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Why Do You Need an SEO Plugin for WordPress?

WordPress uses the best coding practices and outputs clean standard compliant HTML. This makes it SEO friendly out of the box.

However, thousands of websites compete to gain top positions in search results for fewer keywords. This makes it a little bit challenging for new websites to perform better in search results.

yoast seo

An SEO plugin helps you easily optimize your website to perform better in search results. It helps with details where WordPress cannot do much. For example, creating content, managing keywords, submitting sitemaps, using webmaster tools, etc.

Yoast SEO comes with tons of features to optimize your website. It has built-in content analysis, meta keywords and description management, managing duplicate content, xml sitemaps, social features, rich snippets, and much more.

Having said that, let’s take a look at some Yoast SEO features, pricing, and support options.

Write Better Content With Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO plugin adds a Yoast SEO metabox on the post edit screen. This metabox allows you to add meta title and description for your blog post. It also allows you to choose a focus keyword for your post.

As soon as you choose a focus keyword. Yoast SEO plugin analyzes the post content against that focus keyword, and assigns it an SEO score. It also recommends steps you should take to improve that SEO score.

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YOAST SEO REVIEW PROS: SEO TECH & BACKEND

Let’s start with the super powers.

Yoast excels at SEO tech and backend and makes it super freaking easy.

You may not even be aware of some of the ways it’s helping your site out and some of the tools it gives you.

Here’s a list of some of the backend SEO things Yoast is stellar at:

EDITING META TAGS

I’ve talked about this before, but updating your page titles and meta description tags (aka snippets) is key to your SEO strategy for every page. It helps your search engine ranking, and it also

Yoast makes this super easy.

XML SITEMAPS

Maybe you’ve heard of sitemaps, maybe not. Regardless, Yoast has been making one for you this whole time!

It helps Google find and index your best content if your internal link structure doesn’t make it easy. All you have to do is get your sitemap from your Yoast dashboard and submit it for indexing in Google Search Console.

Easy peasy.

SETTING DIFFERENT META TAGS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

This is one of my favorite capabilities on Yoast. Have you ever noticed that when you post a link to your content on Facebook, it pulls your snippet tag, page title, and the featured image you set in WordPress?

But you probably don’t want to use your featured image on Facebook

Instead, I like to set a graphic created just for Facebook, as well as a custom page title and snippet. You can do the same thing for Twitter, too!

INTERNAL LINKS COUNTER

This is a handy feature that makes it easy to keep an eye on how many internal links you’ve got in each post.

It’s easy to forget to add internal links to your content, and especially to update old posts with links to newer content, but it’s important to help Googlebots crawl your site and see the big picture of what your site is about.

Yoast adds an Internal Links Counter column to the “All Posts” and “All Pages” tables in your dashboard so you can see how many each post has at a glance.

sheryl yoast

ADVANCED SEO TECH

It’s likely you’re not using these yet, but the fact that Yoast makes these advanced SEO things so easy is reason enough to get the plugin. Otherwise, you’d need to get into the code! *gasp*

I’m talking about things like:

    • Canonical URLs
    • Robots.txt files
    • .htaccess files
  • Setting links to no-follow

It may sound like sci-fi mumbo jumbo to you now, but there will come a day when you’ll need to implement some of these, and you’ll praise the gods of the world wide web that there’s Yoast to make it easy.

YOAST SEO REVIEW CONS: CONTENT OPTIMIZATION & KEYWORD FOCUS

Like all super powered individuals, Yoast has its limits.

One of the most prominent features of the plugin is the green light feature, or what they call the “Content Analysis Tool”, with a Readability tab and an SEO tab.

The Readability tab analyzes your content for (you guessed it) readability. It’s based on their pre-configured algorithm and the Flesch reading ease test.

The SEO tab analyzes your content for optimization in key places like headings and image alt tags based on the phrase you set as your “focus keyword”.

Now, this is where I’ve got a bone to pick.

See, most people don’t know anything about writing for SEO when they download Yoast. I know I didn’t the first time I used it.

So we depend on the list to tell us what to do, right? You try to get green lights.

Without Yoast telling you, you might not know that you need to optimize image alt tags and stuff like that.

But…

There’s a problem with the whole green light system.

If you don’t know at least basic SEO, and you just plug in a term and try to get as many green lights as you can, you won’t be able to make the judgement calls you need to to stop yourself from accidentally making some big giant SEO no-no’s.

ACCIDENTAL KEYWORD STUFFING

This is my big fat numero uno issue with Yoast. The biggest and worst no-no I see bloggers making all the time is accidental keyword stuffing.

Here’s the thing.

Yoast (the free version, anyway) only lets you enter in one focus keyword. Then it (probably) tells you that your focus keyword doesn’t appear in the text enough.

bill yoast

But…

It doesn’t take into account different versions of the keyword, like plurals, or slightly tweaked grammar, or rearranged words. Those variations still help optimize your content for the focus keyword.

But not according to Yoast.

Yoast’s algorithm still depends on keyword density. Keyword density was how Google’s algorithm used to calculate content topic and relevancy to search terms. But not anymore. Google has gotten significantly more sophisticated in the last few years, and keyword density is really not a critical part of the program anymore.

So because of the green light system and out-dated algorithms, people end up tweaking their content into really awkward sentences, or repeating the same phrase too much or in a way that doesn’t feel natural to the human ear.

But guess what.

Google knooooows!!! Google always knoooows!!!

You absolutely have to write for humans first, no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. Even Yoast says so!

If your content feels unnatural in any way, it’s hurting your SEO more than it’s helping, no matter how many times your keyword appears.

If you don’t know that, and you just go based on the green lights, you end up stuffing your content like stuffing a washing machine with too much laundry. It ends up exploding soapy water all over the place and not washing your socks properly.

Yoast also doesn’t take Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) into account.

Pricing and Support Options for Yoast SEO Plugin

Yoast SEO is one of those plugins that you can use for free without ever needing to buy the premium version of the plugin. In fact, it is currently installed on millions of website all over the world.

The only downside is that the free plugin does not come with support. Mainly because it would be impossible to answer support queries from hundreds and thousands of users from all over for free.

There is extensive documentation and tutorials available for Yoast SEO plugin. The plugin provides on-screen instructions for each feature inside the admin area. Features and SEO concepts are also explains on the author’s website. Yoast SEO is one of the most used WordPress plugins, so you will easily find tutorials and guides created by other users all over the web.

This does not mean that support is not available. You can purchase a single site license for as low as $69 per year. The premium version of the plugin also gives you access to additional features and premium support from the folks behind Yoast SEO.

Our Verdict on Yoast SEO as The Best WordPress SEO Plugin

Yoast SEO offers a wide range of features all essential for proper website optimization. As a complete package for SEO we believe that Yoast SEO out performs all other WordPress SEO plugins in the market. And is also among the top picked SEO tools by our experts for increasing your website traffic.

As for ease of use, we believe that Yoast SEO tries to make it extremely easy for users to set it up. The plugin has built-in onboarding tour, inline help messages next to each option, and comprehensive instructions built right into the plugin itself. However, considering that many of these features are quite technical and can appear intimidating to many beginner users.

All the essential features of the plugin are available for free which is a good thing. Support licenses are not that too expensive for businesses and individuals. However, beginner users of free plugin may find it a bit difficult to find support if they run into an issue.

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