Weekly SEO Recap: Quality!

This week we released version 3 of our Yoast SEO plugin. I can honestly say we’re very proud of this release. I’ll recap a bit on the release and there was one bit of news from Google I don’t want to withhold you: they released the search quality guidelines they give to their quality raters to the public.

Joost's weekly SEO recap

Google Quality Rater guidelines

Google employs a group of people who manually rate their search result on a continuous basis. A feedback loop to tell them whether specific changes worked, whether some sits are spammy, etc etc. They give these raters a set of guidelines to work with. These guidelines were leaked before, but now Google has decided to just publish them publicly.

The SEM Post seems to have had it earlier than most people did, and had a fantastic write up about it. I’ll just point you there to read the whole thing. They also summarize the changes in comparison to older versions, which is very useful info.

Yoast SEO 3.0

Yoast SEO 3.0 came out with a bang. There were a lot of tweets, a lot of comments, a lot of forum posts, a lot of Facebook comments. Some very positive, some (ok, quite a few) negative. Things were broken for some people and we tried to fix them as well as we could. What most people don’t realize is that WordPress greatest strength for the user (the ability to run countless combinations of plugins and versions of plugins and settings etc.) is its biggest problem to anyone maintaining a plugin.

Yoast SEO is active on well over 4 million websites in the last count. That means there are also approximately 3.9 million different configurations. We can not possibly, ever, test everything that could occur. So when we hit release on an update as major as this, we know things are going to go wrong. Even when we’ve tested with our full team (8 full time developers) for 3 weeks in a row. The sheer size of our community just means that’ll always be the case. Taco wrote about what we did to get to the point of release.

In the beginning, it worked for about 95% of people, some people thought stuff was broken but clearing their browser cache fixed it. We’ve quickly rolled out 3.0.1, 3.0.2 and 3.0.3 updates, which seem to have fixed the issue for 98-99% of people so far. But even 2% of 4 million is still 80,000 installs where something is broken. Trust me, we know.

Yoast SEO 3.0 might, because of the above, look like a dramatic update to some, I think it was actually a very good release. Considering we re-built about 30% of our codebase in another language, the amount of bugs is relatively low. If you haven’t, go read the release post and see why we took the huge steps we did.

That’s it, see you next week!

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