WordPress SEO Plugin Comparison: Yoast vs SEO Framework

People think Yoast is the best SEO plugin out there. But the reality is, it’s not.

The best really depends on what you’re using the plugin for. If it adds a dozen features you don’t use, is it awesome or useless?

Yoast has dominated the WordPress SEO plugin market for a long time. But it’s only one of several quality SEO plugins for your site.

One of the more talked about SEO plugin alternatives to Yoast is SEO Framework. The plugin was created by a WPMU Dev member while working on a WordPress website using a theme with limited SEO capabilities.

It’s since grown in popularity and it’s commonly cited alongside Yoast as one of the best SEO plugins on WordPress.

If you don’t know which SEO plugin you should use on your site, then you’re in the right place. Here’s our head-to-head comparison of the two plugins.

Yoast and SEO Framework Are Designed for Two Different Audiences

Yoast is a great starting point for people who do not know a lot about SEO; it’s backed by a large support network and – due to its popularity – has a ton of online training resources.

SEO Framework, on the other hand, is more targeted at people with at least some SEO knowledge. And, since it’s not backed by an entire development team like Yoast is, there are not as many training resources for new users.

That being said, both have advantages and disadvantages, which you can see in the chart below:

CriteriaYoastSEO Framework
Pricing OptionsFree with a Premium version for $89 and additional extensionsFree with the option to purchase extensions
Ratings4.9 out of 5 stars (based on 20,173 reviews)4.9 out of 5 stars (based on 156 reviews)
Installs5 million +50,000 +
SupportYoast Premium comes with 24/7 email support, all other users can use the support forums on WordPress.Questions about the plugin are answered through the support forums on WordPress. Questions related to legal, billing, privacy or business are answered through a support form on the SE Framework website.
ExtensionsVideo SEO, Local SEO, News SEO, Local SEO for WooCommerce, Yoast Woocomerce SEOLocal SEO, Focus, AMP, Articles, Monitor, Incognito, Honeypot, Origin, Title Fix
Social SharingYesYes
Once Thing People LikeLots of online training resourcesIntuitive interface
One Thing People Don’t LikeOverbearing content suggestionsDifficult for users with no SEO knowledge

Both Plugins Provide Similar Data, But Yoast Also Provides Recommendations

The SEO Framework plugin includes six metrics in its rating interface, whereas the Yoast plugin contains only two metrics: readability and SEO.
The SEO Framework interface for titles and meta descriptions is very simple, but it has everything you need to optimize your pages.

Both interfaces have a system for rating how well a page has been optimized, and provide basic tools, such as title length and meta description length, to guide you through the optimization process.

Although both have previously provided tools for calculating the density of specific keywords you’re wanting to rank for, Yoast recently announced an update, which significantly expanded the functionality of its focus keyword feature.

Instead of solely measuring the frequency of a specific keyword, as it did previously, the plugin now recognizes what are called “keyphrases,” which do not need to be an exact match to your focus keyword. With the update, the plugin is able to pick up variations of focus keywords, and include those variations in its assessment of pages’ optimization.

For example, if you use the keyphrase, “business strategies,” it would also pick up, “strategies for business owners.” You just have to make sure you include every word in the keyword phrase you’re going after in a sentence. Yoast analyzes the body text, subheadings, meta description, image alt text and the slug for keyphrases.

It also no longer includes function words, such as “the” and “who,” in its keyword analysis. The logic here, is that search engines don’t look at those words when they crawl web pages, so why should an SEO plugin take them into consideration?

Yoast has also updated its website with more content that explains its assessment metrics and provides tips for improving scores.

On top of the features that are included with the standard version, Yoast Premium now supports alternative word forms, including singular, plural, comparative and past and present tense forms of words. For example, it will not only recognize the word “make;” it also will recognize the words “makes,” “made” and “making.”

Another new feature that’s exclusive to Yoast Premium is an improved synonym checker. Previously, you had to manually add your own synonyms. But now, Yoast will help you identify potential synonyms and switch out instances of keyphrases with them.

Yoast will also suggest related keyphrases, in case you want to create more content around your main keyphrase topic for context.

A recent Yoast update replaced the existing “focus keyword” box with a “focus keyphrase” box, which picks up all keyword instances and variations of the keywords you’re targeting. With Yoast Premium, you can even add synonyms and related keyphrases.

In addition to SEO-related suggestions, it also Yoast also provides feedback for improving content, such as decreasing the length of paragraphs and sentences and adding more transition words. Those suggestions fall under Yoast’s “readability” rating metric.

The Yoast “readability” suggestions are broken down into three categories: “problems,” “improvements” and “good results.”

While some of these suggestions are helpful, some can be distracting – especially to users who are more writing focused. Yoast often makes it look like your writing is hurting your SEO when it’s actually not.

The SEO Framework plugin allows you to target specific keywords as well, but only with by installing its Focus extension, which lets you select three keywords that are analyzed as a “subject” in order to account for synonyms and inflections of the keyword. For each subject, the Focus extension measures metrics that are similar to Yoast, although they’re not quite as in depth.

You Can Easily Test Out Both Plugins

If you’re on the fence about which plugin to use, you can easily try out both. Download and install the Yoast plugin and the SEO Framework plugin, and activate them one at a time to see how they work.

And if you’re more experienced with SEO, make sure you also play around with the settings on each one, as there are several advanced, technical features that can be customized.

About Eric Dinkins

Eric Dinkins is a freelance writer and manages content creation and support here at GainTap.

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