4 Best WordPress SEO Plugins in 2020

Video Transcript:

Once you add an SEO plugin to your WordPress site everything will just fall into place and will be perfect right? First page ranks, ton of traffic, and lots of money!!


In this video, I’m going to break some of the myths about this whole damn thing called SEO for for WordPress. And… tell you from my experience, some hard truths. 

Also which are the best SEO plugins for WordPress available today. Let’s go.

(I think this video is going to rank by itself on first page of YouTube and Google, because nobody has done anything like this before).

So first things first.

WordPress is a bad choice for SEO. There I said it.

You might be wondering why. Well, here’s the thing.

WordPress is a great CMS and certain things are taken care of right out of the box. But SEO is not one of them. Unfortunately.

There are many areas in WordPress that if you don’t tweak or pay attention to, that will create issues. Major issues.  Like for example Duplicate content. There are areas like Archives, tag pages etc, where there are duplicate content issues, and if not taken care of, can affect your site negatively. Now, many of those issues can be taken care of by using an SEO plugin. But not everything.

And I’m talking from experience. SEO plugins for WordPress can only help with one thing, that is setting the basics right. Imagine you’re building a house. 

Then the SEO plugin would be kind of like the foundation that you lay, upon which all the other major structures have to be built. 

That’s how it works. So, if anyone thinks that just by adding an SEO plugin, you’re solving all your SEO issues, then no.  That is not right. But I’m sure you knew that already. Because you’re smart.

So, let’s go to the plugins. Which are the top WordPress SEO plugins today.

And before I jump into this list, here’s my priorities and conditions that I kept in mind choosing these plugins.

  • I’m not listing the most popular plugin out there, because, well popularity doesn’t mean quality – all the time. Well sometimes they do, but not all the time.
  • I’m looking at speed. Speed is so crucial today that even if your plugin has a ton of features, I wouldn’t be using it, because if it added 4 seconds to my page load time. No thank you.
  • Community and the team behind it – Today, having a passionate team behind your product is so much important because, we’ve seen so many instances where we used a popular product and one fine day, someone bought it and boom – everything’s gone! No, that’s not happening.
  • And finally the under dogs. I have an inclination to find and support the underdogs. Because, almost all the time, the kind of hunger you see from them is just amazing and this results in great products. Try to support the underdogs, they deserve it.

Today, we’ll start bottom up. Start with the fourth and the end with the best plugin last. So watch the full video. I have a bonus at the end as well.

Okay, so fourth plugin on the list is All in One SEO.

Talking about this plugin makes me emotional. Because this was my favorite plugin back in 2007. A swiss army knife of SEO back then. It had everything from title tag optimization to sitemaps and what not all in one place. Earlier, we have to use multiple plugins for SEO. 

In 2007, it was great. Leagues apart compared to other SEO plugins out there. But as time passed by, things changed. If I recall correctly, (correct me if I’m wrong) they changed ownership at some point and for the longest time wasn’t updated. It had some nasty ads in the backend and wasn’t a pleasurable experience using it. 

Before you knew it, it turned stale. That’s when everyone switched to Yoast and other options.

Well, as of today, All in One SEO has come back, worked on the loose ends and is a great plugin today. They call themselves “the original SEO plugin”. Well, like I said, it makes me nostalgic and emotional talking about this plugin but, it still lacks a lot of features compared to the new generation tools out there.

Some 65 million users have downloaded this plugin, so you can imagine how popular it is.

But I have to let go of it. We have some better plugins ahead on the list.

Number three on my list is Yoast SEO.

Everybody knows yoast. It has a great team behind it, Yoast de Valk, the very popular SEO expert. Great plugin, had a great run in the last one decade and ended up being the most popular plugin ever on the repository I think.

But, there were glitches. And issues. The most popular one was in 2018, where the plugin caused some section of their users to get their site de-indexed from Google because of a small glitch that created several low-quality image redirect pages. It wasn’t a big deal for most of us, but for those who got affected, it took them a while to recover and possibly lost business as well.

But other than that, the plugin has been pretty stable. They have a free version as well as a paid version. But with the new kids on the block, like RankMath for example, Yoast is finding it tough to catch up with competition – at least in my perspective.

As in, I agree it has a good set of features and everything but, it’s not very easy to use. I think I’m pretty good with using these tools but sometimes find myself lost with Yoast. Lost with Yoast huh. Because the UX is a bit tricky and the onboarding process and the fine tuning of certain features, are not very easy to accomplish.

Yoast has a solid fan following, and I’m sure there are experts who knows it like the back of their hand. But I personally think that it’s high time they thought about a rewrite. I mean the thought process behind hiding or not making it easy to find certain features etc are kind of disappointing.

As far as features are concerned, like I mentioned, even some of the features available on their PRO version is available on the free version of other plugins like RankMath. If you use Yoast, for the love of it, what you’ll likely be ending up with is a few more plugins along with it, and that might affect your page load time etc.

I feel we need a Yoast 2.0 or 3.0 at this point, a lite weight, completely rewritten plugin that’s fast, easy to use and a better experience altogether.

So, even though popular, we have Yoast on the third spot.

Moving on to the second best WordPress SEO plugin.

Number two on my list is SEOPress.

SEOPress has been around for a while. Even when Yoast was ruling the SEO game on WordPress. I found their approach to be a little bit more grounded and focused, without all the fanfare and shouting. Because of this, I’ve seen them come up with updates and features pretty quick and at the right times, often without any glitches or bugs. Yoast, I’m looking at you.

So feature wise, if you compare with Yoast, there are few things that are unique to SEOpress.

Features such as HTML Sitemap generation. With Yoast, you’d need to install a new plugin for just that, but with SEO press you have HTML sitemap inbuilt. Some of you may argue that HTML sitemaps are not a big deal these days, I’d argue against it. For sites that have a good hierarchy and lot of content, HTML sitemaps are very useful. Especially for getting new content indexed. So, why exclude it?

SEO Pres has integrations with Google Tag Manager, Google Ads and Google Analytics right within itself. But with Yoast, you’d need to install three additional plugins for it.

Generally, SEOPress’s UX and experience is a lot more easy and pleasing to use than Yoast. May be RankMath comes to a very close competition at this, but as a plugin that has been around and doing this for a while now, it’s pretty commendable that they’ve been focusing on UX early on.

Now SEOPress is a freemium plugin which means they have a free version and a paid version. The paid version has all the unique features. I suggest getting the paid version. It comes at $39 per year and there is no limit on how many websites you can use it.

Some of the unique features that are available with SEOPress paid version includes, Google Schemas, Broken Links Finder, Redirections, Video XML Sitemaps, 404 Monitoring and the like.

The main disadvantage with SEOPress is that you might need the paid version in order to take full advantage of it.

In terms of coding, I think – And I haven’t fully verified this – they are coded better and they have a non-bloated, clean architecture which makes it a fast plugin. You might have noticed that some amateur WordPress SEO plugins have seriously bloated code that when they use features like broken link monitor or bulk edits etc, it slows down your website – at least from the backend. I haven’t had such an experience with SEOPress yet. 

Also, they don’t have any ads, like in many free plugins, and absolutely no footprint, so it doesn’t leave empty database tables etc once you uninstall the plugin. It’s a very clean install and something to be appreciated.

Try out the free version, the link in in the description below.

Number one on my list is none other than RankMath. I guess that was an easy guess.

RanMath is the new kid on the block. I think they waited for so long, so it could get the last mover advantage. And it did. RankMath is the shiny new tool in SEO that has probably everything you’re looking for in a WordPress SEO plugin. I see they were planning this for a long time. Watching what Yoast and others did and didn’t so they could undercut and overpower them.

Rank Math is like the swiss army knife of SEO. It is lite weight, is powerful and can probably get rid of ten other plugins that you currently use. Especially when comparing to Yoast, there’s a ton of value you’re getting with RankMath. And that too with the free version. Let me explain.

RanMath is by the way a free plugin right now, and a pro version is in the works. They say that their code is 66% lighter than Yoast. I haven’t tested it nor do I know anyone who has, but I think that it might be a fair claim. In experience, it’s a very fast plugin to use for sure.

I think RankMath was built keeping the pro Yoast users in mind, but I could be mistaken. The reason I say it is because, if you see their roadmap and features, it almost takes down Yoast feature by feature. It offers everything from Yoast PRO and then a lot more features on top of it.

Specifically speaking, RankMath provides features such as SEO analysis, LSI keyword integration, Automatic Image SEO, keyword suggestions, redirections, a lot of schema markup and a whole lot more.

It’s feature loaded and at the same time streamlined.

What I really like about RankMath is the thought process behind it. And the way they have designed the plugin. It’s super easy for onboarding, be it from scratch or moving from another plugin like Yoast.

Getting to the settings, the fine tuning is all super easy. I can find what I’m looking for easily in 3 clicks or less and there are helpful prompts everywhere. While using the plugin you get to see what you really need to and that’s great. Because it doesn’t just throw all of its features at your face. You can pick and choose what you want and turn off the other stuff.

But at the same time, it’s got everything that you can think of from an SEO perspective. And that makes it the swiss army knife of SEO.

Having said all that, there are also some concerns about RankMath.

I’m curious to see what they have to offer in the future. How their roadmap would evolve and what the PRO plugin has to offer. Also, what would they do with the free users.

Recently a vulnerability was discovered in the plugins code where a hacker could attack the plugin and get admin access to your site. But it was attended to and fixed immediately by the team, and nobody suffered any losses. That was an impressive maneuver.

Alright guys, before I wrap up the video, I also want to throw in a bonus here. And that is the SEO Framework Plugin.

This is a very interesting plugin in the sense that their approach is very different from the plugins I just mentioned. There’s a lot of automation with this plugin, be it in onboarding or setting up advanced stuff. According to the makes a major part of your SEO settings would be configured automatically, and you only need to take care of a few things manually. So for those looking for an easy solution to SEO, this might be a good plugin. Like those who don’t want to worry about which pages to nofollow, which pages to noindex and the like. This plugin would do it’s own magic.

But then, that also becomes its disadvantage, in the sense that it might not make control freaks like me happy. SEOs like me would want to control every fine tuned aspect of my website, so I wouldn’t trust a plugin blindly to take care of it. Also, the free version of this plugin is pretty basic and you’d need their extensions in order to get advanced features. And that comes at a price. I don’t really enjoy that model. But if you’re the type who don’t want to worry about SEO and want an expert plugin to take care of things for ya, then you might find it interesting.

Check it out, the link is in the description.

So there you have it guys. Four of the best WordPress SEO plugins out there in the market today. They’re all so promising and I’m excited to see the new developments in this space. Some of their feature roadmaps are so promising.

I hope you liked the video. If you have any questions, complaints or disagreements with what I mentioned, please let me know in comments, I’m all ears.

If you want to pressurize me into making more such amazing content, please do three things. Hit the subscribe button, the like (or dislike button) and the bell icon. I promise you I’ll make more such useful videos.

This is Mani Karthik, signing off.

🏆 Best WordPress theme – Divi.

Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Startup Mentor, Tech Blogger & Entrepreneur.

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