Yoast SEO is the best SEO plugin for WordPress
Yoast SEO plugin is known as one of the best SEO tools for WordPress websites. In short, the plugin evaluates your website and its content to give you SEO hints and boost your search appearance. It also helps to optimize sites for both Google and Bing search engines at once. Moreover, it provides excellent content optimization tips while other plugins lack this feature.
Every website owner dreams about appearing in the first Google results’ page with relevant search queries. Everyone wants their domain name to become recognizable.
Speaking of website visitors, traffic from search results usually plays the most significant part. Therefore, tools like Yoast help to optimize website and content for it to be search engine friendly. If you are a beginner at SEO, you will find this plugin extremely easy to set up and use.
It is appreciated by millions of WP users worldwide as it has more than 5 million active installations at the moment. The most appreciated feature is content analysis, which is not available in its top rival All in One SEO.
Price and installation guide
Yoast offers Free and Premium versions of the plugin. The Premium one costs 89$ a year (VAT excluded). The installation is really simple – just follow the guides provided below.
How to install Yoast SEO Free:
- Log into your WordPress panel and go to Plugins > Add New.
- In search, type Yoast SEOand press Enter.
- Find the right plugin and click Install.
- Now, click Activate.
How to install Yoast SEO Premium:
- Before installing the Premium version, you have to deactivate the Free plugin. Do so via Plugins > Installed Plugins panel. You can also remove the plugin since you no longer need it.
- You should buy the Premium plugin ONLY from the official developer’s website. This way, you will surely receive a safe file.
- The plugin comes in a form of a .zip file or a folder. To reach the Premium download file, go to My Yoast website, log in, and navigate to Downloads page.
- Once you have the .zip file, log into WP and go to Plugins > Add New. Here, click Upload Plugin.
- Click Choose File. Select the .zip file from your computer and hit Install Now. Once the installation is finished, click Activate.
- Do not forget to add your website name in My Yoast in order to connect the plugin with the subscription.
Yoast Configuration Wizard
As soon as the plugin gets installed, you need to take care of some configurations first. Yoast SEO Configuration Wizard helps to take care of technical things for search engines to crawl, index and rank your website properly.
Using the Wizard and its questionnaire, you can:
- Choose whether to index your site or not;
- Set the site type;
- Decide whether your site represents company or a person;
- Provide information about your social profiles;
- Set search engine visibility for posts or pages;
- Tell whether your site has multiple authors or not;
- Integrate Google Search Console easily;
- Configure Page Title settings.
Next, the SEO plugin comes with a pack of features that helps to improve site’s content. The set of features differ based on the version of plugin you have – free or paid. You will find our insights on these features below.
Yoast Free and Premium comparison
There are two versions of the SEO plugin – Free and Premium. Our team tried both versions and prepared this review to share our insights on them. See the table below for features provided by the free and paid versions of the plugin.
|Keyword optimization||1 keyword/key phrase||Individual keywords or key phrases, their synonyms, related keywords and all word forms of those.|
|Page preview||Google preview||Facebook, Twitter and Google preview|
|Duplicate content check||Available||Available|
|Compatibility with WP Editors||Classic and Gutenberg||Classic and Gutenberg|
|Technical details||Take care of robots.txt, .htaccess files, submit sitemaps and permalink URLs easily||Same as in Free version|
|Regular plugin updates to keep up with Google algorithms||Available||Available|
|Internal linking ideas||Not available||Suggests posts on your website you can easily link to|
|Redirect handling||Not available||Available|
|Saving focus keywords & SEO scores||No automatic exports||CSV export|
|Most prominent words||Not available||Provides 5 most used words or phrases|
|24/7 support team||Not available||Users can contact the support team 24/7 via email|
Now you have an idea of main differences between the free and paid plugin versions. However, lets take a closer look at those features and see if 89$/year for Premium is worth it.
Yoast SEO Free features
Yoast SEO Free allows adding one focus keyword or key phrase, its synonyms and then provides analysis results based on it. Depending on a keyword, it checks its length, placement in the text, image alt attributes, title, headings and subheadings, and overall keyword density in the text.
In the free version, the plugin evaluates the exact match of the keyword/key phrase, while the premium considers all word forms. Therefore, the optimal keyword density range in the premium version (0.5%-3%) is slightly bigger than in the free version (0.5%-2.5%).
It must be said that Yoast does not count keyword synonyms into the density score.
The snippet preview feature available in Yoast SEO Free allows seeing Google preview only. In the meantime, Premium adds Facebook and Twitter previews, allowing to upload custom images as well.
The most useful feature is adding meta description and customizing the SEO title. The plugin informs you if you’re using too lengthy titles or descriptions.
However, we do not see so much of a use from this feature as social previews can be seen by copying post link and pasting it into Facebook’s or Twitter’s status field (the preview then appears automatically).
Yoast Readability analysis checks things such as transition words, usage of passive and active voice in sentences, consecutive sentences, paragraph distribution, paragraph length and sentence length.
However, I usually ignore part of the readability analysis results when creating SEO content. The plugin almost always says the texts are hard to read. Some might see it as a suggestion to make the text more simple, boring, and plain.
It wants you to shorten sentences and use less difficult words (more of those with less than 4 syllables). According to Yoast, it is believed that if 13-15-year olds can understand the meaning of a text, it can be rated as a good one. However, this may be a topic of discussion since some sites might not see teenagers as their target audience.
Duplicate content check
While Yoast doesn’t check for duplicate content, it allows you to set up canonical URLs, and that’s it with this feature. Alternative duplicate content checkers are Siteliner or CopyScape.
You can also try to copy certain lines of text and paste them into the search engine; however, an easier method to check your content is by running it through Grammarly plagiarism checker.
The SEO tool allows adding breadcrumbs to your page easily. Using the plugin, you can set the primary category and control the taxonomy easily.
The plugin developer provides a detailed explanation on implementing the breadcrumbs feature on its official website. However, there are other plugins for breadcrumb managing, so it is not somewhat an exceptional feature.
Yoast SEO works both with Classic WordPress Editor and with Gutenberg. Both free and paid versions of the plugin are updated every two weeks. Therefore, it is always updated to keep up with the latest Google’s algorithm upgrades. The authors of the plugin provide such hosting requirements:
- PHP version 5.4 or later (7.3 or later is advised);
- MySQL version 5.6 or later OR MariaDB version 10.0 or later;
- PHP memory of 256M or bigger.
In addition to aforementioned requirements, Premium plugin has some additional ones:
- cURL 7.34.0 or later (released December 2013);
- OpenSSL 1.0.1 or later (released March 2012);
- TLS 1.2 or later (released August 2008);
- Do not use SSL v3.
Help with technical details
When preparing the website for indexing and ranking, technical details play the main role. With Yoast, you can easily manage:
- Robots.txt file;
- .htaccess files;
- Generate and submit XML sitemaps;
- Edit permalink URLs.
The Premium features
In addition to features listed earlier, Yoast SEO Premium offers some extras. To be fair, we do not find these extras worth paying for.
By paying 89$ a year, you get internal linking ideas, no ads, ability to export some SEO data about your content, five prominent words for each post, and, what a surprise – access to support team that gives you links to its freely accessible tutorials.
The most useful feature might be the Redirect Manager. However, is it worth it? We’d say it depends on a person. Some might find the Premium plugin useful; some might find it pricey for the features it offers.
Multiple focus keywords
Unlike in the free version, Yoast Premium allows adding up to 5 keywords for your post. What is more, it analyzes all word forms of the word or phrase entered. As a result, you can optimize your content for several keywords, increasing the diversity of search queries you try to rank for.
Internal linking ideas
The Premium version helps you with internal linking by suggesting articles you can link to from the post you’re currently working on. Now, this feature works as a reminder to include links to other posts on your website.
Also, all it takes to copy the link is to click on it. However, such extra doesn’t look like one worth paying for, especially if you know your website’s content. You can easily craft up ideas for internal linking as it is not rocket science.
Yoast SEO Premium covers another big issue encountered by many webmasters – it automatically handles redirects. Decided to change post’s URL? Deleted a post or a page? No worries – the plugin’s Redirect Manager automatically creates a redirect from old to new URL.
You can also easily create redirects manually using a user-friendly panel accessible via SEO > Redirects section.
You can associate Google Search Console with the plugin and then use this connection to fix crawl errors using the Redirect Manager. Below, you can find instructions how to do so:
- First of all, verify Google Search Console by going to SEO > General > Webmaster Tools.
- Next, go to SEO > Search Console > Settings and authenticate with Google.
- Now, in order to aggregate data, you will need to wait from several days to weeks.
- Once the data is collected, fix each error listed in Search Console via Yoast Redirect Manager.
Saving focus keywords and SEO scores
Yoast Premium gives you a chance to export SEO data about your content. With the paid plugin version, you get a chance to export data in CSV format about each post on your website – focus keyphrases, URL, Title and, if you prefer, SEO title, meta description, SEO and Readability scores.
How to export SEO information about your posts and pages
- Go to SEO > Tools > Import and Export.
- Navigate to Export keyphrases tab. Here, select data you want to export and then select Export keyphrases. This will create .CSV file for you.
If you have the Premium version of the plugin, you will see yet another panel below the text editor, called Insights. Here, you can find the most prominent words in your post.
According to Yoast, it helps to understand what the content focuses on. The idea is that the most prominent words should match or at least partially match the focus keyword or key phrase.
However, paying too much attention to these Insights isn’t worth it, unless prominent words are completely off-topic. It can become a matter of concern, say if you write about on-page SEO and suddenly your most prominent words include off-page SEO.
The official website of the plugin states that its 24/7 Support is available for Premium users. You can access it via My Yoast Panel. We didn’t have a chance to speak with support team members so far.
However, the feedback from the virtual community says that the support tends to simply direct users to the knowledge base and tutorials. Besides, the support panel says that you might have to wait for an answer for up to two hours.
Final verdict on Yoast SEO
Be the first to leave a review.