Redesigning the Yoast SEO settings interface

We have redesigned the Yoast SEO settings interface. Today we’re “releasing” an early alpha of this new interface so you can see what it looks like. We’ve updated, overhauled, and comprehensively improved how our interfaces look, feel, and behave. We’ve also moved some settings and features to be more intuitive, and to better match your workflows.

A screenshot of the new Yoast SEO settings interface

We’re proud that we’ve always had the best functionality, but in recent years parts of our interface started to look dated. In that regard we might be a teeny, tiny bit late to the party. However, we now think we’re back at the front of the pack. Let me explain why we did what we did, and why we did it now

First things first: download the alpha

If you want to play with this alpha, download it now:

All the usual caveats of Alpha release software applies: do not use this in production. Anywhere. It is not safe.

Release date: January 24th

We’ll release this to the world on January 24th. At least, that’s the plan. At that point the old interface will no longer be available.

We focused on the utility belt, but not the armor

As Yoast SEO, we’ve always strived to set the industry standard. Assisting over 13 million users in the complex world of SEO. A world that is in constant movement and always rapidly changing. Being part of such an ecosystem (and the WordPress ecosystem on top of that), requires a high degree of flexibility and – by extension – a matching allocation of resources. For that reason, we, historically, focused our efforts on the utility belt, rather than the suit of armor, so to speak. On features that would help our users rank better, rather than the user experience. For the experience we relied on WordPress, by using their layouts, controls and navigational systems.

Staying true to the WP experience

It’s no secret that we love WordPress and its users. We’ve always wanted to stay as true to the native WordPress experience as we could. At the same time we also felt like we wanted to be Yoast. Our branding is rather outspoken and we’re proud of that. Bringing our brand to Yoast SEO (and WordPress) however always proved a bit of a struggle. To what extent can you be you, while being part of something else?

At the same time we’ve growingly felt like we started to outgrow WordPress. Our product team was itching to take our experience to the next level. WordPress’ interface was holding us back a bit in that sense, as the admin interface outside of Gutenberg hasn’t really progressed for years. It felt like we were starting to collapse under the weight of our own utility belt.

The jump to Shopify and scaling to other platforms

The opportunity of releasing Yoast SEO for Shopify enhanced our desire – and the need – to start doing our ‘own’ thing rapidly. Fully integrating (in terms of look and feel) into another platform, just didn’t seem possible, nor desirable anymore. So, besides wanting to adopt our own style more and more, there now was also a business rationale behind it: designing in different styles, maintaining multiple design systems and code bases, et cetera, just doesn’t scale.

Looking competitive again

We’re not blind to what our competitors are doing. It is inspiring to see what other SEO plugins, tools and platforms are delivering in terms of user experience. The honest story is that it made us want to look competitive again even more. We wanted to give our users the experience that we feel they deserve. And make you stick with us not just for the fact that we’ve got the best features and know the most about SEO, but because of the experience too.

New is always better scary

New is always better. Except with whisky. All kidding aside: New can be scary. While we are proud of the direction that we’ve taken Yoast SEO. We’re not blind to the fact that a new experience requires time to adapt to. That’s why we want to know what you – the user – thinks. What’s missing? What could be improved? Which of your use cases and workflows haven’t we considered? Let us know, and we’ll keep iterating.

Our long and winding road forward

We’ve worked long and hard on this. But we’re not there yet. We’ve focused on our settings for now. But that’s not all that Yoast SEO is. So there is still much more to come. For now, we invite you to try on our new suit of armor. We hope it fits and starts to feel comfortable in time. And that you’ll start to love it as much as we do.

Coming up next!