Yoast SEO 8.0 Introduces Gutenberg Sidebar Integration, Revamps Classic Editor Meta Box

Yoast SEO 8.0, featuring the plugin’s first pass at integrating with the Gutenberg interface. This major update also revamps the classic editor’s meta box for those who do not have the Gutenberg plugin installed.

In the past, the Yoast SEO meta box was displayed below the post editor. In the Gutenberg UI, the meta box has been redesigned to fit in the sidebar. Those testing Gutenberg will also temporarily find an additional meta box below the post, as the Yoast team has not yet added all optimizations to both yet. In the future, users will have the option to choose between the two.

The updated design displays individual optimizations in collapsible panels with colored smiley face indicators for feedback at a glance. The snippet preview and social previews feature can still be found in the meta box below the post editor. They will be integrated more tightly into the Gutenberg UI in a future round of updates.

image credit: Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO 8.0 also brings some of the meta box UI improvements to the one displayed in the classic editor. It organizes all of the Yoast SEO tools into collapsible panels for a look that is cleaner than the tabs found in the previous UI.

Version 8.0 is the first step towards Gutenberg integration. The Yoast SEO team is working on using modals to display previews for snippets and social posts from the sidebar so the interface isn’t split across two meta boxes. Users will eventually have the option to toggle either meta box display option into view, including those who are using the classic editor. The team is also working on allowing users to create blocks with the correct structured data automatically attached for things like books, recipes, products, and other specific content types.

WordPress.org has a handful of popular SEO plugins and Yoast SEO is currently leading the pack when it comes to integration with the Gutenberg UI. In a recent support thread, All in One SEO Pack creator Michael Torbert said his plugin is “compatible with Gutenberg and will be getting new features to work with it in time.” Torbert doesn’t have full Gutenberg integration assigned to a milestone on GitHub yet.

The SEO Framework, another SEO plugin growing in popularity, appears to be in the same boat if GitHub activity is any indication. The plugin’s author, Sybre Waaijer, has discussed the possibility of inserting the meta box into the Gutenberg sidebar, similar to the Yoast implementation.

19 Comments


  1. Seems very impressive. I am sure all SEO people will be excited that they have 23.5 pixels to do their work when they have 235 in the classic editor.

    Non SEO people will also be excited with the inability to hide the SEO junk.

    (to be fair I will give it a try, maybe there is something more that is not apparent from the images, but I expected much more from someone that was involved with gutenberg since day 1. If this is what Yoast with his resources can do I fear what will less knowledgeable plugin authors will produce.

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    1. Very valid points and I fully agree.

      Not being able to hide additional sidebars, “boxes” whatever in “Gutenberg” is another big disadvantage over the current (Classic) Editor.

      A LOT of users actually use the “Screen Options” to make their edit screen a custom experience. This is not possible with “Gutenberg”.

      I hear Gutenberg’s propaganda team screaming at me: “you can customize the experience via plugins or your theme” — No. I don’t want that. WordPress always had some things to customize the edit screen out of the box and Gutenberg takes away this absolutely useful and necessary feature.

      A lot of users are already experiencing information overload in the Dashboard for new installs: Default welcome panel, Gutenberg callout panel, Privacy options pointer (popup) etc.. This is beating in the face of the user already.

      And if they try Gutenberg they are beaten with so many options – but cannot even customize this experience in way that would make sense.

      Also the searching for blocks etc. is a disaster still. I try to edit posts, pages etc. with Gutenberg every week to test out and do typical tasks my client do. Every single time I want to run away after 5 minutes or so. The most things in current “Gutenberg” just make no sense at all.

      I already see a lot of (power) users finding a renewed love for the thing called “Classic Editor” and I guess this trend will continue if the user base is constantly being ignored.

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    2. You must be really fun at parties man..

      Think of this as the start of building in Gutenberg, for a fact I guess the Yoast team is rewriting a lot of their code to make it word with ALL the different blocks instead of just 1 content area and some (custom) meta fields.
      For a fact, I certainly know the Yoast team will make something good from it. Since they are te first (and only?) big SEO tool that actually IS integrating with the Gutenberg editor.

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      1. Maybe some careful reading of what I said will prevent the need to put words in my mouth. I said it is disappointing because they had more than a year to provide something and all they have done is this.

        I already spotted how other plugins are integrating with GB…. they just put everything that used to be in a meta box into a block, whether it has anything to do with content or not. I kinda expected Yoast to lead the way but seems like they also gone for the easiest path.

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      2. Think of this as the start of building in Gutenberg

        So you would accept a worse product on the basis that it may be better that the existing tech at some undetermined time in the future.

        Based on the work we have seen from the Gutenberg team up until now i have zero confidence in their ability deliver what the community wants. They are too preoccupied with delivering what (they think) the community “needs”.

        I for one am not gonna accept an inferior solution to the editor problem. If it is not at the very lease “just as good” as the current solution it is irrelevant.

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      3. Why would Yoast be in a block though? Blocks are for the content being displayed. Meta information isn’t displayed and a block that rates your content wouldn’t be useful either. Yoast is doing an amazing job of putting its tools into a Gutenberg page. The one valid point I will agree on is being able to turn it off, but Yoasts options have always shown up based off of user capability. User capabilities can be managed with a plugin or a function.

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      4. @John I did get down to test the integration and didn’t intend on adding another comment here because I am boring myself, and therefor other people must be super bored with me (poor Jeff).

        Again there is no need to read things that I didn’t actually write, but instead of getting into this, lets focus on how yoast “integration” exposes the core design weaknesses of GB.

        The monolithic approach taken by GB, a 180 degrees opposite of wordpress flexibility principals, means that you can not integrate **into** GB areas. So instead of adding its readability and other controls into the “publish metabox” as it done in “classic” it had to add a new one for itself in GB Now why it had to be done in an additional sidebar I do not know, but I will not be surprised to leaarn that you just can’t extend the GB one.

        So now, information that was available at plain site in “classic”, is hidden in GB. First you need to click the yoast icon at the GB top bar. Obviously to return to edit mode you need to click the editor button. Actually those controls can be made more accessible in the yoast meta box than where yoast team decided to put them.

        So in a way yoast has perfect integration with GB as it follows the basic GB rule of “everything needs to take at least one more click than in classic”.

        (seriously, why the f**k do I need to approve that I want to publish, who came with the idiotic idea instead of realizing that the UX has gone horribly wrong if you have to have such a functionality).

        One fun bug I discovered is that if you “close” the yoast meta box it disappears. Well, not really, if you have a 500” display like everybody involved in GB probably have you will still see it, but GB is so excited that it has more free area it stretches itself in a way that pushed the yoast box outside of the view for mortals with 14” display. Obviously no scroll var because that will be too easy for the users.

        Will repeat myself, GB needs probably another 2 years of development before it will be a good editor, and at least one to get it to a level in which it is actually usable even if there are still bugs around.

        Right now GB is just not usable to any site which have a non trivial editing process, and do not which to change it just to use GB.

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  2. A LOT of users actually use the “Screen Options” to make their edit screen a custom experience. This is not possible with “Gutenberg”.

    I do hope they add this feature back. Once every plugin starts adding these blocks to the sidebar, its going to end up like the fight for space in the admin menu.

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    1. Notably, the way Yoast integrates is via the sidebar API, which creates an icon in the top right which opens a sidebar when clicked. This icon can be unpinned, which will put it in the ellipsis menu on the far right. It kind of works like the extensions in Chrome or the add-ons in Firefox, where you can choose to only show your most used plugin sidebars in the top bar, and leave the rest in the ellipsis menu.

      I think it is recommended to use this plugin sidebar API over adding stuff to the normal Document Settings sidebar.

      I think this pinning/sidebar system works as a suitable replacement for the old screen options.

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      1. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh it is supposed to be “unpinned” great UX work on exposing that functionality. Sure I can see the logic, why would any one wish to make one click when he can configure things to require two?

        And total LOL, sure there is nothing that says pin/unpin better than a star. So trivial, only an idiot like me could have missed it.

        And you know @Zeb, unpinning is not the same as removing since the user can still access the info and the info is still being transmitted, so good luck with preventing someone to manipulate or see information you do not want him to see this way. And obviously no unpinning for metaboxes…

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  3. I’m no expert as a user. I have a couple of sites. I post articles occasionally and I’m trying to learn. I’m actually excited about Gutenberg and so far have written one post with it. I wish its developers well.

    The comments in this post are radiating negative vibes however. It seems like an over abundance of sarcasm and negativity. If you critics are so smart why don’t you offer some helpful suggestions? You sound like you could have the ability to do that and it would be a much more productive use of your talent.

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    1. I agree Charles. Constructive criticism is one thing, but being negative and sarcastic is so off putting.

      Here are some of the sarcastic, defensive, profane or just plain mean remarks made by the commenters on this post:

      “Based on the work we have seen from the Gutenberg team up until now i have zero confidence in their ability deliver what the community wants. They are too preoccupied with delivering what (they think) the community “needs”.”

      “(seriously, why the f**k do I need to approve that I want to publish, who came with the idiotic idea instead of realizing that the UX has gone horribly wrong if you have to have such a functionality).”

      “Seems very impressive. I am sure all SEO people will be excited that they have 23.5 pixels to do their work when they have 235 in the classic editor.”

      “Maybe some careful reading of what I said will prevent the need to put words in my mouth. I said it is disappointing because they had more than a year to provide something and all they have done is this.”

      I ask all the commenters to be civil and constructive to one another, to Yoast and to the WP Tavern and its readers. Let’s uplift the community instead of tearing it down whenever you can make cheap shots on a blog.

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      1. LOL @marcus, i actually just deleted a long text suggesting you to read 1984 especially focus on newspeak, and explaining why, but I guess it will either fly over your head or you will not understand the similarities between 1984 and all the big censuring moves tech companies are pushing everywhere including the “everybody has to be happy” of WP.

        If you would have cared about the content more than of the style, you might, instead of ranting on the style, asked yourself, why does gutenberg require double publish? And maybe you would have done some research and could have come with an explanation to educate me instead of just ranting about my style. Luckily I happened to do the research, and it seems like no one knows the exact reason, but its roots are in people on wordpress.com complaining that they accidentally publish posts, and therefor the double confirm comes from wordpress.com.
        Now you should ask yourself why is publishing anything is such a problem? if it was a mistake you just unpublish it and go back to whatever you still need to do with the post.
        But wordpress.com is not the same as wordpress.org, they got all the integration with FB, twitter, emails, and who knows what more, things that once triggered can not be easily undone, therefor the double publish.

        Assuming that is the reason, there are other possible solutions, maybe things that are not appropriate for wordpress.com but will make much more sense than a bad UX on wordpress.org.

        And here I wrote some reasonable text explaining technicalities, and do you think this will make any difference that I made the effort to anyone? no! At least when I am using the snarky exaggerated phrasing I am enjoying myself, or are you just not supposed to enjoy yourself while discussing GB?

        BTW you are welcome to follow https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/issues/9077 its been 21 hours and it haven’t been closed yet so maybe there is a hope

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      2. :-) Thanks for your reply Mark. Your tone and voice reminds me of my wife. She comes back at me like that all the time. But then, I do things to encourage that. I’ll check out Github.

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      3. I found “I hear Gutenberg’s propaganda team screaming at me” just plain offensive – stopped reading the comment after that.

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    2. Wow, i think Gutenberg Integration on wordpress is a step forward, kudos to the developer of this plugin, it packs lots of features and i cant wait to try it out on my worpress site.

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  4. I love the Gutenberg editor as it’s very great and beautiful looking. It’s the real WYSIWYG type of editor and so webmasters will have to do away wit too many unwanted plugins for the sake of creating good looking contents. If Yoast and other plugin creators make their plugins to fit well with the new development, then It’s gonna be WordPress and WordPress forever.

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  5. At least when I am using the snarky exaggerated phrasing I am enjoying myself

    I do wish the moderation here was tougher to prevent that – it’s never on any value in my opinion.

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  6. Is there a tutorial, how to add custom panels to the post edit sidebar like they did?

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