Yoast SEO Premium 9.0 fulfills a long lasting wish of many bloggers and content writers, including me. The Yoast SEO premium analysis is able to do something it has never done before: take word forms into account (amongst other things). As one of Yoast’s linguists pointed out: “Google knows word forms, so should we.”

Testing the new analysis for you!

For the people who follow Yoast, I might not be a stranger. But if you somehow stumbled upon this post by accident, or by sheer curiosity, I’ll start by introducing myself. I’m Caroline, I’ve been with Yoast for 4 years now and I’ve seen Yoast SEO and its premium version evolve into a better and friendlier product with every release.

Am I the best person to test this analysis for you? You might think not, as I’m a Yoast employee. However, as a blogger for Yoast and for my own Dutch mom blog, I’m one of the people in the company who rants and raves about the plugin out in the open. The developers know what I think of certain aspects of the plugin. Because of my work on GitHub, my blog posts on Yoast.com and my contacts with bloggers worldwide, I know exactly what the cons of the plugin are. So yes, I am the best person to test our new version!

Keyphrase recognition no matter what the order of words is

Our linguistic team worked for months on this release. They got me excited the moment they explained they were overhauling the entire way we were doing keyword recognition. If you’re unsure what this means: until now, we could only match the exact keyphrase in the SEO analysis. This means that if your keyphrase is ‘yellow chair’, we couldn’t match for [yellow chairs] or [chairs that are yellow]. Google knows that [yellow chairs] and [chairs that are yellow], is the same as [a yellow chair], but Yoast SEO did not.

Create better content more freely

In Yoast SEO the word order doesn’t matter anymore. And, in Yoast SEO Premium recognizes plurals and other word forms (for now just in English) like Google does. This means we can provide you with feedback that’s more true to how Google views your content. Not having to worry about exact matches anymore, enables you to focus on creating awesome content.

These new functionalities make sure that your old posts that were, according to us, not particularly optimized for SEO, suddenly are optimized very well. Test it yourself: there’s a huge chance that posts that scored bad or mediocre according to our plugin, now score higher than they did before.

Synonyms

Although the word form recognition only works for English – with more languages to follow soon! – this doesn’t mean the release is useless for non-English users. On the contrary: all our premium users, regardless of language, will benefit so much from this release. In a previous version we’ve introduced synonyms in the plugin. We reevaluated which checks should take synonyms into account. These checks have been completely revised and now rely on both the keyphrase and its synonyms when calculating the SEO score. This means that, despite writing in a non-English language, you can write compelling texts without worrying about the analysis not recognizing synonyms.

What does this mean for my SEO?

Considering the above, we can say for certain that the SEO score will be matching Google’s scoring algorithm more closely. Although no one knows the exact algorithm Google uses, we have come one step closer in providing you the perfect tools to optimize for Google and your visitors.

I can prove this to you by using a post I wrote on Yoast.com this summer. I wrote an article of which the keyphrase is: ‘blogging in summer’. Its score? Orange. Yet, if you Google ‘blogging in summer’, or ‘blogging during summer’ this post scores number one. With the new analysis the SEO score is green, without changing a single line of text. Is this more in line of what we see in Google? Yes, it definitely is. As you can see in the screenshot below, a lot of the checks have gone from red to orange or even green. If I change the keyphrase to ‘blogging during summer’, the analysis stays green, which reflects Google in this as well.

The old Yoast SEO Premium analysis versus the new one

The old Yoast SEO Premium analysis versus the new one

SEO analysis and non-English websites

So far it might seem this release is only interesting for the people who maintain English websites. This is not the case. This release is very interesting for non-English users as well. How so? The function words are filtered out for eight additional languages. For these languages the synonyms are taken into account as well. This results in posts receiving a higher SEO score as well, as seen in below’s print screen of one of my blog posts in Dutch:

SEO Analysis Premium 9.0 for foreign languages

SEO Analysis Premium 9.0 for foreign languages – previous release versus 9.0

Filtering out the function words works – in the free version as well – for the languages: German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Polish.

Synonyms work in Yoast SEO premium only, but aren’t language specific, i.e. work in every language.

Conclusion

What I think of this release? I feared, for an instant, that this release was only impacting the English sites, but I found out this works very well for other languages too. The developers definitely thought of non-English users as well. I can’t wait for the full functionality to be rolled out in all other languages!

Test the plugin yourself

If you still have questions regarding my post or still fear I am not the best person to test this plugin, then I ask you to test it yourself. Our premium plugin has a 30 day refund policy, no questions asked.

Get Yoast SEO Premium now »Only $89 $79 (ex VAT) for 1 site

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Most releases are all about incredible new features or fixing a gazillion bugs with the help of the community. But sometimes, there’s a small release that is unfortunately timed just before a big one. There may not be any new game-changers in Yoast SEO 8.4, but does that mean it shouldn’t get its own release post? Of course not! So, my dear Yoast SEO 8.4, here we are!

Keeping up with our two week release schedule, we’re releasing Yoast SEO 8.4 today. While we’re gearing up for something pretty awesome in the next couple of weeks, we wouldn’t want to leave you hanging for too long.

New in Yoast SEO Premium: Synonyms in taxonomies

In Yoast SEO 8.4, we’re expanding a feature for our Premium users. It is now possible to optimize your taxonomies for multiple focus keywords and synonyms. We’ve also added the keyword distribution assessment to help you check and improve your focus keyword use in taxonomies. To make this happen, we have introduced a new wpseo_taxonomy_content_fields filter so we can add the additional fields to the taxonomy metabox.

Don’t have Premium yet? What are you waiting for? You get a redirect manager, internal linking suggestions, synonym support and much more. Go get Yoast SEO Premium!

Enhancements

In this release, we improved compatibility with Gutenberg so the latest changes in the new WordPress editor won’t break Yoast SEO. In addition, we now only support Gutenberg versions 3.9 and up. A community contribution by Emily Leffler Schulman this time. She suggested we add a margin below select fields to create space for breadcrumbs between taxonomy settings. Thanks, Emily!

Bug fixes

This time, we had time to fix a small number of pesky bugs. In one case, we fixed a bug that showed the cornerstone content toggle for attachment pages. We’ve also fixed a bug from the future. Sometimes, the Search Console page displayed ‘first detected’ and ‘last crawled’ dates that were in the future.

Update now!

Even better SEO with Yoast SEO Premium!

  • Optimize your site for the right keywords
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More info
Yoast SEO 8.4 is out now. It’s not a very big release, but we’re putting just as much love into small releases as we do in big releases. That being said, there’s something brewing at Yoast HQ, but it’s all very hush-hush. Keep an eye on our SEO blog or subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with the latest!

Read more: Why  you should buy Yoast SEO Premium »

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Please welcome the Yoast SEO Gutenberg sidebar! Update to Yoast SEO 8.0 and you’ll see our first steps to the – Gutenberg – future. If you’ve activated the Gutenberg plugin you’ll find a brand new version of the Yoast SEO meta box, in the sidebar! Not on Gutenberg yet? We’ve got good news for you too: we gave the existing Yoast SEO meta box a more intuitive design and a cleaner appearance so it’s easier to use for everyone. Here, we’ll explain everything: what you’ll encounter in this update if you’re on Gutenberg and what if you’re not. On top of that, we’ll share a glimpse of what you can expect from us shortly! 

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Why a Gutenberg sidebar?

Gutenberg is coming. Step one of Gutenberg is a new WordPress editor. This new editor gives you a brand new writing and editing experience;  you’ll be editing your content in blocks, instead of the one big field you’re used to. In the classic editor you’ve always found the Yoast SEO meta box below the post editor. But because of the block design in Gutenberg, most meta boxes will fit best in the sidebar. To make our meta box fit and work in the sidebar, we had to completely rethink and redesign it. The result of that we’re presenting you today!

While we were at it, we applied some of the changes required for the move to the sidebar onto the existing Yoast SEO meta box as well. These changes improve the usability and accessibility of our meta box and give it a cleaner and more organized look.

What happens if you run the Gutenberg plugin?

Are you using the Gutenberg plugin already? If you update to Yoast SEO 8.0 you’ll see two meta boxes: one below your post and one in the sidebar. This is not a bug, but our first move to a future where you can choose between showing one of the two. For now, we’re showing you the sidebar and the meta box below your post, as not all optimization options are available in both yet.

What happens if you don’t run the Gutenberg plugin?

You won’t see Yoast SEO in the sidebar if you don’t activate the Gutenberg plugin on your website. What you will see is a revamped, collapsible meta box below your post. We’ll get back to you on the revamped meta box further down this post. First, Yoast SEO in the Gutenberg sidebar!

So let’s dive in! If you run Yoast SEO and Gutenberg, you’ll now see collapsible Yoast SEO items in the sidebar. It’ll show a selection of the optimization areas you’re used to, nicely arranged next to your post. This will give you a convenient overview, in which the green smileys for Readability and Focus keyword will confirm if you’ve done a good job optimizing:

gutenberg sidebar yoast seo premium

The Gutenberg sidebar with collapsible sections. Please note that Add additional focus keywords, Internal linking suggestions and Insights are premium features.

Let’s go through the sections one by one!

Readability

As you probably know, Yoast SEO assesses the readability of your copy by checking your text for use of passive voice, sentence length, paragraph length and more. If you click on Readability in the sidebar, this section will unfold and you’ll see the assessments you’re used to, right there, next to the copy you’re creating. This prevents you from scrolling up and down a lot and makes reading and implementing the feedback on your writing much easier.

Focus keyword

If you click on Focus keyword in the sidebar the SEO analysis of your text will unfold. Here you can enter your focus keyword and Yoast SEO will analyze your content for those terms:

Are you using your keyword often enough and in the right places? Like your title, alt text and a heading? Have you added internal links? You can find these assessment here, conveniently placed next to the text you’re writing. 

Are you using Yoast SEO Premium? Then you can add possible synonyms and up to 5 related keywords! Just click on + Add synonyms or + Add another keyword, if you’d like to add them.

Cornerstone content

The next section of the Gutenberg sidebar is Cornerstone content. Here you can indicate if the post you’re working on is one of your most important articles. Marking your content as cornerstone content will help you create the best content for these posts and link often enough to them. Just move the toggle to the right if your post is cornerstone content.

If you use Yoast SEO premium, you’ll find two more sections in the sidebar: Internal linking and Insights. 

Internal linking

Internal linking can help you create an awesome site structure, which is indispensable if you want to rank high. Yoast SEO premium’s internal linking tool makes linking to your (best) posts as easy as pie! This internal linking tool used to be in the sidebar already, but now it’s integrated into a collapsable section of the Gutenberg sidebar. So all your post optimization to do’s are in one place!

gutenberg sidebar internal linking

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Insights

Our insights tool runs through your copy and finds the most prominent words. If you’ve written a text and you want to make sure it stays on topic, you can check that with this tool. Do you see a lot of words that you don’t want to rank for with this post? Take another look at your post, because you might have lost focus somewhere along the way!

Insights in Yoast SEO Premium in the Gutenberg sidebar

The snippet preview and social previews

We hear you think: “So where can I find the snippet preview and my social previews now?” Well, those you can still find in the Yoast SEO meta box below your post, just like the advanced and video settings of Yoast SEO. Integrating those functionalities in the Gutenberg editor will require some more development work and will therefore be a second step.

The revamped Yoast SEO meta box

If you’re not using the Gutenberg plugin you’ll notice some significant changes too. While redesigning various sections of our meta box to fit into the sidebar, we realized the usability of the existing meta box would benefit from some of these changes too. So we applied some of the sidebar principles to the meta box as well. This resulted in a meta box with organized, collapsible sections where you can find the Yoast SEO tools you’re used to. When collapsed, they’ll provide a clear overview of the various optimization functionalities we provide for a post. Plus, the green smileys show you at a glance if you’ve done a good job optimizing:

collapsible yoast seo meta box

When you unfold one, it’s easier to stay focused on the optimization area you’re working on.

So, let’s unfold them one by one:

The snippet preview

The section on top is the snippet preview, where you can see what your post might look like in the search results. Not much changed here! You can still edit the SEO title, meta description and slug. It’s unfolded by default, so when you scroll down from your post you’ll directly see its most likely appearance in the search results:

snippet preview collapsible

Readability

Instead of finding the readability analysis in a separate tab, you’ll now encounter it as the second collapsible section. Check whether you’ve written a post that’s easy to read here:

collapsible readability meta box

Focus keyword

Where to add your focus keyword? In the third collapsible section you’ll find the field to enter the term you’d like your post to rank for. You’ll find your scores in the analysis results below the field, the way you’re used to.

focus keyword collapsible meta box

The next collapsible section is Add additional focus keyword. This is a feature that is only available to premium users. You can add up to five related keywords in this section. In addition to this, premium will enable you to add synonyms of your focus keyword too.

Cornerstone content

Have you written a post on your most essential topic, covering the core elements of your business? Make it your best post with our cornerstone analysis and don’t forget to link to it. Marking it as cornerstone content in the fifth collapsible section of the meta box will help you do so. Move the toggle to the right and give it a little extra!

cornerstone content collapsible

Insights

The last section we’d like to mention is Insights. Unfold it and find the most prominent words that you used in your copy. Check if you’ve staid on topic or digressed!

If you want to read more about the design choices we made check this post by our UX designer Tim.

What’s ahead?

Modals

As explained above we haven’t been able to move all sections of the Yoast SEO meta box to the sidebar yet. Some elements, like the snippet and social previews, require some additional development work. At the moment we’re, for instance, working on modals to be able to display accurate previews for snippets and social posts directly from the sidebar.

A sidebar for everyone!

Once all optimization functionalities are available in both the sidebar and current meta box, it’s up to you! Choose where you’d like to find Yoast SEO: below your post or in the sidebar? With a toggle you can select which interface you prefer. And by everyone we mean everyone, it doesn’t matter if you’re on Gutenberg, or not.

Gutenblocks

Now this is exciting! We’re working on our own Gutenblocks, something you’ll definitely hear more about soon. As we’ve explained Gutenberg uses blocks to build pages. A block can have its own styling, but also its own meta data, like structured data. So how awesome would it be if you could create a block with the correct structured data attached to it automatically? So Google will know instantly if your block is about a book, a recipe or a certain product?  You won’t need a developer anymore to add your schema.org data. If you think about this, the possibilities seem endless and opportunities are omnipresent. You can expect more from us on this soon. So keep a keen eye on our updates!

But first, update! Or check the changelog here.

Read on: Why you should buy Yoast SEO Premium »

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At Yoast we’re convinced readability is essential if you want to rank high and give users a pleasant experience on your website. That’s why we’re so happy we’re now capable of fully analyzing content in yet another language: Dutch! Plus, if you write in a language with diacritics, i.e. marks on a letter that indicate the pronunciation, like in mot-clé in French, we have some good news for you:  Yoast SEO is now able to identify those keywords too.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Leesbare teksten in het Nederlands

In Yoast SEO 7.9.1 we’ve completed all Yoast SEO content checks for Dutch. By adding the final assessment: the passive voice check, we’re now able to fully check all assessments that belong to the readability and SEO analysis. We’ve added Dutch to the list of completed languages, as we’ve already did for English, Spanish, French, Russian, German an Italian. Dutch might not be the most-used language on the planet, but it’s dear to our heart being the native language of most Yoasters. We’re so glad we can now ban passiveness from our mother tongue too!

Improved keyword recognition

In addition to the above language enhancement, we’ve smashed some linguistic bugs. Our content analysis sometimes had trouble recognizing the keyword while it was there, leading to some frustration among users. For instance, if it was present in possessive form (e.g. `Natalia` in `Natalia’s fix`) or if it had special diacritics in the URL (e.g. mañana in Spanish) Yoast SEO would fail to recognize it. Also, it would have difficulties to find the keyword if it was flanked by a Spanish inverted exclamation and question mark. All these issues are solved now: ¡Con mucho gusto!

Contributions

Together with some skilled developers of our beloved WordPress community we’ve also took on some performance issues and other bugs to make our plugin run smoother. We humbly thank Piero Bellomo and Jaska120 for contributing to the quality of Yoast SEO.

What’s ahead?

As we’ve already mentioned, exciting times are coming. Soon you’ll see how Yoast SEO will evolve thanks to Gutenberg. On top of that, we’re working hard to make Yoast SEO analyze your text the way Google does. Not something you’d want to miss. Stay tuned!

But for now, go update! Want to check the details first? Go read our changelog.

P.s. Did you know claiming your website on Pinterest is super easy with Yoast SEO?

Pinterest is one of the bigger – visual – search engines in the world. So as a blogger or online shop owner, promoting your imagery on Pinterest can bear fruit. If you prove to Pinterest that your website is yours by claiming it, this will give you added benefits. Pinterest will show your profile picture on your Pins and, most importantly, you’ll get access to Pinterest Analytics. This will give you lots of insights and ways to use this tool more effectively.

It can be a hassle to verify your website on Pinterest if you’re not a developer though, because you’d need to add the verification code to the <head> section of your site. But with Yoast SEO everyone can do it! We’ve updated the link to Pinterest’s guidelines on the Pinterest tab in the social section of Yoast SEO. Just follow those and you’re all set!

Read more: Why you should buy Yoast SEO Premium »

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Say hi to a brand new version of Yoast SEO! As it’s summertime, our hard-working developers went out on a collective bug hunt. Together with the community – we’re so happy to be part of – they’re giving their all to make our plugin work better for everyone using it. For instance, to make the various sections of all Search Appearance tabs collapsible, so they’re easier to scan and edit. On top of that, we’re preparing for exciting times to come! What about Gutenberg? And further development of our best-known feature, the content analysis? 

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Less scrolling in Search Appearance

The Search Appearance section of Yoast SEO is a true power tool. It allows you to control which sections of your site should appear in the search results and what they will look like. For instance, you can choose to hide certain archives from the search results or to set a template for SEO titles for your product pages. If you have an extensive website though, all different sections and options could create a long list on a tab. On the content types tab, you could already collapse the various content types. Now, we added this functionality to the other tabs as well, for example the archives tab:collapsible sections yoast seo search appearance

This way you’ll have a better overview, making it easier to select and edit the section you want to work on. Also, we’ve improved the accessibility of these collapsible sections, as they should work for everyone.

Bugs killed

When working on this release, we again realized how fortunate we are to be part of the WordPress community. No fewer than 4 voluntary contributors went together on this bug hunt with us. A big thanks to schurigbainternetdawnbirthmikeschinkel to help us fix stuff. Mad props to all of you!

One of the issues we fixed was a residue of our 7.7 release. In that update we introduced the new snippet variables in the snippet preview and templates of the Search appearance tab. In some instances, templates would not be saved correctly though, causing the default template to show under a post or page. This is one of the issues we resolved in Yoast SEO 7.9. Did this bug – or any of these annoy you? Update and get rid of them now!

Preparing for Gutenberg

Slowly but surely Gutenberg is heading our way. Not sure what Gutenberg was again? Check Edwin’s post about Gutenberg here. Gutenberg will have an impact on everyone using WordPress. Whether you’re a copywriter, editor or plugin developer.

Of course our own plugins need to be ready to integrate seamlessly with the Gutenberg editor when it’s there. Not something to take lightly! So we have a special team that’s fully dedicated to make sure we’re ready when Gutenberg is. They’re completely rebuilding all parts of the Yoast SEO plugin in the JavaScript library React, amongst others. Soon we’ll be able to tell and show you more on this. So make sure to keep an eye on our updates.

Working towards a more complete content analysis

Our 7.8 release was all about adding synonyms and keyword distribution in Yoast SEO Premium. Our plugin is now able to recognize synonyms of your focus keyword in English and sees how you’ve distributed them throughout your copy. This was just the first step to a more complete content analysis and understanding of the topic of a text. Apart from identification of synonyms we’re working on morphology (other forms of the same word) and related words recognition and an entire recalibration of our SEO analysis. Curious about the changes that lie ahead? Marieke sheds light on them here.

Read more: Why every website needs Yoast SEO »

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In the latest version of Yoast SEO Premium, we’ve released a new feature: synonyms. In the next months, you can expect even more updates making our SEO analysis smarter and more advanced. These changes will help you to write awesome, engaging content that’ll rank in the search engines. In this post, I’ll explain to you why we added synonyms to Yoast SEO and what changes lie ahead.

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Why you should use synonyms

Google is getting really good at understanding what texts are about. If you want to rank for a certain term, for example for ‘SEO’, Google will know that ‘Search Engine Optimization’ is pretty much the same thing. It makes sense to use them both. Synonyms make sure a text is nice and easy to read.

A few years ago, we added the multiple focus keyword functionality to Yoast SEO. Multiple focus keywords were often used to optimize for synonyms as well. We feel that the new synonym-functionality is a better solution to optimize for synonyms. Read my post about the difference between multiple focus keywords and synonyms if you want to know more.

Why is the exact match focus keyword still important?

Google understands synonyms, but that does not mean that focus keywords are not important anymore. Every SEO strategy should start with keyword research. You should know what words your audience is using when they are searching. The exact match keyword should be the keyword or keyphrase that your audience is using most often. That’s also the thing they expect to find. The exact match is always a little bit more important than the synonyms, just because your audience uses these words instead of others.

Vocabulary people are using is important. If people are searching for volunteering, they’ll probably not click on civic participation, although the two are supposed to be synonyms. Some words are more high-end than others and might not fit your audience as well. In your keyword research, you should take this into account. What words are your audience using?

In our SEO analysis, we’ll treat the exact match focus keyword different from the synonyms. Read more about that in our release post.

Keyword distribution

Along with the new support for synonyms, we’ve added a new keyword distribution check. Before, we would just count how often you used the keyword with our keyword density check. If you used it 4 or 5 times in the first paragraph and then never again, you could have gotten all green bullets from us. That’s no longer true.

We now have a check to see whether you’ve distributed your use of your focus keyword (or its synonyms) evenly across the text. This makes sure you stay on topic throughout your text, which will increase your chance of ranking.

Roadmap for the SEO analysis

Context is the SEO word of 2018. Google is getting really good at determining what a text is about. Google understands plurals and singulars. It has a related entities database. We’re working hard to make Yoast just as smart as Google is.

Embed synonyms in our SEO analysis

We now released our keyword distribution check in which synonyms are taken into account. We’re currently determining in which other checks we should take synonyms into account as well. Of course, we’re open for suggestions and opinions.

Morphology: plurals and more

In the past weeks, our awesome developers have built morphology recognition. This enables our analysis to recognize singulars, plurals, and other forms of the same word. So, if you want to rank for the focus keyword ‘link’, Yoast SEO will (in the near future) recognize ‘links’ and ‘linking’ as a similar keyword. We’ve built this for English and are planning to do so for more languages. We’re currently testing how to integrate this new morphology recognition into our SEO analysis.

Related keywords

The multiple focus keyword functionality is not optimal yet. In the near future, we’ll change this functionality into related keywords. You can optimize your post for a specific keyword and take synonyms into account. Next to that, you can optimize for related keywords. These are not your main keywords and not exact synonyms, but you still want to use them regularly.

We know that Google has a related entities database. If you’re searching for ‘tagliatelli’, results with the words ‘spaghetti’ and ‘pasta’ could also turn up. It’s smart to focus on related keywords when you’re writing a post. So, if your post is about ‘tagliatelli’, including ‘pasta’ and ‘spaghetti’ will probably help in your ranking as well.

We are currently working on modifying our multiple focus keyword functionality into related keyword functionality.

Recalibration of the SEO analysis

In the past year, we’ve been working on a recalibration of our SEO analysis. Many of the checks in our SEO-analysis were established based on our own experience in the SEO industry.  We wanted to be able to account for every check in our analysis more thoroughly. A team of linguists, developers, and SEO-experts dove into scientific literature and SEO blogs in order to re-assess all of our checks. The recalibration resulted in some changes in the checks of our analysis. For instance: the keyword distribution check was added as a result of it. We’re planning to release the new SEO analysis in September of this year.

Big improvements in our SEO analysis are coming

Context is gaining importance in 2018. That’s why we invest heavily in improving our SEO analysis. At the end of this year, we can really account for context in your blog posts and articles. This could mean that some of your articles that get green bullets now, will have orange or red bullets later on. That does not mean that your content became worse. It only means that we’re able to give you better, smarter feedback on your writing.

Read more: ‘Keyword research: the ultimate guide’ »

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Semantics is hard. What does a certain word mean in a specific situation? Which ‘mars’ are you talking about? Have you ever tried to discover all definitions of ‘run’? In most cases, context is everything. You can help humans and machines understand a text better by adding context. This is one of the reasons Yoast SEO is now adding support for synonyms and related keywords, giving you more flexibility to improve your text! Now available for Premium users of Yoast SEO 7.8.

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New Premium feature: Synonyms

Content SEO has long been about finding out what your main keyword was and adding that focus keyword in a couple of places in your text. While that worked pretty well, there’s a lot more going on at the moment. Not only is search intent more important than ever, but search engines get smarter and smarter every day. They increasingly ‘know’ what a text is about by looking at the context in which these focus keywords appear. This context is what makes or breaks a text.

Yoast SEO always worked by a single focus keyword or multiple focus keywords in our Premium plugin. We understand this can be a bit restrictive; we’re not even looking at plural instances of the keyword. Luckily, that’s about to change!

We’re working on some very nice new language-based SEO checks, and we’re presenting the first updates today: synonyms and keyword distribution! Yes, you read that right: Premium users can now add synonyms and related terms to check. Writing about bikes? Your synonyms will probably include ‘bicycle, cycle, ride, two-wheeler,’ and now you can add those terms. The Yoast SEO plugin will check how you use these terms in your article.synonyms in Yoast SEO 7.8

New Premium feature: keyword distribution

The new synonym feature also works in conjunction with another new feature in Yoast SEO Premium: keyword distribution. If you added a couple of synonyms for your focus keyword, Yoast SEO now checks to see if these are distributed well throughout the text. Before you could add your focus keyword in the intro a couple of times and that would be fine by us. That’s over. We’re taking the complete text in regard and want you to evenly and realistically distribute your focus keyword and synonyms. The gif below shows what the highlighting of keywords and synonyms looks like.
keyword synonyms yoast seo premium 7.8
We keep using the focus keyword exclusively to determine keyword density. In our opinion, optimizing your post for the most common keyword — the one that your keyword research uncovered as being most used by your audience — continues to be imperative. 

More on the way

This is just the start. At the moment, we’re hard at work to improve the language capabilities of Yoast SEO. Marieke wrote a post describing what you can expect from Yoast SEO in the coming months. Read about morphology, related keywords and the upcoming recalibration of the SEO analyses in Yoast SEO.

Feedback welcome!

We’ve added these new checks for you to try out. We’re very much looking forward to your feedback. How are you using synonyms and related topics in your texts? What do you want Yoast SEO to do with your synonyms? Are there ways to improve how we handle the analyses of your text? As we’ve said, this is the first step to a Yoast SEO that is far more capable of understanding language and using that knowledge to provide you with the best possible feedback. Help us get there! You can either add an issue to GitHub or comment on this post. We’re looking forward to your help!

Language improvements for French, Spanish and Italian

Yoast SEO 7.8 has turned out to be a release focused on language because we’ve also expanded the language functionality for French, Spanish and Italian. Users writing French and Spanish can now use the Flesch Reading Ease assessment to check the perceived difficulty of their texts. Users writing Italian can now improve their texts using the new passive voice assessment. French, Spanish and Italian now fully support all Yoast SEO features.

Other improvements and fixes

As always, we’ve fixed loads of bugs and improved various parts of the plugin. For instance, we’ve improved the way we determine the OpenGraph for front pages, especially in the case of static front pages. We’ve also fixed several bugs regarding the look and feel of the new snippet variables that we introduced in Yoast SEO 7.7.

Update now to Yoast SEO 7.8

Yoast SEO 7.8 is an exciting new release, one that marks a new direction for us. We’re giving you much more flexibility to enhance your articles by using synonyms and providing you with more tools to determine how well you present your keywords. This is the first step to an even more relevant, useful and indispensable Yoast SEO!

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

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Keyword density is the number of times your focus keyword occurs on a web page, compared to the total text of that page. If you write a post for your blog, you should have thought about what keyword you want to rank that post for. In our Yoast SEO plugin, that keyword is what we call the focus keyword. If you have a text that is 100 words and 5 of those are your focus keyword, your keyword density is 5%. Is it that black and white? In a very strict world, that would indeed be the case. But Google is smarter than that. In this post, we’ll discuss a number of things you need to take into account when checking keyword density for your pages.

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Keyword density in Yoast SEO

In Yoast SEO free, we encourage you to aim for a keyword density of 2.5%. If 2.5% of your post is your desired focus keyword, your text will still be fairly natural to read. It won’t look over-optimized. The thing is, that in the end, you want to make sure your text is written for humans, not Google. If the keyword density of your text exceeds 5%, it will already start to look a lot like spam, or what we call keyword stuffing. It’ll start to look like it’s written for search engines more than your human visitors. Just don’t do that. This is why a keyword density of 2.5% is a nice indication of natural, yet optimized text as well.

Multiple keywords

Often, you’ll find yourself optimizing a text for more than one keyword. Especially long pages or articles can be used perfectly for multiple keywords. It’s usually hard to write two or three articles about similar keywords, so it makes sense to group these. Think along the lines of:

  • “SEO” and “search engine optimization”
  • “Review” and “Testimonial”

But also words that are a tad bit more unrelated. You might find yourself writing about a “forest” and want to include “trees” as well, for instance. The plural of a word is also something you could add as a focus keyword for your page.

Did you know that adding multiple keywords is a breeze in Yoast SEO Premium? You can add up to 5 (!) focus keywords instead of the single keyword you are used to in our free plugin! Get Yoast SEO Premium here.

When talking about keyword density, SEO and search engine optimization obviously mean exactly the same. Therefore, you should take this into account when checking keyword density for your post. If the keyword density for SEO is already at 2.5%, it would be unwise to add another 2.5% for search engine optimization. You are probably wondering how to check if Google considers two words the same or not: that’s simple. Google one word, and see if the other one is bold as well:
Keyword density: bold in Google

In this example, it’s clear that Google treats “SEO” the same as “search engine optimization”.

Synonyms

We’re so excited to let you know that synonyms are coming to Yoast SEO Premium! In one of the upcoming releases, we’ll allow for synonyms to be used to accompany your focus keywords. So, that means that besides the actual focus keyword, we’ll also let you to insert a number of synonyms, and we will adjust the keyword density calculation accordingly.

Imagine you are writing about forests. You might also want to use the word ‘woods’ to refer to the same thing. You can set ‘forest’ as a keyword and ‘woods’ as a synonym. In addition, you can also use the synonym field to add the plural ‘forests’. To set multiple synonyms, just separate them with commas.

Note that this does differ from the multiple keywords option. That option allows you to optimize for totally different words, whereas we will take the synonyms into account for keyword density and other checks in our plugin. For instance, synonyms are also used when we calculate topic distribution (more on that below).

Keyword versus topic

The terms we use in our plugin to refer to these checks, will differ, depending on which version of Yoast SEO you use. We’ll use the terms ‘keyword density’ and ‘keyword distribution’, as long as you don’t have Yoast SEO Premium and the synonyms feature. As soon as you have that feature, we will no longer refer to the ‘keyword’, but to the ‘topic’, being the keyword and the synonyms, when checking density and distribution. That brings us to the next new feature in Yoast SEO Premium: topic distribution.

Topic distribution

We will also add topic distribution to Yoast SEO Premium in that release! This is actually something we’ve been planning to add for a while. We can tell you that your page has 2.5% keyword density, but if your 2,500 words article uses your focus keyword and synonyms 62 times in just the first two paragraphs, your text will still look strange, right? If your article is about ‘plugins’, you’ll want to use that word throughout the article, not just at the beginning or end. That is why topic distribution is so important.

Just to be clear: we’re talking about topic distribution when you have included synonyms because we calculate the distribution of keywords as well as synonyms. When you don’t have synonyms, we simply calculate the keyword distribution for your keyword or keyphrase.

Keyword density is the basis

You’ll understand by now that keyword density is the basis of how well your post or page is optimized for a certain focus keyword. Keyword density, in our plugin or in one of the many tools available on the internet, will tell you if you’re over-optimizing your text or just not optimizing it enough. If you want to take it a step further and get closer to how Google sees your copy, synonyms and topic distribution will definitely be something to take into account too. Now go optimize!

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

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The snippet editor is one of the core pieces of technology in Yoast SEO. It helps you build snippets that truly stand out in the search results to get you traffic. To make this vital piece future-proof and to update it with new features, we needed to rebuild it. In Yoast SEO 7.7, you’ll find the result of that. Plus, a new and incredibly easy way of working with snippet variables.

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The new snippet editor in Yoast SEO

The new snippet editor offers a much better user experience. Editing your meta descriptions and titles is a breeze and checking how it all looks a joy. It’s robust and easier to use. You’ll notice it right away when you open a post. Heading over to the Search Appearance settings (Content Types, Archives or Taxonomies), you will also see the editor pop up. There, you can now visually edit the appearance of your snippet variables. More on that later.

new snippet editor yoast seo 7.7

While preparing for Gutenberg, we are steadily rebuilding all parts of the Yoast SEO interface in the JavaScript library React. This makes it easier for us to port different parts to Gutenberg and to do awesome new things with those parts.

Improved mobile snippet preview

Improving the snippet editor also made it possible for us to enhance the mobile snippet preview. It’s much more accurate and closely matches what Google shows. We now default to the mobile snippet preview. In addition, we take a critical look at how long the title that we show can be. For this, we use the longest possible character count available on all platforms.

Revamped snippet variables

You can automate some of your SEO work by using variable templates for your titles and meta descriptions. This way, you can use some existing content, for instance, an excerpt, or a focus keyword and have these filled automatically. What’s more, if you have a WooCommerce store and run Yoast SEO for WooCommerce, you can automatically fill in the product’s sku, brand and price. You can find the list of all supported template variables in our Knowledge Base.

The snippet variables in Yoast SEO are very powerful. While you can do awesome stuff with it, most sites will probably be fine using the well-thought-out default settings we provide. Previously, these variables looked kind of scary with those %% signs and lack of visual feedback. Testing various snippet variable setups meant a lot of switching between browser tabs to see the rendered end result. We’re now changing that!

Introducing the new snippet variables in the Search Appearance settings

As I said, the new snippet editor lets us do cool stuff. It made it possible for us to revamp how we use variables for titles and meta descriptions to make it instantly understandable for non-experts. This leads to huge usability benefits and a truly enjoyable user experience.

search appearance snippet variables yoast seo 7.7We’ve opted for sensible defaults fit most sites fine — for instance, for the SEO title: Title, Page number, Separator and Site title —, but you can change these if you really want. We’ve made a handy button called Insert Snippet Variable to quickly add the requested variable. You can simply pick the variable from the dropdown menu. The same goes for the Meta description field where you can automatically generate — parts of — your snippet’s meta description by adding variables. You can set sitewide variables for meta descriptions and titles in the Search Appearance settings, but you can always override them on a per post basis in the post editor.

The last thing we’ve opted for in the new snippet editor is to change how the meta description preview functions when there is no handwritten meta description. We no longer mimic Google by showing a part of your content, but explain what Google does instead. Hopefully this will remind you to write those killer meta descriptions.

Check your Search Appearance settings

It’s always a good thing to dive into the settings of Yoast SEO regularly to see if everything is still perfectly set up for your site. Definitely take a look at the new Search Appearance settings page and check the different tabs to see if there’s anything to improve. While doing that, you probably discover a new setting or feature from time to time, like setting template using the new snippet editor.

Cool community contributions

For Yoast SEO 7.7, we reviewed several community contributions. There were a couple that made the cut this time. First, Laurent helped us improve the lists of French transition words, stop words, and function words for use in the readability analyses. Thanks to Matteo, we have now added support for JSON-LD breadcrumbs. You can switch on the breadcrumbs setting and see the necessary code for it generated in the source code.

Last but not east, we’ve added a wpseo_attachment_redirect_url filter to allow changing of the target redirection URL for attachments. This may be necessary to restore the redirect to the parent post. Thanks to Alex Kozack for this one. If you also have a bug, patch or feature request, please raise an issue over on the Yoast GitHub account.

Update now to Yoast SEO 7.7

There you have it: Yoast SEO 7.7 is available to all. It’s a great release with lots of new stuff to discover. The new snippet editor makes for a great user experience and the revamped template variables can give your productivity a big boost. Check out the new and improved tools and update to Yoast SEO 7.7 now! Or check the changelog here.

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