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.

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

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?’ »

The post How to connect Google Search Console to Yoast SEO and fix errors appeared first on Yoast.

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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As a site owner, you want to come across as an authoritative result, as well as stand out in the search results. Even if you’re already ranking nr. 1. Sitelinks can help you achieve that. These links appear under the main search result, highlighting subpages of a website. Sitelinks can push down the pages of your competitors on the results pages, and provide potential visitors more options to navigate to your site and find what they’re looking for. Of course, this could be beneficial to your traffic. You’ve probably seen sitelinks in the search result pages at some point, but how do you get Google to add them to your site? As it happens, getting sitelinks isn’t for just anyone. In this Ask Yoast, we’ll get into that.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Sergiu Tere sent us this question:

I see that some sites have sitelinks, but not from Google AdWords. How do they do that?

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

Getting sitelinks

 Well, it’s very easy. Sitelinks are given to you. It’s not something that you can put in somewhere. Google will give you site links if it thinks you are very ‘authoritative’ for that query, so if you’re a very important result for that query. In that case, it will add site links from your site, based on how people browse your site and how they use your site.

So, it’s not something that you can change; it’s not something that you can opt in for, it’s not something that you can do specific SEO for. You just have to become very important for that specific query.
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: ‘Google’s sitelinks searchbox & Yoast’ »

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Gutenberg is the new editing experience coming to WordPress. We’ve talked about it before. While we have some hesitations, we do see Gutenberg as a major step forward and are thinking about how we will integrate Yoast SEO into Gutenberg. In this post, we’ll share some of the ideas we’re excited about.

Gutenberg introduces new concepts, like blocks, and new places where we could potentially integrate. The premise behind our integration is that we need to give you feedback as soon as we can, in the right spot. Feedback is most helpful when you can actually do something with it immediately.

Inline is where it’s happening

We started by breaking down all our features, and seeing where we could integrate them into Gutenberg. We don’t think holding on to a single, massive box below the editor will best serve our customers. We’d much rather integrate right where the action happens, and Gutenberg offers us that chance. Let’s take a closer look at what we mean.

For instance, if you don’t fill out an alt text for an image you included, we don’t want to show that bullet point way down below in our metabox, in a long list of possible improvements. No, we want to show it to you right below the field where you can input the alt text.

Same for the featured image. Say you upload an image that is too small for Facebook to accept – you don’t want to have to find out about that when the whole post is finished, and you happen to wander into our social media preview editor. No, we tell you right then and there.

Connecting cause and effect

By working inline as much as we can, we’ll create a tighter connection between what you do and what effect that has on SEO. You’ll get actionable feedback in context. You don’t have to scroll down to a meta box to see the advice and scroll up again to the place where you should implement it. If we give feedback per block, you will get a better understanding of all the factors that influence SEO. And you’ll be able to anticipate them in advance once you’ve been working this way for a while.

Here’s another example: our primary category selection, of course, will be right there in the categories meta box.

The primary category, from Yoast SEO, integrated into Gutenberg

And another: the readability analysis, at the block level – just another section in the paragraph block settings, naturally.


The concept of blocks, in general, will allow us to give much more fine-grained feedback. For instance, you won’t have to look for the best place to add a link; we can scan all the blocks for you and let you know exactly which one is best for a certain link. Link suggestions don’t even have to live in a separate meta box. We can just insert them in the inline suggestions that the link UI offers.

Internal linking suggestion in the link popup

But what if we dream a little bigger?

Some people are working on bringing collaboration to Gutenberg. If it pans out, you won’t need Google Docs or something else to draft articles and leave editorial feedback; you can do it all from within WordPress. Of course, an essential part of a collaborative workflow is a commenting system. But we’d like to think that not all comments have to come from humans, per se.

Something we’ve been exploring is adding our SEO and readability feedback as comments to text. That would put our biggest feature inline as well, right where you need it. You can immediately identify problem areas, respond to feedback with your own comments, or dismiss the ones you don’t want to fix. It becomes an interactive and fun process. We won’t have to use sweeping statements like “50% of your sentences are too long”, no, we can break it down for you block per block.

We know you may not always want instant feedback on every word you type, so you could filter out the comments that Yoast SEO generates. This way, you can keep the writing and editing processes separate.

Working off of that idea, we might even build a full SEO mode into Gutenberg. What it will do exactly is something we are still thinking about, but it could take the shape of a site-wide wizard that guides you through all the relevant SEO optimization steps in an actionable and customizable way. More on that soon.

Yoast SEO + Gutenberg = ?

Gutenberg offers lots of opportunities to take our plugins to the next level. The great thing is: all WordPress plugin developers will be able to do that too. It’s a brave new frontier for all of us, and we’re very much looking forward to it!

What sort of features would you love to see us make for Gutenberg, or for an SEO mode in general? Let us know in the comments.

The post Gutenberg: Concepts for integrating Yoast SEO appeared first on Yoast.

Suppose you know nothing about SEO but have heard about this little gem called Yoast SEO. People told you that it is a very convenient tool to optimize your site and its pages for Google, Bing, and Yandex. It’s effortless. You want to use it. You install the Yoast SEO plugin or the Yoast SEO extension and simply follow the advice given in that plugin. Within a week, your website will be topping the charts in Google. Or not? No, to be honest. It’s not that simple.

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Our plugin helps you to optimize your website for search engines. And it does that well, but it needs your input. In this beginner’s guide to Yoast SEO, I’ll try to explain the basics of SEO that our plugin guides you in. I’ll take you through the steps that every user, who tries our plugin for the first time takes, and help you optimize your site in the process.

It’s a beginner‘s guide to Yoast SEO

Before we start, I should point out that this isn’t a beginner’s guide to every single detail of our plugin. I’d just like to show you some things I think you should use or configure. As our plugin has quite some settings, it’s good to know which features to configure first.

The Yoast SEO configuration wizard

Our Yoast SEO configuration wizard is a great place to start. You can find the configuration wizard at SEO > Dashboard:

yoast seo configuration wizard 1

In that configuration wizard, we will guide you through twelve steps that help you configure our plugin, specifically for your site. Even if you have a website that is already a year or so old, I encourage you to use the wizard and see if there are some things that you might have missed. Each step includes some questions; your answers will determine specific settings. In the wizard, we have also included video material to show you even more options.

Read more: ‘The Yoast SEO configuration wizard and why you should use it’ »

But there is so much more in this SEO section of Yoast SEO!?

Unquestionably, as there are many aspects to SEO. With the help of your answers in the configuration wizard and our own SEO knowledge, we can configure most of the general settings of our plugin for you. As a result of this, you can focus on your content!

SEO analysis

When you start writing a post or page, you will find our analyses. In WordPress, our so-called meta box is right below the larger text area where you write your content:

Beginner's guide to Yoast SEO: the meta box

For you, as a user, this Yoast SEO box will prove very valuable. As you can see, there are a couple of tabs here.

  • One tab where you can insert the keyword you want to optimize the page for (focus keyword), in this case: “beginner’s guide to Yoast SEO.”
  • One tab that says Readability and I’ll get into that one later.

On the tab where you can insert that focus keyword, we’ll tell you if you have used that focus keyword the right way in that specific post.

What we analyze in our SEO analysis

At present, we perform these checks in our SEO analysis:

yoast seo seo analysis

In the image above you can see the different characteristics of your text we analyze:

  • If you want your page to rank for a specific keyword, you should write at least 300 words about it. Otherwise, it may be considered a ‘thin content‘ page by Google, and you want to avoid that.
  • Add a meta description; it will invite visitors in Google to your website. Use the focus keyword and make it enticing to click.
  • You want to make clear right from the start what the page is about, so start adding the focus keyword from the beginning.
  • Add images to create a vivid experience for your users. Use the focus keyword in the ALT text so that Google can relate that image to the keyword.
  • To set up a proper site structure, link to at least one other related page on your site. It keeps visitors on your site and shows them more (background) information.
  • We want sites to link to other websites as well, as this opens up the web. Point people to the websites where you get your information. It’ll tell Google what websites relate to each other on what subjects.
  • A short page title allows you to add a trigger for a visitor in Google to click to your website.
  • If you add that focus keyword at the beginning of your title, it will have the most value. Also, it will immediately stand out when your post is shared
  • Repeat your focus keyword in your URL. As a result, even without context, it will be clear what clicking that link will bring you. Furthermore, Google also likes having it in there.
  • You optimize a page for a certain keyword – not a website. Prevent competing pages! Yoast SEO will warn you if you write more than one post about the same keyword. When this happens, use a variation, or a long tail keyword.

    New to SEO? Learn the Basics of SEO in our Basic SEO course »

    Basic SEO training Info

What’s more: Cornerstone content and snippet preview

If your page is the main page for a topic/keyword in a group of pages you plan to write, you could mark it as cornerstone content here. Not sure if that is a subject for a beginner’s guide to Yoast SEO, by the way. It might be wise to take our basic SEO course first :)

Besides all the checks, we provide an editable snippet preview, which tells you how our plugin displays your website to Google and other search engines.

Readability analysis

Since SEO is one of those areas where content is indeed king, we also provide a convenient readability analysis for you. The thing is: not all people have the same skills to process certain texts. I laughed out loud when I found out someone thought it would be wise to use our readability analysis to analyze the readability of books like Hamlet’s First Soliloquy by William Shakespeare. Oh, the time wasted! If Hemingway would have a blog, he’d probably love our readability analysis. It would allow him to translate his offline writing to a nice readable online text. We have a post called “Yoast SEO hates my writing style” that goes into these common misconceptions.

Online vs. offline

Please understand that online and offline writing are two different stories. While we take the time to read, digest and daydream about all the great stories we read in books, we tend to scan, process and use (in any way) the things we read online. Where we follow the old man on his journey over sea, struggling with that marlin for days, feel his frustration, motivation, you probably scanned this beginner’s guide to Yoast SEO to see if there’s something here you didn’t know already.

This post isn’t a page in a book. It’s information for you to process like most online pages are. With that purpose in mind, we wrote our readability analysis.

Government rulings

Our Dutch government has ruled that the text on all government websites should be at B2: Upper intermediate level. It’s a rule that makes sure that every citizen, regardless of the level of education, can read and understand the information on these websites. We aim to help them with that. Our readability analysis works for websites in English, Spanish, Dutch, French, German, and Italian by the way.

The readability analysis itself

Let’s see what’s in our readability analysis:

yoast seo readabiity analysis

 

We analyze these things:

  • Use subheadings so that people can scan your pages faster. It helps you group topics, which makes it easier to process them.
  • The Flesh Reading Ease test makes sure every reader can understand your texts. If you are writing for a more educated audience, a lower score is acceptable – it’s a guideline, you decide how strict to follow it.
  • Transition words help to improve the ‘flow’ of your page. To put it another way, they send a signal to your visitors that something is coming up, prepare them for the next sentence. You’ll find that the recommendation of using transition words in 30% of your sentences isn’t that hard to achieve.
  • Long paragraphs in an online article are more difficult to understand. You’ll find yourself lost in all the words. Bite-sized chunks are easier to process.
  • While in a book you can stretch a sentence over half a page, shorter sentences are that much easier to read online. We use 20 words as a target length.
  • Passive voice results in distant writing. Active voice is much more engaging. It’s almost impossible to write a ‘natural’ text without any passive voice at all (IMHO), and we ‘allow’ 10% passive voice in our analysis.

If you want more insight into how we decided on all these target numbers, please read the article Content analysis: methodological choices explained.

The last step of this beginner’s guide to Yoast SEO is an advanced one

Of course, there is so much more you can do with Yoast SEO. In the Search Appearance menu you can determine how your site appears in search engines. And in the Search Console section, you can connect your Google Search Console account to Yoast SEO so it can find and fix errors.

search appearance yoast seo

Search Appearance

In Search Appearance, you’ll have access to the way we set up, for instance, your titles and metas for you. I want you to check that section for me. No need to alter anything, by the way. I just want you to know it’s there and realize what you can configure here.

Become a technical SEO expert with our Technical SEO 1 training! »

Technical SEO 1 training Info

At “Content Types,” you will find the default template we use for your post titles:
%%title%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%%

This simply means we will use the page/post title you use when writing posts, and add the page number if your post is divided over multiple pages. Then we add a separator, like a dash, and then the site name you have set when creating your site. The outcome for this Beginner’s guide to Yoast SEO could be:
Beginner's guide to Yoast SEO: page titlesNote that this example doesn’t include a page number after the page title, as this post is just one page. This is the setup we recommend. It’s focused on the page title (“Beginner’s guide to Yoast SEO”) and has proper branding at the end (“Yoast”).

The purpose of me showing you this is that I want you to know it’s there, so you don’t have to look for it in the future. It explains why your titles are shown this way in Google.

Keep reading: ‘Search appearance variables in Yoast SEO’ »

Google Search Console

You can find the Search Console settings a bit further down the SEO menu. Now if you have completed our configuration wizard, you most probably connected Google Search Console to our plugin already. If you haven’t done that yet, you can do it at any time using the Search Console section here.

Yoast SEO for beginners

That concludes our beginner’s guide to Yoast SEO. I trust your website is ready for Google now, so please add awesome content!

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

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Have you ever done a fresh Yoast SEO for WordPress install on your WordPress website? Have you ever found yourself wondering what’s hidden in the general SEO section of Yoast SEO? In the SEO section, in the bottom half of the WordPress menu on the left of the page? Perhaps the better question would be: have you ever tried our Yoast SEO configuration wizard? Our wizard takes care of all the little things that you should configure. Things that you might forget in your eagerness to get started with your newly set up website.

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Where can I find the Yoast SEO configuration wizard?

Of course, you want to jump right in and configure our plugin, using that Yoast SEO configuration wizard. Once you have installed our plugin, you’ll see a notification on your Yoast SEO dashboard:

The configuration wizard helps you to easily configure your site to have the optimal SEO settings.
We have detected that you have not finished this wizard yet, so we recommend you to start the configuration wizard to configure Yoast SEO.

There is a link in this message, leading you to a tab that’s located next to your SEO dashboard: “General”. You can set a number of things here, but you’ll also find a button that takes you to the Yoast SEO configuration wizard:

Where to find the Yoast SEO configuration wizard

The wizard

Once you’ve opened the wizard, we’ll guide you through the steps via a few questions. If you answer these, we’ll implement the right settings for your website, based specifically on your answers.

Step 1: Welcome to the Yoast SEO configuration Wizard

Let’s look at the first screen of the configuration wizard:
Yoast SEO configuration wizard: Welcome

You have two options here. You can start the wizard by clicking the purple button in the left box. This will continue the process as described below in this article.

The other option, on the right, will take you to our shop. Because we can do the configuration process for you, if you feel that there’s more to configure, and want to be sure it is done right for your particular site. We’ll check all the things in the wizard, but first, we will have a quick look at your website to see how you implemented things. And how we can optimize these settings for your specific business. Especially the technical side of things may feel challenging for the average site owner. This is where the configuration service is of great help. For the best result, you can also purchase our configuration package, which also includes our Yoast SEO Premium plugin, and the installation of that plugin.

For this post, let’s assume you want to use the Yoast SEO configuration wizard first.

Step 2: Is your site ready to be indexed?

The first question determines whether you want your site to be indexed or not. Perhaps you are working on a development site, on a staging server or just don’t want the public to see your site yet:
Yoast SEO configuration wizard

The reason we ask, is that one of the most important checks in our plugin determines whether Google can index your site or not. Google needs to be able to reach your website and index it unless you don’t want that. If you don’t want that, we merely need to know. You can set your preference for this in the second step of our wizard.

Step 3: What kind of site do you have?

In the next step, we will ask you about the type of site you have. It could be a blog or an online shop, but might as well be a news site or a portfolio.
Yoast SEO configuration wizard

One of the reasons we ask this question is because it’s essential you take a moment and think about this. What is your site about? Let’s take yoast.com, for example. We have two different sections on our website yoast.com:

  • Our blogs: an SEO blog and a dev blog. In these blogs, we share knowledge about both SEO and software development in all its facets.
  • Our online shop. We run an online shop and you’ll find our premium plugins and online courses in there.

What makes this question hard for ourselves, is the fact that following our mission “SEO for everyone”, both are equally important. Sharing knowledge is our main goal. Making sure all companies large and small and all individuals rich and poor, wherever on this planet, can optimize their websites and have an equal chance to rank in the search result pages. We use our products to provide even more insights or to deliver our knowledge to you in a structured package. That is also the reason we charge prices for our software that fit well into the offers of most online agencies. Charging $5,000 for a website, and including a mere $89 for our Yoast SEO Premium plugin seems like a no-brainer. Especially since it just makes your work / the work of your client so much easier. But enough with the promotional talk.

Think for yourself what your answer to this question should be. That’ll make it easier to configure several features of our plugin and, in fact, of your website later on.

For us, as plugin developers, the information we get from this question is also useful for future improvements. For instance, it can help us to prioritize future additions to our plugin for specific types of sites.

Step 4: Is it you or your company?

For the right metadata, we ask you to choose between company and person here. Is your website about you, or the company you represent? If you are a person, we would like to include your name. If you are a company, please add the name and logo.
Yoast SEO configuration wizard

This information will be included in the metadata of your website, with the goal to provide Google with the right information for their Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph is the block of information you see on the right-hand side of the search results, for instance when you do a company search for Sony or Apple. My search for “Apple” actually returned details for our local Apple premium reseller, with a sort of ‘footer’ about the global Apple company details.

To make sure you give Google proper suggestions for that Knowledge Graph, we have added this question.

Step 5: Tell us your social profiles

In addition to your name or company name, we also ask you to let us know which social profiles you have. Again, so we can provide Google with the right information for their Knowledge Graph. Google seems keen on delivering answers to their visitors right away, so you’d better make sure your information is on Google.
Yoast SEO configuration wizard

With social being a part of the Knowledge Graph, and your website being linked on all your social profile pages, be sure to fill this out as completely as possible.

Step 6: To show or not show certain post types

The description in the image below is pretty clear: this is where you can set posts and pages to hidden or visible. Besides that, you can also choose to hide the Media post type.
Yoast SEO configuration wizard

If you set your Media post type to ‘visible’, WordPress will generate separate pages for your images, and we will generate an XML sitemap for your images as well. Now, unless you have a very specific reason to generate these pages, we recommend setting this to ‘hidden’ instead. That way, most websites prevent the generation of a ton of pages that just contain an image and no further content. Google will spend time indexing all these pages, but they add little value to your content. Keep in mind that when an image is on your page, post, or a specific gallery, Google will find it anyway.

Step 7: How many people are publishing content on your site?

We absolutely want to know if your website has multiple authors. There’s a reason for that: when your site only has one author, WordPress will still generate author pages. But if you write all the content on your blog yourself, your blog page will show the exact same collection of posts as your author page. And that, indeed, is duplicate content.
Yoast SEO configuration wizard

We call something duplicate content when the majority of a page is the same as the content on another page. Google will notice this, get confused, won’t know what page to rank first, and might decide to rank both a bit less. You obviously want to prevent that from happening. As we can guide you in this case, we added this check to our Yoast SEO configuration wizard.

Step 8: Google Search Console integration

There is a ton of information about your website in Google Search Console. We have written many posts about webmaster tools like Google Search Console, but did you know we also have an integration for it in our plugin? It connects your website to Google Search Console and allows you to keep a keen eye on your 404 Not Found errors. In our Yoast SEO Premium plugin, we’ll even guide you in preventing these 404 errors by helping you change them to for instance a 301 (so redirect the page to another page), or a 410 status code (which tells Google the page is gone forever).
Yoast SEO configuration wizard

In this step of the Yoast SEO configuration wizard, we guide you in connecting Google Search Console to our plugin. After that, we’ll start showing you your 404s so you can monitor and fix them!

Step 9: Optimizing your page title

At the title settings step in the wizard, we ask you to think about your branding. The website name you enter here is the name that our default page title template will use to put at the end of each page title. The default page title template looks like this:
%%title%% %%page%% %%sep%% %%sitename%%

The last part of that template is %%sitename%% and that’s what you fill out here. Be sure to add it, but keep it short, so the focus will be on the page or post title. It’s nice to have some of your branding in here so people will recognize your pages in the search result pages. If they already know you and your site, they’re more likely to click on one of your links.
Yoast SEO configuration wizard

The third part of the page template is %%sep%%, which stands for separator. A page title that follows our template can be “Some title of a post – Yoast”. The hyphen in there is the separator you can set at this step in the Yoast SEO configuration wizard. Using another separator than the average person might make you stand out from your competitors in the search result pages. But beside that, you can also pick the smallest separator, which could mean you can squeeze in another character or two.

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

Step 10: Awesome tips and new products in your inbox

As SEO is an ongoing process, our goal is to keep you up-to-date on any changes in Google’s search result pages or Google’s algorithm. We do that by posting on our SEO blog, but also with our newsletter. In the newsletter, we highlight new developments in search, in WordPress and in our company – if relevant.
Yoast SEO configuration wizard

Simply insert your email address, and we’ll keep you in the loop on all things SEO!

Step 11: Upsell: buy our Premium plugin

Call it whatever you want (upsell, spam, useful information), but we have to tell you about our premium plugin in our configuration. Because we deliver incredibly useful SEO extras with that premium plugin, for a reasonable price. To name but a few:

  • What about a redirect manager? We’ll not only show you your 404s, but will also make it very easy to redirect, and thereby fix ’em.
  • An internal linking tool that will help you optimize your site structure to the max. Link suggestions and an easy way to copy these into your text. Optimize your cornerstone content even further.
  • Social previews, so you’ll know exactly what your website will show on Facebook and Twitter, and the option to tweak that.
  • A year of updates for all premium features, so your entire plugin will always be 100% up-to-date.
  • Email support for as long as you have Premium. This means you can email our 24/7 support team with any questions you have about the plugin.

Yoast SEO configuration wizard

Next to that, we offer some hands-on online courses to improve your SEO game even more. Be sure to check them out; you can always decide later if they add value for you, right? We think they do :)

Step 12: Even more free information about the plugin: then you’re ready to get started!

All the steps above have one goal: prepare you and your website for SEO. These steps are focused on the general settings of our plugin.

If you have used our plugin before, you’ll know it also provides a thorough SEO analysis in real time, while you write your posts or pages. On the page/post edit screen, where you write your content, you’ll find a so-called meta box with our SEO and readability analysis. For more insights on both, we finish our Yoast SEO configuration wizard with a helpful video, which tells you more about that specific part of the plugin. Be sure to watch that video!
Yoast SEO configuration wizard: finished

The configuration wizard makes things easier for all of us

All in all, I trust this article gives you a pretty good insight in why you should give our Yoast SEO configuration wizard a spin. And why we ask what we ask in there!

And again, if you want us to configure the plugin for you, feel free to use our Yoast SEO configuration service instead.

Keep reading: ‘Why every website needs Yoast SEO’ »

The post The Yoast SEO Configuration Wizard appeared first on Yoast.

November 2, 2017. This date has been etched in the collective Yoast agenda’s for some time now. If you haven’t guessed, it’s when the second edition of the YoastCon SEO conference takes place. This practical conference is aimed at every site owner, business manager, content editor or anyone remotely making money with a site and trying to improve their results. In this interview, you’ll hear from our own Marieke van de Rakt and Michiel Heijmans – who will also MC the event – on why you should visit YoastCon.

Don’t want to miss this epic SEO event? Get your ticket now for YoastCon 2017!

Get your ticket NOW »

Why YoastCon?

The first edition of YoastCon was all about celebrating the fifth anniversary of Yoast as a company. It was a small, down to earth SEO conference focussed as much on sharing SEO knowledge as it was a meeting of new friends and a rekindling of old ones. YoastCon was put together by a small team and it resulted in a great maiden voyage for the conference.

Come see Marieke and Michiel speak at YoastCon 2017 on November 2 »banner YoastCon

Michiel remembers how much work it was: “We wanted to celebrate five years of Yoast and we thought a conference was the best way to do this. It was an awful lot of work, but it paid off. It was a great ride! This was such a cool experience that we wanted to do it again but on a grander scale.”

Marieke concurs: “We probably won’t do this every year, because of the amount of work involved. However, we do have a lot more helping hands now, so never say never. The first YoastCon was one of the best days ever, so I’m really looking forward to the second edition!”

“YoastCon offers us a brilliant opportunity to not just talk about what we mean by holistic SEO, but show it as well. In that sense, it’s the perfect combination of sharing information and sharing knowledge that’s immediately applicable to any site. When you get home from the conference, you can take action that really helps you to achieve success,” Michiel says.

YoastCon is all about practical SEO, why exactly is that?

“People have a great need for practical insights. Something they can apply immediately. However, they find it hard to determine how to start. The Yoast SEO plugin is very practical as it helps you to improve your site by signaling when something could be improved. It’s a tool that you can start using at a moment’s notice. During the first YoastCon, we introduced our holistic SEO vision and now we’re going to make that abstract concept practical for people to apply, ” says Marieke.

What are the hot SEO issues at this event?

At a good SEO conference, you get both a taste of the now and the future. While the future of search is hard to predict, there are things site-owners can prepare for. Marieke is quick to mention the incredible power of content: “Content is the cornerstone of a good SEO strategy. Writing SEO-proof articles is a skill that takes work. Plus, these days you have to keep voice search in mind when writing content. Also, mobile and local SEO keep getting more important. All these things will be discussed at YoastCon.”

Michiel mentions that SEO is no longer seen as a trick, but that it has acquired a special status in projects: “These days, SEO is seen as something that delivers results. It’s accepted because it works. YoastCon is a place to learn how to use SEO to your advantage. Not just SEOs, but every site-owner, web developer, business owner or content strategist will learn something. Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity to extend your network. And you get to dance with all the cool people at the party. It’s going to be an awesome day!”

What are you looking forward to most?

“I’m really looking forward to MC’ing with Michiel,” Marieke blurts out. “But also my SEO copywriting workshop, that is going to be epic. I’m going to let the people write so much they’ll never forget the lessons learned. It’s great to be able to get direct feedback from people. It’s good to be reminded of how people perceive your work. We often miss that human touch since we work online all the time.”

Michiel is looking forward to seeing people interact with each other and with team Yoast as well: “We don’t often get this close to our audience. Now, we have to chance to share knowledge directly with a group of people that is eager to learn.”

How does YoastCon differ from other SEO conferences and WordCamps?

“We’re trying to combine the matter of SEO conferences with the openness and inclusiveness of WordCamps. We’re not just aiming at WordPress since there will be workshops on TYPO3 and Magento 2 as well,” Michiel says.

“I agree,” Marieke says: “We’re looking for a particular atmosphere. We don’t just let you listen to talks, but you can participate in workshops and we even offer you the chance to speak your mind on the future of WordPress, for instance. The talks are pretty exclusive if I may say so. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck!”

Why should people visit the YoastCon SEO conference?

“You can’t miss this event if you are really serious about achieving success with your site. There’s a lot happening at the moment and this event gives you the chance to get up to speed and that may even turn out to give you the lead over your competitor. Besides that, it’s going to be an amazing day!” Marieke says.

According to Michiel, the event is aimed at everyone: “You can visit YoastCon if you own the bakery around the corner or if you manage a company of 40,000 strong. You have to go to YoastCon if you want to take your site to the next level. We have developed YoastCon from a very different mindset than your everyday SEO conference. It’s not just a conference, it’s a party for anyone making money with their site. And it’s in Nijmegen, the oldest city in The Netherlands, how cool is that! Go buy your ticket now, because they are selling like hot cakes. When they’re gone, they’re gone!”

Read more: ‘YoastCon 2017: a practical SEO conference’ »

The post YoastCon interview with Michiel and Marieke appeared first on Yoast.

There’s a lot of discussion in the WordPress world right now about a new editing experience that’s in the making. It’s called Gutenberg. While some of that discussion is technical, every user that uses WordPress regularly should be aware of what’s coming. At Yoast, we are quite excited about the concept of Gutenberg. We think it could be a great improvement. At the same time, we have our worries about the speed in which the project is being pushed forward. And, we’re not excited about all the changes.

In this post I’ll first try to explain what Gutenberg is. Subsequently, I will tell you about the things that are problematic to us. Finally, I will tell and show you what we think should be done about the problems.

What is Gutenberg?

Gutenberg is a new approach to how we edit posts in WordPress. It’s basically a new editor. It tries to remove a lot of the fluff that we built up over the years. The intent is to make the new experience lighter and more modern. The end-goal is to make WordPress easier to use. That’s something we really appreciate at Yoast.

Gutenberg introduces the concept of “blocks“. The new editor will be a block-editor: paragraphs, headings, images and YouTube video embeds will all be blocks. Blocks will make it easier to learn how to work with WordPress. People starting out with WordPress, only have to learn the concept of blocks, instead of 3 or 4 different concepts. When we make WordPress easier to use, we make it more accessible to a larger group of people. Making editing easier was the goal from the outset, as Matt Mullenweg is quoted on the Gutenberg Github page:

The editor will endeavour to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery. — Matt Mullenweg

As well as introducing blocks, Gutenberg also introduces a new look and feel for the editor. For me, the look and feel is mostly a copy of the Medium editor, an editor that got a lot of praise in certain online circles. Gutenberg appears a bit more modern, more contemporary.

New technology in Gutenberg

Besides introducing a new look and feel and the concept of editing blocks, Gutenberg also introduces an entirely new technology to WordPress. Gutenberg will use a lot of JavaScript, particularly React. While this change in itself is not interesting to the average user, it does impact how WordPress is built.

Here at Yoast, we are worried about the use of new technology combined with the introduction of big new concepts. This is bound to make for a rocky experience. We know from our own experience releasing Yoast SEO 3.0 (we’d rather not talk about that anymore). Even when releases are very well prepared, a lot can go wrong and you’ll be busy fixing it for a long time. We feel worried about the combination of new technology, completely renewed functionality, and the extremely ambitious time plan.

Plugins in Gutenberg

The concept of blocks brings some very powerful new tools to plugin authors. At Yoast, we have lots of ideas on how to make our content analysis better, faster, and more user-friendly with the Gutenberg editor. However, Gutenberg does currently not have the technical necessities in place to allow us to actually build that integration. Yoast SEO can’t integrate with the new editor (yet). Of course, we are actively involved in the technical discussions around this. We are currently heavily discussing how to make it possible for plugins to integrate.

Fact remains that, if you test Gutenberg right now, you’ll see that Yoast SEO is not on the page, anywhere. Nor, for that matter, are all the other plugins you might use like Advanced Custom Fields or CMB2. All of these plugins use so-called meta boxes, the boxes below and to the side of the current editor.

The fact that the Gutenberg team is considering changing meta boxes is, in our eyes, a big mistake. This would mean that many, many plugins would not work anymore the minute Gutenberg comes out. Lots and lots of custom built integrations would stop working. Hundreds of thousands of hours of development time would have to be, at least partly, redone. All of this while, for most sites, the current editor works just fine.

Accessibility issues

The current version of Gutenberg has major accessibility issues both in its frontend output and in the backend editor. This ranges from inline styles in the output to many other things.

We feel very strongly about accessibility. Not without reasons. The law in many European countries requires government institutions to have properly accessible websites. If Gutenberg breaks their accessibility, they will have to disable it, or face lawsuits. The Gutenberg team needs to realize that accessibility requirements are simply that: requirements.

To conclude: we are very enthusiastic about the idea of blocks, but have strong concerns about some of the technical choices and the speed of the implementation process. We are also worried about the lack of priority given to accessibility issues in the project. But most importantly, we are very much concerned about the fact that plugins are not able to integrate with the new editor.

When is Gutenberg coming?

In a recent post about the JavaScript library of choice for the WordPress ecosystem, WordPress’ project lead Matt Mullenweg said:

It will likely delay Gutenberg at least a few weeks, and may push the release into next year.

At Yoast, we were pretty shocked about these words. In its current form, Gutenberg is not ready -at all- for mainstream usage. In fact, we do not see it as being ready to be released anywhere in the first half of 2018. In our view, ready to be released also means that the community has had ample time to fix all of their integrations. In this point of time, it’s not possible for plugins at all to integrate with Gutenberg. How on earth should plugin authors be able to build their integrations within a few months? That’s not possible. At least not without breaking things.

So what should be done?

We think that taking the following three steps would bring Gutenberg much closer to release:

  • First of all, we should keep the blocks idea, as it’s a good one. And then we should start iterating, slowly. If you want the admin to get a modern “makeover” for 5.0: that’s doable. We don’t need to change how meta boxes are rendered for that to happen.
  • There’s also no need to move the toolbar (with bold, italics etc buttons) away from where it is (this has been discussed before). Medium does that, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing and it means more re-training than the team building Gutenberg seems to realize.
  • We should focus on making sure both the backend editor and the frontend output of Gutenberg meet basic accessibility requirements.

Once we’ve decided on the above, we should start educating plugin & theme developers on what will and what will not work in the new environment.

What should this look like?

We’ve made some mockups of what we think this could look like (click for larger versions):

Document level

Gutenberg editor mockup - block level

Block level

Gutenberg mockup - distraction free mode

Distraction free mode

Note that we have disabled the background color and text color controls in the block level mockup. These should be off by default in our opinion, and possibly only allow a subset of colors, chosen by the theme author, when enabled.

I’d love to discuss with you, in the comments here, on Github, on Slack: everywhere!

The post An alternative approach to Gutenberg appeared first on Yoast.

The default WordPress search functionality is certainly lacking in areas. Although changes were made in 2013 to improve it, there are still a few areas where WordPress could use some help. It is, however, relatively easy to improve WordPress search by adding a few pieces of code. Here, I’ll list some of the methods you could use to make WordPress search better.

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Sort by relevance

In older versions of WordPress, search results were sorted by date and not much else. Because this is (at the very least) annoying for websites with a lot of posts, WordPress core introduced a patch that would change the way search results are sorted.

The changes are as followed:

  • Results with a full sentence match in the post title are listed first.
  • Search results that include all search terms in the title, but not a full sentence match, are listed next.
  • Results including any search terms in the title, but not all search terms or a full sentence match, are listed next.
  • Finally, search results that include a full sentence match in the post content come last. Within each group, results are further sorted chronologically by publication date.

Improving the interface

Excerpts in search results by WordPress are not exactly great. Unlike Google, the WordPress search omits emphasis of the keyword if it found matches. Luckily, you can alter parts of the search results and add this feature.

Preparing your theme

In your theme, look for the file that outputs the search results. In this example, it’s a file that I’ve created manually, called /template-parts/post/content-search.php in a Twenty Seventeen child theme. This file is a copy of content-excerpt.php that exists in the same directory.

Next, look for the file called search.php in the theme’s main directory and look for the following line of code:

get_template_part( 'template-parts/post/content', 'excerpt' );

Change this to the following:

get_template_part( 'template-parts/post/content', 'search' );

By making these changes, you’ll ensure that WordPress will use your custom template instead of the default one. Time to add the actual code that will be doing the emphasizing!

Open up functions.php and add the following function:

/**
 * Adds emphasis to the parts passed in $content that are equal to $search_query.
 *
 * @param $content The content to alter.
 * @param $search_query The search query to match against.
 *
 * @return string The emphasized text.
 */
function emphasize( $content, $search_query ) {
    $keys = array_map( 'preg_quote', explode(" ", $search_query ) );
    return preg_replace( '/(' . implode('|', $keys ) .')/iu', '<strong class="search-excerpt">\0</strong>', $content );
}

What this function does, is taking the passed content and emphasize every occurrence of the word(s) passed in $search_query and return the text. The class that was added to the <strong> tag can be used to further style the end result (if you want to).

Adding emphasis in the title

Now that we’ve gone through the steps to setup your custom template parts adding emphasis in the title is relatively easy to do.

Go into your newly created content-search.php and find the line that looks like:

the_title( sprintf( '<h2 class="entry-title"><a href="%s" rel="bookmark">', esc_url( get_permalink() ) ), '</a></h2>' );

and replace it with the following:

$title = emphasize( get_the_title(), get_search_query() );

echo sprintf( '<h2 class="entry-title"><a href="%s" rel="bookmark">%s', esc_url( get_permalink() ), $title ) . '</a></h2>';

That’s all there is to it!

Adding emphasis in the excerpt

You’d expect that adding emphasis to the excerpt can’t be much harder than adding it to the title. Sadly, this is not the case. With excerpts, WordPress automatically concatenates a “Continue reading” link to the end. You’d be fine as long as the search phrase doesn’t exist in the slug of the post, but most of the time if you’re looking for specific keywords, it will be present in the slug. This results in a broken “Continue reading” link.

To overcome this, you’ll have to temporarily overrule some default WordPress behavior.

First, add the following to your functions.php:

/**
 * Creates a custom read more link.
 *
 * @return string The read more link.
 */
function modify_read_more_link() {
    return ' <a class="more-link" href="' . get_permalink() . '">Continue reading</a>';
}

The above code will be called to ensure we have a workable “Read more” link.

This part hooks into the function that creates the actual excerpt and adds our emphasis and custom “Read more” link.

/**
 * Allows for excerpt generation outside the loop.
 *
 * @param string $text  The text to be trimmed
 * @return string       The trimmed text
 */
function custom_trim_excerpt( $text = '' ) {
    $text = strip_shortcodes( $text );
    $text = apply_filters('the_content', $text);
    $text = str_replace(']]>', ']]&gt;', $text);

    $excerpt_length = apply_filters('excerpt_length', 55);

    $trimmed = wp_trim_words( $text, $excerpt_length, '' );

    if ( is_search() ) {
        $trimmed = emphasize( $trimmed, get_search_query() );
    }

    return $trimmed . modify_read_more_link();
}
add_filter('wp_trim_excerpt', 'custom_trim_excerpt');

Sadly, there’s no elegant alternative for this. Hopefully, someday, a filter will be created that can be called instead of having to overrule large portions of the trim function.

Tracking searches

There are a few options to track the search queries that visitors have entered, but we recommend using Google Analytics for this. To get started with tracking searches, please go through the following steps:

  1. Login to Google Analytics.
  2. Click on Admin (gear on the bottom-left).
  3. Under View, click on View Settings
  4. Scroll down until you find the Site Search Tracking toggle and turn it on.
  5. In the Query Parameter field, enter s. This is the default query parameter that is added by WordPress when using the search function.
  6. Click Save

If your website is heavily dependent on categories and allows users to use them to refine their searches, Google Analytics gives you the ability to add tracking on this too. For more information on this subject, you can read Google’s documentation on search tracking in this article.

Alternatives

If your website has grown a lot and you want to supercharge your search, it might be wise to look at a few alternatives. One that we use at Yoast is Algolia. This platform contains a ton of features to make search even better. Some features are: Typo-tolerance, support for synonyms, filters and support for 100+ languages. It also includes integrations with WordPress!

Become a technical SEO expert with our Technical SEO 1 training! »

Technical SEO 1 training Info

Another alternative is Amazon CloudSearch. It offers similar features to Algolia, and you can enable autoscaling if you think your website needs it. However, ACS does not provide you with an integration out of the box, so you’ll have to write your implementation or look for a WordPress plugin in the Plugin Directory. At the time of writing, there are only two plugins present; CloudSearch and Lift.

Yes, you can improve WordPress search

As you could read, the WordPress search has improved over the years. Despite this, it still lacks in some aspects. Luckily you can improve it by adding some extra code in your child theme or take it to the next level by using external services such as Algolia and Amazon CloudSearch. Good luck!

Read more: ‘Internal search: why and how’ »

The post How to improve WordPress search appeared first on Yoast.

With the release of Yoast SEO 5.5 comes a great new feature: SEO roles. A site admin can now determine in the backend of WordPress who gets access to the various settings and features of Yoast SEO. This makes for a more fluid and flexible access protocol for different kinds of users on a site. It is no longer a one-size-fits-all solution, but a more tailored one. SEO roles make Yoast SEO even more powerful for every type of user. Here, we’ll explain why these roles are so awesome.

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

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Managing user roles in Yoast SEO 5.5

It’s always been a challenge to use Yoast SEO in a larger site environment. As an admin, you’d have to choose between offering users full access to the plugin or just access to the SEO post editor part. That means a regular user couldn’t use the redirects manager, for instance, and had to ask an admin for help every time he or she wanted to add, change or delete redirects. We’ve seen it happing here at Yoast as well. Of course, there’s a whole range of possible permissions in between. Yoast SEO now introduces two new roles that make this a lot easier to manage: the SEO manager and SEO editor, in addition to the admin who determines who gets to see what.

Roles and capabilities

Roles in Yoast SEO consist of one or more capabilities, like:

  • managing options (this gives you full access),
  • managing redirects,
  • editing advanced metadata,
  • access to the bulk editor.

The SEO editor, for instance, can now make redirects, but cannot change the settings of the plugin or access the advanced metadata editor of Yoast SEO. This way, the SEO editor has more access than a regular user, but less than the SEO manager who can manage settings as well. If you use a permission or role manager plugin for WordPress like Justin Tadlock’s excellent Members plugin, you get even more fine-grained control over the capabilities within Yoast SEO. This way, you can mix and match capabilities in any form you’d like.

In Yoast SEO Premium, we’ve also added the capability to manage redirects without having to be an administrator. By activating this, users within a specific role get full access to the redirects manager. No longer do site managers have to be swamped with redirects requests by site editors, they can manage those themselves. Personally, I like that a lot. By adding some magic code to the plugin, the redirects manager now shows up in the WordPress sidebar menu, even if your Yoast SEO menu is hidden by default. How cool is that?

yoast seo 5.5 filter

Managing your site has never been easier

The SEO roles in Yoast SEO make it incredibly easy to give more people working on your site access to the features and settings they need, without granting them full access. Does your site editor need to edit advanced metadata? No? Block it in Yoast SEO. Does he or she need to manage redirects and do large-scale SEO optimizations with the bulk editor? Great, grant him or her access to these parts of the plugin. You can do this and more – all from the admin dashboard of Yoast SEO!

Read more: ‘Yoast SEO 5.5: Introducing SEO roles’ »

The post Managing access to Yoast SEO with SEO roles appeared first on Yoast.