Personally, I’d be very happy…

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Personally, I'd be very happy to work with @saraheadler, CTO of a booming startup (and knows her #WordPress stuff!)

July 23rd 2015 personal, wordpress

Yoast SEO 2.3

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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!

July 21st 2015 SEO, wordpress

Google Analytics 5.4.3: Remarketing tag

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We just released Google Analytics by Yoast 5.4.3. This is not a big release, but we do want to highlight one of the changes you’ll see in there.

Remarketing tag

Our Google Analytics plugin has had the remarketing tag incorporated for quite some time, but it was kind of hidden, so not many people were able to actually find this feature. So now we’ve made it a lot clearer in the settings of our plugin:

All you have to do to add the remarketing tag is check the box that is highlighted.

Targeting your website’s audience

For those of you who don’t know or are unsure of what the remarketing does, let me briefly explain. Remarketing allows you to target your website’s visitors on other sites than your own. So if a person has visited your site, and you have the remarketing tag incorporated in your site, you’re able to serve him or her your AdSense ads, even when they’re not on your site.

Cookie laws

Note that there are privacy and cookie laws active worldwide. These differ from one area to the next, so be sure you’re in compliance with the cookie laws applicable to your target audience.

This post first appeared as Google Analytics 5.4.3: Remarketing tag on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

July 16th 2015 Analytics, wordpress

Facebook author tags & Yoast SEO

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Last week, Facebook did a post on their media site about Facebook author tags. Many blogs, including sites we love like SearchEngineJournal, picked it up as though it was the best new thing since sliced bread. It’s not, obviously, mostly because it’s not actually new. You see, Facebook did release their author tags in June, but not this year, not last year, but two whole years ago. We included it in WordPress SEO 2 days later. Two years ago.

The confusion about how new the Facebook author tags feature was caused us to be slightly surprised when we suddenly got questions from our WordPress SEO Premium customers as to whether we’d include it. We did however write a piece on our knowledge base (which we restyled last week too) about how to implement Facebook author tags with our SEO plugin.

Facebook OpenGraph support in WP SEO by Yoast

Facebook meta data is put on the page in so-called OpenGraph tags. WordPress SEO has some of the most extensive Facebook OpenGraph support you’ll find in plugins out there. If you enable OpenGraph on the Social settings page, it’ll all happen automatically:

Facebook OpenGraph settings - WordPress SEO

Enable Facebook Author tags

For the Facebook author tags feature to work though, you actually have to go into the user profile page of your WordPress install and enter your own Facebook profile URL. That’s it. The plugin will then automatically add more things, like the publisher tags, image tags, a description tag, article type etc. etc. Lots of things you don’t need to think about, we’ll optimize it for you.

If you want to further optimize your OpenGraph output, you can change some of the things the plugin will output on the Social tab of the WordPress SEO metabox:

Facebook settings on the Social tab

We recently added the recommended image size in the descriptions of those upload fields, mostly as we kept forgetting them ourselves.

Just one more reason to use WordPress SEO by Yoast!

This post first appeared as Facebook author tags & Yoast SEO on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

June 24th 2015 Facebook, wordpress

Introducing Yoast Comment Hacks

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Yoast Comment Hacks IconComments are awesome, but the WordPress comments system is sometimes slightly lacking. Several large sites have, in the first few months of this year, announced they were no longer allowing comments. We, at Yoast, don’t understand that. We’ve found that there’s huge value in discussing our posts with our community. Over the years, we’ve made several plugins that all make the comments system slightly better. Today we’re announcing a new plugin that bundles some of that functionality into one simple to install plugin: Yoast Comment Hacks.

This plugin has 5 modules, all of which were previously separate plugins, some feature highlights:

Minimum comment length

By default, a comment of even 1 character is long enough to be saved. We think that’s weird. If someone wants to leave a comment, we’d prefer it if they have something real to say. This module allows you to set a minimum length and prevent people from leaving a comment if they’re under that.

Comment redirect

One of our “old time classics”, this module allows you to redirect first time commenters to a thank you page. You can use this page to inform them about other nice things on your site, stuff they should really read, etc. Want to see how that works? Well. Leave a comment on this post and you’ll see!

Clean notification emails

This was actually not a plugin of ours. The original plugin which inspired us for this was built and released by Mike Davidson in 2008. Mike is now the head of design at Twitter and obviously has better things to do, so we emailed him a while back asking if it was ok for us to update his old plugin. He gave his OK so we went to work on his old code and brought it into this decennium. The code does one “simple” thing: make comment emails look better! See this example:

Screenshot of a clean comment email

There’s more

Check out the Yoast comment hacks plugin page for the other 2 modules and more screenshot examples. You can also check the code on GitHub, or file an issue there if you find a bug or have a great new feature idea. The plugin is of course also available on

It doesn’t stop here!

We’ll probably add more small comment hacks to this plugin as we go along and find more small ways to make the WordPress comments system easier to use. Do tell us what you’d like to see in the comments below!


This post first appeared as Introducing Yoast Comment Hacks on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

June 16th 2015 wordpress

WordPress SEO 2.2

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Both WordPress SEO Premium and the free version of WordPress SEO have been updated to version 2.2. This new release brings quite a few changes and some nice new additions. We’ll explain the changes in this post.

Security fixes

This release contains a fix for a potential XSS issue in the admin, specifically the snippet preview. It was caused by issues in our JS, which is why also did another overhaul of our admin JS. The XSS issue required you to be logged in, so the risk level was relatively low.

Community input

This release contains code that was suggested by 5 people outside of the core WordPress SEO development team. We particularly want to highlight and thank Gary Jones as he’s done several great suggestions for this release. We’ve also had great feedback from Gary and several others on how to improve the accessibility of the plugin, all of those changes are incorporated in this release.

No more tracking class

We’ve removed our external tracking. We were doing opt-in tracking of a couple hundred thousand sites, but as is improving how it does its stats, we’d rather focus on other things. This means we’ll no longer give you a popup asking for permission on new installs.

Recognize your redirects

Recently, while Joost was helping on a major domain migration, he couldn’t locate which bit of code was creating a particular redirect. Annoying as this was, he decided it was time to invent a new HTTP header, to be sent right before a redirect header. This header, X-Redirect-By, identifies the piece of software that created the redirect. We’ve implemented it in WordPress SEO immediately and hope it’ll save a few of our users a headache at some time.

Premium: better redirect notices

As Joost wrote about last week, we improved the notices that urge you to redirect changed / deleted posts and terms if you’re using WordPress SEO Premium. These should help you to keep your site optimized. If you’re not using WordPress SEO Premium yet, you really should consider it. Not only will you get more features and support from our team, you’ll also help fund the further development of the entire plugin.

Integration with other plugins

We love it when plugins integrate nicely with our SEO plugin. Nested Pages is one of those. It’s an intuitive drag and drop interface for pages in the admin. It’s so nice, we dare say it’s what the WordPress interface should look like. When you run WordPress SEO, it highlights the SEO score (through our simple color coded circles) right on the overview:

Nested pages example

Joost recently submitted a patch for Nested Pages so it will show blue for noindexed pages, a patch that was promptly accepted. We love open source!

We’ve done some work in this release to make sure that we in turn integrate well with Nested Pages. This means that when you delete a page, the notice you get to redirect the URL will work, which it didn’t before because you weren’t on the normal edit pages screen.

Other bugfixes & changes

A couple of the changes we’ve done:

Redirect to about
Quite a few people complained about the redirect to our about page after an update. We’ve heard you and changed how it works. You’ll now get a dismissible notice with a link to the release notes, we’ll no longer redirect you.

Fixed multisite settings import
You should now be able to properly import settings on multisite environments.

Facebook Insights authentication
Next to moving this to the bottom of the Facebook tab (it’s not that important), we’ve changed how you can authenticate to get access to Facebook insights. This knowledge base article is probably the best explanation. If you were already authenticated you don’t need to change anything.

Under the hood
Also in this release, we’ve cleaned up all our JavaScript and, more important: documented all of it and made sure it no longer gives JS Hint warnings. We did more cleanup like this, in our continuous effort to both write better code and improve how we do so.

News SEO

Our News SEO plugin has had a small update too, fixing some sitemap caching issues people were having. If you don’t know our other premium SEO plugins, check them out.

This post first appeared as WordPress SEO 2.2 on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

June 10th 2015 SEO, wordpress

Feature highlight: WP SEO Premium redirect manager

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One of the things we are understanding more and more, is that we have failed to explain why our WordPress SEO Premium plugin is awesome. Today, I’d like to tell you about the redirect manager that’s contained in it.

First, let me show you this video:

This is one of the 13 videos that you get along with WordPress SEO Premium as well, that explain how to use the plugin.

Redirect when you need to

WordPress SEO Premium makes sure you don’t leave holes in your site. When you’re changing a posts URL, you should redirect the old URL to the new one. When you’re deleting a post, in most cases, you should redirect the URL somewhere. Both of these are common things to do when you’re cleaning up your old content. In both cases, WordPress SEO Premium will give you notices like this:

Image of the redirect manager notice that says: WordPress SEO Premium detected that you moved a post to the trash. Click here to create a redirect from the old post URL. Image of the notice that says: WordPress SEO Premium created a redirect from the old post URL to the new post URL. Click here to undo this.

Similarly, when you’re cleaning out your tags or categories, you want to redirect them when you delete or change them:

Image of the redirect manager notice saying: WordPress SEO Premium detected that you deleted a term. Click here to create a redirect from the old term URL.

Note that these notice have been improved slightly from what they look like right now, you’ll all get this update next Wednesday when we release WordPress SEO 2.2.

Solve crawl issues with the redirect manager

The redirect manager is heavily tied into the Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) integration, which allows you easily solve all Google’s crawl issues. Simply click “Redirect” and tell the plugin where the redirect should go.

WordPress SEO, even the free version, helps you to optimize your site. WordPress SEO Premium, with this functionality, helps you make sure your site stays optimized.

Interested? Go get WordPress SEO Premium. It includes a year of support and comes with a month-long money back guarantee, no questions asked.

This post first appeared as Feature highlight: WP SEO Premium redirect manager on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

June 3rd 2015 SEO, wordpress

RT @isaackeyet: Automattic now offers…

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RT @isaackeyet: Automattic now offers paid 2-3 month sabbaticals every 5 years! Work with us: #WordPress #jobs

May 21st 2015 personal, wordpress

Everyday Website Optimization for WordPress

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Everyday Website OptimizationYou might be a WordPress developer, WordPress plugin developer or WordPress theme developer. You may have worked with WordPress for over a decade. But have you ever wondered what it’s like to purchase a website without any knowledge of WordPress or whatever other CMS? Still, that’s probably true for the vast majority of all WordPress users.

The discussion was triggered a couple of weeks ago in this brilliant post by Morten Rand-Hendriksen about the average WordPress user. You know, when WordPress pushed an automatic update of our WordPress SEO plugin to cover an unfortunate security issue.

This post is about making everyday website optimization super easy for your customer. And yourself.

Everyday Website Optimization

WordPress is the Word-like tool a website owner can use to update text and images on the website. That is basically it. The rest, so will your customers assume, is taken care of. Plugins? Post Types? They don’t know and don’t care about these. They just want to change the content. That’s their everyday website optimization. So what are the things you should or could take care of?

Logging in and security

It’s already hard to remember that login URL for your customer, to be honest. /wp-admin/ you say? What does that stand for? Can’t that just be /login/? And that customer hasn’t even logged in yet. You might want to create a 301 redirect from a simpler URL. Don’t just add that WordPress meta widget in the footer – don’t you think that looks lame as well? It’s just not that professional.

Luckily, you have already changed the default admin username to a client specific one. Note that I’ve seen my share of Brute Force attacks over the last few weeks that target my exact first name instead of the admin user. Perhaps that has something to do with my login name being the same as my first name… I could have done that differently. I did just update the password again, something I do on a frequent basis.

Of course you have also installed the Sucuri plugin and configured that for your customer. They don’t even need to know it’s in there. Your main job towards your customer is to inform him that trustno1 isn’t a password. Make it CLU: Complex, Long, Unique.

tony perez sucuri smallTony Perez is one of the Co-Founders and CEO at Sucuri, a globally recognized website security company focused on providing security services to website owners. Sucuri is known for their ability effectively clean hacked websites, and protect them from malicious actors.

Did we mention Tony Perez of Sucuri is speaking at YoastCon? I’m sure we did! Be sure to join us on the 27th of May in Nijmegen (The Netherlands).

Writing and editing

Now that the user is able to log in, he or she just wants to write posts or pages and add images. Posts or pages. Explain the difference. If the client doesn’t want to add news articles (posts), explain that dynamic content really helps the website’s rankings in Google. Besides that, regular posting will also make sure the client visits the website itself on a frequent basis. That will help keeping the website up to date, of course. Your job in this is to make sure there is a news or blog page that will display the blog posts in WordPress › Settings › Reading:

WordPress > Settings > Reading

WordPress > Settings > Reading

“My customer still doesn’t want a news section on his website.” Consider it a service to set this up anyway. It’s a minute’s work. I have seen agencies charge hundreds of dollars to create a news section that is just two templates in WordPress. Especially when you’re creating a child theme, this is a no-brainer to me.

Just to be sure: there is a catch. If you do this, the blog page will probably display entire posts and that means duplicate content: a post is available via the blog page (in the list of posts) and on the actual page of the article itself. Just a few weeks ago, I took Easy Custom Auto Excerpt (plugin) for a spin. Found some room for improvement for a personal project I was working on, and the guys at Tonjoo fixed these within a few days. Try it for yourself.


Do I have to go there with you, frequent visitor? Probably not. But you should tell your client about our free Page Analysis (in WordPress SEO). It’s the easiest way to optimize a page and at least give some guidance to your client. Just a few things you really have to mention:

Perhaps most important, as mentioned on our blog earlier this week, that you should develop an Holistic SEO approach. Our blog helps you fill in the blank, and I think most articles are written in a way that even the less tech-savvy (WordPress) user will understand how to optimize his website.

Internal linking

We’ve been discussing internal linking a lot. Internal links help your visitor navigate the site and search engine to find valuable connections between pages. These links are almost always relevant. Besides related posts, you should also focus on adding internal links in your texts itself.
There are a number of plugins that automatically link certain words in articles and pages, but at Yoast, we prefer a less automated approach. If you feel a topic needs background information, add an internal link.

You can use the internal link creator in WordPress (Add link > ‘Or link to existing content’), but that one tend to flood you with suggestions and the most relevant ones are not always at the top. We have been testing Better Internal Link Search:

The most basic feature limits results to posts and pages that contain your search term in the title, rather than returning every post that contains the term in the title or content field — this greatly reduces the number of results on sites with a lot of content and should improve accuracy.

Simple features make this plugin really nice, like the option to just type ‘home’ to quickly link the homepage. You should give it a try, as this will really help your client to create valuable internal links.

Mobile Friendly

Responsive webdesign / mobile friendly websitesLet’s not forget that one. With Google’s clear focus on mobile friendly websites, this is a no-brainer. The website needs to be responsive, and easy to visit and browse on a mobile device.

A common question is if a website should be responsive by default or if a web developer can charge extra for that. Tough question, but from a website optimization point of view not really relevant. That’s up to you and your customers budget. The least you can do is point them to WP Touch, just to have that covered. Be sure to tell him mobile friendliness is an important factor for Google these days.

Responsive images

I’ve seen more than one responsive website that breaks on images. A couple of weeks ago I attended WordCamp London and visited an awesome talk by Bruce Lawson about responsive images and the use of the picture attribute. He also brought this plugin to our attention as an alternative: RICG Responsive Images For WordPress. The plugin adds the srcset attribute to your images, making it possible to serve a different image per screen width. This already improves the mobile user experience a lot.


Back in the days (4-5 years ago) when I was building (WordPress) websites myself, most clients did not care much about social media. Only the larger ones did. Nowadays, everybody seems to understand the ease and importance of social marketing. There are two things to consider:

  1. Social sharing: What platforms is the target audience using and is the client already on this platform?
  2. Subscriptions: What platforms is the client on, and which of these are easy to maintain for him.

Social sharing is nice, but too often the client wants to be on all social platforms, where only a few are appropriate for his business. If the social sharing options below an article or post are for more than say three or four platforms, chances are that the reader will only use one or two of these. For us, Facebook and Twitter work best. That is why we decided to cut down social sharing options to just these two.

Subscription options also vary per website and per website owner. One thing I really dislike when reviewing the use of social media in our site reviews, is adding social buttons to a site that link to a Facebook page that has not been updated since 2010. Just don’t link that Facebook page, see what IFTTT can do for you and only add that link back when you are adding content to your Facebook page on a regular basis. Replace ‘Facebook’ with any other social platform in the previous sentences.
Bottom line is that your social effort should make that subscription valuable. It’s not just about linking that social website.

Next to that, make sure to leverage a newsletter. Newsletters are great for both return traffic and bringing current events, breaking news and other interesting stuff to the attention of an interested visitor. Double opt-ins will make sure the subscriber really wants your news in his or her inbox. We send ours using Mailchimp.


The cherry on the icing on the website and SEO cake is of course speed. Speed is really important these days, both for Google and visitors. Although this is a really technical subject, WordPress plugins make it really easy to optimize the larger part of your site’s speed.

A rather new, but promising kid on the block is WP Rocket. After meeting Julio Potier of WP Rocket, we had the pleasure of testing the plugin and the simplicity of it is really appealing. Just by clicking some simple checkboxes, this happened in Google PageSpeed:

Google PageSpeed before and after WP Rocket

That a lot, right… Took me about 5 minutes to configure WP Rocket to achieve that result.

Now speed optimization isn’t just about optimizing it once, but you really want to do that on an ongoing basis. Clients adding images of multiple MBs in size in a blog post happens every day, right? A plugin like EWWW can help. If you have a steady relationship with your customer, you could check, or have him check this on a monthly frequency, for instance. That way you can easily monitor if anything has a negative effect on the site’s speed.

That pretty much rounds it up for your everyday website optimization. There’s just one more thing regarding your WordPress website that you should do everyday: update your WordPress install and all plugins whenever there is an update available. It’s helps a lot in keeping your website secure. But we have written quite a lot on that subject this week already! Managed WordPress hosting could be a solution to this issue.

If you have any additions to the tips above, feel free to share these in the comments!

This post first appeared as Everyday Website Optimization for WordPress on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

April 23rd 2015 wordpress

Google Analytics 5.4 release notes

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This release is mostly a security release. After last months security update we decided to have Sucuri do another in-depth review of the plugin, we found another issue ourselves that was common in many plugins and we were informed of another issue by Jouko. For that reason, you should update immediately. The release contains a few more improvements, which I’ll highlight below.

Use the WP Settings API

When we re-built the Google Analytics plugin end of last year we left one bit of the old code intact: the way it stored settings. We’ve now fully migrated the plugin to use the WordPress Settings API. This makes sure we won’t suffer security issues in our own code as we’re relying on the core code to handle options saving.

More accessible forms

A pull request by Steve Repsher added for attributes to our labels, making them correspond with their form fields. A good accessibility change for which we’re thankful!

Universal is the default

Now that Google Analytics’ Universal rollout has completed, we’ve made Universal the default for all new installs.

Fixed an annoying bug: scripts everywhere

We also fixed an annoying bug in this release. Our plugin was loading its scripts on every page, instead of on just its own pages. This lead to slow loads and annoying interaction problems, those should now all be solved.

This post first appeared as Google Analytics 5.4 release notes on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

April 21st 2015 Analytics, wordpress