The beauty of WordPress is that it gives you complete control over your content, taking much of the technical effort out of the equation. No need for coding skills to publish your best content on this platform – but even WordPress can’t do everything for you right out of the box.

If you want people to actually find your content, you’ll need to optimise it for search; which means delving into the dreaded world of search engine optimization (SEO). Luckily, WordPress comes to the rescue once again, with a number of plugins designed to make the task much more manageable. The only problem now is to choose the right plugins – which is precisely what we have in store for you today.

The Two Main Players in WordPress SEO Plugins

When it comes to selecting a plugin that will upgrade the SEO capabilities of your WordPress website, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, there are two main players in the world of WordPress SEO plugins. These two options are both comprehensive plugins designed to cover all of your SEO needs and they both do a good enough job that you could almost simply just make a random choice between the two and leave it at that.

However, if you’d prefer to make a more informed choice, here is the lowdown on the two most popular WordPress SEO plugins available today. After that, we’ll take a look at a few other plugins which can help you to further optimize your website for the search engines in a number of different ways.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO

Downloads: 112,158,381+
5-star reviews: 21,083+

With more than 19,930 5-star reviews, this is by far the highest-rated SEO plugin out there – and with good reason. Yoast SEO guides you through the technical side of search engine optimization and aims to go that extra step by helping you write better content along the way.

Yoast Free vs. Premium comparison

Cost: Free or Premium version which costs $79 (ex VAT) for 1 site – including 1 year free updates and support.

Strengths:

  • Great UI design

  • Extensive features
  • SEO feedback
  • Online Yoast SEO resource

Weaknesses:

  • Limited XML sitemap options
  • Too many features for some users

The Yoast SEO plugin really is an extensive toolkit, packed full of features to make search engine optimization approachable for people of all levels of technical ability. A lot of this comes down to the simple UI design that makes a long list of features easy to navigate and make use of.

The end result is a plugin that helps you learn SEO by guiding you through the process. Its also worth mentioning that you can use the extensive WordPress SEO guide from Yoast to help you enhance the visibility of your website.

If I had to point out weaknesses of Yoast SEO, I would say that there are other plugins out there that offer more extensive sitemap options. However, this won’t be an issue for a majority of users. The only danger is Yoast may have too many features for users who want nothing more than the very basics. If that’s the case, then our next plugin might be of more interest to you.

All in One SEO Pack

Downloads: 47,340,649+
5-star reviews: 407+

With over 47 million downloads (and counting) to its name, he key difference is you get way less features with All in One. However, this could well be precisely why some might choose this over Yoast.

Cost: Free or Pro version which costs $136 for 1 site and is an annual fee.

Strengths:

  • Greater XML sitemap options
  • Unique performance optimizer
  • Fewer features to get your head around

Weaknesses:

  • UI design could be better
  • Too limited for serious SEO

All in One is the older of the two plugins, but it still holds up as a great option today. It doesn’t offer the extensive features you’ll find in Yoast, but it does have a few unique touches – like extra sitemap options and its performance optimizer.

The trade-off is that it’s too limited to do much more than the SEO basics and the fact it has fewer features to organise means the UI design should be much better. Then again, this simplicity may appeal to you if you don’t want to get too involved in the nitty gritty of SEO.

Verdict

I suggest you go ahead and try both unless you’re confident you want the most feature-rich option (Yoast). For me personally, All in One simply doesn’t go far enough and the extra features in Yoast make it the standout choice. I use the free version myself and I’ve never felt the need to upgrade to the premium version – something plenty of people agree with, judging by the reviews.

As I say, give them both a try, though, because these really are the two best in the game and there’s no accounting for personal taste. While you won’t be able to easily compare which option delivers the most traffic to your website via the search engines, you can explore the user interfaces and feature lists to see which one most appeals to your preferences.

Setting up Yoast SEO

I’d like to focus on Yoast for a moment, in order to give you an idea of how to set up and use an SEO plugin on your WordPress website (All in One is even easier than this). And, just in case you’re sick of reading, here’s a video from

If you need more comprehensive info on the Yoast plugin, or WordPress SEO in general, then head over the Yoast Definitive Guide – it really is an excellent resource and you’ll get much more from the plugin by studying the information it contains.

Importing data

If you’ve been using a different SEO plugin until now (or you have existing data in your theme) you’ll want to import this before you get started. Yoast comes with an Import and Export tool (in the aptly named Tools section) and it has dedicated options for importing data from the All in One plugin, located under the Import from other SEO plugins tab:

You can also import data from the settings.zip file from within WordPress, import data from other Yoast plugins and export your SEO setting from within the same tool.

General settings

Once you’ve installed and activated Yoast you’ll see everything you need under the “SEO” icon on the left dashboard menu:

In the General section, you’ll find tabs for Your Info, Webmaster Tools and Security. The only tab that really needs any explaining here is the Webmaster Tools section where you can add the meta codes given to you by Google, Bing or another webmaster tools service:

Yoast Setup Wizard

Yoast SEO Wizard

Yoast SEO Online Training and Support

We believe SEO should be for everyone. That’s why we develop plugins for WordPress and write free articles on SEO, UX, e-commerce and much more. And we share our knowledge in online SEO courses.

Are you feeling a bit lost and need some support? Let Yoast help you! If you have a question about the plugin, need help with something that isn’t working right, or just want to contact the Yoast team, there are several ways to get in touch.

WordPress SEO Plugins: Final Thoughts

You shouldn’t have any problems with the plugins on this list though (aside from the occasional quirk or bug which comes with all software). These are tried and tested plugins relied on by site owners across the world and are some of the best additions to the WordPress ecosystem.

There are plenty more to explore too, so don’t be shy to test some out for yourself. Just remember it’s always a good idea to try out one new plugin at a time so you can get an accurate idea of its performance, as well as retain the ability to diagnose any problems, should they arise.

What WordPress SEO plugins are you interested in trying on your site? Does your current theme have enough support for SEO? Do you have a favorite SEO plugin not covered here? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.