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Say “Hello” to Yoast SEO 17.1

WordPress plugin

Yoast SEO has announced the release of its latest update today, Yoast SEO 17.1. This follows on from the introductory version seventeen that was released last month. Let’s take a look at what this new update means for SEOs using the plugin.

What is Yoast SEO?

Yoast SEO is quite simply a saviour for Search Engine Optimists trying to tackle the wrath of technical and on-page SEO. Designed for WordPress, this plugin reaps benefits for content creation and ensuring that your pages and blog posts are fully optimised to ensure they are being ranked at their highest potential. This plugin is the answer to standing up to Google’s scrutiny and increasing your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs). You can use the free version or upgrade to the premium version to unlock many more helpful features.

Let’s take a look at the latest version of the plugin and what it has to offer in terms of WordPress optimisation.

Title Assessments

Google has been changing things in the SERPs for years, if it thinks it can do better than the original. This title and description rewriting has gotten a lot more aggressive recently with Google trying to provide more details into page titles like ‘home’ and ‘contact’. Yoast SEO provides tools to help write great page titles (<H1>) and SEO titles ( <title>). This assessment ensures that the title contains enough characters and whether the focus keyword is included. If you do not fulfil this, you get a red bullet. 

In Yoast SEO 17.1, the assessment has changed. Titles will no longer be penalised for being too short as they are less likely to be changed by Google. The assessment will instead focus on how precise and focussed the title is. 

Recent SEO Posts

This change means that SEOs have more freedom over their page titles and although it is not recommended to write overly long or short titles, it allows the choice to help combat Google’s rewriting antics.


Another change is the title separators. Google also seems to remove the ~ and | so they have also been removed in the 17.1 update and SEOs are encouraged to choose another. Google usually changes these to ‘—’ so that may be something to consider when choosing a new title separator. This is complemented with the plugin’s attempts to enhance the Google preview feature which attempts to closely mimic what your post would look like in the SERPs.

Function Words

Finally, Yoast SEO 17.1 has improved the filtering of function words in multiple languages. These include Dutch, English, Indonesian, Russian, and Spanish. This has been achieved by including time-related words like ‘minute’.


Yoast SEO 17.1 is a refreshing update for SEOs trying to battle the constant demands of Google, allowing SEOs to have more creative freedom but acting as a safety guideline against being penalised in the search rankings. With better title assessments, more realistic preview modes and better function words, Yoast SEO 17.1 is a must-have for all SEOs.

What are your thoughts about the latest Yoast SEO plugin updates? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Tweet us at @TeamTillison.

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