Struggling to pick an SEO plugin for your WordPress website?
It's a little complex and a little messy, I know.
But fear not!
This post will show you which of the two best SEO plugins (Yoast or All In One SEO Pack):
- Is the best for your situation
- Has the features you need
This post is broken down so you can easily see if the plugin is for you and does what you need.
At the end are some quick tips for choosing the right plugin as well.
There is also a quick navigation menu below so you can just jump to each section too.
Both of these plugins are actually pretty similar when it comes down to it.
So, picking the one for you might just come down to how they compare in specific functionality or features.
Ease of Use
SEO plugins can get pretty technical, so if this scares you then Yoast's SEO plugin might be the best one for you.
All in One SEO is very basic, with lots of lists and options.
Yoast is very well laid out in sections and a lot of the complexity is hidden or easier to understand.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of how the plugins look in the Social Media settings to really show you what I mean:
On the left you can see Yoast with nice tabs separating each section and easy to fill in text boxes.
On the right, All in One has everything in one big list and sometimes the meaning of a field is not clear (the Social Profile Links above is meant to put all your links, like in the Yoast image, but one per line. Not so obvious).
Another thing All in One does differently is to turn off a lot of features by default. So, if you want a sitemap or social media settings, you have to turn them on. This makes the plugin less complex and more lightweight. Another more pro reason to use it.
Yoast: Is far easier to use and understand from an ease of use perspective, with a simple layout & easy to use fields.
All In One: If you love simple and technical, the All in One is certainly "no frills". They also keep things lightweight with their Feature Manager.
If having someone to help you when using these plugins is important, then please read this section. Yoast and All in One differ quite a bit in how they deliver support.
Yoast is a lot more user-friendly and in many ways geared towards the beginner. Their settings are often less complex and intuitive.
And when it comes to support, each page or tab in the plugin has a detailed video right above it which makes for great user support
However, if you want plugin support on the forums (as most WordPress plugin owners provide) then you are more or less outta luck!
Yoast will more than likely not respond, unless you pay for premium support. (given the cost of support, this is actually not unreasonable)
All in One on the other hand is a little more techy and complex to use. So you might need support right out of the gate.
They offer quick info for each setting within the plugin with a link to more information on their website. Although, as a tech guy myself, I still found some of the descriptions on both the plugin and website lacking in detail.
So, when it comes to support, they offer the forum on the WordPress plugin site and do not charge for it. I have not tried it, but hear that they respond. That might be a deal maker for you.
Yoast: You are less likely to need support with Yoast as it is simpler to use andhas support videos within the plugin. However, if you need support, chances are you need to buy premium support from them.
All In One: A bit more technical to use and understand, All in One has some information within the plugin and their website, but not enough in my opinion. Support is apparently free on the forums though.
Everyday Use On Posts
We have to use these plugins every day. That is why most of you want an SEO plugin.
So, it is important to see what they can do for you on a daily basis, when you are busy creating content for your site.
On-Page SEO Optimization (Key to Ranking On Google)
One of the main things you will use an SEO plugin for is optimizing your content (pages and posts).
So, what might really be the deciding factor for you is whether the plugin really helps you do these fun daily SEO tasks like - optimizing the On-Page SEO of your blog posts (to help you rank better!)
This is where Yoast really shines (like a diamond, like a diamond in the sky! sorry, could not help myself).
Especially if you are not an SEO guru (like me :>) and want some help and support when optimizing your blog posts for SEO-awesomeness!
Yoast's SEO plugin provides you with a very easy to use interface that:
- Visually shows you how your title and meta description look on Google
- Gives you easy to fill in fields with visual cues (color) to show if you text is too long, or too short
- A focus keyword allows you to see if you have correctly optimized your page/post
- A complete overview of how your on-page SEO is - including color coded priorities (see bottom of the image below)
it also comes with a Readability Analysis which can really help you see if your post is up to scratch, or if you are getting a little crazy with your prose!
All in One SEO in comparison is very bare bones. Which many SEO pros might like, but it does not really help you very much.
It does show you
- Visually shows you how your title and meta description look on Google (ie. the snippet)
- How long your text is (a number appears below the field) - BUT you need to know how long it should be
Yoast: If you need help with your optimization (and let's face it, even us SEO pros need help!) then this tool is the bomb. It gives you lots of help and is so easy to use your grandma could use it.
All In One: If you are an SEO Ninja and don't need any help, then All in One is super simple with no frills. If you are all "Cut to the chase and show me the money!" then this might be best for you.
Social Media Settings (Tweak Your Social)
It can be quite handy to add social media settings for each page or post, so that a specific image or description appears when you share on social media.
I use the Social Warfare plugin for this (as it kinda rocks in that area) but if you do not, then this section might be important.
Yoast gives you access to all the settings you might need for Facebook and Twitter such as title, description and image.
These are quite handy as a place like Twitter has only 140 characters for the tweet. And each platform has specific image dimensions to keep in mind.
Keep in mind the Facebook settings are used by other platforms like LinkedIn too. Here is what their settings look like:
All in One has most of the same settings, but misses having a separate between Twitter vs Facebook. If this is important to you, the All In One is not the one for you.
Where they do differ is having a debug option (to test your settings) as well as specific height and widths, and twitter card image type (which Yoast sets globally).
Here are the fields that they offer:
Yoast: Gives you the basics (title, description and image) and a separate input for Twitter vs Facebook, which I think is very useful.
All In One: Offers far more options in this area, but fails to separate Twitter and Facebook.
Indexing, NoFollow & Canonicalization Settings (Advanced)
Sounds Chinese? Don't be alarmed.
This stuff is actually pretty useful. Once you know what it does.
Say you create a landing page for collecting email addresses from a Facebook Ad or something similar.
You don't want this landing page to end up on Google. It's semi-private. Just for use in this situation, with no SEO value.
So, what do you do? No-index the page of course :>
The best way to do it is while you are creating the page via your favorite SEO plugin.
I talked about NoFollow links in a recent post and explained when and how you should use them.
If you do want to nofollow all links on a specific page, it can be handy to have a way to do that in your SEO plugin.
These are great if you have some duplicate content (yours or someone else's) and you want to tell search engines which is the original (or only) version worth indexing (ie. putting in search results).
You might have 5 versions of a product, but they all have the same content (image, description etc).
OR, you might be re-publishing a piece from someone else on your website. You need to "point" back to their original via a canonical URL.
Yoast allows you to set all of these things within a specific page or post via easy to use fields as shown below:
All In One has simple fields for all of these features too, plus a few others that are mostly redundant these days (NOYDIR, NOODP). Although being able to remove a post from the sitemap from here might be useful.
Canonical URLs are turned off by default, so don't forget to enable this in the General Settings page.
Yoast: Enables you to easily control most of the important advanced settings on a per page/post basis via the Advanced tab.
All In One: Gives the usual simple interface for controlling more than enough advanced settings, and might be a more powerful choice for advanced users.
General Website SEO Settings
There are a whole bunch of SEO settings you should make when you set up your website.
This ranges from:
- What kinds pages are visible to search engines
- Your overall social media settings (open graph, knowledge graph)
- XML sitemaps for better search indexing
and of course, a whole bunch more.
If you are into optimizing your website for SEO and want to be able to tune these things, then this section is super important for you.
These babies can help search engines find your content and get you in search results faster!
So, they are kinda important, right?
Each of the plugins offers this functionality, however with All In One don't forget to add it via the Feature Manager (it is not turned on by default)
Yoast makes setting a sitemap up pretty simple, with - and then you can tune it in each tab to add/remove specific pages,
- a simple on/off switch for enabling the sitemap
- the ability to remove specific post or page types (categories etc)
- AND one feature only they have, removing specific author types and remove authors with NO POSTS (see below)
All In One has quite similar functionality with some additional goodies such as the ability to:
- decide which categories to remove
- add additional pages to the sitemap (great if you have static content outside of WordPress)
- prioritisation of what appears where in the sitemap
- decide if you want to split the sitemap up into files (or not) - Yoast does by default
- notify the search engine of changes to the site (via the sitemap)
Yoast: Provides all the basic controls over what goes in a sitemap and splits it up for you by default. They also provide user specific control over who (author) goes into the sitemap. More than enough control for most people.
All In One: Gives you more fine-grained control over the sitemap (but not the user control of Yoast) including category specific exclusions, inclusions of external (to WordPress) pages and some other useful features. Great for advanced users.
Social Media Settings
These days social media settings are a big part of SEO with Google Authorship, Facebook Open Graph and more.
So, which of these plugins does what? And is it even useful?
Both of these plugins provide almost exactly the same features:
- Facebook open graph (tells social media what data to use for a post)
- Knowledge graph information (info about your website to display on Google - name, image, social media profiles)
- Pinterest business confirmation (adds code to confirm you are a website owner to Pinterest)
- Twitter Cards (gives information to display on Twitter if you use Cards)
The main differences are in the details.
All in One gives
- More options for Twitter cards
- More options for Facebook open graph
- Extensive Google+ Authorship and Publisher options (see below)
Yoast does give you a few less options, but somehow that might just be simpler. And, they separate them into their ever-handy tabbed pages so you can get to just what you need.
Yoast: Provides all the necessary social media settings you need, but misses a few that All in One has. However, for 90% of users, this is more than enough.
All In One: Gives you all the options you could need to add the social media settings on your website. Again, this is more of a pro tool and is great for gurus, but perhaps a little confusing for beginners.
Titles, Metas and Indexing
When setting up your website you will want to make some decisions about what areas you want indexed.
Also, you might want to tweak how your page and post titles are created, or whether they are always done manually.
First, let's take a quick look at how the interfaces compare (Yoast vs All in One):
The way the settings are made are again quite different with Yoast being more user-friendly.
However, if you look at the settings they both allow:
- Indexing and No-Indexing of all areas (tags, categories, pages, posts, archives etc)
- Formatting of titles (default format)
Differences worth noting
- Yoast allows non-indexing of archive sub-pages (handy for reducing excessive useless pages in search engines)
- Yoast has a lot more options for formatting default titles
- All in One has Captialization of Titles (Not a big deal, but a handy time-madlemmings.comr)
There is very little difference between the two here, unless you count the non-indexing of sub-pages in the archive.
These plugins have a boatload of features (complete with a captain and crew) so it can be hard to really review them completely.
In this last section I want to highlight some of the other cool features they have (or don't) and how they are useful.
Connect Webmaster Tools (Both)
You have to connect your website with webmaster tools (or Search Console as it is now called by Google) when you first create your website. It is really worthwhile. These plugins allow you to do this very easily by providing sections to add the code from each provider (Google, Bing).
They also provide you a way to do the same thing for Pinterest, which also requires you to add a code to validate your website ownership.
Accessing .htaccess and robots.txt Files (Both)
Although security experts will tell you this is a very bad idea, sometimes it is handy to be able to change these files on the fly (without having to FTP onto your server to do it).
Why would you even want to?
Well you might want to add a 301 redirect to a page you moved, or post you changed the URL of.
Import/Export SEO Settings (Both)
For a migration, or just to change SEO plugins, it can be great to be able to take your SEO plugin settings with you.
Both Yoast and All in One offer a way to Import/Export all your settings.
Bulk Title & Meta Description Editor (Both)
If you want an overview of your On-Page SEO settings (Title and Meta Description) it can sometimes be hard to do without using a pro tool like Screaming Frog.
However, both Yoast and All in One offer you a way to view and edit your Titles and Meta Descriptions.
This is great for not only an overview, but to see where you missed something.
Yoast offers it as a separate tool within their plugin menu.
All in One integrates it into the post/page overview.
Clean Up Permalinks (Yoast)
Yoast has some great extra functions for helping improve your permalinks (aka URLs).
First, they give you the option to remove stop words which takes all the small words out of your URLs on page/post creation. The only downside is that this features often does not work.
Another great option is to automagically remove ?replytocom from the end of your URLS. Sounds pointless, but often pages will get indexed multiple times by search engines when this is added to the end (which WordPress does all the time). So removing it is great!
Similary, WordPress creates a separate page for all your uploads (images etc) and Yoast has a setting to redirect this page to the image instead (madlemmings.coms having two URLs for each upload).
You can also remove category from all category URLs, so instead of
You can have the shorter
RSS Feed (Yoast)
Another cool feature of Yoast in the advanced section is the ability to add content to your RSS feed.
The main reason most people do this is to insert a link in each post so that - when your content is copied (which people do from your RSS) then at least you get a link back from them when they do it.
Bad Robots Blocker (All in One SEO)
Whether you know it or not, there are always "bots" checking out your site for various reasons. The problem is that they use resources and often do things we do not want.
All in One offers a tool that can help deal with this by blocking "bad behaving bots".
SEO Performance (All in One)
Like the bad robots blocking feature, I have not tried this one, but the idea is that All in One can help you improve your SEO performance on your website.
It is quite technical, but the main point here is about how much memory the plugin is using (on the server), especially when creating sitemaps.
Choosing The Right SEO Plugin For You
In this section I want to give you the best plugin choice for your situation.
The easiest way to do that is to write a short Q & A for the most common situations and website owner types.
If you still have specific questions, feel free to add them in the comments or email me via the contact form.
I Want The Simplest SEO Plugin (For Non-Techies)
Yoast WordPress SEO is the plugin for you.
Not only is the plugin easy to use (a lot of the complexity is hidden or simplified) but the On-Page SEO analysis tool that helps you optimize your content is perfect for non-gurus! (and gurus too :>)
I Want Maximum Options and Control Over My SEO Plugin
All In One SEO is designed to be very powerful, lightweight (with Add-on features and performance optimization) and low on frills. If you know what you are doing, in most cases, All in One SEO is the best plugin for you. Having said that, I still use Yoast just because I prefer the interface.
I Only Want To Optimize My Pages and Posts (On-Page SEO)
Yoast gives you the easiest to use, and most feature-rich interface for On-Page SEO optimization. I highly recommend it.
However, if you know what you are doing, All in One has all the same options but without the "advice".
Sitemap Configuration is Critical To Me
All in One SEO has the best overall control of sitemaps, except for specific user type exclusion (which is only available on Yoast).
I love Yoast, it's user interface, all the features and that they are so "on top" of SEO and what is happening right now.
All in One seems to be keeping up in almost every regard, so there is very little to differentiate them both.
So, in many areas it just comes down to preference. However, I hope that the details in the above comparison help you make a choice.
If not, just try them both before committing to one (because once you start working with one, it is a lot harder to change).