Yoast SEO 12.5: Behind the scenes improvements

These last couple of months here at Yoast SEO HQ have all been about building better things. Behind the scenes, we’re making good progress at getting our flagship plugins ready for the future. While we’re busy building the future, we also stick to our regular two-week release schedule, which means it’s time to introduce Yoast SEO 12.5.

Fixing bugs and behind the scenes scaffolding

Yoast SEO 12.5 is one where most of the work went on behind the scenes. We’re working on improving our codebase and will be releasing something cool pretty soon. To get that done, we need to do some cleaning up. 

Besides getting ready for future releases, we’ve fixed a number of bugs. One of those bugs happened for terms where keywords and snippet preview data would be synced across all languages in a MultilingualPress multisite environment. Another bug misplaced visually hidden text in several elements inside the Snippet Preview. We’ve also deprecated the old Search Console integration as that won’t be returning in that same shape or form.

A reminder about support for older versions of WordPress 

With yesterday’s release of WordPress 5.3, we will return to our initial position of only supporting the latest two versions of WordPress. In this case, that’s 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’ve supported longer than usual to allow people to transition to WordPress 5.0 and ease over people to the classic editor or block editor. Luckily, the vast majority of you have probably updated to the latest versions.

In WordPress 5.2, the core team upped the minimum PHP requirements from an ancient 5.2 to the slightly less ancient 5.6. By supporting the last two versions of WordPress, we can now develop our software using PHP 5.6. This means that we can develop faster and more securely. Read Joost’s post on supporting older versions of WordPress.

Update now to Yoast SEO 12.5

Yoast SEO 12.5 is a fairly basic release with lots of stuff going on in the background. We’ve fixed a number bugs and helped Yoast SEO get ready for future improvements.

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Managing access to Yoast SEO with SEO roles

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

Managing user roles in Yoast SEO

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

Roles and capabilities

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

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

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

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

Managing your site has never been easier

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

Read more: Yoast SEO 5.5: Introducing SEO roles »

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Yoast SEO 12.4: Image in snippet preview

After releasing several updates to our snippet preview in previous releases, Yoast SEO 12.4 now shows an image for your post in the mobile snippet preview, just like Google would. We have several other improvements and fixes for you in store with Yoast SEO 12.4. Find out more!

Featured image in the mobile snippet preview

Not too long ago, Google made several changes in the way they present results on mobile. To mimic that, we started updating our snippet preview. In the latest iteration, we see a favicon (added in Yoast SEO 11.5, enhanced in 12.1) and new font sizes (added in 12.1).

The one thing missing from the current snippet preview in Yoast SEO is that of an image. For some search results on mobile, Google will now show the main image next to it. In Yoast SEO 12.4, we automatically use your featured image to mimic the way Google does this now. We’ll use the first image in your content if you haven’t set a featured image. Remember, this only works in the mobile snippet preview.

The mobile snippet preview now uses the featured image

Schema structured data content blocks

Our Schema structured data content blocks for the block editor have proven to be a valid way to quickly get rich results for these types of content. The two current content blocks, namely FAQ and HowTo blocks, are incredibly easy to add, update and publish. They give you valid structured data for that content and thus a great chance of getting rich results. Be sure to try them out! In Yoast SEO 12.4, we’ve improved the findability of the blocks in the block editor library to help even more people find and use them.

Find the Yoast SEO structured data content blocks in the WordPress library

Fixes and enhancements

For this release, we had several users contributions. Emily Leffler Schulman suggested to change the readability score for empty content from “Needs Improvement” with a red icon to “Not Available” with a gray icon. This makes it less confronting for users. Emily also updated the URLs used to ping Google and Bing about the location of a sitemap. Steven Franks added information to the Twitter settings to make it more clear why you should enable Open Graph. Thanks both!

We also fixed a number of bugs in this release. One of these bugs made it impossible to set Twitter and Facebook images for attachment pages. Another bug concerned the visibility of a nested paragraph in the “noindex” metabox warning. Plus, we clear up the last of the Google+ data, there was still some leftovers in the settings export.

Update to Yoast SEO 12.4

That’s Yoast SEO 12.4 for you! We’ve updated the mobile snippet preview with the latest changes by Google and we fixed several bugs. A number enhancements makes Yoast SEO a little bit easier to use. Update to the latest version at your convenience!

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Yoast SEO 12.3: Transition words in Hungarian

While some of our checks are independent of languages, Yoast SEO has special skills to adapt the various content analyses to different languages from around the world. In Yoast SEO 12.3, we’re taking the first steps to add another language to the list: Hungarian. In addition, this release features a number of enhancement and fixes. Read on to find out more!

Yoast SEO is learning a new language: Hungarian

Every time we plan on adding a language, we need to see how and what we need to do to get it to work in the plugin. Not every language follows the same rules, so we do research and test how to best go about adding a new one. We have a team of linguists, assistants and developers doing the hard work. Their team lead, Manuel Augustin, recently wrote a post describing how we make Yoast SEO understand your language.

That’s not to say we do everything by ourselves. We truly value community input and we need it if we want to reach our goals. In this release, you’ll see one of those community efforts. Thanks to the hard work of 9abor, we can now say our first words in Hungarian! We start off by adding support for the transition word assessment for this language. More to come.

On our knowledge base, you can find the complete list of all available languages and a guide on how you can make Yoast SEO available in your language.

Other fixes and improvements

Yoast SEO 12.3 features a number of fixes and enhancements. In Yoast SEO Premium, we fixed a bug that prevented you from interrupting the internal linking tool during updating. We’ve improved user input validation feedback and suggestions for error correction.

Plus, we’ve added a new floating Save changes button on Yoast SEO admin pages. You’ll this when the normal button isn’t visible in the browser window. We’ve added a new filter called wpseo_sitemap_http_headers which allows filtering the HTTP headers we send for XML sitemaps. Last but not least, Weston Ruter added a code change to add the CSS for the Yoast SEO admin bar to the AMP dev mode. This makes sure that the CSS will always load properly, even if there is a lot of CSS on a page.

Update now to Yoast SEO 12.3

Yoast SEO 12.3 is out today and brings a number of improvements. We’ve started to add support for a new language, namely Hungarian. In addition, we’ve improved input validation and added some changes that will help the admin bar load at all times. Hope you enjoy this release!

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How we make Yoast SEO understand your language

One of the key features of Yoast SEO is the content analysis. The analysis consists of multiple checks that give you SEO and readability feedback on the texts you write on your website. Some of these checks are language-independent. For these, we don’t need to create specific versions for, say, French and English. For others, it is necessary to adapt them for each language. In this article, I’ll explain our research and development process for the expansion of Yoast SEO checks for different languages. You’ll also learn how you can contribute to help Yoast SEO understand your language!

Foundations of our analysis

In principle, all of our checks are rule-driven. They consist of analyses that run in the browser. This has the advantage that all user data stays in your local environment and is processed there. There’s no need to upload anything to an external server.

The challenging part of this approach is that we can only operate based on predefined rules. Since we don’t know exactly what texts these rules operate on, we need to make sure to define the rules in advance in such a way to cover all necessary cases.

When adapting an analysis to a new language, we not only need to review linguistic and stylistic rules for that language but also translate them into new text processing rules. This might sound very abstract at the moment, but I’ll provide a concrete example below!

Developing a check for Yoast SEO

Let’s start with an outline of the kind of research that is needed to create a check in the first place. When reading the following example, don’t worry if you don’t get all the linguistic lingo right away! This is just an example to illustrate the formation of rules. I’ll explain all the terms you need to know.

Example: passive voice

Let’s take passive voice as an example. In our analysis, we check whether you have too many sentences that contain passive voice. It’s not necessary to know exactly what passive voice is at this point – I explain the necessary points below. However, if you want to know all the ins and outs you can read this article on how to recognize passive voice and why we advise you to avoid it.

Imagine that we’re tasked with creating this check from scratch. We want to give a clear recommendation on a text that someone just wrote. To give such a recommendation, the most important point is to figure out which sentences contain passive voice, and which don’t. As a little sneak peek, here’s an example of a passive sentence.

The cake was eaten by the child.

No idea yet what makes this sentence a passive sentence? Or maybe you do know what makes this particular sentence passive, but can you give a full definition of passive sentences in English? Let’s dive into the issue to discover all the rules and exceptions!

Discover the rules

How do we know that the sentence above is passive? And how can we teach our analysis to recognize this, too? To answer the first question, language research comes into play. Going through some dusty old grammar books (or the digital equivalent of it), we can establish the following rule: a passive sentence in English is formed by an auxiliary verb and a past participle. In addition, we learn that the auxiliary always comes before the participle. Well, that’s great for a start! But now you might ask yourself: what’s an auxiliary verb? And what the heck is a past participle? Good questions! Since it’s not really obvious for a human, you can be sure that software doesn’t know, either. But that’s okay since we’ll teach it how to recognize them.

Translating the rules into logic and data

Now that we’ve discovered some grammatical rules, we want to know how we can translate them into logic that our text analysis can operate on. So we do some more research and figure out that an auxiliary verb used for passive voice is basically any form of the verb to be (was, is, been, etc.). Fortunately for us, that’s a pretty short list. For participles, that looks a bit different. A past participle is a verb form such as loved in has been loved and created in has been created. Basically, any verb can be made into a participle. In this case, a word list isn’t really feasible. It’s better to formulate a more general rule. In its most simple form, the rule could be “find a word that ends in -ed”. Such a rule can be translated into a pattern that we can match with a regex for example. Done! Right? Well, almost…

False negatives, false positives, and how to avoid them

The general rule we’ve established for discovering participles will cover lots of cases, such as cooked, talked, or invented. It won’t be quite sufficient, however. With only this rule in place, you’d get both false positives and false negatives.

False positives arise when your rule matches things it’s not supposed to match. Our word ending in -ed rule would also result in words such as bed being matched. This isn’t actually a past participle. In fact, it’s not even a verb. So we need to filter out exceptions to the rule. We can do this by creating a list of words ending in -ed that aren’t past participles.

False negatives, on the other hand, emerge when our rule fails to match things that we want to match. Consider irregular past participles such as written, seen, or heard. These don’t end in -ed, so they wouldn’t be found with our rule. Again, we need a word list to make sure to also pick up those participles.

Rules: check. Exceptions: check.

So now we already have one general rule, plus two exceptions. And this example is still an oversimplification. In our actual implementation of this check, there are even more factors that we take into account when determining whether a sentence contains passive voice.

You see that for one check in the analysis, there’s a lot of preceding research that needs to happen before we can start implementing the check in our software. And then that’s only for one language. There’s still all other languages for which we also want to be able to carry out this analysis.

Teaching Yoast SEO to understand more languages

When adapting a check for a new language, we might be faced with one of two situations:

  1. Only new data (usually word lists) need to be supplied to the existing logic.
  2. Both new data and new logic are needed.

In the first scenario, expanding a check to a new language might be done after a day or two of research. In the second scenario, it can require just as much time as implementing the check in the first place. The problem is that languages can differ not only in the words they use to express a certain concept – such as passive voice – but also the grammatical constructions they use for it. I’ll provide examples for both scenarios below.

Adapting only data

Fortunately, not all assessments need completely new logic when adapting them to a new language. Whenever possible, we set them up to make them as much “plug and play” as possible. An example of an assessment that is relatively easy to adapt to a new language is the transition word assessment. This assessment checks whether a transition word or group of words (e.g., words such as however, to summarize) from a specific list are present in that sentence. This mechanism is basically the same across languages. To make it work, we just need to supply a list of transition words for a given language, and voilà, it works.

Adapting both logic and data

Going back to the passive voice analysis, we see that adapting this check to a new language gets a bit more complicated. Here, we’d need to change quite a bit of logic depending on the language analyzed. In Dutch, for example, you still use auxiliary verbs and participles to express passive voice, but, unlike English, the auxiliary can also come after the participle. In Russian, you can spot passive voice relatively accurately by virtue of the form of the verb alone. So it’s not necessary to look at auxiliaries. So for all these languages, not only do you need different data, but you need different logic to carry out the analyses. This means that you need both, additional research and technical implementation. Just supplying new language data won’t suffice here. You also need to adapt the string processing rules that operate on this data.

Do you want Yoast SEO to speak your language?

There are a number of ways to help us expand Yoast SEO functionality for your language! As you saw in the explanation above, some checks can be expanded relatively easily by adding the necessary language data. If you speak a language other than English, you can send in language data using one of our forms. We’ll then review this data and, if possible, implement it. This means that with your help, we can add language-specific Yoast features for your language!

If you’re a developer, you can also directly contribute to our codebase. You can find more detailed instructions in our article on making features available for your language. We’re looking forward to your contribution!

Read more: How to use the content analysis in Yoast SEO »

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Yoast SEO 12.2: Fixes, improvements and more

Yoast SEO 12.2 is a release full of the regular bug fixes and enhancements, but also a new addition to meta robots. Last week, Google announced a new way to give publishers more control over what the search engine can show in the results. This change, however, seems not driven by customer demand, but rather by law. Find out what this is all about and why we chose to automatically opt sites in for this.

Adding a line in meta robots

Google is turning to the meta robots tag to comply with a new European copyright law. Previously, publishers had to explicitly opt out if they wanted to prevent Google from using their content to present it in search results. Thanks to the new European copyright law, we see Google asking sites to opt in if they want it to use their content, images and videos in snippets. France is the first to roll out its version of this copyright law, starting today.

“When the French law comes into force, we will not show preview content in France for a European news publication unless the publisher has taken steps to tell us that’s what they want.” — Google’s Richard Gingras on the French Google blog.

While it currently “only” impacts several hundred publishers in France, it’s not hard to predict that more countries might roll out similar laws and implementations. This may even reach beyond just news sites in Google News. As this development potentially affects many countries, we’ve decided to make a change for all Yoast SEO users.

We will add the following line to the robots meta tag on every page unless that page was already set to noindex or nosnippet:

max-snippet:-1, max-image-preview:large, max-video-preview:-1

By adding this piece of code, we make sure that every site using Yoast SEO is automatically opting in for this change. Now, you’ll be ready for the implementation of this law in Europe and your content will continue to appear in Google search results.

Read Joost’s post on what this change means for Google, for us and the web.

Enhancements and fixes: plus, free courses!

There’s more of course, with the majority being bug fixes. We’ve updated the configuration wizard that helps you set up Yoast SEO. We’ve combined some steps and added a reminder to take our free Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin training.

Did you say free? Yes, I did! Everyone can now learn everything there is to learn about the #1 WordPress SEO plugin by the people who built it. There’s lots to discover, but it’s all very easy to learn. Go try it! While you’re in the Yoast SEO Academy, you might as well check out our other brand-new, free course: WordPress for beginners.

Find out all the changes in the changelog for Yoast SEO 12.2.

Update to Yoast SEO 12.2

This release focuses mainly on fixing bugs, but also introduces a new meta robots tag. This tag automatically opts in sites for Google to continue to use their content like text, images and videos in the snippets. It is a change driven by a new European copyright law that goes into effect in France first, with many countries expected to follow in the near future.

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Yoast SEO 12.1: Snippet preview updated

Yoast SEO 12.1 is out today! It features a couple of changes in order to match the design of Google’s search results pages, this includes those shiny new favicons. In addition to this, we added a number of new filters for our Schema implementation. See what else is new in the latest release of your favorite SEO plugin.

Updating the snippet preview

Google is always testing different iterations of its search results pages. Sometimes a test sticks and ends up as the new default. In Yoast SEO 12.1, we’re adapting our snippet preview to match two of the latest changes: favicon in mobile search and new font sizes in desktop search.

In Yoast SEO 11.5, we added the default favicon Google uses when it can’t detect a correct favicon on your site — or you simply don’t have one. Now, we pick the one you’ve added to WordPress and show it right in the mobile snippet preview, just like Google would. You now have a good sense of how your site will appear in the mobile search results.

The mobile snippet preview now shows how your favicon would appear in the results

Here’s how to add a favicon to your WordPress site in order to get it to show in both search results as well as our mobile snippet preview.

The other new tidbit we have for you is matching Google’s new font sizes for the desktop search results. Google now uses slightly larger letters and we’ve followed suit to make the desktop snippet preview appear exactly right. Go check it out.

New Schema filters

We’ve added a couple of new filters to allow for a more granular control over a site’s Schema output. Julià Mestieri suggested the first one. He made a filter called wpseo_schema_organization_social_profiles to filtering an organization’s social profiles in the schema output. You can use this filter to modify social profiles (sameAs attribute) in the Organization schema object.

Andrew Gillingham suggested two other filters. His wpseo_schema_company_name and wpseo_free_schema_company_logo_idfilters make it possible to filter the company name and company logo from the theme options whenever it hasn’t been set in the Yoast SEO settings. This way, both can still be used by the schema output without having to set it manually.

Last but not least, we added a filter called wpseo_enable_structured_data_blocks that makes it possible to turn off Yoast’s structured data block editor blocks.

Find out all about our structured data implementation and how you can enhance it by reading our Schema documentation.

Other improvements

The WordPress Gutenberg project keeps chugging along nicely, but sometimes stuff changes or breaks. In one of the latest releases, our structured data content blocks hit a little snafu, which we fixed in this release. The styling of the How-to and FAQ blocks is now compatible with latest version of the WordPress blocks editor.

Our latest community additions are a new method suggested by Brady Williams and a bug fix by David Herrera. Brady’s get_robots method retrieves the robot HTML without it being output, while David fixed a bug where the primary term selector would not display HTML entities properly.

As mentioned in the Yoast SEO 12.0 release post, we’re actively working on improving input validation in the plugin, among many other things. We’ve continued that in Yoast SEO 12.1 and improved the validation on the settings page. We’ve also updated the plugin icons to be more consistent.

Update now to Yoast SEO 12.1

That’s it for Yoast SEO 12.1! We’ve updated our snippet preview to the latest changes by Google, including those shiny favicons in the mobile search results. We’ve added new Schema filters, fixed several bugs and rolled out several other enhancements. Go test the new version and update whenever you’re ready!

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Yoast SEO 12.0: UX improvements and new Portuguese checks

Contrary to what the version number might suggest, Yoast SEO 12.0 isn’t a huge release. It’s simply the next release in our current release schedule, but after hitting 11.9 a couple of weeks ago we had no choice but to go for 12.0. That’s how it goes! But don’t worry, there’s enough interesting stuff in this release, including two new checks for the Portuguese language.

Continuing UX improvements

Over the past couple of release, we’ve been steadily improving the way we handle validation. In the past, it wasn’t always clear if the stuff you input in fields was formatted the way it should. There wasn’t too much feedback from the plugin. We’re now actively improving this and looking at each field to see what should go in there. So if something should be a URL, we now verify that what you enter is really formatted as a URL. No longer can you add gibberish in the fields!

In the same vain, we are now updating the document title in the settings whenever we find something wrong with a form. The W3C suggests this technique as a way of improving the accessibility of a page. One of the first things a screen reader encounters on a page is the <title>, so now it can read that to find errors on a page. It can now read these out loud to notify the user. Great, right?

We’ve also improved the wording in several places to make it more clear what something means. For instance, Emily Leffler Schulman suggested to improve the feedback the plugin shows when you haven’t set a focus keyphrase for a post. It used to show a grey Yoast icon with the not very helpful line: SEO: Not available. We’ve changed that to Focus Keyphrase not set. Much more helpful. Don’t forget people: set your focus keyphrase.

The last UX change we’d like to highlight is limiting the width of the meta box. This change, suggested by Louise Ann Apostol, makes sure that the meta box doesn’t overstretch on very large screens.

Portuguese language SEO improvements

As you know, most of our content checks work for every language out there. But some parts of our readability checks are tailored for different languages as not every language is interchangable. We currently support a whole slew of languages in some form or another. We have listed the languages and the features each language supports.

In Yoast SEO 12.0, thanks to Dilmar Ames, we’ve enhanced our support for the Portuguese language. We now support two new checks for Portuguese:

  • Consecutive sentences check: this is the assessment that checks whether multiple sentences in a row begin with the same word;
  • Sentence length check: this assessment checks the length of your sentences to warn you if you use too many long sentences.

We are hard at work adding new languages and improving the ones we already support. Don’t see your language yet? Hang tight, we might get there soon.

Update now to Yoast SEO 12.0

While Yoast SEO 12.0 is not the huge release you might expect if you see that version number, it’s a nice release with quite a few improvements. Please update to the latest version when you are ready.

Thanks for using Yoast SEO!

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Yoast SEO 11.9: More fixes and enhancements

Are you ready for another exciting release to round up the Yoast SEO 11 cycle? Because we are! In Yoast SEO 11.9, we have improvements for Schema and security, we have bug fixes and updates for Local and News SEO!

Improving Schema once again

With the closing of the Yoast SEO 11 releases we’ve yet again improved Schema in the plugins! The Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin had a bug showing invalid Schema when a product used the placeholder image, so we fixed that. We’ve also improved Schema output in the News SEO plugin.

With Yoast SEO 12.0 around the corner, you might fear that we think we’re done with Schema output in the Yoast SEO plugins. Fortunately, this is not the case! We’ll continue to improve and work on Schema in future releases as well.

Curious for more Schema? Looking for a way to extend our Schema implementation? Why don’t you dive into our Schema documentation?

Tightening the security of the plugins

Somehow security is something people find not very interesting. But you do lock up your house when you leave it because you don’t want anyone to steal your tv, right? Updating to the latest version of a plugin is essentially locking your website to make sure no one can get in. A criminal does not need an open door, an open window or even thin glass won’t stop them. It’s the same with software: they don’t need a password to maybe do malicious things to your website. That’s why we always give high priority to possible security issues in our plugins. For this release, the incomparable Juliette Reinders -Folmer — helped us improve the security of the plugins to make sure there won’t be possible malicious data.

Local SEO improvements

We’ve updated our Local SEO plugin, because Google went from two different API keys to just one. New users of the Local SEO plugin will see a field in the API key tab where they can enter their API key. Existing users can add their API keys the regular way, but we encourage you to use the new API key.

Local SEO now also gives you notifications when you have set an API key in a constant in your wp-config.php file. In addition, we fixed a bug that caused the map settings tab to show an empty panel without an API key present. It now shows a notification.

News SEO improvements

We gave the News SEO plugin quite some love this release! The add-on now has its own tab in the Yoast SEO meta box.

We’ve also fixed a bug where the @type in the schema output would be NewsArticle instead of Article for articles which were excluded from the news sitemap. And we’ve fixed a bug where news article pages and custom post types included in the news sitemap, would not receive an author in the schema output.

Bug fixes in Yoast SEO 11.9

In Yoast SEO for WordPress, we’ve fixed a bug where the image from the configuration wizard notification was missing an empty alt attribute. No need to read that sentence again, we’ll explain what this means! In absence of an alt attribute, screen readers will try to announce something to you. This means in most cases the screen readers will try to announce a part of the image URL, which is far from ideal. Decorative images need an empty alt and that’s what this fixes!

Another bug we squashed concerned missing translations from the meta box, sidebar, configuration wizard and the help center. We love our translators and it’s much easier to read the information in your native language.

Bug fixes in Yoast SEO Premium

In Yoast SEO Premium, we’ve fixed a bug where multiple redirects would be created when editing taxonomies on a multisite environment. In addition, the social preview forms no longer appears on taxonomies twice. We love social media, but there’s no need to let you fill in those forms multiple times.

Update to Yoast SEO 11.9

That’s it! We’re very proud to deliver the last release of the Yoast SEO 11 cycle. Don’t forget to update!

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Yoast SEO 11.8: Improving Yoast SEO with the help of the community

Release history tells us that the releases in the months of July and August are usually very quiet. Due to vacations from team members, the focus usually lies on fixing bugs and cleaning up. Not for Yoast SEO 11.8! This new release gives you an enhanced meta box, an improved Schema output and bug fixes, some of which powered by contributors from outside the company! Here, we’ll tell you everything about the all-new Yoast SEO.

Meta box enhancements

The observing Yoast SEO user might have already noticed the changes in the plugin’s meta box the past few releases. In this all-new release, we’ve updated the meta box once more! The advanced tab has been moved to the SEO tab – you’ll find it as a collapsible header now – and the social settings have been updated as well. This is how the meta box looks right now:

metabox 11.8 screencast

We’ve also fixed a bug where the snippet title and meta description fields would still be left-to-right when the website was set to a right-to-left language.

Bug fixes

Of course, we’ve fixed more bugs! In Yoast SEO Premium we’ve fixed a bug where RegEx redirects that started with a forward slash could not be deleted.

And thanks to contributors, Yoast SEO 11.8 also fixes a bug where the plugin used the WP_query->get_posts() function wrong. This could cause the return of wrong results. So, good job, contributors! And that’s not the only contributor fix; find them all in the Yoast SEO changelog!

On top of this, we’ve fixed a bug in Video SEO. You can find the entire changelog here.

Schema updates: we’ve got them!

Were you waiting for the Schema updates again? We’ve got that covered for you!

A quick recap: in Yoast SEO 11.7 we’ve added a subset of HTML tags for the HowTo and FAQ blocks when creating a post. Among those, is the ability to link to other posts. When Google shows your HowTo or FAQ block as a rich search result, they might also display the internal links you added. This way, you can get more people to click through to your content directly, instead of just giving them the full answer in Google search results.

In Yoast SEO 11.8, we’ve also improved the sanitization of the Schema output. This means that with this new update, the plugin has become even more secure.

Contributor Emily Leffler Schulman

Recently, we’ve received no less than 9 contributions from Yoast SEO user Emily Leffler Schulman. At Yoast, we understand why contributing to open source projects is important and it seems like Emily shares the same philosophy as we do! We’ve asked her several questions that might be on the tip of your tongue as well.

Emily is a freelance WordPress and UI developer, and she’s a true problem solver: she works with small business, associations, and universities. You can find more about her on her website.

When asked why she decided to contribute to Yoast, she answered: “Open source projects offer such an amazing opportunity to learn and expand in a team environment. After freelancing for over a decade, I’d found that the technical skills I needed to collaborate with other developers were becoming atrophied so I started contributing to WordPress plugins to stay fresh. Yoast SEO has been a mainstay of every site I’ve built, so it made sense to work on something that was both familiar and valuable to me. ”

She uses Yoast SEO for everything and is a frequent visitor of the Yoast blog as well: “Yoast’s blog posts are really helpful reference material for explaining SEO techniques to my clients in laymen’s terms and the developer portal is a professional go-to for staying abreast of changes in the SEO ecosystem. I’m so impressed by how supportive and positive Yoast’s contributor community is.”

Want to contribute to Yoast SEO?

Do you want to contribute to Yoast SEO just like Emily or the other contributors do? Emily has one last tip for you:

“Just do it! If you’re into making things, open source projects are a great way to give back to something awesome.”

At Yoast, we’d love to be able to write your name in our changelog as well!

Update to Yoast SEO 11.8!

Yoast SEO 11.8 is out now and as always, you can update this through your website’s dashboard. Go update!

The post Yoast SEO 11.8: Improving Yoast SEO with the help of the community appeared first on Yoast.