Yoast SEO 19.2: IndexNow, crawl settings, and WordProof

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Today is a good day. The next batch of Yoast SEO releases comes with a ton of new stuff that helps your site get noticed by search engines. We’re launching an IndexNow integration, expanded our crawl settings with advanced features, and added a WordProof integration to help timestamp privacy pages on the blockchain. Read up on Yoast SEO 19.2 and Yoast SEO Premium 18.8!

Improve crawling with Yoast SEO Premium, one feature at a time

The last two releases introduced new crawl settings in Yoast SEO Premium. With these settings, we’re optimizing your WordPress site to output less overhead that search engines like Google are eager to crawl but which don’t add any value. We’re on a mission to reduce the crawl load on websites — making it a more straightforward process for crawlers. As a result, we’re reducing the strain on your website and the environment.

In Yoast SEO Premium 18.8, we’re expanding the crawl settings with several advanced options. In addition, we’re adopting the IndexNow protocol supported by Microsoft Bing, Seznam, and Yandex. Google doesn’t support it yet and might never.

IndexNow: towards a future of fewer crawls

The IndexNow protocol is a new way of keeping search engines in the loop about your content by pinging the API as soon as you publish or update a page. IndexNow was introduced in October 2021 and has seen quite some adoption in just a couple of months.

By adopting the IndexNow protocol, we’re helping your content get indexed quicker. Besides, IndexNow also offers a glimpse of the future. We’re hoping that initiatives like this can make the process of crawling and indexing content less impactful for your website and the environment.

IndexNow is available in Yoast SEO Premium and activated by default. There’s a setting to switch the integration on or off, but other than that, there are no settings for you to concern yourself with. Also, we ping Bing with your XML sitemaps only when IndexNow is disabled to prevent unnecessary overheads.

Yoast SEO Premium automatically pings IndexNow for you

Advanced crawl features in Yoast SEO Premium

We introduced crawl settings in the previous two releases of Yoast SEO Premium 18.6 and 18.7. The first wave was mostly about removing unnecessary feeds in WordPress and cleaning up code from the head; in Yoast SEO Premium 18.8, we’re adding two advanced crawl settings: search clean up and URL parameter clean up.

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Search cleanup: battling search spam

Spammers sometimes target internal site search URLs on your site for their purposes. Those URLs might get crawled by Google and might be seen by users. That can harm your SEO — and your branding! This feature identifies some common spam patterns and stops them in their tracks, for instance, searches with emojis or extremely long sentences. We’ll tidy these up nicely for you.

URL parameter cleanup: getting rid of excessive URLs

The URL parameter cleanup is cool but it comes with a warning. It’s a feature for power users, for sure. URL parameters, used in marketing campaigns or to track links to your site, can be helpful to find out how your stuff is performing. These parameters, like ?source=email, or ?from=example.com, make for duplicate pages that Google and the like will crawl. Some of these are useful, but most can probably go without you noticing.

You can streamline your site and improve crawl efficiency by redirecting URLs with unknown query parameters to the page’s canonical URL. The URL permalink cleanup does precisely that. If you want to keep specific URL parameters, you can add these to have them excluded.

For utm tracking parameters (used by Google Analytics), we provide a way to change these to use # instead of ? in the URL, which can improve your site’s crawl efficiency without sacrificing functionality.

Keep in mind that this could harm your site. If you’re not sure, don’t touch it. If you plan to use it, please test it on a staging site before rolling it out to your live site.

Yoast SEO Free: timestamp content on the blockchain with WordProof

WordProof is a Dutch blockchain startup focusing on protecting your content by adding it to the blockchain. WordProof automatically adds a unique fingerprint to your content, making it verifiable. It helps fight against fake news and copyright issues while increasing the trust in the content you put out, with a very transparent solution.

WordProof has won numerous European awards for valuable blockchain solutions. For those wanting to know more, we talked to WordProof about what makes their solution useful.

WordProof already has a WordPress plugin that gives you much more control over your timestamps and usage, but with the integration in Yoast SEO 19.2, we make it easier to get started. It is limited, though, to ten timestamps a month and only on the privacy page of your site — and the terms and conditions page if you use WooCommerce SEO. This helps readers verify the trustworthiness of that critical page.

Activate the WordProof integration in the integrations settings, log in or set up an account and start time stamping your privacy and terms and conditions pages.

Open your privacy or terms and conditions page and timestamp it with WordProof

Other enhancements in Yoast SEO 19.2

Yoast SEO 19.2 is a chockfull release. We’ve mentioned the WordProof integration, but there’s more to be found.

Improvements to the SEO and readability analyses

Yoast SEO is famous for its SEO and readability analyses. Thanks to these tools, you can write content that stands out from the crowd — while making readers and search engines happy. We’re continually improving the analyses, and in Yoast SEO 19.2, we’re doing that with a long list of changes. In addition, we’ve also made the SEO and readability column sortable in the post overview.

The improvements mainly concern the way the text analysis handles various inputs. For instance, it will now exclude blockquote HTML elements and no longer split sentences on semicolon ;. We’ve improved the support for Elementor by not always splitting on ellipsis ..., regardless of whether the following sentence has a valid beginning. Also, we now support sentence detection for declarative sentences in quotation marks.

Social sharing and structured data improvements

In Yoast SEO 19.2, you’ll find several improvements related to social media sharing and structured data:

  • We’ve added support for webp images for OpenGraph output.
  • We’ve added a meta author tag to ensure that LinkedIn picks up the name of a post author properly.
  • To get Pinterest to detect the author of an article, we’ve added this to the author section of the Article schema piece.

Update now to Yoast SEO 19.2 and Premium 18.8

Yoast SEO 19.2 and Yoast SEO Premium 18.8 bring you a boatload of goodies. We have an IndexNow integration, several new features to manage crawling on your site, and a WordProof integration to timestamp privacy pages on the blockchain.

This is one of the biggest releases we’ve done in recent months, and we’re proud of it. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed building it!

Coming up next!