Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin – Review

WordPress SEO by YoastFor quite a while I routinely recommended the All in SEO WordPress plugin, but that changed when Yoast introduced his WordPress plugin. I’ve used it on four WordPress sites and each time my appreciation of this wonderful plugin has grown. Not just for myself, but also because it helps my clients write more SEO optimized posts and pages.

I used to get frustrated after carefully explaining to new bloggers and site owners how to write SEO friendly permalinks, page titles and meta descriptions — and then watching them forget everything I told them by creating poorly optimized posts and pages. Now I can lead the horse to water, and he (or she) actually drinks it! Another great bonus about this plugin is that is it so comprehensive is that it does the job of several plugins. For example there is no need to install a sitemap plugin – Yoast’s plugin will take care of that too for you.

There is so many features in this plugin, that I am not going to cover them all, but I would like to show how it helps you optimize your pages and posts to be SEO friendly. When installed, the plugin adds an additional form to your page/post edit screen that has three tabs. The key to the first tab is to first choose your focus keyword (a drop list appears to help you refine the keyword even further – and there is a related keyword button). Once you’ve decided on your keyworde, you can then customize the page title and meta description (here I have customized the title but not the meta description tag). Then you can use the initial page analysis results as a guide to optimize further. Perhaps you need to weave in your keyword into your content? You’ll be reminded to do so here:

WordPress SEO Plugin

First Tab has the Snippet Preview and is where you choose your focus keyword and customize your page title and meta description.

The second tab takes the page analysis a level deeper. You’ll get reminders on placing your keyword in the first paragraph of your copy (as I am reminded here) and a reading level score.

SEO Page Analysis

Taking the SEO analysis of your page to a deeper level

The third tab has a lot of power. Here you can noindex your page if you need to, setup a 301 redirect, also define your canonical URL, and even tweak your sitemap priority settings.

Advanced Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin

Don't overlook the third tab, there is a lot of power here.

The plugin has many more features available in a separate menu on the sidebar. Yoast has taken the trouble to add commentary to help you use the settings correctly. Just taking the time to read through his comments could help many learn SEO. The plugin is available in the WordPress plugin repository (search on “WordPress SEO Yoast”) and by download from his site.

About the Author Kathy Alice

Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.

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Leave a Comment:

Virendra says February 16, 2012

Thanks Kathy !!

Your post really helped to understand the Yoast SEO plugin.

    Kathy Alice says February 20, 2012

    You are welcome! Just keep in mind that I covered just a part of it.

Joe K says April 22, 2012

Hi Kathy, it looks like you have some experience with this plugin and I can’t seem to get a support question answered in the forums. In your first screenshot above that you have indicated as “Initial page analysis” All of my indicators should be green and not red based on the content, titles, description, etc that I have on my page.

Do you know why this does not work or where I can get support besides the wordpress forum?

From your review and others it looks like a great plugin and I want to get it running.


    Kathy Alice says April 30, 2012

    Hi Joe,
    First off, I believe you have to update your post before the page analysis refreshes. If that is not it then you need to look at your configuration. It might be related to the version of WordPress that you are running or even the theme. If if you are not on the latest WordPress version I would try upgrading and even switch over to twenty-eleven briefly to see whether that makes a difference.

john says May 11, 2012

Hi Kathy,
I’m new to running a website as well as to WordPress. I came across your article while looking for help to optimize my site. This seems like a great plugin and you did a wonderful job of explaining its benefits. I have a traditional WordPress website and not a blog. Can I still use this plugin? Or is this designed mainly for WordPress blogs? And, if I can use it on a website, do I have to modify how I use it in any way?

    Kathy Alice says May 13, 2012

    Hi John,
    You can use this plugin on non blog sites. Some of the settings may not make sense for non blog sites, but the features I covered in this post are relevant for both. Additionally generating a XML sitemap, which this plugin provides, is something you want for both types of sites. Thanks for your question!

    Kathy Alice says May 20, 2012

    Yes, the plugin works great on non blog WordPress sites, especially the part I walked through. Some of the configuration settings will not be that useful for non blogs but most are.

Christopher S. Rollyson says July 12, 2012

Kathy, thanks for an outstanding review and explanation; have been using All in One SEO which was okay but wanted another level. Your explanation makes Yoast a shoe-in for me! I love your description about how it can “train” the user in-workstream. Thanks for your guidance! Chris

Kathy Alice says July 12, 2012

You are welcome – glad it was useful to you!

baki says February 14, 2013

Hi Kathy. We use this plugin on our blog for a week now and search engine traffic grows steadily.

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