I have very positive feelings towards Yoast. I remember switching to it years and years ago and have been using it continuously on all my websites since. It’s one of the first plugins I install and I still use it on my sites today. I’ve often considered buying the Yoast SEO premium version – because I would love to support an independent business whose services I use regularly. Unfortunately, whenever I look into the features and the price…I just can’t bring myself to make a purchase. Not only do I find the additional features pretty humdrum, but I can also probably get better results elsewhere.
So what’s wrong with Yoast SEO Premium?
Most Useful Feature – Finding Related Keywords
Reading the premium feature list of Yoast SEO, the most useful one is the integration with the SEO company SEMRush that lets you find keywords related to the one you’re currently using. It allows you to research multiple countries to find which keywords are performing well there.
It’s nice, I guess. It’s useful to be able to do keyword research right from within your post, without having to go to another tool. But can it be worth $89? I don’t think so.
Yoast SEO Premium Features Seem Forced
Of course, related keywords aren’t the only thing the Yoast SEO premium plugin offers. There are other things like internal linking suggestions, link blocks, preview snippets for social media, and more. But none of these are “killer”. I don’t compose a post and think to myself “Hmm…I wish I could automatically know which posts I should be internally linking to”. I already know all the content on my site, and internal linking isn’t a problem.
I suppose the use-case makes more sense if you have multiple writers on your site who don’t know the content very well. In which case, yes – I can see the value. But otherwise, these additional features just don’t make a lot of sense to me.
Do you Need an SEO Plugin Today?
It’s not 2010 anymore. Keywords are a lot less important than they used to be. Yes, you still need to sprinkle them around your post to ensure that search engines know what you’re talking about. But you already knew that, didn’t you? The idea of finding synonyms and deliberately working them into an article seems a bit outdated. As long as you’re writing naturally, using your keywords liberally and in important places like headings, etc, you should be fine.
Yoast has programmed people to pay attention to the “green dots”. We get a sense of satisfaction from seeing everything lit up in green as if our post is now “good”. But I’ve had plenty of pages that aren’t green perform just fine in the SERPs. The reason is that search engines like Google are now pretty good at picking up what a page is about. The strict focus on keywords is a bit outdated. And in any case, you don’t need an SEO tool to help you do that!
Trying out Alternatives
If you want, you can try out some new alternatives like Squirrly SEO, which gives you a lot of keyword research options for free. I’m testing the Squirrly SEO plugin right now on some low-priority sites to get a feel for whether I can extract any value from it. But the trend in search is to just write naturally and comprehensively. Make sure that you’re giving the user all the information that they’re looking for, make your page fast, and easily navigable, and you should be good to go.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!