This is just an honest review about Yoast SEO plugin. I have nothing personal against Yoast, nor I have any competition with them. But I don’t think you need to use this plugin, or any other plugin that claims to have any important role or impact on your blog’s ranking on search engines. If you read this article to the end, you will know why.
I started using this plugin maybe two years ago, because I saw that many WordPress bloggers recommended it. Therefore, I thought I was doing something wrong by not using Yoast SEO plugin. But I have been using WordPress since 2006, without any problems and without using this plugin, and I was doing great, and my blogs’ posts used to get ranked very well on search engines. I wanted to boost SEO of my blog posts by using Yoast SEO plugin as a famous SEO plugin, but I was wrong.
First of all because SEO is now different from what it was 10 or 15 years ago. Now, SEO is UX or user-experienced-based. The time that you had to check and optimize the keyword density of the web pages was over long time ago. If you can’t write quality and strong articles that can answer people’s questions, you won’t have any place on Google, and this has nothing to do with the SEO of your posts.
My blogs’ posts used to be on Google’s first page, because I write strong and quality articles that answer Google’s users questions, and resolve their problems, not because I “SEO-optimize” my posts. It was liked that since 2002 that I started working online, and since I started using WordPress and turned my sites into blogs since 2006.
But, as I said, I felt I was doing something wrong by not using Yoast SEO plugin, just because so many other bloggers recommended it. But I was wrong, and I will tell you why here below.
Once again, I am not writing this post to sabotage anybody. I am just giving my honest opinion.
So, Why Did I Stop Using Yoast SEO Plugin?
There are some reasons that some of them are not that important. But one of them is very important. So please make sure to read all the reasons I have outline below:
1. Yoast Affects Your Blog’s Speed
Yoast SEO plugin makes your blog slow, and speed is an important factor in your posts’ ranking on search engines, specially Google. If you don’t believe me, just watch my video below and pay attention to the numbers I have given in it. Of course this video talks about slow web hosting, but it doesn’t make any difference, because when your website is slow, it is slow, whether it is because of the slow web hosting or because of your blog content or a plugin like Yoast SEO plugin. Having a low speed hurts your site/blog and your online business anyways:
Why does Yoast SEO plugin makes your blogs slow?
It is because of the amount of the codes it adds to your blog’s background. Just check your blog pages source code (Ctrl+U) to see what I mean. I will explain about this more here in this article when I explain about one of the important reasons that caused me to stop using Yoast SEO plugin. But just activate and inactivate this plugin on your blog, and check and compare the View/Source of the pages in both status. You will see that Yoast adds tons of HTML codes to your blog’s pages for no reason.
2. Yoast Doesn’t Cause a Higher Ranking on Search Engines
Yoast SEO plugin has no impact on your posts ranking on search engines, even if your posts receive good SEO and reading scores from this plugin. Conversely, if you try to get green lights for your posts’ SEO and reading, chances are you forget about the quality of your posts, and they look over-optimized to Google, and this can result in losing your ranking, or even penalization.
For example, one of the SEO factors that Yoast plugin checks is having the main keyword in at least one of the subtitles in your article’s body. In so many cases, when you write an article, you don’t see it necessary to have the main key phrase in any of the subtitles. But when you have the plugin installed on your blog, you do this just to make the plugin give you the score of this factor.
The other SEO factors that Yoast checks is having the main key phrase in the first paragraph, and also close to the beginning of your article’s title. Almost in most of the articles I write, I don’t like to have the main key phrase at the beginning of the title, or in the first paragraph. But when Yoast wanted me to do so, otherwise I wouldn’t get the score of those factors, I would have to do it manually just to get the SEO green light from Yoast. And if you do this manually, sometimes it can look as over-optimization to Google, whereas if you don’t do it, and you just care about the quality of your article, you would get a good place on Google’s search result page. So, Yoast SEO plugin can even cause your posts not to get ranked on Google, specially if you are novice blogger, and you are not experienced enough.
Maybe these factors worked 15 years ago. But Google’s current algorithm doesn’t like this. Google doesn’t want you to SEO-optimize your posts. It wants you to write your articles in a way that they help people. If Google sees that you are writing to satisfy Googlebot and Google’s algorithm, your posts will have no place on their search result page.
When you want to write a post, all you need to do is to choose a clear, straightforward and specific topic, have a short and descriptive title about it, and explain it in the best possible way in your article’s body. You must try to answer an important question, or resolve an important problem in each of your posts. This is what SEO means these days. The time that you had to check the keyword density of your web-pages was over long time ago, and so it doesn’t make sense to use plugins like Yoast. I feel more sorry when I see that some bloggers even pay for the Yoast’s premium version. This is nothing but a self-sabotaging attempt.
If you can write posts that a reasonable number of your blog’s readers and followers read from the first word, and scroll down to reach the last sentence, while they also click on the links you have probably placed to your other posts, and they also subscribe to your mailing list through the subscription form you have at the bottom of each of your posts, then Google will love your blog and your posts, whether you know what SEO is or not. But, when your posts are all green, both in SEO and reading, from Yoast SEO plugin point of view, while people hit the back button to leave your blog as soon as they get in and read the first few sentences, you will have no place on Google, even if you are the top best SEO in the world.
3. It Seems Yoast Cheats Bloggers
Yes, you heard right. Although Yoast SEO plugin has been around for years, it seems it cheats bloggers. How?
About a couple of months ago, I noted that I am losing my blogs’ ranking on Google. I started investigating and digging, but couldn’t find anything. I hadn’t done anything wrong, but I restored all the recent changes I had made on my blogs, and then waited for their ranking to be recovered, but it didn’t happen. Even, I changed my blogs’ themes, but it didn’t work.
While I was fixing a secure connection error on one of my blogs, and so I checked the pages source codes to see if I was linking to any http URL from my pages, I found a link to a keyword checker tool:
I got shocked, because I was 100% sure that I hadn’t done it myself. First I thought the blog was hacked. But then I found out the link was placed by Yoast SEO plugin.
Even now that I am writing this article, and several new versions of Yoast SEO plugin have been released since that time, still if you activate this plugin on your blog, and then you check the “View page source” by hitting Ctrl+U when you are on one of your blog’s pages, and then you seek zippy.co.uk, you will see the link on all pages:
Just deactivate Yoast and refresh the page, and you will see that the zippy.co.uk link will disappear. Activate it again, the link will restored on all your blog’s pages again.
This link doesn’t appear on your web pages, but it is active in the background. Whether this link has any impact on our blog’s performance/ranking or not, the question is: Are the Yoast guys allowed to do this without the webmasters’ acknowledgement?
The link doesn’t even have the rel=”nofollow” attribute, so it can impact your ranking.
This caused me to deactivate and remove Yoast SEO plugin from all my blogs. And they are recovering their rankings on Google since the time I did this. Still I can’t say that losing the ranking of my blogs was because of the zippy.co.uk link that was placed by Yoast SEO plugin on them, because I made some other changes, and also improved my blogs’ design and performance and fixed some of the other problems that could be effective as well. But, what I can definitely say is that Yoast is not allowed to have this link on our blogs, and it is strongly possible that losing my blogs’ ranking was because of this site-wide link that was on all pages.
If they have done it intentionally to promote zippy.co.uk, then I am sorry to say that although they are offering the most famous SEO-related WordPress plugin, still they know nothing about SEO and Google, because Google cannot be fooled by these kinds of tricks. Even if billions of blogs link to zippy.co.uk like that, Google won’t give it a damn. The time that Google could be fooled by these kinds of black-hat SEO tricks was over more than 10 years ago. Now Google is even smarter than human users. It “sees” what you are doing.
Once again, I haven’t written this article to sabotage Yoast SEO plugin. I just reported my own observations, honestly. I have been in this business since 2002, and I know about SEO and Google more than anybody else in this sector. If you are a new blogger and want to improve your blog within the shortest possible time, you need my expert advice. Join my Fully-Automated Online Business System program, and see the difference. Good luck 🙂