(This is a genuine experiment and is still ongoing. You need to read it all and not skip to the bottom first!)
I have always been a great believer in the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin and have been using it for years, so why on earth would I be writing a page on my website stating Why You Should Delete Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin?
The Reasons Why You Should Delete Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin
At the start, I was really thrown in the deep end of website development and SEO and it took me a while to do a lot of reading on the web and to dissect what experts were saying to do and what I truly believed would work.
Over and over again I came across the Yoast SEO plugin and was told by many authorities about how great it was, so I decided initially to try the free version on one of my websites.
Soon I was adding the free version to all websites and then eventually upgraded to the Pro paid versions as well. I suppose I am an all or nothing guy!
Yoast SEO WordPress Bells and Whistles
I must confess that I have learned so much about SEO in my time of using the Yoast plugin that will stand me in good stead.
I would also encourage anyone new to WordPress SEO to use the plugin for a while to learn the basics.
However, the time has come and now is, when I have removed all of the Yoast WordPress SEO plugins from all of my websites!
In my opinion, there could be too much “bloat” in the plugin, too many “upsells” and it seems they are adding more and more functions to the plugin on every update.
Why does this concern me enough to remove the Yoast plugin after all these years?
Well, let’s just think about it logically.
Yes, it is the best selling WordPress SEO plugin on the market I admit, but it will slow your website down with all the clutter it now has.
What have Google said recently about speed and fast loading websites? Yes indeed, it is now a ranking factor, but more than that, it is a much better user experience for your site visitors if your posts and pages load quickly as well.
Another logical thought is that WordPress websites are inherently SEO friendly as it is and that is why there are more WordPress websites out there than anything else. So, why would I want to change, tamper with or add to something that already works?
I have just removed the Yoast plugins, so I am “putting my money where my mouth is” and holding my breath.
I have noticed a definite drop in traffic initially on day 1 and 2, but this is now recovering slightly. I think this is due to the fact that my meta descriptions have suddenly vanished and Google is re-crawling the websites to produce relevant descriptions to display in the SERPS.
You will already know I’m sure that even if you have meta descriptions for every page, Google will not necessarily show them, but can add what it thinks is more relevant.
So which would you rather have, a meta description you have come up with for a page that “big G” does not like or instead just let Google produce the most suitable and relevant snippet for your page?
It is early days yet, but I will update this page when I learn more.
If you have the Pro version of the Yoast SEO plugin like I did and if you use the Redirects section like I did, then you would need to add a separate plugin like Redirection to keep redirecting any changed Pages or Posts to stop 404 errors. If you have a lot of redirects (like I did) there is no way of exporting these from the Yoast plugin up until now unfortunately, so I had to add them manually. However, if you have Yoast SEO version 5.4+ there is now a facility to export the redirects. (Bad timing on my part!)
Well, it looks like Google still needs a bit of help trying to figure out what is on each page!
I needed to add meta descriptions back in again, but instead of adding back Yoast, I am testing out The SEO Framework after reading very good reviews. See also my page Best WordPress Theme Fastest Page Speed on how to make the transition from Yoast to SEO Framework and keep all your hard earned data. Still testing!
Well, this has been a great (terrible!) learning experience!
3 Months later and I have switched back to Yoast. Yes you read that correctly, I have gone back to my first choice and gone back to the Yoast SEO plugin!
The traffic has just kept going down and down each week, so drastic measures had to be taken. I will update this again to see if the traffic recovers.
I used the Yoast SEO plugin for about 4 months now and there has been no recovery in traffic to be honest. I have now switched to the All In One SEO WordPress Plugin to see if I have an joy with it.
After using it for 1 month, there are some small but good signs. I will update the page again when I find out more.
No real recovery I’m afraid.
Switched now to Squirrly SEO plugin, which is not one of the better known ones. Tried the free version and really liked it.
Upgraded to the Pro version and I am really excited!
I am seeing serious recovery of the traffic at long last. Will update again when I am sure it is consistent.
It is now nearly a year since I removed the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. There have been ups and downs and mostly downs to be honest!
I wonder if I was hit by a Google penalty that made the traffic drop, instead of it being a change of SEO plugin.
I have been using Squirrly for a few months now, but I am not totally happy with the SEO settings they use to be honest. I am also paying for the privilege of having a plugin that I am not totally happy with.
Guess what? I have gone back to Yoast again! I started my SEO life with Yoast and I am going to contridict the previous comments on this article and say that I think it is currently the best WordPress SEO plugin. There, I said It!
I now Have to add one word to the end of the title of this article too! (Not!)
I will update again to see what happens after a few months.