The SEO Framework, the new best WordPress SEO Plugin?

In my quest to find good Yoast SEO alternatives, The SEO Framework was the last plugin on the list. As the title might have revealed already, I’m very excited to share my findings with you. Let’s dive right in!


Video Transcript

The SEO Framework is a plugin advertised as the fastest full-featured SEO plugin. It is installed on over 100,000 websites and is the product of a solo developer from the Netherlands.

Let’s take a look.

The SEO Framework Installation

The plugin comes with just one settings page that integrates well with the standard WordPress UI.

At the top there is a panel with 5 tabs, but the rest of the panels remain in place at all times.

In the Performance tab there are 3 settings that look a bit complicated to understand. I’ll trust the developer and keep the default values.

In the Exclusions tab the plugin prevents you from excluding default post types and taxonomies from the sitemap. The purpose of this panel is a bit confusing. I will come back to it in a minute.

The rest of the settings are easy to understand.

You can control the default structure of page titles and enable automatic description metas.

Some controls for the homepage and detailed controls for Social meta tags.

A separate panel is available for Schema settings. This checkbox will enable schema markup for breadcrumbs, which will be visible to search engines. This will not add usable breadcrumbs for your visitors.

In the Robots Meta Settings panel, in the Indexing tab you can NOINDEX post types and taxonomies that for some reason were disabled in the Exclusions tab. I’m not sure why there are two different panels with a similar purpose.

I would love to see some basic suggestions in this Indexing panel. A short sentence for each post type, taxonomy and special page would be very helpful.

For example most WordPress websites with a single author should noindex Author pages. The same goes for post tags, it’s usually best to noindex them.

In Webmaster Meta you can add the code to verify your website in Google Search Console and other search engines.

The Sitemap Settings panel is sufficiently detailed and provides good descriptions.

Individual Page SEO Settings

When viewing your list of posts or pages, the plugin found a really nice way to display a good amount of information in as little space as possible.

On the Edit Page screen this plugin adds a small panel at the bottom of the page. This is probably the cleanest SEO panel I have seen.

You can edit the title and the description meta, the social meta, the canonical URL, the robots meta and even enable a 301 redirect.

This redirect field could be even better if there was an option to change the type of redirect, for example 301 or 307.

If you enable a redirect, then this will be visible when browsing your posts.

The SEO Framework Extensions: Extension Manager

You might have noticed that there are no ads or promotions for paid upgrades. So far this plugin is provided completely free of charge without any upselling.

There is however an add-on from the same developer, called Extension Manager.

It can be downloaded from the official website. After you install it, a new page will appear in the SEO section of the dashboard.

This extension manager comes with 3 paid plans, from $7 to $27 a month.

Free Extensions

If you enable it in free mode, you get access to 4 extensions.

The AMP extension is probably becoming less relevant, as the project’s future is uncertain.

The Incognito extension will remove HTML comments from the front-end. This does not affect anything in any meaningful way, but some developers doing client work might like this option.

The Origin extension is a standard feature that is included by default in other SEO plugins.

The Title Fix extension also has very limited use and is not relevant for many modern WordPress themes.

Paid Extensions

The Paid extensions are a lot more interesting.

The Honeypot extension targets spam comments and form submissions. The great thing about using the honeypot technique is that it is usually invisible to normal website visitors and targets only bots. It’s a lot more convenient and user-friendly than using captchas.

The Cord extension allows you to add the code from Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel, with the option to anonymize the GA IPs.

And finally the Focus extension which helps you write better content. A unique feature that is missing in other SEO plugins is the included dictionary. It’s a great way to diversify your content with synonyms for your main keywords.

Closing Notes

I have to say that 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.

This is what SEO features could look like in WordPress core. No bells and whistles, just a practical approach.

I can already see myself using this on client websites without worrying too much that Yoast SEO will bombard them with ads, or that the Edit Page screen will be annoying to look at.

To sum it up, this plugin deserves our full attention!

I have a separate video in which I compare The SEO Framework to its main competitors, such as Yoast SEO, All in One SEO, Rank Math and SEOPress.

Thank you for watching.

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