August 19th, 2019
Over the years, Yoast’s SEO plugin has been a staple for almost any WordPress website that really wants to be able to optimise their pages. That’s precisely why the free version of Yoast SEO is currently installed on over 5 million different websites.
However, there have been a few issues with the plugin over the years. One of the biggest, in our opinion, is that when you are working on a development version of a website that is set to no index, Yoast won’t generate Canonical Tags for you to test. Issues like this have led to a growth in popularity for a variety of other SEO plugins for WordPress. So, we wanted to sit down and look at these, in order to determine whether Yoast is still the best SEO plugin out there.
What Are The Alternatives To Yoast SEO?
The first place to start would be looking at what alternatives there are to Yoast, and there’s quite a few out there. Each one works slightly differently as well, so we’re going to have a quick look at each of them!
One of the WordPress SEO plugins that gets mentioned a lot in various lists these days is SEOPress. They claim to have all the features that you need to be “first on Google”, which is an extremely bold and highly unrealistic claim. That said, they do offer a lot of optimisation options for your WordPress SEO.
Currently, SEOPress is installed on 60,000 active WordPress websites, which is a very small amount compared to Yoast. However, this isn’t a popularity contest. What this does suggest is that businesses are not picking SEOPress up, choosing to use other WordPress SEO plugins instead.
All in One SEO
One such plugin that seems to be picked up by a lot more websites is All in One SEO. In comparison to SEOPress, All in One SEO is currently installed on over 2 million active WordPress websites. When you consider the fact that it was also the first WordPress SEO plugin to be released, it will have been installed on far more over the years.
However, there is another side to that. Because it was the first WordPress SEO plugin, you would typically expect that it would have the highest amount of installations. The fact that it doesn’t suggests that people have moved away from it to other plugins. As to why that would be, we will be looking at the benefits and features of these plugins later in this article.
RankMath promotes its plugin based upon ease of use. That is a really important aspect of any SEO plugin because, whilst we can delve deep into a website to optimise every little part of it, our clients do not necessarily have the time, knowledge or resources to do the same. Therefore, having an SEO plugin that allows them to do simpler SEO tasks such as Page Title Optimisation easily is a huge benefit to that plugin.
However, according to RankMath’s own description, the WordPress SEO Plugin uses a so-called “smart automation” system to help you optimise your website. Whilst this sounds incredibly high-tech, any sort of automation should be looked upon carefully when it comes to SEO.
The first WordPress SEO Plugin on this list that doesn’t offer a free version, SEOPresser offers a number of proprietary systems in their plugin. These are all designed to help you optimise your content better and get more SEO performance out of your WordPress website.
Whilst we will go into more detail about the features of these plugins later, it is worth stating that SEOPressor includes a system to help with Latent Semantic Indexing as well as standard content optimisation. All of this, however, does come at a monthly subscription cost (it is a very small cost, though).
WP Meta SEO
Moving on to the new WordPress SEO Plugin, we have WP Meta SEO which claims to give you control over every aspect of your SEO. They do list a very large number of features and state that you can bulk optimise content and imagery.
As image optimisation is growing in terms of importance, especially with Google’s recent Google Images with AMP announcement (which you can read more about here), being able to bulk optimise them can be a really huge benefit. However, it can also mean that incorrect edits can be made to a large number of files or pieces of content instantly.
Premium SEO Pack
With this next WordPress SEO Plugin, the name might fool you. The Premium SEO Pack plugin has both a free and paid version available. However, the free version is far more limited and doesn’t give you access to things like updates to the plugin. Therefore, if you were to use Premium SEO Pack, you would almost certainly want to get the paid version.
By doing that, you get access to a number of great features, but the license if just for one site. As such, if you have multiple websites (or even a separate WordPress installation for development purposes or on a subdomain or directory) you will need to buy a license for each of them.
We’ll end this summary of the WordPress SEO plugins available with one more free plugin; the SEO Framework. The SEO Framework plugin claims to have an AI built into it that listens to WordPress and finds the optimisation issues that need to be addressed. They also offer a migration system to move away from other SEO plugins.
Whilst this all sounds incredible, the fact that only 100,000 active websites have it installed suggests that it hasn’t quite gotten to the level that it claims. That said, it is definitely one to keep an eye on moving forward.
What Are The Benefits of These WordPress SEO plugins?
So now that we have briefly looked at the alternative WordPress SEO plugins to Yoast SEO, it’s time to look at the benefits and features of each of them. Since they all work slightly differently, they all have a variety of features available, so it is important for us to compare them.
Interestingly enough, SEOPress actually features a comparison chart on their website. This chart compared their features against both Yoast and All in One SEO. On there, it quite rightly states that Yoast does not feature any integration or support for the likes of Google Tag Manager or Google Ads, whilst SEOPress does.
However, aside from that, the only other benefits and features that the free version of SEOPress offers are that you can white label it (a feature only really useful if you are an agency or web developer building a site for someone else) and that it features an “intuitive interface”. All of the other features that SEOPress has, while claiming that Yoast doesn’t, come from the paid version of the plugin. Oh, and they are comparing against the free version of Yoast as well – the paid version of Yoast also offers a number of those features, although not all.
Here’s a list of the features in SEOPress;
- Titles & Meta Data
- XML and HTML sitemaps
- Content analysis with unlimited keywords
- Google Knowledge Graph optimisation
- Google Local Business Data Type optimisation
- Google Suggestions optimisation
- Social Media Card integration
- Google Analytics (GDPR ready) integration
- Google Tag Manager integration
- Google Ads integration
- It can be white-labelled and branded with your own branding
- It uses an “intuitive interface”
- Google Structured Data Types (schemas) – Paid Version
- Automatic and manual schemas – Paid Version
- SEOPress BOT – Broken links – Paid Version
- Backlinks (required a Majestic API key) – Paid Version
- Video XML Sitemap – Paid Version
- Google Analytics Stats in WordPress Dashboard – Paid Version
- Redirections 301, 302, 307, 410, 451 – Paid Version
- Edit your robots.txt – Paid Version
- Edit your htaccess – Paid Version
- Breadcrumbs – Paid Version
- Google Page Speed – Paid Version
- WooCommerce – Paid Version
- Google News Sitemap – Paid Version
- 404 monitoring – Paid Version
All in One SEO
Moving on to All in One SEO, it does have a smaller feature list than both Yoast and SEOPress, but it is also completely free. In fact, the “pro” level is actually just for support through their forums.
In terms of what this WordPress SEO Plugin offers you, it covers a good chunk of the basis. For example, it will create XML sitemaps and generate your Meta Data for you, at least giving you a bit of a headstart with SEO. However, we would recommend going back and optimising your content and Meta Data further.
It is worth mentioning, though, that All in One SEO is still the only free SEO plugin out there that includes e-Commerce SEO.
- XML and Image XML Sitemap support
- Google AMP support (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
- Google Analytics support
- Schema.org Markup
- Support for SEO on Custom Post Types
- Redirect attachment pages to parent post
- Built-in API so other plugins/themes can access and extend functionality
- Includes e-Commerce SEO, including WooCommerce
- Comes Nonce Security built-in
- Automatically created Page Titles
- Generates META tags automatically
- Avoids duplicate content through Canonical Tags
- Works out of the box, creating base level SEO upon install
RankMath is another WordPress SEO Plugin that boasts a long list of features. The biggest one, however, is the fact that they have an LSI Keyword Tool integrated into their platform. This means that you will be able to find keywords related to your focus keyword, enabling you to put then into your content as well.
In all honesty, everything else that they offer is pretty standard across the majority of WordPress SEO plugins. On top of this, the fact that they have only recently added XML sitemaps as a feature is a bit of a concern. But that does mean that RankMath could become even better over time.
- Automatically generated Canonical URLs
- LSI Keyword Tool integration
- Google Search Console integration
- Google Schema Rich Snippets integrated
- Advanced SEO Analysis Tool
- 40 Detailed SEO Tests
- SEO Analysis Score
- Automated Image SEO
- Add SEO Meta Box to all post types
- Bulk Edit Titles & Descriptions
- Content Analysis and Meta Data Optimisation
- Control ROBOTS Meta
- Google Keyword Suggestion
- You can optimisation up to 5 Keywords
- Choose Pillar Posts & Pages
- Internal Linking Suggestions
- XML Sitemap (New!)
- Modify Global Meta
- Social Media Verification
- Redirection Optimisation and 404 monitors
- Advanced SEO Breadcrumbs
- Remove Stopwords from Permalinks
- Local SEO Optimisation
- Contact Info Shortcode
- Archive Optimisation
- .htaccess Editor
- Robots.txt Editor
Next up, we have SEOPressor, the only plugin without a free version available. As such, you would expect a large number of great features that the other plugins just don’t offer. Sadly, that isn’t really the case. In fact, the biggest benefit they other come with LSI keyword optimisation help, but that is also offered by other plugins as well.
The cost of SEOPresser is very low, coming in at $9 per month (£7.50 at the time of writing), or $108 per annum (£90 at the time of writing). However, when you consider the number of features you get from the premium versions of other plugins (such as Yoast or SEOPress), it really doesn’t stack up.
- Multiple Keyword Analysis
- Over Optimisation Check
- Progressive LSI Keyword Engine
- SemantiQ Density Analysis
- Meta Data Settings
- Social Media Cards
- Rich Schema.org Markup
- 301 Redirect
- Robot Rule Settings
- Canonical Link
- Link Manager
- Automatic Smart Linking
- Site-Wide Link Optimisation
- SEO Score Manager
- SEOPressor Role Settings
- XML Sitemap Generator
- Homepage SEO
- Google Knowledge Graph
- Local SEO
- SEO Health Monitor
WP Meta SEO
WP Meta SEO definitely has the smallest number of features available. Whilst it covers the basics of WordPress optimisation, if we are to be completely objective, it really doesn’t stand up compared to the other plugins that are out there.
The only real benefit it has is the Gutenberg SEO content checker, designed to work with the new Gutenberg editor that recent versions of WordPress use. Nevertheless, Yoast and a number of other WordPress SEO plugins are able to read and analyse the Gutenberg editor as well.
- Bulk Meta Data edits and optimisation
- Live SEO analysis for Meta Data optimisation
- HTML Image Resizing fixes for content
- Bulk editing of image file names and Meta Data optimisation
- Bulk editing of Page Titles
- 404 errors redirect and internal broken link checker
- Add Google Analytics tracking information and display statistics in WordPress
- Generate XML and HTML sitemaps
- Facebook and Twitter social sharing custom elements per content
- Breadcrumb generator
- Gutenberg SEO content checker
Premium SEO Pack
The Premium SEO Pack plugin for WordPress does come with a very strong list of features, including Video XML sitemaps and optimisation options for PageSpeed. But, as you will need to get the paid version of the plugin in order to get the most out of it, that puts it in direct competition with both Yoast Premium and SEOPress Pro.
At that point, whilst the Premium SEO Pack does offer a lot of features, it doesn’t match up with the features of either of those plugins. For things like PageSpeed, using Yoast or SEOPress would mean you’d require an additional plugin, but the other features you get with them far outweigh those in the Premium SEO Pack.
- 10 Focus Keywords Analysis
- Page Analysis & SEO Suggestions
- On-Page SEO Report
- Keyword Recommendations
- Title & Meta Data Optimisation
- Permalink Settings
- Social Media Cards and Toolbars
- XML, Video XML and Image XML Sitemaps
- Local SEO
- SEO Slug optimisation
- Google Publisher integration
- Off Page Optimisation assistance
- Internal Link Builder
- Rich Snippets integration
- Google Analytics and Search Console integration
- SERP Tracking integration
- Pagespeed Insights integration
- 404 Monitoring and Link Redirect management
- Tiny Compress integration
- Robots.txt and .htaccess File Editor
As mentioned previously, SEO Framework state that they have a built-in SEO Artificial Intelligence than can help you to find and fix a variety of SEO issues on your WordPress site. On top of this, they pride themselves on their level of support and the fact that the WordPress SEO Plugin is preconfigured as soon as you install it.
However, unlike the rest of the plugins out there, they do not go into detail of what they actually offer in terms of features. The information that they do provide only shows a very basic and limited number of optimisation options available to the user.
- The plugin comes preconfigured
- Built-in SEO AI
- You get high-level support from the developers
- You can optimise a variety of Search Appearance aspects
- It integrates with Social Media sharing systems
- It allows you to optimize your Meta Data
- It gives you a visual overview of SEO performance
- It claims to be built with developers in mind
How Does Yoast Stand Up To These SEO Plugins?
Now, if your head is hurting from going through all of those different feature lists, we completely understand where you are coming from. Considering those are simplified lists where we removed the fluff, you can imagine how long they are normally.
You may have also noted that most of them include the same features as well. That’s because pretty much every WordPress SEO Plugin includes the basic SEO features necessary. That includes Yoast. In fact, Yoast actually covers almost everything that we’ve just listed above.
The free version of Yoast covers all of the basic SEO aspects that the other plugins do, whilst the premium version of Yoast adds in the large majority of the rest, such as the e-Commerce optimisation options.
Though, being fair, Yoast doesn’t cover everything you could want in terms of SEO. For example, you would need a separate plugin for managing redirects and connecting Google Tag Manager to your website.
So Yoast definitely doesn’t cover all of the bases. However, the free version still matches or trumps all of the free offerings from other WordPress SEO plugins.
That means that, if you are looking to get your site started and need an SEO plugin but don’t feel the need to pay for a premium subscription, Yoast is still the best WordPress SEO Plugin available.
On the other hand, if you are ready to add more advanced SEO features to your WordPress site, you’ll need to get a premium SEO plugin one way or another. At that point, Yoast and SEOPress come head to head, leaving the others in the dust. In terms of which one you should go for, it really does come down to preference. Both offer pretty much the same level of features as the other.
In terms of cost, the premium version of Yoast costs £79 per website, which gives you all of their features and API access. On the other hand, SEOPress comes in cheaper at $47 (£39 at the time of writing).
So on paper, SEOPress wins by offering the same level of features for a lower price. That said, there’s still more to it than that.
We use Yoast, as do 5 million other websites because the support available is of high-quality. The extensions available (such as Google News SEO) are just as good as the core WordPress SEO Plugin, and it is easy to use for our clients as well.
Therefore, for us, Yoast is still the king of WordPress SEO plugins. However, because Yoast and SEOPress have basically the same feature list, it really is down to the personal preference of the person using it.
How To Get The Best SEO For Your WordPress Site?
In the end, choosing the “best” WordPress SEO Plugin comes down to deciding between Yoast and SEOPress. However, it is important to note that these will only cover the base level optimisation for a variety of aspects of your WordPress website.
In order to truly optimise a WordPress website, or any website for that matter, you need a carefully constructed SEO strategy that covers the base, intermediate and advanced levels of SEO. This includes technical SEO, content SEO and off-page SEO.
If you need help putting together and implementing an SEO strategy for your WordPress website, we would be happy to help. So why not get in touch with us today and we can get the ball rolling!