The WordPress plugin directory is full of interesting and useful search engine optimization (SEO) plugins; so full, in fact, that it can be difficult to find one plugin that rises to the top. They all have more or less the same name!
One of the most respected plugin developers out there is Joost de Valk. He’s made a handful of really amazing plugins. Chances are, if you’ve used an SEO plugin that you love, it was built by Yoast. Well now he’s gone and changed the game again. Welcome to our review of Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin.
Sometimes generic titles are the best (despite my apparent assertion to the contrary in the opening paragraph). WordPress SEO does exactly what it says. Why don’t you install it while you read this review? Joost de Valk admits in the plugin description that WordPress is a pretty good platform when it comes to SEO anyway, but that this new addition to his plugin empire extends things to a more natural state.
For instance, WordPress allows you to submit a title, keywords, and meta description for a given post or page. That’s great, but WordPress SEO takes it a step further and adds a live preview window, showing you exactly what the post will look like in a Google search. Check it out:
Here’s a features list from Yoast’s page:
- Post titles and meta descriptions
- Robots Meta configuration
- Permalink clean up
- XML Sitemaps
- RSS enhancements
- Edit your robots.txt and .htaccess
- Clean up head section
Looks robust, doesn’t it? Don’t be worried – it’s not really difficult to deploy most, if not all, of these features.
At the end of the day, SEO truly is a scientific process, but there are plenty of tools available to us to “dumb down” the more technical parts. WordPress SEO describes each option in enough detail for even newer users to understand. What’s more, the plugin comes with a “tour” that walks the user through each settings page (all ten of them!) so that you can really figure out what’s happening at each stage.
There’s even a feature to “Hide verbose explanations” in the settings, clearly tailored to those with a solid base of SEO knowledge
Because WordPress SEO offers so many options, it’s important to look up terms that you don’t understand. A bad combination of settings can be worse than not using any SEO tool at all. This plugin does a lot of stuff for you, but don’t confuse it with promoting laziness. Any SEO worker worth his or her weight in microchips knows that vigilance and research is key in any solid SEO campaign.
And like any digital tool, you’ve got to pay attention to what you’re doing, and make sure that basic site architecture and keyword research are under your belt before you start. Even though WordPress SEO makes it easy, it doesn’t make it dead simple.
If you get inundated with all of the options and start to break down and cry, remember that your dear friends at Spotted Koi are always ready to help you with whatever you need, be it plugins or full websites.