Yoast SEO 7.8: Synonyms and keyword distribution

Semantics is hard. What does a certain word mean in a specific situation? Which ‘mars’ are you talking about? Have you ever tried to discover all definitions of ‘run’? In most cases, context is everything. You can help humans and machines understand a text better by adding context. This is one of the reasons Yoast SEO is now adding support for synonyms and related keywords, giving you more flexibility to improve your text! Now available for Premium users of Yoast SEO 7.8.

New Premium feature: Synonyms

Content SEO has long been about finding out what your main keyword was and adding that focus keyword in a couple of places in your text. While that worked pretty well, there’s a lot more going on at the moment. Not only is search intent more important than ever, but search engines get smarter and smarter every day. They increasingly ‘know’ what a text is about by looking at the context in which these focus keywords appear. This context is what makes or breaks a text.

Yoast SEO always worked by a single focus keyword or multiple focus keywords in our Premium plugin. We understand this can be a bit restrictive; we’re not even looking at plural instances of the keyword. Luckily, that’s about to change!

We’re working on some very nice new language-based SEO checks, and we’re presenting the first updates today: synonyms and keyword distribution! Yes, you read that right: Premium users can now add synonyms and related terms to check. Writing about bikes? Your synonyms will probably include ‘bicycle, cycle, ride, two-wheeler,’ and now you can add those terms. The Yoast SEO plugin will check how you use these terms in your article.synonyms in Yoast SEO 7.8

New Premium feature: keyword distribution

The new synonym feature also works in conjunction with another new feature in Yoast SEO Premium: keyword distribution. If you added a couple of synonyms for your focus keyword, Yoast SEO now checks to see if these are distributed well throughout the text. Before you could add your focus keyword in the intro a couple of times and that would be fine by us. That’s over. We’re taking the complete text in regard and want you to evenly and realistically distribute your focus keyword and synonyms. The gif below shows what the highlighting of keywords and synonyms looks like.
keyword synonyms yoast seo premium 7.8
We keep using the focus keyword exclusively to determine keyword density. In our opinion, optimizing your post for the most common keyword — the one that your keyword research uncovered as being most used by your audience — continues to be imperative. 

More on the way

This is just the start. At the moment, we’re hard at work to improve the language capabilities of Yoast SEO. Marieke wrote a post describing what you can expect from Yoast SEO in the coming months. Read about morphology, related keywords and the upcoming recalibration of the SEO analyses in Yoast SEO.

Feedback welcome!

We’ve added these new checks for you to try out. We’re very much looking forward to your feedback. How are you using synonyms and related topics in your texts? What do you want Yoast SEO to do with your synonyms? Are there ways to improve how we handle the analyses of your text? As we’ve said, this is the first step to a Yoast SEO that is far more capable of understanding language and using that knowledge to provide you with the best possible feedback. Help us get there! You can either add an issue to GitHub or comment on this post. We’re looking forward to your help!

Language improvements for French, Spanish and Italian

Yoast SEO 7.8 has turned out to be a release focused on language because we’ve also expanded the language functionality for French, Spanish and Italian. Users writing French and Spanish can now use the Flesch Reading Ease assessment to check the perceived difficulty of their texts. Users writing Italian can now improve their texts using the new passive voice assessment. French, Spanish and Italian now fully support all Yoast SEO features.

Other improvements and fixes

As always, we’ve fixed loads of bugs and improved various parts of the plugin. For instance, we’ve improved the way we determine the OpenGraph for front pages, especially in the case of static front pages. We’ve also fixed several bugs regarding the look and feel of the new snippet variables that we introduced in Yoast SEO 7.7.

Update now to Yoast SEO 7.8

Yoast SEO 7.8 is an exciting new release, one that marks a new direction for us. We’re giving you much more flexibility to enhance your articles by using synonyms and providing you with more tools to determine how well you present your keywords. This is the first step to an even more relevant, useful and indispensable Yoast SEO!

Read more: Why every website needs Yoast SEO »

Coming up next!

11 Responses to Yoast SEO 7.8: Synonyms and keyword distribution

  1. PC
    PC  • 6 years ago

    This is definitely promising. I understand from the SEO side how different people use different words for searching. While one may search for bike, second might use bicycle to search. Synonyms feature can be a good bridge. And with keyword distribution, we should be able to determine how much of the relevant synonyms we have used in our content. Off course, we dont have to use each and every word (and populate the page), but relevant should be part of the content.

    My only concern is in regards to upgrading. As “Matthew Boswell” has faced some issues, i would like to know from others how smooth was their upgrade process and if they faced any issues?

  2. Simon
    Simon  • 6 years ago

    I’d like to see how synonyms should work for longer keywords as you only reference “bike” and it’s not common to use a single keyword anymore.

  3. Michael Sperry
    Michael Sperry  • 6 years ago

    I like the new features, especially the synonyms. What I would like to see if the future is for the plugin to see my entire page the way a search engine sees it. In other words, take into account all the tabbed content in my WooCommerce product pages.

  4. Rogério Pereira
    Rogério Pereira  • 6 years ago

    Really impressive the evolution of algorithms search engines.
    Even more impressive is the speed with which the Yoast SEO team manages to improve more and more the best SEO plugin on the market. Congratulations!

    • Iris Guelen
      Iris Guelen  • 6 years ago

      Hi Rogério! Thanks for your kind words, we really appreciate it! :)

  5. pintu
    pintu  • 6 years ago

    Thank You for Great Info.
    If It possible than add more pics about all step for better understand..
    But overall its Helpful.

  6. Laurie Neverman
    Laurie Neverman  • 6 years ago

    If you had a way to check search volumes on different keywords, that would be awesome. I do like the new features, and that you publish articles like this to explain updates.

  7. Mae
    Mae  • 6 years ago

    Is there a way to add/edit other snippet variables? It’s limited to primary title, title, category, separator and site title.

  8. Alex
    Alex  • 6 years ago

    Keyword distribution is an awesome update! Thank you!

  9. Matthew Boswell
    Matthew Boswell  • 6 years ago

    When I upgraded today, it took away the ability to use content optimisation. All I can do is type in the focus keyword. Not the best update so far as it has taken the main feature away.

    • João Gomes
      João Gomes  • 6 years ago

      HI Matthew,
      I have the same problem. Did you fix it? How?
      Thank you