Anyone who has been using WordPress extensively for a few years will be very familiar with so-called ‘SEO plugins’. And in particular one of the most popular with over 5 Million active installs – ‘Yoast SEO’.
The problem with Yoast SEO however is that it’s gradually become more and more bloated with features. There are so many tabs and options now that it’s just become mind bendingly confusing for a lot of people.
Then there are all the adverts, promotions, popups and nags. And worse (particularly for those providing website support) the endless relentless upgrades! This wouldn’t be so bad except many upgrades are followed up rapidly by bug fixes, and fixes to things the upgrade just broke.
Seriously, Team Yoast, take a break! Consolidate, optimize, fix everything. Then release an update. Then just please leave it alone for at least a few months before you ram in any more features.
UPDATE 13/03/2018: The version 7 release has done much to at least improve the interface and get rid of some unnecessary clutter. But despite the call for beta testers there has already been 3 more releases (just to fix bugs) in the 6 days since it was released <sigh>.
UPDATE 29/04/2020: Yoast SEO decided new releases every 2 weeks is the way they want to play it. Whether or not there is anything of much use to add (there frequently isn’t!). So we have marched on to the version 14 release (so much wasted time updating, so much wasted bandwith downloading updates for 5 million websites…). And with version 14 again we have broken sites with 2 new updates being issued within 24 hours, listing 19 bugs fixed! And that mess is not over yet with people still reporting problems.
So, What Are The Alternatives To Yoast SEO?
Well the most obvious yet overlooked alternative is to use nothing at all. Do you really need all of those features? Do you really need ANY of those features?
There was a time when WordPress was really bad at simple things such as setting the title tag to anything sensible. This has dramatically improved since then however. So you may not need that plugin as much as you once did anyway.
That said, there are other free SEO plugins you can use – two of which I’d recommend instead. Which one is best for you depends on what features you need and how busy your site is.
1. All in One SEO Pack
You probably know this ‘old timer’ too, and ditched it a while ago when Yoast became better!
But now may be a good time to go back. Because All in One SEO vs Yoast SEO today is a very different story. All in One is actually a lot simpler to use. Yes, there is a bit of bloat and upgrade nagging but it’s nowhere near as bad. And there are a lot less screens and tabs to get lost in, and way, way less upgrades and bug fixes to contend with.
2. The SEO Framework
This is the ‘new’ kid on the block (over 4 years old now). It has a lot of options, but it’s been designed from the ground up for big and busy websites.
Comparing The SEO Framework vs Yoast SEO it just feels like a different world. It’s clean and uncluttered. It’s fast, and refreshingly free of advertising and nagging.
Then under the hood it’s more gentle on your database and uses less server resources. This is the serious choice – it’s all about function and efficiency.
For us this is now the best SEO plugin for WordPress for 2020. Having lived with it for a while now, we have no regrets on migrating over to what is clearly a superior plugin. Particularly if you manage or support WordPress sites, the reduction in constant upgrades alone will save you a lot of risk and many hours of work.