Meet Yoast’s new CEO: Marieke van de Rakt!

As of today, Marieke van de Rakt will be the new CEO of Yoast. Marieke, founder of Yoast Academy and former Chief Strategy Officer at Yoast, is thrilled to take on her new role and officially lead the company. Joost de Valk, former CEO and founder of Yoast, will start focusing mostly on software development, as the new Chief Product Officer of Yoast. Alongside that, he’ll be leading marketing and communications for WordPress, as his second job.

Yoast’s new CEO: Marieke

Marieke is the founder of Yoast Academy, the SEO training portal of Yoast. She joined the company in 2013 after obtaining her Ph.D. in Social Sciences and working at various universities. In 2015, she started developing Yoast’s first SEO training: Basic SEO. Soon other courses followed. Today, Yoast offers an impressive portfolio of SEO courses, tailored to the specific needs of people wanting to learn about SEO.

In 2014, Marieke joined the board. She took on the role of CSO and was heavily involved in the company’s strategy for growth, being responsible for content, marketing, research and project management. In fact, as Marieke wrote on her blog, she has already been acting as the CEO for a while now:

“In many ways, I was already the CEO. Among the four of us, I am the one most thinking ahead. I am the one most concerned with company culture. I am the one who’s often leading the way. That does not mean I decided upon the route though. That’s something we do among the four of us. Still, I was the one proposing to my partners that we needed to make decisions.”

So will big changes take place? This is what Marieke says about it:

“I don’t think there will be big changes inside our organization. Things will pretty much keep running the way they were always running…. [However,] I am very curious to what extent people will treat me any different now that I am the CEO of Yoast. For a lot of people outside of Yoast, it was not very clear what my role at Yoast was. The job title of CEO will perhaps be a door opener for me.”

The mission of Yoast is SEO for everyone. That mission will not change as Marieke takes the lead.

‘We want to help people to create websites that rank in the search engines, with software and by teaching people about SEO. We have big plans for 2019, making SEO more actionable and understandable for everyone.’

One thing’s for sure: She’ll do “this CEO-thing” her way, as she says in her blog post.

Yoast’s new CPO: Joost

Joost is the founder of the company Yoast and brain behind the very successful Yoast SEO plugin. Since he founded Yoast in 2010, he has been the CEO. Today, he’s stepping down and handing over this position to Marieke. He’s very confident she’ll do an outstanding job as CEO, as he says in his post:

“In many ways, Marieke is way more suited to be CEO than I am. She has so much more structure and isn’t as likely as I am to go “oh squirrel!” and forget about the important stuff. I’m sure she’ll continue to be excellent in her new role.”

Starting today, Joost will focus again on what he loves most: software development. As Chief Product Officer of Yoast, he’ll dedicate his time to further development of great tools which allow people to rank higher in the search engines.

“Having to worry less about stuff that needs my signature and other painful sides of being CEO will free me up to work on the core product more. I’m still super proud of Yoast SEO and look forward to working on it for years to come.”

In addition to that, Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, appointed Joost as the Marketing and Communications lead at WordPress. An opportunity Joost took with both hands:

“I think WordPress is one of the most essential platforms on the web and I’m really proud to be able to do my part for it. I have been in the WordPress community for well over a decade now. In that time I’ve done a lot of different things but I think this will be my biggest challenge yet.”

Want to know all about Joost’s plans for WordPress? Read his post Leading marketing and communications for WordPress on his blog.

The Yoast board

The Yoast Board: Michiel, Marieke, Joost and Omar

The Yoast board: Michiel, Marieke, Joost and Omar. Photo by Eveline van Elk.

The Yoast board exists of 4 people: as of today Marieke van de Rakt will take on the role of CEO and Joost de Valk will be CPO. Michiel Heijmans continues to be COO and Omar Reiss remains CTO.

Read more: Yoast’s mission: SEO for everyone »

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25 Responses to Meet Yoast’s new CEO: Marieke van de Rakt!

  1. vishal
    vishal  • 10 months ago

    Good luck Marieke. Thank for everything Yoast team. Best SEO plugin ever

  2. Rahul Raj P
    Rahul Raj P  • 10 months ago

    Congratulations Marieke! and I think your next blog will about “Starting days in the Title that fits”.

  3. Ritu Jha
    Ritu Jha  • 11 months ago

    Congratulations Marieke & Joost!
    Best of Luck for your new start, I would love to see yoast success and next level :)
    Love from India!

  4. Heidi
    Heidi  • 11 months ago

    Congratulations Marieke! I always think it’s great to see gender equality in the workplace and it gives me more confidence in the company.

  5. Sneha
    Sneha  • 11 months ago

    Congratulations Marieke

  6. Arjunvikas
    Arjunvikas  • 11 months ago

    Thats really great news, all the very best Marieke. Hoping for the best from you. Surely this addition will make yoast even more powerful seo blog.

  7. Mattia Passarini
    Mattia Passarini  • 11 months ago

    Congratulations Marieke :)

  8. Aftab Shaikh
    Aftab Shaikh  • 11 months ago

    Congrats marieke and good luck for future as well, wish you lead YOAST better than ever, thanks YOAST team for everything you have given us, it means alot to us.

  9. Penelope Silvers
    Penelope Silvers  • 11 months ago

    Congrats Marieke! And kudos to the entire team. I’ve learned so much just by using the analytics inside my posts. Keep on putting out great stuff for us. :)

  10. Edword
    Edword  • 11 months ago

    Yoast Team: Lucky to have you. Will learn a lot of things from you in the future it will be more fun

  11. Sayan Samanta
    Sayan Samanta  • 11 months ago

    Good luck Marieke. Thank for everything Yoast team.

  12. Laudine
    Laudine  • 11 months ago

    Gefeliciteerd en veel succes :-)

  13. John
    John  • 11 months ago

    Congratulations Marieke

  14. Richard Crook
    Richard Crook  • 11 months ago

    Congratulations, Marieke van de Rakt! Take it to the next level…

  15. Mona El Tantawy
    Mona El Tantawy  • 11 months ago

    Congrats Marieke

  16. Putz
    Putz  • 11 months ago

    Congrats Marieke, hope to more of your blog posts and love to hear your experience for being the new CEO, best of luck :)

  17. ali
    ali  • 11 months ago

    I wish the bests for all you guys.

  18. Sheryl Coe
    Sheryl Coe  • 11 months ago

    Congratulations, Marieke van de Rakt! I like the new scientific approach.

  19. Tunde Sanusi (Tuham)
    Tunde Sanusi (Tuham)  • 11 months ago

    Welcome Marieke

    We look forward to see you make Yoast much more better..

  20. crmnigeria
    crmnigeria  • 11 months ago

    Congrats to the new boss in town.

  21. Yvonne Finn
    Yvonne Finn  • 11 months ago

    Congratulations Marieke!
    I am so very pleased that your title has been made official at Yoast and
    I too am sure you will continue to be excellent in this new role.
    All the best, always!

    Yvonne Finn

  22. Carolyn
    Carolyn  • 11 months ago

    Congratulations, Marieke & Joost!
    Yoast SEO has helped us significantly! Keep up the great work!

  23. Ad Smets
    Ad Smets  • 11 months ago

    Proficiat met je benoeming, Marieke! Super gaaf. Hartelijke groet van Ad Smets, voorzitter werkgeversnetwerk SAM.

    P.S.: wil je meewerken aan een kort interview voor ons netwerk? :)

  24. Josepha Haden
    Josepha Haden  • 11 months ago

    Congratulations, Marieke!

  25. Hazem Elbadry
    Hazem Elbadry  • 11 months ago

    Wonderful Plugin, Wonderful Team and Wonderful CEO. Keep on the marvelous work :)