Is Yoast the Best SEO Plugin for WordPress?
What the best WordPress plugin for SEO is has been a hot button issue in the community, and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of consensus from one professional to the next as far as which one reigns supreme.
Not to mention – there are a lot to choose from currently.
Yoast SEO, All-In-One SEO Pack, SEOPress, The SEO Framework, and Rank Math are the most popular right now and are the plugins that we’ll be discussing today.
If you’re even part of one SEO group on Facebook, you’ve more than likely seen polls on this issue and comment sections that offer no real conclusions for the reader looking for answers.
In fact, many of the most opinionated people on this matter don’t really seem to offer very legitimate reasons why one plugin should be used over another.
The reason for this is because all of these plugins are very similar.
In fact, for most users, your choice of SEO plugins for WordPress doesn’t matter at all.
Why Your Choice of SEO Plugin Doesn’t Matter
Your choice of SEO plugin, for most people, doesn’t matter because the free versions of each plugin more or less offer the same thing.
They usually offer some very useful things such as:
- XML sitemaps
- the ability to edit the page’s SEO title/meta description/inner URL slug, social media information
- a little bit of schema
- breadcrumb management
Many of them also offer some features that we advise you never to use… even if you are new to SEO.
The features we are talking about here are anything that the plugin offers you as far as a recommendation – specifically keyword and linking recommendations.
You should never be taking the plugins’ recommendations because, simply, they aren’t any good and you can do a much better job yourself.
Even if you are new, you would be much better served if you took an hour or two to learn about on-page SEO.
You will achieve much better results than using these SEO plugins’ recommendations, not to mention save yourself time from optimizing for things that don’t matter.
The majority of what is different about these plugins lies in the pricing for their paid options.
The paid options more or less have the same features and usually include things like:
- e-com options
- video options
- some extra local options
And if one of the plugins gives you some extras features that the others don’t, chances are that you probably don’t need it anyways.
For the rest of this article, we will briefly discuss the minor differences between these SEO plugins.
Be sure to read to the end of the article – there is one plugin that we unfortunately cannot recommend yet (hint: it’s making pretty big waves in the community right now).
Yoast is currently the market leader and have been for a long time. They have over 5 million active installs and almost 25,000 five-star reviews, with it being heralded by many as the best SEO plugin for WordPress.
Is Yoast dead? Absolutely not.
We use Yoast on almost every site we have, including on the local optimized websites we build for our customers.
The main reasons we still use Yoast are that we only need the free version, and we are creatures of habit.We’ve been using Yoast for a long time, and there aren’t any reasons big enough for us to make the switch to another plugin.
There are three issues with Yoast that need to be talked about, though.
Yoast Caused Major Problems in Early 2018
In February 2018, a Yoast update caused major ranking losses for many sites it was installed on.
It took them over 2 months to fix the issue despite being talked about everywhere. Yoast eventually fixed the issue with an update and hasn’t had any problems since then.
For some people this could be enough to choose an alternative to Yoast. Others, like us, have decided to stay.
Hopefully Yoast has learned lessons from this experience and steps have been taken to prevent such problems in the future. Another huge issue like this would probably be enough for us to jump ship.
Yoast is Bloated
Complaing about Yoast being a bloated plugin that slows down your site is very popular in the community.
Page speed does slightly influence rankings as discussed in our on-page guide, but we’ve determined that the speed loss from Yoast’s bloat is negligible and does not influence rankings.
This might be important to a few people, but it’s not something we’re even slightly concerned with – and most of you shouldn’t be either.
Yoast’s Paid Options are Expensive
This is the main objection with Yoast that carries a bit more weight.
With Yoast’s paid options, you will be paying a pretty high price on a per-site basis. Many of the other plugins simply blow their prices away while offering the same features.
We don’t use the paid version of any of these plugins, so for us it’s a non issue.
If you absoutely need the paid features on multiple sites, however, you might want to look elsewhere.
All-In-One SEO Pack
Number two as far as popularity is All-In-One SEO Pack. With over 2 million active installs and 300+ five-star ratings, they are doing quite well for themselves.
Many SEOs have been using this plugin for a very long time, and they have many loyal followers.
All-In-One boasts to have the only free integration for e-commerce sites out of all the other plugins on the market.
Many people also prefer the interface and usability of All-In-One SEO Pack over Yoast, but ultimately it’s a matter of preference.
All-In-One SEO Pack makes a good Yoast alternative because, for most people, it offers the exact same things.
However, if you need the paid version, and especially if you need the paid version for more than one site, then you could potentially save a lot of money with All-In-One SEO Pack.
Their prices are quite a bit lower than Yoast, and they have packages for 10 sites and unlimited sites.
This could really be the deal-maker for some people out there, so give it a try and check it out yourself.
We do have to mention that this plugin does not have the same keyword and link suggestions as Yoast, but like we mentioned before, we strongly believe you should not be using these suggestions anyways – even if you’re new to SEO.
Next up, we have an excellent plugin with over 40,000 active installs and almost 300 five-star ratings.
SEOPress is more of a newcomer to the market, but they are making waves and it’s easy to see why.
The biggest factor for going with SEOPress is the price for their paid version (if you need it).
For $39 you can install it on unlimited sites, which absolutely demolishes the pricing of both Yoast and All-In-One SEO Pack.
The price is rumored to be going up in the future, but even if it goes up significantly, it’s still a much better deal.
People also like SEOPress for it’s minimal, easy to use design and it’s speed. Yes, it’s supposed to be faster than Yoast, but no, we can’t tell the difference.
This plugin is absolutely worth a shot, especially if you are going to be installing the premium version on many sites.
The SEO Framework
The SEO Framework plugin was designed with minimalism and developers in mind. It’s an extremely clean and fast plugin with much the same functionality as the others.
It currently has over 90,000 active installs and almost 200 five-star reviews.
It’s fast, minimal design is a dream come true for many users. It just works and gets out of your way.
Some users, however, have complained it’s not very intuitive. You’ll have to make that judgement for yourself.
The pricing for the premium options is more in line with All-In-One SEO than Yoast or SEOPress. It falls somewhere in the middle of the pack, making it a significantly better deal than Yoast but not quite the absolute steal that is SEOPress.
So, if you’re looking for a clean, simple, unbloated alternative to Yoast, this could be the option for you, and many people would congratulate you on finally making the switch.
There’s a new girl in town… and she’s smokin’ hot. All the SEO boys have been completely drooling over her and yelling her name in public.
They’re absolutely obsessed.
Rank Math is the newest SEO plugin of the bunch. It currently has over 20,000 active installs and almost 200 five-star reviews, and people everywhere are calling it the best free SEO plugin for WordPress.
So what’s all the fuss about?
The fuss is that Rank Math currently gives you everything the other plugins give you in their premium versions and sometimes more.
But it’s 100% free.
However, Rank Math is also the only plugin on this list that we can’t endorse as of right now. There are a few reasons why you should be cautious if you want to give Rank Math a try.
There has been a lot of chatter on Facebook, Reddit, Blackhatworld, and all across the internet really that Rank Math is spyware in disguise.
After all, if they are offering everything for free, there has to be some kind of catch. Apparently, that catch is your data.
We advise you read heavily into this issue before installing.
Another issue with Rank Math is that since it’s so new, there have been a good amount of bugs reported by users.
For some people, this might not be a problem, and over time you can expect them to disappear.
But at the time of writing this article, it’s still something worth noting, especially if you’re working with sites that are not yours.
Lastly, there have been reports of very heavy and deceptive marketing tactics being used ranging from fake five-star reviews to paid posts on social media and elsewhere on the internet.
While not necessarily an issue with the plugin’s functionality, it’s still something that has rubbed many people the wrong way and given them yet another reason to steer clear of this plugin for now.
There is no doubting the appeal of Rank Math, and although we can’t indorse it yet for the reasons above, you might decide it’s still worth it for you.
Four out of five of these all-around SEO plugins get our endorsement and could potentially be just what you’re looking for. Each person will have their own preferences and needs.
We believe that for most people, it really doesn’t make a big difference.
None of these plugins will make you rank better than the others, but some could potentially be easier to use or cost you a lot less money if you need the premium options on multiple sites (most people don’t need these options, though).
Have anything to add? Leave us a comment below.
Chris Tzitzis is an SEO and a Co-Founder of SirLinksalot.co. He has extensive experience with Affiliate SEO and running an SEO Agency.
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