Pinterest is a pretty popular platform these days. It’s basically a search engine, with a social aspect. So, making your images appealing for sharing on Pinterest can be a great idea. And not just if you have a mom-blog or DIY site! If you use Pinterest right, it can help you drive more traffic to your site, put your products in the spotlight, or gain more visibility for your business.

Pinterest images often have a specific ‘look’. Tall images are most compatible with the way the Pinterest feed is designed. Some text in the image can also work well, to get people’s attention and give them an idea of where the image will lead them. While an image like this is well-suited for Pinterest, you probably don’t want to put it on your website like that. But you still want to provide people who pin your image straight from your post with a good Pinterest image. So, what to do? There are ways to use HTML code to hide a Pinterest image ‘underneath’ the regular images in your post. That way, people get the tall Pinterest image when they pin from your post. But, what does Google think about such practices?

Blake Score emailed us her question on the subject:

What is your opinion about hiding Pinterest sized images in your post with HTML code? Doing this makes for a strong pin when people pin to Pinterest straight from your post. It seems to work from a Pinterest SEO perspective, but what does Google think?

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

Hiding Pinterest images in your post

I honestly don’t think Google minds as much, but I hate all the hacks I’m seeing around how people get their proper pages on Pinterest. So, we are currently talking to Pinterest about improving that entire workflow. About maybe allowing for specific meta tags for Pinterest, so that we can just put an image like that in a meta-tag and not have to put it hidden in a page, which is a dirty hack and can always lead to problems in the long run.

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So, for now it works. Keep doing it because it’s worth the traffic. In the long run, I hope we’ll come up with a better solution. Good luck.”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO dilemma you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: you may want to check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question could already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, please contact us through our support page.

Read on: Pinterest Marketing for your business »

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For the bloggers who started building websites in the early 00s, blogging was ‘just’ writing an update on your life or writing a tutorial. Photos were  not usual and if you had photos, you made sure the title of the blog post contained something like: ‘warning: image heavy’. Today, you cannot imagine posting a blog without an image. Your post is less likely to be picked up on Facebook, Twitter and even Google. And as we all know, even the Yoast SEO plugin tells you to use images in your post! But… why do you use those images? And where do you get them from? Fear not! I’m going to share all my secrets with you. Again!

Why you should use images in your blog posts

My most popular posts on my blog are, not quite coincidentally, posts with high-quality images. A picture is worth a thousand words. And this holds very true for bloggers in a niche that’s saturated. If a visitor has to choose which site to visit on Pinterest or Facebook, they will choose one with an image that’s compelling to them. Sure, your call to action will have to persuade them as well, but if you don’t use images, or don’t use high-quality ones, they very well might skip your blog post.

Want to learn practical SEO skills to rank higher in Google? Our Basic SEO training is just what you need! »

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There’s another reason why you need proper images, other than social sharing: Google images. When you have high quality and optimized images, your images could rank first when people perform a Google image search. There are several posts I actually rank first with on Google Images. And does this give me visitors? Yes, it sure does!

Before you grab your camera…

Before you fear you have to invest in photography courses, have to hire a professional photographer or you just cannot create the right photos, read on. Because I’ve got some tips and tricks for you.

Use stock photos

If you cannot create your own photo for whatever reason, there are a lot of stock photo websites you can grab images from. Do not, and I repeat, not, Google search for images and just grab them. This is stealing. The photos you are placing on your website, belong to someone else. You need to have the photographer’s permission. You don’t want to see your blog post on someone else’s blog. A photographer does not like their photo on your site without permission. You wouldn’t be the first one to get a claim from a photographer, and rightfully so.

But if you can’t just grab every image, where should you find them? Luckily, there are quite a few stock photo websites out there that have licenses that permit you to use the photos. Please always check the licenses described on the website. Because I like you and because I’m feeling very helpful today, I’ve explored the licenses on the sites below.

Unsplash.com

Unsplash is my absolute favorite. The images on here are gorgeous, the website is easy to navigate and the licensing is very clear. All photos published on Unsplash, are free for commercial and non-commercial use. You can alter the images if you wish without needing to give the photographer credit. I use this website for my personal blog quite often. Especially for blog posts about motherhood, when I don’t want to photograph my own child.

Pixabay.com

Pixabay has both paid and free images. A lot of images here do not require crediting the photographer. If you don’t have to credit and you can alter the image, you will find that the image is released under Creative Commons CC0.

Foter.com

Foter claims there are over 335 million free stock photos on its site. Just conduct a search. Each and every photo will display the license under which it’s listed. Some photos require credit to the photographer, some photos may not be altered and some may not be modified. It can be quite hard to find a picture you like here, especially if you have to make sure you comply with the licenses.

But what if my blog is about a subject I can’t find a photo for?

What if you write about blogging or programming? Or about showering, and you don’t want to have someone naked on your blog who’s enjoying their shampoo a tad too much? Be creative! You’re a blogger, a writer, you can be creative with images, can’t you? For that blogging article, use a (stock) photo of a laptop. And for that shower, use a shower head. Or just running water. Remember: the image does not replace your article, it’ll enhance it and grab your reader’s attention.

But what if you really, really, really cannot find a suitable image? Well, have you ever heard of Canva?

Canva is amazing

With Canva, you can create designs for every need in your browser. It holds a lot of free designs you can use. There are premade designs for Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, posters and more. With these designs, varying from drawings to quotes and photos, you’ll be able to find a suitable image for your blog post, I’m absolutely sure of it.

Say thanks

We’re lucky to live in a world where it’s very cheap to create your own website. Where you don’t have to pay for WordPress, you can use a lot of free plugins and become big without spending a dime on your website. You might be one of the few bloggers that make a living out of blogging. If so: that’s awesome. I have one request for you in that case: if you make money with your website and you do use stock photos, please consider thanking the photographer by donating a (small) amount to thank them for their work in making your website better. It’s up to you to decide if you wish to do this and if you have the means to do so, but I do believe ‘we bloggers’ owe quite a lot of thanks to the wonderful people out there who share their knowledge and resources for free.

Please let me know in the comments which stock photo websites you use that I haven’t heard of. Oh, and a game for you: spot the stock photos on my own personal blog ;)

Read more: Image SEO: Optimizing for search engines »

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While we’re still only at the start of the Gutenberg adventure, we’re presenting an awesome, brand-new feature for the new WordPress editor today. Meet the Yoast SEO structured data content blocks! The content blocks automatically add valid structured data code to the content that is added to these blocks. Our initial line-up consists of How-to and FAQ content blocks, plus address and map blocks for our Local SEO plugins, but we’re looking to add more in the future.

Optimize for synonyms and related keywords and prevent broken pages on your site with Yoast SEO Premium! »

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Adding structured data in Gutenberg

Structured data is important but pretty hard to implement. By adding Schema.org structured data to your pages you can tell search engines exactly what’s on there. For most people implementing it comes down to asking their developer to hard-code it into the site. Or learning to master Google Tag Manager so you can inject the necessary code into your pages — this is what we teach you in our Structured data training. This complexity is one of the reasons structured data has been struggling to reach critical mass, even though Google has been pushing it for years. This is now changing with Gutenberg structured data content blocks in Yoast SEO 8.2!

As of today, we’re adding that structured data metadata automatically to the content that’s added to two new Gutenberg blocks inside Yoast SEO, namely How-to and FAQ. Local SEO and WooCommerce SEO have blocks for addresses and maps. So, if you have an FAQ page on your site you can now build these pages inside Gutenberg. Yoast SEO will automatically add the necessary Question Schema.org to that block. The same goes for How-to. Build your how-to article with the How-to content block in Gutenberg, including all the necessary steps and even images, and see a valid piece of structured data appear in the source of your page. It is now easier than ever for Google to find and understand that particular piece of content. Fantastic, right?

Our CEO Joost de Valk and CTO Omar Reiss explain the how and why of Yoast SEO structured data content blocks in this interview »

How-to structured data

How-to structured data is a fairly new addition to the Schema.org vocabulary. You use it to mark up content that teaches you how to do something following a series of steps. This could be how to cat-proof your apartment or how to install Yoast SEO Premium or something else entirely. We published a post a while back on how to add how-to structured data to your how-to articles. Please read that if you need more background information.

The structured data content blocks come with default styling, but we made it easy for you to change these. Our UX designer Luc wrote a post detailing how you can give the How-to content blocks your own styling so they fit right in with the rest of your site. There will be a post about styling your FAQ content blocks later on.

Using the Gutenberg How-to structured data content blocks is incredibly easy.

  1. Choose the Yoast SEO structured data block for How-to
  2. Type the description for the how-to
  3. Enter the time needed to do the how-to
  4. Fill in the first step title
  5. Fill in supporting text for the step
  6. If necessary, add an image using the Add image button
  7. Hit the Add step button to add a new step
  8. Use the Insert step button to insert a new step between existing steps
  9. Done? Save your draft!

Here’s an example how-to on how to install Yoast SEO Premium:How-to content blockAnd here’s what Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool says of that page:the result in the structured data testing toolEpic, right? Remember, due to restrictions by Google it is not possible to add more than one How-to content block on a page.

Want to dive into the mark-up and styling of our HowTo block? Read this post from our UX designer Luc.

FAQ structured data

If you have a section on your site for frequently asked questions — an FAQ— then you’ll enjoy the new FAQ structured data content block. Schema.org/Question is “A specific question – e.g. from a user seeking answers online, or collected in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document.” You can now easily add the structured data needed for search engines to understand FAQ content. Just fill in the questions, add the answers and maybe an image if needed. Hit publish and your perfectly structured FAQ block is ready!

Local SEO & WooCommerce SEO with Gutenberg blocks

Of course, we had to give some of our other SEO WordPress plugins some Gutenberg love as well. Do you own a local business or are you doing a lot of local SEO? If so, you need our Local SEO or WooCommerce SEO plugins. These plugins help you to improve your site so it can more easily rank in your local search results.

Today, the two local SEO plugins get structured data content blocks for Gutenberg as well: you can now add valid structured data to your site by adding the new address block. The fields will appear automatically if you’ve filled in the fields in the plugin settings. Of course, you can finetune what you do and don’t want to appear. In addition, you can use the new Google Maps structured data content block to easily add a good looking map with structured data to your site.Address content block

More to come

Gutenberg’s block-based design makes it a very interesting platform to design for. These structured data content blocks are our first tools specifically built for the new WordPress editor. We hope to expand our offering of structured data blocks in the near future. We can’t wait to bring you blocks for job postings, events and recipes, among others! And please, do give us your feedback so we can make these blocks even more awesome.

Polish readability analysis

Yoast SEO 8.2 also brings a new supported language: Polish! We can now analyze text written in Polish and make suggestions to improve the readability. In addition, we will now also suggest articles to link to using our internal linking tool in Yoast SEO Premium. The Polish readability analysis was made possible by contributions from the community. We’re thankful for the great support from the people at Macopedia, who sent us word lists which make a vital part of our analysis. We’re always super enthusiastic when people in the community show us their love for our products and also a commitment to the open source spirit by contributing to our code base!

Bug fixes and enhancements

As always, we’ve fixed a couple of annoying bugs. This time we focused on fixing bugs related to slugs, user input incorrectly triggering analyses, zooming issues on iPhones and several others. You can read up on them in the changelog. We do want to thank mt8, who helped us fix a bug related to OpenGraph images that wouldn’t correctly show for the front page in a couple of situations.

Update now!

Yoast SEO 8.2 is a very exciting release. With the launch of the structured data content blocks for Gutenberg, we’re heading into unknown and very exciting territory. We can’t wait to see what you do with the current set of blocks and hope to bring even more blocks to you in the near future. Try it, tell us what you think and enjoy using Yoast SEO 8.2!

Read more: Why you should buy Yoast SEO »

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Generic reports in Google Analytics contain aggregated data, data from all the things on one big pile. That’s a lot of information, but not very specific. So, if you’re just monitoring your data, you might manage that by looking at the standard data you see in Google Analytics. But, if you want to go beyond that, to thoroughly analyze your data, you need more context. One of the (easy) ways you can add context to your data is by adding secondary dimensions. Gotten curious? Read on!

What are secondary dimensions?

To explain what secondary dimensions are, we need to explain what dimensions are first. I’ve written a post about dimensions (and metrics) in which you can read that:

A dimension is a description, a characteristic, a feature or aspect of your data. It’s not a quantitative variable but more a qualitative variable.

So, it’s quite often letters instead of numbers. Let me give you a concrete example: in Google Analytics’ reports, the first column of the table is always a dimension:

First dimension in Google Analytics

In this case, ‘Country’ is a dimension. Now, what you can do, is click on the first country you see in your reports. This will take you to a more specified report about the country you’ve clicked on: you’ll see regions. Now, these regions can sometimes be clicked on as well. That depends on the country. If you want to see cities, you can add a secondary dimension. Here’s how:

Add city to region report in Google Analytics

Click on the ‘Secondary dimension’ button you see above the first column. If you know the name of the dimension you want to add, you can enter that in the search bar. Otherwise, you need to scroll around a bit to find what you’re looking for.

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Why should I use secondary dimensions?

In the previous example, you can see that adding a secondary dimension adds more information to your report. For instance, you could initially have concluded that it’s a good idea to run an advert campaign for all of California. But, if you had looked at city data as well, you might’ve concluded that it’s a good idea to run that campaign in LA only because that’s where all your traffic is coming from.

Another example to show you why you should use secondary dimensions in Google Analytics. Perhaps you’re interested in SEO: then you want to check your traffic coming from a search engine. That’s called ‘Organic traffic’ in Google Analytics. Seeing how much traffic you’re getting from Organic is fun, of course. But, it has the potential to be much more informative than just knowing how many users and sessions you’ve had. It’s really interesting to check which of your site’s pages users land on (called ‘Landing Page’ in Google Analytics). Here’s how you do that:

Going to the Medium Organic report in Google Analytics

  1. Go to the ‘Acquisition’ section in the left sidebar
  2. Click on ‘Source/Medium’
  3. Then click on ‘Medium’, it’s above the table
  4. Click on ‘organic’ to see all traffic from search engines

Adding landing page to organic report in Google Analytics

Then, it’s time to add the secondary dimension: ‘Landing Page’. Click on the button above the first column of the table and look for ‘Landing Page’, and click on that. Now, you have a nice overview of all pages that people land on that come from a search result in a search engine. Look at the numbers you’re seeing: what’s the bounce rate? Did they stay for long? Did they buy anything? And are the pages you’re seeing, the pages you want to rank with? What can you do to optimize further?

Which secondary dimensions should I use?

Now, doing all this can be very hard, that’s why you should always have a question in mind when opening your Google Analytics reports. Because that question will dictate which dimension you should add to your reports. Of course, if you’re like me, you often open Google Analytics without a question in mind because you just want to play a bit, have a look around.

For those of you who play and also for those of you who have a specific question, there’s a new feature in Google Analytics that helps you with picking a useful secondary dimension. Look at this:

recommended secondary dimensions

Now that’s awesome! It shows you which dimensions are commonly used in a report, in this case, the ‘Source/Medium’ report. That’s valuable advice!

If you’re using UTM tags properly, the secondary dimension brings a lot of context to your reports. Let’s say you’ve started a campaign and also added the utm_content UTM tag: you can add that as a secondary dimension, called ‘Ad Content’ in Google Analytics. Then, you can find out which item of your campaign, for instance, a text link or a button was more successful.

Conclusion

Using secondary dimensions in Google Analytics gives your data so much more meaning. It adds context to your data, allowing you to understand what you’re seeing better. And with more understanding about what your data actually means, it’s easier to draw the right conclusions. In other words, using secondary dimensions is a MUST in Google Analytics.

Read more: Annelieke’s analytics: What are dimensions and metrics in Google Analytics? »

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Journalists have been using the inverted pyramid writing style for ages. Using it, you put your most important information upfront. Don’t hedge. Don’t bury your key point halfway down the third paragraph. Don’t hold back; tell the complete story in the first paragraph. Even online, this writing style holds up pretty well for some types of articles. It even comes in handy now that web content is increasingly used to answer every type of question a searcher might have. Find out how!

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

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What is the inverted pyramid?

Most readers don’t have the time or desire to carefully read an article, so journalists put the critical pieces of a story in the first paragraph to inform and draw in a reader. This paragraph is the meat and potatoes of a story, so to say. This way, every reader can read the first paragraph — also known as the lead — and get a complete notion of what the story is about. It gives away the traditional W’s instantly: who, what, when, where, why and, of course, how.

The introductory paragraph is followed by paragraphs that contain important details. After that, follows general information and whatever background the writers deem supportive of the narrative. This has several advantages:

  • It supports all readers, even those who skim
  • It improves comprehension, everything you need to understand the article is in that first paragraph
  • You need less time to get to the point
  • It gives writers a full paragraph to draw readers in
  • Done well, it encourages readers to scroll and read the rest of the article
  • It gives writers full control over the structure
  • It makes it easier to edit articles

An example

Here’s an example of such an intro. Marieke wrote an article called What is SEO? that answers exactly that question in an easy to understand way. She gives away the answer immediately, but also uses triggers to get people to read the rest of the article. Here’s the intro:

“SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the practice of optimizing websites to make them reach a high position in Google’s – or another search engine’s – search results. SEO focuses on rankings in the organic (non-paid) search results. In this post, I’ll answer the question “What is SEO?” and I’ll explain how we perform SEO at Yoast.”

The inverted pyramid is just one of many techniques you can use to present and structure content. You can use it to write powerful news articles, press releases, product pages, blog posts or explanatory articles, like we do.

This style of writing, however, is not suited for every piece of content. Maybe you write poetry, or long essays with a complete story arc or just a piece of complex fiction. Critics are quick to add that the inverted pyramid style cripples their creativity. But, even then, you can learn from the techniques of the inverted pyramid that helps you to draw a reader in and figure out a good way to structure a story. And, as we all know, a solid structure is key in getting people — and search engines — to understand your content. Marieke wrote a great article on setting up a clear text structure.

The power of paragraphs

Well-written paragraphs are incredibly powerful. These paragraphs can stand on their own. I always try to write in a modular way. I’m regularly moving paragraphs around if I think they fit better somewhere else in the article. It makes editing and changing the structure of a story so much easier.

Good writers give every paragraph a stand-out first sentence, these are known as core sentences. These sentences raise one question or concept per paragraph. Someone who scans the article by reading the first sentence of every paragraph will get the gist of it and can choose to read the rest of the paragraph or not. Of course, the rest of the paragraph is spent answering or supporting that question or concept.

It’s all blocks these days anyways

On the web, there is a movement towards block-based content. Google uses whole paragraphs from articles to answers questions in the search results with featured snippets or answer boxes. The voice search revolution is powered by paragraph-based content. Even our beloved WordPress CMS will move to a block-based new editor called Gutenberg. These blocks are self-contained pieces of content that search engines are going to enjoy gobbling up. We can even give these blocks the structured data needed to let search engines know exactly what content is in that block. Blocks are it — another reason you need to write better paragraphs.

Answering questions

Something else is going on: a lot of content out there is written specifically to answer questions based on user intent. Google is also showing much more questions and answers right away in the search results. That’s why it makes a lot of sense to structure your questions and answers in such a way that is easy to digest for both readers and search engines. This also supports the inverted pyramid theory. If you want to answer a specific question, do that right beneath that question. Don’t obfuscate it. Keep it upfront. You can answer supporting questions or give a more elaborate answer further down the text. If you have data supporting your answer, please present it.

How to write with the inverted pyramid in mind

The inverted pyramid forces you to think about your story: what is it, which parts are key to understanding everything? Even if you don’t follow the structure to the letter, focusing on the essential parts of your story and deleting the fluff is always a good thing. In his seminal work The Elements of Style, William Strunk famously wrote:

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that he make every word tell.”

In short, writing works like this:

  • Map it out: What are the most important points you want to make?
  • Filter: Which points are supportive, but not key?
  • Connect: How does everything fit together?
  • Structure: Use sub-headers to build an easy to understand structure for your article
  • Write: Start every paragraph with your core sentence and support/prove/disprove/etc these in the coming sentences
  • Revise: Are the paragraphs in the correct order? Maybe you should move some around to enhance readability or understanding?
  • Edit: I.e. killing your darlings. Do you edit your own work or can someone do it for you?
  • Publish: Add the article to WordPress and hit that Publish button

Need more writing tips? Marieke gives 10 tips for writing an awesome and SEO-friendly blog post.

Try it

Like I said, not every type of content will benefit from the inverted pyramid. But the inverted pyramid has sure made its mark over the past century or more. Even now, as we mostly write content for the web this type of thinking about a story or article makes us focus on the most important parts — and how we tell about those parts. It forces you to separate facts from fiction and fluff from real nuggets of content gold. Try it out and your next article might turn out to be the best yet.

Read more: SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide »

The post First things first: writing content with the inverted pyramid style appeared first on Yoast.

Using testimonials on your site (the right way) is always beneficial, whether your goal is more sales, or more subscribers, etc. Providing social proof that your product or blog is awesome will help convince people that giving your their money or time is worth their while. While you can certainly use written testimonials, video testimonials are a great way to show that other people, real people, are happy with what you have to offer.

Optimize for synonyms and related keywords and prevent broken pages on your site with Yoast SEO Premium! »

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

A good testimonial on video should be authentic and to-the-point. You don’t want it to look scripted, so it’s believable. And if it’s too long and too many aspects of a product are covered, viewers will get bored and won’t remember the most important takeaways. So, in short, have a nice and relaxed conversation with the person giving the testimonial, but think about what you want highlight in this testimonial beforehand, so the conversation can focus on that. After you invest your time and effort into creating the perfect video testimonial, you’ll obviously want to put it to good use. But, how do you do that?

Jessica Martinieri was wondering the same thing:

I’m going to employ video testimonials from my company. Besides adding these videos to my website what more can I do to fully benefit from them and spread the word? Is simply adding them to Facebook and other social media okay?

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

Using video testimonials

“Well, simply adding them is not enough. You have to share them, you have to be proud of them and show why you’re proud of them.

You can also ask the people that you’ve taken the testimonial from to share them as well. Use them in any way that you can. You can also optimize them a bit. If you’ve done specific things for people that you’d like them to talk about, make sure that they talk about that. Also, add a transcript to those videos. And put them on YouTube, and people will find you on YouTube for the terms mentioned in that video. Sometimes it’s that simple. Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO dilemma you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to ask@yoast.com, and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: you may want to check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question could already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, please contact us through our support page.

Read on: Testimonials: Increase your visitor’s trust »

The post Ask Yoast: How to use video testimonials? appeared first on Yoast.

Last week, I posted an article about the current status concerning Facebook traffic. I shared the fact that for Yoast.com, the Facebook referral traffic is decreasing. I also asked you all whether or not you noticed something similar and invited you to share your tactics to deal with such a decrease. You left lots and lots of interesting replies, so first of all, thank you for that! Most people noticed a decrease in Facebook traffic as well. Today, I’ll share three promising tactics that were shared in the comments.

Optimize for synonyms and related keywords and prevent broken pages on your site with Yoast SEO Premium! »

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Facebook traffic is decreasing

The majority of the people who left a comment on my blog post also noticed a big drop in referral traffic from Facebook in the past few months. Quite some people left Facebook altogether. These people didn’t notice a drop in their traffic. Most people are less active on Facebook than they used to be, but they still use it. Also, three people responded that they didn’t notice any difference. Overall, it is safe to say that the large majority of people replying to my post did notice a significant drop in Facebook referral traffic. But what can you do about it?

Tips and tactics worth trying!

I found three tips and tactics when I was reading through the dozens of comments, and I believe that they are definitely worth trying. I am not at all sure to what extent these actually work. However, these are all things that we will be trying out on our own Facebook account in the near future. So perhaps they will be of use to you as well.

Tip 1:  Posts without external links

One of our readers suggested that Facebook posts that contain external links have far less reach than those with just text or posts with video’s or images. In her case, video (and especially live video), was performing the best.

Another reader suggested pretty much the same thing. He also added that a lively discussion on the Facebook-platform can pay off.

This could be a good approach, since Facebook likes it when people stay on Facebook, instead of clicking to another website. It could well be that Facebook treats posts without external links in it differently and that these are shown to more people. We’ll definitely try this one out!

Tip 2: Facebook groups

Several commenters pointed out that although Facebook referral traffic was going down, Facebook groups were still very active. Sharing posts in active groups does seem to be paying off. Time to get active in those groups! Perhaps we should start a Yoast group on Facebook?

Tip 3: Lengthy posts

One of our readers suggested writing longer posts. His experience was that lengthy Facebook posts performed much better than short posts.

This is easy to experiment with. Adding a bit more text to a post is not that hard. We’ll be experimenting with longer and shorter texts in our posts. I’ll keep you informed on the results of this tactic!

Conclusion

Although Facebook referral traffic is decreasing, there are some tactics we can use in order to get some of that traffic back. Perhaps investing in lengthy, well-written Facebook posts without external links will do the trick. You will not get those people to your site then, but your reach on Facebook will remain intact. That’s something to consider. We’re going to try out all three tactics we discussed in this post. We’ll keep you informed about our findings!

Read more: How to optimize your Facebook reach »

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It can happen to you: other people copy content from your site and republish it on their own site. You have gone the extra mile to write an awesome article for your website, when, all of a sudden, another website takes possession of it. It can be frustrating to see this happen, and it happens more often than you think. If your website reaches a certain number of visitors and stands out from the crowd, there will be people that try to benefit from your content for their own gain.

Simple example: after this post is published, it will appear in our RSS feed. And this will cause other websites to publish the article automatically on their own website. They fully automated that process. Not the nicest way to express appreciation, right? But it happens.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

In this article, we’d like to show you a number of ways that people can copy your content. We’ll also show you what possible actions you can take, without directly asking your lawyer to take action.

People copy content via your RSS feed

Most content management systems publish an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed for your website. Being the fossil that I am, I still use these feeds in my RSS reader (I’m using Feedly) so I can read up on a number of websites at once.

However, some websites use RSS to include news from other websites on their website. That can be done by including a list of your latest article titles that link to your website. You’ll probably have no problem with it if someone does this. But if it’s done to republish your content on their website without that link to you, it’s a different story. This is one of the reasons our Yoast SEO plugin allows you to add an extra line to your feed items. That line could say “The article (article title) was first published on (your URL)”. There is a line like that included by default, by the way. This ensures that, if people copy content from your website via your RSS feed, there will always be a link back to your website. Google will find that link and understand you are the original source.

Make sure there is a link back to the original article in the RSS feed. That way, the website that copies your content won’t get all the credits for your article.

Manually copying your content

If someone manually copies your content or removes that line directing the reader and Google to your website from your RSS feed, chances are you won’t even notice they copied it. But if you do, first, try to get them to add that link back to your article in there. Just send an email and hope that the ‘thief’ is willing to add that link.

We have had people telling us that the only reason they copy content from our website was that they felt their readers should know about that specific issue or tip as well. There didn’t appear to be bad intentions and the link was added immediately after our email.

The best way: canonical link

The best way to make sure search engines understand that your content is the original source for the content is by adding a canonical link back to your website. If the other website is willing to do so and is running our Yoast SEO plugin, this is easy as pie. If the website at hand has no bad intentions, they will be willing to add that link.

What if people copy content from your site? Canonical urls as a solution for duplicate content

Get rid of that copy altogether

It’s trickier when people have less good intentions for stealing your content. If they copy content from your website only for their own benefit, they might not even respond to your email. In that case, you may have to use your copyright as the original author to have that content removed. Google suggests contacting the host of the website and filing a request at Google as well (see the last paragraph of that article).

Translating your content

There is another way that websites can copy your content. If this article, for instance, gets translated into Italian, we might not find even out about it. But usually, articles like that do surface on Twitter. And you obviously have a saved search for your brand on social, right? Or one of the internal links that you added could remain in the translated article and show up in Google Analytics. You might find a Google Alert in our inbox showing that article. There are ways to find a translated article.

Do you want to be associated with that website?

Now I hear you think “If a canonical would help to link duplicate content cross-domain, I need hreflang here.” But you probably don’t. There is no use adding that hreflang tag if the other site isn’t linking back to you using the same method. And you have no control over the translation whatsoever, so you might not want to be linked to that domain anyway.

If the translation makes sense in your book, I would ask the other website to add a link in the article, stating that the original article appeared on your website, in English (or whatever language you originally wrote it in). If the translated article is for an audience that you’re not targeting, I wouldn’t even put too much effort into it.

Artwork

I’d like to wrap up this article with a small remark about artwork. We use artwork heavily in our publications (and branding). Every single illustration we have on our website is our own.

What if people copy content from your site? Use the copyright on your own artwork for instance

In case a website, Youtube video or social media publication uses that artwork, we have the option to have that publication taken down because of that. Usually, using this copyright angle is the easiest way to get rid of non-responsive thieves of your content. Simply send the website an email first, and ask the hosting company to take action if you get no response. Another reason to stay away from stock photos and use your own media to enhance your website!

Good luck!

Read more: DIY: Duplicate content check »

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In Yoast SEO 8.0 you’ve met with the Yoast SEO Gutenberg sidebar. Since the 8.1 release, you can see the snippet preview in action in this sidebar. These are our first step of integrating Yoast SEO with Gutenberg. But there is more to come. Shortly, we’ll also introduce a whole new concept: Yoast SEO content blocks. In this interview with our CEO Joost and CTO Omar we explore content blocks: What are they? What do they have to do with SEO? And what are Yoast’s plans with blocks? Let’s go! 

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Q. We’ve heard the term content blocks often lately. Can you explain what those blocks are?

Omar: Blocks are single components that you can use in the Gutenberg editor. You can see them as separate content items. With these items you can structure your content and build a page. A bit like you’re building a page with pieces of LEGO. Every content block can have its own styling and meta data. Because of this, a block becomes more valuable and this opens up lots of opportunities, also in terms of SEO.

gutenberg

Creation of content in blocks with Gutenberg

Q. What opportunities of blocks are you referring to?

Omar: For us, the advantage lies mostly in the meta data you can include in a block. You can add structured data to your content block, for instance. With structured data you tell search engines in a schematic way what your content is about: is it a recipe, a book or a film? Structured data exists for many things (entities): products, but also blog posts, Q&A’s or How to‘s. You can find them all on schema.org.

Joost: Let’s say you have a Q&A section on your site. If you add structured data to you Q&A block it’s directly clear to Google that this block provides answers to certain questions and what these questions and answers are. Therefore it’s easier for Google to match them up with a certain query. Because of the structured way it’s set up it’s easier to point to an answer directly, which could be an advantage for voice search as well. Voice search typically works well if it can read out loud one singular answer to a question.

Q. If you have content blocks with structured data, does that increase your chance of ranking?

Joost: We can’t say that it will instantly make you rank higher. It will help Google understand your content better, which is always good and might give you an edge. And, of course, structured data is essential, if you’d like to get rich results in the search engines. We also suspect that if you have a page that is schematically divided into blocks with their own – related – keywords, it might be easier to make your page rank for multiple related keywords too.

Q. Ok, sounds great. But how is this connected to Yoast SEO?

Joost: We’re developing Yoast SEO content blocks with schema.org meta data. Shortly, we’ll launch the first blocks: FAQ blocks and How to blocks. This means you’ll be able to select such a block in the Gutenberg content editor. The block will help you fill out all the necessary data for that specific entity. In case of the How to, for instance, it will have fields for the time it’ll take and steps that are required. And, of course, it will add the applicable structured data to those fields. This ensures your content is offered the best way possible to search engines.

Omar: What’s more, it helps content creators and editors to provide the most complete information in a structured way on their site. Some content creators intuitively add all relevant information in their content, but if you use content blocks with structured data you’re sure you’re adding all necessary information to, for instance, your recipe or job posting.

With the introduction of schema blocks, we’re adding content elements to Yoast SEO for the first time. We’ll make sure those elements are well structured and themable. Our front-end developers and UX-designers are currently working on creating tutorials for theming these blocks. Of course we’ve given these elements basic default styles to make sure they can be used out of the box.

Q. What are your plans with them for Yoast SEO? What kind of blocks are you thinking of?

Omar: We have no restrictions, we’ll try to do as many as possible. In addition to the How to and FAQ block, we’re transforming the widgets and shortcodes in our Local SEO plugin to make them available as blocks too. We’ll work first on blocks which we can dogfood on Yoast.com, like Job posting and Event. After that we’ll just go for the popular ones, like Recipe.

Q. It all sounds amazing, aren’t there any drawbacks as well?

Joost: Blocks are very easy to reuse on different pages. But how will Google deal with that? Will search engines see it as duplicate content? With a single banner or buy button they’ll work it out, but what about reusing the same ‘how to’ on multiple locations on your site? Will Google see that as duplicate content? We’re very curious about that, because it’s not possible to canonicalize a single block yet.

6. Does this concept only exists in WordPress or in other CMS’s too? Will we go to a future where there will only be blocks?

Omar: Some other CMS’s are block based already. But most of them are less intuitive than Gutenberg will be. WordPress needs to make this move as well to be able to compete with website builders. It’s nice to see that Drupal is planning to include Gutenberg in their CMS as well, because they see how promising it is.

Joost: The block philosophy of Gutenberg is just very powerful, as the example above shows. So it’s interesting to see where this will go from here. I don’t believe that the future will only be blocks though, pages will still be a thing!

Read more: What is Gutenberg? »

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Once you finish a Yoast Academy SEO training course, you get a shiny certificate of completion and a badge you can embed on your site or share on social media. In this way, you can let everyone know about your newly acquired SEO expertise. Awesome! But how useful is SEO certification, really? Does it make a real difference? The honest answer: it sure can, but it depends on your needs and what you’re expecting.

Why getting an SEO certification matters

An SEO certification can help in a number of ways. Obviously, the actual proof of certification matters most to those of you who actually work in the fields of SEO or web design. Or are trying to get there! In this case, you can use your SEO certification to build trust among your customers and help advance your business. However, you can also use it to improve your resume if you work in a different field.

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But honestly, the most important reason to get SEO certified isn’t the piece of digital paper you get at the end. It’s the skills you build to get it. These skills are the real value you get from taking an online SEO course. That said, let’s go through the reasons why you may benefit from getting an SEO certification one by one.

#1 Build trust with your customers

If it’s important to you that others know about your SEO skills, you can use your SEO certification to prove this. You can embed your badge on your website and share your certificate on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Of course, where you follow a training course makes all the difference, here. Especially within the world of WordPress, Yoast is a well-known, and trusted brand, which stands for quality and world-class SEO knowledge. Embedding a certificate on your website means showing that you’ve learned from the best.

#2 Show that you do SEO the right way

By getting certified, you can show others how they can expect you to tackle SEO. At Yoast, we have very clear ideas about how you should practice SEO. We advocate a holistic and sustainable SEO strategy, built to last. And we’re known for this.

Of course, we think the world would be better off if everyone followed our lead. In our training courses, we preach what we practice. We don’t like tricks. We want sites to rank by being the best result. By taking a Yoast Academy training course, you make clear that you do SEO the right way, and have the tools to do it!

#3 SEO certification can boost your resume

SEO skills are very valuable! Lots of companies depend on good rankings for their revenue. A capable SEO can make a big difference. Employers know this, but how can they be sure you’re up to the task? Precisely because SEO is such a practical field, anyone can claim they’re an expert. I don’t even want to think about the number of people out there claiming to be SEO experts without having so much as a clue about what they’re talking about. With a certificate, you can back up your claims. You’ve put in the hours, you’ve completed a challenging training course. That’s valuable!

#4 You’ll learn a whole lot along the way

All of the previous arguments are aimed at impressing or persuading others. But the best reason to value an SEO certification is that taking a good training course helps you become a better SEO. Your certificate should not be a goal in and of itself, it should be a nice reward. There’s no better feeling than having worked hard to improve your skills, and seeing the confirmation that you’ve finished a training course successfully.

And when it doesn’t…

As I mentioned before, SEO is a very practical field. If you’re depending on our SEO certification to get you hired somewhere as an SEO expert without any previous experience in the field, don’t get your hopes up. Our training courses are the first step towards expertise. You’ll still have to apply the principles you’ve learned in the real world.

Fortunately, Yoast Academy excels at preparing you for this real-life context. Our training courses allow you to practice actual SEO skills. You can practice writing code and apply your knowledge to realistic example cases. Because of this, there’s only a very small bridge to gap between the theory and actual real-life SEO. You’ll be confident in your abilities, and deservedly so. And the results will bear that out!

Conclusion

There are a lot of good reasons to pursue an SEO certification. It helps build trust and, more importantly, you’ll learn a great deal along the way. On the other hand, don’t expect an SEO certification to magically open doors. The real world asks for real skills. Fortunately, our SEO training courses make sure you’re as well-prepared as possible.

Read more: Yoast Academy: Teach yourself SEO »

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