Gutenberg
Concepts for integrating Yoast SEO

Gutenberg: Concepts for integrating Yoast SEO

October 27th, 2017 – 16 Comments

Gutenberg is the new editing experience coming to WordPress. We’ve talked about it before. While we have some hesitations, we do see Gutenberg as a major step forward and are thinking about how we will integrate Yoast SEO into Gutenberg. In this post, we’ll share some of the ideas we’re excited about.

Gutenberg introduces new concepts, like blocks, and new places where we could potentially integrate. The premise behind our integration is that we need to give you feedback as soon as we can, in the right spot. Feedback is most helpful when you can actually do something with it immediately.

Inline is where it’s happening

We started by breaking down all our features, and seeing where we could integrate them into Gutenberg. We don’t think holding on to a single, massive box below the editor will best serve our customers. We’d much rather integrate right where the action happens, and Gutenberg offers us that chance. Let’s take a closer look at what we mean.

For instance, if you don’t fill out an alt text for an image you included, we don’t want to show that bullet point way down below in our metabox, in a long list of possible improvements. No, we want to show it to you right below the field where you can input the alt text.

Same for the featured image. Say you upload an image that is too small for Facebook to accept – you don’t want to have to find out about that when the whole post is finished, and you happen to wander into our social media preview editor. No, we tell you right then and there.

Connecting cause and effect

By working inline as much as we can, we’ll create a tighter connection between what you do and what effect that has on SEO. You’ll get actionable feedback in context. You don’t have to scroll down to a meta box to see the advice and scroll up again to the place where you should implement it. If we give feedback per block, you will get a better understanding of all the factors that influence SEO. And you’ll be able to anticipate them in advance once you’ve been working this way for a while.

Here’s another example: our primary category selection, of course, will be right there in the categories meta box.

The primary category, from Yoast SEO, integrated into Gutenberg

And another: the readability analysis, at the block level – just another section in the paragraph block settings, naturally.


The concept of blocks, in general, will allow us to give much more fine-grained feedback. For instance, you won’t have to look for the best place to add a link; we can scan all the blocks for you and let you know exactly which one is best for a certain link. Link suggestions don’t even have to live in a separate meta box. We can just insert them in the inline suggestions that the link UI offers.

Internal linking suggestion in the link popup

But what if we dream a little bigger?

Some people are working on bringing collaboration to Gutenberg. If it pans out, you won’t need Google Docs or something else to draft articles and leave editorial feedback; you can do it all from within WordPress. Of course, an essential part of a collaborative workflow is a commenting system. But we’d like to think that not all comments have to come from humans, per se.

Something we’ve been exploring is adding our SEO and readability feedback as comments to text. That would put our biggest feature inline as well, right where you need it. You can immediately identify problem areas, respond to feedback with your own comments, or dismiss the ones you don’t want to fix. It becomes an interactive and fun process. We won’t have to use sweeping statements like “50% of your sentences are too long”, no, we can break it down for you block per block.

We know you may not always want instant feedback on every word you type, so you could filter out the comments that Yoast SEO generates. This way, you can keep the writing and editing processes separate.

Working off of that idea, we might even build a full SEO mode into Gutenberg. What it will do exactly is something we are still thinking about, but it could take the shape of a site-wide wizard that guides you through all the relevant SEO optimization steps in an actionable and customizable way. More on that soon.

Yoast SEO + Gutenberg = ?

Gutenberg offers lots of opportunities to take our plugins to the next level. The great thing is: all WordPress plugin developers will be able to do that too. It’s a brave new frontier for all of us, and we’re very much looking forward to it!

What sort of features would you love to see us make for Gutenberg, or for an SEO mode in general? Let us know in the comments.


16 Responses to Gutenberg: Concepts for integrating Yoast SEO

  1. Taisa | Taisa-Designer
    By Taisa | Taisa-Designer on 9 November, 2017

    All those ideas are wonderfull (I do work with UX too), and for sure they can spare us a lot of time when blogging! :) Loved it. When do you say is all that ready? Yesterday? :P

  2. Garrett Hyder
    By Garrett Hyder on 4 November, 2017

    I like these ideas alot Yoast, it’s nice to have things in context when creating.

    But one thing I hope the SEO mode would assist with is old sites with existing content that you enable Yoast on, as well as SEO managers that jump into existing sites to work on SEO. In that I mean a global view of all ‘issues’ with maybe click throughs to the in-context blocks. So a compilation of all YoastNotes similar to the current metabox with items anchored to their block of origin.

    Thanks as always for your amazing plugins.

  3. Kim
    By Kim on 4 November, 2017

    I’m confused as to how you are integrating with nothing to actually integrate with… or rather, I think you are giving people the impression that there’s something concrete that you are working with, instead of the reality of the work on Gutenberg. iFrames for meta boxes today but not for the launch?

    I can’t imagine there won’t be a fork if they break the backwards compatibility. I really like using your products, so I hope you are considering how you will handle things if (when) this happens. No one likes change, but we all get used to it. Unless it breaks thousands upon thousands of sites and we all decide that we like the old way better. ;)

  4. nexvan
    By nexvan on 1 November, 2017

    thank you very good thank you The combination of Yoast and Gutenberg sounds promising.

  5. Yohay
    By Yohay on 31 October, 2017

    The combination of Yoast and Gutenberg sounds promising. Is there any estimation as to when it will be available? Thanks.

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 31 October, 2017

      Not really, it’s pretty much a work in progress and we’re reliant on other people and companies here too. So I won’t commit to any timelines for now.

  6. Curt
    By Curt on 30 October, 2017

    That would be the perfect way to integrate as having your plugin work similar to how Grammarly does on browsers it can make work much more efficient.
    I know having to scroll down, make a corrected then roll back up can be a little frustrating, and this type of implementation will make for seamless writing.
    Great to see someone else figuring out how to work with Gutenberg rather than against it!

  7. Ray Dale
    By Ray Dale on 30 October, 2017

    Thanks Joost, this is good article. I guess it’s very easy to be scathing and grumpy about the new Gutenberg editor, especially when delivering client services around the current status-quo. However, a lot of people are very critical without an open mind and it’s great to see that you are looking at positives and way forward as well as concerns. I’m looking forward to seeing what your more open-minded approach can bring to improve the SEO UX in general.

    Gutenberg does represent a lot of challenges to the current workflow in WordPress and particularly for clients I think it’s likely to be an awkward adjustment for a lot. However, there are new opportunities there and the potential to actually improve the user experience long-term. It’s very hard to do this without some initial pain as far as I can see – as long as the pain is not greater than the positives and potential.

  8. Trickizm
    By Trickizm on 30 October, 2017

    Hi,
    Thanks a lot for excellent plugins you have made in the past. I hope this “Gutenberg” feature will also help us to get higher rank in SERPs. Thanks a lot, dear.

  9. Chris Edwards
    By Chris Edwards on 30 October, 2017

    Some pretty interesting new features to be added. Saw a talk from TinyMCE CEO at WCNYC talking about Gutenburg. It is not as scary as I thought, but I love all the accessibility features coming to it. Love the block level analysis for Yoast.

  10. Abdul Muneeb
    By Abdul Muneeb on 29 October, 2017

    Ah! Amazing features are included in Gutenburg!

  11. Marco Floriano
    By Marco Floriano on 29 October, 2017

    I think the idea of the SEO mode is fundamental. Imagine a blogger or web site developer with tons of plugins like Yoast, all giving real time feedback just at the time you need concentration to write or create your stuff.

  12. Vijay
    By Vijay on 28 October, 2017

    Wow awesome features with the glutenberg integration.
    Eagerly waiting for the update

  13. Random Troll
    By Random Troll on 28 October, 2017

    Looks like you’ve completely moved from Gutenberg-skeptics camp to the supporters. But the great number of people is still there.

  14. Achim Kirchmeier
    By Achim Kirchmeier on 28 October, 2017

    Hi! I love that new integrations, inline is definately better then the bullet-points-concept. i also like the fact, that Yoast is working hard to integrate with Gutenberg, because it seems like it surely will come, so we will need a solution anyway. So your doing better this way, instead of still complaining about it’s weaknesses and defects (it surely has). Thank you very much!

  15. Mehul Gohil
    By Mehul Gohil on 28 October, 2017

    Awesome Article. It’s very much detailed and leaning toward UI/UX which is the best thing for any user. I would say try to keep the popup/popover things lesser and bug free relating to the last screenshot showing the readability tips.


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