Yoast SEO, the popular WordPress plugin, has released its 20.5 version this week, which boasts several security enhancements and an improved Google SERP preview. The update also introduces changes to PHP compatibility, urging users to upgrade their PHP versions to ensure optimal performance and security.
Improved Google SERP Preview
With the 20.5 release, Yoast SEO now provides mobile and desktop snippet previews with Google’s current styling, allowing users to see exactly how their snippets will appear in Google Search results. This helps users optimize their content and improve search engine visibility.
PHP Compatibility Shift
Yoast SEO Drops Support for PHP 5.6, 7.0, and 7.1
In this release, Yoast SEO has dropped compatibility with PHP 5.6, 7.0, and 7.1, requiring PHP 7.2.5 or higher, in addition to WP 6.0. Although it might seem extreme, approximately 89.9% of WordPress sites are already running on PHP 7.2+.
Encouraging PHP Upgrades
Yoast SEO has a history of advocating for PHP upgrades. In version 4.5, released in 2017, the plugin used its estimated 6.5 million user base to push web hosts to upgrade their customers to PHP 7. This move included a large, non-dismissible notice urging site administrators to upgrade to PHP 7.
“To move the web forward, we need to take a stand against old, slow, and unsafe software,” said Yoast founder Joost de Valk. “Because web hosts are not upgrading PHP, we have decided to start pushing this from within plugins.” De Valk argued that the WordPress ecosystem was losing talented developers due to slow progress, and he emphasized the importance of security and speed.
Impact on Unsupported PHP Versions
The latest Yoast SEO version 20.5 will be incompatible with around 10% of WordPress sites running unsupported PHP versions. However, this push towards higher PHP versions is essential for maintaining a secure and healthy ecosystem.
Yoast SEO 20.5’s release aims to improve user experience by enhancing Google SERP previews and advocating for PHP version upgrades. The plugin’s ongoing commitment to security and performance demonstrates its dedication to maintaining a robust and reliable WordPress ecosystem.
Yoast SEO 20.5 Highlights
- Enhanced Google SERP preview for mobile and desktop snippets
- Dropped compatibility with PHP 5.6, 7.0, and 7.1
- Requires PHP 7.2.5 or higher, along with WP 6.0
- Encourages users to upgrade PHP versions for optimal performance and security
- Reinforces the importance of a secure and healthy WordPress ecosystem