Here it is: our brand-new, better-than-ever Site structure training course! Want to find out how to make sure visitors and Google find their way around your site? In Yoast Academy’s new Site structure training, you’ll find out how to improve your rankings by creating the optimal site structure!

You can get the course for $129, but only in the first week, so don’t wait too long!

Why should I be excited about the new Site structure training?

Creating and maintaining a solid site structure is crucial. A clear site structure benefits your users, but is also important for SEO reasons. Search engines need a clear site structure to find your content and put it in their index. If you don’t have a clear site structure, chances are that Google won’t find your page, and this means people won’t see your page in the search results!

Still, site structure seems to be an afterthought for a lot of people. And this leads to SEO problems. Even if you set up a good structure, a growing site can quickly become a mess. Site structure isn’t something that can be taken care of automatically, you need to do this yourself. This new training will teach you everything you need to know about creating and maintaining a solid site structure. So, with this new Site structure course you really have a chance of getting ahead of your competition!

Why did we renew the Site structure training?

Site structure has changed a lot over the years, as has our understanding of it. Currently, SEO is all about context. Context, and the context of links, is what helps search engines make sense of things. Because of all these changes, we needed to revise our existing Site structure course. We did a lot of research, which resulted in a completely new approach to site structure. And because site structure works differently for different types of website, we cover blogs, eCommerce sites and other types of websites.

What will I learn in the new Site structure training?

The new Site structure training course is an online training you’ll get access to for a full year. You’ll learn how to create a perfect site structure from scratch, how to improve an existing site structure, and how to maintain your site structure. In each module, world-renowned SEO experts like Jono Alderson provide you with theory, best practices and tips.

In this course, we’ve divided site structure into two pillars: organizing your website and setting up a contextual linking structure. First, you’ll learn how to organize your site. How do you go about creating a clear homepage? What about navigation? A clear site organization is crucial for user experience. We’ll also go into taxonomies, and teach you how to use categories and tags correctly, to organize your site even better. Then, we’ll explain how to use contextual linking to show search engines which pages are most important, and to guide visitors and search engines through your site.

Furthermore, you’ll learn how to create different types of landing pages. These are the pages you want your audience to find when they search for specific keywords you’ve optimized for. And last – but certainly not least – we’ll teach you how to maintain your carefully crafted site structure.

Get it before the offer expires!

The Site structure training teaches you exactly how to create a solid site structure, so you can guide visitors to your most important pages and rank better! Make sure your site structure gets the attention it deserves by taking the Yoast Academy Site structure training. Get the course by clicking the button below. It is temporarily discounted at $129, so get it before the offer expires! If you have an All-in-one SEO training bundle, the new course will automatically be added to your account.

The post Out now: our new Site structure training! appeared first on Yoast.

We’ve got good news for you! Coming November 1st, we’ll release a completely renewed and improved Site structure training. Are you struggling to make your most important pages rank? Are your new articles not showing up properly in the search results? Or do you want to maintain control over your content on your growing website? Then this training is for you. Curious as to why we renewed the training? And to what you’ll learn in this course? Read on!

Why is site structure important?

A solid site structure is crucial for SEO. First of all, it benefits your users: if your site is easy to navigate, visitors will know their way around your website and easily find what they are looking for. In addition, more visitors will end up on the pages you want them to reach, like sales pages. As a result, a good site structure will benefit your SEO. Search engines use so-called user signals to find out how visitors experience your website. If they spend a lot of time on your site and return often, they probably enjoy your site and find it useful. Google uses this information to rank your site higher!

Site structure is also important because search engines need links to find your content and put it in their index, so people can find your site. If you don’t have a clear site structure, chances are that Google can’t find your page, and this means people won’t see your page in the search results! Moreover, by setting up a good linking structure, you can show search engines which of your pages are most important. It helps them understand which pages should rank for important keywords.

Read more: What is the importance of site structure »

In short, you really need a solid site structure, so people and Google understand what they can find on your site. Still, most people seem to forget about their site structure. And unfortunately, this isn’t something a plugin can solve. You need to do this yourself. So, if you want to get ahead of your competition, this Site structure training is your chance!

Why did we create a new course?

Currently, we are in the process of revising our Academy training courses. Site structure has changed a lot over the years, as has our understanding of it. Context in text, and the context of links, has become increasingly important over the last couple of years. We thought the way we ourselves, and other SEO outlets, were approaching site structure left something to be desired. So we decided to completely redefine the concept of site structure in this training.

What’s different in the new course?

In this renewed course, we tackle site structure based on two types of internal linking: organizing and classifying links, and contextual links. On the one hand, you use links in menus, breadcrumbs, and taxonomies to organize your website and make it easy to navigate. On the other hand, you use links within your content to facilitate another way of navigating your site. We also discuss different types of websites, like blogs, online shops, and company website. So, after this training, you’ll know exactly what you should do to improve the structure of your website!

What will I learn?

In this course, we’ll teach you how to organize every aspect of your site, including your homepage, categories, and your site-wide navigation. In addition, you’ll learn how to guide your visitors and Google through your site. We’ll teach you how to choose your most important pages and let Google know which pages you want to pop up highest in the search results. Moreover, you’ll learn how to go about crafting good landing pages for both blogs and eCommerce sites, so people find the pages you want them to find! And last but certainly not least, we’ll teach you how to maintain your site structure. You’ll learn how to use redirects, how to check your internal linking structure, and how to prevent competing with your own content.

Example Site structure Jono Alderson

Online and on-demand

This new Site structure training is an online course that allows you to learn about site structure anytime and anywhere you like. It consists of five modules, which are divided into several lessons. Each lesson contains interesting videos, in which our SEO experts – like Jono Alderson – explain everything you should know about site structure. To improve learning retention, we’ve also created reading materials. In these PDF files, we explore topics more broadly and we use different examples from the ones we use in the videos. To complete a lesson, you take a quiz. These quizzes test whether you understand the theory, and if you’re able to apply this new knowledge to realistic example cases.

Get ready: available November 1st!

Are you ready to help Google understand – and rank! – your site better? We’ll launch this brand-new Site structure training on November 1.

Don’t want to miss the launch? Subscribe to our newsletter!

The post Coming soon: brand-new Site structure training! appeared first on Yoast.

My very first blog post here on Yoast.com was about why you should focus on SEO as a blogger. That post was one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written, as I was not focussing on SEO at all back then. I honestly didn’t want to spend time doing keyword research and research my audience. Now, almost four months later, I’m having fun with optimizing my blog posts and am creating a routine in this. And with success, my average position in Google is rising, along with the total impressions and total clicks. Today, I will share why and how I’m optimizing my blog posts. 

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

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SEO for bloggers

In the beginning of June I was at a conference for Dutch speaking bloggers. I gave a talk about SEO for bloggers and attended several talks myself. One of the talks I saw was by the owner of a big mom blog in the Netherlands. When the audience asked her how she managed to grow, she explained it was a combination of writing a lot, using Google Search Console and using Yoast SEO Premium.

“Anyone could do it,” she told the audience.

Challenge accepted.

The day after the conference, I started optimizing my blog posts. And with success. Where my average organic growth was around 10 percent per month from the start of this year, it was a whopping 86% in June compared to May. Turns out that the SEO tips we give at Yoast, even work for bloggers! Who knew?

Well, probably everyone knew. At least at Yoast. But I’m stubborn and always used the ‘that won’t work for me’ card. But really, as I wrote before, I didn’t want to focus on SEO. I’m a blogger. Who needs SEO?

How to rise in Google

The process of rising to the first page or even the top three result is a long one. You need the right tools and you need the right plan. You need patience and you need to be able to analyze your current data.

To rise in Google, I use two tools:
Google Search Console and Yoast SEO Premium.

Google Search Console is a great tool to see what keywords people use, what the click through rate to your website is and what position you are. You can compare your data as well. The newest data unfortunately is 3 days old, so you need patience with growing.

While you can do this all without our SEO plugin, I can’t live without our premium plugin anymore. I use the premium plugin to check my internal linking structure and use the link suggestions to make sure I am linking to all relevant posts on my website.

It’s hard to decide which blog posts to optimize. I found out my blog post about a lipstick review I did last year, still generates a lot of traffic. I’m not a beauty blogger, but apparently the post hit home. But posts I wanted to rank, weren’t ranking at all. I picked one of those blog posts and started to optimize it. You can do this by completely rereading the text, checking the bullets of our content analysis and adding relevant links to other blog posts – the internal linking tool helps with that, and to link from other relevant posts to this post. Orphaned content – content that’s not linked to – is horrible and it’s something you need to fix as soon as possible if you want to rank. 

A great site structure is a must for both visitors and Google. Learn how to set it up today in our Site structure training! »

Site structure training Info

How to optimize without spending all day optimizing

I want to write. I want to blog. The last thing I want to do, is work on optimizing my blog posts for Google, Pinterest  or Facebook.

As I won’t go viral after I hit that publish button and I won’t get millions of hits after I shouted out that I blogged, I need to optimize the posts. I do this right after I finished a blog post. I reread it, go through all the bullets of the plugin and determine if I want to change its suggestions, or just ignore those stupid red and orange bullets that are out there to make my life miserable. The one thing I do check for every time, are internal links and a proper meta description. While writing meta descriptions are my nightmare, they are important in getting people to actually click that link.

Checklist

I’ve created my own checklist before I publish a post. While I sometimes go back to a blog post to create new links if I published new blogs, I make sure all my new posts at least check off the following:

  • There are at least 3 links to other blog posts I’ve written that are relevant to the topic. If there are no relevant links, I need to either create more content or perhaps remove the blog post altogether.
  • There is at least one relevant high quality image and it has the focus keyword in its alt description.
  • I’ve written a compelling meta description.
  • My readability is green. And if it’s not, the feedback it gave me was something I chose to deliberately ignore.
  • My SEO analysis is green. And if it’s not, the feedback it gave me was something I chose to deliberately ignore.
  • I’ve checked old blog posts to see if I can link to this new blog post.

Routine

It’s important to create your own routine in this. While in the beginning it might feel as if you’re messing around and it won’t have any use, if you continue to do the steps above, you will see improved results in Google and Google Search Console.

I’m curious how and if you are incorporating SEO tactics in your blogging. Please let me know, because I’m eager to learn from you too!

Read on: Site structure: the ultimate guide »

The post How to optimize without spending all day optimizing appeared first on Yoast.

Internal linking should be one of the key focus points in your SEO strategy. It’s my favorite aspect of SEO because it’s so very actionable. The Yoast SEO Premium plugin helps you set up a great internal linking structure very easily. And now, you get a 15% discount on the Yoast SEO Premium plugin! So let me explain the importance of a great internal linking structure. Learn how to get your site indexed by Google AND get a good ranking.

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

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Context is the SEO word of 2018

A lot of information about how Google works comes from patents. Whenever Google comes up with new technology, the next step is often to claim a patent. Studying these patents gives us lots of information about what Google is up to. These days, what keeps coming up is context. Bill Slawski, an SEO veteran, calls context the search term of the year.

In my opinion, Bill is right. Context is what helps Google make sense of the world around us. For instance, Google does not rank a text on the term ‘ballet shoes’ just because you use the word ‘ballet shoes’ in every other sentence. Google is getting better and better at figuring out what a text is about and how to fit it in the grand scheme of things. Google can read texts, so understanding of the context, synonyms, related words and concepts becomes critical. My post about related entities contains some more thoughts on this matter.

The context of internal links is important

The context in which we embed internal links is also becoming increasingly important. Google can determine whether or not links are useful to a reader, on the base of the text in which we’ve embedded these links. Relevant links are helpful for the user. Links that make sense will help with rankings of a post. If a post has lots of good contextual links from other pages, it will have a higher chance of ranking. So the context of a link, for example, the sentence in which we use a link is crucial for Google to establish whether or not a particular page should rank well in the search results pages. Text links within blog posts are, therefore, more valuable than random links in a footer.

Internal linking matters in two ways

Internal linking is imperative for SEO because of two reasons. For one, it is essential to get your site indexed. As Google crawls links, you’ll need links to every post and page on your site to make sure that Google comes around often enough to get your site saved in the index. Two, and more importantly, you need internal links to get your site ranked well. And that’s where the context of the internal links comes in. Links embedded in a meaningful context will help rank your site more than links in the footer of a text.

Internal links are a necessity to get your site indexed. The context of internal links is essential to get your site ranked — and how it gets ranked.

Yoast SEO helps with internal linking

Linking related content can seem daunting, especially if you’ve written a lot of articles. The internal linking tool of Yoast SEO Premium will help you set up an excellent, coherent and contextual internal linking structure. Our internal linking tool analyzes your texts and uses word analysis to determine which blog posts and articles are on similar topics. We show these suggestions to you in the sidebar, making it very easy to add related text links to these articles in your blog post. We have a couple of posts on why you should use it and how to use the internal linking tool.

Get started right away!

Improving your internal linking structure isn’t that hard. You can start enhancing your site today! Yoast SEO Premium will analyze all of your blog posts and makes suggestions for internal links to add to your posts. So, stop making excuses and get to it! And if you buy Yoast SEO Premium today, you’ll benefit from a 15% discount!

Read more: ‘Site structure: the ultimate guide’ »

The post The context of internal links appeared first on Yoast.

It’s one of the most frustrating problems you can encounter when working on your site’s SEO: one of your pages is ranking well in Google, but it’s ranking for the wrong keyword. You haven’t optimized this page for the keyword it’s ranking for, and the page you did optimize for that keyword, is nowhere to be found in the results pages.

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

Content SEO training bundle Info

It can be harmful to your CTR and conversion rate when the wrong page for a keyword pops up in the results pages, but what can you do about it? First, you should make sure the page you actually want to rank for your keyword can be properly crawled and indexed. If that is indeed the case, take a long, hard look at how you’ve optimized your content. Odds are, your content and your internal linking structure aren’t as good as you think at showing Google which page to rank for which keyword. Let’s dive into this a bit further in this Ask Yoast!

David Dumdei sent us his question on this matter:

Google insists on ranking our homepage for ‘computer services’ and completely ignores the page on our subdirectory ‘computer services’ that is actually optimized for this keyword. As our home page isn’t optimized for ‘computer services’, we rank low. What can we do if we already have great site structure and keyword optimization? I’m considering creating a subdomain to fix this issue.

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

When Google picks the ‘wrong’ page to rank for your keyword

“Don’t create a subdomain. I know that you think you have great site structure and keyword optimization, but if Google insists on ranking your homepage for a specific term that you have optimized another page for, then you probably do not have great site structure. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but that’s the way it is.

You probably need to interlink better and link better within your site. This is not something that’s easy. If you can’t figure it out yourself, hire an external SEO to help you do this, because creating a subdomain will only create more problems, not less. Good luck.”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Maybe we can help you out! Send an email to 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 on: ‘The ultimate guide to site structure’ »

The post Ask Yoast: Google ranking the ‘wrong’ page for keyword appeared first on Yoast.

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

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What does an anchor text look like?

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

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

Different kinds

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

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

Best practices for anchor texts

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

Don’ts in anchor texts

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

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

Internal linking and anchor texts

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

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

seo basics anchor text exact match example

An example of an exact match

seo basics anchor text freeflowing text

An example of a more free-flowing form of linking

This is anchor text

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

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

The post SEO basics: What is anchor text? appeared first on Yoast.

Some of the things Yoast SEO does are pure magic. Lots of things are just taken care of after you’ve installed the plugin. You don’t have to do anything about that. Simply installing Yoast SEO will fix a lot of important technical SEO things for you. The content side of SEO, though, is something you should always do yourself. Yoast SEO will help you, but you’ll need to make an effort for it. So there’s a lot of work in it for you. In this post, I’m going to tell to you about the things you need to do yourself, in order to make your SEO strategy successful.

Configure Yoast SEO properly

First of all, you need to configure Yoast SEO correctly. You should be aware that the plugin can’t perform to its full potential if the settings of Yoast SEO aren’t optimal for your specific website. So, make sure that the configuration of Yoast SEO is, in fact, in line with your website. The configuration wizard helps you take care of a lot of these settings, you can read about what it does in this post

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

SEO copywriting training Info

Keyword research… always

The second thing you need to make sure of is doing your keyword research right. You need to know that you’re focusing on the words that people actually are searching for. If you’re optimizing for a term nobody uses, you can rank number one, but you still won’t have any traffic. And if you’re optimizing for a term that’s so competitive that you won’t ever be able to rank for it, then you won’t get any traffic as well.

Doing your keyword research means getting inside the heads of your audience. It also means knowing your competition and estimating your chances to rank for a certain keyword. Yoast SEO will help you optimize your content for your keywords, but figuring out what the right keywords are, is your job.

Read more: ‘How to choose keywords that’ll attract traffic’ »

Write awesome content

The third thing you need to do yourself is to write awesome content. And that’s something you have to do manually. Of course, you can outsource this, but it’s something somebody has to do. Yoast SEO actually helps you to write both SEO-friendly, as well as readable texts with the content and SEO analysis. So you should use this feature and make sure your text is well-optimized for the search engines. But adding great content is still something you need to do yourself, it won’t happen magically.

Internal linking

Another thing you’ll need to do yourself is take care of your internal linking structure. This is very important because a proper internal linking structure will make sure that Google understands your website. And you want Google to understand your website. Otherwise, you will be competing with your own content for a place in the search results.

Yoast SEO (premium) will help you to do that, with our internal linking feature. But it’s still something you need to be actually doing yourself. Yoast SEO will make suggestions for articles you could link to, but you still have to put them in your article.

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

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Social previews and redirects

Social previews and redirects are features in Yoast SEO that’ll help you improve your SEO. Your effort is needed in order to gain an SEO advantage from these features. Part of your SEO strategy will be a strategy on social media, so Facebook and Twitter. And Yoast SEO can help you make those posts on Facebook, but you still have to hit that button and write the content. Same goes for the redirects. If a page is outdated, you want to redirect it to another page. But it won’t happen just magically; you have to create those redirects yourself.

Don’t forget your competition

Even if they’ve done all the things I talked about, some people are unable to rank for a specific term. Why is that? Well, I think a lot of it has to do with competition. Some search terms are so competitive, and dominated by high-authority brands, that it’s terribly hard for a starting out blog to rank between them. If you want to rank for ‘holiday home Florida’ and you’re just starting out as a blog, you’re probably not going to rank right away. You need to have a whole strategy, in which you focus on long-tail search terms first. So, part of why you’re not ranking has to do with the competition.

On top of that, SEO sometimes takes a long time. Don’t despair if you’re not ranking overnight. It can take a little while before you start ranking for specific search terms. It’s a process that requires a strategy and it takes some time before you see the results.

Conclusion

SEO is a lot of work. Yoast SEO magically takes care of most of the technical SEO stuff. The content side of SEO is a different story though. You’ll need to make an effort to set up a successful content SEO strategy. There are a lot of things you should work on, in which Yoast SEO can actually help you and take you by the hand. And don’t forget: whether or not you rank for specific terms also depends on your competition in your specific niche. 

Keep reading: ‘The ultimate guide to content SEO’ »

The post Yoast SEO: don’t just set it and forget it! appeared first on Yoast.

On your site, you’ll probably have a number of articles that are most dear to your heart. Articles you really want people to read. Articles you want people to find with Google. At Yoast, we call these articles your cornerstone articles. How do you make sure these articles pop up in a high position in the search engines? And how could the Yoast SEO plugin help you set up a cornerstone content strategy? I’ll tell you all about that in this blog post.

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

What is cornerstone content?

Cornerstone content are those articles that you’re most proud of. The articles that reflect the mission of your company and the ones you definitely want to rank for. In general, cornerstone content are lengthy articles and they tend to be informative.

Perhaps you’ve never put much thought in using a cornerstone content strategy. It is worth your time though. Think about the blog posts on your site. Which articles are most precious to you? Which articles are the most complete and authoritative? Choose these to be your cornerstone content.

Read more: ‘What is cornerstone content?’ »

What does Yoast SEO do with cornerstone content?

Two things are important for a successful cornerstone content approach:

  • Cornerstone content should be lengthy, well-written and well-optimized articles.
  • Cornerstone articles should have a prominent place in your site’s structure.

Yoast SEO will help you take care of both of these things!

1. Write awesome articles

The SEO and readability analysis in Yoast SEO will give you feedback on your writing. If you consider a post to be one of your cornerstone content articles, you should check the box ‘this article is cornerstone content’ beneath the focus keyword input field.

Indicating that an article is cornerstone content, will make the SEO analysis and the readability analysis a bit more strict. For example, we propose to write at least 300 words for a normal post. If a post is cornerstone content, we want you to write at least 900 words.

Our SEO analysis will help you optimize your blog post for the search engines. For cornerstone content, you have to go the extra mile. Make sure you use the focus keyword enough, mention your focus keyword in a few headings and optimize your pictures. Readability is equally important though. Our readability analysis helps you to, for instance, use enough headings and to write in short, easy to read sentences and paragraphs.

Keep reading: ‘How our cornerstone analysis helps you create your best articles’ »

2. Incorporate cornerstone content in your site structure

You have to link to your cornerstone articles to make them rank high in the search engines. By linking to your favorite articles, you’ll tell Google that these are the ones that are most important. That way, you won’t be competing with your own content for a place in the search engines.

Yoast SEO can help you link to your cornerstone content articles. If you use our premium plugin, you can use our internal linking tool. This tool will make linking suggestions for other posts based on the words you’re using in your post. The posts you’ve marked as cornerstone content articles – as described previously – will always appear on top of our list of suggestions. That way, whenever you’re writing about a specific topic, you’ll find the right cornerstone article to link to.

Using our internal linking tool will remind you to link to your cornerstones whenever you’re writing a new post. As a result, your cornerstones will stay on top in your linking structure. And that’s what they need to start ranking.

Read on: ‘How to incorporate cornerstone content?’ »

Cornerstone content strategy made simple with Yoast SEO

Your cornerstone content strategy consist of two elements. Your cornerstone content articles should be informative, nice to read and well-optimized. In addition to that, they should have a prominent place in your site’s structure. Yoast SEO helps you carry out both these things.

Don’t forget! You should update your cornerstone articles once in a while. On the post overview page of your WordPress install, you can use Yoast SEO to filter out your cornerstones. It’s a good idea to browse through these most precious articles every other month. Just make sure these articles are still up-to-date and get enough links. They deserve that little bit of extra attention!

Read more: ‘Why you should buy Yoast SEO Premium’ »

The post How to set up a cornerstone content strategy with Yoast SEO? appeared first on Yoast.

The article you are about to read is probably one of the easiest posts I have written in a long time, as its subject is right there next to the edit screen in WordPress: the internal linking tool, which is a part of Yoast SEO Premium. I have only written three lines right now, but I already have some general suggestions of posts to link to, like the one with our 12 most read posts of 2017. Makes sense. As I continue to write this article, the suggested posts will change to match what I am writing about.

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Internal linking is one of the most important ways to optimize your pages. Internal links contribute to a better site structure, easier crawling, and indexing of your pages, and might increase your time-on-site in Google Analytics. It’s a way to point Google to your main pages about a topic (cornerstone content).

Getting started with the internal linking tool

First things first, as always. We need to determine what your posts are about, and we do that by scanning your content. We would like you to help us a bit here, by starting that process for us in the settings of Yoast SEO:

Click the Analyze button to start analyzing and building these internal linking suggestions. That’s step one. No need to do that again, unless you have a specific reason for it. We will learn from each newly published posts what it is about.

What does the internal linking tool look like?

Now that we have analyzed your content, we can give you internal linking suggestions. It’s a convenient sidebar item in WordPress. It looks a bit like this, depending on your WordPress setup:

Internal linking tool yoast seo

On the left, you see “me” writing this article in WordPress, on the right you see a nice long list of articles we have written before. It’s divided into two sections:

  1. Cornerstone content
  2. Regular content

In our plugin, you can mark a specific article as cornerstone content right below the spot where you have been inserting the focus keyword for years:

Mark as cornerstone content

Checking that box will add it to the cornerstone content articles in our linking tool. These are the articles you want to link to most. These are the articles you want to rank for more general topics, like our Ultimate guide to content SEO. It makes sense to use these the most in your internal linking.

You have probably guessed that the other section contains all your related posts. To calculate these related posts, we use what we call a prominent words algorithm. No need to elaborate here, but trust me: it works. We will suggest the appropriate articles to link to in the current post you are writing.

The ease of adding internal links

In the internal linking tool, we use two icons:

  1. A checkmark for all the posts you have already linked to in your article
  2. A copy/paste icon. Click that icon, and we’ll add the link to your clipboard.

Now, how easy is that? That’s not all. There is a drag-and-drop functionality in there as well, which makes internal linking even easier. Simply click a link and hold your mouse button. Move to the spot where you want the link and release the button. Done!

Internal linking tool: drag & drop link

With this drag-and-drop option, you can create a related post block on the fly, just to name one of the possibilities. Now go and have fun with it, because this is all you need to create better internal links!

Oh, and just so there’s no confusion: the internal linking tool is indeed a feature of our paid plugin. It’s one of those extra features of our Yoast SEO Premium plugin that make it worth your while.

Read more: ‘Site structure: The ultimate guide’ »

The post Yoast SEO: How to use the internal linking tool appeared first on Yoast.

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

What is site structure?

Site structure refers to how you organize your website’s content. A website often consists of content on a variety of – related – topics, presented on posts and pages. Site structure deals with how this content is grouped, linked and presented to the visitor. If you structure your website well, it will benefit from this; users will find their way more easily and Google can index your URLs better. Taxonomies, like categories and tags, but also internal links, your navigation and breadcrumbs are the tools to structure your site.

Learn how to do this well. We’ve just launched a brand new site structure training. You can get the course for $129 this week!

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 blog posts, 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 – and users?

There are three reasons why site structure is important for Google and, therefore, for your chance of ranking 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 essential 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 blog posts 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.

3. Site structure is important for UX

So a decent site structure will help your site to rank high in Google. But don’t forget, site structure is important for the User eXperience (UX) too. The structure of your website should be reflected in the navigation of your website. If this structure is clear, your audience will easily find their way on your site. A good UX will increase your chances for people to convert: buy your products; subscribe to your newsletter or return for another visit. And Google likes sites that perform well too!

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.

1. 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 doesn’t exist anymore. That’s why you should redirect the URL.

2. Evaluate your categories

You should ensure that categories are about the same size. 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. In this case, you should evaluate and optimize your categories: perhaps merge or split some of them.

3. Improve your internal linking structure

You should link to the most essential content on your site to show Google that these articles are your best and most complete articles. A great internal linking structure is crucial for Google, but it makes sense to users too; you want them to read your best posts, right? Read Meike’s blogpost about Internal linking for SEO to learn how to improve your internal linking structure.

Read more: Avoid these site structure mistakes! »

Yoast helps you out!

Yoast SEO premium can really help you to set up and improve the structure of your site. The redirects functionality will allow you to easily redirect pages you delete (so you’ll pass on the linking juice to another page). And our related links functionality will make sure you are interlinking articles with similar topics.

On top of that, we have a brand new Site structure training! It will guide you through this process as it can be fairly complicated and overwhelming at times. So, take a look at our Site structure training.

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!

Keep reading: Site structure: the Ultimate guide »

The post What is site structure and why is it important? appeared first on Yoast.