Industry Analyst & Strategist
Hot off the presses, We have big news: Yoast SEO is coming to Shopify! Well well well, definitely should’ve seen this coming, it’s a natural way to expand their market – but is this a harbinger of where the WordPress ecosystem may be headed?
Let me spare you the suspense. The short answer is no. There are a handful or products where it makes sense to go this route – SEO, email marketing, and affiliate tools spring to mind. However, the WordPress ecosystem is much more tied to actual WordPress, and you need to have a good reason to have a SaaS like Yoast.
The bigger question is what happens to open source, I feel like this will be a huge theme this year? Shopify is a closed platform, on the whole I would recommend site builders and owners to avoid the closed source universe, but there are instances where it just makes sense for now (that is until Woo.com becomes the platform that is the WordPress.com of ecommerce – I believe this will happen).
Back to open source, so besides the impact developing for closed source platforms may have on end users (lock-in, walled gardens, etc.), code gets taken out of the public domain. This is bad for the continuing evolution of code, security, performance, usability, etc. It restricts new generations to having to rebuild and waste time. I reached out to Joost de Valk, Founder and Chief Product Officer of Yoast to hear how this may or may not change their open source approach:
While Yoast SEO for Shopify is in itself closed source, at Yoast we re-use large parts of our code base, and a lot of it will therefore be open sourced through other projects. We’ve created a new settings app for the Shopify application and we’ve built it in such a way that we can re-use that on our other platforms too, which we intend to do soon. YoastSEO.js of course is and will remain open source.
There is more in his personal follow up, Yoast SEO for Shopify! Whaaaaaat? On the whole this is much better than I had expected when working with a closed platform. The key thing to understand is that there is a specific SaaS that will be running Yoast SEO for Shopify, so it’s not surprising that the SaaS is not open source.
My hope is that the learnings and revenue will drive more innovation across the open source projects Yoast supports.