Which is the best WordPress SEO plugin?
One of the biggest attractions for site owners to utilize WordPress as their CMS is the plethora of plugins that can handle numerous complex tasks, relatively simply. This includes on-page SEO markup, which can be tricky with the default WordPress install.
While WordPress is generally SEO-friendly (flattened permalinks, lots of internal linking, etc.), it’s not perfect. For example, if you want to make your Title Tag different from your H1 tag (which is pretty standard in today’s SEO environment), you would be out of luck without some finagling of code.
Thankfully “SEO plugins” make this task, along with numerous other on-page markup tasks, very easy. There are two big players in this space, and today we will dive into how these compare to each other.
Those two players are the All-in-One SEO Pack and Yoast SEO Plugin. They both started at about the same time, between 2007 and 2010, and since then they have established themselves as the leading SEO plugins, with over 1,000,000+ active installs each. Since they provide overlapping SEO functionalities, you need to explore their features in detail to decide which one is the best fit for you.
Yoast and All-in-one SEO: Installation and Setup
Yoast SEO provides you with a step-by-step configuration wizard, which launches upon activation. Each section of the Yoast settings offers different tabs for specific options, so you can easily tweak the desired configurations.
Upon activation, All-in-One SEO Pack provides a different onboarding experience. It provides its settings on a single page. They divide the configuration controls into sections where you can change the settings for specific features such as homepage or page titles.
Both the SEO plugins have a lot of settings to tweak before you start using them successfully.
Main SEO Tasks
Most businesses have to deal with SEO on a daily basis whether it is blog post optimization or optimization of commercial offers.
Yoast’s metabox and snippet preview enable users to preview their site’s title and description as shown by search engines. The focus keyword is entered and then used to calculate the SEO rank of your post or page while the plugin also assigns a readability score. Multiple keywords are available to paid users only.
All-in-One SEO offers very similar functionality for day-to-day SEO. They have a metabox where you can edit titles and descriptions but no content analysis is provided. In addition, you can switch SEO on and off for a specific post or page.
Both plugins provide social media functionality to optimize posts for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other popular social networks.
The two plugins take a different approach toward SEO optimization of posts and pages. All-in-One SEO gives more freedom for the user to decide how to optimize a post or page. On the other hand, Yoast provides suggestions in accordance with an algorithm that sometimes may be overwhelming, especially for beginners who rely solely on the software to perform optimization.
Advanced Features of Yoast and All-in-One SEO
Competition in the field of SEO software is fierce and both plugins incorporate advanced features that aren’t usually provided by competing WordPress add-ons. The average site owner may never need most of these features; nonetheless, they are useful if you intend to perform advanced on-site optimization of your WordPress site.
Some of these features might not be activated by default, so check your settings to activate a particular functionality.
Additional Yoast features include:
- XML Sitemaps (can interfere with other plugins. I prefer Google XML Sitemaps as a standalone plugin).
- Breadcrumb Navigation
- Open Graph Meta Tags
- Import of Data from Google Webmaster Tools
- Built-in robots.txt and .htaccess editor for managing crawlers (very handy if you don’t have backend access or don’t feel like diving into FTP).
- Import and Export of SEO data
Additional All-in-One features include:
- XML Sitemap
- txt feature
- File Editor
- Bad Bot Blocker feature
- Open Graph Meta Tags
- Import and Export of SEO Data
- Performance Manager
As you can see they are both very similar. It’s hard to determine which plugin is the best. It all depends on which features you find the most useful for your website.
Pricing and Support
Unfortunately, the basic versions of both the plugins come with no support at all. The good news is that they have a relatively easy-to-use interface that allows the average Joe to deal with the plugin management without much help. Professional support starts with the premium versions of Yoast and All-in-One SEO.
The Yoast paid plans start from $69 for a single site license and the price grows as you install the plugin on additional sites. The All-in-One SEO Pack Pro version costs $97 a year for a single site and offers one year of professional support.
The benefits of paid versions include multiple focus keywords and a redirect manager in Yoast while the professional version of All-in-One SEO provides support for WooCommerce products, category SEO options, and video XML sitemap.
Yoast is a bit more affordable if you are running and optimizing a single site. Both plugins offer pretty much the same features – there is no clear leader when SEO functions are concerned. This applies to both their free and commercial versions; it all depends on your personal preferences and budget.
Many people prefer Yoast because they trust it more. The Yoast suite of software, plugins, content and case studies is extremely extensive, and so they have become a very trusted supplier of WordPress products.
All-in-One SEO offers an experience that is a bit more straightforward, as well as a more streamlined interface while Yoast tries to provide as many SEO suggestions as possible. Personally, I prefer All-in-One due to its straightforward nature, and it’s a little less obtrusive when it comes to my daily tasks. I’m not a beginner SEO, so I don’t need the hand-holding that Yoast offers.
Overall, both plugins are tools we can recommend to beginner and advanced users alike. Nonetheless, you need to learn the plugins in detail to be able to get the most out of their respective features.
About the Author:
Michael Hayes is a guest author on WP Lighthouse. He has been helping businesses succeed online since 2008. He is the founder of Darby Hayes Consulting, a NYC based SEO firm. He can be reached at mike (at) darbyhayesconsulting.com