SEO news webinar & Goodbye Joost – April 26, 2022


Why you should watch this replay

We’ve been talking about lots of interesting SEO news in our April webinar, talked about Joost’s and Yoast’s highlights of the past 12 years, and said goodbye to Joost! 

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Joost, Yoast, and SEO

3:15 – The webinar starts with a discussion on how Joost experienced the early years of doing SEO and building a company from the ground up. At the beginning of SEO, there was a lot of experimentation and discussion amongst people on what should work and shouldn’t work. Google was not as communicative as it is today, so much of it was up in the air. There were lists of ‘ranking factors out there that were never confirmed, but by figuring out what did make an impact, Joost put all those learning into a plugin for WordPress. 

Over the years, technical SEO didn’t change that much but we got a lot more confirmation on what works and what doesn’t. Joost contacted Google and started incorporating more things into his SEO plugin which really moved the needle.  

Today, we’re lucky with a CMS like WordPress – especially if you compare it to many of the other options out there. Much of it works well, in part thanks to Yoast SEO. We had the opportunity to fix a lot of technical stuff for loads of sites out there. 

But building a product is hard and the road to success is long. Joost started out in his attic, on his own, reading, writing and testing stuff. His initial WordPress SEO plugin became a success, eventually making it possible to hire people to build out the company and the product. 

News topics and resources

Google news

  • 24:27 – Google Search results roll out much more visual design in grid formats & more 
    Over the past couple of years, Google’s search results have been getting more visual. This month, Google introduced a fresh look for mobile search results in the US. The look is much more visual, with focus on big images and videos in all shapes and sizes. It’s never been more important to make sure that your images are optimized for SEO. 
  • 25:23 – Google multi-search – search by image and text at the same time 
    Google rolled out a thing called multisearch this month. Multisearch is combining text input with visual input to fine-tune a search query. For instance, you can take an image of a nice blue dress that you saw someone wearing and ask Google to find that same dress in green. This is a huge step towards the kind of Star Trek computer that Google has always wanted to be. It’s gradually going to require us to gradually learn to rethink how we search. Increasingly, we need to think about Google as a personal assistant that helps us solve our problems. 
  • 26:43 – Google discusses value of non-recommended structured data
    Several Googlers got together to discuss structured data on the Search off the Record podcast. The interesting part of the talk was about adding structured data stuff to your site that Google doesn’t do anything with yet. They said it does make sense, as Google does see and understand all those bits and pieces and the more they get, the more they can understand the topic and connections. 
  • 29:44 – YouTube launching new search insights tool 
    For years, we’ve been without keyword data from Google and here they are introducing keyword insights in YouTube. The search insights give you access to the keywords that people use to find your videos. You can see of the people who viewed my videos, what types of things did they search for over the last month, and what’s interesting about this it’s aggregated over the whole month in multiple territories and it’s only English now, but it will be in more languages. 

Microsoft news

  • 30:52 – Bing gets a new experience for Wikipedia content exploration 
    Bing did one interesting thing this month. They’ve done something cool, which we think Google should just copy. If you see a Wikipedia result in Bing, they now give you this rich result from Wikipedia immediately, so you don’t have to click to Wikipedia. You can already see which bits you want to read. We say that Microsoft should compete with Google by differentiating and this is a good example. 

WordPress news

  • 31:25 – WooCommerce plans to bring Full-Site Editing support to single product templates 
    Kudos to WooCommerce for working on a template to allow editing of product templates with the block editor. It’s hard to get the product data, product pages, and templates to play nice together so this is a challenge that’s interesting to keep track of.
  • 33:01 – Introducing the new Pinterest for WooCommerce extension 
    In the previous webinar, we talked about how all social media platforms are introducing ecommerce functionality. This has but one reason: get that first-click data from you so they can continue to serve you ads. And what do you know, the next social media platform announces something focused on ecommerce – this time it’s Pinterest and WooCommerce. 

Tech news

  • 34:09 – OpenAI’s DALL-E AI image generator can now edit pictures, too 
    This is super cool and very scary. We talked about automated content creation and the AI ecosystem. This is that, but for images, so when you feed Dall-E2 a phrase a bowl of soup that looks like a monster knitted out of water it generates photorealistic images, indistinguishable from reality. Not only that, it can also edit existing photos. So, you can edit an image of a beautiful apartment and landscape and say add a flamingo and you get the same photo with a flamingo in it, and you would never know the difference. This might have interesting implications for the world at large. 
  • 35:52 – DuckDuckGo launches standalone web browser for Mac in beta
    DuckDuckGo has been doing well and their latest new toy is a standalone browser for the Mac. It is interesting to see how this will pan out. This is your monthly reminder that other search engines exist and that you should keep an eye on what these are doing.  
  • 36:53 – Google, Meta, and others will have to explain their algorithms under new EU legislation 
    The EU has new legislation — the Digital Services Act, which isn’t exactly out yet, but it’s coming. One of the things is that they want Meta and Google and others to explain how their ranking algorithms work and they also require of these services to offer a way to see results as they should have been with algorithmic sorting. It is a huge maturing point for the whole digital marketing industry. We think it’s going to be a landmark moment. Then the US will be forced to follow because a lot of this ends up being global by default because it’s based on where your consumers are. 

The future of Joost and SEO

40:38 – In the next part of the webinar, Joost, Marieke and Jono discuss the future of Joost. He mentioned he’s already set up a new office in the attic of his new house – returning to the attic once again. He sees himself building something new, but he hasn’t made up his mind what exactly that might be. He’s also talking to several parties to do something with them and, of course, he’ll remain an adviser for Yoast.  

For the future of the web and SEO, Joost thinks that legislation will be a key factor to consider. This will change the way users interact with the web and how companies interact with those users. It will make advertising harder and, therefore, makes SEO more interesting! 

Questions asked during the webinar

Do you have a favorite alternative to Google Analytics that you can recommend? 

Hot take: most sites on the web don’t need analytics. You should open your Google Search Console and look at your search insights. That’s it and it’s plenty. Everything else is just rubbish anyway. Unless you’re running an ecommerce site, then you might want to have a bit more. For most other sites it’s really not something that you need to help you make better decisions. If you do need something that’s not Google Analytics, then Matomo, (which used to be Piwik), and Fathom Analytics are leading the pack for alternatives. 

Approximately what percentage of website traffic, especially among new users, should be direct traffic? 

Well, those spikes and direct traffic are anything but spikes of direct traffic. There are probably spikes of traffic coming from a source that your analytics package doesn’t recognize. This is one of the reasons why looking at analytics is bonkers. Most of the data that you’re looking at is plain wrong. It might be that this is Facebook traffic that’s not tagged as Facebook traffic or Twitter traffic not tagged as Twitter traffic. If you have loads of unknown traffic, you’re probably receiving less direct traffic than you are. The question is, does any of this help you? It could be all sorts of things. But how does knowing that you’re having that traffic help you? If it doesn’t help you, if it doesn’t make you sell stuff, or if it doesn’t make you reach the goals of your site. Then why is even knowing it important? 

Joost de Valk

Joost is the founder and Chief Product Officer at Yoast. He spends most of his time at Yoast working on Yoast SEO and its add-ons. As Chief Product Officer he makes sure the roadmap for all our products is managed.

Jono Alderson

Jono is our Head of SEO. He’s a digital strategist, marketing technologist, and full stack developer. He’s into technical SEO, emerging technologies, and brand strategy.

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SEO News webinar series