I swear there are fifty-leven hundred million WordPress SEO Plugins. Okay, okay, it’s more like 1,000 but still. That’s a lot. Especially when you have to decide which one to use. I can’t say I’ve ever found a source that’s claimed to have tried them all. Being honest, I’ve only ever used 2 myself. Despite WordPress’ popularity and the number of plugins, some are so popular that they’re widely and heavily used. So based on my experience and the experience of those I trust, here’s the skinny on some of the better WordPress SEO Plugins.
WordPress SEO Plugins
Before I begin, why WordPress? Because it’s freaking awesome! It truly is one of the better-built, most flexible platforms out there that’s really extensible (baring who’s doing your code.) It’s so popular and honestly, I don’t see that changing for a really, really long time. I wrote an article on why WordPress is so awesome years ago and I still feel as strongly about it today.
It’s the #1 SEO plugin available for WordPress not just because of how good the free version is, but because it’s SO EASY TO USE. Around 135,000,000 sites are using Yoast. It’s really that good. If you want to know how to use Yoast, you can check out my guide. Here we’re just going to talk about the general benefits of the plugin. Out of all of them, this is my absolute favorite of WordPress SEO plugins.
- XML Sitemap
- Verification in WebMaster Tools
- Noindex page option
- Templates allow input for SEO Title, Slug, Meta Description, and Keyword or Keyphrase
- Ability to add schema.org data
- Flesch Readability check
- Automatic canonical URL creator
Yoast is THE go-to choice if you’re learning SEO, or honing your skills. It’s also great because you don’t need a separate readability scoring tool. It has everything you need on one screen and automates a lot of the technical things. I prefer it because I work much faster in it and can check my pages for accuracy. This is because there’s also a feature to score your optimization for each page’s SEO data.
It’s not very customizable. It can be misleading, if you’re looking for the greenlights alone and not taking all the aspects of SEO into consideration, you’re not doing yourself any favors. So while it’s very helpful at guiding, it’s not a master sheet. As great as it is to have a system that “checks” your work, it isn’t a guarantee that you won’t be better off by ‘breaking’ some of this.
Skill Level Needed
Yoast is exceptional for entry-level users who are learning the ropes. No, it cannot teach you good writing skills or SEO skills. It can help you improve what you’re doing. Many people who are advanced-level use Yoast as well because it’s so easy to use and has a lot of features in one place. The Premium upgrade gives more features to advanced users. The Glue for Yoast plugin allows you to optimize AMP pages.
One of the original gangsters, Michael Torbert’s plugin has had nearly 50,000,000 downloads. It’s pretty easy to use IF you’re familiar with SEO. It claims to be a package for beginners but I found it to be harder to learn on. In training novices on SEO, Yoast has been a lot easier for the learning curve than AIOSEO has been but it’s still a really good plugin. It’s really very similar to Yoast but actually has more flexibility.
Pretty much everything Yoast SEO does, except for readability scoring, but also:
- Redirect attachment pages
- Connect other plugins via the API
- Edit robots.txt files
- “Bad bots” blocking
- Autogenerate meta descriptions
- Integrates with e-commerce and Woo Commerce
There’s a lot of extra stuff you can manipulate and the e-commerce integration is really huge. You can access Michael’s digital SEO guide online, which is really overwhelming if you’re an entry-level SEO’er. It’s not very expensive and worth the cost of purchasing.
It markets itself to beginners who just need to “install and go” but it really doesn’t work THAT well. You still need some know-how to effectively leverage this. I’m also not crazy about the interface, I find it harder to navigate and less intuitive.
Skill Level Needed
To really maximize what it allows you to do, I recommend you be intermediate to advanced level to fully take advantage of the customizations offered. This is one of the better WordPress SEO plugins. It’s the second most widely used for a reason.
Rank Math is relatively new in the SEO world. It’s one I’d like to use but haven’t. Because if I migrate my settings and change and I don’t like it…I have to do it all in reverse. It’s widely gaining in popularity and I believe that it is a true alternative to both Yoast and AIOSEO, who have been the top two WordPress SEO plugins for a long time.
There isn’t much it DOESN’T do. Honestly, these developers who coded this thought of everything that wasn’t already sitting out there for free. It does several things that Yoast and AIO don’t do:
- Redirection pages (outside of 404 error pages)
- Rich snippet markups
- Google Search Console integration
The popularity it’s gaining is pretty remarkable and it seems to me it will continue to grow. The UI looks good and is really similar to Yoast but a bit more streamlined. Did I mention it pretty much does everything?
It’s still pretty new. There were a lot of bad reviews at the beginning and the way the service team handled the issues were poor. Exchanging fixes for higher scoring reviews. I had already been in a lengthy relationship with Yoast and simply didn’t want to change for something that wasn’t optimized yet. But it seems they have a lot fixed and are continuing to add features.
Skill Level Needed
It’s automatically configured and is really good for all skill levels because of all the features it offers and it’s simply layout design.
There are MANY more plugins that you can try if one of these three isn’t for you. I simply wanted to highlight the most popular and best-rated ones. If you scour the internet you will find plenty of recommendations for others.
So what are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite WordPress SEO plugin that’s not on here? I’d love for you to share it with me! I’d love to connect on LinkedIn and hear from you. If you have any pros or cons to add to the list let me know. I’d love to get your experiences in our social channels.