The free Yoast SEO plugin should be put out of commission, because it creates significant SEO problems at scale, that cannot be fixed unless you pay for the paid version or remove the plugin from your website.
Please note that Yoast is removed from Vembar.com and that examples used in this post are illustrative.
Below are 3 key challenges with the Joost’s unpaid SEO plugin, also known as the Yoast SEO Plugin:
- Dynamic URL redirection
- Automatic no-index tags
- Sitemap XML file
If you have Yoast’s free SEO plugin enabled and type in a fragmented URL: https://www.yourwebsite.com/ser, the plugin automatically redirects the URL to https://www.yourwebsite.com/services/.
From a user perspective, that seems great, except there are eight 301 redirects that are being created for the your website’s example “services” page, at the following points:
https://www.yourwebsite.com/services - without trailing slash
If you have a website with long page topic URLs, like https://www.yourwebsite.com/post-category/eight-word-post-article/; the Yoast “free” SEO plugin creates more than 10 redirects per page URL. On a website, that has thousands of pages, now you have hundreds of thousands of mindless SEO redirects, that have a harmful SEO impact:
- Slows the overall website speed by adding recursive and dynamic redirects
- Impact: Slower website = down ranked webpages over faster websites
- Increases the needed crawl bandwidth for Search Engine Crawlers
- Impact: Less webpages crawled, generally mean less pages ranked, and less SEO traffic, due to less keywords’ visibility
- Creates duplicate content at scale with blanket wild card matching redirects
- Impact: Potential spam signal(s) created because pages are created programmatically through the pattern matching redirect and 301 redirected to the correct URL, when such a redirect is unnecessary!
The free Yoast SEO plugin also automatically creates “no-index, follow” tags for archives, categories, authors and tag pages. No-index tags have been abused by people, that are new to SEO:
- No-index means that Search Engines will not use in their search indices, but the “follow” directive tells Search Engines to continue crawling that URL
- Some Search Engines like Google do not follow “no-index” directives, if other pages or websites link to that URL
- Link equity still flows to these “no-indexed” pages
- No-indexed pages are considered duplicate content
It is better to remove a no-indexed page or 301 redirect in its entirety vs placing a “no-index” tag because of the massive duplicate content problems that can arise.
The free Yoast SEO plugin also automatically creates an XML file. The XML file created has a separate sitemap for category, authors, pages, posts, and pages. On a small website, that means there are 5 sitemap files, each with its own sitemap file. On a large website with up to 50,000 URLs, there might be hundreds of sitemap files.
That is an incredibly inefficient way to manage a Search Engines’ crawl resources. Each sitemap file is allowed to contain up to 50,000 URLs. Instead of creating hundreds of sitemaps, the plugin should create ONE sitemap, and drop all 50,000 URLs into that sitemap, so that Google can crawl at once, vs making multiple potential trips.
Thank you for reading this post! If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the post’s comments.