For many users looking for a robust SEO plugin to help improve their WordPress website’s search ranking, they need not look further than the free Yoast WordPress SEO plugin.
It’s an incredibly popular plugin that helps you tailor your content for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with the help of an SEO analyzer. It takes a look at your content and provides an instant SEO analysis to help you improve your writing so search engines rank your site well.
It also has several other features such as advanced XML sitemap creation, inserting micro data into breadcrumbs, and other helpful capabilities that compliments the inherent SEO of the WordPress core.
Today, I’ll share more detail on the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin, its main and best features such as its SEO analyzer, and the reasons why this SEO plugin may not be right for your site.
An SEO Plugin Well Worth Considering
When it comes to SEO for WordPress, the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin is a key player you may have already heard about. This SEO plugin helps you optimize your content for search engines with many brawny features.
It’s an incredibly popular option since its inception in 2008 with over five million active installations. It’s also translated into 37 languages.
Yoast SEO is renowned in the SEO and WordPress industries, and the figures prove it with 95% of its reviews being five out of five stars.
It’s available for download in the WordPress repository for free. So, you can take it for a spin and see if it will work for your site.
Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Strengths
It’s worth mentioning that there are a couple of features that set the Yoast SEO plugin apart from others, including the All in One SEO plugin, which is its main competition. These features are its SEO content analyzer as well as its ability to create advanced XML sitemaps.
There are also other great features as well, and they’re all introduced in detail below.
Improve Blog Posts with an SEO Analyzer
One of the flagship features of the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is its SEO analyzer. As previously touched upon, it can scan your content such as blog posts, and pages. Then, it provides an instant SEO analysis to help your know where you need to optimize your content.
As you type, the SEO analyzer is able to adjust and provide an updated SEO analysis. No matter where you are in your writing process, you’ll know whether you need to make any SEO adjustments on the fly.
The SEO analysis includes these key areas:
- Enter your target keyword to enable the scanning of content
- Whether your keyword density is high enough
- Notes if your meta description includes your targeted keyword
- Lets you know if your meta description is the right length
- Notifies you if you haven’t included your keyphrase in your headings, or subheadings
- Whether you have enough internal, and external links
- Lets you know if you have included your keyword in the first paragraph
- Scans to see if your keyword is well distributed in the content
- Notifies you if you need to include your keyword in an image’s ALT attribute
- A readability score that lets you know if your content is easy to read based on the Flesch Reading Ease guidelines
- The ability to see how your blog post, or page will be displayed in social media links
- Checks if the length of the text is sufficient to rank well
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of areas that the SEO analysis covers, it should give you a good idea of what to expect if you decide to use this SEO plugin.
There are also an additional reason why the SEO analysis is helpful: Its ease of use.
One of the best parts about its SEO analysis is that it’s effortless to use. This also applies to its settings. Although, there are several settings that are a lot more complex to set up if you really want to use this SEO plugin to its full, advanced potential.
Fortunately, you don’t need to delve into these advanced settings to see improved results in your overall SEO strategy.
On the settings page, a checklist is displayed that guides you through the setup process, and suggests optimal settings. If you run into trouble along the way, there are several links to detailed guides to help explain the option as well as how to configure it properly.
The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin has an extensive array of documentation articles to help you with pretty well everything you may need to know.
In the SEO analyzer, it visually guides you through the process by showing a green, orange, or red bullet point next to each point of optimization.
The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin makes it effortless to see where to make improvements.
The green bullet indicates that you’re good to go. Orange signals that some improvements could be made, though, it’s not urgent. The red bullet urgently lets you know there’s a major area where you need to make improvements so your content can rank well.
When you go to the Pages > All Pages, or Posts > All Posts page in the WordPress admin dashboard, there are several added columns are displayed with a bullet for your overall SEO, and readability scores. It also displays the number of internal links, and links to other internal pages.
Like a stoplight, if the bullet is green, your score is high, and your content is more likely to rank well.
You can see how well your posts and pages may rank in the WordPress admin.
Fun for the Whole Family – Er, Team
A notable feature, particularly for teams, is the option to set user roles for SEO.
You can provide each member of your staff with user roles that have specific SEO capabilities that correspond to the features of the SEO plugin.
Aa long as they have a user account on your WordPress site, you can set a role for them.
This is particularly useful when each member of your team has different job descriptions when it comes to SEO. You can set up a user role for them that fits with their responsibilities.
It’s also helpful if not all team members are equally skilled with SEO, or you hired an SEO consultant that needs to be able to work on your site’s SEO strategy, directly in the WordPress admin.
Advanced XML Sitemaps to Win the Internet
A second flagship feature of the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin is that you can create advanced XML sitemaps.
Sitemaps help search engines better understand and locate the content on your website from pages, posts, categories, media, and other similar content.
They’re beneficial because your site’s pages will have a better chance to rank if they’re more clearly found by search engines, which is exactly what sitemaps help you do.
The XML sitemaps in the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin accomplish this task well, and are dynamic. They’re also sorted by the page type you want to index.
For example, by page, article, category, and other options. They also include the associated images in the sitemap.
Possibly the best part is you can create these advanced XML sitemaps in one click.
An SEO Plugin with Room for Improvement
“Pobody’s Nerfect” as they say, and even the best SEO plugin option could still use some perfecting. There are several reasons why the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin may not be suitable for everyone.
It’s entirely too common for the SEO analyzer to hate your style of writing, even if there’s nothing really wrong with it.
This is due to their readability scoring relying on points such as using an active voice as opposed to a passive voice. While this may work in some cases such as for tutorials, it’s not always a part of a site’s writing style, and branding.
For example, using the passive voice can give the impression of sounding a lot more professional than an active voice.
The SEO analyzer also doesn’t account for many common types of content such as text found in tables.
In this kind of situation, the SEO analysis sees incomplete sentences and repetition, when really, you’re rightfully breaking up your content in an easy-to-consume way to keep readers engaged.
This makes it difficult to consistently know if your content is still great for search engine results since there are several factors that aren’t taken into consideration. While the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin may say your page or post won’t rank well, it may actually have a better chance than ever because of factors such as these.
There’s also another reason why this SEO plugin may not be a great option for your site. Unlike its main competitor, the All-in-One SEO Plugin, the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin also can’t add Google Analytics tracking directly in the head tag.
This is unfortunate since there’s an opportunity to insert the validation code for the Google Search Console.
To compensate for this, an additional plugin is provided by Yoast to add this option. But, adding yet another plugin to your site could potentially slow it down, which is something that we care a lot about at WP Rocket.
Lastly, while it’s not a problem with the plugin itself, it may be worth noting that there’s a cap to the features that are included in the free version of the plugin. More advanced options are only available if you’re willing to upgrade to the premium version.
If you’re on a budget, but need those features, then it’s worth considering other SEO plugin options.
The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin is an excellent option for optimizing your site. It has many helpful features such as its robust SEO analysis tool as well as its ability to create advanced XML sitemaps.
While it has room for improvement, there’s certainly a solid reason why it’s one of the most popular SEO plugin options for WordPress.
It’s certainly worth considering for your WordPress SEO strategy.
Do you prefer the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin, or a different SEO plugin? Do you like Yoast’s SEO analyzer? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.