“Is Yoast Premium Worth It?” I’m almost sure that you’ve asked yourself this question if you are one of the users of this popular WordPress plugin. So in this article, you will read about our complete, up-to-date, and interesting Yoast SEO Free vs Premium comparison. 🙂
Personally, I started using this plugin a few years ago.
But what about a premium version of this plugin?
Before I answer this question, I will do an overview of the functionalities of a non-paid version of the plugin.
What Is Yoast SEO?
Yoast SEO is considered to be one of the best SEO plugins for WordPress. For many bloggers and webmasters, this is by far the best choice in this area.
As of March 29, 2020, it has over 27,000 reviews on wordpress.org, with an average score of 4.9/5.0.
In this section of the article, I will guide you through the basic features of this free SEO plugin.
Keyword Optimization, Google Preview, SEO Analysis
A free version of this tool allows you to optimize your content for just one keyword phrase of your choice.
The screenshot above shows one focus keyphrase.
There is also Google preview (available in both versions – for desktop and mobile devices) and the evaluation of the page’s title and description lengths.
After scrolling that page down, I could see even more information about my article’s SEO optimization.
Yoast SEO provides a feature of checking the readability of your every post.
And this is how it looks like for the article you’re reading right now.
Full Covering Of The Latest Google Ranking Algorithm Updates
The tool described in this article is fully compatible with the latest Google ranking algorithm updates.
If you take a look at Yoast’s changelog, you will quickly notice that it is updated usually 2-3 times a month!
Yoast has a high number of available options, and it is very well optimized by default.
As you can see above, there’s also a feature of creating an XML sitemap of your website. If you have this option enabled, you don’t need any other plugin for this purpose.
Very Easy Insight Of SEO And Readability Scores
As a user of the plugin reviewed in this post, you have a possibility of a very fast and easy checking of your posts’ SEO and readability scores.
You can check them on the page-by-page basis while you edit any of the articles.
Additionally, you can also check the SEO and readability scores of many articles one after another just by going to the list of your posts.
What Does Yoast Premium Do?
As you can easily guess, if there are two versions of any plugin (free and premium), there must be some differences between them.
In order to compare free and premium versions of Yoast SEO, I will refer to yoast.com website.
In the non-paid version of this plugin, you can set only 1 focus keyword. Yoast Premium allows you to set up to 5 focus keywords.
You should ask yourself whether you really need to set more than one focus keyword or not.
Initially, I was against this solution.
However, my recent tests have shown that it makes sense in the case of the majority of posts.
Preview of Your Page
A free version of Yoast can show you only a Google preview of your post. A premium one can show you additionally previews of two prevalent social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter.
This is quite an interesting feature, but it’s not necessary for your everyday life.
This feature works the same way in both non-paid and a premium version of the tool.
Works Great With Gutenberg And Classic Editor
Both versions of Yoast are fully compatible with Gutenberg and Classic Editor.
Internal Linking Suggestions
This feature is available with Yoast Premium only.
In my opinion, it makes some sense to use it.
Alternatively, you can use a WordPress plugin called Ivory Search. It was created to add a search field to any WordPress site, so it allows you to find whatever you want on your blog easily.
If you find it, you can link to it without any effort.
But the more posts you have published, the more difficult it may be to think about all those posts and internal links.
This is the next feature available with Yoast SEO Premium only.
On the other hand, there are also free WordPress plugins such as Redirection, which allow you to add the same functionality to your site without spending any money.
Focus Keyword Export
This feature might be needed for some people, but there are also various backup plugins and services such as BlogVault.
So do you really need this Yoast feature?
You should answer this question yourself. 🙂
It’s also good to know that Yoast Premium is entirely free of ads.
A non-paid version of the plugin displays a few non-intrusive ads when you go to settings of the plugin. Still, it’s great that you can remove them by purchasing a license.
Compatibility With Google’s Algorithm Changes
Both non-paid and a premium version of the plugin are fully compatible with recent Google’s algorithm updates.
How To Use Yoast SEO
Since I’ve just shown you the most important features of Yoast SEO Premium and the free version of this amazing SEO plugin (plus the differences between them), it is time to show you how to use it in practice. 🙂
In January 2020, I decided to test Yoast SEO Premium for the second time (the first approach took place sometime earlier in the past).
Since this SEO premium plugin has more features than its free version, I will show you step-by-step how to use SEO by Yoast in a premium version.
Yoast SEO Configuration Wizard
When you install and activate Yoast (no matter is it free or paid), you will have to go through its configuration wizard. It’s a typical phenomenon for almost (or even literally) each SEO plugin.
In the first step of a configuration wizard, you should choose one of two available options:
- Option A: My site is live and ready to be indexed.
- Option B: My site is under construction and should not be indexed.
Choose the one which best describes your situation. In most cases, it will be option A.
In this step, you should choose the type of your site from the list shown below.
In my case, it’s a blog, so I leave the first radio button checked.
Organization or Person
This step allows you to set the information for your Knowledge Graph Card, which is used by the most recognizable of current search engines – Google.
In this step, you need to select whether your website is a site of a person or an organization.
Then, you’ll have to type in your full name / your organization’s name, optionally provide an image containing logo of your organization, and paste your social media accounts’ URLs.
Search Engine Visibility
Here, you should choose whether your posts, pages, templates, and legal pages should be visible in search results delivered by various search engines.
Personally, I’m used to choosing ‘Yes’ in the case of all four types of pages.
Here, you can choose one of just two options – ‘Yes’ or ‘No,’ depending on your preference.
If you are the only one who writes content for your blog and you do not accept guest posts from anyone, you can select ‘No’ without further ado.
In this step, you need to type in your website’s name and choose a separator that will be displayed between your posts titles and the site’s name.
As you can see in the screenshot above, as well as in some search engine results, my favorite separator is a vertical bar.
Truth to tell, this step has nothing to do with your site’s configuration.
There’s just an option of getting access to additional educational materials.
When you reach this step, your installation of Yoast SEO will be almost 100% set up and ready.
General -> Dashboard
As you can see in the dashboard of the plugin, there is an option to go back to the configuration wizard.
This is also the place where you’ll be able to find any issues and notifications in the future (in practice, they are really very rare).
If anything occurs in the future, you will also see a number of issues and notifications on the square Yoast icon (in my case, it is located between Clearfy and Insights) at the top menu of the window.
General -> Features
Earlier in this post, I showed you a screenshot with the Features tab of the free Yoast SEO plugin.
As it turns out, a paid version is offering slightly more settings than the free one.
Personally, I have all available options enabled, but in this section, I will go through all of them quickly.
SEO analysis is a handy feature that I’ve shown you earlier in this article.
However, there is one very interesting and important difference between this feature’s suggestions provided by free and paid versions of Yoast.
Take a look at what suggestions I had received when I had a free version of the plugin activated.
It was just:
‘Keyphrase in subheading: Use more keyphrases or synonyms in your higher-level subheadings!’
What’s interesting, after activating Yoast SEO Premium, I have noticed one more valuable advice:
‘Keyphrase distribution: Very uneven. Large parts of your text do not contain the keyphrase or its synonyms. Distribute them more evenly!’
Some time ago, Yoast published a great article about readability on their blog.
In short, the algorithms’ duty is to assess Flesch Reading Score, check the length of paragraphs, the length of sentences, percentage of sentences containing passive voice and a few other factors.
Cornerstone content is the best and the most important content on your website. Alternatively, it is called pillar content or evergreen content.
It is advised to set 4-5 the most important posts as pillar content. You can do this easily after you scroll down to the bottom of a particular post in your WordPress dashboard.
If you set any post as cornerstone content, Yoast’s internal linking suggestions tool (described below) will start recommending that post more frequently.
The more links any page gets, the more power it receives.
Text Link Counter
This feature counts the number of incoming and outgoing links for each of your articles.
Inbound and outbound links are quite important SEO factor – every page should have some ingoing and outgoing links.
Moreover, the text link counter allows you to find such called orphaned content easily.
An orphaned content is content that does not get any links from other posts.
As a matter of fact, every page needs to get at least one link from any other page of your website.
Why is that important?
Because every page must be reachable (through internal linking) for both your visitors and search engines’ crawlers.
If you want to check your current amounts of inbound and outbound links for each of your articles, you can do this easily by going to the list of your posts in your WordPress dashboard.
Insights is the feature that allows you to easily check the number of prominent words (the words and phrases you have used the most frequently within your content).
This is the internal linking suggestions tool mentioned above.
If you start using it, your site structure should become more user-friendly and more crawler-friendly. 🙂
An XML sitemap is a crucial part of each website since it shows search engines’ crawlers the structure of your site.
There are also, obviously, some other tools that allow you to create a sitemap of your blog. Yet, this plugin creates XML sitemaps of the highest possible quality.
Ryte is a powerful online platform that is going to help you achieve higher rankings and get more visitors to your website.
As it comes to achieving better results on Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines, I’m using some other tools for this purpose.
However, Yoast’s Ryte integration analyzes your website’s indexability on a weekly basis and shows you the results in your WordPress dashboard.
Admin Bar Menu
Using this option, you can hide a small Yoast’s icon, which is by default visible at the top menu of your WP dashboard.
Security: No Advanced Settings For Authors
When enabled, this option allows only the administrator of the site to change some advanced settings of the plugin.
General -> Webmaster Tools
In this tab, you can paste your verification codes from Baidu, Bing, Google, and Yandex.
Setting these values is not necessary.
Personally, I have set it only for Google, but I see some visitors from Bing, Baidu, DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo on a regular basis in my Google Analytics dashboard.
Search Appearance Tab
As you can see in the screenshot below, there are the same settings that you’ve seen just after activating the plugin (in Configuration Wizard).
One important thing which you should do here is to set a meta description tag of your homepage.
The meta description tag should be no longer than 160 characters.
Here’s an amazing free online character counter so you can count the characters easily.
All the following tabs (Content Types, Media, Taxonomies, Archives, and RSS) except Breadcrumbs do not require you to make any changes on.
As it comes to breadcrumbs, here’s the Yoast’s guide showing you how to implement it.
Search Console Tab
The only thing which I can see on this tab is an error message.
Fortunately, everyone can check the data (which is not available here) in their own Google Search Console.
Here, you should paste your social media accounts’ URLs.
You can also set the Facebook Open Graph and Twitter Card meta data.
This tab gives you access to two tools – bulk editor and the option of importing and exporting Yoast’s settings.
You can see their descriptions on the screenshot below.
This tab contains some information about a few premium extensions of the plugin – Local SEO, Video SEO, and News SEO.
This feature is useful when you change the URL address of any of your posts, or you want to delete one. In such a case, you can set a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one.
Multiple Focus Keywords In Action
In this section, I will quickly show you how multiple focus keywords work in practice.
The screenshot above shows that I have 5 focus keyphrases set for this article.
According to the plugin, the content is well optimized for two keyphrases, and it requires some improvements for the other three.
You can also see an internal linking recommendations box in the bottom right corner of the screen.
As it comes to focus keywords, it is very important to be able to set more than just one focus keyword for every article and do it in practice.
The more keyphrases you set (and optimize your content for them), the more traffic from search engines you will get.
The more traffic you will get, the more shares and backlinks you will achieve, which means that you’ll also make more money with this feature. 🙂
The List Of Most Popular SEO And Readability Analysis Results
Below, you can find a list of all SEO and readability analysis results which I’ve encountered while editing my posts.
This list should be helpful for you if you’d like to learn what you should and what you shouldn’t do in order to improve your content optimization.
- “Meta description length: No meta description has been specified. Search engines will display copy from the page instead. Make sure to write one!”
- “Text length: The text contains x words. This is far below the recommended minimum of 300 words. Add more content.”
- “Keyphrase in subheading: Use more keyphrases or synonyms in your higher-level subheadings!”
- “Keyphrase distribution: Very uneven. Large/Some parts of your text do not contain the keyphrase or its synonyms. Distribute them more evenly.”
- “Keyphrase density: The focus keyphrase was found x times. That’s less than the recommended minimum of y times for a text of this length. Focus on your kephrase!”
- “Keyphrase in introduction: Your keyphrase or its synonyms do not appear in the first paragraph. Make sure the topic is clear immediately.”
- “Keyphrase in meta description: The meta description has been specified, but it does not contain the keyphrase. Fix that!”
- “Keyphrase in title: Not all the words from your keyphrase ‘your keyphrase’ appear in the SEO title. Try to use the exact match of your keyphrase in the SEO title.”
- “SEO title width: The SEO title is too short. Use the space to add keyphrase variations or create compelling call-to-action copy.”
- “Image alt attributes: Images on this page do not have alt attributes that reflect the topic of your text. Add your keyphrase or synonyms to the alt tags of relevant images!”
- “Outbound links: No outbound links appear in this page. Add some!”
- “Keyphrase in title: The exact match of the keyphrase appears in the SEO title, but not at the beginning. Try to move it to the beginning.”
- “Image alt attributes: Out of x images on this page, x have alt attributes with words from your keyphrase or synonyms. That’s a bit much. Only include the keyphrase or its synonyms when it really fits the image.”
- “Previously used keyphrase: You’ve used this keyphrase once before. Do not use your keyphrase more than once.”
- “Meta description length: The meta description is over 156 characters. To ensure the entire description will be visible, you should reduce the length.”
- “Keyphrase in slug: (Part of) your keyphrase does not appear in the slug. Change that!”
- “Not enough content: Please add some content to enable a good analysis.”
- “Transition words: Only x% of the sentences contain transition words, which is not enough. Use more of them.”
- “Passive voice: x% of the sentences contain passive voice, which is more than the recommended maximum of 10%. Try to use their active counterparts.”
- “Consecutive sentences: The text contains 3 consecutive sentences starting with the same word. Try to mix things up!”
- “Subheading distribution: x sections of your text are longer than 250 words and are not separated by any subheadings. Add subheadings to improve readability.”
- “Flesch Reading Ease: The copy scores x in the test, which is considered difficult to read. Try to make shorter sentences, using less difficult words to improve readability.”
- “Sentence length: x% of the sentences contain more than 20 words, which is more than the recommended 25%. Try to shorten the sentences.”
- “Keyphrase length: Good job!”
- “Previously used keyphrase: You’ve not used this keyphrase before, very good.”
- “Keyphrase in title: The exact match of the keyphrase appears at the beginning of the SEO title. Good job!”
- “Keyphrase in slug: Great work!”
- “Outbound links: Good job!”
- “Internal links: You have enough internal links. Good job!”
- “Keyphrase in introduction: Well done!”
- “Keyphrase density: The focus keyphrase was found x times. This is great!”
- “Keyphrase in meta description: Keyphrase or synonym appear in the meta description. Well done!”
- “Meta description length: Well done!”
- “Image alt attributes: Good job!”
- “Text length: The text contains x words. Good job!”
- “SEO title width: Good job!”
- “Keyphrase distribution: Good job!”
- “Flesch Reading Ease: The copy scores x in the test, which is considered ok to read. Good job!”
- “Passive voice: You’re using enough active voice. That’s great!”
- “Consecutive sentences: There is enough variety in your sentences. That’s great!”
- “Subheading distribution: Great job!”
- “Paragraph length: None of the paragraphs are too long. Great job!”
- “Sentence length: Great!”
- “Transition words: Well done!”
Is Yoast Any Good?
I can bet that before reading this article, you had this question in your mind.
If you managed to reach this section, you should know that Yoast is quite good.
How Much Is Yoast SEO Premium?
Yoast’s pricing depends on the number of sites you want to install and activate it on, and it starts with $89 yearly per site.
If you purchase a license for more than one website, you will get a 5%-15% discount.
Is It Worth Getting Yoast Premium?
So, this is the last section of my Yoast SEO Premium review, and here’s my answer to the question, “Is Yoast Premium worth it?”.
No matter how much your budget is, I do not recommend you optimizing your SEO with Yoast.
Personally, I started using Yoast (in a free version) a few years ago. Then I tested Yoast Premium for just a few days, and then I decided to get my money back.Although almost every SEO plugin is worse (less functional and less powerful) than Yoast SEO, there is one exception on the market. Click To Tweet
Multiple keywords (even up to 5 keywords instead of just 1 keyword), social preview for Facebook and Twitter, orphaned content detector, and internal linking suggestions are really valuable features of Yoast SEO Premium plugin, but (in my opinion) they are not worth about 90 USD yearly per site.
And when it comes to the best SEO plugin for WordPress these days, it’s definitely Rank Math!
Rafał Alitojć is a graduate of two universities (PWSZ in Zamość and PJATK in Warsaw).
Besides, he is the founder & owner of AliveBetter blog, where you will find some cool information about blogging, SEO, marketing, and the techniques of making money online on your blog.
He is also the author of the new, amazing ebook for bloggers, which is entitled “How To Dominate Google And Make Money Blogging.”