It’s a showdown between heavyweights. Yoast in one corner, All in One in the other. They’re both powerhouses in the WordPress SEO scene. They’re both huge, robust plugins with dozens of valuable SEO features. They’re both capable of doing just about everything you could want with your blog SEO. How do they compare? What do they do differently? Will one beat out the other and take the title of WordPress SEO Heavyweight Champion of the World?
The Vital Statistics
WordPress SEO by Yoast:
• Link: http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/
• Number of Downloads: 10,800,000+
• Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5
• Number of 5-Star Ratings: 2,939
• Number of 1-Star Ratings: 195
• Cost: FREE
• Cost for Premium Support: $89 annually for a single site, higher for more sites.
All in One SEO Pack:
• Link: http://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/
• Number of Downloads: 18,600.000+
• Average Rating: 3.9 out of 5
• Number of 5-Star Ratings: 885
• Number of 1-Star Ratings: 329
• Cost: FREE
• Cost for Premium Support: $79 annually for any number of sites
All in One has the advantage in sheer number of downloads, but Yoast has a more dedicated audience following with over three times as many five star reviews and 30 percent fewer one star reviews. All in One also has a bit of an advantage in premium support costs; a single fixed rate for any number of sites, while Yoast has scaling packages depending on the number of installations.
Round One: Duplicate Titles
One of the worst flaws with WordPress is how easy it is, particularly with a default installation, to end up with dozens or hundreds of pages with duplicate title tags. The URLs vary, sure, but duplicate titles can and will show up in search. It’s never important to have page two of a post show up in the search results, particularly over page one. The solution, manually, would be to noindex pages 2+ in your archive.
Another common modern SEO tool is the canonical tag, which is useful for a similar purpose; assigning the SEO benefit of pages 2+ and duplicated content to the primary page one URL.
Winner: Yoast. WordPress SEO has detailed controls to allow you to noindex specific pages or every page 2+ in the archives of your blog. All in One simply has no duplicate title filtering or features whatsoever. Yoast also handles canonical tagging without issue, while All in One doesn’t touch the feature.
Round Two: Google Authorship
Google Authorship is a way of taking advantage of an author’s reputation on a blog. By giving them a byline and adding an authorship tag, content appears in search results with an author headshot and a link to their Google+ profile. Managing individual authors requires adding author meta tags to each post.
Winner: Yoast by TKO. Both Yoast and All in One offer the ability to set a particular author’s Google+ profile as the author for content site-wide. All in One, however, just assigns that authorship tag across all content on the site, including content that shouldn’t have an author assigned. Neither plugin makes it easy to support a multiple-author blog.
Round Three: Meta Titles and Descriptions
The data that appears in search results, when you don’t do anything to change it, is the pure page title and the first couple sentences of the post. To customize what appears, you need to implement meta tags. The meta title allows your search results title to differ from the display title on the page itself. The meta description allows you to set a custom introduction to your content – a rich text snippet – rather than rely on formatting the first couple of sentences properly. Doing this for every page can be tedious manually, particularly through WordPress. Automating the process requires a robust selection of variables to generate snippets that don’t trigger duplicate content penalties.
Winner: Round goes to time. Both Yoast and All in One offer a range of variable for use in automating the title and description meta fields. You can set up templates for both, within certain limitations. Yoast does appear to have more options with fewer limitations, but they are of questionable utility. If you only use a couple of the common variables, neither plugin will pull ahead of the other.
All in One is given a slight edge in the eyes of the judges on this round, though the edge is minor at best. Two convenience features put it in the lead over Yoast, which does not offer them at all. All in One allows you to see and edit the titles of every page through a single window. Yoast requires that you visit each page you wish to edit individually. Additionally, All in One has an auto-capitalization feature for titles, which Yoast does not. Minor features, for sure, but potentially useful.
Round Four: Social Media Integration
Making use of social media is virtually required for blog success in these modern times. Two of the biggest sites to integrate are Facebook and Twitter. With Facebook, a WordPress plugin should integrate additional Facebook Graph features to customize how a shared post will appear in the timeline. For Twitter, sharing Twitter cards in other locations is a valuable feature when it’s needed.
Winner: Mutual Knockout. Yoast offers some Facebook Graph integration, but this is where All in One truly shines. Comparing the two side by side is like night and day. If you need any of the advanced features, you’re going to want to go with All in One. On the other hand, most of the features it offers are nice for extra functionality but they aren’t really necessary. Twitter cards, again a luxury, only appear in Yoast and not All in One. Neither plugin pulls ahead.
Bonus Round: Site Auditing
One thing that can be very valuable to blog owners, particularly those just getting into the details of SEO beyond basic keyword focus and link strategies, is the general site audit. Being able to generate a report and see what you’re doing right and, more importantly, what you’re doing wrong is a valuable resource.
Winner: Yoast by a hair. Yoast offers this auditing functionality, but only if you input a focus keyword. Without a keyword, the plugin is lost and has nothing to suggest. This means that many of its suggestions rely on keyword presence and emphasis, which has been declining in importance over the last couple of years. All in One has no such site auditing, but then, it doesn’t really need to. The true winner of this round is the third party auditing tool, which is guaranteed to be more robust than either plugin and will offer much more valuable, actionable advice.
WordPress Heavyweight Chamption: WordPress SEO by Yoast
On one hand, when you’re installing a plugin, you’re not always looking for something that can do a little of everything. You don’t need a security plugin that also checks your emails, does your taxes and irons your ties. On the other hand, SEO is such a large and varied field that being able to touch on every aspect of it is a big deal. This is where Yoast comes ahead. It’s a newer plugin and is better supported than All in One, and it touches on more aspects of SEO than its competitors. It won’t be your only tool – nor should it be – but it’s a valuable basis from which to build other plugins. All in One is just too limited to be the best choice.