Which WordPress SEO plugin is best? This is a question that I often see asked by people who are wondering if they have chosen the best SEO plugin for their website.
The two most popular plugins are Yoast SEO and All In One SEO Pack (AIOSEO), each with more than 3 million active installs. These are the most popular but not the only SEO plugins available.
There are several others such as Premium SEO Pack, SEOPressor, SEO Squirrly or SEO Ultimate. By comparison, these plugins have relatively few active installs.
In this post, we’ll be comparing the Yoast SEO and All In One SEO plugins, to find out which is best.
A little background
Yoast, created by Joost de Valk, was released in 2010 and was originally known as WordPress SEO. In fact, it was originally released as a beginners guide or tutorial to WordPress SEO in 2008.
The plugin was rebranded, Yoast SEO in 2015. It is now translated into 18 languages and been downloaded more than 40 million times. Making it the most popular WordPress plugin.
All In One SEO was launched in 2007 and created by Michael Torbert and Steve Mortiboy. It is part of Semper Plugins. The plugin is translated into 57 languages and has been downloaded more than 30 million times.
These SEO plugins are the most downloaded WordPress plugins.
Why You Need An SEO Plugin
You’ve probably heard that it’s important for a website to have good SEO. WordPress is well coded out of the box and your theme might load rapidly. However, these won’t get you the page 1 search engine rankings you need.
For a beginner getting the search engine optimization, “right” can be a little confusing. The search engines are always updating their algorithms, so what worked yesterday might not work today. If you search for information yourself it’s easy to find out of date tips or even worse instructions that will do your site more harm than good.
This is where the WordPress SEO plugins can help. They are up to date and can keep the guesswork out of optimizing your pages and posts.
Installation and Setup
The first step is to install and activate the plugin you have chosen. They install just like any other WordPress plugin.
Just go to Plugins –> Add New. In the Search plugins bar, type “Yoast SEO” or “All In One SEO”. The chosen plugin will show up in the search results. Click the Install button. This will install the Yoast or All In One SEO. Once installed you have to click on the Activate button.
Navigating The Plugins
The plugins appear at a different position on your dashboard.
All In One SEO
Appears just below the tab Dashboard. The plugin has just three menu items before activating any of the features in the Feature Manager.
Click on All In One SEO and you go to the general settings page.
The plugin has all the settings on one page. At first, this may seem a little overwhelming but once you start going through the different settings it’s not too bad. Some people like it as they don’t have to navigate to different pages as with Yoast.
One of the things I like about All In One SEO Pack is that they have a “?” icon next to each option. Click on the icon, you have a brief description and a link to additional information. This is very useful for beginners.
The page is broken down into different sections that deal with all areas of your SEO:
- General Settings
- Home Page Settings
- Title Settings
- Custom Post Type Settings
- Display Settings
- Webmaster Verification
- Google Settings
- Noindex Settings
- Advanced Settings
- Keyword Settings
The plugin will work with the default settings but it is recommended to make your own settings to get the full benefit of the plugin. Once you have gone through everything All In One SEO is set up for your website.
You can find different guides for setting up the plugin by searching online. Here is one by the owners, Semper Plugins.
Appears further down the dashboard menu and has seven menu items.
When you click on a menu item you open a new page that has several tabs for the different settings.
If you need help in setting up the plugin there is a purple help button on all pages. Click on the button and you get a video that explains how to set up the page or tab you are working on.
Again, there are many guides on setting up Yoast SEO, to be found. However, I think the best way to get a better understanding of the different tabs is to watch the short videos the plugin provides for each tab.
Here is a short video from the help section of Yoast for the Titles and Meta page, setting up the Post Types tab. These videos might be a little time consuming but are really helpful.
Optimizing Posts or Pages
Both the plugins make the process of editing the SEO settings for each post very easy. However, I really like the way Yoast analyzes your content to see if your focus keyword is found where it should be. Let’s have a quick look at how the two plugins handle posts and pages.
All In One SEO
With this plugin, you get a simple Meta Box that appears just below the post editor.
This allows you to edit the title and meta description. Although Google may choose not to use your title and description it’s a good idea to get into the habit of setting a good title and description for each page. It’s one of the fundamentals of on page SEO.
There are a few other features that let you choose if:
- the post should be indexed or not
- the links from your post will be follow or nofollow
- you want disable All In One SEO for a certain page or post
Normally you don’t have to touch these items.
If you activate Social Meta in the Feature Manager, these settings will also appear below your post. This will allow you to set a custom title, description, and image for use on social media.
If you don’t specify a title, description, or image, AIOSEO will use the meta title, description or image you selected for your site in the main social media settings. Or if you haven’t set a title and description in the main settings then the plugin will use the title and meta description of your post or page.
You really want to have a title, description, and image that is relevant to each post on your social media and not the title and description of your site.
Yoast has a similar Meta Box to All In One SEO to edit your snippet (meta title and meta description). The snippet is how your post may appear in the search results, the search engines can decide to use something different.
As you edit your snippet in Yoast there is a bar below that changes color as you are typing. The color goes from orange when your title and description are too short to green when they are the optimal length and back to orange when they’re too long.
In addition, you also have a tool that analyzes your content.
To use this tool you enter your focus keyword for your post (as you can see in the image above) and Yoast SEO will check your content to verify that you have used the keyword in the optimal positions.
The plugin uses a color code to help you see where you can improve your SEO. Green is great, orange ok and red there’s room for improvement. Use it as a guide but don’t loose any sleep over it.
I’ve had posts ranking in the first position on Google when the overall analysis color was orange!
Yoast SEO has a few other features:
Similar to All In One SEO, Yoast will allow you to choose a title, description, and image to use on social media. Yoast will use the title and description you made in the snippet editor so I don’t normally use these features.
These normally don’t need to be touched. You can use the advanced settings if you want to tell the search engines:
- not to index a post or page
- not to follow the links on a page or post
Although not directly related to SEO this tool helps to keep your content easily readable which is important. Having short sentences, paragraphs and headings can help keep visitors on your site longer and reduce bounce rate. Therefore, always worth looking at when you are writing a new post or page.
The same system of colors is used as in the optimization of the posts and pages.
Both plugins make it very easy to optimize posts and pages. They both concentrate on the title and description. All In One SEO has a simpler approach.
However, the analysis provided for the focus keyword in Yoast is very useful and could remind a beginner of something they have missed. Although you must remember you are writing your posts for your visitors. Don’t get obsessed with getting all the items green. You can still rank well even if some points are orange or red.
Having the content analysis and the readability analysis makes Yoast SEO my favorite.
Both plugins provide a number of other necessary features because there is more to SEO than optimizing posts and pages.
All In One SEO
The additional features in AIOSEO need to be activated in the Feature Manager, where you will find:
- XML Sitemaps – this will create, automatically update and submit your sitemap to the search engines
- Social Meta – as indicated above this will add social meta data to your posts and pages
- Robots.txt – allows you to create a static robots.txt file, to give you more control of what the web crawlers have access to
- File Editor – this allows you to edit the robots.txt file and also the .htaccess file
- Importer and Exporter – use this module to export your All In One SEO settings for backup or when migrating your site. You can then import the settings to All IN One SEO on your new host or use them on a new site
- Bad Bot Blocker – stops certain bad robots from slowing down your site
- Performance – provides some controls over settings relating to performance
The other features in Yoast are activated or edited directly from within the plugin.
- XML Sitemaps
- Breadcrumbs – can help the user to easily navigate your site and it also makes it easier for the search engines to understand the structure of your site. For example, the path to this page could be Home ->SEO -> Which WordPress SEO Plugin is Best? Yoast or All In One SEO? Each element is clickable. Yoast offers an easy way to add breadcrumbs to your site.
- Bulk editor – allows you to change the titles of your pages or posts without having to edit each page separately
- File editor – you can quickly change the robots.txt and .htaccess files
- Import and export – to use your SEO plugins settings on another site
- Search Console – allows you to connect your website to Google Search Console. You will see any crawl errors related to your website. You can correct these errors by creating redirects and mark them as fixed.
Both plugins have nearly the same set of additional features and there’s not much to choose between the 2 plugins.
Yoast SEO has Breadcrumbs and Search Console, however, these won’t make a big difference to your SEO and rankings. All In One SEO has the option to turn on the additional features only when you need them.
These features are nice to have as it can save you from adding extra plugins to your site.
There is no dedicated support for either of the plugins. This is normal with free plugins. There is extensive documentation for both plugins. If you do need help you can ask a question at the WordPress.org support forums and obtain help from other users or from staff members.
To get direct access to the support teams you need to buy the Premium or Pro version of the plugins.
Both these plugins are free but they have a Pro or Premium version that gives you a few extra features.
As mentioned above the paid versions will both give you access to the support teams plus the following features.
All In One SEO Pack Pro
Advanced support for WooCommerce – edit product categories with a title, description, and social media.
Video SEO Module – this module works in the same way as the XML sitemap module. It creates an XML sitemap just for the video content on your site.
SEO for Categories, Tags – you can set a title and description for each category or tag
Access to video screencasts and support forums
The Pro Version of AIOSEO is one major version ahead of the free plugin, which means it includes all the latest features.
A limited time sale price of
- $68 for one site for one year then $136 annually
- $118 for up to 10 sites for one year then $236 annually
- $559 for unlimited sites for one year then $1118 annually
Yoast SEO Premium
Redirects module – if you are cleaning up your site you may want to delete some old posts or pages. It’s not a good idea to delete a post or page without redirecting the URL to another page. You can do this directly in the redirect module.
When you delete a post or change a URL the plugin will ask you what you want to do with the old URL. You will have several choices the most common you will use is to redirect to another post (a 301 redirect) or make it serve a content deleted post header (a 410 redirect)
Internal linking – this is an important part of SEO. The Yoast internal linking tool selects the most used words in your post to find other posts related to the article you are writing. The plugin will present you a list of prominent words and posts that you can link to. You choose a link, copy it and add it where you like in your new post.
Social Previews – a tool to preview how your post will look when shared on social media. I’m sure you share posts on Facebook or Twitter only to find the image they show is not the image you want. This tool should eliminate the problem.
Normally, when you share a post on social media, you have a featured image and that’s the image that will appear. If you have no featured image, social media will grab the images you have used in your post. This tool previews your post and you can specify the images that will appear on social media.
- For a single site $69 per year
- Then up to 5 sites $300 per year
- Up to 20 sites $1,100 per year
- Up to 50 sites $2,400 per year…
Conclusion For Paid Options
Do you need the paid options? Both the Yoast Premium and AIOSEO Pro provide you with better support.
I prefer the paid options provided by Yoast SEO and can see that they could save some time and would probably be more useful for most websites. However, for most users, the free version of the plugins will be sufficient.
Which Is Best Yoast SEO or All In One SEO Pack?
This is a tough question! Both these plugins do a very good job and will help you improve your SEO.
The free version of Yoast SEO offers more options than All In One SEO. The best feature is probably the content analysis tool which will definitely help beginners.
I use Yoast SEO on most of my sites but still have All In One SEO Pack installed on a test site. Although I’m used to using Yoast, I can see why others may prefer the simpler approach of AIOSEO.
The end result of how your post ranks may not be much different whichever plugin you use. It’s probably best to try them both and see which is best for you.
How about you which is your preferred WordPress SEO plugin?