Yoast SEO 13.1 and WooCommerce SEO 12.6 are out today! In these two updated SEO plugins, you’ll find several fixes and enhancements, mostly focused at improving our Schema.org structured data implementation. In this post, you can learn more about the latest versions of Yoast SEO and WooCommerce SEO.
Yoast SEO 13.1
Back in Yoast SEO 11.0, we launched an innovative and expansive Schema.org implementation for Yoast SEO. For the first time ever, we can build a complete graph for a site and present it to a search engine on a silver platter. In subsequent releases, we fine-tuned the structured data implementation and we are continuously making improvements. You can find more technical detail on our implementation on Schema.org markup documentation.
In Yoast SEO 13.1, we’ve fixed a number of bugs and added a couple of enhancements in our Schema.org implementation. For one, we now set the Schema HowTo name and Article headline to the post title with a fallback to “No title”. In addition, we’ve added the inLanguage property to the Schema CreativeWork pieces. We try to determine the language of a specific piece of content in various ways, including the WordPress site language settings. This paves the way to handle a form of internationalization using Schema.org structured data.
WooCommerce SEO 12.6
Today, we’re also releasing WooCommerce SEO 12.6. This time, we’ve fixed a number of bugs and enhanced the Schema.org implementation. In WooCommerce SEO 12.5, we added the possibility to add a product identifier to your product, which makes it possible to output that number in the product Schema.org. In the 12.6 release, we’ve added some explanatory copy above the input fields for GTIN, ISBN et cetera to make this feature a little clearer.
At the end of this week, we’ll be raising the price of the Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin. Are you serious about selling online? Get it today for only $49! That’ll save you some serious $$$. Don’t miss this chance…
Another enhancement to the structured data powers is the possibility to choose if you want to display the price in Schema.org structured data and OpenGraph with tax included. Simply check the box for the setting and you’re good to go.
For bug fixes, we fixed a bug where the internal linking and additional keyphrase functionality went missing from the product edit page. Also, we fixed a bug where the meta description and Twitter and Facebook description could still contain HTML tags and redundant spaces.
Update your plugins
That’s it for today’s releases! We’ve enhanced both Yoast SEO and WooCommerce SEO, while also fixing a number of bugs. Please review the changes and update the plugins at your convenience. Thanks for using Yoast SEO!
Today, we’re releasing Yoast SEO 13.0. This release is one in a series of releases focusing on improving our code and fixing issues — most of them behind the scenes. In addition, we’re also updating our Local SEO plugin to version 12.7 and WooCommerce SEO to 12.5. Let’s go over a couple of changes in Yoast SEO 13.0, Local SEO 12.7 and WooCommerce SEO 12.5!
Good quality code leads to fewer bugs and a more stable product. For some time now, we’ve been steadily rebuilding and reshaping several parts of our plugins to make them more solid and more secure. Juliette Reinders-Folmers is one of the driving forces behind this project. She helps our development teams grow and improve their work. In Yoast SEO 13.0, you can find several of Juliettes advancements, with a lot more to come.
Enhancements in Yoast SEO 13.0
A number of enhancements made it in Yoast SEO 13.0. For one, Yoast SEO now hides the Facebook settings when Open Graph is disabled. This means you no longer see something you’ve disabled yourself. Also, we’ve added a success state to the paginated comments alert that now lives in the Health Check center. This means you will also see the paginated comments check when you’ve set the paginated comments up correctly.
Improvements WooCommerce SEO 12.5
For our WooCommerce SEO plugin, we’ve improved and extended many parts of the Schema structured data implementation. We’ve updated the review and offer Schema output, plus we’ve extended the product output. Specifically, we added a productID to the product output and we’ve added different gtin (Global Trade Item Number) attributes to products.
Also, you can now set a specific product in WooCommerce SEO as a book. Giving it a valid ISBN number, it sets the Schema output to [ Product, Book ]. This way, the Product can have the attributes of both schema.org/Book and schema.org/Product, and thus it can have an ISBN attribute and a price etc.
Last but not least, we’ve added a product:condition meta tag to the OpenGraph output. The default condition is new but you can change this to, for instance, used using the new Yoast\WP\Woocommerce\product_condition filter. We’ve also added a product:retailer_item_id meta tag to the OpenGraph output for Facebook Catalog usage.
Improvements in Local SEO 12.7
Work also continues on our Local SEO WordPress plugin. Today, we launch version 12.7. In this version, we fixes a number of bugs and cleaned up the UI and UX for entering an API key and calculating the location’s latitude and longitude. This makes the whole process of determining your location and validating your Maps API a lot clearer. See the screenshot below.
Update now to Yoast SEO 13.0
Yoast SEO 13.0, WooCommerce 12.5 and Local SEO 12.7 aren’t huge releases, but they bring welcome improvements behind the scenes. We’re continuing our work in improving our processes, our code and our features to keep Yoast SEO the #1 WordPress SEO plugin for years to come.
Today, we’re releasing Yoast SEO 12.9. In this release, you’ll find a number of bug fixes and enhancements. Among other things, you’ll find a renamed snippet preview with clearer settings. Find out what else is new in Yoast SEO 12.9!
Snippet preview is now Google Preview
Since the introduction of the snippet preview, we’ve been working to improve it. A big part of that is catching up with all the changes Google makes to have a snippet preview that makes sense. It should give you a good idea of how your result might look in Google. Because we mostly focus on Google in this case, we decided to rename the snippet preview to Google preview.
Here’s the Google preview button in the block editor sidebar:
And here’s how it looks in the meta box of Yoast SEO 12.9:
You’ll notice another change. We’ve removed the hard-to-understand icons for switching between the mobile and desktop Google preview. Now, we use standard radio buttons and a clear text to label the choice, making the feature instantly clear for everyone.
We’re continuing our run of behind-the-scenes improvements while we’re working on a couple of larger projects. In Yoast SEO 12.9, the most visible change is the improved and renamed Google preview. As always, update whenever you’re ready!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 toexpect 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’.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Google’s recent run of enhancement reports in Search Console gives you lots of insights into how your site is performing in search. Sometimes, though, it gives you stuff to think about, like errors or improvements to make. For instance, if you run an online store, you’re bound to have come across this structured data error: “Either ‘offers’, ‘review’ or ‘aggregateRating’ should be specified.” There’s a very easy solution for this if you run WooCommerce and Yoast SEO: our WooCommerce SEO add-on.
The “Either ‘offers’, ‘review’ or ‘aggregateRating’ should be specified” error in Google Search Console
The “Either ‘offers’, ‘review’ or ‘aggregateRating’ should be specified” happens for a lot of online stores. It means that Google misses several properties in your product schema implementation. By not offering these, your product listings will not reach their full potential in search. This way, Google has a hard time tying all the product-specific properties together to paint a full picture of your product. In some cases, though, they manage, but why let them figure it out? Fixing this becomes imperative if you want a better chance of standing out.
Who doesn’t want a product listing like the one pictured below?
Oftentimes, however, invalid or incomplete structured data might cripple your perfomance in search. Errors are all too common, like the one in the screenshot from Search Console below.
Help is at hand: Yoast SEO & WooCommerce SEO
WooCommerce is huge in the WordPress world. According to W3Techs, 15% of all WordPress sites run an online shop on the WooCommerce platform. That’s amazing. We have a plugin that helps customers improve their online store: WooCommerce SEO. This addon ties neatly into Yoast SEO, including the big schema graph we build for every site. It also greatly improves the product schema output by WooCommerce.
If your site runs on WooCommerce and Yoast SEO you need WooCommerce SEO. Besides all the cool behind-the-scenes improvements, it fixes that dreaded “Either ‘offers’, ‘review’ or ‘aggregateRating’ should be specified” error for you: automatically! It gives Google everything it needs to figure out your products are products and thus increases your chances of getting those important rich results.
Why you should fix this error
Google is increasingly betting on schema structured data to help understand the world. If your site offers search engines enough context about what’s on it, the rewards could be great: rich results. And for some types, visibility on other devices like smart speakers or visual assistants.
Getting your product schema right, means you can get these types of results. The one earlier in this article is from Reverb and shows a nicely formed product rich results, with breadcrumbs, product information, ratings and reviews, pricing details and an in-stock message. This is all powered by product schema.
Reporting on the performance of products
To help you track how your products are doing, Google recently added a Product enhancement report to Search Console. This report lets you know if your products are correctly structured and, therefore, eligible for rich results. This week, Google also announced that it will allow you to see the performance of your product in the search results. You can now find a new Product line in the Search Appearance section of the Search Performance section.
This report shows exactly how well your products are doing: how many impressions did they have and how many clicks? This is invaluable data to improve your product listings.
Fix the error and check your listings
Seeing the product schema error in Search Console? Using Yoast SEO and WooCommerce? Well, you’re in luck. The WooCommerce SEO add-on is the glue that ties the product schema structured data between those two platforms together. It fixes that dreaded error and gives you a better chance at getting your products noticed in Google!
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.
If you have a news site we recommend to update to Yoast SEO 12.5.1.
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.