site, for instance. Or you want to keep it a hobby, but would love to get an even bigger audience. Just as there are a million reasons to start blogging, there are lots of reasons to focus on SEO — especially if you want to reach that next level as a blog. Not entirely convinced yet? Below you’ll find six reasons why you could focus on SEO with your blog.

Currently, you only reach readers via social media

Perhaps you have an active Instagram and Facebook account with a couple of hundred followers or more. You’re aiming for your readers to visit your blog through the links you share on your Facebook page. However, social media optimization is a thing too and to do this right, you need to focus on your SEO as well. SEO-optimized content can bring in new traffic from search engines.

You want to get to know your readers

Your readers are probably a fan of your blog and without them, you don’t have an audience. To cater them, you need to get to know them. By getting to know them, you know what drives them to your website, what gets them to stay on your blog and what makes them leave. You’ll be able to write more relevant blog posts and get more in touch with your blog.

To get and stay inspired

When you know how well you rank for certain keywords, you might find your most popular blog post is one you’ve written over a year ago. There might be a series hidden in that blog post that you can expand. You’ll never suffer from writer’s block again.

Additionally, if you want to grow, you need to know what keywords you need to focus on. If you want to become an expert on a certain topic, you’ll need to do keyword research.

You’re not depending on mouth-to-mouth

While off-page SEO is important to grow too, handing out your paper business cards and telling your family and friends you have a blog, probably won’t get you to exceed a thousand unique visitors a month, unless you have a very large family, of course. While my mom is my biggest fan and she tells everyone they should visit my blog, I doubt she actually gets more than ten people to visit my blog. While mouth-to-mouth will get you to grow just a tiny bit, it will not help you grow hugely. That’s another reason why you need SEO.

To acquire collaborations

There are several things that matter for companies that want to collaborate with you. From domain authority and page authority to the total amount of visitors and from your Facebook like count to the amount of Instagram followers. To make money blogging, your blog and each aspect is your business card, treat it as such.

Brings structure to your blog

Last but not least: to grow, your blog needs a clear structure. You wouldn’t be the first to end up with dozens of categories and hundreds of tags. Your users need a structured website to navigate and Google uses this as well. This means your website will become better by spending time on SEO.

Let’s get started!

Feeling inspired to start? Great! Feeling worried? I can imagine. Don’t worry, this is just the first post in a blog series where I’ll take you through the daunting jungle of SEO to show you (and myself) that it’s not a big bad world out there.

I would love to hear from you what you find hard about SEO for your blog so I can possibly touch that subject in a next blog post.

Read more: ‘Blogging: the ultimate guide’ »

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