Yoast SEO 11.6: HowTo Schema update and UI changes

Yoast SEO 11.6 is out today. Of course, we did the regular round of bug fixing, but the focus of this release is two-fold: a new, much easier to use tabbed interface for the meta box and an updated HowTo structured data content block for WordPress. Find out all about Yoast SEO 11.6!

Looking for an extra pair of hands to help you improve your site? Yoast SEO Premium is all you need. Get it now for 11.6% off! »

UX improvements to the meta box

This summer, we’re steadily improving the user interface and user experience of the Yoast SEO meta box. As this is the spot where you probably spend quite some time, we have an obligation to make it easy to use and discover.

After moving the focus keyphrase field to the top of the meta box in Yoast SEO 11.3 and introducing the new mobile snippet preview in Yoast SEO 11.4, you’ll now find a new menu at the top of the box, including a new set of tabs. As of today, this is how the meta box looks in the Classic Editor:

In Yoast SEO 11.6, you’ll notice that we’ve changed the old vertical alignment of menu items to a horizontal one. This makes it easier on the eyes and improves the findability of the features.

In addition, you’ll notice that the old content optimization tab in the meta box is now two tabs: one called SEO and the other Readability. Both have smiley icons that light up showing you the status of that particular post. The naming of the tabs should be self-explanatory, but inside the SEO tab you’ll find the snippet preview and SEO-related checks. The Readability tab has everything related to improving the language of your post.

Look forward to more graphical changes soon!

Revamped HowTo structured data implementation

The free Yoast SEO structured data content blocks for the WordPress block editor make it incredibly easy for you to add specific content with automatically attached Schema structured data. Want to build an FAQ and get those cool new featured snippets from Google? Use our FAQ content block. Want to enhance your how-to guides with valid structured data and build a page without breaking a sweat? Use our HowTo content blocks.

In Yoast SEO 11.6, you’ll see that the new HowTo blocks are nicely following Google’s latest changes. In addition, all the structured data code generated will now also end up in the graph of your website. This tells search engines that your how-to page is connected to the rest of your site. For more information on this, please see the Yoast SEO 11.0 release post or read our Schema documentation.

An empty HowTo content block in the block editor. Just fill in the fields to get going

Schema fixes

The updated HowTo content blocks are the star of this release, but we’ve also fixed several Schema related bugs. For instance, we fixed a bug where the Schema @id for Person turned out to be incorrect on posts when author archives where disabled, or the one where the Schema would contain WebPage instead of CollectionPage for a latest posts homepage and the static posts page type. Another one concerned a bug where the Organization and Article Schema nodes outputted incorrectly when a website didn’t set the name and/or logo of the organization.

Security fix

Yoast SEO 11.6 also fixes a security issue regarding term pages in WordPress. Unfiltered code was allowed in some fields. This, however, does not pose a problem for single user sites. In specific cases, on multisite installs, this might become an issue because of the way user roles function.

Update to Yoast SEO 11.6

Yoast SEO 11.6 brings more structured data enhancements, including a much improved HowTo structured data content block. We’re continuing our work on the Schema standard and hope to have more to show soon. Don’t forget to check out the blocks.

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The Yoast SEO configuration wizard

Have you ever done a fresh install of Yoast SEO for WordPress on your WordPress website? Or perhaps you haven’t installed Yoast SEO yet, and you’re wondering what to expect? 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 in Yoast SEO. Things that you might forget in your eagerness to get started with your newly set up website. But how do you start the configuration wizard? And what exactly do we cover in each step? Let’s dive in!

Where can I find the Yoast SEO configuration wizard?

Of course, you want to jump right in and configure the plugin, using that Yoast SEO configuration wizard. Once you have installed the Yoast SEO plugin, you’ll see this notification in Yoast SEO > General > 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, which takes you to the Yoast SEO configuration wizard.

Configuration wizard notification in Yoast SEO dashboard

Note that if this isn’t the first time you’re using the configuration wizard, you’ll still find a link to run the wizard again, but the message will instead say:

Want to make sure your Yoast SEO settings are still OK? Open the configuration wizard again to validate them.

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: Is your site ready to be indexed?

Yoast SEO configuration wizard step 1

The first question determines whether you want your site to be indexed or not. 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. And there could be good reasons why you might not want that: perhaps you’re working on a development site, on a staging server or just don’t want the public to see your site yet. If that’s the case, no problem! Just set your preference in the first step of our wizard, then click ‘next’ to continue.

Step 2: What kind of site do you have?

Yoast SEO configuration wizard step 2

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.

One of the reasons we ask this question is because it’s essential for you to take a moment and think about this. What is your site about? Having a clear idea of this will help you focus on what’s important for you site.

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.

Following our mission, “SEO for everyone”, both parts of our website are equally important. Sharing knowledge is our main goal. We use our products to provide even more insights and tools, or to deliver our knowledge to you in a structured package.

So, decide 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 3: Is it you or an organization?

Yoast SEO configuration wizard step 3

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

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.

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.

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 4: To show or not show posts and pages

Yoast SEO configuration wizard step 4

The description in the image below is pretty clear: this is where you can set posts and pages to hidden or visible for the search engines. If you already know that you don’t want posts on your site to show up in the search results, you can set this to ‘no’. Not sure? Read more about indexing in Yoast SEO.

Step 5: How many people are publishing content on your site?

Yoast SEO configuration wizard step 5

We 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. And 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. Which, indeed, is duplicate content.

We call something duplicate content when the majority of a page is the same as the content on another page. Google will 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. As we can guide you in this case, we added this check to our Yoast SEO configuration wizard.

Step 6: Optimizing your page title

This step in the wizard asks you to think about your branding. The website name you enter here is the name that our default page title template will put at the end of each page title. The default page title template looks like this:
title - page - sep - sitename

Yoast SEO configuration wizard step 6

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.

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

Read more: Titles and meta variables in Yoast SEO »

Step 7: Awesome tips and new products in your inbox

Yoast SEO configuration wizard step 7

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

Step 8: Upsell: you might like…

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:

  • Better keyword optimization, because you can optimize not only for your focus keyword, but also for synonyms, and taking word forms into account.
  • 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 them.
  • 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 step 8

In addition, 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 which SEO aspects you want more guidance on.

Step 9: Get started with the Yoast SEO and readability analysis

All the steps above have one goal: prepare you and your website for SEO. But while this wizard will help you get the general settings of your plugin right, your job optimizing your content is far from done.

Yoast SEO configuration wizard step 9

If you have used our plugin before, you’ll know it also analyses your content in real time, while you write your posts or pages. On the page/post edit screen, where you write your content, you’ll find this analysis in the sidebar and the so-called meta box. For more insights into how to use the SEO and readability analysis, we finish our Yoast SEO configuration wizard with a helpful video. It tells you more about that specific part of the plugin, so you don’t just set it and forget it. Be sure to watch that video!

The configuration wizard makes things easier for everyone

Now you know why you should give our Yoast SEO configuration wizard a spin, and why it asks certain questions. The wizard’s got you covered by setting things correctly under the hood of your website, so you can focus your efforts on optimizing your content.

Ready for the next step in using Yoast SEO? Check out our beginner’s guide to Yoast SEO. And, if you want to learn all the ins and outs of our plugin, get the Yoast SEO for WordPress training!

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Yoast SEO 11.5: An updated mobile preview + favicon!

Yoast SEO 11.5 is out today. This release features a big change that gives you a better idea of how searchers see your snippets on mobile. Yep, we’ve overhauled the mobile snippet preview and brought it up-to-date with Google’s latest changes. And that, of course, includes that shiny favicon. Here’s Yoast SEO 11.5. 

Revamped mobile snippet preview

In Yoast SEO 11.5, the main star is the overhauled mobile snippet preview. This preview shows you how your search result will appear in the mobile search results. It looks exactly like a mobile search result in Google, including bolded keywords and a favicon.

In this release, we’re using the default favicon Google uses when they can’t find a favicon on your site. In a future release, we’re going to extract the favicon from your site and show it here, right in the snippet preview. How cool is that.

Of course, you can switch between the mobile and desktop views to see the differences between the search results.

The improved mobile snippet preview and the new location of the focus keyphrase in the Yoast SEO meta box

The focus keyphrase field in the block editor

We’re cleaning up the interface of the meta box and snippet preview to improve user experience and discoverability. In the previous release, we moved the focus keyphrase input field to a new location, right at the top of the meta box. Now, this all-important feature has the prominent place it deserves. You can see the new location of the focus keyphrase in the meta box in the screenshot above.

In the block editor, you’ll find the field at the top of the sidebar. See the screenshot on the right. It works the same as before, but it is now in a much more prominent place.

Only a little bit of Schema this time

After all the Schema structured data additions and finetuning, we’re taking it a bit easier in Yoast SEO 11.5. Regarding structured data, the only thing we’ve changed in this release is take out the primary image for a page of the WebPage piece and move it into its own graph piece. This way, it easier for search engines to discover the relation between the image, the page and the entities.

Update to Yoast SEO 11.5

Yoast SEO 11.5 isn’t a huge release, but the updated mobile snippet preview alone is worth the price of admission. The snippet preview is an essential tool to help you stand out in the search results, so use it to your advantage! 

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Yoast SEO 11.4: FAQ structured data in the graph

Yoast SEO 11.4 is out today. This release features loads of structured data improvements. We’ve improved the way Yoast SEO Schema works with AMP, plus we’ve enhanced our FAQ blocks and added them to the graph. Find out what Yoast SEO 11.4 is all about!

First: Our next live SEO webinar is coming up! Be sure to join us on June 26 for the Big “Is it a ranking factor??!!” Show! »

Once again: Schema

We’re still working hard on making our new structured data implementation even more awesome. In Yoast SEO 11.4, we’re not only improving the way we handle some things, but also reintroducing our FAQ structured data blocks.

As a reminder, please read our Schema documentation if you are interested in why we’re doing this and how it all came together. The release post of Yoast SEO 11.0 has a lot of background information as well.

FAQ structured data now in the graph

One of the latest rich results Google shows is the FAQ. To stand a chance of getting these highlighted in Google, you not only need an FAQ on your page but also FAQPage structured data. Luckily, Yoast SEO comes with structured data content blocks for adding FAQ pages to your site. These only work with the WordPress block editor.

The Yoast SEO structured data blocks let you add FAQ content quickly

The blocks are incredibly easy to work with:

  • Pick the FAQ block
  • Add a question
  • Give an answer to that question
  • Add an image, if necessary
  • Repeat for all your question for this particular FAQ

Our blocks automatically generate valid FAQPage structured data in the background. Google is now ready to pick it up, like it did with this page:

The Yoast Diversity Fund page has a nice FAQ listing

In Yoast SEO 11.4, we’ve improved the code generated by our FAQ structured data block following Google’s latest changes. In addition, we made sure all data is nicely stitched into our graph. For FAQ pages, search engines now not only can identify these pages as an FAQ but they can also figure out how these pages fit in the grander scheme of things.

To get this done — and to make it as flexible as possible —, we’re introducing a new action and a new filter. The wpseo_pre-schema_block-type_<block-type> action allows you to change the graph output based on the blocks on the page. The wpseo_schema_block_<block-type> filter lets you filter graph output per block.

You can read more about this new API in our Gutenberg Blocks Schema documentation.

Now also on Reader mode AMP pages

The new Yoast SEO Schema implementation works perfectly well with modern AMP pages, but there where some issues with the Reader mode (formerly known as Classic mode). These issues have now been fixed.

The focus keyphrase field is now right at the top

UX improvements

We’re doing a number of design changes to clean up the sidebar and meta box in order to improve UX. In this release, we’ve moved the Focus keyphrase field to the top of the meta box and sidebar, making this essential item much easier to find. We’ve also linked the SEO and readability scores in the Classic Editor. A click on these items now leads to the corresponding fields in the Yoast SEO meta box below. Stay tuned for more UX improvements in coming versions of Yoast SEO.

Update now

In the release cycle ending with Yoast SEO 11.4, we’ve fixed a number of bugs and enhanced our Schema implementation. The FAQ is the next item to be added to the graph and there’s more coming up. We’ve also started work on improving the UX of the meta box, making it easier to use and enhance the discoverability of the features.

Find all changes in the changelog for Yoast SEO 11.4.

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Yoast SEO 11.3: Even more enhancements

High-time for another release, namely Yoast SEO 11.3. This release features enhancements and bug fixes aimed at improving the way your favorite SEO plugin performs. In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about Yoast SEO 11.3! Plus, a word on supporting older versions of WordPress and helping people upgrade their PHP versions.

But first: on supporting older version of WordPress

While developing Yoast SEO, we’ve always had a rule of supporting the two most recent versions of WordPress. This helped us focus our efforts on the platforms that needed it most. With the release of WordPress 5.0, we stretched that rule. We kept supporting WordPress 4.9, because we wanted to give users ample time to get ready to switch to WordPress 5.0 and its new editor — or keep using the Classic Editor, of course.

Now, as soon as WordPress 5.3 comes out, Yoast SEO will go back to supporting the two most recent versions — WordPress 5.2 and 5.3 in this case. We’d also like to urge users to upgrade their PHP software on their hosting platforms to at least 5.6, the minimum requirement of WordPress 5.2. Better yet, if possible, we’d like everyone to make the jump to the 7 series of PHP. Everyone will thank you!

Joost wrote a post explaining why we have this policy and why we’re deciding to go back to it.

With that said, let’s move on to Yoast SEO 11.3.

Enhancements and fixes

As in the last couple of releases, we’re still fine-tuning and improving our new Schema implementation. We launched this huge addition in Yoast SEO 11.0 and we’ve been stunned by the enthusiastic reception it got. But, of course, we won’t rest on our laurels just yet.

In Yoast SEO 11.3, we’re now letting users set an image for persons as well. Just go to SEO → Search Appearance → Knowledge Graph & Schema.org and pick or upload an image. This image will now be added to the structured data graph for this particular user.

You can now upload an image, photo or logo to go with the person

In addition, we fixed several bugs in the Schema implementation. These mainly concerned issues with setting and picking the Person for the site and the Schema output it generated.

Other enhancements in the plugin include a new wpseo_should_index_links filter which you can use to disable the link indexation. Plus, we’ve added support for builtin taxonomies so you can add the blog archive page to the breadcrumbs.

You can find all changes in the changelog for this release.

Update now and be sure to come back soon

So there you have it. Yoast SEO 11.3 is a release focused on ironing out some kinks to make your experience as smooth as possible. We added several enhancements that’ll prove beneficial for our Schema implementation, for instance. Try out Yoast SEO 11.3 and update whenever you’re ready!

One more thing. Seeing all these updates make you wonder why we release so often? Would you like to know why we have a two-week release schedule? Well, you’re not the only one. Soon, our very own Caroline will go into detail on how our development process functions and how the release schedule actually works. Stay tuned!

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Supporting older versions of WordPress

As soon as WordPress 5.3 comes out, Yoast will only support WordPress 5.2 and WordPress 5.3, and not versions before that. This means we’ll end our support for WordPress 4.9, which we’d kept alive for a little bit longer than usual to allow people to transition to WordPress 5.0 and the classic editor. I’d like to explain why we have this policy and why we’re deciding to go back to it.

Building software for WordPress can be incredibly complex. We work in a world where there are always a couple of versions of WordPress around. Next to that, plugins can do almost anything (which they do), which also means they can interfere with each other. Every site has a different combination of plugins, leading to tens of thousands of different combinations.

Modern code

At Yoast we pride ourselves in using the best tools available to build solutions for our users. With WordPress 5.2, the WordPress core team upped the minimum PHP requirement for WordPress from PHP 5.2 to PHP 5.6. We always want our software to work on the minimum requirements for WordPress, which means we could only use functionality from PHP 5.2 up until then.

Note: I know these version numbers and the fact that they’re so alike can become confusing. We’ve certainly had some confusion around that internally. I apologize for that in advance, but as you’ll understand, I can’t change these version numbers.

PHP is the language that most of the WordPress backend is built in. PHP 5.2 was released in 2006, while PHP 5.6 was released in 2014. As you can see, that’s 8 years apart, and 8 years is an incredibly long time on the internet.

By going back to our policy of only supporting the current and previous version, and thus only supporting WordPress 5.2 and 5.3, we allow ourselves to develop using PHP 5.6. Because we can use PHP 5.6 now, we can develop faster and more securely.

What does “support” mean?

When we say we don’t support an older version of WordPress it means we’ve stopped testing with it, and things are likely to break. It also means you won’t see Yoast SEO updates until you’ve updated your WordPress to a supported version.

My site doesn’t work with the classic editor

For a small portion of sites, I know this leaves them in limbo, which we hate. If you have a custom WordPress solution, built with old versions of plugins like Advanced Custom Fields (ACF), you might be “stuck”. Even though ACF has done an incredibly good job of migrating to Gutenberg, that might not “save” you.

While we think that sucks, we don’t really have any option for you other than to go to your website developer and explain them that this isn’t a state you want to stay in. You really should move to newer versions of WordPress. We will keep on supporting the Classic Editor for a few more years, so if they make it work with that, you’re good.

I don’t see any Yoast SEO updates

There are a couple of different reasons why you can’t see Yoast SEO updates. As said above: if you’re on an old version of WordPress, you will not see them. So update your WordPress first. If that’s not the case, please reinstall the plugin, simply delete it and install the latest version manually. That won’t delete any of your data, don’t worry.

Go and update your site!

So, if you’re on an old version of WordPress, go and update. Of course, before doing anything like updating plugins or WordPress, always make sure to test and back up your site!

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Yoast SEO 11.2: Schema enhancements and more

Today, we’re releasing Yoast SEO 11.2 into the wild. This release contains several enhancements to our Schema structured data implementation, plus a number of community contributions and general bug fixes. In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about Yoast SEO 11.2, so dive in!

More Schema improvements

These past couple of weeks saw quite a bit of development in the structured data department. In Yoast SEO 11.0, we launched a structured data implementation that automatically generates a graph for any given website and its pages. In Yoast SEO 11.1, we improved the way we handle images in structured data, among other things. We said we wouldn’t be done on the Schema front for some time. Well, Yoast SEO 11.2 brings even more structured data goodness.

Image improvements

As mentioned in the release post of Yoast SEO 11.1, we’ve been working on a better way to pick images correctly for use in the generated structured data. In this release, we’re introducing a new way to make sure we always include an image in the structured data. Now, we pick the first image in the content for the Schema output if you haven’t set a featured image.

Tailor the Schema output

Of course, it’s possible that you’d like to incorporate your own Schema pieces into our graph. We already have the wpseo_schema_graph_piecesfilter to help you extend the Yoast SEO Schema. This way, you can tailor the implementation to your own needs. In addition, we’re now introducing a new filter that will help you control what Yoast SEO outputs. The new wpseo_schema_needs_<class_name> filter helps you disable or enable specific pieces of the graph.

Last but not least, we’ve also added a filter called wpseo_schema_person_social_profiles for adding or deleting social profiles to show. Read our Schema API documentation to find out how our Schema implementation works and how you can tailor it to your needs.

Community help

Yoast SEO 11.2 is a community-driven effort. We love getting outside help, so thanks everybody. In this release, David Tolnem and Saša Todorović came up with a filter for adding posts with a custom post statuses to the sitemap: wpseo_sitemap_post_statuses. This means you can now use the custom post statuses made in tools such as Edit Flow and add these to the sitemap. Saša also helped fix a bug together with Jessica Zehavi. This one was a bug where URLs with a non-Yoast SEO related xsl query string parameter would result in a blank page.

Rami Yushuvaev helped us make translating the plugin easier by merging near identical strings and he fixed a bug concerning an incorrect URL leading to Pinterest’s claim page.

Better sitemap debugging

To help you debug your sitemaps, we’ve decoupled the sitemap debug information from the general WP_DEBUG flag. Instead, we now offer the YOAST_SEO_DEBUG_SITEMAPS flag to better control this functionality. Now, we can output more specific debug information on the sitemap pages.

Update away!

Yoast SEO 11.2 fixes several bugs and enhances the Schema implementation. Thanks to our highly valued community, we have a number of fixes and improvements. We always enjoy seeing so many people contribute to our open source plugin. Interested in contributing? Please read our contribution guidelines on GitHub.

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Yoast SEO 11.1: Even more Schema enhancements!

You’ve probably noticed we’re doubling down on our Schema structured data implementation. In Yoast SEO 11.0, we rewrote what we output and how we do that. Not only that, we put every piece of structured data in a neat, interconnected graph. We’re not done yet! In Yoast SEO 11.1, we’re introducing proper image markup and tying our Video SEO output into the graph.

Video SEO tied into the Yoast SEO Schema graph

Our Video SEO add-on for Yoast SEO helps your videos to show up in video search. In this new release, we make the plugin even more useful by adding the correct structured data. Not only that, we’ll also tie everything into the main graph as generated by Yoast SEO.

In the structured data code, you’ll find everything search engines need to make sense of the video, from duration to embed URL, and from video thumbnail to description. Search engines like Google may use this information to get your video into a carousel or give it a badge so it can be distinguished as a video in image search thumbnails.

We use Schema’s VideoObject to output the correct structured data and made video a real entity in our graph. The beauty of it is that you don’t need to do anything out of the ordinary to get search engines to pick up your video. Simply give it good meta data like titles and descriptions, add an attractive thumbnail and you’re good to go! The plugin will automatically generate all the valid Schema code in the background.

You can find more information about Schema structured data in our Video SEO Schema documentation.

Google's Structured Data Testing Tool validates this video nicely
Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool validates this video nicely

Structured data for images in Yoast SEO 11.1

Another thing that was not final in Yoast SEO 11.0, was the way we handle images on a page and how we tie those into the graph. In Yoast SEO 11.1, we’re introducing a proper way to handle single images on a page. For the next version, we are also looking at ways of handling multiple images and how to determine the main one. Read all about how we generate the image parts for the Schema output.

The main image of the page will be neatly integrated in the Yoast SEO structured data graph
The main image of the page will be integrated in the Yoast SEO structured data graph

Exposing the imageObject is very helpful for image SEO purposes. Google has said many times that adding structured data to your images is beneficial. Now, you can give search engines loads of context for your images. As we know, they still struggle to figure out what’s in an image, so they need every bit of help they can get. Schema provides the context by telling what an image is and what its properties and meta data are. Keep this in mind when working on your image SEO — which you should do naturally, of course.

Yoast SEO retrieves the image caption if set, or uses the alt tag if that’s set. It is easy to forget, but the caption and/or alt text are incredibly important for search engines. Please make use of it! Also, make sure that the filenames of your filenames are descriptive and recognizable. We have an extensive guide with loads of tips on image SEO, please read that.

Confused about all this Schema structured data talk? Here’s why and how we’re making structured data much easier to implement and this story describes the concept of schema using a little robot.

Yoast SEO Premium: Better recognition of German keyphrases

In Yoast SEO Premium 10.1, we introduced word form support for the German language. This made it the second language, after English, to receive the full language support. In Yoast SEO 11.1, we’ve fine-tuned the language support. The plugin is now better at recognizing German keyphrases that include words with an i or e in between vowels (e.g., schrieen, schreien, speie). In addition, we’ve also improved the recognition of German 3rd person singular verb forms (e.g., “arbeitet”).

Update to Yoast SEO 11.1

Yoast SEO 11.1 not only features a number of Schema enhancements, improvements to our Video SEO add-on and better German language support, but also several bug fixes. You can find every change in the changelog of this release.

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been improving our structured data support with an innovative implementation that includes a full graph. We’re not done yet! There’s still a lot to do and you can expect much more from us in the near future. Remember our structured data content blocks for WordPress’ new block editor?

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Yoast SEO 11.0: Structured data awesomeness

Structured data is incredibly important. Many of the current and future search enhancements are — or will be — powered by structured data. While search engines are good at reading content, structured data can help them to understand. Yoast SEO has supported some basic Schema markup for ages, but now we’re going much further. Yoast SEO 11.0 features a completely rewritten Schema.org implementation — the first one of its kind, offering a fully integrated graph.

Revamped Schema implementation

Optimizing for entities — i.e. people, places and things — and how they relate to each other makes a lot of sense for search engines, as it gives them all your connections on a silver platter. With structured data, they can much more easily understand what your pages are about, and the properties of those things. It can help them understand that this web page is an article about a product, made by a specific brand. They no longer have to figure everything out themselves, by just reading content and following links.

Note: Search engines will still follow links in order to discover content and to help them to understand those relationships, but entities help them to really reinforce that knowledge.

Google is moving from a search engine to a discovery engine in an effort to provide searchers with relevant content, answers or products before they even know they need to search. There’s a reason they called Google Discover just that. Google is looking for concepts and connections to help them understand the world, and to present these in new ways. Rich results will become much richer as time goes by.

Entity graphs

Good SEO strategies must consider entities. That’s why we’ve paved the way to help you tell Google exactly what your site is about — automatically — just by using Yoast SEO 11.0. Now, we build an entity graph for you, behind the scenes.

An entity graph is a representation of a topic, which describes the entities — people, places and things, for instance — and defines their relationships via properties. Or in this case, how your site is connected to your pages, organization, authors et cetera.

What does this mean for you

The age-old problem with structured data is that adding the necessary code is tricky. Schema structured data relies on JSON-LD to get that data to search engines. Yoast SEO has added bits and pieces of structured data for ages, but Yoast SEO 11.0 raises the bar tremendously. And you don’t have to do much to make use of it. Just fill in the information we ask — simple things, like if your site is for a person or an organization — and you’re good to go!

Traditionally, every piece of structured data added by WordPress plugins or content management systems itself was put in contained little blobs. This lead to pages having many individual pieces, which had no way of talking to each other. And since the end goal of working with entities is to make connections for discovery, something had to be done.

Working on a document set up by Jono Alderson (with input from Google engineers, among others), we set out to rewrite how to best approach implementing Schema markup, and how WordPress can use this efficiently. Not only that, it had to be extensible as well, so every piece of structured data out there can hook into this proposed standard.

Yoast CPO Joost de Valk explains the technical background in the post Schema.org is hard, we’re making it easy

Yoast SEO 11.0 comes with a completely rewritten Schema structured data implementation. This new implementation uses a concept that is different from most other approaches to structured data. Here, we’re not relying on complicated arrays of nested properties, but a clean, complete graph that uses IDs to connect different nodes inside of it. The end result is stunningly effective.

What does this look like?

As an end user, you don’t need to know much about what goes on behind the scenes of Yoast SEO. Looking at structured data code, however, helps your understanding of how everything fits together and why you should fill out the information we ask in the plugin. As an SEO or a developer, you’re really going to enjoy this beautiful piece of interconnected code.

Here’s an example output of Yoast SEO new Schema implementation, seen through the eyes of Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. This is generated for one of our most popular articles: WordPress SEO — The definitive guide.

Part of the articleoutput of Yoast SEO. See the Structured Data Testing Tool for the complete result

You can test the article yourself in Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Because yes, there’s more to the screenshot above.

Structured data in Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO will now output a lot more structured data about your website and how its pages fit together.

The structured data is based on the initial setting of Person or Organization. If your site represents an organization or business, please select Organization. If the site is your personal blog or anything representing a person, please select Person. You’ve probably set this up correctly ages ago, but there’s no harm in checking again.

Yoast SEO uses different profiles for outputting the correct structured data

Yoast SEO will automatically fill in the correct structured data with whatever you fill in during the setup of the plugin, or later in the settings of Yoast SEO. You can switch between these two settings in SEO → Search Appearance → General.

Here’s a very high-level overview of the types of structured data we produce. We output a so-called “base script”. This a @graph object in JSON-LD, which describes the Organization or Person, the WebSite and WebPage. These parts are on every page and will be appended with structured data specific to the page you are currently on, so an article on your site will get all of the above plus article Schema.

You can find a complete overview in our Schema documentation, that includes the specification for integrating structured data that we’ve used to build this.

  • The homepage:
    • Based on Person or Organization setting.
    • Uses WebSite for site-level specifics.
    • Uses WebPage for page-level specifics.
  • Single pages: like homepage, plus date information and breadcrumbs.
  • Single posts: adds full Article and Author support, the latter only when the website represents an Organization or the author is not the Person. Supports loads of properties, so see the code example above for an idea of how the Article code works.
  • Taxonomy and date archives: a single page with CollectionPage as WebPage.
  • Post type archives: a single page with CollectionPage as WebPage.
  • Author archives: a single page with ProfilePage and Person.
  • Search result pages: type of WebPage becomes SearchResultsPage.
  • 404 error pages: Like the homepage but without WebPage.

This leads to the following base script generated by Yoast SEO. This will be extended based on which page you are.

{
   "@context":"https://schema.org",
   "@graph":[
      {
         "@type":"Organization",
         "@id":"https://example.com/#organization",
         "name":"Yoast",
         "url":"https://example.com/",
         "sameAs":[
            "https://www.facebook.com/yoast",
            "https://www.linkedin.com/company/yoast-com/",
            "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoast",
            "https://twitter.com/yoast"
         ],
         "logo":{
            "@type":"ImageObject",
            "@id":"https://example.com/#logo",
            "url":"https://example.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Yoast_Logo_tagline_Large_RGB.png",
            "caption":"Yoast"
         },
         "image":{
            "@id":"https://example.com/#logo"
         }
      },
      {
         "@type":"WebSite",
         "@id":"https://example.com/#website",
         "url":"https://example.com/",
         "name":"one.wordpress.test",
         "publisher":{
            "@id":"https://example.com/#organization"
         },
         "potentialAction":{
            "@type":"SearchAction",
            "target":"https://example.com/?s={search_term_string}",
            "query-input":"required name=search_term_string"
         }
      },
      {
         "@type":"WebPage",
         "@id":"https://example.com/#webpage",
         "url":"https://example.com/",
         "inLanguage":"en-US",
         "name":"one.wordpress.test - Just another WordPress site",
         "isPartOf":{
            "@id":"https://example.com/#website"
         },
         "about":{
            "@id":"https://example.com/#organization"
         },
         "description":"Just another WordPress site"
      }
   ]
}

Extras for our add-ons

Local SEO

For local SEO, having correct Schema structured data about your business is essential. Combining this with a Google My Business account, for instance, helps make it clear to search engines what your business is all about. In the new Schema set-up for our Local SEO add-on, we now offer multiple ways to correctly specify what do with a single or multiple physical locations, for instance. Our Local SEO Schema documentation has more information.

Our Local SEO add-on now ties everything in nicely with Yoast SEOs structured data

WooCommerce SEO

For WooCommerce e-commerce sites, our WooCommerce SEO plugin now takes the standard outputted Schema and builds a product graph that actually makes sense. We now make sure everything is connected like it should, for products as well as sellers. Read more about the output in our WooCommerce Schema documentation.

woocommerce schema
Our WooCommerce plugin generates awesome product structured data

News SEO

Our News SEO plugin now converts every article into a NewsArticle, and adds a publication year and copyright holder to give you a better chance of ending up in that coveted Top Stories carousel. More on that in the News SEO Schema documentation.

Built to be extended

We’ve built our Schema framework to be extended. It’s pretty straightforward, and we ask everyone working on these kinds of implementations to adapt this. Together, we can truly put the Linked Data part in JSON-LD and link up large parts of the web — something that benefits us all! Start with the Schema integration guidelines.

Structured data blocks are coming

But wait, there’s more coming! With this intelligent, innovative Schema framework in place, we are working hard on rebuilding and expanding our structured data content blocks for WordPress’ block editor. These blocks help you visually build content like how-to’s, FAQ’s, recipes and job postings. In the background, it automatically generates Schema structured data that neatly ties into the graph we build for that page. How awesome is that! More on that soon.

Update to Yoast SEO 11.0 now

So there you have it. Yoast SEO 11.0 features a brand-new, revolutionary Schema implementation — one that is destined to give search engines all your connections on a silver platter. This is a great development, not only for you and for search engines, but, more importantly, for the web in general.

Great things are coming!

Ps: read more about structured data in our ultimate guide

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Yoast subscriptions: keep your SEO on track

Yoast has been offering subscriptions to our plugins and courses since November of 2018. Lots of happy customers have already purchased a subscription plan! But why would you need a subscription? Isn’t it enough to thoroughly invest in SEO once? What’s the use of an ongoing subscription? I am so glad you asked ;-).

SEO needs commitment

To keep ranking in the search engines, you’ll have to make an ongoing effort. That’s the only way to stay ahead in the search game. So, you’ll have to make sure that your website is awesome. You need to create new, amazing, engaging content. You must structure your website in a way that Google understands it. On top of that, you’ll have to make sure that your site’s technical SEO is flawless and your site’s speed is top notch.

To really get your SEO on track, you need to make it part of your process. It just needs to be something you think about and focus your efforts on very regularly.

SEO courses that’ll keep you up to date

Yoast Academy offers you a wide range of SEO courses for both beginners and people with more experience. We have online training courses that teach you how to write SEO-friendly content and courses that help you set up a decent site structure, as well as courses that teach you everything about technical SEO. Of course, we also have a great course on our own Yoast SEO plugin. These courses are updated regularly.

To stay ahead in SEO, we do a lot of research at Yoast. We talk to people from Google and Bing directly and discuss matters with other SEO experts and companies. All the knowledge we gather is translated into the features of our plugin and into the lessons in our courses.

Subscribe to SEO commitment!

A Yoast subscription will keep you focused on your SEO. But different people have different needs. That’s why we’re offering three subscription plans:

1. Yoast plugin subscription

This plan gives you access to all our premium plugins. The Yoast plugin subscription is the complete toolbox for your site. It saves you a lot of time and effort, and helps you to boost your rankings!

2. Yoast training subscription

Get the Yoast training subscription and you’ll get access to every Yoast Academy training course, including every new course we’ll release. This is a great way to learn all about SEO, to keep ahead of your competition.

3. Yoast plugin + training subscription

The best of both worlds. This plan gives you access to all our premium plugins and every Yoast Academy training course. With this subscription plan, you’ll learn how to optimize every SEO aspect of your site, and you’ll be fully equipped to improve your site’s SEO.

And pay for the time you need!

You can choose to get an annual (best value!) or a monthly subscription. We want to offer people products that are tailored to their needs. That’s why you can choose to pay a small fee per month, rather than paying up front for the whole year.

However, if you already know that you want to:

  • stay on top of your SEO game all day every day,
  • have access to all new courses, and want to
  • save a lot of money in the process,

simply pick our annual subscription. Getting one of our annual subscription plans, will save you over 60%!

Bonus: exclusive premium insights!

On top of all this, there’s something extra in it for you: premium content, exclusively available for subscription members. If you decide to get the Yoast training subscription or the Yoast plugin + training subscription, there’ll be extra premium content available for you in Yoast Academy.

This premium content consists of Q&A sessions, in which our experts answer your SEO questions. Moreover, you’ll get access to exclusive live talks and discussions on the latest SEO developments, with SEO experts like Joost de Valk and Jono Alderson. You don’t want to miss out on this!

Get a Yoast subscription!

Do you want to step up your SEO game? Whether you want to improve your SEO knowledge or to optimize your site with useful SEO tools, a Yoast subscription is what you need. And remember, it’s the only way to get access to exclusive premium content, such as Q&A sessions and live talks! So, don’t wait any longer, go get your Yoast subscription!

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