The Best Alternatives to Yoast for SEO


Posted on: June 19, 2020

Yoast is a plugin for WordPress launched in 2009 focused on improving SEO and keyword focus on websites. Created by Joost de Valk, it was the first major player in SEO plugins for WordPress, and throughout the first few years it served its thousands of users very well.

As time went on, however, things changed. Bugs started appearing, little ads started creeping up, and certain features that used to be free were now starting to cost money.

I think we are now at a point where we can part ways with Yoast. It's served us well, but it's truly time to move on.

Why you shouldn't use Yoast for WordPress SEO

I get it, you just want an SEO plugin for WordPress. You don't want to spend the time learning the intricacies of SEO, you just want something that's going to make it easy for you. And you see Yoast at the top of the results when you search for SEO in plugins.

Yoast used to be the king of SEO for WordPress. But as the years went by, they have unfortunately suffered from their popularity.

1. Keyword Focus Tool is misleading:

Yoast keyword focus tool is inaccurate

Way back in the day (like...2015), the Yoast plugin featured an actually useful Keyword tool at the bottom of every post page. It was simple to use, allowed you to actually look up a keyword, suggest keywords, and would let you include these words in your posts to start ranking. But now it is completely useless. What it will try to do now is rate how well you're writing your article based on a keyword that you supply.

The problem with this is that it's based on Yoast's own criteria, and there simply is no way to automate how well your article is going to rank. Their green/yellow/red icons will appear all over the WordPress dashboard and you are likely going to freak out if you start seeing a bunch of red. That means your post isn't going to rank well right? Not necessarily. It gives you a baseline to work with, but just because its showing red or yellow does not mean you are doing a bad job writing your post. You'll need to use your own judgement and knowledge of how SEO works to determine that, not Yoast.

2. No option to redirect URLs (unless you pay up):

Do you havê to pay to redirect URL's in Yoast?

If you're cleaning up your websites SEO, one of the main things you're gonna have to do is redirect URL's. This is a pretty simple need that anyone is going to run into at one time. So for the top WordPress SEO plugin to NOT have this feature is unfortunate.

3. Bugs and bugs and more bugs:

Bugs in Yoast WordPress

In June of 2019, Yoast users started seeing a major change in their traffic. It was dropping fast, and all signs pointed to the change coming from an update Yoast pushed. The 7.0 Yoast update (that was actually launched in March of that year) was the culprit of these changes. This update introduced a default feature where a new URL would be automatically generated for every media object on your website. This caused a lot of unwanted URLs and a lot of headaches for users.

Yoast founder issued an apology, but unfortunately the damage was done. While this was the biggest bug they ever introduced, it was far from the first.

4. Way too many ads and up-sells

Too many Yoast Ads

Ok we get it, you have a premium version of your plugin. I'm sure it's worth the money. But can you please not bombard every single page of your plugin with ads? This makes it pointless to even try to use the free version.

Does Yoast affect page speed performance?

The next unfortunate truth about Yoast is that it will bring your site performance down. Check out this case study by Consuunt that takes a deeper dive into how it can affect your site. To do so, they created a brand new site, tested the site speed, installed Yoast, and tested it again.

Results? Page speed was affected by installing Yoast.

Has Yoast ever been hacked?

Yes. In version 9.1 Yoast introduced a vulnerability that could allow hackers to gain access to your site and execute malicious code.

This was not the first time something like this has happened with Yoast either. Take a look at some of the previous vulnerabilities in Yoast:

History of vulnerabilities introduced in Yoast.

This only covers 2015 & 2017, but in those two years alone there were 4 vulnerabilities released.

What should I use instead of Yoast?

We have reached a point where there are plenty of other alternatives to Yoast, most of which are completely free and don't pester you to upgrade to a premium version.

While they vary in the amount of features and limitations they have, the good news is that these are lightweight, free to use, and will not slow your site down.

I personally have used the SEO framework plugin for years now and have been impressed by how perfect it is. It simplifies everything into one dashboard so you don't have to keep digging around looking for the right setting.

That being said, it's not the only option. Here are some of the my favorite alternatives to Yoast for SEO:

The SEO Framework

The SEO Framework as an alternative to Yoast

The SEO Framework plugin makes SEO a breeze by automatically generating your meta tags and comes auto preconfigured to save you a bit of time with the set up.

Here is the dashboard you'll see after installing. See how clean and easy that is to navigate? Beautiful.

SEO Framework dashboard

All in One SEO

All in One SEO as an alternative to Yoast

All in One SEO plugin was created in 2007, so it's been around about as long as Yoast. It does what you need it to do in terms of SEO. Set it and forget it!

Rank Math

Rank Math as an alternative to Yoast

A newer plugin to the scene is Rank Math. If you're interested in learning more of the ins and outs of SEO and getting a closer look at monitoring your rankings, this might be the best option for you. Personally I like to keep analytics separate from my website, but I can see the appeal of having it all in one place.

Rank Math gives you an easy to follow setup wizard, auto generated meta tags, integration with Google Search Console, and more. One of the more unique features to Rank Math is the ability to overlay icons on social images, which will help boost your branding no matter where the image appears.