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

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What is UX?

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

UX or usability?

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

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

Why is it important for SEO to improve UX?

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

How does Google know?

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

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

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

Holistic SEO

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

Where to start?

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

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

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

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

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

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WordPress 4.9.2 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.

An XSS vulnerability was discovered in the Flash fallback files in MediaElement, a library that is included with WordPress. Because the Flash files are no longer needed for most use cases, they have been removed from WordPress.

MediaElement has released a new version that contains a fix for the bug, and a WordPress plugin containing the fixed files is available in the plugin repository.

Thank you to the reporters of this issue for practicing responsible security disclosureEnguerran Gillier and Widiz.

21 other bugs were fixed in WordPress 4.9.2. Particularly of note were:

  • JavaScript errors that prevented saving posts in Firefox have been fixed.
  • The previous taxonomy-agnostic behavior of get_category_link() and category_description() was restored.
  • Switching themes will now attempt to restore previous widget assignments, even when there are no sidebars to map.

The Codex has more information about all of the issues fixed in 4.9.2, if you'd like to learn more.

Download WordPress 4.9.2 or venture over to Dashboard → Updates and click "Update Now." Sites that support automatic background updates are already beginning to update automatically.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to WordPress 4.9.2:

0x6f0, Aaron Jorbin, Andrea Fercia, Andrew Duthie, Andrew Ozz, Blobfolio, Boone Gorges, Caleb Burks, Carolina Nymark, chasewg, Chetan Prajapati, Dion Hulse, Hardik Amipara, ionvv, Jason Caldwell, Jeffrey Paul, Jeremy Felt, Joe McGill, johnschulz, Juhi Patel, Konstantin Obenland, Mark Jaquith, Nilambar Sharma, Peter Wilson, Rachel Baker, Rinku Y, Sergey Biryukov, and Weston Ruter.

Search engines love entities. Entities can be people, places, things, concepts, or ideas and they will often appear in the Knowledge Graph. Lots of search terms can be an entity, but specific search terms can also have different meanings and thus, be different entities. Take [Mars] for example; are you talking about the planet entity or the candy bar entity? The context you give these entities in your content determines how search engines see and file your content. Find out how to link entities to your content.

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Let’s talk semantics

Semantics is the search for meaning in words. In theory, you could write an article about Mars without ever mentioning it directly. People would understand it if you provide enough context in the form of commonly used terms and phrases. To illustrate this, we’ll take the keyword [Mars]. Mars is a so-called entity, and search engines use these to determine the semantics of a search.

If you search this term in Google, you’ll most likely get results about the planet Mars. But why? Why isn’t the Mars candy bar in the top listings? Or Mars the chocolate company? Or the discovery district MaRS in Toronto? Maybe the Japanese movie called Mars? Or one of the many Mars-related movies made over the years? This is because Google makes an educated guess using search intent and your search history. Also, it uses co-occurring synonyms, keywords, and phrases to determine which page is about one of these specific search variations and which ones to show.

Co-occurring terms and phrases

Co-occurring terms and phrases are those that are commonly used to describe an entity. These are the terms that are most likely to pop up in content about that entity. Content about the planet Mars will probably contain mentions of the following terms:

  • ‘red planet’
  • ‘northern hemisphere’
  • ’low atmospheric pressure’
  • ‘martian craters’
  • ’red-orange appearance’
  • ’terrestrial planet’
  • ’second-smallest planet in the Solar System’
  • etc.

Pages with Mars candy bar content might feature phrases like:

  • ‘chocolate candy bar’
  • ’nougat and caramel covered in milk chocolate’
  • ’limited-edition variants’
  • ’ingredients’
  • ‘nutritional information’
  • etc

While content about the 2016 Mars movie will probably mention its main protagonists Rei Kashino and Makio Kirishima.

All these words are co-occurring keywords and phrases. It’s a type of content that is semantically related to the main keyword, but that doesn’t contain the keyword itself. This might include synonyms but often expands on that because they clarify the knowledge of the term, instead of saying the same thing differently. Search engine spiders scan your content for these related terms to paint a picture about the nature of your page. This way, it can correctly index the page, ie. file under [planet Mars], not [Mars the candy bar].

Optimize for phrase-based indexing

Over the years, Google was awarded several patents that suggested the development of a phrase-based indexing system and systems using word co-occurence to improve the clustering of topics. This is information retrieval system uses phrases to index, retrieve, organize and describe content. By analyzing the context surrounding an entity – meaning all the phrases that are commonly connected to an entity – Google can truly understand what a piece of content is about. That might sound complex, but it is something you can optimize for. And you are probably already doing that – to a certain extent. First, do keyword research. After that, provide context in your articles.

When writing about an entity in your content, it makes a lot of sense to give search engines – and readers for that matter – as much context as possible. Use every meaningful sentence you can think of. This way, you can take away any doubt about the meaning of your content.

If your subject is the planet Mars, you need to take a look at the Knowledge Graph in Google. Scour Wikipedia. Find out what kind of common terms and phrases co-occur in search results and incorporate them into your content so you can give your term the right context. Also, run a search and open the sites of competitors that rank high for your search terms. What are they writing about and how do they describe the entity? What terms and phrases can you use in your content? By doing this, you’ll find out that there will be much overlap with what you had in mind, but there will be many new – and maybe better – nuggets for you to use.

One more thing: no LSI keywords

Recently, the term LSI keywords started to pop up again as a magical way to play into one of Google’s ranking factors. They are not. Yes, you have to provide search engines context. No, latent semantic indexing has nothing to do with it. There’s no evidence whatsoever that search engines have ever used latent semantic indexing to determine rankings. LSI was a document analysis patent from the 90’s that only seemed to work on a limited set of documents, and it has no place in SEO.

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

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SEO is a way to get more traffic to your website. By ranking high in Google, you attract more people to your site. Eventually, your goal probably is to sell your stuff, or to attract more regular visitors. A nice tactic to get more traffic to your site is optimizing your content for words people use. However, to really convince people to buy your stuff, subscribe to your newsletter or to come back to your website another time, you should take into account search intent as well. Here, I will tell you what search intent is and how to optimize your articles for search intent.

What is search intent?

Search intent has to do with the reason why people conduct a specific search. Why are they searching? Are they searching because they have a question and want an answer to that question? Are they searching for a specific website? Or, are they searching because they want to buy something?

Over the years, Google has become more and more able to determine the search intent of people. And Google wants to rank pages highest that fit the search term as well as the search intent of a specific search query. That’s why it’s essential to make sure your post or page fits the search intent of your audience. 

Learn how to write awesome and SEO friendly articles in our SEO Copywriting training »

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4 types of search intent

There are a few distinct types of search intent:

Informational intent

First, there is informational intent. Lots of searches on the internet are of people looking for information. Information about the weather, information about educating children, information about SEO. In this case people have a specific question or want to know more about a certain topic.

Navigational intent

The second type of search intent is called navigational intent. People with this intent try to get to a specific website. People who search for Facebook are usually on their way to the Facebook website.

Ranking high on a navigational term is only beneficial for your organic traffic if your site is the site people are looking for. A few years ago, Yoast had a Google Analytics plugin and we ranked pretty well for the term Google Analytics. It didn’t drive any traffic to our site though. People searching for Google Analytics were looking for the Google Analytics website and were hardly ever interested in our plugin.

Transactional intent

The third type of search intent is the transactional intent. Lots of people buy stuff on the internet and browse the web to find the best purchase. People who have the intention to buy are searching with a transactional intent.

Commercial investigation

Some people have the intention to buy in the (near) future, but use the web to do their research. What washing machine would be best? Which SEO plugin is the most helpful? These people also have a transactional intent, but will need some more time and convincing. These types of search intents are usually called commercial investigating intents.

Keyword intent

The words people use in their search queries will give information about their user intent. If people use words as buy, deal, discount, they are definitely prone to buy something. Also, if people are searching for specific products, they probably want to buy it. If people are searching and use words like information, how to, best way to, you’ll know they’ll have an informational search intent.

How to optimize your content for search intent

You want to make sure that a landing page fits the search intent of your audience. If people search for information, you don’t want to show them a product page. At least, not immediately. You’d probably scare them away. If people want to buy your product, do not bore them with long articles. Lead them to your shop.

Optimizing your product pages for more commercial driven keywords is a good idea. If you sell dog vitamins, you could for instance optimize a product page for [buy dog vitamins]. Perhaps you also have an article about administering vitamins. You could for example optimize that article for the search term [how to give vitamins do my dog].

It can be rather hard to determine the search intent of a query. And, perhaps different users will have a (slightly) different user intent, but still land on the same page. If you want to know more about the search intent of your audience, the best way is to ask them. You could make a small survey, containing questions about what people were searching for and make that survey pop up if people enter your website. That’ll probably give more insights in the search intent of your audience.

Conclusion

It’s crucial to ensure that the content you’re writing fits both the terms people are searching for, as well as the search intent of your audience. Make sure your post or page is informational, if people are searching for information. But lead people to your sales pages if they are prone to buying one of your products.

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

 

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Whenever you make some big changes to your website, for instance to your brand name, you’re probably eager for these changes to show in the search results. Unfortunately, it can take a while for Google to crawl your site again and until then, it will show the indexed version of your site in the results, without the changes. Of course, when people click to your site they see’ll the changes, but you want them to be visible in the results pages too.

So, is there anything you can do to help or speed up this process? And is there anything else to bear in mind when making these changes? Let’s get into that in this Ask Yoast!

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Jolene Moody emailed us her question on this topic:

“I recently changed the name of my business. We have changed it in the WordPress dashboard too. But I didn’t see the change yet in the search results. How long does it take Google to show this change?”

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

Helping Google pick up changes on your site

“It depends on how often Google visits your site and you probably don’t know how often that is. Now, what you can do is go to Google search console and go to ‘Fetch & render’ and then fetch and render your homepage. Then, after it’s done, there’s an option to submit to index. At that point, Google will have already crawled your site and will use that data to show your site in the index, so when people search for your brand, at least your homepage will have the proper brand name.

But it’s very important, if you change the name of your business and people are still searching for the old name of your business, that you also have the old name of your business on your site somewhere. That way people can still find you for that, when they don’t know that you’ve renamed your business. 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: ‘SEO Basics: What is Googlebot?’ »

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Everybody knows the colored bullets in Yoast SEO. There are two parts to the traffic light system, namely the content analysis and the readability analysis. The first checks whether your post is SEO-proof, while the latter checks if it is readable for a general audience. Of course, these two are interconnected as readable content is incredibly important if you want your site to succeed. Here, I’ll show you how to use the readability analysis.

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What does the readability analysis in Yoast SEO do?

The readability analysis uses an algorithm to determine how readable your post is. We’ve carefully crafted this algorithm to make it as valuable as possible without being too strict. It features several checks that’ll give you advice when you write your post. In other words, by following the advice, you can make your text easier to read and understand.

It has been said that Yoast SEO suggests to dumb down your writing. Of course, that’s not the case. We merely want to help people write easy to understand content. I always come back to this quote by content designer Sarah Richards about making your content as readable for humans as possible:

“You’re not dumbing down, you’re opening up.”

By simplifying content, you’re automatically growing your audience as more people grasp the message of your content. Also, you’re not writing your content just for people anymore. Even virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri have to be able to work with it as well. And even Google increasingly uses well-written pieces of content for rich results like featured snippets.

That being said, while the advice in the readability section is not the be-all and end-all advice, it does give you important clues to the perceived difficulty of your text. It is crucial to write with readability in mind, as we think readability ranks!

Current readability checks

At the moment, Yoast SEO uses the following checks:

  • Transition words: Do you use transition words like ‘most importantly’, ‘because’, ‘therefore’, or ‘besides that’ to tie your text together? Using these words improves the flow of your article as they provide hints to the reader about what is coming next.
  • Sentence beginnings: Do any of your consecutive sentences start with the same word? This would cause repetition for your reader, and that might be annoying. Always mix up your sentences to keep your article readable and free of obstacles, unless you want to prove something or use it as a writing style, of course.
  • Flesch reading ease: This world-famous test analyzes texts and grades them on a scale from 1-100. The lower the score, the more difficult to read the text is. Texts with a very high Flesch reading ease score (about 100) are very easy to read. They have short sentences and no words of more than two syllables. Usually, a reading ease score of 60-70 is believed to be acceptable/normal for web copy.
  • Paragraph length: Some people tend to use extremely long paragraphs. Doing so makes your text look daunting as it becomes just one big blob of text. Break it up, use shorter paragraphs and insert subheadings.
  • Sentence length: Sentence length is one of the core issues that makes a text hard to read. If your sentences are too long – over 20 words – people might lose track of your point. Often, readers have to jump back a few words to find out what you mean. This very tiring and inefficient. Try to keep the number of words in a sentence in check. Shorten your sentences. Aim for easy understanding, not a complex literary masterpiece.
  • Passive voice: Using a lot of passive voice in your text makes it appear distant, and your message will be less clear. Your sentences become wordy and hard to grasp because you have to work harder understand the sentence structure. Whenever you use the passive voice, always consider whether a better, active alternative is available.

Supported languages

The readability analysis is available in several languages, see the table below. We’re continually working on adding new languages. As we speak, French is receiving support for passive voice.

English German Dutch French Spanish Italian
Transition words ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Flesch reading ease ✅ ✅ ✅
Passive voice ✅ ✅
Sentence beginnings ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Sentence length1 ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Function words (for Internal linking and insights) ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅

readability analysis yoast seo

How to use the readability analysis in Yoast SEO

It’s very easy to use the readability analysis in Yoast SEO to improve your content. Personally, I just start writing the article I want to write. I keep the audience I’m writing for in the back of my head and try to use the words they use daily. Although the readability score is calculated in real time, I won’t look at the score during the writing process. Only after (the draft of) my article is finished, I’ll check the readability score and see if I have to fix anything. If I get an orange or red bullet, I can click on the eye icon to jump to the spot where improvements can be made. Easy peasy!

Everyone has their own writing and editing process, and my way isn’t necessarily how you should use it. For instance, you might be targeting a Flesch level of 80. If so, you have to find out what works gradually. When using the readability tool for a while, you’ll notice that you’ll automatically get a feel for the text level you are aiming for. Practice makes perfect!

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Should all bullets be green?

This is a question we often get and no, not every bullet has to be green. What you should aim for, though, is a green bullet overall – the one in the tab that reads Readability. Having an orange bullet like in the screenshot above is ok. It’s not that your article won’t be able to rank if it doesn’t pass all of the tests. This is merely an indication, not a necessity.

We want everyone to be able to read and understand content, but we also know that there are industries where the language used is totally different from what ordinary people would use. That’s perfectly fine. Find out what works in your case. Need help? Please read our ultimate guide to SEO copywriting.

Try it out!

The readability and content analyses of Yoast SEO help you to write killer, SEO-proof articles that are easy to grasp for anyone. In doing so, you make sure that every piece of content you write is ready to start ranking in search engines while staying enjoyable for readers. Don’t have Yoast SEO yet or want to take advantage of the awesome additional features our Premium plugin offers? What are you waiting for?

Read more: ‘How to use the content & SEO analysis of Yoast SEO’ »

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We’re all ready for a new year of increasing sales, lifting engagement and giving our website the best effort possible. It only seems right to give you a three-step rocket of SEO quick wins, to kick-start your website for 2018. In this post, I will show you three things you can do right now to improve your website for your visitors, and for Google in the process. Let’s dive right in with number one.

#1 Optimize speed

No matter if you want to improve your mobile website or your desktop website, speed is something you want to monitor and improve all the time. These are fast times, and speed is definitely what you want to optimize for.

In a simple breakdown of speed optimization, we have images, browser caching, and script optimization. Google PageSpeed will tell you that, Pingdom will tell you that. Gzip Compression is the fourth one, but that should be enabled by default in my book. More on compression here. Let’s look at the other three.

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File size optimization

Optimizing your file size is an important part of image SEO, so let’s start there. There are a few ways to approach this:

  • Optimize the image file size in Photoshop (or any other image edit program you use). Usually, just exporting the image in a lower quality will already do the trick. I usually check whether reducing the quality to around 80% of the original still gives me a crisp image.
  • Download an application like ImageOptim or any of these applications and further optimize your file size before uploading.
  • Last but not least, make sure that the image dimensions of the image you use, fit the image ‘space’ that you reserved for it on the webpage. Don’t display a 1200×400 pixels photo as a 300×100 pixels image by adding CSS or whatever.

Browser caching

Browser caching is the way your browser stores files of a website, for instance the logo you see at the top of our website, so it doesn’t have to load them from the internet every time you visit another page of our website. This obviously saves time. There are many ways to go about this, but the easiest is probably (if you are using a WordPress site) using a plugin. Most speed optimization plugins support this browser caching and most set them right time for you. Among some of my favorite speed plugins are WP SuperCache, which is free, and WP Rocket, which is a premium plugin. For more on browser caching, visit this page.

Optimize script handling

You can load a gazillion JavaScript (JS) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) files to enhance your website, but in the end all these extra files just slow your website down. Please focus on these steps to optimize your script handling:

  1. Are you sure you need that enhancement? JS and CSS usually target design and user experience. In some cases, you just don’t need that enhancement. Like JS and CSS loaded for sliders, for instance. There are alternatives to sliders that work better and don’t require extra files.
  2. Is there a way to reduce the file size of these scripts / styles? We call this process ‘minifying’. We have an Ask Yoast about it. Google has some great pointers on how to approach this. Simple scripts and handy websites can help you minify your files, for instance by stripping comments. Most platforms have plugins or extensions that help with this. For instance, Magento has the Fooman Speedster (free and paid) for that.
  3. Is it possible to combine a number of these scripts into one file? That way, there only has to be one call to the server to retrieve all the scripts. Again, there are plugins for that, but if you have small pieces of JS, you might as well combine these yourself. Of course, the advent of HTTP/2 changes some of these optimization practices. Test this!

#2 Mobile optimization

It’s tempting to copy our ultimate guide to mobile SEO here, but let’s focus on the quick wins. You need to focus on mobile SEO these days, to be ready for Google’s mobile-first index. Google will start to determine rankings based on the quality of the mobile version of a site, only taking your desktop site into account after that. So, let’s get that mobile version up and running, right?

Become a technical SEO expert with our Technical SEO 1 training! »

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Task-based design

Open your mobile website. Imagine you are a fresh, new user of your website. What would that person want to do here and is your site ready for that? Focus on a task-based design. If we are on a mobile website, we might need opening hours or an address. Just the other day, I purchased tickets for the Nederlands Openluchtmuseum on my mobile phone. Saved a buck and didn’t have to get in line for tickets. I did this, walking from my car to the entrance. One needs to be able to do these basic tasks without any problem. Ask yourself what the four, perhaps five main goals of a visitor on your website are and make sure these can be done on your mobile website.

Performance-based design

Are you loading any huge images on your site? Do people have to scroll for ages to read the good stuff you offer them? On a mobile website, we want to get in and get out as fast as possible – unless it’s, for instance, a news website. Loading time is a factor on a mobile site, especially with mobile connections usually being slower than most desktop connections. Make sure your design and content don’t depend on large images too much. And yes, there are exceptions to that rule. If I visit a photographer’s website, I know beforehand that I am in for longer loading times. I want crisp images and that is the price I pay. Optimize to an acceptable level for your target audience.

Write great content

This goes for mobile and desktop versions of your site: they need great content. A quick win for mobile content is to add a to-the-point first paragraph. If you tell your visitor what’s on your page, they can decide for themselves if they want to scroll down or not. It helps user experience to do this.

And of course, you’ll need to write awesome content after that paragraph as well. You still need to do keyword research, set up a great site structure and decide on cornerstone content. But you can imagine that to be a slightly lengthier process, and we’re talking quick wins here :)

#3 Serve your content in the right format

There are so many ways to serve your content to Google, Facebook and your visitors. Your task for 2018 is definitely to investigate which formats you should invest in. Some take a bit more time to implement; others can be added to your website by the push of a button, like with a plugin. Let’s go over a few important ones.

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Better social sharing: Open Graph

Forget about Twitter Cards for now, as Twitter has a fallback to Open Graph. So add Open Graph to your website if you haven’t done this already. It’s like a social summary of your website. For our homepage, it reads among other things:

<meta property="og:title" content="SEO for everyone • Yoast" />
<meta property="og:description" content="Yoast helps you with your website optimization, whether it be through our widely used SEO software or our online SEO courses: we're here to help." />
<meta property="og:url" content="https://yoast.com/" />
<meta property="og:site_name" content="Yoast" />

There’s a page / site title and summary plus link, which tells Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter all they need to know to create a great post on your visitor’s timeline. You can add an og:image to create a richer experience. Be sure to add this. Again, use a plugin like Yoast SEO for TYPO3 to automate the process (and add these Twitter Cards along with Open Graph in no time).

Quick reads on other platforms: AMP

Facebook links to your AMP article if possible. Ever found yourself reading an article in Google? Might be AMP as well. Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP, aim to strip your website to the bare necessities to deliver your reader the best mobile experience they can get. If they want to read your article, AMP will give ’em just your article in a basic design. If you want to check a certain product, AMP will strip the store to deliver a focused design. A bad thing? I think not. Every way you can help your visitor get a better experience, increases the chance of them coming back to your content / site. It might increase sales, because it’s so focused. Go read up on AMP and get your site ready. Again: plugins.

Tell Google what your page is about: Schema.org

I will end this list of quick SEO wins with something we have been telling you about quite often in the past year: add schema.org to your website. Structured data, like Open Graph and schema, create a convenient summary of your website for every other site that wants to use your content. Schema.org data is one of the main types of structured data. JSON-LD gives us a convenient way of adding it to our website. Our Local SEO plugin adds the right schema.org so that Google can add your company to Google Maps as well, for instance. Add schema.org data to your website and see your company in the knowledge graph as well.

Serving your content in the right format is essential to deliver it to other ‘places’ on the website. Be sure to use it. And if you are not sure what structured data you should use to optimize your pages, be sure to enroll in our Structured Data Training. How’s that for a New Year’s resolution? Good luck optimizing!

Read more: ‘Search and SEO in 2018’ »

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Welcome, 2018! And welcome to our first release of 2018: Yoast SEO 6.1. This is the first in a long line of new versions to be released in this new year. Yoast SEO 6.1 is mainly a bug fix release that makes sure that your favorite plugin runs like butter. Find out what’s new!

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Bye 2017. Hello 2018

Over the course of 2017, we significantly enhanced and improved our SEO plugins. Yoast SEO, in particular, received great new features, including several tools that help you build a solid site structure. You can read more on that in our looking back on 2017 post.

2018 is filled with great plans, so we’re very much looking forward to the new year. We can’t say much yet, but there is one thing that is on everyone’s mind: Gutenberg. Rest assured, we’re going to make an excellent integration with Yoast SEO. What’s more, we’re actively helping to improve Gutenberg itself. Stay tuned!

Enhancements and bug fixes

In building software, there’s always something to improve. Sometimes we spot issues while using our plugins, but most of the time regular people like yourself will find something to improve. We’re thrilled with feedback as it gives us a chance to improve things that bother people.

In Yoast SEO 6.1, the community contributions were from Peeter Marvet and Raitis Sevelis. Peeter suggested adding support for locales without territory (examples: et, fi) and support for 3-letter language codes (example: rhg). Thanks to Raitis from Visual Composer, we’ve fixed a JavaScript compatibility issue by prefixing the webpack jsonP function with yoast. These are just some of the bug fixes in Yoast SEO 6.1. Find out what else we fixed in the changelog.

Translating Yoast SEO

One of the main selling points of Yoast SEO is its fully localized interface. Almost every part of it is translatable. Our community happily lends a hand to translate the plugin into a huge number of languages. Yoast SEO is currently available in 34 locales. In Yoast SEO 6.1, we’ve added even more translatable strings so people can translate every nook and cranny of the plugin. Want to help translate? Go to Translate WordPress and join in!

Update to Yoast SEO 6.1!

This first release of 2018 fixes several bugs and introduces a couple of enhancements that make Yoast SEO easier to use. We’re looking forward to what the rest of 2018 will bring and hope you’ll join us on our adventure. Remember, you can shape the future of Yoast SEO as well. Join our GitHub community and suggest feature enhancements or submit bugs. Thanks a bunch!

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

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To work properly, websites contain multiple CSS and JavaScript files. These must be fetched from the server by the visitors’ computer, to fully load a webpage. In the old standard, HTTP/1, only one request at a time could be handled, so minifying and concatenating multiple files was a good idea. Otherwise, visitors would experience a slow website because of too many requests. The new standard, HTTP/2, allows for much easier communication between a visitor and the server.

So, does this increasing move to HTTP/2 mean that it’s no longer necessary to minify and concatenate your CSS and JS files? After all, site speed is still crucial for SEO. Let’s get into that in this Ask Yoast!

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Technical SEO 1 training Info

Danny O’Neill emailed us his question:

‘With the increasing move to HTTP/2 should we still minify and concatenate our CSS and JS files?’

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

Is it still necessary to minify and concatenate your CSS and JS files?

“In the old standard, HTTP/1, the browser could only open so many files at the same time on your server and thus it was smart to combine those files into larger concatenated files. In HTTP/2 that’s not needed anymore, so no, you don’t necessarily have to do that.

What you need to look at is which portion of your traffic already supports HTTP/2. If that’s the large majority then you can stop doing that altogether. 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: ‘Performance optimization in an HTTP/2 world’ »

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It can be a great strategy to focus on long tail keywords. But don’t go overboard there. Trying to rank for very long keyphrases usually makes your text a terrible read. Why is that? And what should be your strategy for those long keywords? Let me tell you all about long focus keywords in this post!

Focus keywords and  focus keyphrases

If you’re using our Yoast SEO plugin to optimize your posts and pages, you’re probably used to filling out your focus keyword. That’s the word you want that specific post to be found for. A focus keyword hardly ever is a single word though. It usually consists of a few words: it probably should be called a keyphrase.

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SEO copywriting training Info

If you want your blog post to rank for the term [longtail keywords], you should optimize your post for that term. If you want it to be found for the term [keyword research tools], you’ll optimize for that term. Choosing what terms you want to be found for is hard, and you’ll need to do some proper keyword research to come up with those terms.

Read more: ‘How to start with keyword research’ »

Why long keyphrases?

Using long keyphrases can be a great strategy. The longer the keyword you’re optimizing for, the fewer competitors you’ll have. Focusing on a lot of long tail (specific) keywords could generate lots of traffic to your website. Combining such a strategy with cornerstone content and a great internal linking structure is a very smart SEO strategy. Nevertheless, if key phrases become too long, the readability of your text will suffer.

Keep reading: ‘How to incorporate cornerstone content’ »

Readability and long keyphrases

Optimizing your text for a very long focus keyword will jeopardize the readability of your text. I would strongly advise against the use of very long focus keywords: optimizing for more than 6 words is incredibly hard. Optimizing your text for a keyphrase like [keyword research tools that are easy to use] is very hard. If you want to use that exact phrase multiple times in your text, you’ll need to make an effort. Furthermore, your text can easily become rather awkward, and seem overoptimized if you use such a phrase too often.

Google and long keyphrases

Google is very capable of recognizing longer keyphrases, even if the words are not in the exact same order. If you Google for [keyword research tools that are easy to use] you’ll get these kinds of results:

Google highlights words in the search query, and recognizes the words in the query, even though they’re not in that exact order. In almost all cases, Google can do that. 

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Use multiple focus keywords for those long key phrases

If you want to optimize for long key phrases, you should use the multiple focus keyword functionality in Yoast SEO premium. For example, if you want to rank for the keyphrase [keyword research tools that are easy to use], I would advise you to optimize your post for [keyword research tools] and for [easy to use]. If you optimize your posts this way, you make sure you’re optimizing for all the specifics of your long tail focus keyword.

The multiple keyword functionality of Yoast SEO Premium enables you to focus on multiple aspects of a long tail keyword. The readability of your text will not suffer, and you’ll still make sure you cover all the aspects of a long search term in your writing. Of course, in the ideal situation, Yoast SEO would recognize the terms in the same way Google does. That’s still work in progress though.

Read on: ‘Keyword Research: the ultimate guide’ »

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