New SEO analysis in Yoast SEO: a recalibration!

November 7, 2018
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At the end of this year, we’re going to make changes to our SEO analysis. These changes are the result of a long process of researching and evaluating our SEO analysis, in the past year. We wanted to recalibrate (re-assess) all of the checks in Yoast SEO. In this post, I’d like to tell you about this so-called recalibration-project we executed at Yoast. More importantly, I will ask for your help in order to finalize this project!

9.0 update: word forms and related keywords

On October 23rd, we released a new update for our Yoast SEO Premium plugin. If you optimize your text for a specific focus keyword or focus keyphrase in Yoast SEO premium, our plugin now automatically recognizes different word forms, such as plurals and comparatives. And, you can optimize your texts with synonyms and related keywords as well. This update for Yoast SEO premium was, in fact, a result of the recalibration project. While doing research, we noticed the necessity to recognize different word forms and optimize posts for synonyms and related keyphrases. Let’s discuss what we did, and why, in some more detail!

What exactly is the Yoast SEO recalibration-project?

The recalibration project was aimed at analyzing and evaluating all of the checks in our SEO analysis. These checks give real-time feedback about the SEO improvements you should make to your text. We used our experience as SEOs to come up with these checks. Every now and then, we would evaluate and tweak the checks. However, we never did a thorough analysis of the SEO literature to see whether or not these SEO checks actually made sense. Were they in fact backed up by (scientific) literature? We wanted to be able to be transparent about our checks and how and why we made them a certain way. That’s why we started the recalibration project.

So what did we do?

We put together a team of SEO-experts, linguists and developers to pull this off. The recalibration project itself was divided up into three stages. In the first stage, we looked into the scientific literature and literature from leading SEO blogs, to account for the checks that already were in Yoast SEO. We also searched for SEO factors that could be important, but weren’t in the current version of Yoast SEO. In the second stage, we looked at all kinds of other SEO and content tools, so we wouldn’t forget any important checks. In the third stage, we critically evaluated whether or not all the checks that were in Yoast SEO should remain in the plugin. After all, it could very well be that aspects that were important to rank in Google in 2010, had lost importance in 2019.

Results of the recalibration-project

The recalibration project has led to some changes in Yoast SEO. Some of these changes will become available in one of our next updates. Others have been released already. For instance, we added a check on keyword distribution. We check whether or not you use your keyword, and whether it’s evenly distributed throughout your text. While working on the recalibration, we also came up with the new functionality to recognize wordforms (plurals, past tense, different word order). As Google is getting better in understanding texts and context, we felt that we needed to update our SEO analysis and make it smarter. That’s probably the most visible result of our recalibration-project. We also critically evaluated all of the checks. When exactly should a bullet turn green and why?

Beta version of Yoast SEO

As mentioned before, some of the results of our recalibration project were already included in the 9.0 release of our plugin (for example the keyword density check). In December 2018, we’ll release a version of our plugin that allows you to switch to the new analysis. The checks that’ll be in this beta will be the end result of our recalibration work. And then it will be up to you! We need input from our customers to really set the new checks. Of course, we have already thoroughly examined all of the checks. A team of SEOs and linguists debated the boundaries of the checks. And, naturally, we tested everything ourselves. Still, the proof of the pudding is always in the eating. We need to know how it works for you!

We need you!

If you decide to use the beta version of the new Yoast SEO recalibration checks, you’ll be asked for your feedback. We’ll send you a series of questionnaires on your use and your opinion on the new plugin. This feedback will allow us to tweak and optimize our SEO analysis for the final version of the checks. We’re planning to release the final version of our new SEO analysis in February 2019.

Read more: Premium SEO analysis »

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