Yoast SEO 20.0 Introduces New Admin Interface

Yoast SEO version 20.0 was released today with a new admin settings interface that also reorganizes the menu to into four main sections: General, Content types, Categories and Tags, and Advanced.

In this update, the plugin did not add new features and settings but rather moved them to better match user workflows. The new sidebar menu should result in fewer clicks in accessing the most used settings.

The individual settings pages are also sporting the new design, which is lighter and brighter than the previous screens. With such a large number of settings to re-learn, Yoast SEO has also added a quick search to assist users in finding settings pages faster.

“We felt that the default WordPress admin design no longer suited us,” Yoast founder Joost de Valk said. “Our product team was itching to take our experience to the next level. WordPress’ interface was holding us back a bit, as the admin interface outside Gutenberg hasn’t progressed for years.”

The new settings UI was built with Yoast SEO’s React component library, which the company has open sourced and made available on its website.

Reaction to the new design was mostly positive, although some users are not keen on plugins building their own UI in the admin. If all plugins did this, the WordPress admin would become a wild buffet of disparate interfaces that add cognitive load to site management.

“It was… surprising so I’ll reserve real judgement until I use it a while,” WordPress developer Jon Brown said. “First impression though was ‘this needs an advanced mode that hides all the useless banner images and text and just goes back to a list with toggles.’ It’s pretty, but feels overwhelming.”

 The Yoast SEO plugin and the new settings UI work with WordPress version 6.0 or higher. Users who are struggling to adapt to the new settings pages can reference Yoast SEO’s documentation, which has a video and guide to navigating the new interface.


13 responses to “Yoast SEO 20.0 Introduces New Admin Interface”

  1. “this needs an advanced mode that hides all the useless banner images and text ”
    I used Yoast at one time. It sounds as if the one of the main reasons I left is that the admin area is my workspace. I do not need it filled with their advertising and other “stuff”.
    I also worried when pretty poor ratings for Yoast (after a time when it was full of coding experiments on its clients) seemed to change very rapidly.

    The good thing about WP is that there are quality options, and SEO plugins in WP has some very good alternatives.

    BTW, I just as an experiment. I did a google search for “Yoast WordPress”

    The first result after the paid ads is from something they had in 2010

    The #1 WordPress SEO plugin
    Yoast ·
    https://yoast.com › WordPress plugins
    10 Oct 2010 — Yoast SEO is the #1 WordPress SEO plugin. It handles the technical optimization of your site & assists with optimizing your content.

    I would want my SEO plugin, if I needed one, that is capable of getting & displaying better anchor text than something from 13 years ago.

    • I would want my SEO plugin, if I needed one, that is capable of getting & displaying better anchor text than something from 13 years ago.

      The date in Google applies to the date when a page is published. And yes, this page exists that long. In fact modifying the published date would be a bad practice.

      Also it’s the first organic result and the Title & description you see in Google’s result matches the exact input from Yoast.

  2. Not a user, but my instinct is to not appreciate having to relearn something that I have been used to using in a certain way.

    I often think ’change for change’s sake’ or ‘not broken, don’t fix’, but as I said, not a user so speaking/typing more as a general philosophy than a reaction to this specific situation.

    • I couldn’t agree more. That’s why we changed it. The old system was ‘broken’. Not in a way that the functionality didn’t work, but broken in the sense that it wasn’t on par with our users’ expectations.

      So what we fixed is making the menu much more intuitive, so that relearning working with Yoast SEO is the easiest we could make it.

  3. Hi,
    I agree that when every plugins has its own GUI, WordPress admin becoming bloated, the experience is consistent, and somehow quite invasive (emojis on admin toolbars, custom notice with gifs and animation everywhere etc).

    But the thing is that even WordPress isn’t consistent with itself: Gutenberg and Customize page are next gen, but the media uploader page ? A single black line on a grey background with a default box?
    It is obvious that Automatic is letting down some parts of WP admin. It could be way more fluid, use more ajax(lot of pages reload feel unnecessary, lots of plugins needs to be installed for simple admin tasks like having a fields here and there), less pages etc. I wish they switch a bit from site building a come back a bit to the actual core of CMS: content management (aka, admin pages).

    This is why plugin dev make their own things. Not ideal situation.

    Some plugins dev succeed to make good custom UI which doesnt feel too different like ACF. I don’t use Yoast but it is surely a good occasion to open the discussion about more advanced UI elements API for admin for developers.

  4. Overall, I feel that plugins making their custom UIs remains a necessary step if their features grow too much in complexity. I don’t like it either: the idea of feeling inside a new “system” when you open these pages.

    But the truth is, as many said here before, WordPress UI System is not that consistent either, which is why the Site Editor still feels a bit like a plugin (aka that “Gutenberg part”). And even considering the consistency that exists today in Admin components, they are – lets admit – limited. That’s why people end up creating their on sidepanels, tabs, search inputs, collapses, etc. In that sense, I feel like the Design team is doing a gorgeous work of evolving the Gutenberg-side UI components. I just hope that those can be unified in the future with the Admin, in a way that plugin developers can take more advantage of it. That’s why I got really excited when I first saw this experiments going on (check the latest video):


    This is a constant debate I have with my team in Tainacan because part of our “feature” is to have a dedicated UI, more thought for users. But in the end, I’m still dreaming of the day that we can be more integrated with the WordPress Admin.

  5. There is an excellent plugin which disables the bloat in Yoast. I really hope they keep it up. The new interface is a bit cumbersome to use. I did see one very nice thing as you paste the verification meta for GSC it strips the unnecessary code, it will save me all of 2 seconds per site

  6. I think this is an improvement, though it will take some getting used to.

    This is a tough call for plugin authors. The WordPress admin is so dated – I can’t blame anyone for wanting to build their own UI.

    But eventually I’d love to see an improved native UI and some guidelines for developers to follow. Everything inside the dashboard is too piecemeal.

  7. “Reaction to the new design was mostly positive, although some users are not keen on plugins building their own UI in the admin.“

    I think one of the issues Yoast or any plugin developer runs into is that the WordPress UI itself has a lot of inconsistencies if you compare the Site Editor and Block Editor with older screens like Settings or Categories. I feel like developers are almost forced to create their own UI.

  8. UI inside another UI. It’s time for the WordPress to build a new clean and streamlined dashboard where plugins have their one and only dedicated place for their menus and another place for all notifications banners etc, all controllable. It’s totally bloated and totally out of sync with reality at the moment. WordPress needs a way just like Linux, MacOS, Windows, Android and iOS to hide all the notifications under one place.


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