It’s Monday morning and you open up your Google Analytics stats. Then there it is, something you don’t wish to see at the beginning of the week: a sudden drop in traffic. And not just a small decline in traffic, no this is a significant drop. Panic strikes, time for action! First, take a couple of deep breaths and grab a piece of (digital) paper and write down the things you should check. This post will help you with trying to find what caused that drop.

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1. Look at ‘the drop’ in Google Analytics

After you’ve taken your deep breath, check how ‘bad’ the traffic drop is. Sometimes a drop can look sharp because you’ve set the wrong date range. For example, you’ve included today and the day isn’t over. Or you’re looking at an hourly report.

Hourly report in Google Analytics

It’s also possible that you’ve included a weekend in your date range.

Weekend date range in Google Analytics

What I’m trying to illustrate is that you can get skewed graphs because of the date range you’ve chosen. No website has a consistent amount of traffic; it goes up and down. It’s key that you put the drop into perspective. Take a broader date range that you can divide by seven, or compare date ranges.

One of the things worth exploring is to compare the date range with last years date range. Did you have a similar drop in % last year? Then it might be that you have an off-season around the same time each year.

Compare dates in Google Analytics

Is the amount of traffic recovering? Then there might’ve been a temporarily issue with your site. Still worth exploring, but less frightening than an actual drop.

2. Check with IT

If the drop is massive and quite unnatural, my first instinct would be that a technical issue has occurred. Someone from IT can tell you if something happened to the website. Perhaps the site experienced downtime, or they’ve used a new template or did a migration. Check if there’s been a change that could’ve influenced the Google Analytics tracking code.

Use Chrome extensions like Google Tag Assistant, Ghostery and/or Google Analytics Debugger to check whether there’s nothing wrong with the tracking code. And don’t forget to look at your Google Search Console stats, do you see a lot of crawl errors or a drop in the number of indexed pages? And check the search analytics stats while you’re there.

3. Zoom in on your traffic sources

You’ve established that there is a significant traffic drop and it’s not caused by a technical error or an unlucky chosen date range, it’s time to look further. You need to check if you’re getting less traffic from one or more of your traffic sources. The acquisition tab in Google Analytics gives more insight into what drives people to your website.

Drop in traffic source in Google Analytics

First, have a look at the Channels you’ve got and plot rows of each channel, you can plot six channels at a time:

Plot rows in Google Analytics

It’ll show you a specified graph with a graph line for each channel you’ve plotted. That way you can identify which channel caused the drop. Once identified, you can specify even further by clicking on the Channel or by narrowing down the Source and Medium of that Channel in the Source/Medium tab.

If you see a decline in organic traffic, you might have an SEO issue on your hands, like a Google Penalty. If so, sprint to your Google Search Console account to check if you’ve got a message from Google. Also, if you see less traffic coming from social media channels, check whether you’re still active on these channels. A decline in Direct traffic could indicate things like a new competitor showing up, or some pages don’t work anymore.

4. Analyze the audience tab

If the traffic sources aren’t giving you the answer you’re searching for, it’s time to look at your audience tab.

Audience Overview in Google Analytics

New vs. returning

Starting with the New vs. returning, you can find this under the Behavior item in Google Analytics. When you’re seeing a decline in new visitors, you need to work on your visibility. Invest more in SEO, social media and content SEO to drive more new visitors to your site.

Seeing fewer visitors return to your site? Take a firm look at your site’s health. Do you have a proper site structure and is it user-friendly? Are you providing the best user experience? Do you meet your visitor’s expectations? Do your pages work and is your site fast enough?

Country

Don’t forget there can be causes of a traffic drop in which you don’t have control. Like for example, the holidays, hurricanes, power outages, unstable political climate and so on. By looking at countries, you can identify if a specific country has a significant drop in traffic. Then you can check the news and find out if something has happened in that country. You can also do this check on a regional level or a city level.

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Conclusion

When you identified there’s a significant drop in traffic in your Google Analytics, follow these steps to identify what might’ve caused it. If it’s not a technical issue, you can’t see a drop from one of your traffic sources and your audience stayed pretty much the same; then it’s time to ask around. The cause won’t be that obvious, so you need to get a full view of everything that happened on your site and in your marketing efforts. That’s probably where the answer lies. Good luck!

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

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You might have noticed: Google has made search results snippets longer. In the past it showed up to ~160 characters, now it can be much, much longer. We’re currently researching what this means for site owners. We’ve also changed the Yoast SEO recommendations for meta description length in expectation of the results of that research. In this article, I’ll go over what this change means for you and for us.

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TL;DR: Snippets can now be up to 320 characters or even longer in some rare cases. We’re researching new best practices. In the meantime, Yoast SEO’s green bullets will work differently. As of today, Yoast SEO will only give you an orange bullet if your meta description length exceeds 320 characters.

What changed in the search results?

Search result snippets are now much, much longer. This change came pretty much out of the blue, but it’s undeniable, a search for [what is a meta description] looks like this now:

Google search results for [meta description]

As you can see the featured snippet is exactly the same as the “normal” snippet for the blog post is now. The post has a meta description, which is much shorter, but Google grabs a “random” paragraph from the page and shows that instead.

Our hypothesis on a new snippet reality

Of course, this snippet isn’t “random” at all. This paragraph had explicitly been optimized for ranking in that featured snippet. In fact, it was optimized for that particular query and some very similar ones. Almost all the pages we’ve optimized for featured snippets now have those featured snippets showing as snippets in the normal search results too.

Our hypothesis is simple: Google grabs the “core paragraph” for a particular search query within an article. It then displays that paragraph as the snippet. Not entirely to our surprise, this would strengthen all our efforts on readability and better writing even more. We’ve been saying for a while: readability ranks.

The question is: can you still get your meta descriptions to show up? Our thinking here is that you probably can do that quite reliably if the meta description contains the searched-for keyword. Of course, your meta description length should also fit within Google’s new boundaries. But it seemed in preliminary searches, as though Google would favor slightly more keyword dense paragraphs from within the copy over a meta description which contained the keyword only once.

Another hypothesis we want to test in our research is whether deleting the meta description leads to better snippets.

The impact of this change

With longer snippets, you would expect the overall CTR of search results to drop slightly. People might find their answer in the search results; they might not need to click onward. So far we’ve not seen our own CTR go down, but we will monitor this closely for multiple sites.

Whether a CTR that goes down is bad for you depends on your key goals. For us, if people find an answer to their query in the search results, but associate it with the brand Yoast, we’re good. The branding value, in the long run, exceeds the possibility of you converting to a customer on the click. If your company relies on ad revenue though, you would probably look at this with a completely different perspective.

Our research

Here at Yoast, we feel a profound responsibility to give you the best feedback we can on your writing. And that includes feedback on your meta descriptions. Of course, this feedback has to be fact-based, which is why we are researching this change in-depth. We are currently researching with four equally sized groups of posts:

  1. A group of posts that will get a longer meta description, in which we’ll use the keyword only once.
  2. A set of posts that will get a longer meta description. We’ll use the keyword multiple times, evenly distributed across the meta description.
  3. A group of posts for which we’ll delete the meta description completely.
  4. Posts that will keep their old, handcrafted, shorter, meta description and will act as our control group.

Our research team will analyze the results of this research. After this we’ll probably do another test, with more sites, to try and corroborate our findings. At the same time, we are of course keeping up with posts by other SEO companies on the topic.

Changes to Yoast SEO

While we will have to determine new best practices, we know we have to change things as well. Our character limit for the meta description was just plain wrong. Today’s release of Yoast SEO fixes that and puts it at 320 characters. As our research continues, we might make further changes to our advice about meta descriptions.

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

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The end of the year is coming up fast. Today is the day we’re releasing the last update of Yoast SEO in 2017. It’s been a wild ride this year and we’re already working on big plans for 2018. But first, Yoast SEO 6.0. And yes, we’ve heard you loud and clear; we’ve extended the meta description length to 320 characters.

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320 character meta descriptions are here

These past few weeks there has been a lot of talk about Google’s decision to change the default meta description length to upto 320 characters. We’ve been testing how Google uses this, and we’ve been talking to Google representatives to make sure that we’re giving you the right options. With today’s release of Yoast SEO 6.0 (including the TYPO3 version, Magento 2 will follow soon), we’ve changed the meta description length from 156 to 320 characters. It doesn’t often happen that we need to change a feature in Yoast SEO following a change by Google.

Please read Joost’s post on impact of the new snippet length on SEO in general and Yoast SEO in particular.

Don’t panic

Now, having double the characters doesn’t mean you should go back to your site and change all the meta descriptions on all of your pages and posts. No, that would take ages if you have many posts and in case you would  – and you should – handwrite them all. Your rankings will not drop if you keep your meta descriptions the same. It is, however, a good opportunity to revisit them to make sure your site stands out in search results. While we’re still actively determining new best practices, there’s no harm in experimenting with this new meta description length.

Pick a couple of posts and pages first. Check if Google picks up your newly written meta descriptions. Do your own testing before you go all in and change everything. These longer meta descriptions give you enough room to show people what you’ve got, without giving away everything your article contains, of course. You still want people to click your search result, if that’s your goal.

Keep in mind that, most of the time, Google will lift a custom meta description from your site. There is not much you can do about it other than writing killer key paragraphs about your focus keyword in your content and try to get Google to use one of those. As I said, we’re monitoring what this change means and will report back with more solid data and advice in a couple of weeks.

wordpress seo expanded meta description

An example of an expanded meta description edited by Yoast SEO. Shows up on Google.nl, but not in other regionals. Your results may vary.

Other enhancements

We’ve made several other enhancements in Yoast SEO 6.0, including some community contributions. For instance, we’ve added support for custom page titles and meta descriptions on WooCommerce shop pages as suggested by Caleb Burks. Now, you can add custom metadata to your WooCommerce shop.

Raaj Trambadia suggested we should add a link to the Google Knowledge Graph article on Yoast.com, so we did. Finally, the focus keyword box in the Yoast SEO meta box features a link to a new article by Marieke. In it, she explains why it might be a bad idea to use the same focus keyword more than once.

Yoast SEO 6.0: The last release of the year

This makes Yoast SEO the final release of 2017. What a great year it’s been. Next week, we’ll publish several posts in which we look back upon the year. Of course, Yoast SEO gets its own post. Be sure to read it! Thanks for your support and we hope to see you again in 2018. Happy holidays!

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

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When my colleagues asked me to name two of my favorite products for my birthday sale, I didn’t hesitate. Yes, our flagship product Yoast SEO is awesome, but I’ve always had a thing for small businesses and helping them optimize for Google. Two of our products that every small business owner should purchase, in my book, are our Local SEO plugin and our Technical SEO training. Let me explain why I think these two products should be in the online toolkit of every small business owner.

Local SEO plugin

Our Local SEO plugin is a necessity for every business owner that relies on visitors coming to a shop or showroom, office building or has other local ties. So, if your address matters for your business, you should definitely use this plugin.

When you install the Local SEO plugin, you can serve your address details to Google in the most convenient way possible (schema markup). In that same schema markup, you can display your opening hours. You can add Google Maps for your business in the blink of an eye, including the option to show directions. And, as the icing on the cake, you can setup and add a store locator to your website.

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Technical SEO training

The thing that annoys me most in the whole web agency world, is when companies sell their clients services that their client probably won’t understand. SEO can get pretty technical at some point, and you, the customer, might come across terms that dazzle you. If you’re lucky, your web partner will tell you what it all means and why they have to spend billable hours optimizing it. But I have seen my share of website owners that simply assume the web agency is right. That stops now.

If you take our technical SEO course, you’ll be able to recognize all the technical ‘gibberish’. You’ll understand why these things are needed and might even be able to see if these are needed in the first place.

Of course, this course is also for you when you’re a web developer wanting to improve your technical SEO knowledge. Most customers expect you to take that role and to understand the things that are dealt with in this training. And with the 19% discount we offer today, chances are that your customer will otherwise outsmart you after taking this course :)


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Small business bundle

So, for my birthday, I basically picked a small business bundle that you will surely find beneficial. If you are serious about your website, and you should be, go and check out all the details and improve your website and SEO knowledge today.

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Today’s case study is about renting holiday homes. There are a million holiday homes out there in all shapes and sizes. So what about a castle? A reader sent us a link to the site of a beautiful castle, located in France: Chateau de Lastours. The rooms and apartments are for rent. Let’s have a look at their site to see how they can improve it and welcome more visitors!

Speeding up the trip to France

One of the first things you will notice about a site is the speed. How long does it take for a page to fully load? In this case, we used Google’s PageSpeed Insights to get an idea of the site speed. Unfortunately, this site doesn’t do so well. For the homepage on desktop, it scores a poor 33 / 100, and 30 / 100 for the mobile view. But the upside is that this tool immediately gives a lot of suggestions on how to improve your site.

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Improving images

For a site like this, it is important to have great pictures, so visitors can have a look at the location where they may spend their holiday. However, most of the time, quality images have a large file size, which slows down your page. Optimizing these images, for instance, by compressing them using a tool such as Kraken, you can keep the image’s quality, while reducing the file size.

Turn on browser caching and compression

Two technical aspects to improve your site speed are enabling browser caching and compression. Both sound complicated and I’m not going to lie to you, it is kind of technical, but improving these things will speed up your site a lot!

  • Browser caching has to do with all of the web files a browser must load to properly display a site. The first time you do this it can take a bit longer to load a page. But if you have browser caching enabled, the second time a lot of these static files (such as HTML, CSS and images) are stored in the browser’s cache (which means memory) and can, therefore, be accessed much faster.
  • GZIP compression is about compressing your web pages and style sheets before they’re sent to the browser. This makes your page load faster.

Both options can be activated by adding a piece of code to your .htaccess file. A .htaccess file is a configuration file for use on web servers running the Apache Web Server software. In our Yoast SEO plugin, you can easily edit the .htaccess file and put in an extra piece of code. Make sure to create a backup of your site before you do this, in case something goes wrong. But in my experience, following the steps from the Siteground tutorial, is a good way to do this. Here, you can find the tutorial for browser caching and compression.

Pardon my French!

Don’t worry, I’m not planning to curse my way through this review. But I do have some remarks about the different languages on the site. First of all, my compliments for having the ability to switch between several languages. This makes your site usable for a much larger audience. But I also see some aspects which aren’t ideal. When I open the blog page, I see posts in various languages. You should consider translating every post to every language so all your visitors can have the full experience.

Secondly, some pages have elements in various languages, which is kind of confusing. For instance, this wedding page.

Last but not least, a little comment on the menu items on the English version of the site. The ‘restaurant’ menu item is in French (Table d’hôtes). Now, my high school French isn’t what it used to be anymore, so I couldn’t figure out what this meant until clicking on the menu item itself and reading the page. This is not ideal. You want your menu items to be as clear as possible, to entice visitors to click on them.

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Make sure you don’t get lost

Lately, Google is focusing more and more on structured data. Google uses this to understand the content on a certain page. There is some basic data that almost every company can add, such as structured data for contact details. But in this case, I’d also recommend adding structured data for lodging businesses. This way, Google can immediately recognize the purpose of your site and take that into account when potential visitors search for something that you can offer them. In our structured data training, we explain everything you need to know about implementing structured data.

Another important aspect of making sure that potential visitors can find you, is registering on sites like booking.com. You can optimize your site all you want, but a lot of potential visitors will never even search in Google for a vacation rental in France. Instead, they’ll just go to large sites that offer all the the options and information they need. Fortunately, Chateau de Lastours, can be found on booking.com, which makes them findable for a large audience.

Meeting the locals

The Chateau de Lastours’ site is already doing a great job with how their site looks. It has the right ‘look’ and ‘feel’ you want for such a site; it contains lots of pictures but not in a spammy way. And it has a clear menu which shows all the services they have to offer. Yet, I do have one recommendation: adding an ‘about us’ page. This is a small business, in which the owners themselves provide all the services, which can be a unique selling point you want to display on your site. An ‘about us’ page should contain a short introduction of the owners, why they decided to move to France and start this business, and how passionate they are about their work. Don’t forget to add pictures of yourself! Such a page will increase trust among your visitors and could convince them that they want to stay with these people.

Let’s go to the chateau!

All in all, the website of the Chateau de Lastours is already doing well on many aspects. It offers content in several different languages and has a clear menu which leads visitors to the right pages. The imagery on the site evokes the warm atmosphere of Southern France. Doing this case study, I immediately felt like packing my bags and spending a week at the chateau, and that’s exactly the kind of feeling you want your visitors to have. If the site owners improve their site speed, work a bit more on the different languages on their site and add an ‘about us’ page, they’ll surely attract even more guests to stay with them!

Read more: ‘How to avoid common SEO mistakes’ »

The post Ask Yoast case study: Looking for a holiday home? appeared first on Yoast.

With so much of our day-to-day communication happening online these days, the use of emojis, to add some flavor to typed messages, has gone through the roof. They don’t just express emotions, but depict a range of animals, objects, places and so on, as well. The options to express yourself with them are endless! If you frequently use emojis in your daily communication, you may also feel like using them on your website. But what’s the deal with emojis and SEO? Do they have any impact on your rankings, positive or negative? In this Ask Yoast, I’ll get into that :)

Iris Schöberl emailed us her question:

“Do you as an SEO expert recommend to use emojis? Or is it spam to Google?”

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

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Emojis and SEO

“I’m thinking that you probably mean in the meta-description and titles etc., where some emojis will actually show up in the search results. If they do show up in the search results, I would use them because they make you stand out. And standing out in the search results means the more people click on you; more clicks is what you want, so yes, I would use them.

Would I use every emoji? No, I probably would not use the poop emoji for pages that I want to sell something on, unless it’s poop.

So, see if it fits in with your brand. If it fits in with your brand, there’s nothing I have inherently against it or in favor of it. Just see what works for your brand and what works for your audience. And do that. 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: ‘5 tips on branding’ »

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In this article, I’d like to highlight the snippet preview in our Yoast SEO plugin. What is it, how does it work and what should you pay attention to? First of all, I have to point out that Google makes the final selection of content for your mention in the search result pages. No matter how much effort you put in optimizing your meta description, if Google feels that another snippet of your pages answers their visitor’s search query better, it will use that snippet instead of your meta description. Is that a problem, you think? I think it isn’t. It’s Google helping people understand your page better.

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Let’s look at that snippet preview

You can find the snippet preview in the so-called meta box, right below the edit field in WordPress:

Yoast SEO's snippet preview - How to make your site stand out in search results

As you can see, the meta description needs optimizing and the title is perhaps a bit long. Now, where do we change all these things?

Your site’s title

If you want to make your site stand out in search results, this will always have to be optimized one page at a time. Branding should be consistent on all pages, by the way. Looking at a single search result, the page title is the thing that gets the most attention in the search result pages. It’s in the largest font, the blue color pops. It’s usually also the most consistent thing in there. Your titles look like this by default (due to settings in our plugin): ‘page title’ – ‘site name’. Now if that is something you’d like to change for this specific post, simply click ‘Edit snippet’ and you’ll get this screen:

Edit Yoast SEO snippet preview

As you can see, the template of the title is displayed here. %%page%% will give you the number of the page is you have spread the article over multiple pages, %%sep%% is the separator or divider you can pick in our plugin as well. If you want to adjust the title, you can do that here. For tips on how to set that title up, please read Crafting good titles for SEO.

Read more: ‘Titles and meta variables in Yoast SEO’ »

Meta descriptions

We have written quite a lot about that meta description. It’s the only ‘tool’, besides the title, that Google gives us to optimize our invitation to our website. In the meta description, you highlight what your page is about and why the user should visit it.

Note that the meta description is a suggestion for Google, as I mentioned earlier. If Google doesn’t use the meta description you enter or edit here; some reasons could apply:

  • Your meta description doesn’t match the search query of the user. If you optimize your meta description for a certain keyword, which differs from the query, Google might decide to pick some sentences that fit the query better instead. Again, that might be a good thing.
  • Your meta description is over-optimized for a certain keyword, or considered to be too focused on sales/spam. Sometimes you may manage to squeeze in an emoji or icon of some kind, most of the times Google prefers text. I think most users do, by the way. It allows for more characters if you leave the fluff out, so your sentences are easier to read.

The length of that meta description

Now let’s discuss the length of that meta description. At the moment, we stick to approximately 160 characters, but times they are a-changing. Just recently, Google mentioned longer meta descriptions. This means we can squeeze in a few extra lines of text. However, Google will display this in some cases, not all. It might be just the meta descriptions that Google creates for us.

Longer meta descriptions also means that the first result will get some more attention, which fits Google’s aim of showing you the best result right away. And, think along the lines of voice search as well. MOZ’s example of our meta description post aligns nicely with the voice search example Joost used here. It’s consistent this way. Not sure if that’s the thought behind it, but it came to mind.

At Yoast, we keep a keen eye on what’s going on here and if we find the logic behind this new length, or Google tells us, we will find a way to incorporate this in our plugin. For the time being: results are still perfectly fine in the current length!

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Optimizing your slug

Last but not least, you can also alter your slug. That’s the post-related part of the URL for that post. In our snippet preview editor, you can change that slug. Remove some clutter, make sure there’s focus. If possible, add the preferred focus keyword in there. Google could change that slug into ‘breadcrumbs’ a lot of the times, by the way. But if your URL is in the results, it’s nice to have the focus keyword in bold there as well.

One more thing: site links

Last but not least: site links. Site links are the links that you sometimes find below your main mention:

Site links for Yoast

As you can see, it’s one mention, with multiple extra site links below it. Now, this isn’t in our plugin or snippet preview, since we as site owners can’t control or suggest these. Google even removed the option to demote any links here last year. So it’s out of our reach, to be honest. Just wanted to clarify that :)

In conclusion

That’s it. You can easily optimize your mention in the search result pages if you use the snippet preview, and editor, in our free and premium Yoast SEO plugin. It’s an easy, convenient way to present Google with a ready-to-use, optimized snippet for their search result pages. Now go and optimize :)

Keep reading: ‘The beginner’s guide to Yoast SEO’ »

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Your focus keyword is the keyword you want your post or page to rank for. Some people like to use the same focus keyword over and over again. But, that’s not what a focus keyword is for! You should use a focus keyword only once. But why? And what should you do if you desperately want to rank for that one specific keyword? Don’t despair: I’ll tell you all about it in this post.

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Not competing with your own articles

The main reason why you should not use your focus keyword more than once is that you do not want to compete with your own content for a position in Google. If you optimize two different articles for the same focus keyword, you would like to have both posts to turn up in Google. You’ll be telling Google: these two are both suitable for people searching for my keyword. You would like both of them to turn up. That’s hard to do, not impossible though, but very hard.

You need to have a site with quite a bit of authority to rank with two articles in the top ten search results. If you’re already ranking with one of your articles in the search results, you’ll probably have enough authority to try and rank with a second one. If you’re not yet ranking on a focus keyword, never use it twice! Update and improve your original article and write another post surrounding a slightly different keyword.

Ranking for your most desired keyword

What should you do if you want to rank for that specific keyword you’ve set your mind to? Imagine yourself starting a webshop selling clothes for dogs. You probably want to rank for ‘dog clothes,’ but as you are a starter, that’ll be rather hard. Optimizing all of your posts for ‘dog clothes’ is not the right strategy. So what should you do? Your keyword research has given you some ideas what other terms to target.

Your most precious keyword ‘dog clothes’ is a so-called ‘head’ keyword. It’ll be competitive and rather hard to rank for. You should write an awesome, lengthy cornerstone article about dog clothes and optimize it for the term ‘dog clothes’ using our Yoast SEO plugin. Make sure to indicate in our plugin that this specific article is a cornerstone article.

focus keyword input field Yoast SEO

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Improve your site structure

The next step you’ll need to take to rank for your most desired keyword is to make sure your site structure is flawless. You’ll need to write a lot of posts each surrounding a specific aspect of your ‘head’ keyword. You could write an article and optimize it for focus keywords like ‘clothes for small dogs,’ ‘clothes for big dogs,’ ‘dog clothes for rainy days’ and so on. These focus keywords are called long tail keywords. If you link from these long tail articles to your ‘head term’ article, you’ll be telling Google which one of your articles is the most important one. That’ll help with the ranking of your most precious article. At the same time, you’ll be attracting traffic for those long tail articles as well.

Should I use a keyword more than once?

Unless you’re a high authority site and you’re already ranking for a specific keyword, you should NOT use a focus keyword more than once. Ranking for that one specific focus keyword is possible if you write an awesome cornerstone article about that focus keyword. On top of that, you’ll need a kickass site structure to make sure that article will start ranking!

Read more: ‘The ultimate guide to content SEO’ »

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While Yoast SEO is mostly known for its WordPress plugin, we are in the process of branching out. We support several plugins for other platforms, like Magento 2. One of those platforms, the large-scale open source CMS TYPO3, received a brand new version of Yoast SEO today. In Yoast SEO for TYPO3 1.3, you’ll find several fixes and enhancements that greatly improve the plugin. Find out what’s new!

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Yoast SEO for TYPO3?

Together with our friends from MaxServ, we’ve been steadily improving the Yoast SEO plugin for TYPO3. This popular and highly flexible CMS is widely used around the world, with a focus on European governments, universities and global brands like Airbus, Leica and Air France. Since April of this year, all sites running TYPO3 version 7+ can now enjoy an increasing number of the many benefits of working with Yoast SEO.

The main focus of Yoast SEO for TYPO3 is bringing its world-famous content analysis to a new platform. The content analysis checks the text you write and gives you suggestions to improve it. You can also set a focus keyword, so you know exactly when the text is SEO-proof. There’s also a snippet preview on board that lets you see how your article will show up in search results. You can use it to improve your visibility by making it as enticing as possible.

Last but not least, TYPO3 users can now use the social preview feature to make the article or page ready for sharing on Twitter and Facebook. You can even add images if you want. While the Yoast SEO for TYPO3 does not contain every feature from Yoast SEO for WordPress yet, it is an extremely valuable tool to assess and improve your content. The plugin is a work in progress and will only improve in time.

yoast seo typo3 content analysis

New release: Yoast SEO for TYPO3 1.3

Today, we’re releasing the latest version of Yoast SEO for TYPO3. The MaxServ team did a wonderful job improving the plugin. They fixed a lot of bugs and enhanced the plugin where they could. Several memebers from the TYPO3 open source community contributed as well. Among other things, the notifications in the content analysis are better, and it is now possible to hide the analysis in the Page module as well. You can read the full release changelog over at the Extension Repository.

Small caveat

Be careful: by default, the plugin will disable the default title rendering of TYPO3 except on pages on which you disable the rendering of the title tag by the Yoast plugin. You can use the default title behavior on, for example, a detail page of a record so the extension developer can make sure the title of the record is used.

Try it now!

Yoast SEO for TYPO3 is out now, and you can get it at the TYPO3 Extensions Repository. Try it out and let us know what you think! As it is an open source project, you’re welcome to add bug fixes and suggest enhancements at the project’s GitHub page. We’re looking forward to your feedback!

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Site structure is a vital aspect of your SEO strategy. After all, the structure of your website shows Google what articles and pages are most important. You can influence which articles will rank highest in the search engines, with your site’s structure. So, it’s important to get it right! It also is a very actionable part of your SEO strategy. You can all start improving your site structure today! In this SEO basics post, I’ll explain the importance of site structure for your site’s SEO and I’ll give three quick tips on how to start improving your site’s structure.

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Site structure training Info

As your site grows, it’ll get cluttered

As you’re writing more and more blog posts, or add more product pages, your site will get cluttered. You need to organize it neatly, to make sure you, your visitor AND Google will be able to find what they’re looking for.

Why is that? Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time, there was this young woman. Her name is Alice. Alice gets up every morning, sits down at her desk and starts to write a beautiful story. She writes one story every day. Alice types all her stories on this beautiful old-fashioned typewriter. Whenever she’s done writing, she pulls the paper out of the machine and puts her lovely new story on her desk. As you can imagine, her desk will slowly get cluttered with all these sheets of paper. After a year of writing, she’ll have 365 sheets of paper on it. After three years of writing, she’ll have more than a thousand. Alice will not be able to find her favorite story, because of the abundance of stories on her desk.

If you do not structure your stuff neatly, your stories, your blogposts, your product pages will get lost. Your visitors will not be able to find what they are looking for, and, important for your SEO: Google will also get lost.

Why is site structure important for Google?

There are two reasons why site structure is important for Google and, therefore, for your chances to rank in the search engines.

1. Structure is a guide for Google

The way your site is structured will give Google clues about where to find the most important content. Your site’s structure determines whether a search engine can understand what your site is about and what you’re selling.

Google crawls websites by following links, internal and external, using a bot called Googlebot. And by following those links, Google determines the relationship between the various pages. The structure of your site is a guide to Google and therefore very crucial.

2. Not competing with your content

The second reason why site structure is essential for Google is because, without a decent structure, you’ll be competing with yourself for a high ranking in the search engines. You probably have blogposts or articles on your site that are on the same topic. At Yoast, for example, we write a lot about SEO. We have multiple posts about site structure, each covering a different aspect. But Google won’t know which of these is most important unless we ‘tell’ Google.

Importance should order your content. Think about Alice’s cluttered desk. Alice could clean up by making piles of her sheets of papers. She could order her stories by topic: stories about bumble bees, stories about flowers, stories about fairies. But, if Alice were to make piles of paper, without ordering them, without putting the most beautiful stories on the top of the pile, no one would ever know which story is the most important to her.

If you don’t tell Google which posts are most important, all of your posts will be competing for attention. You’d be competing with your pages for a high ranking in Google. The solution is rather simple: you let Google know which page you consider most important. You tell Google which story you want on top of your pile. To do this, you need a good internal linking structure.

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How to get started with site structure?

What are the things you need to do to improve your site’s structure? What can you do to avoid your site structure becoming an issue?  I’ll give three basic tips on how to quickly improve your site structure.

Remove old content

Lots of shops will sell a different collection of products (clothes; shoes) every season. If you don’t expect to sell the same product again, you should remove the page. However, you may have had some links to the page you want to remove. And you know, links to your page are valuable for your SEO!  You want to make sure you benefit from these links, even though the page does not exist anymore. That’s why you should redirect the URL.

Evaluate your categories

You should ensure that categories are about equally large. Think of Alice and her stories. Alice could categorize her stories by making piles of these categories. Imagine one pile becoming huge, while the others remain much smaller. It would be hard to find a specific story in that big pile, while it would be much easier to search through a small pile. At the same time, that big heap is probably very important, because Alice wrote a lot of stories about that specific topic.

Categories become too large when you write a lot about one specific subject and less about others. At one point, you should divide that one category into two categories. A good rule of thumb for the size of categories is to make sure that no category is more than twice the size of any other category. When one category is significantly larger than other ones, your site becomes unbalanced. You’ll have a hard time ranking with blog posts within a huge category. The pile has become too large to search through.

3. Improve your internal linking structure

You should make sure that you’re linking to your most important articles. A great internal linking structure is crucial. We’ve built Yoast Internal Linking to help you achieve such an internal structure. But you should do some reading and research to get the hang of it. Read Meike’s blogpost about Internal linking for SEO to improve your internal linking structure.

Keep reading: ‘Avoid these site structure mistakes!’ »

Conclusion: get started with improving your site structure

It’s important to remember that site structure is part of a bigger, ongoing process. Your site will grow and therefore, the structure will require maintenance. Improving and maintaining the structure of a site should be a core aspect of every SEO strategy. It’s a very actionable part of SEO; it’s something you can control and improve rather quickly. So, let’s get started!

Read on: ‘Site structure: the Ultimate guide’ »

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