Yoast SEO 12.8: Fixes and enhancements

Welcome to another year of helping you achieve your goals with your site! Today, it’s time for the first in a long line of releases planned for 2020: Yoast SEO 12.8. In this release, you’ll find a number of bug fixes and performance enhancements. Let’s get to it!

Enhancements

A while ago, a developer called Alex Bouma reached out to us on GitHub with an interesting performance-enhancing improvement. He suggested a better way of retrieving the options inside Yoast SEO. We tended to call these a lot — which led to a less than optimal performance. After careful testing and slightly adjusting the methodology, we came up with a good solution that works. This is one of many performance-enhancing improvements we’re rolling out this year.

Schema identifiers

We offer a lot of flexibility for developers who want to integrate with our Schema structured data implementation. In our Schema documentation, you’ll find everything you need to get going. In Yoast SEO 12.8, we’ve made the implementation a bit more flexible by making it possible to look for a public class property named identifier. This makes it possible to integrate in a situation where the class isn’t named WPSEO_Schema_* or is using a namespace.

Paging comments in Health Check

In Yoast SEO 12.8, we moved the notice from paginated comments from the dashboard to WordPress’ Health Check. Should you paginate comments — not needed for most sites, due to SEO and UX concerns —, you can find a new notice on your Health Check dashboard.

Activating paging comments used to trigger a dashboard notification, but we’ve moved this to Site Health

Bug fixes

As always, this release features a number of bug fixes and other improvements. We’ve also improved the documentation for the Schema structured data HowTo block (thanks to Tim van Iersel) and the Breadcrumbs file, thanks to Alfio Salanitri.

Some of the bugs we fixed concerned incorrect icon placements, styling issues, incorrectly generated Schema for breadcrumbs and one where the images alt attribute SEO assessment in the Classic Editor didn’t work properly. We’ve also fixed a bug where author archives for authors without posts would show up in the search results, even though the “Show archives for authors without posts in search results?” option was enabled. See the full changelog for a detailed overview of all the fixes and enhancements.

Update to Yoast SEO 12.8

And there you have it: the first release of 2020! In this release, we made a number of improvements to enhance the performance of the plugin. Please review the changes and update to Yoast SEO 12.8 whenever you’re ready.

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Looking back at (almost) a decade of Yoast

It’s almost 2020 and a brand-new decade is right around the corner! A decade ago, Yoast didn’t even exist yet. A lot has changed in the past 10 years. In this blog post, I would like to look back at (almost) 10 years of Yoast. And, I’ll look at our plans for next year! 2020 is going to be a great year!

The very beginning

Yoast was founded by Joost de Valk. Until 2010, Joost had been working as an SEO consultant. He was doing consultancy at major companies like eBay and KLM. In 2010, Joost decided to give up his job as an SEO consultant. He took a leap of faith and began a company. Back then, he was pretty sure he would never hire any employees. So, he named his one-man-company after himself and his blog: Yoast.

Joost was mainly doing consultancy and website reviews at the very beginning of Yoast. In his free time and basically as a hobby, he was developing lots of little WordPress-plugins that improved the SEO of a site. He never thought he could make money with these plugins though. In October 2010, Joost finally made one plugin of all these little ones: WordPress SEO (now Yoast SEO) was born.

The evolving logo's of Yoast SEO over time.

The evolving logo of Yoast SEO over time.

If you want to read more about the growth of Yoast, please check out our history of Yoast page!

Premium plugins

Up until 2012, Yoast did not make any money with WordPress-plugins. But, WordPress SEO had over a million active installs. In the early days, Joost did all of the support on these plugins himself. That became a bit too much. In September 2012, Yoast launched Video SEO, the first premium add-on.

In the mean-time, Joost had hired some people. It became clear that this wasn’t going to remain a one-man-company after all. In 2012, Michiel became the first Yoast employee. That year, Erwin (our illustrator) and Mijke (our designer) also joined our team. Branding and design have been at the heart of the company throughout our entire journey. 

After Video SEO, Yoast released more premium add-ons: News SEO, Local SEO.  In 2014, we released a premium variant of the free version of our plugin. Nowadays, this is the most popular of all our plugins. By that time, Yoast was still doing site reviews as well. 

Growth, changes & failed projects 

Since Yoast started, a lot of things have changed. Nowadays, we’re not doing site reviews anymore, while that was our main source of income in the very early years. The growth of our company was mainly driven by our plugins. At one point, it makes sense to focus all your energy on that, which made us decide to stop doing site reviews.  And of course, we have tried some projects that just did not work as we planned. Did you know we have once tried to build and sell WordPress themes? Let’s just say that that wasn’t the success we hoped it to be :-). 

After 5 years of Yoast: Major rebranding

In 2015 – after 5 years of Yoast – the company underwent a major redesign. Up until then, our design team made a lot of avatars of Joost de Valk. His face featured on every page on our site. Our design team replaced the many avatars featuring Joost with new colorful illustrations. The logo was no longer orange but became green and purple. The change in design reflected the shift in the business. Yoast was no longer a synonym for Joost de Valk. 

Joost's avatars as they were on the site before the redesign.

Joost’s avatars as they were on the site before the redesign.

Yoast SEO academy

Also in 2015, we launched Yoast SEO academy. In the years before that, I (Marieke) was getting more and more involved in the company. Yoast SEO academy was my personal Yoast-baby (FYI: I also have four real babies with the person Joost).  We had written some eBooks before that helped people to do SEO themselves. The next step was the development of an online course. The first online SEO course – Basic SEO – appeared in 2015. Since then, we have made many online courses about SEO. Yoast SEO academy grew to be an online course platform with courses on every aspect of SEO. This year, we also released a free course about WordPress. 

Growth of Yoast – the company

Yoast SEO started out as a hobby. Although we still love it, It is not a hobby anymore. When software is running on 10 million sites, you need a professional company. And we’ve grown into a professional company (albeit a bit crazy).

In 2011, Yoast was Joost. At the end of 2012, Yoast consisted of Joost and another four employees. At the end of 2013, Yoast consisted of ten employees. And at the end of 2015, Yoast employed a total of 25 people. At the end of 2017, there were more than 50 people and now, at the end of 2019, there are more than 90 people working in the Wijchen offices. Also, more than a dozen people are working for Yoast in countries around the world.

Nowadays, product ideas still mainly come from Joost de Valk. Next to Joost, we have a big team of developers and a kick-ass testing team. Our software has to work on so many sites, with so many different configurations of plugins. That’s a lot of work and needs extensive testing. 

Besides that, we keep close relationships with both Google and Bing. At the same time, WordPress and open-source remain very important to us. Giving back to the community that got Yoast to where it is today is crucial to the company.

Features in Yoast SEO (Premium)

Since the birth of Yoast SEO, we’ve added and improved upon many features. Most of our features are available for both our free and premium users. Some features were only rolled out in premium though. 

We’ve added a redirect manager with which people can easily manage their redirects. In 2016,  we added our readability analysis, which helps people to write texts that are understandable for both their audience and Google. We’ve also created an internal linking tool, which helps people to manage their site’s structure. In 2018, we did a recalibration of our SEO analysis, which also lead to the introduction of Word forms. Our Premium SEO analysis is now able to recognize plurals, past tense and synonyms. 

In 2019: Schema! 

In 2019, with Yoast SEO 11.0, we released a major Schema update. Yoast SEO 11.0 featured a completely rewritten Schema.org 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. 

Also in 2019, I (Marieke) took over the role of CEO from Joost, which was kind of a big deal for me personally. Joost now is our Chief Product Officer. We both enjoy our new roles!

What to expect from Yoast SEO in 2020?

You can expect great things for Yoast SEO in 2020! We have a lot of awesome features that’ll be rolled out in 2020. We’re very excited about our ‘indexables’ update. Indexables is a pretty awesome rebuild of how we store and generate our metadata. Instead of re-generating robots, canonical and other tags on every page load, we’ll store them in our own table. This makes loads of our processes much much faster.

On top of that data, we’ll add an enhancement to our premium internal linking suggestions functionality, which we’re dramatically improving the quality of. Some real nice applied computer science stuff there in how we’ve applied information retrieval algorithms within WordPress without external storage.

We’re finishing up a brand new update for our internal linking tool. Also, you can expect some cool new schema-blocks! And that’s only half of it! We’re very excited: we decided that 2020 is going to be the ‘new features in Yoast SEO-year’. 

YoastCon 2020

In 2020, Yoast will celebrate its 10th birthday! And we’re going to host a huge birthday party: YoastCon 2020 It’s going to be a very special edition. YoastCon 2020 will take place on 24 April 2020 and tickets are completely free. If you want to find out more about YoastCon (and how to apply for tickets) check out the YoastCon page

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Yoast SEO 12.7: Cleaning up and fixing bugs + sale!

Yoast SEO 12.7 is out today — signaling the last release of 2019. This release is all about cleaning up and fixing bugs. Since we have a two-week release schedule, we can quickly respond to any bug we might find. In this post, you’ll find out more about this release. Plus, you can get Yoast SEO Premium for cheap in our Holiday Calendar sale: today only!

On the importance of bug fixing

We’ve always prided ourselves in releasing a product of high quality. Unfortunately, issues do pop up and we do our best to solve these depending on the severity of the issue. This is one of the reasons we have a two-week release schedule. For some, it might feel we release way too often, but for us, this is a great way to get fixes out as quickly as possible, without having to resort to patch releases. Having a good system in place for handling and resolving bugs is one of the pillars of coding awesome, stable software.

Every release, we fix a number of bugs from our backlog, plus a selection of new ones that need attention. In Yoast SEO 12.7, we also fixed a couple of bugs with the input of Saša Todorović. These concerned a bug where sub-sitemaps were rendered for non-public custom post types, plus a bug where nested gallery images were not included in the image count in the sitemap. In addition to the bug fixes, we improved the security of the plugin by adding output escaping.

Save 25% on Yoast SEO Premium: today only!

This holiday season, we’re counting down with an awesome holiday calendar. Each day, you get a nice surprise — ranging from free webinars to discount on Yoast products. December 10 — which is today! —, you’ll get a whopping 25% discount on Yoast SEO Premium. Now is the time to get acquainted with features that’ll help save time and improve your work, such as:

Of course, with Yoast SEO Premium you’ll also get access to our awesome support team.

Check out our holiday calendar! We have awesome treats for you

Update now to Yoast SEO 12.7

That’s it for this release of Yoast SEO. We’ve fixed a number of bugs and cleaned up the code to make Yoast SEO perform even better. Don’t forget to take advantage of today’s discount on Yoast SEO Premium! It’ll surely help you kick-start your new year! 

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Oh yes, Cyber Monday deals at Yoast!

Wow! You’ve probably been shopping since Friday and FedEx and UPS have been scheduling your deliveries all weekend. Busy times. But I’m sure you saved an additional 301 US dollars just in case. If you’d buy the Apple AirPods Pro for the regular $249, that would leave you enough bucks for a Yoast SEO Premium license today!

We’re going back to regular prices tomorrow, so this really is the last day to profit from our biggest discount in the history of Yoast. We’re not kidding. With 30% off all products, we’re inviting you to:

  • Get your SEO game to the next level
  • Try that plugin you always wanted
  • Ditch your SEO company by learning yourself
  • Rank better and pave the way for the future growth of your company

So what did others buy over the last couple of days? 

During our Black Friday sale, we noticed you really, really liked a number of our products:

Yoast SEO for WordPress

Our flagship product will be installed on thousands of websites over the next weeks. It helps you to get more visitors from Google and Bing, attract more visitors from social media and it will guide you in writing better text and optimize internal linking!

All Yoast SEO plugins and courses at once!

If you are serious about SEO, you certainly want the whole Yoast package. The leading SEO plugin for WordPress, all addons for your specific websites like WooCommerce and Local SEO, and all the courses to keep learning about SEO. At a whopping 30% discount!

Tomorrow, we’re back to business as usual, with normal prices and without all the annoying ads and newsletters. But for the next 24 hours, our biggest sale ever is still on! 

Get these deals while they’re hot!

Happy Cyber Monday.

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Black Friday: Biggest discount ever!

We’re not kidding. It’s time for Black Friday, the one time a year we clean up the attic at Yoast. With our whopping 30% discount on everything, we top every sale we ever had.

Get your SEO package TODAY

Yes, when we say everything, we mean everything. Our subscriptions are cheaper than ever. With 30% extra on our already low prices we live up to our mission SEO for everyone. This is your chance to get all Yoast products, plugins and courses, for under $35 (first month, annual plan). That’s basically below cost price. Period. So get your package now, because this just isn’t sustainable.

Don’t miss out: Yoast SEO Premium for just over $60 a year

You can get a year of our premium flagship product Yoast SEO Premium for only 89 US dollars $62… That means you get all the great extra features:

  • Word forms, synonyms and related keywords
  • Redirect manager
  • Internal link optimization
  • Social previews and more

For less than you’d typically pay for a Shawn Mendes ticket, our plugin can help you rank better & get more traffic so you can go to as many concerts you’d like. A no-brainer? We think so.

Raise your SEO game

Cover your own SEO bases today with our Yoast SEO academy courses. Don’t just use our plugin and write your content, but get a deeper understanding of why you should write that text for your audience and why & how you should use that feature in our plugin. Our recommendation: Don’t just focus on the content side of things, or frustrate over technical SEO, but get a better understanding of everything:

So yes, if you ever wondered if you should buy our products, or have been postponing real optimization and better rankings for your website, now would be the time to fire things up with our Black Friday deals!

Happy Black Friday.

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Yoast SEO 12.6: Getting help in the plugin is now easier

In Yoast SEO 12.6, we’re activating our new beacon for help documentation. This tool helps answer the questions you might have about using Yoast SEO. It’s easy to use and very friendly. Just hit that big purple question mark and search! Other improvements in Yoast SEO 12.6 includes a number of fixes and enhancements. Read on to find out more.

New way of helping you 

Our previous help center was not always as apt to provide the best answers to your questions. In Yoast SEO 12.6, we’ve removed the old help center and in its place added a beacon powered by HelpScout. This beacon — you’ll notice the big purple question mark in the lower right-hand corner —, is quick, smart and very helpful.

The new beacon allows us to present not only helpful articles for our knowledge base, but also from our SEO blog, for instance. This lets you not only access a ton of information about what you are working on, but also provides you with enough context to explain why you are doing this — or why the plugin does what it does.

So if you search for something in the new beacon, you’re searching all the content we have. Hopefully, the results will be satisfactory! In addition, Yoast SEO Premium subscribers can contact our support team from the beacon. Please let us know what you think. The beacon is now available in all our plugins.

Fixes and enhancements

Today, we’re updating all our SEO plugins. For Yoast SEO, we’re continuing our work on several larger projects and focussing on behind-the-scenes improvements in 12.6. In addition, we’ve fixed several bugs and added a couple of enhancements, like the aforementioned help beacon. 

Other notable changes are the new description property we’ve added to the schema’s WebSite node. This means your site’s tagline can now be part of your site’s graph, giving search engines extra context about it. We’ve improved the Meta Robots Advanced field in the advanced section of the metabox by simplifying the options and wording around that feature.

Chris Thompson helped us fix a PHP Warning that pops up when using an empty string in the OpenGraph frontend output. We’ve also upped some of our requirements. We’ve set the minimum required WordPress version to 5.2, and the minimum PHP version to 5.6.20. Last but not least, we now show a notification to encourage Internet Explorer 11 users to use another browser as we are no longer supporting that browser.

Yoast SEO 12.6: update now

That’s Yoast SEO 12.6 in a nutshell. We’ve ironed out some kinks and introduced a massively enhanced help center based on beacons. Please update to the latest version whenever you’re ready!

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Yoast SEO 12.5.1: Patch release for time-offset issue

Today, we’re releasing Yoast SEO 12.5.1. It contains a patch to make sure the publication date of your posts is picked up correctly by Google, so the right time will be shown in the search results. Currently, the time shown in the results might differ from the actual publication time, depending on the time zone you’re in. This patch release is mostly important for news sites, as on these sites the exact timing of the article matters the most.

What’s the issue?

If you’ve updated to WordPress 5.3 and published a number of new posts, you might have seen an incorrect publication time of your article in the search results. This issue is caused by a faulty time offset, which might be originating from Yoast SEO (Premium) and/or WordPress 5.3.

A lot of work went into WordPress 5.3 to update the way it handles dates and times. Unfortunately, this change was not without issue. Both Yoast SEO 12.5 as well as WordPress 5.3 have a bug which leads to outputting a slightly offset publishing time.

The WordPress issue will be fixed in WordPress 5.3.1. We thought it best to push out an update for our plugins as soon as possible. So if you update to Yoast SEO 12.5.1 the issue will be fixed, even if you’re still on WordPress 5.3. Our News SEO plugin already had everything in order, so this was unaffected by this issue.

For which kind of sites is this patch release important?

The exact publication time of an article isn’t crucial for most sites. If your site is a news site though, bringing the latest news on hot topics, you probably want to show in the search results that your article is the most recent article on that topic. If this applies to your site, we’d recommend updating it to Yoast SEO (Premium) 12.5.1. If you have another type of site, feel free to update as well, as it’s always best to have the latest version of our software running on your site. 

TLDR;

If you have a news site we recommend to update to Yoast SEO 12.5.1.

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Why and how to export your focus keyphrases with Yoast SEO Premium

If you have a large website that contains a lot of content, it can be hard to keep an overview of the current (SEO) status of your website. You might want to get insight into which of your posts haven’t been optimized correctly so that you can fix them! Luckily, Yoast SEO Premium offers a quick and easy solution for this: exporting your keywords/keyphrases.

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

How to export keyphrase data

Yoast SEO Premium includes a tool that allows you to export data about your content to a CSV file. This provides you with an overview of the focus keywords used, and the page they’re used on. It lists all of your public posts, terms, and related keyphrases. You can also choose to include other data by clicking the specific checkboxes. The following data can be exported together with your posts:

  • Keyphrase scores
  • URLs
  • Title
  • SEO title
  • Meta description
  • Readability score

You can import the CSV data into Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel and start working on your SEO! You can use this overview for doing a content audit or to quickly see which posts haven’t been optimized correctly.

Other data export options

The Tools section in Yoast SEO Premium includes several other options to import and export data:

  • Import settings
    Import settings from another Yoast SEO installation by pasting them and clicking “Import settings”.
  • Export settings
    You can export your Yoast SEO settings in order to use these settings on another site.
  • Import from other SEO plugins
    Yoast SEO is able to automatically detect data from your old SEO plugin and import the settings.
  • Export redirects
    If you have a lot of redirects on your site
  • Import redirects
    There are different things you can import in the Tool section of Yoast SEO. You can import from other redirect plugins, import from a CSV file or import your redirects directly from your .htaccess file.

Read more: Become a Yoast SEO pro: Yoast SEO Import & Export features »

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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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