Yoast SEO 14.3: Italian word forms in beta

The biggest eye-catcher in Yoast SEO 14.3 is word form support for the Italian language in the Premium analysis. This makes it language number seven to make use of this awesome feature. Find out all about it! Plus, Yoast SEO 14.3 comes with improved French word form support and a number of bug fixes.

Another language gets word form support

Over the past months, we’ve been quickly expanding our line-up of languages that support the word form feature in Yoast SEO Premium. For the first four languages — English, German, Dutch and Spanish —, we custom developed the word recognition functionality. This takes a lot of time and effort to get this right for every language.

As of Yoast SEO 14.1, we’re adding languages at an earlier stage and asking our users for feedback to build upon and improve. This way, you can already use the word form recognition features, while we continually make it better.

In Yoast SEO 14.3, we’re adding another language: this time it’s Italian! Again, this is a beta release and we’d like you to help us improve it. Now, we can find and recognize word forms in Italian much better than before, but not as good as the other languages we’ve implemented. That might mean that we don’t recognize every word correctly or that you’re noticing false-positives. If you find that happens, let us know!

Yoast SEO Premium: Word form support for Italian

As of today, Italian language users can use Yoast SEO Premium in 14.3 to get a more flexible, natural writing and editing environment. Besides, the possibility to optimize your text with synonyms and related keyphrases should not be understated. All these tools are fine-tuned to help you build the best possible content, without having to think about awkwardly fitting in keywords to get green bullets.

Curious what this all means? Check out this video, that’ll explain everything for you!

As of today, the full list of languages that have word form recognition support in Yoast SEO Premium:

Feedback button is live

The last couple of languages we’ve added word form support form received a beta status. For these releases, we’ll allow users to provide feedback to signal improvements. Once again, we’d like to ask Yoast SEO Premium users in the French, Italian and Russian languages to send us your findings. Together, we make word form support an even better tool for everyone!

If you use Yoast SEO Premium in French, Italian or Russian, you can see the new feedback option just below the focus keyphrase field. Simply click the link, and fill in the fields in the popup. We’re asking you to supply us with the following:

  • The focus keyphrase you’ve used for this specific piece of text.
  • The sentence in which you’ve noticed one of the assessments working incorrectly for the focus keyphrase you mentioned above.

That’s all! We’ll make sure to put your feedback to good use. It’ll help us improve your language. Here’s what that feedback option looks like:

You can now send us your feedback on word form recognition from the post editor

Improved French word forms

The first language for which we released word forms in beta, was French. We’ve received a bunch of feedback for this and — combined with our own research and enhancements —, we made a number of improvements. In Yoast SEO Premium 14.3, we can more easily:

  • recognize keywords in words ending in -is/us/os.
  • recognize keyphrases containing words ending in “ent” in the text.
  • recognize word forms in short French words (e.g. oursour; âmesâme).

Thanks to everyone who sent us feedback and keep it coming!

Bug fixes and code improvements

In every release of Yoast SEO, we fix bugs and find other ways to enhance our code. For instance, we’re always working on quality assurance, code styling and other behind the scenes work. In addition, we fix bugs because they often need fixing. Sometimes they can be as small making sure the itemlist in our FAQ schema output now correctly counts up from one. Find the complete list of changes in the changelog.

Yoast SEO 14.3: get it now!

One of our main goals is to steadily improve language support in Yoast SEO. Over a number of releases, we added word form recognition support for Italian, Russian and French, with more to come.

The post Yoast SEO 14.3: Italian word forms in beta appeared first on Yoast.

Equity and the Power of Community

Over the past week, I’ve been thinking a lot about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. I have been thinking about white supremacy, the injustice that Black women and men are standing up against across the world, and all the injustices I can’t know, and don’t see. 

The WordPress mission is to democratize publishing, and to me, that has always meant more than the freedom to express yourself. Democratizing publishing means giving voices to the voiceless and amplifying those speaking out against injustice. It means learning things that we otherwise wouldn’t. To me, it means that every voice has the ability to be heard, regardless of race, wealth, power, and opportunity. WordPress is a portal to commerce; it is a canvas for identity, and a catalyst for change.

While WordPress as an open source project may not be capable of refactoring unjust judicial systems or overwriting structural inequality, this does not mean that we, the WordPress community, are powerless. WordPress can’t dismantle white supremacy, but the WordPress community can invest in underrepresented groups (whose experiences cannot be substituted for) and hire them equitably. WordPress can’t eradicate prejudice, but the WordPress community can hold space for marginalized voices in our community.

There is a lot of racial, societal, and systemic injustice to fight. At times, change may seem impossible, and certainly, it’s been too slow. But I know in my heart that the WordPress community is capable of changing the world. 

If you would like to learn more about how to make a difference in your own community, here are a few resources I’ve gathered from WordPressers just like you.

10 years of Yoast and SEO: Webinar recap

Last Friday, May 29th, Yoast celebrated its 10th anniversary, and we invited everyone to join us! And what better way to celebrate than with an awesome, interactive webinar? We had multiple talks, Q&As, live site reviews, all with loads of SEO tips, insights and practical advice. Of course, we understand that not everyone could join the live webinar. So, here’s a quick recap of the sessions, plus the links to all the videos, so you don’t have to miss out!

Wondering what you’ll learn from the talks in this webinar? Here’s an example of someone’s takeaway from one of the sessions:

Pretty cool, right? Here are all the videos, so let’s dive right in!

Joost on 10 years of SEO for everyone

Remember what your world looked like in 2010? Joost takes you on a trip down memory lane and shows you some highlights of the past 10 years. What did Google (literally) look like back then? And how did this search engine evolve? But also: what didn’t change? Lots of advice we gave 10 years ago, still stands today. How’s that possible? Joost walks you through 10 years of Google and Yoast!
Plus, if you want to have a peek at Joost’s first official Yoast desk in his attic 10 years ago, you need to watch this video:

Marieke on the importance of readability

In this talk, Marieke explains why we feel readability is important for both your users and your SEO. She gives a few useful tips to improve the readability of your text and gives an insight into the readability analysis of our plugin. So, are you curious about why we would not recommend our plugin to literary heroes such as Dickens and Shakespeare? And what we site owners can all learn from children’s books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Watch the video to find out:

Three parallel live site reviews

Live site review – Technical SEO

Ever wanted to see how experts pick apart websites to offer advice on technical SEO? Here’s your chance! Joost de Valk and Jono Alderson tackle three websites — a horse ranch in the US, a shop making artisan leather bags and a self-help site —, and come up with a boatload of tips to improve these sites. You’ll get insights into international SEO, crawling, site structure, taxonomies, schema improvements and a lot more. Go check it out!

Live site review – User experience (UX)

What do clear call-to-actions, readable fonts, an intuitive design, useful videos, and high-quality copy all have in common? They’re essential for an excellent user experience on your site. In this webinar, Michiel, Thijs, Annelieke, and Judith walk you through a couple of websites and point out some common UX issues that happen on many sites and which you’d want to prevent on yours. Of course, they’ll highlight the great things about these websites too! In need of some examples of what (not) to do when it comes to the usability of your site? Check this out:

Live site review – SEO copywriting

During this review, Marieke, Willemien, Edwin and Fleur, discuss the content of a few different sites. And although the feedback they give is specific to these sites, these can be very helpful for any site owner out there. So watch their review if you want to know why it’s so important to keep a goal in mind while you write, how site structure can help your visitors and what our opinion is on stock photos:

Jono on how to use schema to build your brand and boost authority

Our resident SEO wizard Jono Alderson has been advocating the use of schema structured data for over 10 years. Over the years, structured data has been getting more and more important, but not really easier to implement — although the results of implementing it can get you great rewards. But why is Google pushing this so hard? And how does the Yoast SEO schema structured data framework fit into this story? Listen to Jono explain why this next frontier is now within reach for everyone. You can also learn how Yoast SEO makes implementing structured data a whole lot easier.

That’s it for this webinar – stay tuned!

That’s it for this recap! We hope you enjoyed it and got some great takeaways for your site; we really had an awesome time with all of you! This definitely won’t be our last webinar, so keep an eye on Yoast.com, social media, or just sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know!

The post 10 years of Yoast and SEO: Webinar recap appeared first on Yoast.

Page experience: a new Google ranking factor

A couple of weeks ago, Google announced Web Vitals — a new set of metrics to measure the speed and user experience of websites. Last week, Google announced that these metrics will make its way into a core algorithm update as new ways of judging and ranking sites based on the page experience they offer. This update is due to arrive some time in 2021.

UX matters, for real now

In 2010, Google announced that it would take site speed into account while determining rankings. In 2018, Google followed up with the page speed ranking factor in the mobile search results. Now, Google announces a new update that looks at a variety of new or updated metrics — combined with other user experience factors, to form the page experience update.

Page experience you say? In an ideal world, you’d click a link in the search results and the corresponding page would appear instantly. But we all know that’s a pipe dream. Over the years, pages have only increased in size and the popularity of JavaScript made them ever more complex and harder to load. Even with lightning-fast internet connections and potent devices, loading a web page can be a drag. For users, waiting for pages to load can be stressful as well. Not to mention the maddening on-site performance that some websites offer that lead to miss-clicks and the like.

For years, optimizing the performance of websites mostly meant optimizing for speed. But loading times are only part of the equation and the other part is harder to define and measure. This is about how a user experiences all those optimizations. The site might be fast according to the metrics, but does it feel fast? Thus, it’s high time to take a drastic look at page experience.

According to Google, “Great page experiences enable people to get more done and engage more deeply; in contrast, a bad page experience could stand in the way of a person being able to find the valuable information on a page.”

Enter Web Vitals

Early May 2020, Google announced Web Vitals — a thoroughly researched set of metrics to help anyone determine opportunities to improve the experience of their sites. Within those new metrics, there is a subset of metrics every site owner should focus on, the so-called Core Web Vitals. According to Google, “Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience.”

Each Core Web Vital looks at a specific piece of the page experience puzzle and together they help both Google and yourself make sense of the perceived experience of a site. Core Web Vitals are available in all Google tools that measure the page experience.

The Core Web Vitals will evolve over time and new ones might be added in due time. For 2020, Google identified three specific focal points:

  • Loading,
  • Interactivity,
  • Visual stability.

These focal points correspond with three new metrics:

  • LCP, or Largest Contentful Paint: This metric tells how long it takes for the largest content element you see in the viewport to load.
  • FID, or First Input Delay: The FID looks at how long it takes for a browser to respond to an interaction first triggered by the user (clicking a button, for instance)
  • CLS, or Cumulative Layout Shift: This new metric measures the percentage of the screen affected by movement — i.e. does stuff jump around on screen?
The new Core Web Vitals are aimed helping you improve the page experience of your site (image Google)

As you see, these core metrics don’t simply look at how fast something loads. They also look at how long it takes for elements to become ready to use. The Cumulative Layout Shift is the most forward-thinking of the bunch. This has nothing to do with speed, but everything with preventing a bad user experience — like hitting a wrong button, because an ad loaded at the final moment. Think about how you feel when that happens? Pretty infuriating, right?

Combining new metrics with existing ranking factors

The launch of Web Vitals was noteworthy on its own, but Google took it up a notch this week. Google is going to use these new metrics — combined with existing experience ranking factors, to help with ranking a pages. Keep in mind, Google uses an unknown number of factors to judge sites and rank them. Some factors weigh a lot, but most have a smaller impact. Combined, however, they tell the story of a website.

The new Web Vitals join several existing factors to make up the page experience ranking factors:

  • Mobile-friendliness: is your site optimized for mobile?
  • HTTPS: is your site using a secure connection?
  • Interstitial use: does your site stay away from nasty pop-ups?
  • Safe browsing: is your site harmless for visitors?

These are now joined by real-world, user-centred metrics, like the LCP, FID and CLS mentioned earlier. Combined, these factors take into account everything a user experiences on a website to try to come up with a holistic picture of the performance of your site, as Google likes to say.

The Core Web Vitals are combined with existing ranking factors to form the page experience factors (image Google)

Of course, this is just another way for Google to get a sense of how good your site is and it might be easy to overstate the importance of this particular update. It’s still going to be impossible to rank a site with a great user experience but crappy content.

While the quality of your content still rains supreme in getting good rankings, the performance and perceived experience users have now also come into play. With these metrics, Google has found a way to get a whole lot of insights that look at your site from all angles.

Our own Jono Alderson and Joost de Valk talked about the recent news in the latest instalment of SEO News, part of the premium content in our Yoast SEO academy subscription. Sign up and be sure to check that out.

Google page experience update in 2021

Google has often been accused of not communicating with SEOs and site owners. In the past, we have seen many core algorithm update happen without a word from a Googler. Today, however, Google appears more upfront than ever. In the case of the page experience update, Google warns us twice: one with the announcement of the page experience ranking factors and once six months in advance of rolling out the update in 2021.

By announcing this way ahead of time, Google gives site owners, SEOs and developers ample time to prepare for this update. There are loads of new tools to come to grips with how these metrics function and how you can improve your site using these insights. There’s a lot of new documentation to sift through. And you can start right now. Sometime next year, Google will give you a heads up that the update will be rolling out in six months time.

No more AMP requirements for Top Stories

You can find another interesting tidbit regarding the page experience update. Google will no longer require AMP for getting your news pages in the Top Stories section. Now, any well-built, Google News-validated site can aim for that top spot. Page experience will become a ranking factor for Top Stories, so your site better be good.

New page experience tools? You got it!

Google went all out for to get every site owner to adapt to the page experience changes. New or updated tools help you get the insights you need. They also help you to make sense of what it all means.

Start testing, start improving!

In the past, optimizing your site for user experience and speed was a bit like flying blind — you never had truly good insights into what makes a site fast and what makes one feel fast. Over the years, Google saw the need for good metrics and heard the cries of users in need of usable, safe and fast sites. By announcing these metrics — and by announcing them as ranking factors —, Google makes page experience measurable and deems it helpful enough to judge sites by.

Remember, the update won’t roll out until sometime in 2021, but the tools are there, so you can start testing and improving. Good luck!

The post Page experience: a new Google ranking factor appeared first on Yoast.

Searching without result: Insights from zero result searches

When users search on your website and find no results, that’s usually a bad experience. But if you track these “zero result searches”, you might find yourself with data that can help you identify new content and service opportunities. It might also tell you a lot about the difference between how you see your website and how your users see it.

The gap between brand identity vs. brand perception

Almost every website owner can explain in a few sentences what their website is about, and why people should visit it. This is the identity of your website. Separately to that, each visitor creates their own impression of your website (influenced by your design, content, tone, and so on). This is brand perception.

If you’re doing a great job with your marketing and your messaging, there should be little difference between your identity and your brand perception. That way you’re building a consistent brand for your business.

But that’s a hard balance to strike. And if you get a lot of visitors to your site, it’s likely that they’ll all have slightly different opinions of and experience with your pages. They might have diverse expectations, backgrounds, and cultural influences. That’ll make it harder for you to ‘land’ your stories and messaging.

That creates a gap. The wider that gap, the harder it’ll be for you to convince users to take action. You haven’t convinced them, helped them, or made them believe.

In our experience, most websites aren’t always successful in achieving this harmony of brand and brand perception. But how can you determine whether this is the case on your site? Well, your on-site search can provide some helpful insight.

Insight from zero result searches

A search query with no results can have quite a few different meanings, all of them useful information to help you improve your website. The most common ones are:

1. Right content, wrong visitors?

Perhaps your visitors are expecting to find a certain piece of information on your website, but shouldn’t have been on your website in the first place (a discrepancy between your identity and the brand perception of your visitor).

Maybe you’re attracting the wrong kind of visitors for what you’re offering (or in the wrong stage of a buying process). Take a look at the traffic source in order to determine if you’re ranking on the proper keywords or targeting the right terms with your campaigns.

Or, perhaps you’re attracting the right kinds of visitors, but they’re going to the wrong content – and they’re getting mixed signals about what products or services you offer (or don’t).

Aligning the right types of people to the right pages and content might mean that they never have to search in the first place. A good way to ensure this is by optimizing your site structure.

2. Missed opportunities

The other way to view this problem is to see it as an opportunity. If you’re attracting visitors who’re engaging with your site but searching for products/services/information you don’t have, perhaps you can meet that need.

Imagine your website is for a bakery which sells cupcakes. You may find that lots of people search your site for ‘donuts’, but they get no results.

Maybe, instead of working to change your brand perception and all of your campaigns, you could start to sell donuts. In fact, you already have some great data to help you to understand the market demand and consumer behaviour. And the customers are already on your site.

Of course, real-world production, marketing and logistics challenges are never ‘simple’, but zero result searches can be a great way to spot the next big thing you should pivot into.

3. Keyword choices

The words used by the visitor when searching for something are different from the vocabulary used on the website. For example; your visitor searches for “VAT” but the website only contains a section about “goods and services tax”. So they don’t find what they’re looking for.

This situation is a great chance to improve your website. You will be presented with a list of quickly fixable “issues”; keywords used by your visitors which are not present on your website at the moment. If you can work out what those searchers wanted, you can go back to your content and diversify your language and phrasing to match their vocabulary and tone.

That’ll help you to solve their problems, and, to close the gap between brand identity and perception.

Read more: The ultimate guide to keyword research »

4. Your internal search engine isn’t good enough

In some cases, it may be that you already have all of the right content you need to solve your users problems – but that they’re not finding it when they search. Perhaps the results aren’t in a great order, or, some pages aren’t showing up at all? It’s important to have an internal search engine that functions properly.

If your site is running on WordPress, and you’re using the default settings, then you may find that your results prioritize recency over relevance, which isn’t always a good fit for searchers. You might consider using a plugin that alters WordPress’ search behavior, and makes it more configurable (like Relevanssi).

How do I set up the tracking?

If you’re one of the many people who use Google Analytics (and/or Google Tag Manager), then this guide should give you a great starting point to set up your tracking.

You may find that the details differ a little for you, depending on a few variables. If you’re using a different analytics package, or, if your on-site search isn’t ‘normal’, then you might need to do some work to get everything set up properly.

In conclusion: 0 results can be very useful

Yes, zero result searches can be a bad experience for your users. But by tracking them you can turn these experiences into useful information to improve your site.

By analyzing these searches you can figure out whether the right people are visiting your site or whether your audience is able to find their way around your site. You can also use the search queries as inspiration in the products and services you offer. Or find out whether you’re focusing on the right keywords, the ones your audience uses. It can also give you insight into your internal search engine and if it’s functioning the way you want it to.

Enough reasons to set up the tracking through your Analytics, right?

Keep reading: More on website optimization: 6 daily SEO tasks »

The post Searching without result: Insights from zero result searches appeared first on Yoast.

The Month in WordPress: May 2020

May was an action-packed month for WordPress! WordPress organizers are increasingly moving WordCamps online, and contributors are taking big steps towards Full Site Editing with Gutenberg. To learn more and get all the latest updates, read on. 


Gutenberg 8.1 and 8.2

Gutenberg 8.1 was released on May 13, followed quickly by Gutenberg 8.2 on May 27. 

  • 8.1 added new block pattern features making it easier to insert desired patterns, along with a new pattern. It also added a button to  collapsed block actions for copying the selected block, which will help touchscreen users or users who don’t use keyboard shortcuts. 
  • 8.2 introduced block pattern categories and a `viewportWidth` property that will be particularly useful for large block patterns. There is also a new content alignment feature, and enhancements to improve the writing experience. 

Both releases include a number of new APIs, enhancements, bug fixes, experiments, new documentation, improvement to code quality, and more! To learn the latest, visit the announcement posts for Gutenberg 8.1 and Gutenberg 8.2.

Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Gutenberg Phase 2: Steps Towards Full Site Editing

Contributors are currently working hard on Phase 2 of Gutenberg! Where Phase 1 introduced the new block editor with WordPress 5.0, Phase 2 sees more customization and includes one of the biggest Gutenberg projects: Full Site Editing (FSE). At the moment, work on WordPress 5.5 has been initiated and contributors decided to include basic functionality for Full sSte Editing in this release. FSE hopes to streamline the site creation and building process in WordPress using a block-based approach. There’s a lot of conversation and new information about FSE, so communication around the project is very important. On May 28th, a conversation was held in the #core-customize channel to discuss FSE and the future of the Customizer. To help everyone track the latest information, this post summarizes ways to keep up with FSE.

Want to get involved with Gutenberg and FSE?  Follow the Core team blog and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. You can also check the FSE pull requests and issues on GitHub.

Theme Review Team Rebranding

Representatives of the Themes Review Team have decided to update their team name to “Themes Team.” This decision reflects changes that the block editor brings to the landscape of themes with the Full Site Editing project. The team has always been involved in projects beyond reviewing WordPress.org themes and lately, the team has been contributing more to themes in general — including open-source packages, contributions to Full Site Editing, the Twenty Twenty theme, and more. You can read more about the name change in the team’s meeting notes.

Want to get involved with the Themes Team? Follow the Themes blog here, or join them in the #themereview channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Online WordCamp Program Announced

To assist organizers with moving their WordCamps online, the WordPress Community team has prepared a new set of guidelines for online WordCamps. The Community Team will cover online production and captioning costs associated with any online WordCamp without the need for local sponsorship. The team also updated its guidelines to cover the regional focus of online events, and modified the code of conduct to cater to the new format. The WordCamp schedule has also been updated to indicate whether an event is taking place online or not. You can find resources, tools, and information about online WordPress events in our Online Events Handbook. They have also prepared a new set of guidelines for in-person events taking place in 2020, in the light of COVID-19 challenges. 

Want to get involved with the Community team? Follow the Community blog here, or join them in the #community-events channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. To organize a Meetup or WordCamp, visit the handbook page

BuddyPress 6.0.0 “iovine’s”

On May 13th, BuddyPress 6.0.0, known as “iovine’s,” was released. This release includes two new blocks for the WordPress Editor: Members and Groups. It also saw the completion of the BP REST API, adding the six remaining endpoints, and the move or local avatar management to the Members component. Beyond that, 6.0.0 includes more than 80 changes, made possible by 42 contributors. 

Want to download this latest version of BuddyPress? Get it here.  You can also help by translating BuddyPress into another language or letting the team know of any issues you find in the support forums.

WordCamp Spain Online Concludes Successfully

WordPress Meetup organizers in Spain joined hands to organize WordCamp Spain online from May 6 to 9, which proved to be a huge success. The event had more than 5,500 attendees, 60 speakers, and 16 sponsors. Over 200 people from around the world participated in the Contributor Day. Matt Mullenweg hosted an AMA for the participants, facilitated by Mattias Ventura’s on-the-spot Spanish translation. 

If you missed the event, you can watch videos from WordCamp Spain online at WordPress.TV. Want to organize a regional WordCamp? Learn more about that here!


Further Reading:

Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

Celebrating 10 years of Yoast: 20% off everything!

Woohoo! Yoast’s 10th birthday is coming up on the 28th of May 2020! You might have seen our celebration calendar over the last month, where we’ve taken a trip down memory lane. And we’re so happy that you’re along for the ride. As a thank you, we’d love to give you a gift: for the next few days, you’ll receive a 20% discount on ALL Yoast products!

My personal recommendations

1. Yoast SEO Premium

Joost created the original WordPress SEO plugin back in 2010. And to this day, it’s our most popular plugin. It’s even the #1 WordPress SEO plugin out there! We’re super proud of all the amazing things this plugin can do for your site. You’ll be able to:

  • Optimize your site for the right keywords
  • Avoid dead links in your site with the redirect manager
  • Get previews for sharing on social media
  • Receive content quality and link suggestions – as you write!

This is a limited-time offer, so get it while it lasts!

2. Yoast SEO: readability analysis

Our mission at Yoast is “SEO for everyone”, which is why I want to highlight one of my favorite features of the free version of Yoast SEO: the readability analysis. This analysis makes sure that your text is easy to read for your readers. Why?

Readability determines whether people understand the message you’re trying to get across with your text. And trust me, this is important for your SEO and sales. So make sure to use this feature in Yoast SEO to write excellent, SEO-proof copy!

Install the free version of Yoast SEO ▸

3. Yoast SEO academy Premium subscription

In 2015, we launched the Yoast SEO Academy, which was sort of my Yoast-baby at the time. The online SEO training courses in Academy teach you vital SEO skills you can apply right away. Do you want to learn everything there is to know about SEO? Our Premium training subscription includes:

  • All content SEO training courses
  • All technical SEO training courses
  • The latest SEO news from our experts

This is a limited-time offer, so get it while it lasts!

4. Yoast SEO academy Content subscription

If you know me, you’ll know that I’m crazy about content. Trust me, content SEO should be a key part of your SEO strategy! Because without content, it’s impossible for your site to rank in search engines. That’s why we’ve created the Yoast SEO academy Content subscription, which focuses on content SEO. The courses in this subscription teach you everything you need to know to create awesome SEO content. This subscription includes:

  • Keyword research training
  • SEO copywriting training
  • Site structure training
  • All-around SEO training
  • The latest SEO news

Get the Content SEO training subscription ▸

These are my personal favorites and I hope that they’ll become your favorites too! But, there’s more! Have you heard about our local SEO plugin? Or the Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin? Check out our overview of all products that you can now purchase with a 20% discount!

This is a limited-time offer, so get it while it lasts!

The post Celebrating 10 years of Yoast: 20% off everything! appeared first on Yoast.

Yoast SEO 14.2: Russian word forms in beta

Our linguists are busy bees lately. Over the last couple of releases, we’ve launched word form support for Yoast SEO Premium users writing in Spanish and French. These languages follow the languages that already had word form support: English, German and Dutch. In Yoast SEO 14.2, we’re adding yet another language: Russian! And, once again, this is a beta release and we’d like to ask you to help us improve it.

Russian word forms, now in beta

High-quality content is essential for getting your site noticed by readers and search engines alike. Making your content awesome can be hard, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of over-optimizing your articles by using your focus keyphrase over and over again. Writing like this leads to content that’s hard to read. Since adding our readability analysis, Yoast SEO helps you to circumvent these problems and improve your writing. Yoast SEO Premium takes that to another level and enables you to turn into a lean, mean writing machine.

The Premium analysis makes the writing process much more natural. It’s flexible and smart, helping you improve your articles without having to go to great lengths to fit in your focus keyphrases awkwardly. As of 14.2, Yoast SEO Premium is much better at finding your focus keyphrases in Russian, even if the words are in a different grammatical form — and spread across a sentence. Of course, this is a beta release, so there might be instances where Yoast SEO doesn’t correctly find a word. If you encounter this — or if you have any suggestions for improvements — please contact us.

The Yoast SEO Premium analysis also comes with support for synonyms and related keyphrases. Using synonyms in your text makes the content come alive and reduces the need for repetition of your main focus keyphrase. By also adding related keyphrases, you can paint a complete picture of your subject, making the text rich and authoritative.

Getting good feedback on your Russian writing is now much easier

Yoast employs several Russian colleagues. One of them works on the team that develops the language part of the plugin, so we thought it would be awesome if she introduces the Russian word forms feature for our Russian audience.

Help us improve language support

As a reminder, we’d like to ask you once again to help us improve word form support for new languages. The launch of Russian word forms — like the release of French in Yoast SEO 14.1 — consists of a beta version that we’re improving and expanding as we go. We use this first release to get Russian up and running. Now, we can find and recognize word forms in Russian much better than before, but not as good as the other languages we’ve implemented. That might mean that we don’t recognize every word correctly or that you’re noticing false-positives. If you find things like this, we’d like to know!

To help us collect your insights and experiences, we’re working on a unique language feedback system inside the plugin. That’s not done yet, so until then, you can send us your improvements via email.

While sending us your feedback, please include the following:

  • The focus keyphrase you’ve used for this specific piece of text.
  • The sentence in which you’ve noticed one of the assessments working incorrectly for the focus keyphrase you mentioned above.

Our team of linguists will do the rest. Thanks for your help!

Improvements in Yoast SEO 14.2

Among other things, we’ve fixed several issues with breadcrumbs. One of these bugs turned the order of breadcrumbs on its head, which is not something we like. Things should work as expected now. We’ve also changed how we check if a focus keyphrase was used before. We currently run this against our indexable table, making the process more efficient.

Update now to Yoast SEO 14.2

We’ve added a new language to Yoast SEO Premium: Russian. Now, those writing in the Russian language can enjoy a more flexible, natural way of improving their posts. We have many more languages coming up! Remember, if you have feedback on these beta language releases, please let us know. We want to make everything work flawlessly, so we need your help.

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What is keyword cannibalization?

If you optimize your articles for similar terms, your rankings might suffer from keyword cannibalization: you’ll be ‘devouring’ your own chances to rank in Google! Especially when your site is growing, chances are your content will start competing with itself. Here, I’ll explain why keyword cannibalism can be detrimental to SEO, how you can recognize it and what to do about it.

What is keyword cannibalization?

Keyword cannibalization means that you have various blog posts or articles on your site that can rank for the same search query in Google. Either because the topic they cover is too similar or because you optimized them for the same keyphrase. If you optimize posts or articles for similar search queries, they’re eating away at each other’s chances to rank. Usually, Google will only show 1 or 2 results from the same domain in the search results for a specific query. If you’re a high authority domain, you might get 3.

Why is keyword cannibalism bad for SEO?

If you cannibalize your own keywords, you’re competing with yourself for ranking in Google. Let’s say you have two posts on the exact same topic. In that case, Google can’t distinguish which article should rank highest for a certain query. In addition, important factors like backlinks and CTR get diluted over several posts instead of one. As a result, they’ll all probably both rank lower. Therefore our SEO analysis will give a red bullet whenever you optimize a post for a focus keyword you’ve used before.

But, keyword cannibalism can also occur if you optimize posts for focus keywords that are not exactly, but almost the same. For instance, I wrote two posts about whether or not readability is a ranking factor. The post ‘Does readability rank?‘ was optimized for [does readability rank], while the post ‘Readability ranks!‘ was optimized for the focus keyword [readability ranking factor]. The posts had a slightly different angle but were still very similar. For Google, it is hard to figure out which of the two articles is the most important.

Update: Did you see the same article? That’s correct, by now we’ve fixed this cannibalization issue, but we’ve kept this example for the sake of illustration.

How to recognize it?

Checking whether or not your site suffers from keyword cannibalism is easy. You simply do a search for your site, for any specific keyword you suspect might have multiple results. In my case, I’ll google site:yoast.com readability ranks. The first two results are the articles I suspected to suffer from cannibalization.

Googling ‘site:domain.com “keyword” will give you an easy answer to the question of whether you’re suffering from keyword cannibalism. You can check your findings by typing the same keyword into Google (using a private browser or local search result checker like https://valentin.app/). Which of your pages do you see in the search results, and what position do they rank? Of course, if two of your pages for the same keyword are ranking #1 and #2, that’s not a problem. But do you see your articles, for example on positions 7 and 8? Then it’s time to sort things out!

Solving keyword cannibalization

We have an extensive article written by Joost that explains how to find and fix cannibalization issues on your site. It clearly describes the four steps you should take to solve these kind issues:

  1. Audit your content
  2. Analyze content performance
  3. Decide which ones to keep
  4. Act: merge, delete, redirect

The first two steps will help you to decide which articles to keep and which ones to merge or delete. In many cases, the acting part will consist of combining and deleting articles, but also to improve internal linking on your site:

Merge/ combine articles

If two articles both attract the same audience and basically tell the same story, you should combine them. Rewrite the two posts into one amazing, kickass article. That’ll help your rankings (Google loves lengthy and well-written content) and solve your keyword cannibalization problem.

In fact, that’s exactly what we did with our two posts on readability being a ranking factor. In the end, you’ll delete one of the two articles and adapt the other one. And don’t forget: don’t just press the delete button; always make sure to redirect the post you delete to the one you keep! If that’s something you’re struggling with, Yoast SEO Premium can help: It makes creating redirects easy as pie!

Improve internal linking

You can help Google to figure out which article is most important, by setting up a decent internal linking structure. You should link from posts that are less important, to posts that are the most important to you. That way, Google can figure out (by following links) which ones you want to pop up highest in the search engines.

Your internal linking structure could solve a part of your keyword cannibalism problems. You should think about which article is most important to you and link from the less important long-tail articles, to your most important article. Read more about how to do this in my article about ranking with cornerstone content.

Keyword cannibalization and online shops

Now, if you have an online shop, you might be worried about all those product pages targeting similar keywords. For online shops, it makes sense that there are multiple pages for products that are alike. It’s very important to give site structure some thought in this case. A good strategy is to link back from every product page to your category page – the page you should optimize to rank. And keep an eye on old product pages that could potentially cannibalize more important pages, and delete and redirect those – Yoast SEO Premium could help make that easier with its handy redirect manager!

Keyword cannibalism will affect growing websites

If your site gets bigger, your chances increase to face keyword cannibalism on your own website. You’ll be writing about your favorite subjects and without even knowing it, you’ll write articles that end up rather similar. That’s what happened to me too. Once in a while, you should check the keywords you want to rank for the most. Make sure to check whether you’re suffering from keyword cannibalism. You’ll probably need to make some changes in your site structure or to rewrite some articles every now and then.

Read more: Keyword research: the ultimate guide »

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Optimize for rich results with the Rich Results Testing Tool

Google has loads of interesting free tools, but two important ones for helping you improve your site are Search Console and the Rich Results Testing Tool. Search Console helps you get a general feel for how your site is doing in the SERPs, plus to keep an eye on any errors to fix and improvements to make. The other one, the Rich Results Testing Tool, helps you see which of your pages are eligible for rich results. Rich results are those highlighted search results like FAQ listings and event listings. 

What can you do with this tool?

Rich results are incredibly important in today’s world. Once you add structured data to your site, you get a chance of a highlighted listing in the SERPs. This gives you an edge over your competitor as these tend to get more clicks. For many sites and types of content, it can make sense to target rich results.

The FAQ is a recent example of a rich result. Yoast SEO helps you build these with structured data content blocks.

In this post, we won’t go into detail on how to get structured data on your site. If you’d like to dive into that, please read our ultimate guide to schema.org structured data. Or find out how Yoast SEO automatically applies a lot of structured data to your site.

Here, we’d rather take a look at how to verify your eligibility and what you can do to improve on that. Google’s Rich Results Testing Tool helps you check your pages to see if they have valid structured data applied to it and if they might be eligible for rich results. Not only that, but you’ll also find which rich results the page is eligible for and get a preview of how these would look for your content.

How to use it the Rich Results Testing Tool?

Using the Rich Results Testing Tool is very easy. There are two ways to get your insights: enter the URL of the page you want to test or enter the piece of code you want to test. The second option can be a piece of structured data or the full source code of a page, whichever you prefer.

While testing, you can also choose between a smartphone and a desktop crawler. Google defaults to the smartphone crawler, since we’re living in a mobile-first indexing world, people! Of course, you can switch to desktop if needed. 

Enter a URL or a piece of code to get going. You can also choose between a smartphone or desktop crawler.

There is a difference, of course. It is a good idea to use the URL option if your page is already online. You’ll see if the page is eligible for rich results, view a preview of these rich results, and check out the rendered HTML of the page. But there’s nothing you can ‘do’ in the code. The code option does let you do that.

This particular page has a valid FAQ and is, therefore, eligible for rich results — which you can see in the first screenshot.

Working with structured data code

If you paste a piece of JSON structured data into the code field and run the test, you get the same results as the URL option. However, you can now also use the code input field to edit your code to fix errors or improve the structured data by fixing warnings.

Did you know?

Do you know Yoast SEO comes with awesome free structured data blocks for how-to and FAQ content?

So, how do you go about this?

  1. Find and copy the code you want to test
  2. If it’s minified, unminify it for better readability
  3. Paste the code in the code field of the Rich Results Testing Tool
  4. Run the test

You’ll get a view similar to the one below.

Code input on the left, rich results test on the right. You can now edit the code and quickly run the test after making those edits to see the changes.

Editing an event page

The page you see above is an event page and you’ll notice a warning in orange. Now, remember: red is an error and orange a warning. An error you have to fix to be valid, but a warning is a possible improvement to make. Because this concerns a free event, the page misses an offers property. I could, however, add one to make the warning disappear and round out this structured data listing.

Take a look at Google’s documentation about events and find out how they’d like the offers to appear in the code. To keep it simple, you could copy the example code and adapt this to your needs. Find out a good place for it in your structured data on the left-hand side of your Rich Results Testing Tool screen and paste the code.

You could add something like:

"offers": {
        "@type": "Offer",
        "url": "https://www.yoast.com/yoastcon/tickets/",
        "price": "30",
        "priceCurrency": "USD",
        "availability": "https://schema.org/InStock",
        "validFrom": "2020-04-21T12:00"
      },

Run the test again and it should all turn green. If not, you might have to check if you’ve correctly applied and closed your code.

Added the correct code and the warning is gone. The structured data is entirely valid!

Once you’ve validated your code and you know it’s working, you can apply it on your own pages. Keep in mind, I’ve described a very simple way of validating your code and there are other ways to scale this into production. But that’s not the goal of this article. Here, I’d like to offer you a quick insight into structured data and what you can do with the Rich Results Testing Tool.

See a preview of your rich results

One of the coolest things in the Rich Results Testing Tool is the preview option. This gives you an idea of how that particular page or article will appear on Google. There’s a number of rich results that you can test, like breadcrumbs, FAQs, job postings, recipes, and many more.

For some, like the how-to, Google even shows multiple previews. There are two different mobile how-to rich results, plus a preview of how that how-to would look on a screen-based Google Assistant. Cool right?

The how-to online works on mobile and screen-based Google Assistant devices. Use Yoast SEO how-to content blocks to make a valid how-to article.

These previews aren’t just to show off — you can use the previews to improve the look of the rich results. In the case of the how-to, maybe the images look weird or some steps are unclear or maybe the title is not very attractive. Use these insights to your advantage and try to get people to click your listings!

Introducing the Rich Results Testing Tool

This was a short overview of what you can see and do in the Rich Results Testing Tool. Don’t forget, if everything is green in the Rich Results Testing Tool and there are no errors to be found, your content is eligible for rich results. This does not — I repeat —, this does not guarantee Google will show rich results for this page. You’ll just have to wait and see.

Read more: Rich results are rocking the SERPs »

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