Yoast SEO Premium Vs Free Plugin: An In-Depth Review of Best SEO Plugin (2018 Edition)

Yoast SEO Premium Vs Free plugin review

Are you looking for various plugins to boost your SEO? Did you know Yoast SEO is one of the ultimate SEO plugins for WordPress users? If you’re looking for an honest Yoast SEO Premium vs free plugin review, this is the right place for you.

We all know how important it is to get more search engine traffic.

Search traffic is the best because;

  • it helps you boost your website conversion rates
  • improves your overall website sales
  • search visitors are ready to pay money if they find the right stuff

There are a ton of SEO tactics you can use but there will always be one or two strategies that gives you the maximum benefits. Here’s where on page optimization comes into play.

Fortunately for WordPress users, there’s a plugin called Yoast SEO is available. It’s free version itself is worth paying for and offers a ton of amazing features to boost your SEO. Have you ever wondered what Yoast SEO premium plugin offers? In this detailed Yoast SEO premium Vs free plugin review, let’s talk about both of them.

If you’re really serious about SEO, I strongly recommend you to give a try to Yoast SEO premium that costs just $89 for 1 year and I recently started using it. It is one of the best investments I made so far. So without much ado, let’s talk about Yoast SEO premium Vs free plugin review.

Yoast SEO Premium Vs Free plugin review (2018 Edition)

Yoast SEO Premium Vs Free plugin review: is it worth $89

Yoast SEO Premium Plugin Review: Is IT Worth the Money?

Let’s first start with the Yoast SEO premium version so you will know whether it is worth paying for it or not. Later we will also talk about the free Yoast SEO plugin in this Yoast SEO free vs premium plugin review. Let’s get started.

Here are some of the main benefits of using Yoast SEO premium plugin to improve your SEO.

Grab this plugin from here

#1. You can use multiple focus keywords

With Yoast SEO Premium, you can set multiple focus keywords up to 5. Just have a look at the following image to understand better about this feature.

Multiple focus keywords

Focusing multiple keywords can help you a lot in bringing more search traffic from various keywords. But be careful when you’re using multiple keywords otherwise your overall content may look completely search optimized and not so useful for your audience to consume your stuff.

Usually, you should expect to find the same information which is called search intent when you Google both keywords. So, while writing your article headline, include your primary keyword as an exact match while your secondary keyword as a partial match. The trick is to sprinkle individual words from your secondary phrase throughout the content and snippet.

As you will only be using partial matches for your secondary keyword and which Yoast only detects exact keyword matches, many bullets will not be green in that content analysis tab. So, the multiple focus keywords option in Yoast SEO Premium is only helpful for keeping track of secondary keywords but not helpful for actually optimizing content.

Using Google Autocomplete, research both your primary and secondary keyword so you know they are being searched and using Mozbar, make sure to check that they are not too competitive.

Here are some of the tips that will help you to target multiple focus keywords:

  • Just like your primary, research secondary keywords too.
  • Secondary keywords to should have same search intent as the primary keyword.
  • Craft your headline, SEO title, meta description to read well and include keywords.
  • Partial matches for secondary keywords prevents keyword stuffing in the title.
  • Since partial matches are used, ignore the content analysis for secondary keywords.

Why should you use multiple focus keywords?

To choose your focus keyword wisely, you should do some research. If you want your post to rank for more than one particular focus keyword, then sometimes it is hard to choose one keyword. If you would also like to rank for a slightly different keyword, then multiple focus keywords helps a lot.

Here are the 4 examples in which optimizing for multiple keywords is the best strategy.

#1. Synonyms: People use different terms while searching. For example, let’’s say users want to search for travel destinations.  if some people use the term road trip, others use vacation, holiday or trip. So, to reach different groups of people, you should make sure that your post will rank for these different keywords.

#2. More than one topic: Sometimes a post will have more than one topic or has a few subtopics. For example, “yoga for spinal cord” and “yoga for back pain”. These two topics could very well fit into one article. In this case, you would like your article to rank for “yoga for back pain” as well as for “yoga for spinal cord”. And, you may also like to rank for your most important keyword “yoga poses”.

#3. Long tail keyword variants: If you want to get your content to rank in Google, then focus on long tail keywords. Usually, these have far less competition and will be relatively easy to rank for. If you were able to rank for multiple long tail keywords with one post, that would make it even more fruitful.

One of the great strategies is to address multiple long tail variants of your focus keyword. Optimizing your post for different long tail variants will give you the opportunity to be found for more search terms.

#4. Key phrases: Users tend to use key phrases if they seek something rather specific. Sometimes, the word order of the words within these key phrases and the use of stopwords is important. So, it is advisable to optimize your post on different variations of your focus keyword.

Google tries to find the exact match and the order of the word is important. So, search queries with stopwords seem to be handled a bit different by Google.

With Yoast SEO Premium, optimizing your post for multiple focus keywords is really easy. Just click on the tab in the Yoast SEO Premium box to add a new keyword.

A new box will open and you can enter the second focus keyword  that you would like to optimize your post for. Yoast SEO ensures to see whether your post is optimized for all the focus keywords you entered or not by running a check on the content.

#2. Orphaned content

Orphaned content as the name says is the content which is not linked from anywhere on your website and which is not easily accessible to search engines and your website visitors since you’re not using any internal links (No links from actual content in this case).

To put it simply, if any of your blog posts doesn’t have any internal links included can be called as orphaned content since the content is alone i.e orphan without any internal links to your own site.

So “orphaned content” ultimately refers to blog posts that don’t get any links from other blog posts.

The #1 reason to use Yoast Premium version is that, it tells you which of your blog posts belong to “orphaned content” so you can immediately fix those issues in order to rank well in search engines.

Here’s how it looks like from the dashboard;

orphaned content Yoast SEO Premium

When you’re coupled “orphaned content” feature with the Yoast internal linking feature, you can immediately and easily fix all your internal linking and orphaned content issues using Yoast SEO Premium. This feature is available only for Yoast pro users, not free users.

#3.  Redirecting the old URLs to new ones

At some point, whether you are cleaning up pages on your site or moving pages or changing your site structure: you need to delete posts or pages. And it is very risk because when the old URL gets visitors, they will be served a 404 not found error.

So, especially for a frequently visited page, you need to redirect the old URL to a new one with the information you think that is most relevant to these visitors. Or else, you can tell to your visitors that content has been deleted or temporarily show another page. With the Yoast SEO Premium plugin you can do all this directly from within your WordPress dashboard.

Their redirects module can help you fix those. Here are the Redirect types in the redirects module that you can choose from in Yoast SEO Premium.

  • 301 – Moved permanently
  • 302 – Found
  • 307 – Temporary redirect
  • 410 – Content deleted
  • 451 – Content unavailable for legal reasons

Yoast SEO Premium also enables you to create REGEX (Regular Expressions) redirects where you can redirect a group of URLs that contain a certain word or expression with one redirect.

#4.  Incredible internal linking

Did you know that Yoast SEO premium plugin offers incredible internal linking suggestions? Just have a look at the following screenshot and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

Yoast SEO Premium: internal linking suggestions

If you observe the above screenshot you will notice that the Yoast SEO premium plugin offers various link suggestions for the content you’re writing as internal link suggestion. This feature is so helpful because relevant internal linking helps you boost your SEO. This feature is NOT available in free Yoast plugin.

Keeping internal links to related posts is not as easy as it seems. It is one of the important SEO strategies. If you want to get ranked then you have to create high quality, relevant and informative content about keywords that you want to be found for.

How do you show Google which posts are related and which are most important?

That’s when our internal linking tool helps you out. Premium customers of Yoast SEO will find a new box on the right-hand side of your site called Yoast Internal Linking. It shows series of links that are proven to be relevant to the text you are working on. To find posts that use the same words, it uses the most prominent words from the previously introduced Yoast SEO Insights tool.

#5.  Social preview to boost your social media activity

When post contains lots of images, you may end up with picking up the wrong image. If you want to gain the reader’s’ attention for your blog, then your post share should really look good.

With Yoast SEO Premium you can check what your post will look like on Facebook or Twitter without even going to these channels. Just go to the Yoast SEO meta box, upload the image you would like to show and make sure it will look fine.

Premium Yoast SEO plugin features

  • You can change post’s SEO title and meta description for category, tag and author archive pages on a per post basis.
  • You can manage your permalink settings and edit some parameters like removing stop words from slugs, manage some redirects and canonical settings.
  • You can have Google search result snippet previews.
  • It has the ability to verify Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo Site Explorer and Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • Yoast SEO Premium adds a powerful redirect manager where you can quickly fix 404 errors in your Google search console by setting up redirects and marking them as fixed in Search Console.
  • Sitemaps are the quickest and easiest way to get indexed and notify search engines about your content. WordPress SEO by Yoast makes it super easy to add XML sitemaps in WordPress.
  • One of the greatest features of the plugin is that it integrates your site with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ social platforms.
  • With the feature of multiple focus keywords, you can optimize a post for more than one focus keyword.

Pros of Yoast SEO Premium

  • It is regularly updated and moreover community is big that you can easily find suggestions, tips and guides to get the most out of the plugin.
  • As premium version comes with some extra options, it can be solved utilizing other free plugins.
  • It integrates features from some of the most popular plugins like Robots Meta and RSS footer.
  • Yoast SEO allows you to add a backlink to your own site for each post in your RSS feed.
  • It helps in improving your SEO ranking.
  • It offers email support for premium users and WordPress support forum for free users.
  • Yoast provides many premium modules with premium SEO plugin to increase SEO visibility.
  • The Bulk Editor in Yoast SEO allows you to show items with a certain status which you can find useful sometimes.

Cons of Yoast SEO Premium

  • Many security threats. It goes vulnerable many times giving hackers access to your site.
  • No redirect feature if a link is changed.
  • Website speed may get reduced as all features get activated at once.

Yoast SEO Free Plugin Review

#1. Best for optimizing search friendly content

Yoast SEO is one of the best of it’s kind when it comes to content analysis tools. You can find Yoast’s content analyzer in a meta box directly below the WordPress text editor. Make sure that it is enabled.

The Snippet Editor allows you to edit and preview how your content appears in the SERPs. It gives you the opportunity to customize your SEO title and rewrite your meta description which plays a significant role in boosting CTR.

To use Content Analysis tool, just input your focus keyword. In free version of the plugin can only input one keyword.

Once you specify your keyword, Yoast SEO will analyze your content against 12 SEO ‘best practices. For example, keyword density, readability and number of outbound links. It also looks at whether your keyword is used in the SEO title, meta description, and first paragraph of your content.

Using a helpful ‘traffic light’ scoring system, it analyses everything to help you easily identify the areas you can improve. Yoast SEO also displays an overall content score using the same traffic light system where obviously, the aim is green. This functionality guarantees your content won’t sink in the SERPs.

Download the free version of Yoast SEO from here

#2.  The ability to use XML Sitemaps

An XML sitemap makes it easier for Google to discover the pages on your site. If your content is not indexed by search engine, then whatever the SEO strategies you use, it won’t help you.

Yoast SEO offers built-in XML Sitemap functionality. It enables users to generate a sitemap which is automatically updated any time a new post or page is published. You can enable XML Sitemaps by navigating to SEO and then clicking on “XML Sitemap”. Just tick the checkbox here.

Once the Sitemap functionality is activated, Yoast SEO notifies the search engines every time you publish new content. So that your content, your images are also get indexed which means you can show up in Google Image searches.

#3.  Yoast is built-in with social media

With Yoast SEO, you can tell Google the URLs of eight popular social networks by navigating to SEO  and then click on “Social”.You can integrate your website with four popular social media tools namely Facebook Open Graph, Twitter Cards, Pinterest Open Graph, and Google+ Publisher verification.

You can find social media features in the content analysis meta box also. Under “Social” tab, you can tailor the way your content appears on the social channels. You can edit the title, write a meta description and also upload a custom image.

Free Yoast SEO plugin features

  • It provides all-round SEO functionality that you can tailor to your website’s needs.
  • It comes with powerful content analysis tool that helps you optimize every single post or page on your website.
  • It also offers Breadcrumb Navigation, open graph meta tags, built-in robots.txt, .htaccess editor. Breadcrumbs feature permits you to show readers exactly where they are in the structure of your blog.
  • Yoast SEO also offers some paid addon plugins available for niche sites with specific SEO needs. These addon plugins are Video SEO, Local SEO, News SEO.
  • Yoast SEO offers a traffic light system once you have saved a draft of your post. Green means that your SEO is fine. Red means it is poor, and changes must be made, while orange means that you have one or two factors that still need some work.

Pros of Free Yoast SEO Plugin

  • Using the snippet preview, you can see how your post or page will look like in the search results, whether your title is too long or too short and whether your meta description makes sense in the context of a search result.
  • Yoast SEO eliminates a lot of duplicate content by excluding subpages of archives from being indexed.
  • You can add up to eight different social networks so Google knows they belong to your site. Social platforms will understand exactly what your content is about and which is the title, image, URL, description and more so they can display everything correctly when it is shared.
  • Yoast SEO will analyze your content for more than a dozen SEO best practices and tell you how you are doing for each of them with an easy to understand traffic light scoring system.
  • Yoast SEO can import settings from other websites and even other SEO plugins if you are making the switch. Of course, it can export them, too.

Cons of Free Yoast SEO Plugin

  • The basic Yoast SEO plugin comes with no support. You are not guaranteed an official response from Yoast team. For professional support, you will need to buy Yoast SEO premium.
  • Free version doesn’t offer much of SEO benefits (such as usage of multiple keywords, internal link suggestions etc which are quite helpful for you to boost your SEO).

Final thoughts about Yoast SEO premium Vs free plugin review

Yoast SEO plugin is by far the most complete SEO solution that is available for WordPress. You will find wide number of features that help you improve your site’s SEO in a single plugin.

If you’re just a beginner to SEO and looking for the right SEO tool, free SEO version of Yoast is enough for you.

But if you’re someone who’s blogging for a while and looking for ways to boost your overall search engine traffic, then Yoast SEO premium is worth paying for. Considering the fact that it just costs $89 for 1 year, it is worth every single penny.

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So what are your thoughts about Yoast SEO premium vs free plugin? Did you like this review and which is your favorite SEO plugin? Share your views in the comments below.


  1. Varun Kr Chhetri says:

    Yup, I am using the premium Yoast plugins from last few days, Overall good features like you can add more keywords and the best part is auto-suggestion of your post for the internal link.

    But one thing I want to know does premium Yoast plugin also help me to get more traffic comparing to free version of Yoast?

  2. Hi Anil,

    Great write-up of the Yoast Premium plugin. Right now, I am using the free version. I’ve contemplated about upgrading the premium version, but I just didn’t think it was worth it right now.

    Basically, the only thing that I feel would be extremely beneficial would be the ease of internal linking. Right now I have 80 published posts on my blog, it is getting a little challenging to remember to link to some of my earlier posts.

    This looks like the plugin would make it a lot easier. Other than that, I’m sure the other features of the plugin are great. I just don’t think that they would help me out much. I don’t really care too much about trying to rank for multiple keywords.

    I’ll have to take a closer look and see if it’s worth the upgrade.

    Have a great day 🙂


    • Actually the premium version is worth every single penny you pay for. If you’re looking to increase your search traffic and the best way to optimize your content, you should definitely invest that money into Yoast premium. But as you said, if you’re already getting good results with the free plugin, then yes, you can go ahead with that.

  3. akshat says:

    Thanx for the explaining all the features. I am not able to get good reading score. Will the premium feature of yost seo help me anlyse my content and suggest how to improve readability?

    • Yoast premium allows you to optimize for synonyms and related keywords (that means you can target multiple keywords) and yes, it provides you how readable your content is. You should always make sure that your optimization score comes with green color which means your content is properly optimized. To put it simply, Yoast SEO offers a traffic light system once you have saved a draft of your post and it offers you 3 colors where green means that your SEO is fine. Red means it is poor, and changes must be made, while orange means that you have one or two factors that still need some work to rank well in search engines.

  4. Hello Anil
    I am planning to purchase the Premium Yoast plugin but have a doubt in my mind. If i purchase and install the premium plugin after uninstalling the free version. Does it indirectly effect the ranking of my older posts ?

    • Hi Yogesh, firstly, glad that you’ve decided to go with Yoast premium, now coming to your question, by upgrading to premium from pro, you don’t really have to uninstall the plugin and your settings that you made at your content level will stay the same. You’re just upgrading to get more features, so it won’t affect your old posts search rankings at all. You can go ahead with that without thinking twice, hope you got my points.

  5. I noticed that the Yoast premium plugin is $89 and includes just 1 free year of support. Can I use it after that and it will simply not get updates or how does that work?

  6. Elke says:

    Sounds interesting Anil. My WordPress site is pretty new and I recently noticed that I have to do some work on snippets, keywords etc. I wish the web designer would have pointed that out to me. I guess for $89 I don’t have much to loose to try the Premium Version and it hopefully will boost traffic to my site. I feel I have a lot to learn in regards to SEO and wonder whether I’ll benefit from the support of the Premium version too. Can I assume that the installing means just clicking a button or is it more involved?

  7. Daniel Carr says:

    You might want to update this post to reflect Yoast’s new pricing structure for premium versions. They have made massive changes and whilst I have been a customer for years, there’s no way I’m going to continue to use it.

    • I’ll definitely take a look at it and as far as I know, they are now charing around $90 per year ($20 increase since I last updated this post) which is still not a huge increase and definitely worth paying for. And if you’re already an existing customer, I think you can simply ask for a deal or discount using their support system.

  8. ChrisD.ca says:

    Thanks for the detailed and informative review of the premium vs. free version of Yoast SEO. One of the best benefits we’ve found on our website is the option to select multiple keywords. After experimenting with our search ranking the last few days, we have noticed our posts are being indexed much quicker than before when using more than one keyword.

    • Yes, in fact, the option to select multiple keywords is the primary reason why we’ve opted to premium version of Yoast. Apart from that, one more reason to love Yoast pro is that you can check what your post will look like on Facebook or Twitter, without even going to these social media channels. So if you’re looking to increase your social signals by adding a unique meta, you should definitely go with the Yoast premium.

  9. Thank you! I’m on a mission today to pinpoint the pros and cons of Yoast Premium. The internal linking feature pulls me, but the increased vulnerabilities warning gives me pause. I’ll research that latter issue more closely. Appreciate your article.

    • What increased vulnerabilities you’re talking about? I didn’t really get your point? Yoast is one of the very few WordPress plugins that get updated almost every week and they take all the security things really seriously. In fact, if you’re moving to the pro version, you’ll get even frequent updates along with all the incredible features mentioned above.

  10. Will try to move to the premium version. But I have two question…Is it really really worth buying? How really does it impact on SEO.

    • You can happily move to the pro version as it offers excellent features as mentioned in the post. Coming to your question: yes, it’s worth buying and it just costs you around $70 per year with all the updates and premium support, so if you are really concerned about increasing your search engine traffic, you should go for it.

  11. Anand says:

    Thank you for giving nice info about Yoast Seo plugin. How can I add meta keywords for the related website by using free Yoast SEO plugin. In this plugin, I didn’t find advanced features

    • Hi Anand, In free plugin, it allows you to add only one keyword per post but with premium version you can target multiple keywords and that’s the beauty of Yoast premium. Not only that, it also offers internal linking suggestions feature which ensures that your blog is organized in a cohesive manner which is great for SEO purposes and also ensures that link equity passes to other posts which are relevant to the topic you’re writing about.

  12. Simon says:

    Thank you for these information about the strong features of Yoast plugin. It really does help with on-page SEO optimization with all the meta titles and descriptions, it is the one of the big reasons for why I changed from wordpress.com platform to wordpress.org. The wordpress.com platform does not support plugins unless you pay for a business plan, which is the highest price of all the three plans. While with the wordpress.org option, you get to use the plugins at less than half the price.

  13. Lately i got into an argument with a friend about Yoast SEO Premium and Yoast Free Version.

    After much attempt I was able to convince him using some of the tips you shared here on bloggerspassion.com

    Thanks a lot and again Yoast SEO Premium is worth Upgrading. I recommend it to all my client.

  14. Will try to move to the premium version. But I have two question…Is it really really worth buying? How really does it impact on SEO

    • I can’t guarantee you the results if you’re going for premium version but you get better and additional features like internal linking, and all the other features mentioned in the post to get better rankings.

  15. I have been using seo premium for quite sometime now…

    Do note that it increases resources usage of your server…

    Have you faced such issue?


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