My Love-Hate Relationship with Yoast SEO Plugin

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the Yoast SEO plugin. On the one hand, it does a good job of aggregating most of the needed SEO site modifications in one place. It’s relatively easy to use and the interface is polished (although not quite as intuitive as I’d like). To top it off, the free version gives you just about every tool that you’d want–I’ve never felt the need to buy the premium version of the plugin. Here’s the thing that bugs me… It breaks websites. The plugin does SO much and has it’s little fingers in SO MANY corners of your website that it’s easy for one errant piece of code to bring down a whole site. From a logical “plugin development” perspective, I get it–it’s impossible for the Yoast development team to test for every single configuration of WordPress version plus themes plus other plugins. There are trillions of combinations.

Regardless, a Yoast update has broken our own sites or client sites a dozen times or more. That level of instability is why I’ve directed my team to migrate to a competing SEO plugin when possible and why we are considering alternative plugins as a part of our WordPress SEO services.

Yoast SEO’s relatively recent update could change that.

A little while back, Yoast announced an update to their free plugin that integrates multi-level schema into your site. The double-cool thing about this integration is that the plugin supposedly aggregates all the schema on a page and defragments it so that search engine spiders have some context on how the page is structured and what nests inside of what.

Since we’ve migrated most everything away from Yoast, it’s been difficult to perform large scale tests (not to mention that clients don’t like it too much when their SEO company deliberately disables their SEO plugins). However, our limited tests thus far are quite promising.

On one of our test websites I ran an experiment both with and without the plugin enabled. Sure enough, as promised, NESTING! (Sorry for the redactions…boss says “privacy.”)

So, the jury is still out on whether this feature alone will be enough to get us to start deploying Yoast again. We’ll need a good real-life test case to work on before I’m fully convinced. However, integration schema aggregation is a huge step in the right direction in my book. It’s enough to make me take another look at their work.

Now, if we could just get them to clean up that admin interface….


Jerod Karam

Jerod Karam is Vice President of Technical Operations at Netvantage SEO, an online marketing company specializing in SEO, PPC and social media. Jerod consults with internal teams and external clients on all manner of technical projects, manages the flow of information surrounding the company's online objectives, manages relationships with external partners and suppliers, and is a constant bother to everyone in terms of maintaining online security.

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