Yoast SEO… for Drupal

Yoast SEO DrupalToday I’m proud to announce the first step in Yoast SEO going cross-platform. We’ll release the first version of Yoast SEO for Drupal on September 23, 2015. This brings the core functionality of Yoast SEO to the users of Drupal 7. This core functionality includes management and optimization of content and meta data (like titles and meta descriptions).

Content analysis on other platforms

We’ve written a couple of times about our content analysis becoming real time. To achieve this, we’ve rewritten the whole content analysis in JavaScript. One of the main goals we had when doing that was making it platform independent. This means the experience will be similar whether you’re optimizing content on WordPress or on Drupal.


GoalGorillaWe’ve built Yoast SEO for Drupal together with our partners at GoalGorilla. GoalGorilla is, just like we are, Dutch, and we share a liking for illustrations as well as SEO. We’ve enjoyed working with them so far and will continue to partner on building out this Drupal module.

Launch party!

We will launch Yoast SEO for Drupal at DrupalCon Barcelona, on Wednesday September 23. We’re proud to be a sponsor of both DrupalCon and the Drupal Association. Of course, no launch is complete without a party, so there will be a proper launch party. Omar and Taco from Yoast will be there and will present, Jeffrey A. “JAM” McGuire, Open Source Evangelist at Acquia will be your host. If you’re attending DrupalCon and want to visit the launch party, sign up here!

This post first appeared as Yoast SEO… for Drupal on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Weekly SEO Recap: app interstitials, snippets & knowledge panel

Joost's weekly SEO recapNext to Google getting a new logo, there was also actual news this week. Like… Google increased the height of its search box. Yes, really. Shocking, right? There’s more:

Do you have app interstitials? Drop them.

If you run a site that has an app interstitial, a popup asking the user to install your iPhone / Android app before leading them to the page they wanted to get to: stop it. The users never liked it, even though it might have worked, but Google has now decided it’s had enough. Google has even been kind enough to give us a cut-off date: November 1. Of course, none of this should come as a surprise, I wrote about it on June 5, when Googlers had already mentioned this would happen.

This app interstitial “penalty” also is just a continuation and an enhancement of what we referred to as “Mobilegeddon” a couple of months ago. I fully expect Google to become stricter and stricter in what it accepts in terms of User eXperience. It’s nice to see them announce changes like this though! Google says it doesn’t apply to cookie warnings and other popups, so no need to worry about those just yet.

Rich snippets don’t change your ranking

Rich snippets (explained here if you don’t know what they are) have become a prime weapon in the SEO’s arsenal over the years to improve the number of clicks you get from the search results. Recently, John Mueller of Google has said that they don’t impact your rankings. That’s not a reason to stop using them, their goal has always been to increase the number of people clicking on your result more than increasing the ranking, but it’s good to know.

Google adds quotes to knowledge panels

If you search for JRR Tolkien, the author of the famous Lord of the Rings novels, you’ll see some of the author’s quotes in the knowledge panel on the right. These quotes are new, showing one more case of Google disrupting an entire set of websites. This is yet another warning: your website has to add serious value if you want to get Google traffic. Value that Google cannot easily replicate. And even when you do add serious value, like Wikipedia, Google might take away some of that traffic.

If you want to learn more about knowledge panels in search results and don’t shy away from reading somewhat more technical posts, this post by Bill Slawski might be a good starting point. Bill analyzes tons of patents by Google (and a few others) on his blog all the time, leading to some very interesting insights in the world of SEO.

That’s it for this week, see you next week!

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This post first appeared as Weekly SEO Recap: app interstitials, snippets & knowledge panel on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Yoast Academy presents: Basic SEO Training

We are very excited to announce a brand new Yoast product. As of October 12, 2015 Yoast will start offering complete online SEO courses! Following such a training will teach you all about SEO and website optimization.

We are currently finalizing our first training which is called Basic SEO. For now, we are thrilled to show you our first video, in which Joost announces our Basic SEO Training:

Note: as mentioned, this training is not yet available. It will be available for purchase starting from October 12.

Basic SEO Training

The basic SEO Training consists of 5 modules: Introduction to SEO, Keyword Research & Site Structure, Technical SEO, SEO Copywriting and Usability & Conversion. These 5 modules each consist of instruction videos (about 20 minutes each), lots of reading material and questions. In order to answer the questions correctly, you really have to dive into the material. Jaro, our educational scientist (and awesome colleague) made sure the questions will surely challenge you. You will be forced to actually learn a lot!

After completing all modules, you will receive a Yoast Basic SEO Certificate and a Badge to put on your website. The Yoast Basic SEO Training comes with two complimentary eBooks (Optimize your WordPress site and Content SEO) and will be offered for the price of $299. Be quick though: during the first two weeks (October 12 through October 26), you will be able to buy and follow our course for only $249!

More courses to come!

Last spring, we started developing our online courses. We hired Jaro and started working together with Eyes & Ears (a local company specialized in shooting awesome videos). We have big plans to develop more online SEO courses. We are currently working on a training about Usability and Conversion, a Blog SEO training, and a Technical SEO training.

This post first appeared as Yoast Academy presents: Basic SEO Training on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Weekly SEO Recap: Alphabet, CTR and Local

Joost's weekly SEO recapHaving been away on holiday for 3 weeks, and not being able to write a recap last week yet, this is the first one in over a month. A lot has happened, but not all of it will directly impact your search environment, luckily, so let me cover 3 things that stood out for me:

Google Inc becomes Alphabet Inc

Google changed its corporate structure. While this is interesting mostly if you’re too geeky about Google like me or you’re an investor, some changes do matter. Sundar Pichai officially became the CEO. He’s smart, but has a different management style. This is already becoming clear in articles like this one. About Google Now and whether it’s a priority or not. We’ll have to see what this leads to, but it already puts pressure on some parts of Google.

CTR as a ranking factor?

Is CTR (click-through-rate, specifically from the search results to your site) a ranking factor? A lot of SEOs, including me, thought so for a while, but thinking about it more, it’s also something that’s relatively easy to game. This piece of research was done pretty thoroughly and seems to indicate that no, it isn’t really a ranking factor. This piece says it is. I personally side with AJ Kohn, who puts it better than I could:

The evidence suggests that Google does use click-through rate as a ranking signal. Or, more specifically, Google uses click data as an implicit form of feedback to re-rank and improve search results.

Changes to Google Local results

A change that does affect you if Local SEO is something you think about: Google changed the way its local pack looks. Specifically, it changed it to a pack with 3 instead of 7 results:

relatietherapie Google zoeken

This new local pack has become way more prominent over the last few weeks. This means that for results that have this pack showing, it’s now in the #1 position 93% of the time where it used to only be #1 25% of the time.

If (a part of) your business is Local, now is the time to start investing more in Local SEO. We have both a WordPress plugin for Local SEO to assist you and some articles.

That’s it for this week, see you next week!

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This post first appeared as Weekly SEO Recap: Alphabet, CTR and Local on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

SEO changes, and so do our site reviews

SEO changes, and so do our site reviewsYoast has three main product lines. You all know our plugins, which are the main part of our business. Next to that, we have written a number of eBooks (the third one is actually coming out soon!) and we perform website reviews on a daily basis.

All three product lines are related: they’re all about optimizing your website for both Google and your visitors. From our site reviews, we learn the issues webmasters or website owners are struggling with. Both from the intake forms that we send before the review, as from the six weeks of email support we provide with our reviews. The things we learn provide valuable input to improve our plugins, and provide ideas for our eBooks and the upcoming Yoast Academy we’ll be launching later this year.

This coherence in our products makes that we can stay on top of our game.

Ever changing website reviews

Our website reviews help you to optimize your website the best way possible. In our Gold Review, we check your website for over 300 possible issues, depending on the type of website you have. Obviously, we focus on the issues that matter most.

These checks sometimes change on a weekly basis, and a lot of these changes are triggered by market developments or Google algorithm changes. Sometimes new checks are ‘inspired’ by the blog posts or the eBooks we write. Let me give you an example. Over the last year, the importance of headings for SEO has decreased a lot. It’s more and more a user-friendly way to mark up your articles, instead of headings having any SEO value for your page. In our reviews, we do a number of checks for headings, but with more and more UX focus. I can imagine we will eventually check for instance the design and how font sizes of H2 and H3 relate to each other, as Google is better and better at analyzing the design of a website, regardless of the markup itself.

Another example. Authorship markup isn’t important anymore for your rankings. That doesn’t mean the author isn’t either. In our reviews, we removed the check for authorship, but there should still be attention for the author, so we do check for that.

All kinds of customers

Our Gold Reviews consist of a number of checks that apply to all websites, but a number of checks is tailored to specific types of sites.

If a site for instance is an online shop, we check how customer support is integrated into the website. If you want to increase trust, and thus lower the barriers to purchase a product in your web store, you want to make sure there is an obvious way to contact you. That could be by displaying a phone number in your header. With more and more live chats on eCommerce websites, this might become a substitute for that phone number. But as long as not all your customers are used to live chat, you really need that phone number.

We also encounter photography websites on a regular basis. These websites are usually about photos, photos and nothing but photos. You really want text to go along with these, and you also want to use schema.org data to make sure Google can ‘read’ these images as good as possible as well.

Magazine websites or blogs require a different focus than purely informative websites. There is more user interaction and archives play a huge role. In our reviews, we will pay extra attention to these specific issues, where we might focus more on a menu and search option for the informative websites.

User experience is related to all kind of things, one of them being theme color. We have seen dentist websites that were going against the stream with green and orange color schemes. If you Google ‘dentist website’ in image search, your screen will turn blue. Only a few, specialized dentist websites can pull off a different color scheme than that. In our reviews, we try to take the business type and branding into account when advising on user experience.

That’s just a tip of the iceberg. Our Gold Reviews help all kind of websites, from large, well-known sites to the grocery next door.

Gold review: value for money

We have to adjust our reviews on a regular basis to match up to latest developments in the SEO world. As our reviews change, we always keep a keen eye on the value for money as well. It’s a combination of time spent, euro-dollar rate and capacity. We have hired more consultants, have upgraded our tools and accordingly, permanently lowered the price for our Gold Review.

If you have ever considered ordering a Gold Review, but decided not to at that time, you might want to reconsider now. Our Gold Review is now available for only $899 $799. Go and order your review. Or visit that same page for more information, of course.

Marita Meegan Fundraisingip.com“If you need in-depth on-page and off-page SEO analysis, their customized Website Review analyses about 200 factors on your website. In other words, Yoast stays on top of not just Google’s updates but also new opportunities for SEO in order to provide a first class review.”
Marita Meegan, founder of FundraisingIP.com

We’re happy to help you improve your website!

This post first appeared as SEO changes, and so do our site reviews on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Weekly SEO Recap: Google Panda 4.2

Joost's weekly SEO recapFirst things first: I type this as I’m getting ready for a holiday, so the next weekly SEO recap will be on August 21st. Luckily, Google released Panda this week, so I can cover it now. And there’s more, including a statement by Google about the new top level domains. Let’s dive in:

Google Panda 4.2

Google has rolled out Panda 4.2. There are several posts out there, like on SearchEngineLandTheSEMPost and Search Engine Roundtable, covering it. Let me try to explain the most important details about this update in layman’s terms.

Panda 4.2 is not an update, but a refresh

Technically, Panda 4.2 is not an update: Google didn’t introduce new signals, it just reapplied the same signals on new data. This needs some explaining for most people, so let me try: Google Panda is the result of a very deep analysis of Google’s index. One that it can’t run continuously, like it does its normal ranking, but a calculation that takes months. So this is what we call a “data refresh”: it has run the analysis on a new set of data.

Because Panda needs to be “refreshed”, it has a very negative side effect, especially as these updates don’t exactly run often. The previous update was 10 months ago. If you were hit then and have been improving your site since, this was your first chance to “get out” of Panda. If you think that’s harsh, you’re not alone. Many SEOs out there take issue with this but I’m guessing that’s not going to help them. If you get hit now, you should be aware that recovery is going to take several months, probably up to 10 or 12, even if you get it right the first time.

The fact that Panda needs refreshes also means that making changes now won’t do you any good in terms of staying out of Panda. It has a cut-off date and it won’t see anything after that. That being said, now is always as good a time as any to start improving your site.

Panda 4.2 is a slow Panda

The quote from Google’s spokesperson says it all:

“This past weekend we began a Panda update that will rollout over the coming months”

You read that right. This Panda rollout will not take hours. Not days. Not even weeks. It will take months. This is probably why nobody noticed the update as it began rolling out. This slow roll-out will also make it virtually impossible to correctly assess a win or loss as a definite Panda issue.

If you want to read more, I think Jen’s coverage over at theSEMpost was the most extensive.

Don’t want to be hit by the Panda? Don’t be bamboo!

If you’re afraid of being hit by Panda, and want us to make sure you’re not going to be a candidate, order a website review. We’ve seen many Panda victims over the years and we know we can help. Both when you’re hit or when we think you’re bamboo (also known as: a likely victim).

New TLD’s and Google

Other things happened besides Panda this week, and a few warrant being mentioned. The most important thing for many (aspiring) domainers out there was this post by John Mueller on Google’s webmaster blog. It details how Google deals with new top level domains. In short: like it would with any other domain. This bit is very important:

Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.

Another important bit is whether Google would treat new domains like .london and .amsterdam as local TLD’s or as “global” TLD’s, aka they can rank anywhere in the world. The answer is clear:

Even if they look region-specific, we will treat them as gTLDs. This is consistent with our handling of regional TLDs like .eu and .asia.

Of course, Google wouldn’t be Google if they didn’t add an exception to that straight away:

There may be exceptions at some point down the line, as we see how they’re used in practice.

Sigh. So. They’re global, for now. Over time, they might become local.

My opinion on the new TLD’s

You didn’t ask, but I’ll give you my opinion anyway. I like the concept. I would have liked 3-5 new TLD’s. A number that would work and that maybe people could remember. The gigantic amount of new TLD’s now is pure nonsense in my opinion. Would I use it for a transactional site? Probably not for a while longer. If trust is one of your main issues, and let’s face it, with eCommerce it still is, using a TLD that some of your users might have never heard of is not a good idea. The same goes for getting links to domains like that. It’s going to be harder.

Another problem I see with the new TLD’s is that they won’t work nicely as an email address for quite a while. Of course, you can receive email just fine. Email validation in forms will be broken for at least another decade or so, which means that it will tell you your new hipster email address is invalid when it isn’t.

Overall, I think what the new TLD’s do more than anything, is strengthen the value of .com domains. If you have a nice short and rememberable .com, I think you’ll be stronger in the long run.

Featured snippets and how to get them

This post on SEL by Eric Enge should be required reading material for anyone playing in SEO. This quote, from the end of his article, explains best why you should know about this:

… getting a featured snippet for key pages on your site is a good thing. The business value depends on identifying common questions that a potential customer might ask related to your market space.

I’m thinking of some experiments for our own site right now, but they’ll have to wait. It’s time for my holiday first. Did you notice the banner with my sleek summer outfit? If not, check out the Yoast SEO Premium sale we have. If you’ve been pondering buying it, now’s the best time to do so.

That’s it, see you next month!

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This post first appeared as Weekly SEO Recap: Google Panda 4.2 on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Yoast SEO 2.3

FB Yoast SEO 2 3 1200x628We’ve just released a major release of Yoast SEO, bringing it up to version 2.3. This new version of Yoast SEO helps you optimize your site and keep it optimized. It shows errors straight from Google’s Search Console, and points you at posts that need work. But first of all, we’ve changed the name!

WordPress SEO by Yoast === Yoast SEO

Nearly everybody we know already called it “Yoast SEO”. We were stubborn enough not to do that. It used to be just “WordPress SEO”. It became “WordPress SEO by Yoast” somewhat later, now, we’ve finally caved. The plugin will henceforth be known as Yoast SEO. Somewhat in jest, we add “for WordPress” to that. We do that as we’re working on making our SEO plugin available for other platforms.

Google Search Console integration

This release brings a feature that used to be specific to Yoast SEO Premium to Yoast SEO free. Google released a new version of the API for their Webmaster Tools. It also recently renamed it to “Search Console”. This new API meant we had to rebuild things anyway and as we did that we decided to make this feature available to everyone.

The option to create redirects straight from this interface will remain premium. But if you can create redirects in another way, this is a great, free, way to make sure your site stays optimized.

See what it looks like:

Yoast SEO Google search console integration screenshot

Pointing you at posts that need work

This was actually a user submitted feature request. Brandon Hubbard suggested a widget in this GitHub issue, which we thought was a great idea. So now, when you login, you’ll see a widget like this:

Yoast SEO dashboard widget

Breadcrumbs in the customizer

If you use and like our breadcrumbs, you might like this even more. If your theme declares support for yoast-seo-breadcrumbs, we’ll automatically enable them and even add a panel to the Customizer so you can customize them:


Instructions on how to make this work with your theme(s) can be found here.

There are literally tons more small bugfixes in this release, so we’re certain we can say this is the best Yoast SEO ever. So, go update and tell us what you think!

Summer Sale on Yoast SEO Premium

And to top it all off, we now also have a sale on our Yoast SEO Premium plugin! It is now exactly the same pricing as our other SEO plugins, so it starts off from $69!

This post first appeared as Yoast SEO 2.3 on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Weekly SEO Recap: Newsflash!

Joost's weekly SEO recapI’m a bit feisty this week. I apologize upfront. We’ve been doing tons of website reviews after last month’s sale and it had me quite busy. But there’s good news this week if you’re looking for a job as an SEO: here’s your chance! Google is hiring one. SEO’s all over the web had fun with that this week, but it shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The only thing Google just did is acknowledge that SEO is worth doing. So much that they hire people to be in charge of it. Luckily, there was more!

Twitter blocking robots? Guess not.

There was quite a bit of fuzz on Twitter the last few days about Twitter blocking robots.txt and how bad this was:

Luckily my buddy Martin MacDonald looked for two more seconds and discovered this wasn’t exactly the case. Why Twitter doesn’t just 301 redirect www.twitter.com to twitter.com is completely beyond me. That would be the only real SEO solution in my (not so) humble opinion.

Penguin is months away

In not so surprising news (as it’s bloody hot here and penguins aren’t known for their love of heat), Google’s Penguin update apparently is months away as they are “working on making it real time”. We’ll see.

Google sends notifications, then wonders why

In another not so surprising move, Google is starting to realize that some messages are not making much sense to each site owner. They send out a ton of hreflang messages this week, only to realize not everyone might be interested. So now they’re asking for your feedback on how you like the messaging coming out of Google Search Console.

Lots of us would probably rather have them fix issues like the current issue with index numbers. And maybe help their colleagues on fixing the referral spam in Google Analytics.

Flash is dead, bye bye!

Firefox is now blocking Flash by default. Flash was always a stupid idea, but in the off chance that you’re still using it on your site, you probably should stop for real now. I mean, we have animated GIFs for annoying content!

Flash is dead

XML Sitemaps are hard

Gary Ilyes from Google tweeted about how to properly format the last modified time in XML sitemaps:

His answer also states “in most of the cases it’s ignored by search engines”. We knew that, but it doesn’t hurt repeating it. The same is true for the priority field, which is the reasons our Yoast SEO plugin doesn’t have a ton of interface to change them. They simply don’t matter that much.

That’s it, see you next week!

joost signature

This post first appeared as Weekly SEO Recap: Newsflash! on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Preparing your blog post

Writing a good blog post all starts with thinking. You should think about what you want to say and to whom you want to say it. It is important to realise, that proper writing takes some time. In order to write a good, readable piece, you will have to follow three steps:

Proces of good writing explained in a picture: 40% prepaparation, 20% writing, 40% correcting

All writing begins with preparation. I will take you through this first phase in this blog post. If you want to read more about how to write an awesome blog post, make sure to buy our content SEO book this week, as it’s still summer sale (have you seen my dress?? ;-))

summersale eBook incontent_x2

In the first step of your writing process you will have to answer a number of questions. The answers to these questions will be the preparation of your blog post or article.

  1. What is the purpose of your piece? Why are you writing? What do you want to achieve?
  2. What will be the main message of your post? What is the central question you want to answer?
  3. Who are your readers?
  4. What information do you need to write your piece?
  5. In what order will you present your information? What will be the structure of your article?

I will elaborate on these questions in this blog post.

1. What is the purpose?

When you start to write content, you should first take some time to think about the purpose of your writing. Articles can have different purposes. You can write because you want to persuade people: you want them to adopt your political ideas or you want to convince them to buy your product. The aim of your article could also be entertaining. The purpose of your text would then be to amuse people. A column is a good example of an entertaining text. Your blog or article could also be informative. Different articles on your website could have different purposes. Also, many articles have multiple purposes. A blog could very well be informative as well as entertaining.

The purpose of your article will give you some rules or guidelines to follow. An article in which you want to persuade people should have some other features than an article with a sole informative or amusing function. I actually wrote another blog post about the differences between amusing text, an informative text and a persuading text.

2. What is the message?

Before you start writing, take some time to think about what you want your readers to know or do after they’ve read your text. We refer to this as the message of your text.

In order to come up with your message, you could try to phrase a question which your text should resolve. We refer to such a question as the central question of a text. The text you will write will be the answer to your central question.

Make sure that your central question is clear. Try to come up with a summarized answer to your central question in one or two sentences. We refer to this answer as the message of your article. Perhaps you will not be able to phrase the message of your article until you have done some research. You should then attend to your research first (see question 4!).

Example 1

If you would write a post about the importance of well-structured texts, the central question of this post could be: ‘Why is it important to write well-structured blog posts?’

We usually put the message in the introduction of the post (telling people what the post will be about) as well as in the conclusion of the piece. Making your message really explicit is in our opinion especially important in web texts. It helps your readers to instantly grasp the message of your article and increases the likelihood people will keep on reading.

Example 2

The message of a post about the importance of well-structured texts could be: ‘It is important to write a well-structured text because it will allow people to understand your text better, it will lead to higher conversions and to higher ranking.’

3. Who are your readers?

Before writing your text, you should take some time to think about the people you are writing for. Make sure you adapt your text to their level. You should adjust the difficulty of the information in your piece as well as the difficulty of your style (use of jargon, long sentences etc) to your audience.

In many cases, it is really hard to find out who your readers are. And if your audience is a very heterogeneous group (consisting of very different people), it can be quite hard to decide upon the difficulty of your topic and your text. It could be very helpful to do research concerning your audience on a regular basis. If you would like to read more about analyzing your audience you can read my posts about Analyzing your audience and Yoast Research: get to know your audience.

4. What information do you need?

In some cases, all the information you need to write your text is already in your head. If Joost de Valk writes an introductory piece about SEO, he doesn’t need to open any books. In many other cases, you will need some sources (the internet, books, newspapers) to provide the information you need for your text. You should take the central question of your piece and come up with a number of sub-questions.

Example 3

For the central question: ‘Why is it important to write well-structured blog posts?’ one could pose the following subquestions:

  • What does text structure have to do with SEO?
  • What is the influence of text structure on conversion rates?
  • What is the influence of text structure on bounce rates?

Find answers to all your sub-questions in your sources (books, internet, scientific articles etc.). You can write these answers down. You will then already have the basis of your post or article.

After this phase, the (central) message of your article should be entirely clear. Take some time to phrase or rephrase your message (the summarized answer to your central question) in one or two sentences.

5. What will be the structure?

The final step in the preparation process is the most important one. You have to give some kind of structure to the information you want to communicate to your readers. In another post, I gave practical tips on how to create a decent structure.

Conclusion: Take some time to prepare your post!

Writing a blog post all start with some thinking and preparing. Take time to do that. Ask yourself the 5 questions of this blog post and the most important phase in your writing is covered! If you would like to get the full information, you should definitely read our Content SEO eBook!

This post first appeared as Preparing your blog post on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Consistent branding increases click through rate in Google

Consistent branding increases click through rate in GoogleLast week, Thijs wrote a post on headings and taglines. Following that post, I’d like to elaborate a bit on focus, but now related to your branding. In this post, I’ll tell you my point of view on how to incorporate consistent branding in your website and how this can contribute to improving your click through rate from Google.

What is this branding you are talking about?

Branding is the way you promote your brand or sometimes simply your website name (the brand of your website) to your visitors. Branding is the new link building.

Branding is the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design (Google)

A while ago, Joost wrote a post on branding and homepages as an addition to my statement that a homepage shouldn’t be used to rank a keyword. I still kinda feel that way. I do think your homepage should, without the requirement of optimization, rank for your brand. This is quite often (among others) the result of links to your website using your brand as the anchor text for that link.

Incorporate branding in your website

Our new website, coming to you this fall, is an excellent example of how consistent branding will guide you through a website and will never make you feel lost. You will always, on any page and in every section of that page, know that you are visiting yoast.com. Without the use of a surplus of avatars, this time.

yoast redesign consistent branding

In the new design, consistent branding is achieved by a combination of the obvious logo on every page, but also by designing every element on the website to align with that logo. There is a style guide for headings, blockquotes, lines, widgets and boxes that goes above and beyond our already pretty consistent current site design.

Consistent branding in design

We have the luxury of Erwin and Mijke being our ‘brand managers’ at Yoast for years, knowing the brand from head to tail. And being able to translate that brand to a design and illustrations. You might not have that luxury. In our reviews, we often find websites that are set up and maintained by the website owner himself. The ease of using content management systems like Drupal, WordPress and Joomla! are ‘to blame’ for this. That website owner might be a carpenter or dentist during daytime, and a self-proclaimed web designer by night. Apart from the question if that is the way to go (I don’t think so, every man to his own trade), consistent branding is quite often lost in the process. A general theme is used, a logo might be added – very frequently plain text is used – but that is about it.

Just adding a logo is like branding a horses behind and figuring out what stable he belongs to by looking at his head. It just isn’t enough. Think about the use of colors, for instance. Make sure headings and background colors are in line with the logo colors. Make it consistent. If your logo is about curves and circles, for instance use round borders for your widgets, or a curvy heading font. Make sure it all adds up.

Consistent branding in text

We have recently added ‘by Yoast’ to a number of our plugin names, like Google Analytics by Yoast. Fun fact is that our WordPress SEO plugin is named “Yoast SEO” on a regular basis. Branding helps us rank for that term without any effort from our side. The community made that happen, by using “Yoast SEO” on support forums, on social media like Twitter, and in blog posts about the plugin. Thank you for that, by the way. It shows that consistent use of a term in text, including links to your website, will help you promote your brand in words that your users use. In fact, we have found that Yoast SEO has become synonymous to WordPress SEO for Google:

Yoast SEO is synonymous to WordPress SEO

Google bolds “WordPress SEO” as the keyword used in search when you do a search for “Yoast SEO”. It’s one of the reasons we’ll actually be rebranding the plugin to “Yoast SEO” in the near future. More on that in posts to come!

Our real time content analysis will help you to add that branding to your homepage, if you’d like some assistance in that. Yes, I know. That is in a way optimizing your homepage for a keyword. Bottom line is that you need to be consistent in this. If your product is branded like Google Analytics by Yoast, use that name everywhere. It’s like writing WordPress with a lowercase P. People might take you less serious when you are not consistent in this. It will also help Google identify your branding, of course. One of the things we often tell people to do is add the brand name at the end of the page title as well. For WordPress users, adding that branding to your titles in the Titles & Metas section of our plugin is easy as pie.

How does consistent branding help click through rate!?

By now, you must have been going over your own website yourself and you have probably identified sections that need improvement. You need to make consistent branding a priority, which is usually the hardest part. The reason you need to make consistent branding a priority, is that when branding is consistent in page titles, in texts and in meta descriptions, all the elements of your website that are shown in Google, this will (in the not so long run), trigger recognition when a Google user searches for a specific keyword. If someone searches for WordPress SEO and ‘Yoast’ pops up every time, there must be a relation between the two, right? It will link your brand to the keyword. It will increase trust and make it easier or even more ‘natural’ for that user to click the link to your website. You will become a known source for that visitor.

And that is how consistent branding will help your click through rate in Google.

Optimizing keywords for branding

Recently, we have added an extra section to our intake form for our site reviews: keywords you want to rank for. We’ll allow you to add a limited set of keywords, so we can check your website for these. The one thing that stands out, is that these keywords almost never include a brand name. It’s always about the product, without the branding. That isn’t consistent at all. If you have a unique product, it should be branded. And you should optimize for a combination of [product name] and [branding], like “Yoast SEO”. Keep that in mind when choosing your keywords. And feel free to order that site review now.

This post first appeared as Consistent branding increases click through rate in Google on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!