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Yoast WP SEO vs All in One SEO

Rambling introduction. While setting things up here at Perishable Press with a second installation of WordPress, I’m trying to keep the number of custom functions and plugins down to a minimum. Seriously, if some feature or function is not absolutely necessary, then it gets kicked to the curb, as they say. So far, I’m using only the following plugins for the second WordPress installation:

  • Akismet
  • WP-phpMyAdmin
  • All in One SEO Pack

My theory is that you can run a secure, fully functional, spam-free site without using any extra plugins, but I decided to leave Akismet installed for the time being, just to help stem the tide until I get everything dialed-in and fine-tuned.

The WP-phpMyAdmin plugin is useful because the WP Database Manager plugin doesn’t work with Media Temple’s (dv) setup, or at least it doesn’t work for any of my own sites — something involving the mysterious yet all-so-important “MySQL path” and “Dump path”, which both seem to be missing entirely, according to the plugin. So I decided to just roll with vanilla phpMyAdmin for quick and easy backups. And yes, I know about using cron for backups, but haven’t yet had a chance to set it up.

Update: the WP-phpMyAdmin plugin has been removed from the WP Plugin Directory due to security reasons. So do NOT use this plugin until the security issue is resolved. And even then.. I no longer use this plugin on any site.

Finally, the All in One SEO Pack covers the one area where WordPress needs improvement: SEO. It would be great to have WordPress auto-generate meta description and keyword tags, and a custom titles options page would be HUGE. But unfortunately WordPress does none of this out of the box, so it’s up to us hard-working developers to implement this much-needed functionality.

Yoast WPSEO vs All in One SEO

Update: Since the time of this review, both of these SEO plugins have changed quite a bit. These days, Yoast SEO pretty much covers the entire spectrum, and All in One SEO also has evolved considerably. So either plugin could be great depending on your site’s specific SEO needs. Alternately, if you’re just looking for a solid way to implement the SEO basics, check out DigWP.com for a lightweight DIY Alternative to WordPress SEO Plugins.</update>

And so. With a new installation of WordPress and tons of ambition, I was ready to start fresh and explore some of the fancy new plugins that I couldn’t use on the site’s “old” WordPress installation.

One of these new plugins is an alternative to the long-standing, tried and true “All in One SEO” (AiOSEO) plugin. Developed by Yoast and his team, Yoast SEO is the newest and most-hyped SEO plugin on the block. Yoast SEO has many useful features and loads of promise, so I thought I would take it for a test drive. After all, I was getting tired of having to reactivate and fiddle with AiOSEO after every update for every site, so I thought it would be nice to find a plugin that wasn’t as “high-maintenance”..

What I like about Yoast SEO plugin

Here is what I like about the Yoast’s SEO plugin:

  • Reputable source (trustworthy, reliable)
  • Many downloads (good for long-term)
  • Well-designed & easy to use
  • Lots of useful options for SEO

After installing the plugin, I began reading through the different Options pages and tried setting a few preferences. The page that actually replaces the AiOSEO functionality works like a dream — you can easily customize all of the titles for different page views, and there are plenty of variables to make things flexible. That is probably the best (and most important) part of the Yoast SEO plugin. If it were only that one page, I would probably still be using it.

What I don’t like about Yoast SEO plugin

If everything worked as advertised, I would still be using this remarkable plugin. Unfortunately, I kept running into walls with stuff not working or causing problems somehow. Here is a short list of the most problematic aspects:

  • Strange error upon activation that the /wpseo/ directory could not be created (could not resolve this; no idea what it means)
  • With the plugin enabled, category tags and templates did not work
  • After uninstalling the plugin, category permalinks did not work
  • None of the Sitemap functionality seemed to work — no sitemaps were created or updated
  • WordPress’ paged-comment links don’t work when “Redirect ugly URL’s to clean permalinks” option is enabled
  • Could not for the life of me figure out how to do the “clean uninstall” that is advertised for this plugin
  • Empty/broken “File Editor” page (not sure what’s up with that)
  • Insertion of “Plugin by Yoast” credits in the source code — even on pages that include no plugin output

I kept going with the plugin as long as I could, but the busted paged-comments and category permalinks pretty much changed my mind on this one. Sadly, I could not find that “clean uninstall” option that is advertised all over the place. It would have been nice to clean up the database after uninstalling, because the category permalinks still would not work after completely removing the plugin. To fix this, I needed to reset my permalinks to default and then switch them back to custom again (to reset the permalink rules, I suspect).

And the winner is..

I think the Yoast plugin is great and has loads of potential, but until some of these major issues are addressed, I have to roll with the old standby, All in One SEO. AiOSEO is a simple plugin that does one thing very well: generates unique meta description, keyword, and title tags. That’s really the only thing I need it for, simply because WordPress provides no built-in way of doing so.

One of these days, you’ll be able to install WordPress and have automatically generated meta & title tags without installing another plugin. Until then, I’m keeping it simple with AiOSEO.

Jeff Starr
About the Author Jeff Starr = Web Developer. Security Specialist. WordPress Buff.
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74 responses
  1. been using seo all in one plugin for sometime now. It was recommended by my friend who is an seo guy. after reading this i excited to try wpseo. im glad that i came across his article :) thanks

  2. It would be nice to see if the “What I don’t like” items could be updated, as I would think that they would have been addressed by now. I’ll have to dig through the many pages on the WP SEO blog and Changelog, I suppose….

    • Jeff Starr

      Yes, the plugin has come a long way since this post was written.. if you happen to post your findings, drop a link and I’ll promote it in the article.

  3. I am in a confusion to choose to between AIO vs Yoast.. do u still think that WP SEO is lagging in this race..??

    • Jeff Starr

      I think Yoast’s plugin has come a long way since I wrote this review, but I still reach for AiOSEO because it’s quick and easy. If you want more control/settings, go with Yoast. If you want something that just works and move on with your life, go AiOSEO, imho. Maybe it’s time for another review.. ;)

  4. Thanks ! My friend went after Yoast due to some strange reason, while I stuck with All In One. There is another plugin I used, Headspace. Is that required?

    • Jeff Starr

      Headspace is another option for WP SEO plugins. For most sites you only need one good SEO plugin, otherwise it’s just redundant with potential for issues/conflicts. I usually go with nothing, AiOSEO, or Yoast SEO, depending on the needs/scope of the project.

      • I use AiO and Headspace both on all 3 sites of mine. Should I remove headspace then?

      • Jeff Starr

        Maybe.. I think Headspace does a lot more that AiOSEO, so depending on which options/settings you’re using, you might be better off removing AiOSEO instead. If I recall, Headspace can pretty much do everything AiOSEO can do, and then some. So in that case, assuming you’re actually using the advanced functionality of Headspace, it makes more sense to remove AiOSEO (imo).

  5. I heard people over at another site complaining about how Yoast froze their site, but displayed keywords optimised in their posts. Doesnt SEOPressor do the same thing? Any comments?

  6. I use the basic headspace setting…am not so great in the codings :D I tried Yoast, got confused, and came back to AiO

  7. Boutros AbiChedid May 23, 2012 @ 2:02 am

    I have been a long time user for “All In One SEO Pack” plugin and I’ve been filling out the title, Meta description and Meta keywords for each post.
    However, recently I wanted to try the ‘WordPress SEO’ by Yoast, but I noticed that when I disabled the “All In One SEO Pack” I lost all the “description”, and “keywords” that are in the dashboard (they’re not totally lost, still in the DB).
    Do you know of an easy way to migrate this Info to the ‘WordPress SEO’ plugin???

    I also agree with what you said. For a focused, simple SEO go with “All In One SEO Pack” . Probably the “WordPress SEO” is better but it has too many setting and parameters that it can get confusing. Plus XML sitemap + breadcrumbs…

  8. @boutros
    I believe you have to copy paste the stuff. I copy the stuff into wordpress seo one by one, a bit time consuming.
    Its nice to see someone else too feeling that the plugin spoils the user with too many options, but it does the task single handedly what I needed 4 plugins to do. I have mailed Joost to provide us with an exhaustive guide to configure wordpress SEO plugin.I hope he replies.

  9. @Jasjot,
    I discovered that you can auto-migrate from “All In One SEO Pack” to “WordPress SEO” (http://yoast.com/all-in-one-seo-pack-migration/)
    But I noticed that it only migrates the Meta description and Not the Keywords. Yoast allows one Focused keyword only. That’s probably why he does not import the meta keywords data.
    In any case, I am not sure how relevant the Meta Keywords are still for SE.

  10. @Jasjot,
    Never mind. I just discovered that there is a setting in “WordPress SEO” to “Use meta keywords tag”. It is set to OFF by default.
    So the Auto-migration is complete and successful.
    Much faster and easier than manually.

  11. Cool then. Meta Keywords don’t matter as far as google is concerned. I heard it in a video by matt cutts. Only bing uses meta keywords afaik. I hope Joost can come out with the exhaustive guide. If you can find any such posts that can provide me with details of Wp SEO, please share :-)

  12. Nashua Indigo July 15, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

    I am agree with you on some points, and all in one seo ranks faster that yoast as far I have tested that one, but yoast has a lot of features that By All In One Seo is missing, they are important features like disable archives, disable author, specific no follow categories, and open graphs.

    if you use AIO pack you must install also a sitemap plugin, and a plugin to disable the database archives plus an open graphs plugin, that all are a lot of extra plugins who won’t sometimes not working all together.

    Yoast have them all in one. but the fact is the speed of ranking which AIO Seo wins. the problem is all the above. So if All in one has all the features as yoast have with the same speed AIO has noe, then I am sold to AIO.

    for now I usd Yoast.

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