Today, we are releasing a new Premium feature for doing internal linking suggestions. Last week, I wrote a post on the SEO blog explaining how we can do this fast and without using up a lot of resources on the server side. Building this would not have been possible without much of the work we did in the past year. In this post, I will describe the steps that led to the creation of this new feature.
In November 2015, we released Yoast SEO 3.0, which moved our content analysis from the server to the client side and made it real time. Users did not have to save their post anymore before they could get feedback. The PHP code used to analyze the content before was quite old and resource heavy on the server side. It was hard to extend and add new checks. In addition to that, it was also hard to improve the user interface and overall user experience of the content analysis. YoastSEO.js changed all of this.
We learned we could leverage the browser to do complex operations, like analyzing content and calculating an SEO score.
Rethinking the content analysis
The issue on GitHub discussing the possibility of descriptive analysis dates back to June 4th, 2015. A day later the idea was born to use a post’s prominent words as an index to query related content. Apparently, revisiting existing functionality can lead to fresh, new ideas for other useful features.
Apparently, revisiting existing functionality can lead to fresh, new ideas for other useful features.
Today, one and a half years later, this functionality makes it into Yoast SEO Premium.
So, what took us so long?
Probably a big reason this took some time to ship is simply that we focused on other features first. But the truth is that this feature builds upon a lot of functionality we added in the past year. Now, we can build internal linking suggestions,
- because we’ve written more advanced text segmentation and tokenization code that we can now easily reuse (since 3.1).
- because we’are able to collect insights about the most prominent words in a text (since 3.7).
Leveraging the WordPress Content API
It can take quite a few steps to get to a new feature. I think the story about this particular feature is interesting because it shows how many separate building blocks can make up a new feature. New ideas can grow from reviewing existing functionality. Lessons can be learned from practice, and some features require other functionality to be in place before they can be built.