What is the best SEO plugin for WordPress?

The question in today’s post title is one that bloggers ask and discuss with great regularity. I no longer hesitate at all when asked, what is the best SEO plugin for WordPress? Hands down, my recommendation is Yoast SEO.

*updated from an earlier post originally published in 2016

As bloggers, our primary mission is to create compelling content that is both informative and highly useful to our readers. We also want to optimize our content so that it will be found and rank well in the search engine results. Yoast SEO is an excellent tool that is designed to help with both of these objectives.

There are multiple reasons why webmasters favor Yoast SEO for websites that vary from small local business sites to the largest and most popular sites on the globe.  If you’re struggling with the dilemma of how to get more traffic to your blog, this post is definitely for you.

So, let’s dive in and explore the benefits of this popular plugin for your affiliate marketing niche website, shall we?

What is the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress?

Yoast SEO is a free and extremely powerful WordPress plugin. This plugin analyzes both the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) friendliness of your post and the readability of your content. Yoast SEO gets my vote because it’s super intuitive.  Moreover, it’s easy to understand and to implement.

I love Yoast’s traffic light analogy that shows you a green button if your post is optimized, a red button for problems noted, and a yellow/orange button for suggested improvements. The positive actions you can take to improve are clear.

Awareness of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential to the success of a niche website. Yoast takes all the guesswork out of the process with a checklist and visual tracking system. It all starts with a focus keyword that is relevant to your niche.

Perform keyword research around a topic and determine the message you want to communicate to your readers. You will then draft a post around the main keyword that you want the search engines to use to find and index your article. Enter your focus keyword on the Yoast SEO analysis tab below your WordPress text window.

SEO Friendly Factors

This plugin scans and analyzes your text and tests for the following SEO friendly elements:

  • Have you used your keyword in 5 important locations?:
    • the URL of the page
    • the title of the page
    • the meta-description
    • the main heading of the article
    • the content of the article
  • Do you have links to other pages within your website?
  • Does your article include links to external sources?
  • Have you included images in the article with alt text attributes (preferably your keyword)?
  • What is the density of usage of the focus keyword in the article?
  • Have you used a focus keyword that you have not used on any other pages to prevent competition between your own pages?

If your blog post is relatively SEO-friendly (based on the aspects mentioned above), Yoast SEO will indicate this with a green bullet. Crafting pages that achieve green bullets will help you increase the ranking of the pages on your website.

Note that every dot does not have to be green for the overall score to be“good.”  For instance, here are the results for this post, which has a “good” score:

Yoast SEO Score



SEO Analysis for Post Entitled The Best SEO Plugin for WordPress

Readability Analysis: A Powerful Tip 

Of course, we’re all aware that the SEO factors discussed above are not sufficient to get your website to rank high in Content is King

Google. The most important factor is good content. The objective is to create enticing content that informs, persuades readers to take action, and encourages sharing.

Yoast SEO can help because it analyzes your content and prompts you to make it easier to read. When reading an article on the Web, no one wants to feel like they’re plowing through a technical manual. Yoast SEO scans your document and calculates a Flesch Reading Ease score.

Studies indicate that a score between 60 and 70 is appropriate for a general Web audience.  Therefore, Yoast assumes that this is your target score. Furthermore, this powerhouse of a plugin will guide and support your efforts to achieve a wider audience.

The program also checks for paragraph and sentence length. In general, we want short paragraphs and concise sentences. It checks for sufficient headings which make articles more scannable and for the use of active voice rather than passive voice.

Finally, Yoast scans your text for transition words such as because, so, firstly, in addition to, or consequently. These signal words send a message to readers that something important is coming. They tend to glue paragraphs of text together.

Here’s my readability score for this post:

How to Get More Traffic to Your Blog Using Readability Analysis

What Are the Benefits of Using Yoast SEO?

A well-written, easy to read blog post will encourage readers to stick around and ensure that your message is better understood. Yoast Seo provides helpful guidance and nudges you to incorporate factors that improve quality and readability.

If you then take steps to optimize your content for the search engines, you can feel good about creating a blog post that is well-positioned for both higher rankings and higher conversions.

Read more: ‘SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide.’

Install Yoast SEO

WordPress Dashboard

Yoast SEO is a free plugin that can be downloaded and installed from your WordPress dashboard.  Go to Plugins and then Add New. You can then search available plugins for Yoast SEO and select the choice displayed below.

Note that I have already installed this plugin, so the button in the upper right-hand corner now reads active. When you initially download the program, that button will read install. Just click to install and then activate.

The Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress

If you are currently using another SEO plugin (I was using AllinOne SEO), you will be asked if you want to migrate the settings. Click yes to do so.

Make sure enable sitemap is selected, and you’re set. You will want to go back to your earlier pages and posts to ensure green lights for SEO and readability for all previous content. You may be surprised at the number of factors you overlooked initially.

I find the free version to be enough, but if you want even more optimization, you can check out the Yoast SEO Premium plugin!

Here’s a helpful video that walks you through the installation process:

Have You Created Your Website Yet?

If you have not yet created your website that will allow you to begin making money from home, what are you waiting for? You can build 2 free websites today by creating a free Starter Membership with an outstanding online community called Wealthy Affiliate.

You can read my review here, which includes all of the great features included with a free membership. Or, if you’re ready to try it now, click the button below.

Affiliate Marketing Training That Works

Wrapping Up

Can you understand why I’ve concluded that Yoast is the best SEO plugin for WordPress?  It’s like having the luxury of a proofreader without the expense.  Yoast’s SEO analysis encourages bloggers to write content that ranks. What’s more, it helps you fix errors that may be hindering your ranking progress.

But wait. there’s more…

By maximizing the readability of your content, you open your site up to a broader audience.  And what blogger doesn’t want that?  Consider the advantages Yoast offers as you continue on your journey of learning how to get more traffic to your blog.

Join the Conversation

Are you currently using Yoast SEO to enhance your website? If not, have I persuaded you to give it a try? Please leave any comments or questions below. And, as always, please be sociable.

To your success!

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26 thoughts on “What is the best SEO plugin for WordPress?”

  1. I think I have the love and hate relationship with Yoast SEO plugin.

    I once used Yoast on all my websites. It is a great plugin but it seems too complicated for me.

    I prefer the simple use of All in One SEO. It is easier to use and simple.

    I still use Yoast on one of my website. I love all the green buttons that tell me I am doing it right. But that’s just about it.

    • Hi ariefw,

      I also love all the green buttons in Yoast SEO that tell me I am doing it right 🙂 I feel like i am far more in control of the quality of my post which is a great feeling. All in One SEO does not provide the handy checklists or guidance. Thanks for commenting and good luck with your websites!

  2. I love Yoast! It’s the best. I think it’s so much better than the All In One SEO plugin. I like the organization with it and how it guides you into writing the best possible posts/pages. Then recently Yoast came out with the readability thing too! It’s such a great SEO plugin. 🙂

    • Hi Gabriela,

      I have to agree with you. I also love the readability thing 🙂 Achieving green lights definitely gives you a feeling of confidence and I feel more comfortable that my post is ready to publish. Thanks so much for visiting my site and contributing your thoughts and experiences.

  3. I love Yoast! It’s the best. I think it’s so much better than the All In One SEO plugin. I like the organization with it and how it guides you into writing the best possible posts/pages. Then recently Yoast came out with the readability thing too! It’s such a great SEO plugin. 🙂

    • Hi Gabriela,

      I have to agree with you. I also love the readability thing 🙂 Achieving green lights definitely gives you a feeling of confidence and I feel more comfortable that my post is ready to publish. Thanks so much for visiting my site and contributing your thoughts and experiences.

  4. I use the “All In One” plugin. Too many people have issues with Yoast. I have never heard of anyone who uses the “All In One” having problems with it. It seems to me it is one of those plugins that you either love it or hate it. Those that love it, swear by it!
    Thank you,
    Edward Mijarez

    • Hi Edward,

      I am a former All in One SEO user. I can’t say I ever had “problems” with it. It just doesn’t contain the functionality that Yoast provides.I love the readability analysis.component of Yoast. That’s not something All in One provides. All in One also does not scan for alt text attributes or appropriate use of your focus keyword.Obviously, you can supplement with a checklist of your own but I prefer the built-in reminders. I’m glad to hear you’re happy with your choice and I appreciate your comments.

  5. Thank you for the info about the Yoast SEO plugin. I did not even know it existed. I have just used the All in one SEO plugin and I know there is a paid Pro version of this. Have you tried the Pro version. Is it worth it?
    I would like to take a look at the Yoast plugin but where do I find it and how can I learn how to use it?

    • Hi Joakim,

      If you’re interested in trying the free Yoast SEO plugin, you can download the plugin from within your WordPress installation. Simply select Plugins from your WordPress dashboard. There are video tutorials available within the plugin itself. There is also a wealth of information available at https://yoast.com. I have been very pleased with this free software, so I have not felt the need to invest in a premium SEO plugin. Good luck and thanks for your comments.

  6. Both Yoast and AIO are great SEO plugins. Yoast is more complicated to use while AIO is very simple and straight forward. What’s great about Yoast is the page analysis as you pointed out. AIO doesn’t have that. Yoast may be better for beginners due to the page analysis. But seasoned users won’t need to rely on that page analysis to know that they are doing it right and AIO may be a better choice in that case.

    • Hi Andrew,

      I appreciate your perspective and would agree that both Yoast and AIO are very good plugins. What I’ve observed is that many seasoned users have created their own checklists outside of a plugin. They’re comfortable with AIO because they’ve performed an analysis of their page through a different approach. I appreciate the interactive nature of Yoast but that’s a personal preference to some extent. Thanks for the great comments and for visiting my site!

  7. Hi Linda,
    Yes I like Yoast for all the things you mentioned as well. However, through inexperience I had the SEO all in one activated and the Yoast plugin so I was advised to deactivate the Yoast. Have you tried the all in one SEO? I just kept it active as it had other features like adding sitemap etc. What are your thoughts on the all in one and have you used it?

    • Hi Sharon,
      Yes, I used All-In-One SEO for a few months when I first launched my website. I’m sure it’s a very good SEO plugin because so many webmasters swear by it. I decided to switch to Yoast because I love the fact that it’s more interactive in that checklists are integrated into the program. I love those little green lights because they’re such a visual indicator that key steps have been performed. 🙂 It’s certainly possible to develop your own external checklists for both SEO and readability factors but having them built-in just feels more efficient to me. When I installed Yoast, I was given the option of transferring my AIO settings, and I did so. Creating a sitemap for submission to Google is critical, and Yoast performs that step also. It is important to deactivate AIO once Yoast is installed. I’m very content with my SEO choice.

      I wish you well with your website and sincerely hope you enjoy your online business as much as I do! Thanks so much for visiting my site and joining the conversation. Engaging with readers is own of the great joys of website ownership!

  8. Interesting article. I thought that all in one SEO was just as good as Yoast. I’m a little scared to migrate my entire website over to a different plug in because I’m afraid something would get messed up. But your review has told me some things I didn’t know like for example the red and yellow and green light things so it definitely has things that all in one SEO doesn’t have. You answered my question of could I use this if I am doing wealthy affiliate. Thank you for that. Yes I am going to think about it.

    • Hi Charles,

      You are correct that All In One SEO is a good SEO plugin. But as you’ve pointed out, it doesn’t give you the warning messages or suggestions for potential fixes that Yoast provides. More of the burden is placed on the blogger to incorporate sound SEO practices.

      Just to use a simple example, we know that images should all have Alt Text attributes. You can definitely add these attributes with All In One. The difference is that All In One will not raise a red flag if you miss one where Yoast will. I find that to be a handy reminder to go back and fix the missing data.

      And, All In One does not include readability analysis. I like that aspect of Yoast because I want my articles to be reasonably easy to read. Studies show that more people are likely to stick around and absorb more of your content if it’s a lighter and more comfortable experience.

      To provide another example here, I will admit that I have a terrible habit of writing in passive rather than active voice. To be clear, the passive voice is not “wrong” in the sense of being grammatically incorrect. But, studies have shown that passive voice is harder to read and follow than active voice. Yoast calls me out on this practice and lets me know that I should do a little re-write to improve things.

      Do I have to follow the suggestions that Yoast makes? No, I can decide to publish the article anyway. But why would I ignore factors that might help me keep more visitors on my site for a longer time?

      Many Wealthy Affiliate members use Yoast. In fact, Jay Neill (Magistudios) did a live training event a couple of months ago called Let’s SEO a Blog Post Live , and he used Yoast as his SEO plugin.

      Finally, while it’s always good to be cautious when installing plug-ins on your WordPress website, there’s no need to be scared. Always backup your site first just in case there’s a glitch. But I’m sure it will be fine.

      If I can be of further assistance, please let me know. Feel free to either pop back here to my site or drop me a line on my WA profile page. I’m happy to help, and I wish you great success!

  9. Great article on Search Engine Optimization and how it is the key to success for an online business. I personally found many useful tips from the article including the recommendation to install the Yoast plugin to enhance my content. I will be taking this to my own business, thanks for the guidance! 

    • Hi Ben,

      You are absolutely correct that search engine optimization is crucial to the success of any online business venture. It’s how we make our content visible to a relevant group of the billions of daily Internet users who find answers to their questions by using search engines like Google.

      I’m sure you’ll enjoy the interactive nature of Yoast and the highly useful tips it can provide. Good luck and thanks for reading!

  10. I love reading articles like this. I’m never aware of what are the best plugins to use for my site, so this actually helps a lot!  I recently just installed a social media plugin that made sharing content so much easier but I’m gonna need Yoast for optimization.  

    The only issue is, I wonder if having too many plugins hurts your site?  I read somewhere where 5 is recommended, but I’ve also heard people say they have over 20 with no issues, what do you think?

    • Hi Ibrahim,

      It’s true that we do need to be cautious in our choice of plugins because they can increase the load and bog your site down. Site speed is a huge ranking factor because the vast majority of readers don’t have the patience to tolerate a slow-loading site. I strongly recommend using PageSpeed Insights on a regular basis to test your website’s performance.

      That said, an SEO plugin is essential for ensuring your site is optimized for the search engines. Millions of site owners have put their faith in Yoast and I know you won’t be disappointed.

      Good luck and thanks for engaging!

  11. Wow, such a plugin really exists on WordPress? That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. Yoast looks like something everyone who owns a blog should invest in because as you have said, it’s a plugin that analyzes both the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) friendliness of posts and also checks it is readable. That’s awesome. Yes, you have convinced me and I’ll give it a go. Thanks

    • Hi Henderson,

      Success as a blogger is all about connecting and effectively communicating with your target market. To accomplish that you need compelling, quality content that ranks in the search engines. Yoast is an instrumental plugin and I know you’ll be pleased with your results.

      Good luck and thanks for chiming in!

  12. Hello Linda, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I am using All In One SEO plugin and I noticed that many internet marketers are moving to Yoast. Thank you for sharing all the benefits of Yoast plugin, I will eventually give it a try but I want to ask can I “ruin” my website by switching to Yoast?

    • Hi Daniel,

      Yes, with more than 5 million installs it’s safe to say that Yoast is a very popular choice. I too used All in One SEO for about 6 months when I first launched my website. I made the switch to Yoast back in 2016 and have never looked back. As I learned more about SEO principles, I wanted to be more actively engaged and Yoast was an exceptional tool for making that happen. All in One simply doesn’t provide the same level of feedback or improvement suggestions.

      My Yoast migration was seamless and I did not encounter any glitches that resulted in my website going down. That said, you should always back up your website prior to installing any new plugins. That way you have a functioning version to go back to in the event of a crash. You shouldn’t anticipate any issues but it’s always best to be prepared.

      For me, the most time-consuming part of my transition to Yoast was going back and fixing the SEO and readability issues with my early pages and posts. I wanted those green lights and it did take some effort to get there. I guess that’s what really convinced me that Yoast is the best SEO plugin for WordPress. I thought I was incorporating everything I should in my earlier content. But without the built-in checklists and warnings, I missed some things that were hurting my rankings.

      I think you’ll also find the transition to Yoast to be a positive move. I hope I’ve answered your question. Thanks for commenting!

  13. Hey Linda

    Thank you for such an informative article. I most certainly could relate to your content as I to am an active Yoast SEO user. 

    The great functionality and features are very user-friendly which is great for people that are new to this field or experts alike.

    My experiences have been excellent thus far and have had no issues in the daily running of my website to date. An integral part of my website build-out process as it’s the go-to SEO plugin application I prefer to use to optimize my website with to help in ranking well in the relevant search engines.

    Thank you again for such a good read Linda. A lot of exceptional points to dissect from your article and utilize the info towards making a great decision toward an SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO.

    I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this application also

    Kind Regards


    • Hi Shan,

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience with Yoast. Your statements are very confirming and I’m happy to hear that you would also recommend Yoast. The SEO plugin we decide to use is an important decision for any website owner with significant ramifications. 

      I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with my readers and I wish you continued success!


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