Something’s brewing at Yoast HQ. There’s no sign of spring yet, but we feel the need for a spring clean-up. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been looking critically at the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin and its many features and thinking: what’s this doing here? And should we get rid of that thing? Some of the results of that process are collected here, in Yoast SEO 6.3. But this is only the beginning.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

We’ve removed the meta keywords box

Meta keywords haven’t had any use for ages. In 2009, Google officially confirmed that they didn’t use them. We, however, kept the box since some of you clamored at the slightest hint that we were even thinking about deleting it. But now, after all these years, it is the time to say goodbye to the old meta keywords box. It was fun while it lasted, but it should have been gone years ago. Read why we don’t use meta keywords and why you shouldn’t either.

The “noindex subpages” feature is also gone

Since Google has gotten much better at working with paginated series, we’ve removed the feature that allows noindexing subpages of archives. According to Joost de Valk, the reasoning behind this is simple: “rel="next" and rel="prev" make sure Google sends people to the first page in a paginated series. There is one catch: sometimes it will send people to a specific page in the series, but that’s when that page is the best match for their query. This, therefore, should be better for the searcher. Noindexing all these pages leads to a lower amount of crawls for them (source), which subsequently leads to lower amounts of crawls for older articles, which is not a good idea on most sites.”

Enhancements: more context, fewer settings

In Yoast SEO 6.3, you’ll not only find loads of new enhancements that’ll improve how the plugin works, but we’ve also provided more context within the plugin so you can find out immediately what a particular toggle or feature does. By deleting a couple of features, we even said goodbye to a tab in the advanced settings. To help you find these settings, we’ve added a step in the configuration wizard for enabling (or disabling) the advanced settings. Also, we’ve improved the Open Graph copy for Facebook and Twitter in the Social settings to explain better what it does.

To help you transfer data from other WordPress SEO plugins we’ve added an importer for the SEO Ultimate plugin and the SEOpressor plugin. We already supported several other SEO plugins, like HeadSpace2, All in One SEO, JetPack SEO, WooThemes SEO Framework, and wpSEO.

In Yoast SEO Premium, we’ve also made several improvements that make it more apparent what a particular feature does. We’ve added a piece of text to the Internal Linking analyzer after completing a full site scan. This gives you more insight into what the effects are of running the analyzer. What’s more, we’ve added an explanation on entries on the features tab and links to explanatory articles on the features tab.

Doing housekeeping

In addition to all these enhancements and the deletion of some superfluous features, we’ve been busy fixing bugs and getting things ready for the next release. You can find every bug fix and feature enhancement in the changelog on WordPress.org. As I said, we’re busy as bees at the moment and cannot wait to show you what we’ve come up with.

Update now!

Yoast SEO 6.3 and its various add-ons all received nice updates today. We’re cleaning up the plugins as part of our quest for keeping our interfaces and features as easy as possible. In the coming weeks, we hope to show you more of what we’ve been up to. For now, update your plugins and stay tuned!

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

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Writers tend to put some real thought into their title. For online content, titles are important for both readers and search engines. That makes them double important! If you use WordPress and our Yoast SEO plugin, you insert the post’s title in the post title input field. Your title will appear as an H1 heading on top of your post. But Yoast SEO also offers possibilities to edit and improve your SEO title separately. Why is that? What’s the difference? And how should you edit your SEO title? I’ll explain it in this post. 

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Two input fields

For some of you this will be obvious, but let’s take a look at where to find the input fields for the post title – the same as the H1 heading – and the SEO title. The post title input field can be found on top of the page or post editor in WordPress.

You can find the input field for the SEO title in the Yoast SEO metabox, which appears underneath the post input field. To edit the SEO title, you need to click on the edit snippet button. The snippet preview will then open. The snippet preview offers you three input fields. The first one is the input field to edit your SEO title. Beneath the input field you’ll – hopefully – see a green bar. That’s to say, it will be green if your SEO title is well-optimized. If it’s orange or red you should put some effort in improving it. As you can see, the SEO title has all kinds of weird %-signs in it. Don’t let this scare you off, I’ll tell you all about it later on in this post.

Purpose of the post title and the SEO title

It is important to realize that your SEO title doesn’t have the same purpose as the title of your post or page. Your post title is meant for people that are already on your site. It’s telling them what your post or page is about. Your SEO title, on the other hand, is meant for people who are not on your website yet. It will be shown to people in the search engines. It will be the title of your snippet in Google – that’s why it’s in the snippet preview. The purpose of your SEO title is to make people click on the snippet, come to your website and read your post or buy your product.

What does Yoast SEO automatically do?

Without doing anything, Yoast SEO will generate an SEO title based on the title of your post, the H1 heading. It will also put your site’s name in the SEO title. If you don’t put your site’s name in your SEO title, Google will do this for you. Yoast SEO will make sure your title isn’t too long – you’ll get a notice if your title is too long. At Yoast, we use a small bullet to separate the post title from the site name, but you could also use a dash, for example.

At Yoast we use a bullet to separate the title from the site name. Note that in this example we choose to create a short phrase instead of just our site name after the bullet.

You can set the way you want to generate your SEO title in the titles and meta section of Yoast SEO. If you do that, all your post titles will be generated in the exact same way. But, as described above, you can also edit the SEO title separately for a post. In the next paragraph we’ll explain in which cases you’d want to do that.

Should you edit the SEO title?

Personally, I never edit the SEO title of a separate post. I write a post and choose a title which is suitable for people who are already on our site, as well as people who see the snippet in the search engines. The settings to automatically generate titles in our own Yoast SEO install are – of course – totally fine.

If I want to adapt my title, maybe because I forgot to use the focus keyword in the title of my post, I always alter the title of the post. The SEO title will change along with that. For posts like this, this works fine. However, if you sell a product for example, the post or page title might not be the best SEO title. Perhaps you would like to mention the price of the product in your SEO title, but not in the H1 of your page. In these cases, editing the SEO title is necessary.

How do you edit the SEO title?

How do you edit the SEO title? And what are these weird %% signs in the input field? How can you use these?

The SEO title template

As described above Yoast SEO automatically generates SEO titles for you. You can adapt this title template to your liking in the titles and meta section of Yoast SEO. That’s what the %% signs are about. We call these %%title%% signs, magic variables. These magic variables take certain pieces of information and put them together to form the SEO title. So, if you type %%title%% in the SEO template input field, the title of a post or page will appear. The %%sep%% will take the separator sign you’ve chosen – like the small bullet we use – and put it in the SEO title.

You can find all about setting these title and meta variables in Edwin’s post. For an overview of all the magic variables, you can check our knowledge base.

For a separate post

If you’re working on a post and you want to change the SEO title, you can just click on the SEO title in the Yoast SEO meta box beneath your post. The magic variables will disappear and you’ll be able to edit the SEO title for just this post. Note that you can still use the magic variables for a separate post! For example, if you want to just amend the first part of the title, but keep the separator and the site name, you can create an SEO title like: ‘[customized post title] %%sep%% %%site name%%’. 

Conclusion

Your SEO title and your post title both serve a different purpose. In many cases, you can use your post title as the base for your SEO title. Yoast SEO will generate a nice SEO title based on your post title. In some cases, you’re better off customizing the SEO title. You can use the magic variables to create that awesome SEO title. We’re currently working on a new and improved interface for these magic variables. In the future, it will become much easier and more intuitive to edit your title. Just a little bit more patience!

Read more: ‘Crafting a good page title for SEO’ »

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To work properly, websites contain multiple CSS and JavaScript files. These must be fetched from the server by the visitors’ computer, to fully load a webpage. In the old standard, HTTP/1, only one request at a time could be handled, so minifying and concatenating multiple files was a good idea. Otherwise, visitors would experience a slow website because of too many requests. The new standard, HTTP/2, allows for much easier communication between a visitor and the server.

So, does this increasing move to HTTP/2 mean that it’s no longer necessary to minify and concatenate your CSS and JS files? After all, site speed is still crucial for SEO. Let’s get into that in this Ask Yoast!

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Danny O’Neill emailed us his question:

‘With the increasing move to HTTP/2 should we still minify and concatenate our CSS and JS files?’

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

Is it still necessary to minify and concatenate your CSS and JS files?

“In the old standard, HTTP/1, the browser could only open so many files at the same time on your server and thus it was smart to combine those files into larger concatenated files. In HTTP/2 that’s not needed anymore, so no, you don’t necessarily have to do that.

What you need to look at is which portion of your traffic already supports HTTP/2. If that’s the large majority then you can stop doing that altogether. Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Let us help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.

(Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.)

Read more: ‘Performance optimization in an HTTP/2 world’ »

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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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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

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’ »

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A year always seems like such a long time. But whenever we reach the end of one, we tend to say: where did it go? That’s definitely the case for developing and using software. We’re so invested in Yoast SEO that we sometimes forget when we added a feature because we use it so much. So, now’s the perfect time to give you a brief overview of the evolution of Yoast SEO in 2017. Enjoy!

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

To celebrate, we’re having an end of the year sale. Get all our products at 10% off!

Yoast year in review

Starting 2017 with Yoast SEO 4.1

2017 started off with a bang: we added a mobile version of the well-known snippet preview and full support for the German language. We all know mobile has only gained importance this past year and will continue to be essential. Just look at Google’s decision to switch to a mobile-first index sometime early next year.

A strong focus on site structure

The overarching theme of Yoast SEO in 2017 was site structure. We wanted to give you a set of tools to improve your site structure since site structure is one of the most overlooked, but critical parts of SEO. We wanted to build tools that are easy to use and extremely valuable. We’re happy to say we’ve succeeded! During the year, several improvements to current tools and new additions turned Yoast SEO into a fantastic tool to improve your site structure.

Vastly improved internal linking tool

internal linking toolIt all started in Yoast SEO 4.0, in December of 2016, when we launched the initial version of the internal linking tool. So what does the internal linking tool do? While working on your post, our internal linking tool will give you suggestions on which posts you could consider linking to because they are about related topics. Linking to these posts will help you create a better site structure.

To quote our CEO Joost de Valk:

“The internal linking tool is one of the most powerful tools we’ve ever built, and it keeps surprising me. I love it. In its current form, it’ll allow you to improve your site structure by the bucketload, just by suggesting posts to link to. I am very excited about where it will go from here!”

New languages

During the year we added several new languages to our roster. Besides English, we added full support for German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian and French in 2017. Yoast SEO has full knowledge of these languages so the internal linking tool and readability tools can give solid advice tailored to those languages. In 2018, more languages will follow. Our linguists are even looking into complicated languages like Japanese.

Text link counter

As we all know, links – both internal and external – play an important role in SEO. This year, Yoast SEO received several tools that help improve your linking strategy. Since 4.7, for instance, we check the text to see if you’ve added links. If not, the SEO content check will give you a red bullet. If all is well, Yoast SEO will suggest relevant links to other articles you’ve written, and you can just copy and past a new link in your article.

The text link counter, introduced in Yoast SEO 5.0, works in the post and pages section of your WordPress backend. In two columns, you’ll see how many incoming and outgoing internal links an article has. This functionality is very actionable. If you want to improve your site structure and your SEO, the text link counter will help you do that. You can go through your post with few links and improve your site’s structure step by step.

text link counter

Orphaned content filter

Orphaned content, you say? Yes, orphaned content is content on your site that doesn’t get any links from other parts of your site. Content that doesn’t get links will stay undiscovered by visitors and search engines. But if a certain article is important to you and you want it to rank for a specific keyword, you need to link it in your site structure. In Yoast SEO 5.6, we added a filter that finds these articles so that you can quickly remedy this situation and add these valuable articles to your site structure.

Checking and optimizing cornerstone content

While and finding and creating relevant links to your other content is crucial to building a solid site structure, there was another piece of the site structure missing: cornerstone content. Cornerstone content pieces are those articles on your website you’re most proud of. They reflect your business, communicate your mission, are thorough and extremely well written. These are the articles you would like to rank high in the search engines.

To help you determine what those articles are, we introduced several cornerstone content features. First, there’s the cornerstone content check in Yoast SEO 4.6. By marking an article as cornerstone content, this article receives priority over a regular article. These articles are analyzed more thoroughly to increase the chance of them popping up as must-link articles.

cornerstone content

In Yoast SEO 4.8 we expanded that feature. Since then, we analyze your cornerstone content following a particular, stricter set of specifications. These checks will help you build killer cornerstone articles. Among other things, we now check if a cornerstone article has 900+ words and if the keyword is in at least two subheadings. All this will help you to improve your most important content.

This suite of site structure tools gives you everything you need to improve your site structure. Use them!

So what else was new?

Besides helping you fix your site structure, we did loads of other cool stuff. Let’s go!

Redirect improvements

Our redirects manager is one of the most important tools in Yoast SEO. It helps you redirect anything you ever wanted. This year, we improved it drastically, with new filter options and a long-awaited import/export from/to CSV. You can analyze your redirects in a sheet, make edits and import it again.

SEO roles

Yoast SEO was always an on/off affair. There was no way to give site editors, for instance, access to selected parts of the plugin they need to do their work. Since Yoast SEO 5.5, that is now possible! Expanded in 5.8, SEO roles and capabilities give site managers to chance to fine-tune who gets to access what in Yoast SEO.

Tune Yoast SEO to your liking

Getting lost in all the Yoast SEO settings? Don’t need the readability analysis? Just want the basic settings? No problem, an ever-increasing number of features in Yoast SEO gets their own on/off toggle. Keep your workspace clean and focused.

Optimize your site to the max: get all our SEO plugins and extensions at once! Get our Yoast Complete SEO bundle and save money! »

Yoast Complete SEO pack Info

PHP 7 and beyond

At Yoast, we care about a lot of things, but two things in a very particular order: user happiness first, developer happiness second. A user is happy when he or she has a fast, easy to install, secure content management system like WordPress to build a site in. A developer is happy when he or she can use a modern language and modern tooling to build software with. That’s why we started the Whip project in March of 2017. The goal of this project is to steer users and web hosts away for unsupported PHP versions like 5.4 and move them towards the fast and secure PHP7.

Full support for ACF

2017 was also the year of an awesome collaborative effort: The ACF Content Analysis for Yoast SEO plugin. The Advanced Custom Fields plugin makes it easier to add custom fields to any WordPress site. Custom fields are used to extend WordPress. People use them to build tailored solutions to, often, complex problems. The ACF Content Analysis for Yoast SEO plugin makes it possible for Yoast SEO to work inside custom fields. By using this plugin, you can use the SEO and readability analysis features of Yoast SEO to check your writing and SEO score, even if they live in a complex custom field.

Vastly improved code-base

This year was not all about new features. We’ve been hard at work improving our code to make our plugins future-proof and easier to manage. One of the biggest project at Yoast right now is project Reactify. We are in the process of rebuilding several main parts of Yoast SEO in the JavaScript library React. This makes these easier to port to other platforms, for instance.

Yoast SEO for Magento 2 & TYPO3

Yoast was built for an open source world, and we’re branching out to other open CMSes. This year, we introduced the Magento 2 and TYPO3 communities to the pleasures of working with Yoast SEO. Together with our development partner MaxServ, we built tailored plugins for these popular platforms. We’re already looking where to go next.

Ending 2017 with Yoast SEO 6.0

In a year spanning more than 30 releases, the last one was maybe the most talked about. Not that we introduced a killer new feature or did something awkward. No, it was all about Google’s decision to move from 160 character meta descriptions to 320 character descriptions. This caused quite a stir and people were quickly asking whether Yoast SEO would follow suit and let people use all those characters. In Yoast SEO 6.0, we expanded the length of descriptions. We, however, are still researching what this decision means for the advice we give our users.

Thanks to you, our beloved community contributors

In the end, we couldn’t have done it without you. We love getting input, feedback, bug reports and features requests. Almost every release featured a community contribution, either bug fixes or improving the flow of our plugin. We love getting these suggestions, and we love to see how much thought and care people put in their work. Collectively, we make Yoast SEO better and better!

And 2018?

We’ve got loads of plans for the new year, but first, we’ve got to get a new speed bump out of the way. You know that word? It starts what a ‘G’ and ends with ‘utenberg’. Yeah, Gutenberg is going to take up a lot of our time. We’re pretty optimistic about the project, and we are doing our best to help improve where we can. We’re investing loads of time and manpower to get Gutenberg off the ground and make a killer integration for Yoast SEO. Stay tuned; you’re bound to hear a lot from us in 2018!

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

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Headings play an important role in structuring text, whether it’s on paper or online. Since reading from a screen is already quite difficult, you should make sure you make proper use of headings. There’s a hierarchy in heading tags, with <h1> being the most important, and <h6> the least important. This will help both your visitors (whether they’re reading or using a screen reader!) and search engines understand what’s most essential on a page. But what if your theme only allows the use of one type of heading? Is that bad for your SEO, and what does it mean for your visitors? In this Ask Yoast, I’ll get into that.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Nikola emailed us her question on WordPress themes and heading structure:

My theme has no H1 headings on the homepage (or category and archive pages). All headings are H2. My developer says it isn’t bad for SEO, it’s worse to use multiple H1s on a single page. Is he right?

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

A logical order in your heading structure

Is he right? Well he is and he isn’t…it really depends. If you’re using HTML 5, you can have multiple H1s, depending on how your page is structured. At the same time, not having an H1 at all in your page sounds very weird.

On a post page the title of that post should be in the H1. On an archive page the title of that archive should be in the H1. On your homepage your brand name should probably be in the H1. So, I’m not entirely sure that he’s right. I would prefer that he does it right in terms of using one H1, then some H2s, etc.

This is more of an accessibility issue than it is a specific SEO issue. But it’s important for people who are blind, or otherwise have a hard time reading your page, because they can actually follow the structure of the headings on your page. So do think about the headings on your page and make them follow a logical order. Good luck!

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast we answer SEO questions from our readers. Have an SEO-related question? Let us help you out! Send an email to ask@yoast.com.

(note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.)

Read more: ‘SEO Basics: How to use headings on your site’ »

 

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When I go to WordCamps, I get this question a lot: “Why do you have the PHP Code Widget still in the directory?”

There’s a good answer for that, but first let me explain why I made the thing in the first place.

If you examine the history of that plugin, you’ll find that it was submitted almost 10 years ago. Back then, widgets were new. Most people using WordPress had hardcoded sidebars in their themes. Changing the sidebar meant changing the theme. Widgets aimed to replace that with draggable objects. The Widget plugin was still a plugin, and not in core, but headed there.

The PHP Code Widget was created to make it easy and simple and fast to migrate from a hardcoded sidebar to a widget based one. You could take your existing code in the sidebar file, paste it into the widget, and then you had a movable widget that you could easily use.

Obviously, this was not meant for long term usage. The goal was to get widget support rapidly in your theme, with the expectation that as new widgets came out, you could replace your old code with newer, shinier, well supported, widgets.

The reason the plugin is still in the directory is because it still fills a need for some people. If I removed it, then they would fulfill that need in worse ways. It does not take much searching to find snippets of code, with bad advice saying to just pop it into your theme’s functions.php file, and voila, now all your Text Widgets run PHP code. That snippet actually exists. It’s a terrible idea, for obvious reasons.

The PHP Code Widget is less terrible than the alternatives.

But it’s still terrible.

And yes, it bothers me that it is one of the top 150 plugins. Storing PHP code in your database and then running it is just dumb. Don’t do that. Code should live in the right place, and that place is not the database.

So, in an effort to reduce the usage of the PHP Code Widget, here’s one way to stop using it, if you still are.

Getting rid of the PHP Code Widget

Step 1:

Get the PHP Code that you are using from the Widget, copy it into a text editor, save it somewhere for safe keeping.

Step 2:

You’re going to make a new plugin. You can call it whatever you like, but I recommend naming it specific to the site you’re making it for. If I was making a plugin for this site to hold widgets, then I’d call it “Ottopress Widgets” or something to that effect.

How to make a new plugin:

(Note: You can use Pluginception for this instead, if you like. That one I’m not ashamed of, it’s a very handy tool.)

a. Make a directory in /wp-content/plugins named after your plugin, like /wp-content/plugins/ottopress-widgets

b. Make a PHP file in there named the same. Like ottopress-widgets.php.

c. Edit that file, and add this header to the top of it:

<?php
/*
Plugin Name: Ottopress Widgets
*/

Lovely. We’ve made a new plugin. It doesn’t do anything, yet, but here’s some more code to add to the plugin. This is largely copy-paste, and then you edit it to fit your specific circumstances

Step 3:

add_action( 'widgets_init', 'ottopress_widget_register' );
function ottopress_widget_register() {
	register_widget( 'Ottopress_Widget' );
}
class Ottopress_Widget extends WP_Widget {
	function __construct() {
	
		$class = 'widget_ottopress';
		$name = 'Ottopress Widget';
		
		$widget_ops = array('classname' => $class, 'description' => $name);
		$control_ops = array('width' => 400, 'height' => 350);
		parent::__construct('', $name, $widget_ops, $control_ops);
	}

	function widget( $args, $instance ) {
		extract($args);
		echo $before_widget;

		echo '<h2 class="widget-title">Ottopress Widget</h2>';
		echo "<div>Here's my custom stuff.</div>";

		echo $after_widget;
	}
}

I named this widget “Ottopress Widget” by way of example. In the first few lines of code, you’ll want to change these to your own naming scheme. It’s important that names be unique, which is why I recommend naming things using your site’s name. Unlikely for there to be interference that way.

The $class and $name variables you should also change. The class is used in the HTML that the widget produces, so you can refer to it via CSS. The name is simply used for display purposes on the widgets editing screens.

Step 4:

Finally, the meat of the code you want to edit is here. I’ll point it out specifically.

function widget( $args, $instance ) {
	extract($args);
	echo $before_widget;

	echo '<h2 class="widget-title">Ottopress Widget</h2>';
	echo "<div>Here's my custom stuff.</div>";
	
	echo $after_widget;
}

This is the code that shows the widget on your site itself. Now, this one is just hardcoded to show the normal before and after code (these are set by the theme, so these should always be there), and then it has a little hardcoded bit there where it echo’s out a title and a div that says “Here’s my Custom Stuff”.

If you’re migrating from the PHP code widget, well, here’s where you migrate it to. You can drop your code from the PHP Code widget here and, you know, do whatever you were doing in the widget before, just now in an actual custom widget, in your own custom plugin. No more storing the code in the database. Just activate the plugin and replace the PHP Code widget with this one.

If you need more widgets because you were using it in multiple places, then simply repeat the process. Paste that whole class in there, only give it a different class name and other info, then put in your other code. You can have as many widgets as you like, they just have to all be named differently. Simple.

Note that this widget has no settings screen of any kind. Why would it? You’re controlling the code directly, no need for settings, presumably. If you want to go on and make your widget smarter and more complex and have settings, well, there’s other tutorials for that.

If this reduces the usage of the PHP Code Widget, well, I’ll be a happier person.

The redirects manager in Yoast SEO Premium is a real lifesaver. It’s a feature we at Yoast use many times a day. Once you used it for a while, you wonder how you ever lived without it. The redirects manager makes everyday website optimization and maintenance a piece of cake. It takes care of all redirect tasks, so you don’t have to think about that as much. In the end, it will save you lots of time and money. Here, we’ll shed some more light on the invaluable redirects manager in Yoast SEO.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

What is a redirect?

Before we get into the awesomeness of the Yoast SEO redirects manager lets take a brief look at redirects. A redirect happens when a particular URL is deleted or changed and the browser gets served another URL in exchange. If a site owner deletes a page and does not redirect that old page, visitors to that page will see a 404 error message/page. So, to send visitors to a substitute URL or another relevant page, you need a redirect.

There are loads of reasons for why you would need a redirect:

  • When you delete a post or page;
  • When you change an URL structure;
  • If you move from HTTP to HTTPS;
  • Whenever you move a domain;
  • If you edit the slug of a category;
  • Etc.

Historically, deleting a page and making the correct redirect was a nasty chore. You had to do it manually in the .htaccess file or with scripts on the server-side, like Apache’s mod_rewrite or ngix rewrite module. In all cases, there was code involved. Not something anyone was remotely comfortable doing. Today, with Yoast SEO Premium that process is dead easy. If you are in need of a WordPress redirect plugin, give this one a try!

What does Yoast SEO do with redirects?

Using Yoast SEO Premium, making a redirect becomes a straightforward process. It takes just a couple of quick steps. Let’s say you want to delete a post:

  • Open the post that needs to be deleted
  • Move it to trash
  • Choose if it should receive a 410 content deleted redirect or a redirect to another page
  • Hit OK and you’re done!
  • Easy peasy, right?

redirect deleted post redirects manager

As you can see, the redirects manager in Yoast SEO Premium is an incredibly simple tool to work with redirects. It asks you what you want to do with an old URL whenever you change or delete a post or page. This process takes place in the redirects manager or the post editor. The tool asks you if you want to redirect the post to another URL or to serve a 410 content deleted header, for instance.

Correctly redirecting pages keeps your site usable, fresh and healthy. Visitors won’t stumble upon dead links and neither would Google. Google loves sites that are perfectly maintained. The cool thing is that everyone can do this and you won’t even need to call in your developer to fix it for you.

Not sure how the redirects manager in Yoast SEO works? Check this video and it becomes much clearer:

Types of redirects

The redirects manager supports the most essential redirects. Below you can find the supported redirects. If you need more information about these different redirects, please read the Which redirect post. Want to know the difference between a 302 and a 307? We’ve got you covered which this post on HTTP status codes.

  • 301 – Moved permanently
  • 302 – Found
  • 307 – Temporary redirect
  • 410 – Content deleted
  • 451 – Content unavailable for legal reasons

Inside the redirects manager in Yoast SEO

The redirect manager can do a lot more cool stuff. You can bulk edit your existing redirects to, for instance, change them from a 307 to a 301. Or you can filter for redirects to see which ones need changing or you can find a specific redirect on an article and change it to something else.

edit redirect redirects manager

Integrates with Google Search Console

If combined with the power of Google Search Console, you’ll get the ultimate in site maintenance power at your fingertips. Let Yoast SEO Premium access your Search Console account and you’ll see all the crawl errors appear. After that, you can use the redirect manager to create redirects of all 404 errors instantly. Spring cleaning, anyone?

Michiel did an excellent job explaining how you can connect Yoast SEO to Search Console and how to fix crawl errors. Read that if you want to know more about the combined power of these two killer site maintenance tools.

redirects search console yoast seo

edit redirects search console yoast seo

REGEX redirects

Not for the faint-hearted, but for the true redirect kings. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn to use it as well because you should. Making redirects with regular expressions is different because you have to determine what should happen and how it should happen. It is an incredibly powerful tool that can do crazy smart stuff and is your go-to tool if you need to do very specific or large-scale redirects.

Have Team Yoast install and configure Yoast SEO premium for you! »

Let us configure Yoast SEO for you Info

WordPress redirect plugin

(The redirects manager in) Yoast SEO Premium is an excellent tool, not just as an SEO tool but as a site maintenance tool as well. But don’t just take our word for it. As writer Jody Lee Cates told us:

“I hesitated to pay for Yoast Premium because I am a new blogger without much income yet. But I’m so, so happy I did! The time the redirect manager is saving me is priceless! And it’s giving me the freedom to change URL’s to improve SEO without worrying about creating redirects on my own.”

How’s that for an endorsement?

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

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In our plugin, you can connect Google Search Console to Yoast SEO. This verifies your website for your Google Search Console account and allows you to view your crawl errors. Especially when you have a large site, the number of crawl errors might scare you. In this post, I’ll explain a bit more about crawl errors and show you how to fix them, using Yoast SEO Premium.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

What are crawl errors?

Google uses so-called Googlebots to crawl and index your page. Crawling, in layman’s language, is the process of Googlebot going over your pages, one link at a time. When crawling, its goal is to get to every important page on your site by following links on pages, in sitemaps, etc. Indexing, on the other hand, is what Googlebot does to take in all the content on your pages, to include it in its search result pages.

There are two types of crawl errors:

  • Site errors that affect your entire site. Think along the lines of connectivity issues with your web server, and problems fetching your robots.txt file.
  • URL errors that affect a specific page on your website. Googlebot tried to crawl the URL but did not succeed somehow. It was able to resolve your DNS, connect to your server, fetch/read your robots.txt file, and then request the URL. But after that, something went wrong.

Viewing crawl errors in Yoast SEO

In our Yoast SEO plugin (free and paid), you can view the crawl errors that Google came across on your website. All you have to do is connect Google Search Console to Yoast SEO. In our plugin, we guide you through that process. Let me explain the steps here as well.

Connect Google Search Console to Yoast SEO

To connect Google Search Console to the Yoast SEO plugin, all you have to do is navigate to this page in WordPress: SEO › Search Console.
Connect Google Search Console to Yoast SEO

The next step is to connect them. In our plugin, just click the ‘Get Google Authorization Code’ button:Search Console - Yoast SEO

It’ll take you to Google Search Console. There, you’ll be asked to confirm that you want to connect Google Search Console to Yoast SEO and let our plugin view and manage the data for your sites. Click ‘allow’:Search Console - Yoast SEO

Lastly, you’ll get a key to include in our plugin:GSC copy paste code

Now simply copy-paste that code and insert it into the box in our plugin, hit ‘Authenticate.’
Google Search Console pick profile

Choose the profile you’d like to connect and save it. Done! Now, you can continue in the first tab of that same section in our plugin (Desktop). Be sure to check the other tabs as well to find specific crawl errors.Yoast SEO crawl errors

Here, you will find the information we collected from your Google Search Console. In this table, you see the URL that gave an error, the date Google crawled it last, the date when Google detected the error first and the response code Google sent. In the screenshot, all response codes are 404 Not Found.

So, if you connect Google Search Console to Yoast SEO, you will have a great overview of how many crawl errors Google finds on your website. Now, you can go and create redirects for these 404s, or simply change them to 410s if that page is of absolutely no use to you anymore. More on status codes in this article. When you have ‘fixed’ the error, hover over the URL in Yoast SEO and click ‘mark as fixed’.

Is there an easy way to create that redirect?

Yes! There is an easier way to complete this process, and it is called Yoast SEO Premium. Besides a lot of extras that plugin has to offer, it allows you to immediately create your redirect in our plugin:create redirect in Yoast SEO Premium

Simply click ‘Create redirect,’ and, unlike in our free plugin (which will prompt that it’s only featured in our premium plugin), you’ll get this screen:
redirect and fix crawl errors in Yoast SEO

Our plugin will give you the option to create a redirect, or add another status code (301, 302, 307, 410, 451 are all possible). In case of a 301 redirect, like in the example, simply insert the URL you’d like that ‘old’ URL to redirect to. If you want to tell Google Search Console about this fix, simply leave the check ‘Mark as fixed’ as is and hit ‘Create Redirect.’ It’s as simple as that. In tomorrow’s article, we’ll shine a light on the redirects manager.

Now go and connect Google Search Console to Yoast SEO!

I hope this sheds some light on why you want to connect Google Search Console to Yoast SEO. You’ll be able to monitor crawl errors in our free plugin, and for a few bucks a year, our premium plugin will even help you fix them!

If you by any chance have already used this feature in our premium plugin, I’d love for you to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

Read more: ‘Which redirect should I use?’ »

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If you started your website as a newbie to all things internet, chances are that your site’s URLs aren’t pretty. Perhaps the URLs contain the post-ID, or the date when it was first published. URLs like that don’t say much about the content of a page and look cluttered. If you want to change your URL structure for this reason, or whatever other reason, it could affect your rankings. In this Ask Yoast, I discuss to what extent changing your URL structure will have an impact on your rankings, and if it’s still worth the effort.

Chris asked us a question on this subject:

We are changing our URL structure to make it look cleaner (by leaving out numbers etc.). When we launch our new site, will this new URL structure negatively affect our existing Google rankings?

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

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

The impact of changing your URL structure on rankings

Well, if you launch a new site and you have new URLs, you’ll need to redirect all the old URLs to the new URLs and it’ll take some time for Google to pick up that those URLs have changed. If you’re staying on the same domain name, your traffic will probably stay the same, but you will need to redirect all those URLs and it might take some time.

You might lose some traffic for a while, up to even six months and then after that everything should be fine. It’s probably worth it if your URLs look really bad though, so it’s a trade-off but I’d probably still go for it. Good luck!

Ask Yoast

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

Read more: ‘The perfect WordPress SEO permalink structure’ »

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