Why I’m Breaking Up With Yoast SEO

A few weeks ago I read an article about why Roots moved from Yoast SEO to The SEO Framework and I was inspired.

I’m not happy with the direction Yoast is taking

Over the last few months, I’ve grown tired of Yoast SEO—not for bug reasons, but because they’ve gotten more and more invasive.

Yoast notification in the admin bar
  • Admin notices after EVERY update that need to be dismissed. (Like dude, I updated the plugin myself, I read the changelog, I don’t need ANOTHER reminder of what’s changed.)
  • Then putting notifications into the admin bar (I coded a plugin to remove this because I hated it so much.)
  • And does anyone else hate their “dashboard”? I don’t think the notices there are intuitive at all. I click the “x” to dismiss them and it gets replaced with this (below), which isn’t even clear to me that it has been dismissed. The eye icon looks like it could be an icon for “click to hide”, so I’ve accidentally clicked it more than once, which actually “unreads” the notification. FML.
Yoast improvements in the dashboard

I don’t feel like their target audience

Yoast readability rating

But also, they seem to keep adding more and more features, like the whole “readability” thing. That in itself isn’t a bad thing. In fact, for many people it’s probably great. But not for me. I don’t want a plugin judging the readability of my blog posts; I’m just not interested.

All these extras aren’t what I want, and as time goes on, I just feel like I’m no longer the target market for Yoast SEO.

  • I want simplicity.
  • I want something that handles the technical SEO settings, and lets me worry about content.
  • I want something that exists in the background. I don’t want notifications, admin notices, and tips. I want a plugin that minds its own business.

The SEO Framework fulfils these needs for me

I started installing The SEO Framework on my new sites instead, and was very happy with it. I also recently migrated Nose Graze over to it as well, using the SEO Data Transporter plugin. I’ll be closely monitoring my search engine traffic over the next few weeks, but so far so good!

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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36 comments

  1. Wow, Ashley, thank you very much! There had to be a reason why I haven’t learned to use Yoast, it was waiting for your post. And I now also know what is FML :) thank you!

  2. This was an intersting post to read! But it brought up one question, what does this mean for your hosting service? Will that eventually be switched over to SEO Framework?

    1. Not necessarily. 🙂 I’m not going to force people to follow in my footsteps here. But if you or someone else wants to use The SEO Framework instead then I’m happy to install it for you!

  3. Thank you. I have been annoyed by the recent Yoast updates and had begun dismissing some of their recommendations particularly readability. I just didn’t think there was another suitable alternative. In reading the migration we download SEO Framework, then download SEO Date Transporter. Make the transfer and then delete Yoast? Now if I could eliminate Jetpack I would truly be happy. Although I only utilize a few of their options.

    1. Yep you got that process right. 🙂 And with the transporter you want to migrate from WP SEO to Genesis. Not very intuitive, but whatevs, lol.

      1. Well I did it, but ran into a problem. It changed my site name to caffeinatedbookreviewer.com instead of Caffeinated Book Reviewer and removed name from actual post title for example Books in a Series-Torn, Finding Amy, Cries in the Wind | despite it showing correctly in customizer and in their settings. Is there a trick to fixing it?

  4. I actually never liked Yoast because it was TOO much of what I didn’t need. Thanks so much for writing this, I’ll have to check out this alternative. I’m all for simple and light!! And YES, I hated Yoast’s dashboard and all the avatars/icons – I couldn’t look at his face anymore 🙁

  5. I tried Yoast for a while and then turned it off – for many reasons, but some are the same as yours (I also hated that “readability” thing). An alternative that works with Book Host would be great, as would a tutorial for us novices. Pretty please?

  6. Hi Ashley, thanks for this, I’ve been wanting to move away from Yoast for a while now. I installed & activated both The SEO Framework and SEO Data Transporter plugins, but when I go to use the SEO Data Transporter plugin I don’t find Yoast SEO nor The SEO Framework in the list of drop-down options. Am I reading something wrong?

  7. Interesting! I’ve been growing increasingly annoyed with Yoast as well but honestly didn’t know of any solid alternatives so thank you for this! I’ll have to download it on one of my smaller sites and check it out!

  8. According to me, this is a great decision. I transfer all my website to The SEO framework and some of my post gain higher rank in SERP and when I stuck with some error (which is surely my fault) but developer is really responsive and solve it in less than 2 hours.

    1. Ah yes, I remember that update. I delayed updating at the time until the bugs were mostly ironed out. But I remember a lot of people had issues!

  9. I’m not a huge fan of Yoast SEO as well (growing codebase which makes it more difficult to manage both for them and for the rest of the community) but that SEO Framework looks like a winner to me, I might actually give it a try very soon.

  10. My favorite part of Yoast SEO are the traffic light dots. It’s strangely gratifying when I’ve got green dots – it’s like the final check to publish my post. But I do find the Readibility tab frustrating. Sometimes it’s good that it helps me root out my use of passive voice, but I’m already much better simply for having used the plugin for 8 or 9 months. Other times, though, I *want* to start 3 sentences in a row with the same word for effect and then it bugs me to have an orange dot. I think I’ll give The SEO Framework a whirl to see a comparison 🙂

    1. Yes you should. You don’t want both running at once. 🙂 (It’s okay to have both activated for a few minutes while you get organized—but not long term.)

  11. I feel the same way about Yoast, and I use it on multiple sites. It seems like it’s become a bit annoying, especially the “readability” functionality they added, which I don’t use at all. Thank you for suggesting the SEO framework, I will give it a try on one of our smaller sites to sandbox it a bit and see if it meets and exceeds Yoast. Hopefully it will and we can move on to something better…and less invasive. Thank you.

  12. Thanks for your post.
    I am new to the Internet environment, start with a blog at this time small 80 articles, I have installed Yoast and I have started to have problems loading objects to my post, if I post these Yoast does not know what I have written and if I remove them Yoast works well. I have been reading about The SEO Framework, I have read your opinion and I am interested in changing this product. I understand that you used SEO data Transporter. Can you guide me as you did ?.
    Thanks for your help and for your post.

  13. I’m glad I’m not the only one that clicks the little notification ‘x’ then the eye then gets confused and all “wtf have I hidden it, not hidden it why is it still appearing OMG?!!”

    I install Yoast SEO by default on all new sites because it does the technical side of things well, and it gets clients thinking about their ranking which is always a good first step, but I swear to god if I have to have the “my traffic light is green but I’m not on the front page for this unrelated term that is nothing to do with what this content is about” conversation one more time I’m going to stab someone. The most frustrating part is that it’s often the same client with the same complaints. There’s only so many times I can say “use it as a guide, not a panacea!”

    I’m going to check out the SEO framework – if not for clients than for myself.

    1. Yeah I often see people obsessing waaaay too much about the green light. They make their posts quite unnatural in order to hit it. Yoast isn’t as good at picking up term variations anyway, that Google would put together in an instant.

  14. I’ve only ever used Yoast and have been pleased enough. I requested it be installed on a site at work, and a dev suggested I look into SEO Framework. So I’m doing a little research, and your post gives great context. Thanks.

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