Get Traffic with These Simple Site Optimizations Straight from Joost de Valk, SEO Whisperer

July 20, 2016

Get traffic

Are you trying to get traffic to your blog but not getting much results?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is something every blogger should practice, yet many don’t know where to begin.

If you’re still trying to figure out what SEO even means, you’re not alone.

On this podcast Joost uses simple terms any newbie can understand. Want to get traffic to your blog in just a few minutes of your time per blog post? Check out this episode of The Blog Chronicles, where I chat with SEO Expert Joost de Valk.

“Joost” is pronounced “Yoast” in English, as Mr. de Valk lives in the Netherlands. Yet the name Yoast is widely known in the U.S. and around the globe by bloggers and people in the SEO business.

You see, Joost developed a WordPress Plugin called Yoast SEO only a few years ago. This tool is so simple to use and so powerfully helpful for bloggers both new and experienced that this plugin is now being used in over 5 million websites!

I had the privilege to sit down and chat with Joost de Valk about SEO and as a longtime user of his WP plugin, I wanted to dig deeper into this amazing tool and find out why it works so well.

Google is a mysterious beast. Most people don’t understand why some pages show up on the first page of search results while others are buried so deep nobody ever finds them.

How can a blogger help Google find their posts? How can a newbie blogger get Google traffic to their website (for free?)

Find out how to get traffic from the experienced wisdom of Joost de Valk on this episode of The Blog Chronicles!

You can listen and watch the video podcast (I’ve included some helpful visuals on the video) or you can read the interview transcript.

Let me know what you think in the comments!


I’m about to get better at SEO thanks to Joost de Valk!

Get Traffic with Joost de Valk [Video Podcast Interview]

Joost de Valk – Interview Transcript

(For those who like to read.)

To Help You Get Traffic, Let’s Meet Joost de Valk from Yoast SEO.


Welcome to a new chapter in The Blog Chronicles.

Hello and welcome to The Blog Chronicles podcast, I am your Host Matthew Loomis, owner of Build Your Own Blog dot net – a full service destination for anyone wanting to start a new WordPress blog and achieve long-term online success.

On this episode we are going to be talking about Search Engine Optimization, a topic that many new bloggers are either unfamiliar with or they find their eyes glazing over when the topic comes up because SEO can sound rather boring and complicated at times. Let me tell you, learning ways to get traffic to your site doesn’t have to be like that. SEO can be fun if you have a powerful tool at your fingertips to help you cover all the basis in just a few minutes of your time.

That’s the purpose of today’s podcast. My guest today happens to be one of the top SEO experts on the planet and not only is he generous with his knowledge, you will also be introduced to a fantastic tool he created which helps you get traffic by making it easy to apply search engine optimization to your blog posts.

Don’t worry, there is a free version of this tool available. Here’s the thing, a balanced practical approach to SEO can bring your blog dramatic increases in your website traffic. You just need to understand some of the basics to SEO which isn’t as complicated as you might think. You do want to get traffic to your website, right?

Okay. so drum roll please…. Ta Daaaaaaaaaa!!!! …. My guest today is Joost de Valk, he is the creator of a WordPress plugin called Yoast SEO for WordPress. This tool makes search engine optimization simple and easy to perform. Joost de Valk created this plugin four years ago and it is now being used on over five-million websites. (Wow)

With over five-million websites using this WordPress plugin, there’s got to be a reason why so many people like it. Folks must be concluding that it helps them get traffic.

From my years of experience at using it, I can tell you firsthand how simple the Yoast SEO plugin is to operate.

Joost de Valk himself was the original developer and in my opinion, his ability to breakdown SEO into simple terms and teach newbie bloggers how to get traffic is why his company Yoast SEO has taken off and grown into thirty employees.

Joost’s expertise at knowing how Google works and what makes a blog post stand out in search engines is why I wanted to introduce him to you on this show.

Are you ready to get traffic?

It’s time to add Joost de Valk’s story to The Blog Chronicles.

Matthew: Hiya Joost, welcome to the show.

Joost: Hey, thanks for having me.

What Is Search Engine Optimization?

Matthew: You know, many bloggers starting out, hear the term SEO or search engine optimization, but they only have a vague idea of what it is and what it’s about and they don’t have a clue what to do with SEO to help them get traffic.

So I want to start out by asking you as one of the worlds best known search engine optimization experts, how do you define SEO?

Joost: It’s basically everything you do to increase your ranking in what we call, organic search in the free non page search results. We usually define it in three different areas; that’s technical optimization of your site, content optimization on your site and the offsite SEO which is mostly link building, as in getting people to link to your website, that’s talking about you.

Those three areas together basically make up SEO and depending on which niche search you’re in, they have different problems and issues and challenges and in some cases you’ll have to do a lot of link building, in other cases you won’t need that many links, you’ll just need a very good site etcetera… etcetera.

So it’s a combination of those three and which ever tactic you need to apply from all the tactics that are available for those three which really depends on what ever niche you’re in.

How Does the Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin Help You Get Traffic?

Matthew: Okay, so your Yoast SEO WordPress plugin helps us do that, right?

Joost: Well, it helps doing two to three things; so we do common optimization, which we try to aim people at most and we try to take away all the technical optimization that people need to do. So we try to solve that so transparently that people don’t even notice that we’re doing that. Which funnily enough happens so often now that we can actually start telling people what our plugin actually does.

We take care of pretty much all the technical optimization that can be done and at that point try and help you through our Yoast SEO content analysis, to improve your writing and to improve how well optimized your copy is for a specific keyword.

So it’s those two combined that help people get better rankings.

I always tell people that SEO stands for “seriously effortful optimization”, because just installing a plugin, is not going to get you anywhere.

Matthew: Right.

Joost: You’re really going to have to do some work.

What Makes this Plugin So Great?

Matthew: Right, and that’s what I want to focus on today is using your plugin, because I have been a user for years and I think it’s awesome, and I want to ask you, why is this plugin so awesome? I say that as a long time user… what makes it so great?

Joost: Well, what I think makes it great is exactly what we really try to do is that we solve everything we can without bothering you and then helping you optimize your content to the max, while we are giving you a lot of options to change things, should you want to.

We are getting more and more to the point where we are so sure that our default settings are at the best possible option. We are hiding more and more options because people can only shoot themselves in the foot.

We are focusing more on doing all the technical stuff right automatically and helping you write better content, helping you optimize your content better as our main point of focus.

What New Features Are There In the Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin?

Matthew: Okay. So, on March the 1st of this year, the latest version of Yoast SEO 3.1 was released. This up-date had a new feature that allows you to set primary categories for your posts, can you tell us a little more about them?

Joost: Yeah, absolutely. It’s not the latest by the way, I think we’re at 3.3.4 by now. We’re doing a lot of releases we’ve grown our team quiet a bit so we are rapidly developing…

Matthew: Ahhhhhh okay.

Joost: But primary category is a method. So, we have bread crumbs in Yoast SEO we allow you to use and one of the annoying things about bread crumbs and URL’S in which you have your category, was that you could never set which category showed up in that URL.

You could never set which category showed up in that bread crumb because you could select three or four categories and one would be in the bread crumb and one would be in the URL and it would seem totally random.

Because we at Yoast use both rather extensively ourselves, so it was okay I need a way to determine a ”primary category” so that I could say this is a way to determine this category and even if a post is in two categories and really belongs in two categories, I still get to choose one.

So I get to control what the user sees as the category in which that post belongs etcetera.

It’s basically a bit of control, it was something that I actually thought was lacking in core. We actually call it a taxtonomy in core, which is actually when I say core, I mean WordPress Core, sorry. So, a category we call a taxonomy and a taxonomy is actually a term that comes from biology, but the funny thing is that, in biology you can never be in two groups.

You’re either X or Y you’re not both.

Matthew: Yeah right, so you can either be a mammal or a reptile, right?

Joost: Yeah, you might be very close or you might be somewhere in the middle between two, but you’d still be either a mammal or a reptile and you’d be somewhere on that scale, but you’d still have to have a primary thing. We added that and we tried to do it so subtly, so that we could move into core at some point should core want to do that.

Matthew: It sounds very interesting, I ‘ll have to dig more into that new feature there.

Now I want to get into some other things about the plugin. Many listeners to this podcast are brand new to blogging, so they don’t have any grasp as to how SEO has changed over the years, which is probably a good thing.

Joost: Yes.

Does Keyword Density Still Help You Get Traffic?

Matthew: No need to get into all those changes, so I do want to ask you about keyword density.

Now, I know you are aware that today a lot of the conventional SEO wisdom is that; keyword density isn’t that of a bigger deal now to get traffic, at least that’s my impression.

It’s been de-emphasized a lot, many experts have been saying that for three-years now, that Google will penalize you for practicing what is know as ”keyword stuffing” – which is putting your keyword on the page as often as possible. That obviously makes some terrible reading for the consumers.

I have noticed that Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin continues to factor in keyword density as a means to get traffic. You obviously think that keyword density is still relevant to get traffic. Can you talk about that, why do you still factor in keyword density?

Joost: Well simply because keywords still matter to get traffic we have changed what we considered keyword stuffing to be quite a bit. Up until I think like two years ago, you could write-up to a height of  about five-percent keyword density and still give you what we call a green bullet.

We give you scores of green, orange and red. Green is good of course, that changed dramatically I think it’s down to three-percent now which I still think is fairly high.

The thing is that, it’s still hard for most terms to be found for that term if the term is not on your page, so if you know that, that is the case; then it becomes a matter of – my keyword density shouldn’t be too high.

Google wants to see some synonyms and other things, but it still needs to see the keyword density… so there is no such thing as an ideal keyword density to get traffic, I think.

But, I have seen posts where we increase the keyword density a bit and it changed our rankings. So it does still have an effect, it’s just not the same as it used to be in the past and when you go over-board it actually becomes a negative issue.

Matthew: There’s no magic number where you’ve crossed the line and gone too far?

Joost: No, no, I wish there was… but on the other hand I am very happy that life is not that simple.

Matthew: Right.

Joost: So it’s very tough. It’s very tough to determine what good and bad is, also very language dependent. I found that a lower key density in English is less of a problem than a lower key density in a language for instance Dutch, which is my own native language.

Because Google is just pretty bad at Dutch, so it does know many synonyms, so it doesn’t have the same strength  at actually determining what content is about.

Also probably because there are only seventeen-million Dutch people in the world and there’s only about like thirty-million people in the world that even speak Dutch, or let alone write in it.

So the corporates in which Google searches for the synonyms of words, is way, way smaller than it is in English.

Matthew: Oh, interesting.

Joost: So these things differ and basically require you to play with them.

But I think we give you a green bullet at 0.5 percent keyword density now. Which means if you want to rank for a specific word and you are not mentioning that word once every two-hundred words. Then maybe you shouldn’t be ranking for that word.

Matthew: Interesting, once every two-hundred words?

Joost: Yeah, I mean that’s pretty doable, isn’t it?

Matthew: That sounds doable, yeah and it’s still good to read.

Joost: Yeah, yeah absolutely and in Yoast SEO premium we’ve added a feature for multiple keywords. So you can do synonyms and check the keyword density for a couple of synonyms.

We’re actually looking at, can we combine the keyword density when we know that there are synonyms. The only problem is that we never send away your content, so your content always stays in your site and we do the analysis in your browser.

So doing things like synonyms analysis is actually pretty hard because we don’t have the luxury of calling external API’s. So there are ways of playing with that.

What Is An API?

Matthew: Can you quickly say what an API is?

Joost: Yeah, an API would be a service running at Google or somewhere else where you could get data about your keywords or anything else that you could use in the analysis of your content.

So actually what a lot of old plugins do is send your data to one-arm multiple services and use those services to analyze your content.

We do all of that analysis in your browser and keep all your old content on your own site, because we are European and we have a different opinion about privacy than other people, it seems.

Is the SEO Title Tag More Important Than the Post Title to Get Traffic? (a.k.a. H1 Title)

Matthew: Okay, yeah it’s a really amazing tool for people like me that are not experts in SEO, It’s really helpful.

I think I already know the answer to this next question, but I want the new bloggers to hear this from you directly.

So my question is; to help your blog post rank higher with search engines; To get traffic which is more important and why? The SEO title tag or the post title?

Joost: The SEO title tag, but… but, both are important, I would implore you to use the keyword that you want to rank for in both.

And they are also slightly different beasts.

The SEO title tag is the title that people will see in the search results and it can be slightly longer than your average title tag or post title on a blog will be, because you’ve got a bit more space.

Matthew: To get traffic I could see where naturally someone might think that could be more important because that’s where you start, right?

Joost: It is, well it is the place where you entice your reader to click on that result and come to your site. It is also one of the most important ranking factors in Google still.

It still determines what you’re confident about by looking at the title of your content, which is not very weird. If you would go to a library, you would judge a book by it’s cover as well.

So it’s very important because of that. The thing is, it’s very important to entice your reader to click and that they land on a good page.

Once you’ve done that, once you’ve reached that they’ve clicked to you –  you actually get your second challenge, which is making sure that people stay on your site.

If they bounce back to the search results immediately and they go to your site think, ”ah this isn’t it” and go back. Then you’ve actually lost something too and if that happens too much then Google will devalue your rankings.

So the title on the page itself is also very important, because it should entice people to keep on reading and it should make them feel validated in, ”I’ve clicked the right result”.

Matthew: Yeah, absolutely, but as far as actual pleasing the robots – the SEO title tag is more important.

Joost: It is way more important, yes.

What Is a Meta Description?

Matthew: Okay, that’s good to know. So for the sake of time let me go onto the ”meta description”. Can you explain what this is and I’d like to pick your brain on what makes a fantastic meta description.

Do you reckon using the keyword more that once in the meta description, what are some other things to think about when you’re writing a meta description?

How Effective Does the Meta Description Get Traffic?

Joost: Okay, so a meta description is the text that you could have show up in the search results when people search for a keyword that you rank for.

Now, there are a couple of reasons why a meta description may or may not show up, most important reason is that; does the keyword that the searchers search for, does that appear in your meta description and is your meta description the best match for their search phrase in your content?

So, basically it should be a very enticing piece of text, that will make people understand what your post is about and why they should click on and read that post.

Google say’s mostly, publicly that they don’t use it for ranking, so it’s not a direct ranking factor. So whether you use your keyword in there,; once twice; whatever, it really doesn’t matter that much.

What’s way more important is that, that description, actually helps people understand why they should click onto your site. It should make them feel validated at one stage and once they’ve reached that and once they click-through and that they have actually clicked on a result that they have understood. I

t’s a copywriting thing, it’s a thing to do well in copywriting more than in optimizing it to the fullest ratio.

Matthew: But, doesn’t the plugin still tell you or give you a red dot if you don’t have the keyword in the meta description?

Joost: It does, because if you don’t have the keyword in the meta description, then the chance of your meta description showing up when you search for that focus keyword is practically zero.

Matthew: Ahhh, oh I see, okay.

Joost: So, otherwise you might as well not write a meta description.

Matthew: But, then you said… and I’m just trying to get clarified in my mind…  You said then it’s not really that important.

Joost: Right, yes it’s not important whether you mentioned it once or more than once.

Matthew: Oh, okay, so it’s just the frequency.

Joost: Yes, the frequency doesn’t matter, but if you want it to show up for a term, then that term should be in there.

Matthew: Oh, okay, got it.


Matthew: Your name is Joost, right?

Joost: Yes, it is.

Matthew: It took me a while to reprogram. I knew you had this business called Yoast, but still as a silly American I thought your name was  J o o s t, so… (laughs)

Joost: Yeah, you wouldn’t be the first to introduce me as  J o o s t  from Yoast, which is always hilariously funny for everyone I work with. (laughs)

Social Tags versus Search Title Tags

Matthew: Now speaking of meta descriptions, when I create a post, I tend to take the meta description I write under the general tab in the plugin, and I copy it and I go to the social tab and I paste it in the Facebook and Google+ descriptions. Joost, do you recommend treating the social title tags differently than the search title tags, to save time or is it okay to use the same one in all places?

Joost: It depends a bit on your audience. I would probably say that in most cases, it’s probably okay if you use the same ones on most platforms. I honestly don’t care about Google+ anymore… but I do care a lot about Facebook and about Twitter.

There’s a couple of things to keep in mind there; first of all, if you don’t copy it to the Facebook description, I think these days Facebook will automatically pick up your meta description. So I don’t even think you’d need to copy it per say, but I’d need to check on that.

Matthew: Okay, right.

Joost: Secondly, in many cases we do write different titles for Facebook, because getting people to click on Facebook, is an entirely different thing than getting people to click when searching for a different concept…

Matthew: Mm mm, that’s true.

Joost: Because they’re in a very different mode when they are on Facebook, than when they are browsing or searching for a specific topic.

So then it’s whether your browsing and it comes across as whether your friends liked it, your reasons for clicking on that URL might be very different than it would be in search, but it really depends on your niche and what you write about and what type of visitors you have etcetera.

Matthew: I would say that you have a little bit of a better picture to have your audience in social versus search, so that might help get traffic, right?

Joost: You’d hope so…

Matthew: Yeah.

Joost: But at the same time, your audience in social is far broader and your audiences search is far more targeted.

Matthew: Yeah, that’s true, yes.

Joost: Because they are searching… if they come to a search result that you’re ranked on, then they are searching for something that you have to offer.

Matthew: Yeah, that’s a good point.

Joost: Regardless of the fact that, that social is driving tons and tons of traffic to a lot of sites. For most of the sites I’ve worked on, search is still by far the biggest refer.

It’s also way more important to optimize for search than for most sites that it is to optimize for social.

Matthew: Right, I’m glad you clarified that and brought that up, that’s something that new bloggers need to understand.

Joost: Yeah, yeah absolutely. It’s very easy to focus on Facebook and Twitter…

Matthew: Yeah, right.

Joost: And they have different purposes, because through Facebook and Twitter, people can find out about you, even when they are not searching for you.

Matthew: Right.

Joost: So, it has a different purpose, but if you have something that people are searching for, then search will almost always drive more relevant traffic than anything else.

Long or Short Content?

Matthew: Yeah, yeah good stuff. Moving on to the next topic, I wanted to ask you Joost and we all want to know this; To get traffic: long content or short content?

Users of your plugin know that content has at least three-hundred words, but after that what is better for SEO – five-hundred words or five-thousand?

Joost: (Big sigh) You’re going to hate me for this… It depends, I honestly like long articles, but at the same time five-thousands words is a lot. I have written some guides myself in the last few months that were twenty-five-hundred words, that were beastly long.

So as soon as you start doing that, you have to do very well at structuring your text, giving people a table of contents for your article etcetera. I mean you are practically writing a book at that point.

Matthew: Right.

Joost: So the question is – what question are you trying to answer with your article? If you can answer that in five-hundred words, then by all means answer that in five-hundred words.

If you can make sure that your article is the ultimate article about a specific topic, by writing a fifteen-hundred or twenty-five-hundred word article, well then by all means do.

You should also spend enough time then promoting that content, so that other people know that you have written that awesome thing.

Matthew: I’ve heard people say that like these epic mega posts are more pleasing to the spiders… the Google spiders, the crawlers and so that helps get traffic to your site. Is that true?

Joost: Sigh… No.

Matthew: Okay. (laughs)

Joost: In a way, spiders like long-term content, because they have a lot of context, but the reason why we have that three-hundred word limit in there is because at some point we needed to set a limit.

We know that a spider needs a little context to understand what a page is about. Three-hundred words or thereabout is probably what the minimum of that is.

If you give it five-thousand words and you want to rank for a specific term, which is a fine thing to try. Then that content needs to be so focused around that topic, that is slightly harder to do that well, because even if you’re doing like a five-thousand word article, you’re only going for a zero-point-five-percent keyword density.

That would still mean that you would have to mention the keyword like twenty-five times in different spots.

Matthew: Yeah, right.

Joost: One of the things we are actually looking at doing is whether we can analyse where you can mention the keyword in one specific bid of your content, and you know not properly spread out way across your content

Matthew: Okay.

Joost: If you have a five-thousand word article and you only mentioned your keyword in the beginning of your first four paragraphs, then why would Google send someone there?

Matthew: Yeah, right absolutely. I think a lot of listeners are breathing a sigh of relief now actually. (laughs)

Joost: (laughs) Yeah. So I’m not telling you to write five-thousand word articles, please don’t!

How Important Are the Advanced Settings In the Plugin?

Matthew: Okay, absolutely will make a note of that. (laughs) So in your plugin, you have an advanced tab that brings up somethings like meta robots index and HTML sitemaps. How important is the advanced settings for the average blogger to get traffic?

Joost: Not.

Matthew: Okay.

Joost: I think some of those are actually gone already and we are removing more and more.

Matthew: Okay.

Joost: Also because Google is being more honest about it and whether they’re using specific tabs, yes or no. So we add an XML sitemap priority and frequency thing in there and Google has openly said, ”we don’t actually use priority and frequency sites on a couple of million pages”, and so we are removing it from our plugin entirely.

Matthew: Oh, you’re going to remove it entirely? Okay.

Joost: Yeah.

Matthew: I was going to ask if someone was interested, is there a place where they can go?

Joost: Well they can filter it programmatically.

But to be honest I’ve done some pretty darn big sites.

I’ve worked for The Guardian and I’ve worked for eBay and I have done SEO on some of the largest properties on the planet and I have never been able to determine any relationship between Google indexing stuff and the priority of frequency on the XML sitemap.

Matthew: Okay. (laughs)

Joost: (laughs) So lets not come out and say we don’t actually use that for small sites. There’s actually sections of the web where they use it, but those sections are usually not run on WordPress.

How To Add Yoast SEO Plugin to Get Traffic

Matthew: Oh, okay well great, that’s another sigh of relief, right? For the new bloggers.

So what’s the best way for a new blogger to add your plugin, your Yoast SEO plugin?

Joost: So go into your WordPress install – go to plugins – add new – search for Yoast SEO – hit enter – you’ll see your Yoast SEO as a plugin on number one rule as well, (if not well then the stuff is broken) and then –  hit install and activate and start playing.

Matthew: Yeah I offer a video that shows people how to install plugins. So if you haven’t checked that out yet, do that and it’s real easy.

Joost: Yeah, it’s fairly easy and I mean it’s one of the most installed WordPress plugins on the planet for a reason.

Matthew: Right, it’s very, very easy really.

Joost: Yip!

Affiliate Program

Matthew: I’m just curious, does Yoast SEO have an affiliate program for any of your products?

Joost: Yes we do. We are actually changing some of that. We used to have an invite only in the affiliate program, for specific friends and family.

We are changing that and that will be over the course of  probably the end of August, where we will be opening up slightly more.

We are rather picky though, because we don’t like people spamming.

Matthew: Yeah, absolutely.

Joost: So as we try to keep the web a bit cleaner, we also try to… well, do the best things we can do ourselves.

Matthew: Yeah, so if someone like me is interested, what could they do?

Joost: Send an e-mail to: info at yoast seo dot com and we’ll let you know as soon as the new program is up.

Are There Any New Tools and Programs You’ll be Offering Soon?

Matthew: Okay, sounds great. Are there any exciting new tools or educational programs that you’ll be offering in the near future?

Joost: Well, yeah we’ve actually just released an SEO copywriting course, about a month ago now. Which I think is awesome.

We spend a lot of time…  especially my wife has spent a lot of time researching on like, what is really good copywriting and how does SEO come into that and where do these two meet.

We have been improving Yoast SEO a bit on readability sites, so we’ve added things like passive voice and the sentences that are too long and things like that.

We have actually hired a linguist to do research into what makes more readable content, and took what she found out in her research and put that into code.

So we are moving slowly moving into the direction of, not just helping you optimize your content, but helping you write more readable content. That’s a feature you can disable if you think we’re being annoying. But we find it actually helps a lot of people write content that’s easier to consume, both for search engines and for users.

Okay so lets see; so we have SEO copywriting course, we’re planning more courses, but that will be a slight bit before that comes up.

By the end of the year nearer to December we’ll have a technical SEO course coming up, but that’ll really be aimed at marketers that need to learn the technical side more or developers that need to learn how a SEO works.

That might not be for your average blogger.

For your average blogger we do have a basic SEO course, a SEO copywriting course and the Yoast SEO course for WordPress. That actually teaches you all the apps for the plugin and ways to get traffic.

So there are actually a few things that we have there that you could take advantage of if you want to get traffic.

Yoast SEO Domain

Matthew: That sounds great and what’s your domain?

Joost: Yoast dot com

How Has Blogging Changed Joost’s Life?

Matthew: That’s awesome. If you have another minute, I want to close with a question that I ask all my guests and this is a little bit more broad, but when it comes to the whole blogging phenomenon, Joost how has blogging changed your life?

Joost: Well, completely!

I started blogging in 2003,  although I’d been on the web for I think a decade by that time already.

When I really started blogging I started really quickly blogging SEO about CSS3 which I was working on a lot a the time which is a web standard which most people will never hear about and I would be glad you wouldn’t want to.

When I started blogging about that I immediately made new friends, I got invited to speak at conferences etcetera.

This was in the early days, when blogging was still very ”hot” and there was no Twitter and yeah well…

It changed my life. I mean, from a blog group became a plugin, because I was now optimizing my own blog that plugin became the basis for what now is the company Yoast.

I was a consultant back then, but now I’m a small business owner. We are closing in on fifty people at Yoast and up.

Matthew: Wow.

Joost: It’s ridiculous when you see the numbers. You look at almost five-million websites in the world using our software. You look at the top one-million sites in the world over ten-percent of them are using our software to get traffic.

I mean, those numbers are ridiculous and that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t start blogging.

Matthew: Yeah, yeah. You’re an amazing entrepreneurial success story for sure.

Joost: Yeah and a lot of luck in there too.(laughs)

Yeah well, anyone that says they can do this sort of thing without being ”lucky” is lying.

Matthew: Are you ever going to write a memoir of your life, you know, your story?

Joost: We’ll I am thirty-four, so it is a bit too early for that.(laughs)

Matthew: (laughs) That’s true, you got a lot more chapters ahead.

Joost: Yeah, absolutley.

Matthew: Awesome! Well Joost, thank you for joining us today, this has been really helpful.

Joost: My pleasure. Good, well enjoy Matt and good luck with your show.

Matthew: Thank you so much.

Joost: Okay, cheers.

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The Blog Chronicles. If you enjoy the show please subscribe on YouTube or iTunes and leave a rating or a review to help other bloggers find us.

If you want to chat, look me up on Twitter @mattloomis.

In the next episode we’ll be talking with Jesse Wisnewski VP of marketing for Lucid Books, where he will share six reasons why you should write that book you’ve been thinking about.

Why becoming an author takes your blog to another level and we will also discuss the ways a busy person like you can get your book done.

So if you want to get’er done, I’ll see you next time on The Blog Chronicles.

Great podcast about SEO with Joost de Valk of Yoast SEO fame!

Show Notes

Follow Joost de Valk on Twitter

Follow Joost de Valk on Facebook

Yoast SEO for WordPress Plugin

Yoast SEO Online Training (SEO Copywriting, Basic SEO, Yoast SEO Plugin)


Author Bio:

Matthew Kaboomis Loomis is the owner of Build Your Own Blog. Connect with him on Google+ and Twitter


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Alex Whalley says:    •   3 years

    While I love the Yoast plugin and think Joost has single handedly put easy wordpress SEO within reach of the masses, I think the generic approach is at the detriment of more experienced SEO’rs
    What I mean is that I often show my backend (sniggers) to my not so experienced friends and enjoy seeing the look on their face when they see that 75% of my posts are apparently in the red for poor SEO.
    This is because I either don’t specifiy a keyword, or of course the optimising of the content does not agree with the simple instructions Yoast has been given with regards to scoring me.
    My point is that while I think Yoast is effective and great for beginners, I think its more annoying as your skills improved.
    That being said, there are some things Yoast does (like Schema Markup – HOLY SHIT HOW GOOD IS THAT LITTLE ADDITION JOOST!?!) that make the tool a must have when installing a new WordPress site.

    I would be interested to know what Joost’s take is on the fact that the value of ‘keywords’ has dropped so significantly over the years. Where as the anchor and keywords provided Google with the framework with which to index and catalogue the page, now its more a case of clicktrails and social signals that give Google the framework. Where in this new ranking algorithm does the Yoast ‘Focus Keyword’ come into play and what impacts is the move away from ‘keywords’ having on the use of the plugin amongst the million plus users?

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   3 years Author

      Hi Alex,

      The vast majority of the Build Your Own Blog audience are beginners, so that’s why I knew Joost would make a great guest. He has a knack for helping inexperienced folks grasp SEO and get started doing it. His plugin is made for newbies and that’s what this site is all about.

      That being said I also believe in helping folks succeed over the long haul. Do you have any published posts on SEO that we could check out? Your link here doesn’t seem to work for some reason.

      In the interview I asked him about keyword density. That would have been interesting to get his take on keyword “value” although we did touch on that and he says keywords are still “relevant” and “Important.” I wish I could have gotten your questions ahead of time. Now that we’re connected, I like to go on social and give folks a heads up on upcoming podcasts and I ask people to submit questions. I hope you’ll do that in the future. 🙂

      Great meeting you, Alex! Glad you connected again with Ryan Biddulph here as well.

      Keep in touch,


  2. Jean-Paul Schollaert says:    •   3 years

    Hi Matthew (and Joost)
    Great interview! (I read the transcription…) My blog is not online yet, but I wrote already about ten posts using the Yoast SEO plugin, and I found it very useful and super handy. It was very interesting to “hear” some more explanation about the plugin in particular and about SEO in general. Maybe the sometimes difficult issues in this conversation can discourage the beginning blogger, but believe me, the plugin is very simple and clear to use. It’s like a virtual teacher that holds your hand and leads you to better written tags (regarding the length of it), better (meta) descriptions and the most important of all: content that is more readable.
    Keep up the good work, Matthew, and the same for Joost (who lives “next to me” – I’m from Belgium…)

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   3 years Author

      Hi Jean-Paul,

      Thank you for sharing your testimony here on using the Yoast SEO plugin. This handy tool is simple to use, for sure. Glad you enjoyed our conversation in general.
      You are doing a good thing by having a bunch of posts ready when you launch. So when you start promoting, people will find not one article but at least 10, which is great.

      You’re off to a great start it sounds like. Let me know how things are going after you launch.

      Always good to hear from Belgium. 🙂


  3. Jean-Paul Schollaert says:    •   3 years

    Hi Matthew
    To be honest: the idea is to post about 4 posts when I launch. The rest is a reserve to avoid too much stress in the beginning. Of course, ten would be better (with ten more as a reserve…!), but my articles take a little more time than usually. I have to translate them into English from Dutch (it’s a bilingual site), and I make the illustrations myself which take, especially in the beginning, some time. For those same reasons, I will post only every two weeks instead of every week and see how things go. It will also give me enough time to continue the preparation of a book that I was working on for some time until the idea of a blog came… That was about a year ago, so… it’s time to launch soon…!
    I sure will let you know how things are going after launch.

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   3 years Author

      Impressed how organized and forward thinking you are, Jean-Paul. Keep it up and keep me posted! 🙂


  4. David Scheschy says:    •   3 years


    This interview was very informative. I immediately downloaded the Yoast SEO plug-in and and installed it.

    Great work!


    David Scheschy

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   3 years Author

      Thanks David. The plugin will train you think about SEO without thinking too much. 😉 Great plugin.


  5. Paul Bola says:    •   3 years

    Matthew thanks for bringing Joost at your blogging platform. Your conversation has cleared many doubts other than this I got clarity on Many topics that I was doing wrong. Still I want to know is it right to stuff keywords into Meta Title and Meta Descriptions, because google does not allow keyword stuffing.

  6. Eden Fried says:    •   3 years

    I’m a huge yoast fan. When SEO was an unknown acronym to me back in the day, it helped me out quite a bit with tackling the basic on-page SEO tasks. Thanks for this podcast – I read the transcription. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   3 years Author

      Hi Eden,

      Yep, the YOAST SEO plugin is quite helpful for newbies. Glad you liked this interview with Joost.

      How did you find it?


      1. Eden Fried says:    •   3 years

        I saw you contributing on another site and hopped over to your site to check out your stuff! 🙂

        1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   3 years Author

          Well cool beans, Eden!

          Keep us posted on how things are going.