Version 2.3 includes a few new features, but nothing ground breaking. I normally don’t talk about each new version of Yoast SEO, but since I’ve done a handful of presentations about the plugin in the last few months at some local Tampa SEO and WordPress Meetups, I’ve become more intimate with the plugin. I did write a post about Version 2 when that was released in early April 2015, primarily because that was such a huge change in the appearance of the plugin.
With no further ado, let’s take a look at the new or improved features in Yoast SEO.
Google Search Console Integration
Fully integrated Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) automatically fetches all errors that are reported by Search Console, and allows you to view it and mark it as fixed. There is also a link that allows you to create a redirect for an error, but it’s just a teaser to get you to purchase the Premium version of the plugin.
This is very impressive that they’ve ported over a portion of this feature from their Premium version to their Free version. If you know your way around Search Console, Excel, and the Redirection plugin, you can easily import redirects for free. If not and you get lots of 404 errors, this still might be a good upgrade.
Post Overview Dashboard
Now you can see the health of your posts’ (not pages?) SEO right from the WordPress Dashboard. Being that I think it’s a waste of time to knock off all the issues available in Yoast’s Page Analysis tab in the Yoast Meta Box, I don’t think this feature is a major game-changer, but could be helpful for some who have the time to optimize their blog posts, or you can always do it right the first time too.
Breadcrumbs in Customizer
If you like WordPress’s Customizer to preview changes to your theme, you might like seeing how the Yoast Breadcrumbs look if you’ve enabled them in the template. If your theme already has breadcrumbs that are SEO-friendly, this feature isn’t necessary. If you know how to enable breadcrumbs in your theme, this can come in handy.
It’s Actually Called Yoast SEO Now
I’ve always called this plugin Yoast SEO, but SEO – smartly – took front-stage as Yoast always called it WordPress SEO by Yoast. That’s smart. That’s what everyone is looking for: “WordPress SEO”. But the loyal WordPress community always called it something sleeker: “Yoast SEO”. Yoast now admits they’ve caved by renaming it “Yoast SEO for WordPress”. Although I think it’s a clever compromise.
This proves that by focusing on your brand and loyal users, you can rock SEO. No matter how much you think you know what’s best, your users know it better. Yoast is now synonymous with SEO for WordPress because they continuously improved what was already a solid product based on the freemium model, and became the go-to SEO plugin.
Not Just Another WordPress Site & The Rest
Among other changes, Yoast SEO now has a warning for WordPress sites that still have “Just another WordPress Site” as their slogan or tagline. First, I don’t know of many websites or templates that still use their tagline, but this is nice feature. They also added more translations, which shows that WordPress really is taking over the world.
Lastly, the plugin reduced the size of the All Posts section. Instead of seeing the SEO health indicator, title, meta description, and keyword, you just see the SEO health indicator. I think this is a cool idea, but I think it would be better if they allowed users to enable and disable those columns as they need.
Yoast SEO 2.3 Conclusion
There’s nothing crazy truly happening with this new release, but it does add a feature that passive-aggressively nudges you to get the Premium version, adds a dashboard widget to quickly see what you can optimize, reduced some clutter on the All Posts page, and made just a few adjustments to make the plugin sleeker.
Most of all, the plugin is now officially called what it should be called Yoast SEO for WordPress, but let’s make it shorter with Yoast SEO.
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Steve Scott is the CEO & Director of Training at the Tampa SEO Training Academy. He has taught SEO skills to people from around the world and currently offers his hands-on search engine optimization training workshops in Tampa to individuals and businesses of all sizes. Corporate SEO training classes and consulting are also available.