What is the best WordPress plugin for SEO? In short, Yoast SEO! Let’s take a closer look at this frequently asked question at Pathfinder SEO.
Why Use Yoast SEO?
1. Yoast SEO is built by SEOs. The team at Yoast started as an SEO consultancy and transitioned into developing what is now the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress. Led by Joost de Valk, Yoast SEO is a thought leader in the SEO space. They have their finger on the pulse of what is happening today in SEO and where SEO is heading. Examples of thought leadership include YoastCon, a Knowledge Base that goes beyond how to configure their plugin and includes great information about how to deploy holistic SEO and the Ask Yoast series.
2. Yoast SEO is frequently updated. The plugin evolves quickly. Its functionality expands to meet the ever-changing opportunities in SEO. Security is paramount. The usability of the plugin is always improving towards increasing simplicity without losing its power. Lastly and importantly, Yoast SEO is designed for Gutenberg. Yoast SEO notes, “The plugin is updated every 2 weeks, so you’re sure that your website is optimized for the most recent Google algorithm.”
3. Yoast SEO has excellent support and is engaged in the WordPress community. As with all plugins, you may need support or uncover a bug. The support team at Yoast SEO is excellent. Quick to respond, helpful and thorough. And, the Yoast team is highly engaged in the WordPress community and can often be found speaking at WordCamps.
4. Yoast SEO is powerful. SEO can be overwhelming - the search engine algorithms are complex and ever-evolving. The Yoast SEO plugin covers much of what you’ll need to do to deploy SEO best practices on your website. Installing the plugin is just step one. To make use of the plugin, you will need to configure it. Learn more about how to use the Yoast SEO plugin.
What does Yoast SEO do?
Yoast SEO is a powerful SEO plugin as noted above. So what does it actually do? Here’s a list of our favorite things that the plugin allows us to do as SEO’s:
- Address Technical SEO Best Practices - What content should get crawled and indexed? What content should the search engines ignore? The Yoast SEO plugin makes it easy to configure your meta robots directives, XML sitemap, and robots.txt file so that your website communicates an efficient roadmap to the search engine crawlers. Crawlability and indexation are step one to a solid SEO plan as the search engines need to be able to crawl and index your content if they are then going to display it.
- Customize the Display of Pages in the Search Results - Ever wonder how to control what displays in the organic search results in www.google.com? Yoast helps you create great page titles and meta descriptions. These are recommendations for what you’d like Google to display in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Yoast SEO makes customization easy for each page, post, category and more. And, you can automate these using variables. Pretty slick for basic to advanced SEO practitioners. The plugin also gives you a preview of what the page will look like in Google.
- Webmaster Tools Verification - Open a communication channel with Google, Bing and more. How? Verify your website with the various search engine. Google Search Console is a great place to start. The feedback from Google is exceptionally helpful. Yoast SEO makes verification a 2-minute project.
- Content Optimization - SEO isn’t as simple as adding a keyword in a repetitive nature to a post. That worked 10 years ago 🙂 Now, you need to think readability, internal links, synonyms and more. Yoast SEO is chock full of tools for content optimization and grading.
- 301 Redirects - Upgrade to Yoast Premium and seamlessly respond to page not found errors from the Google Search Console with the click of a button. The Redirect manager in Yoast SEO is excellent.
- And More - Check out the full list of Yoast SEO features.
It’s great that you are thinking about what SEO plugin to use for your WordPress website. There are several strong options available and making a good choice is step one. Remember though that your success with WordPress SEO is tied more to how you configure the plugin than which plugin you use. And there is more to SEO than plugins. SEO can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider taking a guided approach.
Overwhelmed by SEO? Try a
Lindsay Halsey is a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses. Lindsay focuses on teaching business owners and freelancers how to get found in Google, Yahoo, and Bing via a guided approach to SEO. Stay in touch on Twitter - @linds_halsey.