Category Archives: SEO Jacksonville NC

Yoast Research: get to know your audience!

25 February, 2014 by Marieke van de Rakt – 9 Comments

In our latest newsletter, we asked our readers to fill out a survey. We have never done such a thing at before. In this post, I will enlighten you with the purpose of our survey.

Yoast ResearchSince the beginning of this year, Thijs and myself have been doing research. One day a week we are reading scientific articles in the university library and looking into new and exciting research techniques. We are currently reviewing an eyetracker and looking into possibilities to use this eyetracker in one of our next research projects.

The aim of us doing research is twofold. Our first aim is to contribute knowledge to the scientific community and to the WordPress/Webdevelopment community. We would like to explore issues of usability, conversion and website optimization and write articles aimed to be published in scientific journals. Simultaneously, we will publish our results (in a less boring format) on

We have recently found out that there are in fact numerous excellent scholars already doing research in our area, but few of them share their knowledge with the online (WordPress) community. Lots of (scientific) knowledge thus does not reach the practitioners. I think that’s a waste of a lot of hard work. Why do difficult and expensive research if your results are never put to practice? Next to doing our own studies, we would therefore like to translate some of the existing research into practical posts on

The second aim of us doing research is not as altruistic. Doing research is really good for our own business as well! The information we collected with last week’s survey is inspiring. This kind of research gives great insights in who our audience is, where they are from, which products they bought and which products they intend to buy. Such data is a treasure trove!

Knowing your audience!Our first research project is aimed at getting to know our public better. It is a bit premature to present the results of our first study, so in this post I will limit myself to convince you all the importance of knowing your audience. Next to that, I will enlighten you a bit in the way you could study the audiences of your own website yourselves.

When Joost began it was a blog. He wrote about both WordPress as well as SEO and most of his post were rather technical. Nowadays, Yoast offers plugins, themes and online consultancy, being much more than a blog. Also, posts aren’t only technical now. Our audience has grown rapidly during the last few years. And that made the researcher in me wonder: who is our audience nowadays? Do we still appeal to a technical (nerdy) group of people? Are our customers mainly developers? Or is our audience not that technically skilled? And what consequences would that have for the marketing of our products? I could imagine that a technically skilled developer is more easily convinced of the use of one of our plugins than someone without the ability to read code. These questions were the starting point of our research.

I decided to dive in the scientific literature about usability, online purchasing behavior and (internet) experience. Previous research has irrefutably established the importance of usability and user interface on the chance people buy online (e.g. Page, Robson & Uncles, 2012; Chang & Chen, 2008). However, studies also show that the relation between usability and online purchases is mediated by the level of (internet) experience people have (Gefen, Karahanna & Straub, 2003; Castaneda, Munoz-Leiva an Luque, 2004). This means that experienced internet users thus respond differently to aspects of usability than the inexperienced ones. Different audiences have different usability needs.

Translating this scientific blabla to our own situation: It could well be that our technical experienced (nerdy) audience has other usability needs than our new, less skilled audience. Different groups could well need other things to make them buy our plugins! I would think that an audience with limited technical skills need more explanation, while a technical audience would just need our technical specifications in order to be convinced of our product. My non-nerdy background makes me think that some of our products do not appeal to new (not technically skilled) WordPress users, while they are in fact not that hard to install and use. Perhaps a shift in marketing approach is needed for this specific audience. In our survey, we put questions that will allow us to investigate upon my hypotheses. This week I will start analyzing the data and putting my hypotheses to the test. I can hardly wait!

What should you be doing?Google Analytics gives you a huge amount of data. But you are close to clueless about most of the demographics, the intentions and desires of your audience. Knowing your audience will allow you to anticipate on their needs and desires. You could adjust your assortment based on their preferences and largely improve your conversion. You thus should do a lot to get to know your audience and increase your sales.

There are lots of packages that allow for online questionnaires. We have used for our survey and I am really satisfied with their service. They offer a free account, which will be sufficient for most small companies. What I really like about polldaddy is the way they instantly present their results. They present frequencies and percentages in an easy to grasp format. You can set up a survey that pops up when someone enters your site or you can send a survey invitation to your newsletter subscribers. You can choose open questions if you have few visitors and questions with answer categories if you have many. Just by looking at these descriptive statistics can tell you lots about your audience. Of course, pretty data just begs for advanced and sophisticated analyses. I will save that for a next post 😉

At Yoast we are already very excited with our results (even before I started the really nice analyses). We have decided to do a survey on a yearly basis to determine the satisfaction of our customers. We would recommend all of you to do the same! Learn and profit by gaining as much information about your audience as possible. Placing a questionnaire on your website is a good first step!

I realize that this post could appear to be a bit scientific and difficult to read, but since our survey has made clear that the education level of our audience is sky-high, I’m not worried about that anymore 😉


Castañeda, J. A., Muñoz-Leiva, F., & Luque, T. (2007). Web Acceptance Model (WAM): Moderating effects of user experience. Information & Management, 44(4), 384


Site reviews: new setup, new pricing!

Today we’ll be releasing a renewed setup for our site reviews.

For the past year, we have been limiting the slots for our site review orders to a fixed number per week. The demand for the service is overwhelming, and we would like to thank all customers for the trust you have in our expertise. And for the great responses you gave us after receiving the reviews:

Yoast, I have to say, that this was one of the best thousand bucks I’ve spent in IT – ever. What a phenomenal amount of insight and advise you’ve given us. Thanks, and I’m sure we’ll use you again on future projects.
Henry Meyne, CTO of Hoozon

We are very keen on serving you quality information that will help you improve your website, both for visitors and Google.

Over the last number of months, we realized that customers want to know everything. Not just what’s wrong, but also all that is right. We’ve had a number of responses saying ‘have you checked this or that?’. That is why we decided to open up the entire scope of things we check during a review.

Silver Review

We have set up a huge list of over 200 checks we perform for a review, and have written clear and to-the-point right and wrong chapters per check, like this:

Major update of WordPress SEO (1.5)

11 March, 2014 by Joost de Valk – 301 Comments

Today we’re releasing what’s probably the single biggest update to our WordPress SEO plugin since its initial release. It improves speed, fixes a ton of bugs and edge cases and adds a new bulk title & description editor. On top of that we’ve changed several default settings and added some smaller new features. This post addresses all of it, so keep on reading.

Rewrite of option and post metadata handling

Every post in WordPress has metadata, and our WordPress SEO plugin adds more metadata to that: from indexation settings, to meta descriptions and titles. We used to store those in a manner that was not as efficient as we wanted it to be, so Juliette, who became a committer in WordPress SEO a few months ago, rewrote the entire logic. This fixes a ton of the bugs we’d encountered over the years but also, and more importantly, makes us use the database a whole lot less.

Speed improvements

Along with these rewrites to how we save the plugins options and post metadata, we implemented a new class loader. This class loader make code load only when it’s needed, leading to a far smaller memory footprint and a lot faster performance on both frontend and backend.

We also rewrote several of the queries used for the XML sitemap generation, leading to a 70% decrease in the number of queries used to generate the index sitemap, making that a lot faster too.

Pippin, from EasyDigitalDownloads, has been running the 1.5 beta on for a while already, when he flipped, this is what the performance graph looked like:

The Power of Our Reviews

14 March, 2014 by Thijs de Valk – 11 Comments

We’ve been doing our Website Reviews for quite some time now, and recently we’ve also added the Conversion Review to that list. There are some of you, the very loyal ones, who we’ve had the pleasure of helping in both these areas.

Today I’m highlighting one of our very loyal customers (he has far more of our products than just the reviews) that has benefited maximally from these reviews. Let me demonstrate how having our reviews done has helped him.

The Website Review

It all started when our friends over at Bully Max ordered a website review from us in June 2013. Their website homepage looked something like this (this is a screenshot directly from our review):

Analyzing your audience

23 March, 2014 by Marieke van de Rakt – 8 Comments

About three weeks ago,  I wrote a post about the necessity of knowing your audience. We ourselves are currently investigating our audience. We asked our newsletter readers to fill out a questionnaire. After we have collected the results of our survey, I started analyzing the results. It has been a great week for me! In this post, I would like to present some of our results and try to translate it to some practical tips for you all to use.

What did we want to know?

Our audience has grown rapidly during the last few years. Yoast began as a WordPress blog, but is currently much more than just a blog. Few years ago Joost was writing and working alone in a small room in our house, while we currently have a nice office and over 10 employees. That made me wonder: who is our audience nowadays? Do we still appeal to a technical (nerdy) group of people? Are our customers mainly developers? Or is not all of our audience that technically skilled? And which products appeal to our audiences?

My first analysis of our audience focused on whether or not there exist different groups within our audience. My hypotheses was that we would at least have two types of visitors on a technical

With great names comes great responsibility.

1 April, 2014 by Joost de Valk – 13 Comments


Update: check the date of the post 😉

In recent years, Joost and Yoast have become less and less synonymous, to the point where it’s now downright confusing as to what people are referring to when they’re correctly pronouncing Joost’s first name and the company name. You’d almost start to feel thankful for those ignorant people who still insist on calling Joost

Beautiful or Usable: What’s important while designing your website?

Beautiful or Usable: What’s important while designing your website?Beautiful or Usable: What’s important while designing your website? 3 April, 2014 by Marieke van de Rakt – 14 Comments

In releasing our themes, we got lots of reactions about the aesthetics of our themes. Some people found them plain looking, boring or unappealing. Others were very enthusiastic. Of course, there is no accounting for taste. But it made me wonder, how important are the aesthetics of a website? Does a beautiful site convert better? And what is the relation between aesthetics and usability?

What is beautiful is usable?The halo effect

The halo effect is a cognitive process in which people attribute all kinds of characteristics to a person based on a first impression or one characteristic. The attractiveness or the beauty of a person has been found to produce a halo effect. When you meet someone you find attractive, chances are higher you will think they are nicer and more intelligent than when you meet someone you do not find attractive.

In the literature concerning aesthetics of websites, this halo effect on the base of attractiveness is researched. The theoretical notion in these studies is that as people perceive a website as very beautiful, they will also think that it is very usable.

For a clear (and entertaining) explanation of the halo effect, watch this short video:

A much cited article on the matter is

WordPress SEO Premium 1.1

After we released WordPress SEO Premium at January 23rd and WordPress SEO 1.5 at the beginning of March (a major rewrite of large parts of the plugin), we’re now ready to release . This new version introduces regular expression support for redirects as well as an even better integration with Google Webmaster Tools and an importer for Redirection.

Regular Expression support

We’ve added a new tab to the SEO

Post Connector 1.5

I’m happy to announce that we’ve released the biggest update to Post Connector so far, version 1.5. New features in this update include related connections, backwards linking and automatically displaying linked posts after a post.

Related Connections

Here at Yoast we’ve been recommending you to add related posts to your post pages since it encourages both readers and search engines to continue their visit to your site. This means more pageviews per visit for visitors and for search engines it means you tie your related content to each other, improving its chance to rank in the search results.

introduces the concept of related connections. With related connections your WordPress website will suggest related (custom) posts which you can then easily link to the post you’re writing. Just like any other connection in Post Connector, related connections are stored in your database allowing them to be fully cached by WordPress and thus keeping your website fast.

In recent months, more and more hosting parties have recommended against the use of related posts plugins because they create to heavy a strain on the database. You will not get this issue with Post Connector.

Backwards linking

You can now link posts both ways, so instead of only linking from parent to child you can now also link from child to parent. Backwards linking is a connection option, allowing you to enable it per connection. Both parent to child and child to parent links can be automatically displayed under posts.

This allows us, for instance, to link this post to the Post Connector plugin page, but also the other way round. This allows us to show recent posts about Post Connector on the plugin page itself, and a block with related plugins on the page here.

Automatically displaying linked posts

Automatically displaying linked posts introduces a new way of displaying linked posts. Next to our widget and shortcode you can now display linked posts by let Post Connector append them to your posts. This new feature prevents the need of editing your theme files allowing you to easily switch themes in the future.

This new feature of course ties in perfectly with both the other two options above, making Post Connector a quick and easy related posts plugin.

: available now!

If you’ve already bought Post Connector, you can download the update now. Otherwise:
go buy it now

Also included in this update

We’ve also fixed several bugs, introduced an autoloader, improved our various admin screens, improved our license handling and added various languages.

Related Posts New plugin: Post ConnectorWordPress SEO Premium 1.1WordPress SEO Premium 1.0–