Joost de Valk tweeted a sneak peek of the Gutenberg integration the Yoast SEO team is currently testing. The plugin has more than 5 million active installations and is one that packs a lot into its wide meta box. Users have been curious about what compatibility with the new editor will look like for Yoast SEO. de Valk tweeted a preview of the plugin working inside the Gutenberg UI:
Officially still on holiday… But, testing our @yoast SEO Gutenberg integration as the first real integration piece is due next week, this is making me happy (and extremely proud of our team):#gutenberg #wordpress #yoast pic.twitter.com/UHFAdH0wAt
— Joost de Valk (@jdevalk) August 8, 2018
For the past several months the team has been making progress on the plugin’s Gutenberg integration roadmap. Yoast SEO 8.0 is coming next week with the first round of compatibility in place.
“8.0 is coming on Tuesday with most of it, some bits are relying on the integration of an annotations API in Gutenberg, which is not entirely under our control,” de Valk said. “We need that to do markings like we do in the classic editor to highlight where your errors are. Feature complete is quite a while off – we want to do a LOT. Gutenberg is opening a whole new playing field for us in terms of more in context, actionable feedback.”
Future versions of Yoast SEO will offer more features inline, instead of housing them in a single meta box.
“We started by breaking down all our features, and seeing where we could integrate them into Gutenberg,” de Valk said in a post outlining Yoast SEO’s planned approach back in October 2017. “We don’t think holding on to a single, massive box below the editor will best serve our customers. We’d much rather integrate right where the action happens, and Gutenberg offers us that chance.”
For example, readability analysis can be shown on a per-block basis to provide more fine-grained feedback:
“You’ll get actionable feedback in context,” de Valk said. “You don’t have to scroll down to a meta box to see the advice and scroll up again to the place where you should implement it. If we give feedback per block, you will get a better understanding of all the factors that influence SEO.”
The Yoast SEO team has been enthusiastic about what the Gutenberg era will bring to WordPress. In a recent Twitter thread, de Valk summarized his thoughts on the project and described the direction the Yoast SEO plugin is headed:
[I’ve] been thinking about Gutenberg more lately, as discussion about it is growing now that it’s near to WordPress core inclusion. What is most important in what we’re doing is something I think most people don’t see yet: The new ‘blocks’ that Gutenberg introduces allow us to, much more easily, make content items instead of web pages the smallest particle of the web.
Questions and answers, how to’s, recipes, suddenly all of them can much more easily have metadata, and be reused. This is particularly important to SEOs: the search engines, driven by voice search requirements, are searching for answers, more than for ‘just’ URLs to send traffic to, and blocks allow us to give them those answers, in a format both they and users can understand. While doing this, it allows us to keep the separation of content and design, something we definitely need to think more about.
With Gutenberg compatibility on its way from widely-used plugins like ACF and Yoast SEO, users can have confidence more plugins they depend on will follow suit. These major players are the first cracks in the ice across the ecosystem that will soon make Gutenberg-support the standard for any product that wants to compete.
de Valk encouraged users to look at the advent of Gutenberg as a door to new opportunities during this transition time.
“Gutenberg is not ‘done,’” de Valk said. “I think it’s ready to ship, but I also think it opens up a world of new opportunities and discussions. It’s not all ‘right’ yet either, so there will have to be changes as more people use it and get used to it. I do realize this is a drastic change in some ways. But it’s also not half as bad as people think it is. I have seen people use it for the first time, most people get used to it very quickly. Last but not least: you don’t have to switch now. The classic editor plugin exists for a reason. You can put off your switch for a year, or even two. But eventually I think everyone will see the power of the new editor and will switch.”