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August 15, 2014

Yoast SEO is absolutely the best free SEO plugin that there is for WordPress. It is equally as good as ( and in some respects better than ) the most popular paid plugin. It includes modules in which you can set everything from page titles and meta tags to what you want to include in your XML Sitemap.

Yoast

There are two main sections to this plugin:

  1. Global settings for the blog ( titles, metas, social, sitemaps, rss, … ) where you can set a template as a default, and it will apply to every post, unless overridden by:

  2. Local settings for each post

The three most important features – that make WPSEO by Yoast a real standout:

  1. Automatic Content Analysis: Yoast makes it very easy for you to optimize each post by showing exactly what you must do to optimize the post. Each suggestion is rated as to importance, and there is also an SEO rating for the post as a whole.

  2. Automatic XML Sitemap Generation: The plugin creates a sitemap that includes only those taxonomies that you choose, and checks the plugin to prevent pages that you noindexed from appearing in the sitemap. What’s more, the sitemap is easily readable by humans as well as robots.

  3. Open Graph Meta Data Generation: OG Meta data tags are added to the head section of your webpages. These tell Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ what to show when your site is shared. I tried using other plugins that claim to do this, but none of them are as easy to use as Yoast.

Update – September 17, 2014: I’m afraid that I am forced to downgrade my opinion of this plugin, in light of recent developments. Yoast is sadly going the way of many other internet giants like Facebook and Google, who refuse to respond to legitimate requests from their users.

(1) I have an unsolved problem on one of my blogs that can only be resolved by disabling the XML Sitemap feature of Yoast, and cannot get any help with this problem. (2) I asked to become a Yoast affiliate. This was denied, with no reason given, even after three emails were sent requesting a reason for the denial.

So now I can only recommend the WPSEO Plugin by Yoast with a reservation: you should not expect to receive any help from the publisher unless you purchase the paid version.
Next Update – October 8, 2014: With regard to point (2) above, I finally received an email from Yoast to let me know that they are closing down their affiliate program, since it “doesn’t stack up to the profit we’re getting from it.” This jibes perfectly with my observation that Yoast could care less about its customers, unless they have the paid version.

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