What new Yoast updates mean for your site

Yoast is the darling of the WordPress user, as its search engine optimisation software helps millions of website editors worldwide to boost their rankings.

The Dutch company’s developers are believed to be responsible for over 10% of WordPress releases. Its WordPress plugin is the best friend of the CMS user and has been hailed as “truly a beast of a plugin” by GoDaddy. Its premium and freemium analysis and SEO suggestions, from keywords to internal linking, help an estimated four million sites boost their reach.

Yoast has come a long way since it was created by Joost de Valk in the Netherlands in 2006, but it’s never been a company that rests on its laurels. With the internet and the search engines that drive it changing all the time, Yoast has to tinker with its tech to stay ahead.

And so it was that Yoast unveiled amendments earlier this year which make alterations to site structure and with a particular emphasis on cornerstone content.

The latest from Yoast

With the recently-unveiled WordPress Gutenberg suite set to revolutionise the way users think about creating and editing content, we spoke to Marieke van de Rakt, chief strategy officer at Yoast and SEO expert, to find out more about the new changes and what they mean for your site.

* Yoast has recently changed the scoring criteria for cornerstone content, with writers now having to produce 900-word pieces to gain a green light. What is the importance of the cornerstone article, and why the change?

Marieke: Cornerstones articles should be the articles you would like to rank with highest. The ones you’re most proud of; the ones you want people to read. You probably write about similar topics. That means that you’re competing with your own articles for a position in Google. You should avoid that.

If you link from all of your blog posts with similar topic to that one cornerstone article (about the same topic), Google will understand that that one is the most important. Giving it more information and body (hence the 900 words) will increase the chance of higher ranking even more.

* Could you tell us why the cornerstone changes were made at this time?

Marieke: This year Yoast has been focussing on site structure. We’ve released an internal linking feature and a text link counter, as well as the cornerstone analysis. It’s all part of focussing on site structure in order to improve your positions in the search engines.

* What SEO and any other benefits will users receive from adhering to these new scoring rules?

Marieke: If you use the new cornerstone text analysis and write really awesome blog posts and combine it with our functionality to improve the structure of your site I am really convinced this could lead to large improvements in your rankings. Also, it could lead to an increase in the time people spend on your site.

* Have any other recent changes been made to Yoast’s scoring system?

Marieke: Not yet, but we are planning other changes. It has been a while since we really dove into our scoring system. We’re planning to really analyse our own system in the fall of 2017. We already have a team of SEO specialists, researchers and developers lined up to get started with it.

* What other exciting plans does Yoast have for the rest of the year?

Marieke: We’re really busy with the new [WordPress] Gutenberg editor. Yoast is going to integrate with the new editor of course. Besides that, we will be analysing our scoring system. And, we’re working on some new features that’ll make our site structure features even more awesome and easy to use.

Worried that your site is not performing as well as it could? Need help with your SEO efforts? Email us at hello@growthminds.com.