Yoast SEO 3.0 release: a recap

What. a. week. We released Yoast SEO 3.0 last week. This was arguably one of the biggest releases we’ve ever done. There was quite a bit of buzz around this release, both positive and negative. I wanted to post an update after a week to show where we stand and what we’ve learned.

We’ve made mistakes, obviously. Of course, there were bugs, which we have worked on hard and are still working on right now. We’ve made mistakes in communication too. We’re sorry about that.

All that being said, we’re still very proud of this release. Very proud of the real time feedback our plugin now gives. Very proud of the multiple keywords functionality in our premium plugin.

We have very specific ideas about why these changes needed to happen and what we’re going to do moving forward. My post about keyword density highlights just one of the results you’ll see. In the upcoming releases we’ll add more and more functionality that really needed this major release as a baseline.

On bugs and testing

We knew right when we hit the publish button that there’d be bugs. Of course you always hope everything will be awesome. But we’ve done this too often not to know better. There were a few bugs that I think we should’ve caught in our testing period (which was extensive) and we’re taking precautions to make sure we do next time. But bugs will happen. Always. There are too many different configurations within our user base  to test everything. We love the amount of users we have… except when we release a new plugin update :) .

Taco covered it in his post about the road to Yoast SEO 3.0: we’d been preparing for this update for months. The number of people actually testing these updates was still really small though. That could be one of the reasons some of the major bugs were not found in our testing cycles. But how can we get more people to test our betas and release candidates more extensively?  We’d love your ideas.

In the past week, we’ve been fixing bugs steadily, with several releases in the last week as a result. Today, version 3.0.6 shipped, bringing yet more fixes for specific issues. I’m very happy to see that those releases were in part the result of bug fixes submitted by the community. Thank you all for that!

On communication

We think we were very active right from the start in responding to issues and trying to fix problems. I was personally active on Twitter in responding to people, our support team (5 people working full time) was active on the wordpress.org forums and in email, but we missed Facebook in the beginning, leading to some harsh comments there. Comments that, to be honest, were sometimes really painful to read.

In our email support queues, we prioritized paying customers and told free customers that we couldn’t support them over email. This was probably, in hindsight, not what we should’ve done. For future major releases we will try to actively support everybody for a period of time.

Usability issues

Of course, when we change an interface, some people will complain. That’s a truth we’ve known right from the start. And people complained indeed.  We made a video of how to use the new snippet editor, which is in our release post and was also on the about page for this release. We thought the interface was intuitive, we also thought people would watch that (30 second) video, but we were obviously wrong. We’re now thinking about how to improve the snippet editor so it’s more obvious how you are able to edit.

We also saw some people complain about the traffic light in the publish box. We can discuss where it should be, I actually wanted it to be less intrusive than the whole line we used before… If you’ve got a good idea and know how to code it, pull requests are always welcome on GitHub. If you just have a good idea of what it could look like but don’t know how to code it, open an issue on GitHub and add an image with your idea. We’re listening!


Luckily there was also praise. People seem to love the new multiple keywords functionality in our premium version, which we’re very happy with ourselves too. The real time feedback also has made some people very, very happy. Several people made remarks like “Christmas come early” about these features and that was great to see.

Thank you!

Some people deserve specific thank yous. The moderators on the WordPress.org support forums have been incredibly helpful, both in combatting spam on posts about our plugin but also in providing helpful feedback to both users and us.

I also wanted to personally thank Daniel SeripapAaron HippleZvonko BiškupWPExplorer and Craig Pearson. Each of them contributed a bugfix or helped us test so that we could get fixes out. It’s people like them that make us happy to be in an open source community.

Finally, thank you. For reading. For supporting. For understanding that we’re human and make mistakes. But most of all, thank you for using Yoast SEO and telling all your friends!