The third release candidate for WordPress 4.9 is now available.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why set SEO goals at all?

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

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

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Not meeting your goals isn’t that bad…

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

Are all technical SEO aspects taken care of?

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

Read more: ‘Technical pointers’ »

Evaluate your keyword research

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

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

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

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

Evaluate your content

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

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

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

Content SEO training bundle Info

Update that site structure

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

The post Adapting your content SEO strategy appeared first on Yoast.

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

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Ariette emailed us a question on this subject:

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

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

The best way to use testimonials on your site

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

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

Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Let us help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.
(note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.)

Read more: ‘Testimonials: increase your visitor’s trust’ »

The post Ask Yoast: adding testimonials to your site appeared first on Yoast.

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

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

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The behavior tab

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

Behavior tab in Google Analytics

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

All pages grid in Google Analytics

In the columns, you see very cool stuff like

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

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

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

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

Purpose of a page and bounce rate

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

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

Content goals

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

Goals in Google Analytics

Creating a goal in Google Analytics

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

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

Content grouping

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

Content grouping in Google Analytics

Where to find content grouping in Google Analytics

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

Page performance in Google Analytics

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

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

The post Analytics basics: Which posts and pages perform best appeared first on Yoast.

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

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

All photos in this post by Henk-Jan Winkeldermaat »

1. Voice search is changing/has changed search

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

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

joost de valk at yoastcon

2. Mobile is everything

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

3. Copy – not just content – is king

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

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

4. Links are important

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

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

laura crimmons at yoastcon

5. Accessibility matters

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

6. User experience = SEO

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

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

7. It’s all about the user

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

karl gilis at yoastcon

8. Search intent

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

9. Site speed: your site is never fast enough

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

10. Artificial intelligence is shaking things up

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

marcus tandler at yoastcon

Bonus: WordPress’ Gutenberg editor

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

YoastCon helps to improve your SEO

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

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

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

The post YoastCon 2017: 10 takeaways to improve your SEO appeared first on Yoast.

Are you aware of the risks of overusing the passive voice in your writing? In the readability analysis in our Yoast SEO plugin, we recommend using the passive voice in a maximum of 10% of your sentences. But why? In this post, I will discuss a couple of key questions pertaining to the passive voice. I’ll start by explaining what it is. Then, I’ll explain why it is usually best to avoid using the passive voice in your writing. To cap it off, I’ll describe some situations in which using the passive voice makes perfect sense.

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

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What is the passive voice?

The passive voice is a grammatical construction. The easiest way to explain the passive voice is by contrasting it with the active voice. The active voice is the standard English sentence structure. The simplest possible sentences feature an actor (the subject), who does (the verb) something to either a person, animal or thing (the receiver).

Word Mom hugged me
Semantic function actor direct verb  receiver

In the passive voice, the actor and receiver are switched around. The receiver becomes the grammatical subject. Note that the meaning of the sentence stays exactly the same. The only difference is the word order.

Word I was hugged by mom
Semantic function receiver direct verb actor

In some passive sentences, you can omit the actor. ‘I was hugged’, for example, is a perfectly sensible passive sentence, although it provides less information.

Why should I avoid the passive voice?

Let’s cut to the chase: using the passive voice almost always makes your writing more distant and your message less clear. There are two main reasons for this.

Wordy

First of all, the passive voice is wordy. The passive alternative to an active sentence is simply longer. Consider these two sentences:

1. The passive voice almost always makes your message less clear.

2. Your message is almost always made less clear by using the passive voice.

You convey the same message by using the passive, but add three words. When overusing the passive voice in your text, this can really add up.

Sentence structure

In addition, the passive voice uses a sentence structure which requires more cognitive effort. Your reader will spend valuable working memory on making sense of the sentence. This decreases the likelihood of you getting your message across.

Let’s explore why the passive voice demands more effort. As I told you before, the basic active sentence structure is quite consistent and logical in English. The passive voice turns this all the way around. You first read what was affected. Then you read what happened to it. Then you learn how it was affected. You discover who or what was responsible only at the very end. This sequence differs from how we usually make sense of events. Moreover, we expect the actor to be in the subject position, so we are slightly disoriented. This means constructing an image of what happens takes a tiny moment longer. Again, these moments can easily add up if you overuse the passive voice.

In the example I gave, there is no added benefit to using the passive: the active sentence conveys the same information. Whenever you use passive voice, always consider whether a better, active alternative is available.

What are the exceptions?

Sometimes, using the passive voice can be the only logical way to word a sentence. Mostly, this occurs when the actor is unknown or irrelevant. Let’s look at an example I used in the first paragraph of this very text:

In the passive voice, the actor and receiver are switched around.

There is no identifiable actor here, nor would he or she be relevant. After all, we’re talking about a general action here, not a specific one. Any alternative active sentence would be less clear and concise than the passive sentence I wrote, so it’s the best option available.

Alternatively, you may want to use a passive sentence to focus on the receiver. This works when the object is more central to the topic than the actor:

J.F. Kennedy was killed in 1963 in Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald.

This means that we’re not here to tell you to avoid the passive voice like the plague. If it beats the active alternative, by all means: use it! Rules pertaining to style are seldom cast in stone, so don’t make the mistake of following the rule of thumb too strictly. Do what seems right to you and what makes your text flow nicely. A maximum of 10% generally suffices. You should be able to achieve numbers even lower than that by following our advice.

Conclusion

Using the passive voice is generally a bad idea. After writing your text, scan it for passive voice constructions. Always ask yourself: is a better, active alternative available? If there is, use it. If not, use the passive voice.

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

The post Why you should actively avoid the passive voice appeared first on Yoast.

The second release candidate for WordPress 4.9 is now available.

A release candidate (RC) means we think we’re done, but with millions of users and thousands of plugins and themes, it’s possible we’ve missed something. We hope to ship WordPress 4.9 on Tuesday, November 14 (just over one week from now), but we need your help to get there. If you haven’t tested 4.9 yet, now is the time!

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

We’ve made just over 20 changes since releasing RC 1 last week. For more details about what’s new in version 4.9, check out the Beta 1, Beta 2, Beta 3Beta 4, and RC1 blog posts. Specific areas to test in RC2:

  • Theme installation in the Customizer.
  • Scheduling changes for publishing in the Customizer.
  • Switching themes with live preview in the Customizer.

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

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

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

This week’s haiku is courtesy of @melchoyce:

We squashed all the bugs ?
But uh, if not, let us know
Also, test your stuff

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

Writing English can be hard, especially if it’s not your first language. But how important is it to use correct English? Does it even matter? In this post, I’ll explain why it’s so important to use correct language in your posts and articles. So: How’s your English?

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

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On a personal note

Most of the writers here at Yoast are Dutch, so our English is by no means flawless. We’ve all done courses to upgrade our writing skills, but most of us are not at native speaking level – yet.

As our company grows, so do the demands on our English skills. We have an awesome content team, but they’re just not native English. That’s why we’ve partnered with howsmyenglish.com, where Patrick and Fiona Barnes edit many of our articles and give feedback on our use of English. We’re learning a lot from them!

Why is language so important?

There are three reasons why the correct use of language is important:

1. People will understand your message better;

2. Google will understand your message better; and

3. Discussions will focus on content (and not on poor use of language).

1. People understand your message

People are less likely to understand the message you’re trying to convey if there are errors in your writing. Perhaps you’re not making ‘real’ mistakes, but you’re using words or composing sentences that just ‘look wrong’ to native speakers. That makes your content harder to read, which makes it more difficult for readers to understand what you’re trying to tell them in your article.

So, using correct language improves the readability of your text and means people will understand your writing much better.

2. Google understands your message

Good language is not in itself a ranking factor, however Google does read your content to work out what it’s about. So if your grammar is not entirely correct, Google will have a harder time figuring out your message and assessing the topic of your article.

If people have trouble understanding your text, Google will have difficulty as well. Therefore, good grammar will help Google grasp your topic more easily, eventually resulting in Google ranking your articles for the right keywords.

3. Discussions on your content, not your language skills

You want discussions to be about the content of your articles, not your use of language. If you’re making mistakes – typos, misspellings, grammar errors, whatever – trust us when we say that someone is sure to point it out in the comments! And these are not the sorts of comments you want.

You want in-depth discussions about the subject of your post, not about your grammar. Making sure your language is as flawless as possible will create space for the relevant discussions you want to have.

Ask for help to improve your language

Nobody learns to write in a foreign language overnight. Even after extensive practice and writing a Ph.D. in English, I still make lots of mistakes. The best tip I can give you to improve your written language skills is to ask for help from a native speaker of your chosen language. Working together with Pat and Fi from How’s my English is wonderful if you have a budget for it.

Asking for feedback from colleagues and friends can work as well, especially if they are native in the language you are writing in. This second pair of eyes will help you to improve those awkward formulations and to avoid misspellings and grammatical errors. Using an app like Hemingway could also be a big help! Ask for feedback and check the changes people make. That’ll help you to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

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

The post How’s your English? appeared first on Yoast.

Good day everyone! It’s the day after our SEO conference YoastCon and while we didn’t get much sleep last night, we’re still full of energy from the awesome day we – and hopefully every single visitor and our live stream audience – had. Here, we’re taking a peek at what happened yesterday. Somewhere next week, we’ll publish a complete overview of the conference.

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A look back

The second edition of YoastCon took place yesterday in De Vereeniging, a beautiful concert hall in the center of Nijmegen. Speakers like Joost de Valk, Dixon Jones, Markus Tandler, Laura Crimmons and Karl Gilis captivated the audience with in-depth SEO talks. The speakers all shared a wealth of knowledge about almost every part of SEO, from linkbuilding to SEO copywriting and from conversion to the awesome power of Search Console.

YoastCon visitors eagerly jotted all of this down on the special writing pad – with to-do list! – that they could find in their goodie bag. This way, visitors left the conference with a head – and to-do list – full of ideas and SEO knowledge to put into practice. In the various workshop sessions, participants learned to SEO-proof their websites, got a deep-dive into keyword research and learned how important accessibility is for the overall quality of a website.

Check out a few of the great tweets about YoastCon. Read the hashtag #yoastcon for all the comments on the conference. Lot’s of happy people out there!

Some photos

While our photographer Henk-Jan Winkeldermaat of Punkmedia is editing the conference photos, we couldn’t wait to share a couple of them with you. Find the complete photo album on Flickr.

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Next week

This is just a short look back at the conference. But don’t worry, a more thorough write-up of the talks will come next week. We’ll also try to get the videos – by courtesy of the fabulous Eyes & Ears team – ready as fast as possible, so you can watch or rewatch them.

We’ll be back!

We’re all very excited about the conference and delighted with how YoastCon turned out. We loved talking to all the great and smart people from all over the world. And since everyone had such a blast, YoastCon will be back for a third edition. Stay tuned for more!

One last thing to round off this post. Maybe you heard it through the grapevine, but, yes, Team Yoast performed an epic dance to conclude the conference, leaving lots of visitors speechless. We hope for the right reasons ;)

Thanks everyone, from the bottom of our hearts!

The post YoastCon 2017: The day after appeared first on Yoast.

As a site owner, you want to come across as an authoritative result, as well as stand out in the search results. Even if you’re already ranking nr. 1. Sitelinks can help you achieve that. These links appear under the main search result, highlighting subpages of a website. Sitelinks can push down the pages of your competitors on the results pages, and provide potential visitors more options to navigate to your site and find what they’re looking for. Of course, this could be beneficial to your traffic. You’ve probably seen sitelinks in the search result pages at some point, but how do you get Google to add them to your site? As it happens, getting sitelinks isn’t for just anyone. In this Ask Yoast, we’ll get into that.

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Sergiu Tere sent us this question:

I see that some sites have sitelinks, but not from Google AdWords. How do they do that?

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

Getting sitelinks

 Well, it’s very easy. Sitelinks are given to you. It’s not something that you can put in somewhere. Google will give you site links if it thinks you are very ‘authoritative’ for that query, so if you’re a very important result for that query. In that case, it will add site links from your site, based on how people browse your site and how they use your site.

So, it’s not something that you can change; it’s not something that you can opt in for, it’s not something that you can do specific SEO for. You just have to become very important for that specific query.
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: ‘Google’s sitelinks searchbox & Yoast’ »

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