22 WordPress SEO Plugins For Optimizing Your Site In 2020

2019 WordPress SEO Plugins

Searching for a complete list WordPress SEO plugins?

This goes way beyond Yoast and dives into rich snippets, redirects, alt text, SSL, table of contents, even Google’s Site Kit plugin. The speed optimization plugins include 19 in itself.

I’ve been writing WordPress SEO + speed tutorials since 2011 – I am a complete nerd about this stuff. I only included the best SEO plugins (no duplicates) and I use most on my own site.

You can install as many WordPress SEO plugins as you like, but Google really wants to see organized, in-depth content around long-tail keywords that is better than the top results. That means choosing very specific phrases, adding a TOC, and writing long (3,000+ word) content.

Here’s the list:

 

1. Yoast SEO

Most people have Yoast, but few use it correctly. Here are some lesser-known Yoast tips.

Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Settings

4 Key Steps When Using Yoast

  • Configure the settings
  • Setup Webmaster Tools
  • Choose long-tail (3+ word) phrases
  • Optimize content (this goes beyond Yoast’s green lights)

There’s More To On-Page Than Keywords – getting green lights in Yoast is all find and dandy, but it doesn’t make you rank. Selecting long-tail keywords with weak content in the top results then doing real on-page SEO, will. Don’t obsess over Yoast – spend more time on keyword research, add a table of contents, create a video/infographic, aim for 3,000 words, and add practical how-to tips. The most important place to use your keyword is your page title, SEO title, meta description, and permalink (slug). Avoid keyword stuffing which can risk a penalty.

Yoast-SEO-Analysis

I highly recommend reviewing my on-page SEO checklist for better, practical tips.

Don’t Use Snippet Variables – In Yoast’s settings, there’s an option to use snippet variables (templates) for SEO titles + meta descriptions. You should avoid using these since writing custom ones is always better. Make sure you stay within Google’s character limits (the green bar in Yoast) and you’re enticing people to click your link – not just including your keyword.

Yoast-Snippet-Variables

Optimize Content For Social – in Yoast there’s a “share” link where you can upload custom graphics for Facebook (1200 x 630px) and Twitter (1024 x 512px). This makes your content format nicely when people share it, and you can also customize the title + description text.

yoast-social-media-optimization

facebook-share

Setup Google Search Console And Fix Crawl Errors (Broken Pages) – sign up for Google Search Console, add your site, and select the HTML tag verification method. Copy this code and paste it into Yoast. After a few days, login to Google Search Console and view your crawl errors report. If you see any, setup redirects to redirect the broken pages to the correct pages.

HTML Tag Google Search Console Verification

Use a plugin like Quick Page/Post Redirect (or .htaccess) to redirect these to the correct URLs.

301 Redirect WordPress

Similar Plugins

 

2. Structured Content

Google recently added FAQs to search results, and the Structured Content plugin is the easiest want to implement them on your WordPress site. This is the same plugin Neil Patel uses in his video. To add FAQ rich snippets, install the plugin then see the instructions below.

Structured Content JSON-LD wpsc – WordPress plugin

Instructions

  • Install the Structured Content plugin.
  • Edit a page or post and click the FAQ icon.
  • Add your questions and answers (I recommend 3-8).
  • Clear the page’s cache.
  • In Google Search Console, request the URL to be indexed via Google’s URL Inspector.
  • Watch your FAQs appear in search results in just a few minutes!

FAQ Google Snippets

 

3. Republish Old Posts

This plugin resets your post’s publish dates to current day, making your content look fresh:

Publish Date

This is an easy way to increase click-through rates. Of course, people might wonder why your content says it was updated when it actually wasn’t. It’s pretty cheap, so proceed with warning.

Step 1: Find the entry meta section of your blog (the section at the very top of your posts) which for me is in the Genesis Simple Edits settings. Now include the post modified date.

Entry Meta

What this looks like on your posts:

Entry Post Modified Date

Step 2: Enable ‘date in snippet preview’ in Yoast (SEO > Search Appearance > Content Types).

Date-In-Snippet-Preview-Yoast

Step 3: Install the Republish Old Posts plugin and configure the settings. You can choose how often the plugin resets your publish dates under “post age before eligible for republishing.” Even if you don’t use this plugin, you should usually enable publish dates in search results then keep the content updated. Any time you edit a post and click the ‘publish’ the date will refresh.

Republish Old Posts

 

4. Automatic Image Alt Attributes

One day, WordPress stopped adding alt text to images automatically.

Thankfully, this plugin will do it for you. Just install it and it will use the image file name as the alt text. That means you can stop wasting your time writing alt text for every single image, like I used to. Just remember to label your image file name before uploading them to WordPress.

 

5. WP Review

WP Review is my favorite plugin for adding rich snippets (here’s a page I use it on). It supports 14 data types, looks great, has 16 pre-styled templates, and is maintained by the developers at MyThemeShop. It’s reliable, lightweight, and includes user reviews. There’s also a free version.

rich-snippets

Why I Use WP Review:

  • Design is much better than All In One Schema
  • Compatible with PHP 7+ (unlike WP Rich Snippets)
  • 16 pre-styled templates which are highly customizable
  • The plugin developer (MyThemeShop) keeps it updated
  • Supports 14 data types including the most common reviews + recipes
  • Multiple rating systems and option to include (moderated) user reviews
  • Free version and pro version are both solid, pro version has more features

Avoid These Rich Snippet Plugins:

 

6. Easy Table Of Contents

Why would a table of contents plugin be on my SEO plugin list?

Because adding a TOC to long pages/posts has HUGE benefits. Google says

Ensure that long, multi-topic pages on your site are well-structured and broken into distinct logical sections. Second, ensure that each section has an associated anchor with a descriptive name (i.e., not just “Section 2.1”), and that your page includes a table of contents which links to individual anchors.

What That Means For You:

  • Better chance of being awarded jump-to links in Google using named anchors
  • People can link to specific sections on your post (not just your single permalink)
  • People can immediately find what they want, and spend more time on your page

Jump To Links

Important: instead of using a plugin, adding a TOC using HTML/CSS lets style it and link to specific sections of the post (good for users and getting links). Here is a TOC GitHub template.

 

7. Google Site Kit

Google Site Kit combines Google’s most people tools (Search Console, Analytics, AdSense, PageSpeed Insights) into 1 WordPress plugin. You really don’t need this plugin (just go to the actual websites), but if you want to see these in your dashboard, this gives you that option.

Site Kit by Google

 

Still the best way to check all broken links on your WordPress site.

Detects broken links in pages, posts, comments, images, and even redirects. Dr. Link Check is good, but Broken Link Checker lets you fix them inside WordPress with 1-click options to edit or unlink each one. Of course, not having broken links on your website can improve your SEO.

Broken Link Checker Plugin

Here’s what it looks like:

Broken Link Checker

Warning: this plugin continuously runs scans and sucks up high amounts of bandwidth. I recommend fixing all broken links then immediately deleting the plugin when you’re done.

 

9. Quick Page/Post Redirect

When you change permalinks, you need to setup a redirect to the new page.

Quick Page Post Redirect Plugin

How To Setup A Redirect: Install it and go to “Quick Redirects.” Enter the old URL + new URL.

301 Redirect WordPress

Find Crawl Errors: Go to the crawl errors report in Google Search Console section to see all broken pages on your site, then use this plugin to redirect each one to the new, correct URL.

Yoast Search Console Crawl Errors

 

10. ShortPixel

ShortPixel is generally the best WordPress plugin for optimizing images.

It lets you losslessly compress images, strip EXIF data, and optimize them in other ways. Simply install the plugin, test a few images to make sure you’re satisfied with the image quality, then bulk optimize all images on your site. It also lets you optimize images once uploaded.

ShortPixel Settings

 

11. WP Rocket

WordPress says:

The Caching section gives you the biggest benefit for the smallest hassle.

Which cache plugin is best? WP Rocket was #1 in most Facebook polls and is what I use.

2016 best cache plugin poll

2019 cache plugin poll

Swift vs WP Rocket

2016 cache plugin poll

Best cache plugins 2018 poll

wp rocket vs w3 totla cache

Why WP Rocket Is #1 In Facebook Polls

  • It’s easy to configure.
  • It yields fast load times.
  • It has extensive documentation.
  • It shouldn’t break your site (like some cache plugins).
  • It has tons of features most cache plugins don’t – lazy loading photos/videos/iframes, database cleanup, integration with Cloudflare + other CDNs, local Google Fonts and Analytics, Sucuri integration, etc. With most other cache plugins, you would need to install about 6 extra plugins to get these features, when WP Rocket has them built-in.

For how important it is, WP Rocket is worth $49/year. They also let you renew your license at 50% off so it’s really $24.50/year after the 1st year. And you can also get 10% off the initial price if you sign up for their email list. Check out my WP Rocket guide for setup instructions.

 

12. Asset Manager

Asset Manager lets you selectively disable plugins from loading on certain pages. Some plugins load on every single piece of content even if it’s not being used there. Disabling these plugins can reduce the number of requests on the page and make them load faster. Asset Manager is similar to Plugin Organizer (Perfmatters lets you do this too), only it’s free and simple to use.

Examples:

  • Disable slider plugin on pages that don’t use sliders
  • Disable rich snippets plugin on pages that don’t use rich snippets
  • Disable contact form plugin on pages that don’t have a contact form
  • Disable social sharing plugin on all pages (since it’s usually for blog posts)
  • Disable affiliate link management plugin on pages that don’t use affiliate links

 

13. Speed Optimization Plugins

Speed is a ranking factor (duh).

2019-GTmetrix-Report

Here are some great plugins for speeding up WordPress.

I use many of these on my site which contributed to my 100% GTmetrix scores. Migrating from EIG and low quality hosts like GoDaddy to SiteGround and Cloudways was another big reason.

  1. WP Rocket –  #1 cache plugin in most Facebook polls. Comes with heartbeat control, lazy loading, database cleanup, and hosting fonts + analytics locally. This means you don’t need to install these extra plugins if using WP Rocket.
  2. WP Fastest Cache – #1 free cache plugin in most polls. Also easy to configure, has options for Cloudflare + other CDNs, but lacks features from WP Rocket.
  3. WP-Optimize – cleans your database of spam, trash, and other junk files.
  4. Heartbeat Control – disables the WordPress heartbeat API which consumes resources by sending real-time notifications, when uses are editing a post, etc.
  5. Lazy Load – delays loading photos until users scroll down and see them (improves load times but constantly loading photos as you scroll is annoying).
  6. WP YouTube Lyte – delays loading videos/iframes until users scroll down and see them. Videos take a long time to load – this can shave many seconds off.
  7. CDN Enabler – helps set up your content delivery network (I use StackPath).
  8. CAOS (Host Google Analytics Locally) – fixes the “leverage browser caching” issues in GTmetrix by hosting your Google Analytics tracking code locally.
  9. OMGF – hosts fonts locally and fixes Google Font errors in GTmetrix + Pingdom by downloading your Google Fonts and creating a stylesheet for it.
  10. ShortPixelImagify / Smushimage optimization (lossless compression, resize images, remove EXIF data). All these are similar – you only need one.
  11. Specify Image Dimensions – adds a width/height to your image’s HTML, an item in GTmetrix. It only works for images in the visual editor, it does not work for images in page builders, widgets, or any areas outside the visual editor.
  12. AMP For WPadds AMP pages to make mobile pages load faster and gives your site an “AMP Stamp” in mobile search results. However, Kinsta’s conversions dropped 59% when using AMP and I have not used them since.
  13. Clearfy / Perfmattersdisables unnecessary functions in WordPress core (trackbacks, pingbacks, heartbeat API, REST API, and other things 99% of you don’t need). Both plugins are similar and have other speed features as well.
  14. Harry’s Gravatar Cachecaches Gravatars, making comments load faster.
  15. GTmetrix for WordPress – keep track of load times and set email alerts.
  16. Display PHP Versionshows which PHP version you’re running (should be at least 7) which has a huge speed impact. You can upgrade in your host’s cPanel.
  17. Query Monitor – see slowest plugins, queries, etc (good replacement for P3).
  18. Autoptimize – if you’re using GoDaddy, WP Engine, or other hosts who blacklist caching plugins, this plugin still gives you the benefits of optimizing HTML/CSS/JavaScript (items in GTmetrix + Pingdom) but without the caching.
  19. WP Hosting Performance Check – tells you if your server is slow and whether your speed technology (PHP, MySQL, WordPress versions) need updating.

 

14. Rel Nofollow Checkbox

If you’re using affiliate links, this adds a nofollow option when adding links in WordPress. Otherwise, you would have to go into the link’s HTML and add nofollow manually. Saves time.

 

15. Yoast Premium Plugins

Spoiler: Yoast claims their premium plugins lift heaven and earth when in reality you will probably not see any direct improvements just by purchasing their WordPress SEO plugins.

Conclusion: Yoast’s premium plugins aren’t worth the money.

WordPress SEO plugins by Yoast

Yoast SEO Premium ($89/year) – I wrote a review on it, basically explaining how most features can be done with free plugins or are simply not valuable, especially for $89/year.

  • Redirect manager – use the free Quick Page/Post Redirect plugin.
  • Internal linking suggestions – do you really need a plugin for this?
  • Multiple focus keywords – doesn’t always detect partial match keywords.
  • Content insights – shows 5 top used words (keyword density barely matters).
  • Social preview – as long as you’re uploading social media images, you’re OK.
  • Support – I have heard many stories of them just referring people to tutorials.

Yoast Video SEO Plugin ($69/year) – create a video sitemap and markup pages so video thumbnails appear in Google Videos. Of course, most people go to Google’s regular search engine, so this will likely only pay off if you’re creating lots of videos especially how-to style.

Yoast Local SEO Plugin ($69/year) – adds a KML file, schema.org, and the option to embed a Google Map and store locator. Embedding a Google Map is easy, and most information Yoast “optimizes” for is already pulled from your Google My Business page. Yoast says this plugin “tells Google everything it needs to know to put you on top in local search results” which is not true considering Google’s local ranking factors have little to do with Yoast’s local SEO plugin.

Yoast Google News Plugin ($69/year) – doesn’t actually get you in Google News (see those steps here) but helps format content for Google News by creating an XML News Sitemap.

Yoast WooCommerce SEO Plugin ($49/year) – enables rich pins for Pinterest.

 

16. Schema

There are lots of schema plugins, but it depends on which kind of markup you’re doing. For example, if you’re writing reviews, you would need a plugin for review markup like WP Review. Figure out which kind of markup is applicable to your content, then use the required plugins.

Schema Plugins

 

17. Analytify

See a glimpse of your Google Analytics directly in WordPress.

Analytify Dashboard

 

18. Really Simple SSL

This plugin “automatically detects your settings and configures your website to run over https.” Of course, you still need an SSL to use it, but Really Simple SSL makes it easy to set it up.

Let’s Encrypt SSL is the most popular free SSL and is what I use. Google cracked down on non-HTTPs sites even harder in July, 2018 when they began showing not secure in Google Chrome.

Really Simple SSL

Features:

  • Mixed content fixer
  • Enable WordPress 301 redirection to SSL
  • Enable 301 .htaccess redirect
  • Enable Javascript redirection to SSL

 

19. Better Search Replace

Why is a search/replace plugin on the list?

Because if you changed www or http(s) versions, you will need to bulk update all links on your website to reflect the new version. That’s where this plugin comes into play – I suggest HTTPS and non-www. Simply search the old version of your domain and replace it with the new one.

Better Search Replace – WWW Versions

Cool Trick: if you use the same image on multiple pages, this is an easy to way update them all.

 

20. Anti-Spam

Spam kills blogs. JetPack says

Spammers may leave link or keyword-filled comments on your site in an attempt to direct more traffic to their sites (and boost their own SEO). With enough spam, your rankings could take a hit, through no fault of your own.

The Anti-Spam plugin is captcha-free and does a superb job filtering spam comments, while leaving the good ones. Spam is a huge problem with WordPress. This plugin will save you time.

 

21. WP Google My Business Auto Publish

Posting updates your Google My Business page has becoming increasingly important in Google’s 2018 local search ranking factors. This plugin publishes your WordPress content directly to your Google My Business Page. It’s still in the early stages, but has terrific reviews.

2018 Local Search Ranking Factors

Here are some of the plugin settings:

WP Google My Business Auto Publish

 

22. StudioPress Plugins

If you’re using a StudioPress theme or Genesis Framework (which I recommend), you need to be using StudioPress plugins. These are on my list because they are lightweight, reliable, and will keep your load time (and chances of errors) to a minimal, making your site run smoothly.

studiopress-genesis-plugins

 

Other SEO Tools You Should Know About

  • Answer The Public – coolest keyword research tool (photo below). Pulls keywords from Google Autocomplete and creates a visual map based on different keyword types (questions, prepositions, comparisons). The greener the circle, the more competitive the keyword is. Question keywords are a great way to make sure your content is comprehensive (it answers the most popular questions people are searching). My favorite keyword research tool.
  • Moz Local – analyzes your top 15 citations (GMB, Yelp, YellowPages, etc) and shows incomplete, inconsistent, and duplicate profiles. Try to get 100% scores!
  • Moz Link Explorer – shows link metrics, as well as your domain authority which is an indicator of how competitive your targeted keywords should be.
  • MozBar – Google any keyword and see each search result’s DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority). The higher they are, the more competitive the keyword is. Try competing with sites that have similar domain authority.
  • Moz Keyword Explorer – basically Google Keyword Planner, only better. Shows organic competition (unlike Keyword Planner which is for AdWords). Shows monthly search volume and has tons of filters for sorting keywords.
  • Keywords Everywhere – Google any keyword and see monthly search volume, estimated competition, and CPC directly in search results. Also works for YouTube, Amazon, Etsy, Google Analytics and other programs/search engines.
  • SEMrush – one of the most extensive SEO softwares are the market, literally telling you everything about your keywords, backlinks, content SEO, and analytics. Many metrics can’t be found in Google Analytics or Search Console.
  • Google Autocomplete – my favorite trick is “fill in the blank” where you use the underline character _ to have Google (yes you guessed it) fill in the blank. Try it with Chicago _ Photographer. You must end on the underline character.
  • Google Search Console – See errors with your site (indexing, security, mobile, AMP, sitemap, penalties), SEO titles/meta descriptions that are too short or long, set your preferred domain name (www vs. non-www), international targeting, Search Analytics (my favorite way to measure overall SEO + CTRs), links to your site, and data highlighter for structured data. You need to use it.
  • Google Trends – see keyword trends in specific geographies (and YouTube).
  • Cloudflare – free CDN with 200+ data centers which can be setup with most cache plugins. Has additional features like accelerated mobile links, hotlink protection, Railgun, and Page Rules. Improves both site speed and security.
  • Dr. Link Check – scans entire site for broken links (up to 7,500/month) but does not provide a user-friendly way to fix them directly in your WordPress dashboard (like Broken Link Checker does, but BLC does consume CPU).
  • Copyscape – prevents plagarism (searches the web for copies of your content).
  • HubShout WebGrader – see full list of competitors keywords and a side-by-side comparison of backlinks, domain authority, and highest ranked pages.
  • StackPath – CDN with 30+ data centers (mostly in the US). More data centers = faster content delivery, which is why I use both Cloudflare and StackPath.
  • Siteliner – checks entire site for duplicate content and highlights it.
  • Screaming Frog – extensive (free) SEO audit tool which shows missing alt text, SEO titles, meta descriptions, URLs, AMP, sitemaps, and also integrates with Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and many other SEO tools.
  • vidIQ – search any keyword in YouTube and see key metrics that indicate how competitive the keyword is. Based on likes, views, shares, comments, etc.
  • SEOquake – Chrome extension which is great for keyword research. Shows each search result’s links, Alexa rank, domain age, indexed pages, keyword analytics, internal links, external links, and many other (customizable) metrics.
  • Contact Form 7 Google Analytics – adds event tracking to all your CF7 forms.
  • SiteGround – the host I recommend who was rated #1 in 30+ Facebook polls.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

🔌 What is the best free WordPress SEO plugin?

Yoast and Rank Math are the best free SEO plugins to help you optimize your content based on keywords. They also create an XML sitemap automatically, help you set up Google Search Console, and customize which content is indexed in search engines.

🔌 Is Yoast the best SEO plugin?

Yoast is one of the most popular SEO plugins, but that doesn't mean it's the best. Rank Math has everything included in Yoast SEO Premium, but it's free and more lightweight, leading to a faster website.

🔌 Is Yoast or Rank Math better?

Rank Math is arguably better than Yoast since it has more features, yet it's not as code-heavy. Yoast also shows advertisements in the WordPress dashboard, which can be annoying.

Did I Miss Any Good SEO Plugins?
I hope this list was helpful! If you have questions about  any of these WordPress SEO plugins feel free to drop me a line in the comments and I’ll be glad to help you out. Remember, I have lots of tutorials on Yoast, WordPress speed optimization, and other SEO-related tutorials. If you have a question about those, please leave a comment on that specific tutorial. Finally, if you enjoyed this post, please share it with a friend who might like it too – I’d appreciate that.

Cheers,
Tom

Yoast SEO Premium Review – Is It Worth $89/Year? (Spoiler: I Wouldn’t Use It If I Didn’t Do WordPress SEO For My Full-Time Job)

As a full-time WordPress SEO blogger, it’s my duty to have Yoast SEO Premium.

If you want an honest Yoast SEO Premium review, it’s not worth $89/year because nothing it does directly improves SEO. The SEO analysis is useless for targeting multiple focus keywords, there are free redirect plugins, and content insights is a poor attempt to measure keyword density which barely matters. Internal linking suggestions are only for people who don’t know their content and social previews just show how your content looks on Facebook + Twitter. Plus, everything in Yoast Premium can be done with Rank Math which is free and less bloated.

I do like how the premium version automatically creates a redirects when I change permalinks (something most other redirect plugins don’t do) but that’s literally the only premium feature I use. Otherwise this premium plugin sits in my WordPress dashboard, barely used, collecting my $89/year while I write this review about how I don’t like Yoast premium. The irony of it all :/

Yoast-SEO-Premium-Review

Yoast-SEO-Premium

 

1. Keyword Optimization

Yoast SEO Premium allows you to set multiple focus keywords (up to 5) but there is a SPECIFIC STRATEGY for doing this. When you Google both keywords, the search results should be nearly identical (same search intent). To optimize for both, your primary keyword should usually be used as an exact match while your secondary keyword should be a partial match. See the example below… the trick is to sprinkle individual words from your secondary phrase in your content (specifically in your page title, Yoast SEO title, and meta description).

Since you will only be using partial matches for your secondary keyword (and Yoast only detects exact keyword matches), many of your bullets will not be green in Yoast’s SEO analysis. This is 100% normal when targeting secondary keywords, so you can ignore them.

Yoast-Multiple-Focus-Keywords

I rank #1 for both keywords using this strategy…

focus-keyword-1

focus-keyword-2

Remember to research both your primary and secondary keyword so you know they’re being searched (using Google Autocomplete) and make sure they aren’t too competitive (using Moz Bar). These are just the most basic strategies for keyword research and I suggest reading my guide on Yoast focus keywords if you want to make sure you’re selecting the best keywords.

Secondary Keywords

Secondary Focus Keyword

Tips On Targeting Multiple Focus Keywords

  • Secondary keywords must be researched (just like your primary)
  • Secondary keywords must have same search intent as the primary keyword
  • Craft your headline, SEO title, meta description to read well and include keywords
  • Partial matches for secondary keywords prevents spammy keyword stuffing
  • Ignore the SEO analysis for secondary keywords since partial matches are used

Conclusion: Yoast’s bullets only turn green when you use exact focus keywords (secondary keywords are usually used as partial matches) so the SEO analysis becomes useless for secondary keywords. It’s good for keeping track of them, not for helping optimize content.

 

2. Preview Of Your Page

Social previews show you how a page/post looks when shared on Facebook and Twitter. Yoast (the free version) allows you to upload custom images (which you will need to create) so your image looks nice when shared on these networks. As long as you’re creating these images and uploading them using Yoast, there is no need to preview the image as it will format just fine.

In the Yoast “Social” settings, enable Facebook and Twitter meta data…

yoast-facebook-meta-data

yoast-twitter-meta-data

When you edit a page or post, scroll down to Yoast and click the “share” option and you’ll see the default image probably doesn’t look good. You will see an option to upload a custom image for Facebook and Twitter – and Yoast will tell you the correct dimensions. Facebook is (1200 x 630px), Twitter is (1024 x 512px). Once you upload these images, it will look much, much nicer.

yoast-social-previews

How it looks when I share this post on Facebook…

facebook-share

Conclusion: as long as you’re uploading custom images to each page/post in Yoast’s social tab (using the “share” icon in the SEO analysis) with the correct dimensions for Facebook (1200 x 630px) and Twitter (1024 x 512px), your content will format perfectly on these social networks. There is no need to preview what the content/image looks like. But if you still want to see a preview, copy that page’s URL and paste it into a Facebook/Twitter status.

 

3. Readability Check

Readabiliy check tells you whether your sentences/paragraphs are too short, long, whether you’re using transition words, and grades you on how “well” you’re writing. Of course you shouldn’t write super long paragraphs with typos, but a tool cannot properly grade you’re writing! I never use it, and don’t find the readability analysis or flesch reading east test helpful.

Yoast-Readability-Analysis

Some features of Yoast premium you can turn on under SEO > General > Features…

Yoast-Premium-Features

 

4. Full Control Over Your Breadcrumbs

If you need a breadcrumb manager plugin, there are plenty out there. Most allow you to do what Yoast premium does, set a primary category for your post and determine the taxonomy.

 

5. No Duplicate Content

Siteliner is the easiest way to find duplicate content and is usually because you’re indexing tags/categories in your Yoast settings (for the most part, I recommend not showing these in search results). Yoast does not actually check for duplicate content – it simply lets you set a canonical URL if you have 2 URLs that show the same content (which most people don’t).

Yoast-Canonical-URL

 

6. Technical Stuff In The Background

With Yoast SEO Premium you can:

  • Edit robots.txt
  • Edit .htaccess files
  • Clean up URLs
  • Generate and update your sitemaps

You used to be able to do most of this with the free version of Yoast SEO, but now they made these a premium feature. For example, you used to be able to control which content is included in your sitemap (pages, posts, categories, tags, etc) but now Yoast makes you pay for it :/

 

7. Automatic Updates And Upgrades

Yoast says

We update the Yoast SEO plugin every 2 weeks. That way you’re sure that your website is optimized for Google’s most recent version of its algorithm.

It is completely ridiculous to think an SEO plugin will keep your website optimized when a new Google updates rolls out. For the most part, Panda/Penguin simply reward websites with high quality content/links. Yoast doesn’t analyze links to your site and (besides telling you your content is too short or has a low readability score) it also can’t say if you’re content is good. Including a video or infographic can make ALL the difference in the world when it comes to on-page SEO, yet Yoast can’t detect these. While I don’t expect any SEO plugin to detect them, it’s a bold statement to say Yoast will protect you from Google updates when clearly, this is false.

 

8. Internal Linking Suggestions

When you edit a post, Yoast Premium will show internal link suggestions on the right of the dashboard. I never use this and insert all my links manually – I’m not going to inject links just for the sake of SEO – I only use them when my readers need clarification info from a tutorial I’ve written. For this reason, I don’t use it. This feature also consumes CPU which can slow down your website/dashboard since every time you edit a page/post, Yoast pulls suggestions.

Yoast-Internal-Linking

Conclusion: internal links are great for SEO, but don’t inject them if they’re not helpful to readers. Since Yoast will check for relevant internal links each time you edit a page/post, this will increase CPU consumption. I prefer to insert links manually as it’s more personalized.

 

9. Content Insights

Content Insights show you which words you used most on a page. Keyword density barely matters, and Yoast already counts how many times you used your focus keyword in the content (the keyword density part of the SEO analysis), so why would you need this? You don’t.

Yoast-SEO-Metabox-Insights

Conclusion: do you really need to know which words you used most on a page? Keyword density barely matters and you will probably naturally talk about your topic (keyword).

 

10. Redirect Manager

Yoast SEO Premium comes with a redirect manager so you can fix crawl errors (broken URLs caused by changing permalinks, deleting pages, etc). Many websites often have 100s of these.

Instructions

  1. Verify Google Search Console with Yoast under SEO → General → Webmaster Tools
  2. Authenticate Yoast with Google Search Console under SEO → Search Console
  3. Wait a few days for the data to populate (full population often takes several weeks)
  4. Fix all crawl errors in the Search Console section using Yoast’s redirect manager

yoast-crawl-errors

yoast-redirect-manager

Redirect Types – 301 (permanent) redirect is the default, but Yoast has other options too:

yoast-redirect-types

Automatic Redirects – If you change permalinks, Yoast will now automatically create a redirect which is hands-down the best feature of the redirect manager. This does not work if you launch a new website with new permalinks, just when you change them in your dashboard.

yoast-automatic-redirect

Import Existing Redirects – if you already setup redirects through the Redirection Plugin or .htaccess, you can import these into Yoast. For the Redirection Plugin you will see an option under SEO → Tools → Import/Export → Import From Other SEO Plugins. then select the “Important From Redirection” (see below). For .htaccess follow Yoast’s redirect instructions.

yoast-redirection-import

Yoast Redirect Manager vs. Free Redirect Plugin
If you’re just looking for a simple way to fix crawl errors, you can use the free Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin. Yoast only allows you to create 1 redirect at a time while this free plugin allows 3. This can save you save a lot of time especially if you have hundreds of crawl errors.

301 Redirect Example

Conclusion: there are plenty of free redirect plugins out there, like the Quick Page/Post Redirect plugin that is easy and does a fantastic job. The only major benefit of Yoast’s, is that if you change a page’s permalink, they will automatically create a redirect to the new URL. But if you need to setup a lot of them, Yoast’s redirect manager only lets you do 1 at a time.

Redirect Manager Pros

  • Allows you to import redirects from Redirection Plugin and .htaccess
  • Comes with multiple redirect options: 301 (default), 302, 307, 410, 451

Redirect Manager Cons

  • Existing redirects from other plugins must be added manually
  • You can only setup 1 redirect at a time
  • If you have to import redirects manually, you get a notification every time you add a redirect (gets annoying)

 

11. Focus Keyword Export

Gives you an extra option in the Yoast settings (Tools > Import and Export) to export all your focus keywords, each page’s SEO/readability score, and some additional SEO information.

Yoast-Export-Focus-Keywords

Conclusion: if you’re doing an SEO audit and want to review your entire keyword list, this can save time. Otherwise you can simply go through each page and review it’s keyword(s).

 

12. 1 Year Free Access To 24/7 Support

Conclusion: I admit to never having used Yoast’s premium support, but have heard mixed opinions and that many times, they just refer you to tutorials they’ve written. They won’t configure the plugin for you or review your website – these are all paid services they offer. But if you need a tutorial that breaks Yoast down into the 3 major steps (configuring the settings, researching focus keywords, content optimization), I have a solid tutorial for that.

 

Conclusion – You Might Want It, But Don’t Need It

Installing any SEO plugin won’t automatically improve your SEO – this is the same with Yoast SEO premium. Yes, it gives you extra features, but will you actually use them??? Besides their redirect manager (which I can easily use another redirect plugin for), I don’t. Most people do not get the fundamentals of SEO down, so instead of thinking about extra features, focus on what actually matters. Below are the 3 major steps to properly using Yoast’s FREE SEO plugin.

  1. Configure Yoast’s settings
  2. Research keywords
  3. Content optimization

My Yoast tutorial walks you through all this, and you don’t need the premium version to do it. It has 500+ comments and has been used by 150,000+ people – I would definitely read it.

 

23. Frequently Asked Questions

🚦 Is Yoast SEO Premium worth it?

No, it is not. The multiple focus keywords feature is pretty much useless, redirects can be setup using free redirect plugins, and nothing in Yoast Premium directly improves your SEO. It's not worth $89/year. I only have it because I write SEO reviews/guides for a living.

🚦 Is the multiple keywords options helpful?

No, it's not helpful because secondary keywords are usually used as partial matches and Yoast won't detect these, so the SEO analysis becomes useless for secondary keywords.

🚦 Can redirects be setup using a free plugin?

They sure can. Redirection or Quick Page/Post Redirect are two (free) plugins that can be used to setup redirects, or use .htaccess so you don't even need a plugin.

🚦 Does Yoast Premium keep your site updated for Google's algorithm?

Not in the least. It's crazy they make this claim because Yoast has nothing to do with the quality of your links, thin content, or even selecting good keywords. There are many factors in Google's updates and to think Yoast somehow protects you from these updates is entirely untrue. This claim by Yoast is false.

🚦 Is the internal linking feature useful?

I have Yoast Premium (only because I write reviews for a living) and don't use their internal linking feature. As long as you remember to add internal links to your content (which you should anyway), counting internal links on every single post is a little obsessive.

🚦 Is Yoast's premium support good?

They not will review, login, or help you optimize your site. They will mainly just refer you to tutorials they have written. I wouldn't buy Yoast Premium for that, or at all.

Do you agree? Let me know if you have questions :)

Cheers,
Tom