The latest news in SEO and WordPress: July 2020

Every few weeks we have an SEO News video in which Jono Alderson and I, along with other experts, share the latest SEO news with our academy subscribers. Last week, we decided to try this in the form of a webinar where viewers were able to ask us questions right away. Because this was such a success, we’re already planning our next webinar. In this blog post, I’ll discuss the highlights of our July 2020 webinar to give you an idea of what’s new in the world of SEO!

Stay on top of the latest changes in SEO by getting a Yoast SEO academy training subscription. This also gives you the opportunity to watch earlier videos of SEO News and develop vital SEO skills by completing a variety of courses.

What’s new with Google and Bing?

Our friends at Google and Bing have not been sitting idly by, so we had lots of news to share. Here, I’ll give you a few highlights of what we discussed.

Scroll to text

Google has been testing it on AMP for quite a while, and now it’s probably here to stay: scroll to text. So, what is it? When someone does a search on Google and clicks on a featured snippet result, Google will send this user to the specific piece of text on the page and highlight it. Seemingly, without the context of the introduction above or content surrounding this answer. And although this focus on getting a quick answer is understandable from a user’s view, it seems quite contradictory to Google’s view that long-form content provides more quality and a better user experience.

So, what does this mean for us? It might mean some changes to your design, for example considering a sticky header to keep your brand in the picture wherever someone is on your page. But mostly, it means that structuring your content becomes even more important to make sure that each part of your text can stand alone. To make it easy, you’ll have to treat every piece of text on your page as its own landing page. Our SEO Copywriting training, which is part of our Content SEO training course, can definitely help you out with that.

Licensing program for news publishers

With an increase of zero-click searches (where questions are being answered at the top of the SERPs), it’s becoming more difficult for certain businesses to get people to click through to their site. And this makes it more difficult to make money and create new content. That’s why Google has launched an early pilot for news publishers. A licensing program in which they’ll pay publishers for high-quality content, to make sure they’ll be able to keep their business running and provide people with complex and deeper stories on different issues and interests. Now, this is still a pilot for specific countries and specific publications, so we’re curious to see where it goes.

Free product listings in the SERP

Google has a product tab in their search, but they seem to be shifting more and more to showing products directly in the search results. And the latest announcement in this is that if you have schema.org and structured data for the products on your site, your products become eligible to being shown directly in the search results. Without paying Google. And this is pretty cool because it’s a step in opening up the web further for everyone. Anyone who uses schema.org and implements their structured data the right way can compete, even with the bigger players. If you haven’t implemented schema.org yet, our Yoast SEO plugin and WooCommerce SEO plugin can help you with that.

Bing Site Scan tool

Bing has launched the Site Scan tool, a potential competitor to existing tools where you can crawl your site to find technical SEO issues. It’s not as extensive as other tools you might be familiar with, but it gives you reports on things that are broken and can impact your rankings. So it’s definitely worth having a look at.

There’s lots and lots of more fun news we discussed in the webinar, such as a page experience update, the latest on structured data for recipes, a new fact check label, and more. To get access to this and other videos to stay on top of the latest news in SEO and WordPress, you can subscribe to one of our Yoast SEO academy training courses:

What’s new in WordPress?

Web Stories (beta)

The upcoming release of WordPress 5.5 comes with a few noteworthy features which we discussed in the webinar. But in this blog post, I want to highlight one of them: Web Stories. Now, this is still in the beta stage, but this editor shows us a promising next step in the way we create and present content. To put it in understandable words: Web Stories makes it possible to present your content in a visual, engaging and swipeable way on your site (think Instagram or other visual social platforms).

The cool thing with this new feature and others like it, is that the Google team actively collaborates with us to make sure it will work together well with our plugin. In the case of Web Stories, someone from Google made a pull request on our Yoast SEO Github. Which is essentially a request to review the changes they will make before they’re final. This gives us the opportunity to anticipate them and make sure our plugin will seamlessly work together with this new editor by giving out the right metadata.

XML sitemaps in core

Another feature worth mentioning is that WordPress will be adding XML sitemaps in its core. This is pretty cool because it’s a feature that was still missing from WordPress. For everyone using our Yoast SEO plugin, we will disable this default sitemap for the simple fact that Yoast SEO already adds a sitemap which helps Google find your content. Don’t worry, we know what we’re doing. We’ve actually worked with a team from Google on optimizing our sitemap feature and the one Yoast SEO provides is just more up to date concerning metadata.

What’s new in Yoast?

With an ever-changing SEO world around us, we understand the importance of improving our work to keep up with these changes. Not just in terms of adding more languages to our Yoast SEO plugin, but also in providing everyone in the community with an easy and natural workflow.

Duplicate Post

That’s why we recently acquired the Duplicate Post plugin from its original developer Enrico Battocchi, who has also joined our team as a senior developer on the plugin. This plugin lets you duplicate any post or page in WordPress, and all its settings, with just one click. You can read more about this plugin, and what it can help you with, in our announcement post.

Improved publishing workflow

What’s new in Yoast SEO is an improved publishing workflow and the possibility to tell search engines how to treat links that you add to your content. These are both features to help our users create quality content that fits into a good SEO strategy. The improved publishing workflow helps you keep an eye on the rankability and readability of your text, but also makes it easy to share your new post right away.

Rel attributes for links

The rel attributes we’ve added for links, might not be recognized as a Yoast feature right away, but they are. And I’ll tell you what they’re for. This feature helps you mark external links as nofollow, which is always a good idea if they lead to pages you don’t really want to endorse. Also, you can use the sponsored attribute to show search engines that an external link is commercial. These attributes help Google get a better sense of what happens with links on the web.

You can read all about these new features in our Yoast SEO 14.4 release post. And if you’re curious about the other topics we discussed, have a look at our Yoast SEO academy subscriptions to get access to these SEO News videos.


20 Responses to The latest news in SEO and WordPress: July 2020

  1. Dr.Amrita BASU
    Dr.Amrita BASU  • 3 months ago

    I am excited about the new Web stories feature.I will look forward to how Yoast helps with that.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 3 months ago

      Hi Amrita, an exciting development for sure! We’ll keep you posted :-)

  2. Shawn
    Shawn  • 3 months ago

    I am actually quite interested to see how the new scroll to text feature on amp clicks plays out. I have been focusing a lot on writing longer articles lately, so it will be interesting to see.

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 months ago

      Hi Shawn, thanks for your comment. We’re with you, it will be interesting to see where this will go!

  3. Ira Lichtenstein
    Ira Lichtenstein  • 3 months ago

    This product you describe sounds very interesting. We have a Shopify store with about 300 items. We have about 30 for sale and the rest have a click for information. Would your plugin work for us?

  4. Chris
    Chris  • 3 months ago

    The Web Stories concept seems pretty neat. I wonder if Google will index them in the SERPs in a different way as it seems like a fairly different type of presentation.

    I already noticed the changes to rel attributes on links, thanks for adding that. Makes life just a little easier!

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 months ago

      Hi Chris, thanks for your comment! And that’s an interesting thought, we’ll have to wait and see :)

  5. abhishek ojha
    abhishek ojha  • 3 months ago

    AMP will be the game changer.

  6. Michael
    Michael  • 3 months ago

    Very usual and informative. Have been using Yoast since I started my blog, thank you @Yoast. But my biggest problem is with Bing SEO I still need to understand how bing SEO work because all the factors am using to optimize my blog for bing is not working.

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 months ago

      Hi Michael, thanks for your comment and trust in our plugin!

      As for your issue with Bing, it might be an idea to check your site using Bing Webmaster Tools. This shows you your site’s health and performance in the Bing search results and might give you an idea of what you can do to improve them: https://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster/

      Good luck :)

  7. Ira Lichtenstein
    Ira Lichtenstein  • 3 months ago

    I have been experimenting with an AMP version of my website. I installed the software but had a hard time getting my SSL to work properly. Is this a common problem?

  8. Jeetu Singh
    Jeetu Singh  • 3 months ago

    hello, I am using Yoast SEO a long time and it working fine but nowadays I start facing some problems btw this is a great post

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 months ago

      Hi Jeetu, thanks for your comment! May I ask what problems you’re facing? We might be able to help you with them :)

  9. QuarentaCars
    QuarentaCars  • 3 months ago

    I am excited to try out web stories.

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 months ago

      Same here!

  10. tarulahsan
    tarulahsan  • 3 months ago

    Those are some excellent features, specially the “rel attributes for links” and “duplicate posts.” Both of the features are very important for bloggers.

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 3 months ago

      Thank you!

  11. Samuel Ugboke
    Samuel Ugboke  • 3 months ago

    I got to go reinstall yoast. I branched into using Rank Maths, but this new stuff coming out, am definitely going to do a reverse.
    Thank you for finally listening to our reviews!!!

    • Edwin Toonen
      Edwin Toonen  • 3 months ago

      Hi Samuel. Welcome back, it’s great to have you on board! :)