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Looking For The Best SEO Plugin For WordPress?

Looking For The Best SEO Plugin For WordPress?

What’s the point of a website if it’s stuck in limbo?

Whether you want to share questionable knowledge, promote your business, or set up a humble shop, you need to stop and think about how to lead your audience there.

Even the best articles and astounding designs won’t help any if there’s no one to see them. 

That’s the reason why it’s crucial to invest in SEO. If your website ranks high in the Google search results, it’ll be easier to find — as simple as that.

But SEO itself isn’t that easy. With so many brands and websites already well-established, making through all that noise can be quite a challenge.

Thankfully, there’s a plethora of tools that can help your site reach its potential, such as a WordPress SEO plugin. But because there are so many of them, we have to take a closer look at the most popular ones and discover whether they’re worth our time and money!

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is, by this point, a household name — at least in those inhabited by marketing specialists. This company has been shaking the market since 2007, all because of Joost de Valk, its founder. In 2021, the Yoast SEO plugin 

switched hands to Newfold Digital. 

But with such a long history comes heavy baggage. In this case, Yoast is considered to be pretty bloated, feature-wise. In its pursuit of staying ahead of competitors, it implements every single possible functionality, even if it doesn’t influence SEO at all — like cornerstone content, inclusive language analysis, or word complexity feature to numb down your writing.

And it’s not only the plugin that’s bloated; its website isn’t in any better state either. If you want to find a simple list of all the features that Yoast SEO has, you’ll have better luck finding that single needle in a haystack.

Also, Yoast has some skeletons in the closet, particularly in the form of persisting bugs and updates that kept crashing sites. If your customer acquisition strategy heavily depends on organic SEO, this could throw a wrench in your plans. 

Free Plan

Yoast also likes to nag people on the free plans to buy premium ones through ads and banners. So let’s take a moment to see what these plans have to offer, starting with the free plan.

Keyword Research

First of all, Yoast SEO will give you a hand with keyword research in collaboration with Semrush. It won’t help you nail down the main keywords you should rank for — you should leave that to other SEO tools — but it will give you related ones, along with their search volume and trend. 

Also, if you’re using the free version of Semrush, you’ll have to make do with 10 requests for related keyphrases per day. If you want more, you’ll need to cough up some money.

Text Analysis

Yoast SEO will help you analyze any text you write from three different angles:

  • SEO analysis: here, this WordPress plugin will advise you on where you should include your keyword of choice, as well as make suggestions about your image alt attributes, outbound or internal links, or the width of your SEO title. To make any mistakes easy to spot, Yoast SEO uses a light traffic system to guide you; if something’s wrong, you’ll be notified by a glaring red circle. 

The free version of the SEO analysis leaves a bit to be desired, though. It doesn’t take into account related keywords, synonyms, or word forms. In the times where Google values more natural language and serves punishments for keyword stuffing, this encourages an outdated approach to SEO, which might trip people with limited knowledge. On top of that, you have to do with just 1 keyword per page.

  • Readability analysis will keep track of the length of your sentences, number of headings, transition words, as well as notify you if a passive voice managed to snuck in. 
  • Inclusive language analysis: this feature will ensure you’re not using any words or phrases that can be considered offensive to any groups, as well as provide alternatives. 

Google Preview

Yoast SEO gives you the option to preview how your page looks in Google, so that you won’t be surprised by how your SEO title, slug, and meta description will be presented to users. This will make the process less stressful for those who like to second guess their every decision!

Schema & Crawl Optimization

You can also count on Yoast SEO to help you out with schema, which ensures your website has structured data that clarifies its purpose to search engines. So for example, with a bit of code, you can communicate that your WordPress site represents a person or an organization or that a specific page is an article rather than a landing page. It’s also useful for creating breadcrumbs, which clearly describe your site’s structure.

Thanks to that, your website might be ranked higher, as long as it’s relevant to a specific user’s inquiry.

For more advanced users, Yoast SEO prepared XML sitemaps to ensure that no page is left uncrawled. On top of that, you also get robots meta tags and canonical URL tags — they’re added automatically, so if you don’t want to touch the code, you don’t have to, but you can also make adjustments as needed. 

Last but not least, you can make crawlers’ jobs easier by removing any unnecessary URLs.

Premium Plan

Premium plan includes all of the features above with some extra spice; for example, the 10 requests for related keyphrases per day restriction gets lifted and you can research as much as your little marketing heart desires.

Improved Text Analysis

The SEO text analysis gets an upgrade: in the premium plan, the tool will recognize synonyms, related keywords, and word forms. Moreover, you can use 5 keywords per page, so that you can target more of them at once and increase your page’s chances at success. 

And to help you avoid keyword stuffing, Yoast SEO will tell you if there are places overflowing with the same phrases.

Facebook & Twitter Preview

On top of Google preview, you can also use Yoast SEO to see how your page will be presented on social media, including its image, title, and description. You’ll make sure any shared links will look attractive enough for people to click, increasing your click rates.

Internal Links Suggestions

Internal links are extremely important to SEO — they don’t only steer your readers in the right corners of your website, but also make the site structure more understandable to crawlers. 

But it can get tricky when your blog hosts hundreds of blog posts and you don’t remember what they were even about. In that case, you can count on Yoast SEO to suggest relevant articles you can link to!

If there are posts that have no internal links whatsoever, making it “orphaned content”, Yoast SEO will inform you at once, just as it will let you know if any content you have marked as essential — also known as “cornerstone content” — haven’t been updated in the last 6 months.

Redirect Manager

Whenever you move a page or delete it entirely, its remains will haunt the Google search results forever, and people will still stumble upon it, only to face the 404 error. 

This can seriously affect your SEO, so you need to make sure this doesn’t happen at all. And while you can’t do anything about the old URL’s persistent existence, you can redirect your users to another page. You can do that manually, which can be bothersome in case of bigger numbers, or use a redirect manager to do that for you. 

And that’s what Yoast SEO offers, ready to point your users in the right direction.

AI Tool 

Yoast SEO couldn’t pass the opportunity to implement AI features that are so popular these days. And as it often happens, the hype is a bit overrated — unless you really can’t come up with meta titles or descriptions on your own and need technology to generate it for you. 

Yoast SEO: Our Impressions

Yoast offers lots of bells and whistles that are nice to have, but because of that, it weighs more than an average plugin and may only confuse you with too many options. People either hate this tool or love it — if you find yourself in the latter category, you can check out the free version or pay €99 per year for the premium one.

SEO Framework

SEO Framework is an opposite to Yoast SEO — it’s famous for being lightweight and straightforward. It was created in 2015 by Sybre Waaijer, who promotes a user-friendly approach to his plugin; no advertisements, no branding, and no features that don’t affect technical SEO directly.

As we’ve mentioned before, Yoast SEO uses a traffic light system to inform the user if there’s anything that should be fixed on the page to optimize it better. And it really focuses on the details, such as paragraph length or whether you used numbers in the title; and an experienced SEO writer knows to take that advice with a grain of salt. 

A beginner though might unnecessarily sweat over the little things, distracting them from the crux of the matter. 

Let’s see now what you can expect from one of the popular SEO plugins!

Free Plan

This plan will actually satisfy the needs of many SEO specialists — as long as they have one site to manage.

Most SEO plugins spread their functionalities all over the place, forcing the users to browse through many tabs to find one specific option. But not SEO Framework; this tool decided to show off all its options in one place, for maximum convenience. 

There, you’ll be able to set up 9 crucial to SEO settings. We’ll go through them one by one.

General Settings

This section is divided into five tabs: layout, performance, canonical, timestamps, and exclusions.

In the first one, you get to decide how this plugin behaves on your site: if you want to see the SEO bar, as well as pixel and character counters that ensure your meta title and meta description have just the right length. 

In the performance section, you can enable transient cache settings along with archive and search query alterations. Turning them off makes sure that your performance is a blaze. 

Next section is all about link relationship settings and scheme settings. Everything is meticulously described, so even if you’re not a SEO wizard just yet, you can get up to speed quite quickly!

Timestamps let you decide how precise you want to be when it comes to dates of saved pages and edits, while the last section, exclusions, allows you to remove meta optimization, SEO suggestions, and sitemap inclusions. If you have any content that isn’t of any importance but you don’t want to delete it completely, you can exclude it right in those settings. 

All these options can also be found in Yoast SEO. 

Title & Description Meta Settings

Here you can decide how the titles of your pages will be presented both in the browser tab, as well as in the search engine result.

You can pick your title separator of choice (for example: “|”, or “/”), decide if you want to strip HTML tags from generated titles, remove site title from the title, pick site title location — whether it comes first or last — and then decide if you want to remove term type prefixes from generated archive titles. 

These options are rich enough to ensure you have total control of how your pages are presented on the web, at least when it comes to their title. 

But what a title can do on its own without a proper description?

Next, you can also say either yes or no to generating meta descriptions automatically. 

Homepage Settings

Homepage, the heart of your website, also requires some affectionate tuning. 

This is the right place to enter the meta title and meta description of your homepage, with SEO Framework helpfully counting the characters and letting you know if you’re going overboard with their number.

You can also include meta title additions, decide if you want to add them to the homepage title, and then make your pick between its location: either on the far left or far right of your meta title.

Then, you can also take control of how your homepage will be visible on socials, just like in Yoast SEO.

Last but not least, you can apply “noindex”, “nofollow”, and “noarchive” to the homepage, with a helpful note from the plugin that no public site should use them.

Social Media Settings

This section allows you to fine-tune social media tag settings, with an emphasis on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. There’s also some consideration towards WordPress, Discord, Drupal, and Squarespace.

You can also polish your social media settings to make sure any images are shown properly, as well as change your post date settings that will be visible on snippets.

Schema.org Settings

You can scroll down to this section in order to enable breadcrumbs — something that’s extremely important to SEO — and sitelinks searchbox, so that users googling your brand name will get a new fancy search box to find the needed information directly from your website.

Then, you can also helpfully add whether your page represents a person or an organization, to make it easier for robots to understand what your website is all about. 

And now that we mentioned robots…

Robots Meta Settings

First, you can turn on the advanced query protection, so that if you have any faux archives, robots won’t index them, which could lead to a drop in rankings, something that we want to desperately avoid. 

Robots also don’t like duplicates; therefore, SEO Framework offers the option to disable indexing to every second or later archive page. On top of that, you can make robots ignore content that’s a post, page, author page, search page, date archive, or any kind of media, or belongs to a specific category, has a specific tag, or a format. Thanks to that, you have total control over what parts of your website are visible to robots.

If you’re feeling brave, or utterly mad, you can also make the whole page unindexable. Of course, this option comes with a proper warning, because this step is wild. 

You can do the same exact steps with following and archiving; you can set “nofollow” and “noarchive” settings to all of the types of content mentioned above. 

Webmaster Meta & Sitemap Settings

Here, you can find verification codes for Google, Bing, Yandex, Baidu, and Pinterest, which don’t directly influence SEO, but still can be useful in identifying your content. 

To further help out with indexing, you can tweak your sitemaps even more, including setting up the query limit and its output, among others. 

On-Page SEO

Now, when you view all your posts in WordPress, you get the extra SEO column that notifies you if there’s anything you should change. If yes, you’ll see yellow and red blocks — if everything’s fine, expect to see greenery all around.

This way, you can quickly check on the title, description, whether the page was indexed and if it can be followed, archived, etc.

While editing a page, you’ll find a “Post SEO Settings” right at the bottom, where you can type in your meta title or adjust the generated one, decide if you want to include the site title, and then do the same to the meta description. On another tab, you’ll be able to also adjust titles and descriptions that will be shown across various social media, and check on this page’s visibility, which includes entering your 301 Redirect URL.

Premium Plans

SEO Framework offers three paid plans: Pro, Business, and Agency. But none of them unlock any other directly related to SEO features; you get everything you need from the free plan, as long as you want to keep to the basics.

The paid plans offer more sites you can install SEO Framework on, more API requests a month, and better support. Pretty straightforward!

Pro ($84 a year)Business ($204 a year)Agency ($324 a year)
Extensions on 2 sites
500 API requests a month
Priority level 1 support
Extensions on 20 sites
5,000 API requests a month
Priority level 2 support
Extensions on 200 sites
50,000 API requests a month
Priority level 2 support

SEO Framework: Our Impressions

Indeed, SEO Framework covers all the bases when it comes to common SEO needs. Meanwhile, Yoast SEO keeps delivering extra bells and whistles that might make you feel better, but will it really make your articles jump right into the Top 10 of search results?

Doubtful. 

We also appreciate very much that although SEO Framework does have autogenerative functionalities, it doesn’t coin them as the newest AI jumps in technology.

Rank Math

Last but certainly not least, let’s take a look at Rank Math, another pretendent to the title of the best SEO plugin for WordPress.

This plugin is a very recent addition to the SEO market, having been launched in 2020 by Suraj Vibhute, Bhanu Ahluwalia, and Nimit Kashyap. In the last 4 years, Rank Math brought them the revenue of $5 million, which makes for a solid proof for this plugin’s success.

Free Plan

While Rank Math is fairly new, compared to its competitors, it managed to compile an overwhelming amount of features that are spread across four different subscription plans. These plugins surely try to make SEO look harder than it is!

Any Surprises?

To make it easier to digest what Rank Math offers, we’ll keep it simple: in Rank Math’s free plan, you get the features that you’d have to pay for in Yoast SEO. That means that you can optimize your post up to 5 different keywords, get internal linking suggestions, advanced redirection manager, and social previews. 

Everything else, that’s available in both Yoast SEO and SEO Framework, can be found in Rank Math as well: Google post preview, XML sitemaps, schemas, 404 monitor, 301 redirection type, sites verifications, SEO breadcrumbs, instant indexing, the options to represent the site as a person or a company, and more.

Unfortunately, all the Rank Math options can’t be found on a single page, similarly to SEO Framework; instead, we get many new pages to get used to.

Moreover, Rank Math squeezes everything that comes with the newest technological trends, tempting clients with easy import from Yoast SEO and other WordPress plugins, pre-selected optimal settings, automated image SEO, and other fancy functionalities that don’t influence SEO that much, but might make your job much easier (and faster, to boot).

On-Page Optimization 

When it comes to on-page optimization, Rank Math follows Yoast SEO’s example, but instead of traffic lights, it offers us a score, which will be also visible in the additional column on the page with all our posts.

Rank Math takes into consideration things like keyword density, the length of the article, whether the focus keyword is found in the first 10% of the content, if the title contains a power word or a positive or negative sentiment word (which is nebulous at best, despite Rank Math providing a whole list of words to pick from), if the title contains a number, or whether you used the Content AI to optimize the post.

Some of these requirements are expected and normal, but some of them should be taken with a whole bucket of salt. For example, the Content AI, which is aggressively promoted, can get you contradictory advice. 

So while it’s nice and easy to follow these guidelines, they’re not the sure way of getting your article right to the Top 10 search results. In result, a SEO beginner might focus on the wrong things, while a true professional might switch to something much simpler entirely.

Premium Plans

Meanwhile, Premium plans are all about spoiling their user base absolutely rotten with features that aren’t necessary, but can convince people to convert.

There are three subscription plans to choose from:

Pro ($83,88 a year)Business ($251,88 a year)Agency ($599,88 a year)
500 client websites
50,000 keywords to track
30,000 Content AI credits
100 client websites
10,000 keywords to track
12,000 Content AI credits
unlimited personal websites
500 keywords to track
5,000 Content AI credits

Content AI 

This feature is huge, that’s why it can also be bought separately, but you can also unlock it by buying the premium version of the SEO plugin.

First of all, you can tweak general settings to indicate the default country and audience you want to target, default language of the generated content, and the default tone (for example: poetic, friendly, satirical). These are global settings, so you’ll be able to adjust all that later on as well.

Then, you can find your Content AI within the on-site optimization options, where you can research your focus keyword and get some suggestions on what your article or post should include, such as other keywords, questions for your FAQ, or relevant links.

Furthermore, if you’re not keen on writing everything yourself, you can use the writing panel to make Content AI generate the text for you. You can simply provide some instructions, add your keyword, select the desired tone along with the length of the article, and you can make this feature do the rest. 

If you don’t like the results, you can quickly regenerate them with just a click.

You also get AI Tools at your disposal, which can help you create more than 40 different types of content, such as company bio, testimonial, job description, Tweet reply, Youtube Video Script, Recipe, Email, product description, and more.

But the Content AI isn’t limitless — each user gets a number of credits they can use per month. Every time you run out, you can either wait for the new month or buy more. 

Keyword Rank Tracker

To make sure you know if your strategy works or not, Rank Math offers you a Keyword Manager to track all your keywords.

After adding your keywords — which can be also done automatically by enabling auto import — you’ll see the position of each one, its impressions, clicks, and position history.

If you’re fine with general data, you can say goodbye to other tools, such as SurferSEO or Ahrefs. In result, you can save money by only investing in one specific software. 

Podcast Module

If podcasts are important to your brand, this feature could delight you.

After enabling this option and providing necessary information, from podcast’s name and description to its category and image, you’ll be able to add your podcast episode schema to a specific post or page.

There, you’ll have to provide more information — whether it’s family friendly, the episode’s number and season, episode image URL and link to the audio, and more. 

After completing these steps, Rank Math will generate your Podcast RSS feed, which can be submitted to Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.

That’s what you can do if you use WordPress along with Gunteberg, but there are 

also specific instructions for Classic Editor, Divi, and Elementor.

Automatic Video Detection for Video Schema

There’s also a treat for all those that focus on video content! 

To make your work as easy as possible, Rank Math can automatically detect any videos you have uploaded, generate the Video Schema for them and add them to the Video Sitemap. On top of that, if you enable the “Autogenerate Image” option, you’ll get your own thumbnail, too.

Then, after providing the required information — duration, upload date, dimensions, and others — you’ll have your schema all set up.

Advanced Google Analytics 4 Integration

If you’d like to spice up your dashboard even more, Rank Math can add Google Analytics 4 integration to it, as long as you pay enough.

Thanks to that, you won’t have to keep going back and forth between different tools; you’ll be able to have all the important data right at hand, from search traffic and search impressions to more insight into keyword positions and an average position. You’ll be able to note which posts actually convert and how much time do users spend on each. And when you connect Rank Math to Google Search Console, you’ll get even more valuable insights.

Rank Math: Our Impressions

Rank Math is a solid tool that’s overflowing with features you might not necessarily need — therefore, you should really take a moment to analyze your needs and requirements to make sure you’re not overinvesting. 

Rank Math puts an emphasis on AI features and doesn’t hold back on the race to present as many of them as possible; if that’s what you also like, then seriously consider Rank Math. 

The Best WordPress Seo Plugin Is…?

In the end, it all comes down to personal preferences.

If you believe in SEO fundamentals and appreciate simple, straightforward tools, then you should take a closer look at SEO Framework. There’s even a chance that you’ll do with the free version just fine.

Yoast SEO comes with a long history and a huge user base that’s scared of migrating to another software. In our opinion, you can give this tool a pass — it has many needless features that won’t really make a difference in the SEO game.

Rank Math is a younger and much fresher version of Yoast SEO that also satisfies those that want to generate most of their content. This software just keeps on releasing updates that won’t be groundbreaking for your website’s SEO itself, but can change the way you think about your content. 

May the search results be ever in your favor!

Frequently Asked Questions: The Best SEO Plugin For WordPress

What Is The Best SEO Plugin For WordPress?

Yoast SEO, Rank Math, and SEO Framework are one of the best SEO plugins that can help your web pages rank higher and even be shown as rich snippets. They all offer free versions of the product that should cover most of your SEO basic needs. The premium versions are worthwhile only if you have many websites under your control, or you’d like extra features that support content creation and AI functionalities.

What Is Better, Yoast SEO Or Rank Math?

Rank Math is definitely better than Yoast SEO. It offers free features that you’d have to pay for in Yoast SEO, it’s not as bloated, and it offers AI features that support content creation. Moreover, it doesn’t have as many ads and its interface is more user-friendly.

Is SEO Framework Better Than Yoast SEO?

SEO Framework’s strength lies in its simplicity and philosophy of covering only these features that directly influence SEO. For example, it doesn’t offer a system point or a traffic light system for on-page optimization, which usually encourages harmful keyword stuffing.

Is The Free Version Of Yoast SEO Enough?

The free version of Yoast SEO should be enough if you’re taking care of a single website and you’re fine with optimizing your post with just one keyword. But if you’d like to have more features, we recommend switching to Rank Math or SEO Framework, which are lighter and offer more value without annoying ads.

Picture of Paulina Gajewska
Paulina Gajewska

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