Top 5 SEO Plugins for WordPress – Reviewed and Ranked in 2022

After more than 10 years of using Yoast SEO on all my WordPress websites, I never thought about trying other SEO plugins. Why bother when Yoast gets the job done and I’m already familiar with it?

But in August of 2021 Yoast SEO was bought by Newfold Digital, previously known as EIG. I explained my problem with this in my review of Yoast SEO. Long story short, the new owners of Yoast have a terrible reputation. So it was time for me to look into Yoast alternatives.

I was interested only in plugins that are free and are available in the official Plugins repository. This is the list of plugins that I decided to review and compare:

PluginActive installationsUser Ratings
Yoast SEO5,000,000+4.8 – 27,461 ratings
All in One SEO (AIOSEO)3,000,000+4.6 – 2,117 ratings
Rank Math SEO1,000,000+4.9 – 4,424 ratings
SEOPress200,000+4.9 – 810 ratings
The SEO Framework100,000+4.9 – 300 ratings

I have separate videos for each of these plugins, so feel free to check them out later.

This is the criteria by which I ranked them:

  • Features and their usefulness;
  • UI/UX and back-end performance;
  • The price and necessity of paid upgrades and extensions;
  • The intrusiveness of upsells.

Ranking of WordPress SEO Plugins in 2022

After careful review of all 5 plugins, this is how I decided to rank them:

1. The SEO Framework
2. All in One SEO (AIOSEO)
3. Yoast SEO
4. Rank Math SEO
5. SEOPress

If you would like to know my rationale behind this ranking, please watch this short video:


1. The SEO Framework

This is what SEO features could look like in WordPress core.

At first I was skeptical about this plugin. Who needs it when there are alternatives that are 50 times more popular? But I’m starting to like it. It provides most of the features that are needed and it does so with minimal impact. No ads, no widgets, no upsells.

Advantages:

  • No upsells in the Dashboard;
  • Blends with the WordPress UI;
  • Doesn’t slow down the Edit Page screen;
  • Great for client websites.

Disadvantages:

  • Missing some secondary features available in other plugins;
  • Configuration pages could be improved with better hints and advice.

2. All in One SEO (AIOSEO)

A good plugin with a decent stack of features.

This is a good looking plugin that does its job. Of course you have to live with the constant reminders of the paid upgrades and the many pages locked behind a paywall. The company behind the plugin (Awesome Motive) has a very wide reach and a good reputation in the WordPress community.

Advantages:

  • Owned by a very influential WordPress company;
  • Decent variety of features;
  • Configuration pages are smooth and pleasant to use.

Disadvantages:

  • Constant upselling and cross-promotion;
  • Takes too much space on the Edit screen;
  • Constant reminders of paid upgrades.

3. Yoast SEO

Will have to find creative ways to keep users from leaving.

Yoast SEO is the most popular search engine optimization plugin for WordPress, the de facto leader for many years. However the plugin is slowly falling behind its main competitors, many of which provide a better stack of features and a better user experience.

Advantages:

  • It gets the jobs done;
  • You are probably already familiar with it.

Disadvantages:

  • The new owners have a terrible reputation;
  • Falling behind its competition;
  • Annoying notifications in the Dashboard.

4. Rank Math SEO

The most feature-rich SEO plugin on this list.

Rank Math SEO has the best user growth rate on this list. It has some free modules that its main competitors don’t have. It can replace several other single-purpose plugins, similar to Jetpack. It’s up to you to decide if that’s a good thing or not.

Advantages:

  • Several unique features that are not available in competing plugins;
  • Many modules that can be enabled/disabled.

Disadvantages:

  • Multiple allegations about unfair practices and stealing code from competitors;
  • Complicates the Block Editor sidebar;
  • Some features might make it difficult to decouple from it in the future.

5. SEOPress

A lackluster plugin with a surprising number of users.

To be honest I couldn’t find any significant advantages of this plugin over the more popular plugins on the market. It includes several features that don’t have a lot to do with SEO. Please let me know in the comments if I’m wrong. Did I miss anything important?

Advantages:

  • It works.

Disadvantages:

  • The other plugins on this list are better.

In Conclusion

Why is The SEO Framework in the top spot, when it lacks some features that are available in its competitors? The answer is simple: many of those features are available as standalone plugins or are provided by competitors as padding.

How often do you analyze each post and page with all the given tools? These features might have a bigger effect on performance in the backend than they are worth.

And my second reason is that I would be a lot more confident in having The SEO Framework on my client websites than these alternatives. It will not confuse my clients as much. Its controls and options blend a lot better with the general WordPress style, and that’s a huge benefit in my book.

If you rarely use the WordPress dashboard and don’t mind a bunch of upgrade notifications and ads, then go for the second best option and that is All in One SEO.

Currently it is quite difficult to find a lot of reasons to stick with Yoast SEO. Even if I keep it on some of my existing websites, I’m not going to install it on any new websites.

But that’s just what I think. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

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4 Comments

  1. How does WPMU Dev’s Smart Crawl compare ? We are using this on all sites and wonder if it’s just FOMO 🙂 Have considered moving to Rank Math but really unsure as Smart Crawl is a nice plugin but not sure if there is anything we are missing ?

  2. Unfortunately I am not familiar with SmartCrawl. But I’ll make sure to check it out, as WPMU Dev are making good products (from what I hear).
    Thank you Jeanette for bringing it to my attention!

  3. Hi Dumitru, I’ve always used Yoast SEO but it is not as complete as some of the other solutions. I pair it with ahrefs.com which gives a good overview of the health of the website and lots of useful competitor information – something Yoast doesn’t do a good job on. I will look at the all in one SEO as it looks like it does combine some of the functions I like about ahrefs which may make it more useful to clients when doing day to day SEO work.

  4. Kindly do a comparison of Smartcrawl with this plugins too. I use Smartcrawl its really goo but I’m also think of switching to RankMath. But I just want to know which is better

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