Just how to make use of Yoast SEO’s information evaluation

Andrew Raynor

 

 

The Content Analysis Tool in the Yoast SEO plugin measures many aspects of the text you’re writing. These checks run real-time, so you’ll receive feedback while writing! The content analysis helps you to make your text SEO-friendly. In this post, I’ll first describe the most important features of the Content Analysis Tool. After that, I’ll explain how to use and interpret these features.

Yoast SEO content analysis

Most important features

1.  The plugin allows you to formulate a meta description. This description has to be a short text describing the main topic of the page. If the meta description contains the search term people use, the exact text will be shown by Google below your URL in the search results.

2.  The plugin analyzes the text you write. It calculates the Flesch reading-ease score, which indicates the readability of your article. The Flesch reading-ease score takes into account sentence length, for example. In the future, we’ll add more checks on readability. This will allow you to check the SEO and readability of your text simultaneously.

3. The plugin does numerous content checks on your page. It checks whether you use your focus keyword in:

The plugin also checks the presence of links and images in the article. It calculates the number of words and the density of usage of the focus keyword in the article. Moreover, the plugin checks whether you’re using the same focus keyword on other pages of your website. This should prevent you from competing with yourself.

If you write a relatively SEO-friendly text (based on the aspects mentioned above) the plugin will indicate this with a green bullet. Writing pages that are rewarded with green bullets will help you improve the ranking of those pages.

Two warnings before you start!

When you optimize your post for a certain keyword, keep two things in mind:

  • The first thing is that in this phase (the final, optimizing phase) you shouldn’t change any major things in your article. If you’ve put effort into writing an attractive, structured and readable text, the optimization process should in no way jeopardize that.
  • The second thing is that you shouldn’t change your keyword strategy in this phase. If you’ve done your keyword research properly and you’ve written your post or your article with a focus keyword in mind, don’t go change your focus keyword now! Read The temptation of the green bullet for more in-depth information about that.

7 simple steps to optimize your text

Step 1: Put your text in the WordPress backend

You’ve written your article or your blog post. You can write directly in the backend of WordPress or write in any kind of text editor and copy your text into the WordPress backend. Do whatever you like!
If you choose to copy your text in the WordPress backend, copy without the layout. You should adapt the layout in the backend, as otherwise you might run into some layout problems. Make sure to set subheadings into heading 2, sub-subheadings to heading 3 and so on. Then put the title of your post in the title box.

Step 2: Enter your focus keyword

Scroll down to the Content Analysis Tool in the WordPress backend. Enter your focus keyword in the appropriate field of the Yoast SEO Metabox. Your focus keyword is the keyword you would like your post to rank for. Ideally, this should be a keyword which emerged from your keyword research and which you have kept in mind during the entire writing process.

Read more: ‘How to choose the perfect focus keyword’ »

Snippet editor in Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO premium offers the possibility to optimize one article for more than one focus keyword. Optimizing your post for more than one search term allows you to rank for more keywords and to gain traffic to your site through more keywords.

Step 3: Write a meta description

Enter the meta description of your post. Describe clearly what your post or article is about. And make sure you use the exact phrase of your focus keyword. The meta description will be shown by Google below the URL if people search for your focus keyword.

The meta description in the Yoast SEO content analysis

It’s important that the meta description contains the focus keyword. Not because it will improve your rankings, but because otherwise Google usually won’t show your meta description in the search results. Google will try to match the search query with the description. If the focus keyword isn’t mentioned in the meta description, Google will just grab a random piece of content from your page containing the keyword.

The meta description shouldn’t be too long. On the other hand, there’s no ‘penalty’ for having too long meta descriptions either. What you should pay attention to is: 1. the logical bits of it are of the right length and, 2. when it’s cut in half, it still makes sense and still entices people to click.

Keep reading: ‘How to create the right meta description’ »

Step 4: Fine-tune your headings

Look critically at your title, the headings and subheadings of your article. Do these contain your focus keyword? If not, can you alter them (without changing the structure or content of your article) in such a way that they will contain your focus keyword? Don’t put your focus keyword in all of your headings though! That is too much. Using your focus keyword in one heading and in your title should be enough. You can read more about headings in one of Michiel’s posts.

Step 5: Fine-tune your body text

You should also mention the focus keyword in your text a couple of times. Make sure to mention it in the first paragraph. Throughout the text, you should mention it again. As a general rule of thumb: try to use your search terms in about 1 to 2 percent of your text. Say your article has 300 words, that means you should mention your search terms 3 to 6 times. 300 words isn’t the exact goal, nor is the amount of keyword mentions. However, 300 is a decent minimum for the number of words of an article that needs to show authority.

Step 6: Check your bullets!

Clicking on the Content Analysis tab will allow you to see which aspects of the search engine optimization process were successful. The green bullets show which aspects are good. Orange and red bullets indicate where you can improve your SEO strategy. You don’t have to keep on optimizing until all of the bullets are green. Posts on Yoast.com, often have a few orange bullets and sometimes even one or two red bullets. The important thing is that the overall bullet (the one on the upper right in the backend of your post) should be green. The overall bullet will become green if the majority of your SEO aspects are covered.

Overall SEO score in the publish box

Overall SEO score in the publish box

content-analysis

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Find your market

Andrew Raynor

 

 

After you’ve determined your shop’s mission, you should focus on finding the right niche for your (online) business. Merriam Webster defines a niche as “the situation in which a business’s products or services can succeed by being sold to a particular kind or group of people”. If you have found your niche, your products, sales, communication and marketing can be optimized to target that specific group’s needs and wishes. In this post, we’ll try to help you find your shop’s niche. We’ll go into the two most important pillars of your niche: your product and your customer.

find your shop's niche

Who is your customer?

If you want to determine who your customer is, it might help to determine a number of buyer types. Buyer types help you realize there’s probably not just one customer profile for your website. I can relate to a study about buyer types (partially funded by Carnegie Mellon and the Russell Sage Foundation) that divides your customers into three main groups:

  • Unconflicted, also called the Average Spenders. The majority of buyers (61% according to the study). A group of buyers that make common, logical buying decisions and that care about value-based pricing. “I need something, where can I find the best buy with the best reviews for the company and product.”
  • Spendthrifts (15%). A small group of rather uncontrolled buyers. “I want it now, even though I don’t really need it right now.” This group will be triggered by premium products and cares less about the price. This group is more than other groups triggered by scarcity, for instance.
  • Tightwads (24%). You’ll need to work hard to convince this buyer to purchase your products. They’ll do more research, need more details. More than the other groups, this is the type of buyer that will highly value a proper blog on your website.

This is a very rough division of customers. Of course your (potential) customers have many more characteristic. Marieke wrote a post about getting to know your audience that might help you with analyzing your existing online audience.

Besides that, I think we can be all of these three customers mentioned above. It just depends on the type of product you want to buy online, and perhaps even the amount of money we’ve reserved for this specific purchase. The tough job for you as an online shop owner is to send the right triggers to the right person at the right time. Just thinking about how to do this will narrow your niche. I’d like to add an extra question to that: what’s your product?

What’s your product?

It might seem silly to ask yourself what your product is. However, it’s important to know your product (and its users) to be able to find and narrow down your niche. If you’re an online art shop, the world is your competition. If your online goal is to rank for ‘art’, stop dreaming and get to work. You need to focus on long-tail keywords, so to say. Your niche is described by your product and a number of limitations or perhaps better: specifications.

B2C or B2B?

Are you (mainly) selling to end-users or other businesses? You might have expected that question under ‘Who is your customer”, but I beg to differ. When you start your business, you unconsciously think about selling B2C (business to consumer) or B2B (business to business). I think that in most cases the decision B2C or B2B isn’t made in a business plan. Your business grew in a certain direction because of other choices you’ve made:

  • What is my main product?
  • What other products relate to that?
  • Do all these products fit a certain product group/assortment?
  • Does it pay off to invest in the option to sell more related products?

Does it matter if your customer is a business or a consumer? Obviously, there are differences between the two. Consumers require other care than businesses:

Businesses will come to your site, order and go. The reason could be that you are the cheapest one for that specific product in Google Shopping. I think most B2B customers will be in the Unconflicted group, mentioned above.

Consumers, on the other hand, want to experience your company and products. There will be more emotional buying in that group, which aligns more with the Tightwads group. This obviously depends on the product you are selling.

Is it possible to serve both B2C and B2B customers? Most definitely. Example: we sell plugins. A consumer will purchase one, a business might want to buy several to use for their clients. That is why we offer bulk prices. We know we serve both groups.

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The Brief Manual to Starting a Home-Located Website in 8 Moments or Less [ Screencast ]

Andrew Raynor

I’m gonna cut to the chase: You need a blog. The world is changing and moving on without you, and it’s time you had a platform of your own to share your message. The best and easiest way to launch a self-hosted blog is with WordPress.

There are over 60 million blogs on WordPress, one of several platforms that helps you to publish online. This number, according to one source, represents only 43% of all blogs, making the total somewhere around 160 million blogs. (I recently heard this number could be as high as 300 million).

These blogs are viewed by an audience of over 400 million people each month — and that’s only one place people are connecting online.

Incredible, isn’t it? You’d be hard pressed to argue there’s not a tremendous opportunity here. But are you taking advantage of it? It’s never been easier to connect with an audience and get your message heard… but are you engaging in the conversation?

The opportunity you don’t want to miss

Forget for a second all the technological hurdles and learning curves you think are associated with blogging, and imagine for a moment: If you had the chance to share a message with the world, what would you say? And what would happen if people actually listened?

We all have something to say. Blogs not only make that possible, they make it easy. All you have to do is act. It’s time to dive in and figure out what it takes to get your message heard, to see your cause spread.

What happens if you don’t do this? Well, nothing. You keep getting what you’ve always gotten, which probably means:

  • No more attention
  • No more trust
  • No more permission

You stay invisible, and your message remains irrelevant. If that’s okay with you, keep doing what you’re doing. But if not, it’s time for a change.

For years, I dreamed of having a personally-branded website I could have control over. But once I started getting bogged down by the technical aspects of blogging, I froze. Then I’d stall and eventually give up.

But you don’t have to do that.

Setting up a self-hosted blog sounds technical but is, in fact, easy to do. And yes, I think it’s worth investing a little money into having full control over your website. I’m going to show you exactly what you need to do (if you already have a blog set up like this, feel free to share this post with a friend).

Launch a self-hosted blog in less than 8 minutes

In this eight-minute video, I share what I wish someone would’ve told me years ago when I started blogging. It would have saved me a lot of time and pain. And I would’ve been able to start sharing my message sooner. I hope it does just that for you or someone you know.

In this free tutorial, I share my affiliate link to Bluehost, a company I highly recommend that makes the whole process very easy. If you click the link and buy, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Please know I only recommend products I use and love, and offering affiliate links is one way I am able to keep this blog going.

Five steps to launching a blog

If you prefer reading text versus viewing a video, here are the quick steps you can take (however, the video shows you everything you need to do):

  1. Get a host. A web host is where your website “lives.” You own it, but you pay a small fee to keep it online (kind of like paying property taxes to the government). I recommend Bluehost for only $3.49/month (a special rate for my readers). It’s one of the most popular web hosts on the Internet and offers excellent, 24/7 customer service.
  2. Register a domain. You can get a domain name (e.g. goinswriter.com) through your hosting company. I recommend doing it this way, so you can keep everything streamlined. With Bluehost, this service is free with a hosting plan (as opposed to paying extra through a service like Godaddy.com). If you’ve already registered a domain through another service and need to host it, you’ll either have to transfer your domain registration or point your name servers to the host (here’s a video on how to do that).
  3. Install WordPress. Blogging requires software, and the best that I’ve found is WordPress. It’s easy, quick, and best of all, free. You can set up WordPress through your host (Bluehost does this for you for free). Otherwise, you have to go through WordPress.org to download the software and then upload it to a host. (Note: Using WordPress.org is different from signing up for a free blog at WordPress.com. This infographic explains how.)
  4. Get a theme. When you start using WordPress, you get access to a bunch of beautiful blog designs (called “themes”), many of which are free. For those just getting started, I recommend Platform; it’s a simple, elegant theme. I used it for the first year of my blog, before upgrading to a custom theme.
  5. Log in and start blogging. The URL for your dashboard (which redirects to the login page if you’re not logged in) is yourblogname.com/wp-admin/. Once logged in, click “Posts” on the left-hand sand, and then select “Add New.” Write a title and create some content for your new blog, and you’re off to the races!

And that’s it; now you’re blogging. Which is where the hard, but good, work of writing begins. If you’re ready to jump into this world of blogging, click the image below to get started with Bluehost.

See you on the other side!

bluehost special

BONUS: Bluehost is offering a super-promo sale today only, April 27. Prices will drop to just $2.95/month for 12 months on the Basic Plan and $4.95/month for 12 months on the Plus Plan. Get your blog started now.

What if you have already have a domain name?

If you already have a domain registered with another service like Godaddy.com, but need a place to host it, you have two choices:

  1. Transfer the domain registration to Bluehost.
  2. Change the name servers on your domain to point to your new host.

This video will show you how to do that:

For more on getting started with a blog, check out: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Launching Your Own Blog.

If you’re ready to get started blogging with Bluehost, you can use my affiliate link to get a little extra off the normal $5.99 price (only $3.49/month). They’re a top recommended host by WordPress and have great customer service. I’ve worked with them before and been very pleased with the service.

If you want to share this with someone, please do. Feel free to link to this post or embed the video on your website. You can find the screencast on YouTube and Vimeo.

Do you have your own self-hosted blog? If you do, what do you love about it? If not, what questions do you have? Share in the comments.

Andrew Raynor

Wp robots.txt case for SEO that is excellent

Andrew Raynor

 

 

robots meta tag ultimate guideThe robots.txt file is a very powerful file if you’re working on a site’s SEO. At the same time, it also has to be used with care. It allows you to deny search engines access to certain files and folders, but that’s very often not what you want to do. Over the years, especially Google changed a lot in how it crawls the web, so old best practices are no longer valid. This post explains what the new best practices are and why.

Google fully renders your site

No longer is Google the dumb little kid that just fetches your sites HTML and ignores your styling and JavaScript. It fetches everything and renders your pages completely. This means that when you deny Google access to your CSS or JavaScript files, it doesn’t like that at allThis post about Google Panda 4 shows an example of this.

The old best practices of having a robots.txt that blocks access to your wp-includes directory and your plugins directory are no longer valid. This is why, in WordPress 4.0, I opened the issue and wrote the patch to remove wp-includes/.* from the default WordPress robots.txt.

A lot of themes also use asynchronous JavaScript requests, so-called AJAX, to add content to the page. By default, WordPress used to block these. So I created the ticket for WordPress to allow Google to crawl the admin-ajax.php URL in wp-admin. This was fixed in WordPress 4.4.

Robots.txt denies links their value

Something else is very important to keep in mind. If you block a URL with your site’s robots.txt, search engines will not crawl those pages. This also means that they cannot distribute the link value pointing at those URLs. So if you have a section of your site that you’d rather not have showing in the search results, but does get a lot of links, don’t use the robots.txt file. Instead, use a robots meta tag with a value noindex, follow. This allows search engines to properly distribute the link value for those pages across your site.

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101: In The Event That You Were Created for This How to Locate Out: Meeting with Bob Guillebeau [ Podcast ]

Andrew Raynor

A lot of people talk about dream jobs, but few people take the practical steps to make them a reality. Do you know what your dream job looks like? Or if it even exists?

101: How to Find Out if You Were Born for This: Interview with Chris Guillebeau

There’s plenty of shallow advice online about following your passion and throwing caution to the wind. The trouble with that approach is passion alone doesn’t pay the for the gas in your car or your morning latte.

But what is a dream job without passion? How do you know what you were made for? How can you discover your purpose?

Few people have more experience pursuing a calling while practically providing value to others than my friend, Chris Guillebeau. In his latest book, Born for This, Chris explores the idea of calling and how to find the work you were meant to do.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Chris and I discuss misconceptions about calling, fulfilling your mission in life, and why everyone does not need to be an entrepreneur. Listen in as we talk about embracing the failure of false starts to discover for your life’s work, and the intersection of three components to validate your dream job.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you are reading this via email or RSS, please click here).

Show highlights

In this episode, Chris and I discuss:

  • How to help people find the work they were meant to do
  • Compiling great stories into a compelling narrative
  • The truth about how we make big life decisions
  • How you can make your day job more like your dream job
  • Why you need a broad vision to guide an adaptive strategy
  • Where failure fits into the process of discovering your calling
  • How to know you’ve found the thing you were meant to do

Quotes and takeaways

  • ”Giving up on something isn’t necessarily a failure.” —Chris Guillebeau
  • Just because you have a day job, doesn’t mean it can’t be your dream job.
  • Your calling involves following a passion and connecting it with skill to make something viable.
  • The effort to get skilled at something often leads to growing a passion for it.

Resources

Do you know what your dream job is? How does it relate to your day job? Share in the comments

Andrew Raynor

The ADHD Guide to Building a Writing Habit

Andrew Raynor

Those of us with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have a bit of difficulty when it comes to sitting down to write. We read the articles on finding our voice, but the act of writing, the actual moving of our fingers across a keyboard or our pen across the page, can seem impossible.

The ADHD Guide to Building a Writing Habit

We get distracted. We get discouraged. We self-sabotage. At the end of the day the screen is a blank page, the pencils haven’t been touched and we wonder how to just get the words on the page like everyone else does.

This article will show you how to finally get past the resistance that our ADHD puts up and actually use it to get a writing habit locked in.

Take out the trash

First, let’s start with a clean slate when it comes to our writing or lack thereof. Sure, you can say, “Why did I waste all the time sorting my socks when I could have written the next great spy thriller?” Let’s just move past that. Shake the Etch-a-Sketch. Hit reset. We are starting over today. We aren’t going to swim in a sea of regret about what we did or didn’t do. Today you’re a writer.

Identify the fear

Our ADHD will kick into hyperdrive at times when we try something new. Sure, we are impulsive. We go to Target for four things and come back with twenty. But when it comes to the act of writing we start feeling this clutch of fear. What if everyone hates it? What if it’s not original? What if … what if …what if… Our ADHD just won’t let it go and once you’re ADHD latches on to something, it’s going to keep playing that tape over and over.

To get that condemning voice out of my head, I simply confront it. What if everyone hates it? Well, I probably learned how to write or how not to write along the way. What if it’s not original? See that mystery section over there? In that mystery section, in nearly every book, someone dies, no one can figure out who did it, then someone figures out who did it and then there’s a big conflict to see if they get caught. So yeah, there’s not much out there that’s original and some of those books sell millions upon millions. Once I answer the fear, it quiets down.

Want a FREE copy of Ryan’s book, Conquering the Calendar and Getting Things Done? Grab your copy here.

Kill the distractions

Distractions are the arch-enemy to our writing life. Especially with being ADHD, any shiny objects in our field of vision get us off our writing game. We check Facebook and Twitter and down the terrible rabbit hole we go.

Make a conscious decision to turn off your wifi and power down your phone. Yes, power it down. Unless you are a brain surgeon on call, you’ll be fine for the 1/2 hour or hour that you’re writing. Yes, no one will be able to reach you—and I get that can cause anxiety, but you’ll feel a great increase in your focus. (If someone has to reach you, put your phone on vibrate and turn off the wifi. I’ll actually delete apps that I can get lost in.)

Set up the writing space

Did you ever try to write while lying on your bed? Fell asleep, didn’t you? Did you write in your kitchen? I’m sure you fixed twenty snacks. Our ADHD brains latch on to location to tell us what is going to happen. We sleep in a bed. We eat in a kitchen.

So what I had to do was only write in two places: a desk in my house and a coffee shop. When I sit down in those spaces, my brain will say, “THIS IS WHERE WE WRITE! I KNOW THIS PLACE!” Since I’ve developed the habit of sitting there over and over, my brain resists less and less and I get more and more writing done.

Decide where you are going to write. Make it comfortable (but not too comfortable) and make it your sacred writing space.

Pack Your bag

Your ADHD will not remind you to bring your charger or your pens. It will not remind you to bring that article or your research. There is nothing more frustrating than starting your writing and not having your tools available.

One of my mentors told me to pack a “writing bag.” A writing bag has all of your equipment for writing: computer, charger, pens, paper, notes, research, etc. I also carry an extra external battery for my phone, postcards and stamps. And one of the best moves I made was buying another charger for my computer. One is marked with Sharpie: RYAN—HOME and the other RYAN—BAG. It’s a little extra to have an extra charger, but it’s worth it to not have your computer on 3% just as you are hitting your stride.

Also, you want to pack this bag the night before you write. You are thinking more clearly and you are not rushing out of the door. You are more apt to remember what you need to bring when you’re not itching to get to writing.

Set micro-goals

I coach a lot of beginner writers and they will say, “Well, I’m shooting for 10,000 words this week.” I’ll ask, “Have you ever written 1,000 words in a week?” “Well, no, but I figure I can just sit down and do it.”

Oh, that’s when I LOL and then ROTL.

So adorbs.

If you wanted to run a marathon, you wouldn’t give it a shot the day of the race. You’d train. You’d take small steps to get there and practice a long obedience in the same direction. It’s the same with writing.

I recommend that you sit down and attempt 250 words and sit there for at least an hour. If you get your 250 done and want to go longer, great. If you can’t get 250 words out, but you sit there for an hour, perfect. But you have to complete one or the other: 250 or an hour.

Every day just crank out 250 words. If you can do more, great. If not that’s fine. The following week, add 50 words. Make it 300. Then the following week, 350. You get it. You’ll be making strides quicker than trying to get it all done

Create a reward system

Who doesn’t like a trophy? Am I right?

When you hit a writing goal, whether it is 1,000, 10,000, or 100,000 words, have a reward ready. Maybe go to a movie. Maybe you buy yourself a set of LEGOS or a some books that have been sitting in your Amazon wish list for a long time.

Whatever it is, make sure it’s valuable and a bit healthy (if your reward is three Milky Way bars, that’s not going to be great for anyone.)

Pull the trigger

By developing a habit you won’t have to push yourself to get your writing done. It will start to become a natural part of your day and the actual joy of writing will happen. Your ADHD won’t keep you from writing, in fact, it will encourage it because you’ve removed the obstacles and built in a reward system.

Give it a go. And I’m curious…have you discovered any tricks for overcoming distractions to write? Share them in the comments.

Andrew Raynor

Yoast SEO: hidden features

Andrew Raynor

 

 

There are many choices on how to optimize your site. When we develop our Yoast SEO plugin we don’t translate all these choices into settings. In fact, we try to make as few settings as possible! If we think something should always be on, it’s on. We call these features ‘hidden features’, because as a user you’re not necessarily aware of their existence. You might think we don’t have certain features, because there’s no setting for it. While in fact we just do it for you! In this post we’ll dig a little deeper into these hidden features.

First, you might want to check out this video! We’ll explain which hidden features we have, why we have them and how they help you optimize your site!

Canonicals

Canonicals were introduced 6 to 7 years ago as an answer to duplicate content issues. In a web shop, for instance, a product can be in 3 different categories. Therefore you can have 3 different urls with the exact same content. Or, in another case, you might have a url with a campaign tag and one without it, showing the same content.

You don’t want to confuse Google nor the user with these different urls. The solution for this is the rel=canonical link element. The canonical url lets you say: “Of all the options available for this url, this url is the one you should show”. You can do so by adding a rel=canonical tag on a page, pointing to the page that you’d actually like to rank.

Yoast SEO does this for you, everywhere on your site: single posts and pages; homepages; category archives; tag archives; date archives; author archives etc. If you’re not a technical person, we understand the canonical can be quite confusing. Or something you don’t really want to think about. So we don’t make you think about it! We add it by default and hide it.

Read more: ‘rel=canonical: the ultimate guide’ »

rel=next / rel=prev

Another hidden feature in Yoast SEO is rel=next / rel=prev . It’s a method of indicating paginated archives to search engines. This way a search engine knows certain pages are part of an archive. A rel=next/prev tag in the header of your site tells Google what the previous and the next page in that archive is. Nobody else than people looking at the source code of your site and search engines see this piece of code.

Keep reading: ‘rel=”next” & rel=”prev” for paginated archives’ »

Login & registration

Yoast SEO also tells search engines not to follow links for login and registration pages. If you have a WordPress blog, you probably have a login link, and a registration link on your site. That’s not something that’s very useful to search engines. A search engine would never have to be on your admin page. It will never need to register for your site. So Yoast SEO makes sure that search engines will never follow these links. It’s a tiny tweek, but it saves a lot of unneeded Google action.

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Yoast SEO 3.2

Andrew Raynor

 

 

Today we’ve pushed out Yoast SEO 3.2. This release’s most notable feature is the addition of a help center to every settings page. You’ll remember we released tutorial videos a while back. These videos are now available right where you’d need them: on the tab that each video discusses. Other changes include accessibility improvements and tons of bug fixes. Last but not least, we have Social Previews in Yoast SEO Premium.

Accessibility changes

As you’ll have noticed we hired Andrea Fercia a while back. Andrea has been working hard on improving the accessibility of Yoast SEO. Some of the changes he’s made are visible and useful to everyone. Our new toggles were improved, as well as our inline help, which now looks like this:

Improved inline help functionality

Help center

We released our tutorial videos a few weeks ago. After that, we thought: how can we use these videos most effectively? The answer was rather simple: put the videos on the tab they talk about. The “most WordPress way” would have been to put them in the help tab. Unfortunately, nobody, ever, seems to be able to find that tab, so we’ve made it far more visible:

Screenshot of the new help center, a purple bar in the admin page with a help icon and the text "Help center"

When you click it, it expands and contains the video for that tab:

A screenshot of the help center in its expanded state, with a video explaining the features on the current tab.

Premium: Social previews

In Yoast SEO Premium, we added a cool new social previews feature. Much like the snippet preview it shows you what your post will look like when shared on Facebook and Twitter. If you don’t have premium yet, now might be a good time to get it!

Social Previews in Yoast SEO Premium

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Why You Don’t Need Another Life Hack, Success Formula, or Marketing Tactic

Andrew Raynor

These days, we are inundated with endless offers to hack our lives. We are surrounded by opportunities and strategies to use this “proven tactic” or formula to achieve this result or that. But the problem is tactics and formulas don’t actually get you what you want.

tactic
There’s always another trick. Always another strategy. Another event to attend or way to get your work out there. And I think these areas are important, but there are always obstacles standing in the way of your ultimate success. So let’s look at three of the big ones.

Distraction #1: Fame

Let’s be clear: marketing is part of the job. If you’re a writer, creative, or artist, and you think that you can just make stuff and people will care about it, you’re kidding yourself. Or at very least, you’re rolling the dice. As Austin Kleon says: “talking about the work is the work.”

So you can’t completely neglect marketing. It’s a noisy world out there, and it’s a hard sell to get people to notice something new, not to mention getting them to care about someone they’ve never heard of before. You have to earn influence. Nobody is a bigger advocate of this than me.

But there’s a difference between doing your diligence to promote work you believe in and endlessly pursuing more opportunities to be famous. And here’s the thing: there’s always another marketing tactic. So at a certain point, you just have to stop the book signings and tours and online summits and go do your work.

No strategies. No gizmos or gadgets. No upsells, downsells, or whatevers. Just the work. And call me naive but that had better be enough.

Distraction #2: Money

Making money is also a part of the job. But this can be a slippery slope. There’s always more money to make. As Walt Disney once said, “We don’t make movies to make money. We make money to make more movies.”

Use business as a way of doing more of the work that matters to you. Money means capital to invest in your next project. When John Green, one of today’s top-selling authors in the world, made millions of the success of The Fault In Our Stars, he told me this wasn’t a license to stop working for the rest of his life. Rather, what excited him was the opportunity to finally be able to pay for all the creative projects he wasn’t able to afford before then.

Money makes a better means than a master. Don’t get caught up in the endless thrill of adding more zeroes to your paycheck if that’s not what you set out to do (and if it is, that’s okay — just own it).

Distraction #3: Success

Almost all of us, at some level, want more of whatever it is we have. More love. More acceptance. More acknowledgment or affirmation or the ability to take better care of ourselves and our families. These aren’t bad things, necessarily. But they are distractions from the work we originally set out to do.

And so when the next opportunity comes along, it can be hard to turn down… even if we don’t need it. Because you can always be more successful, right? And you wonder: Will this be the last chance to make it? To be part of this group? And if I do decline, will I miss out?

To be certain, at the outset of your career, you may have to take more gigs than you want and say yes more than no. But once the avalanche of opportunity comes, it can be hard to slow down.

At this time, we must remember why we got into this not because we were going to be famous or successful, but because we couldn’t imagine getting to do this all day long. It was the dream. And here we are — writing our books or composing or songs or building our businesses — and it just doesn’t feel good enough.

These are the times when you must stop, remember what success really means to you, and focus on the work at hand.

Focus on the deep work of craft

For me, this means saying no to that webinar or that summit or that thing that would help get my work out to more people, to make more money, and have more impact. All good things. But if you make things, which is what I do, there comes a time when those opportunities stand in the way of your craft.

And if you neglect your craft, eventually this whole thing falls apart.

Which is why this year I’m focusing on the theme of not more, but better. “Making magic,” as my friend Sean D’Souza says. Doing it for the love of it. Getting your due reward and not failing to promote stuff you believe in, of course, but also not getting caught up in the insatiable greed of just wanting more for the sake of more.

So that’s my rant. Make more magic. Focus on your craft. And see these benchmarks of fame, money, and success as the means they are, not the end. And maybe, just maybe, that means you say no to the next big opportunity or the latest marketing strategy.

Just because it works doesn’t mean you have to do it.

How have marketing tactics distracted you from doing the work? How has marketing helped your craft get noticed? Share in the comments.

Andrew Raynor

Why text structure is important for SEO

Andrew Raynor

 

 

Tips on improving the structure of your text

If you want to improve the structure of your text, you need to pay attention to: 1. the first paragraph of your text; 2. your headings and 3. the first sentences of every new paragraph. Some time ago, I wrote an article on how to set up the structure of a blog post. Make sure to read that article if you have trouble setting up the structure for a text.

First paragraph

You should clearly formulate what your post is about in the first paragraph. In printed texts, a writer usually starts off with some kind of teaser, but there is no time for that if you are writing for the web. You only have seconds to draw you reader’s attention. Make sure the first paragraph tells the main message of your post. That way, you make it easy for your reader to figure out what your post is about and: you tell Google what your post is about. Don’t forget to put your focus keyword in that first paragraph!

Headings

Headings should be attractive and should clearly state the content of the paragraph below it. Headings allow your readers to quickly scan through your text and to decide whether or not they would like to read your article (or which parts). We would advise you to put a header above every long paragraph (or above a group of paragraphs which are thematically similar).

In our Yoast SEO plugin we check whether you use your focus keyword in your headings. It’s helpful to search engines if a heading defines what a piece of text is going to be about. Whether they’re a ranking factor or not (and SEOs do quarrel about that), headings are of great importance to the structure of your text. Google will therefore probably use them to determine what the text is about.

Core sentences

Make sure the first sentence of a paragraph is the most important, the core sentence, of that paragraph. After all, people tend to read the first sentence of every new paragraph as they’re scanning through content. The other sentences in a paragraph elaborate upon that first core sentence. Chances are Google will pay extra attention to these sentences, in order to determine the topic of a text. They are great places to use your keyword, if possible. If you’re writing a well-structured article and staying on-topic, your keyword will come up naturally in many core sentences. 

Conclusion

Text structure is important to attract readers to your blog, as well as for SEO reasons. Writing well-structured and well-written texts isn’t easy, though. At Yoast, we are strong believers in the importance of quality content. Currently, we’re thinking about ways to help our clients write quality content. That’s why we’ve hired our very own linguist, Irene. Irene is investigating on how to improve the content analysis of Yoast SEO. She is developing checks which will help our customers to make their blog posts more readable. We’re also setting up an SEO copywriting course together, in which we learn people to write quality content.

Read more: ‘Writing a blog: creating a clear blog post structure’ »

SEO New Hampshire

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