Published On 21/12/2020
Updated On 17/03/2021

Yoast SEO is arguably the best SEO plugin for WordPress, and for good reason. It covers almost all bases to make your website SEO friendly. Yoast SEO has two versions; free and premium. You can buy Yoast SEO premium for £89, but should you get it, and are there any alternatives?

This post looks at the features of Yoast SEO premium, if it’s worth the money and how you can get the features of Yoast SEO Premium for free by using alternatives.

What does Yoast SEO premium do?

Yoast SEO Premium provides everything you get in the free version, plus a number of additional features which can improve your SEO. The list below outlines all the features you can expect from Yoast SEO Premium. Click the feature you’re interested in to be taken to the relevant section of the article.

  1. Free access to all courses in Yoast SEO academy
  2. Keyword research
  3. Redirect manager
  4. Internal linking suggestions
  5. Outdated post notifications
  6. Social media previews
  7. Content analysis
  8. Reading time

These features are summarised in the following section, along with alternative plugins, methods and tools that provide the same functionality for free. 

1) Full access to Yoast SEO Academy

The Yoast SEO Academy provides a range of SEO training courses and resources for aspiring SEO specialists. The free version of Yoast SEO gives you access to a few of these but with the premium version you get access to all of them. Premium access will give you access to a number of SEO resources for beginner, intermediate and advanced SEO professionals.

Free SEO training resources

There are plenty of free SEO training resources and courses online. The Moz beginners guide to SEO is a great place to start if you want to learn SEO. Google also offers a free SEO course to get your teeth stuck into. Here are some great places to find more free SEO training resources and courses:

2) Keyword research

Yoast SEO recently integrated keyword research functionality into the plugin, allowing free users up to 10 related keyword searches per day. In the premium version, there are no limits, but you’d be wrong to assume that this replaces a SEMrush subscription for doing keyword research. It does, however, give you a slice of insight that you wouldn’t get with Yoast SEO free. 

Free keyword research tools

There are a shed load of free keyword research tools out there, each with their own merits. Here are 3 free keyword research tools that can help you find related keywords:

3) Redirect manager

When you change page URLs it’s best practice to set up a redirect from the old URL to the new URL. This helps to ensure any backlinks pointing at this page are still going to the right place. The redirect manager helps you to easily set up redirects on your site, without the need for a developer. This feature isn’t particularly groundbreaking, yet 58% of Yoast SEO users claim it’s the best feature in Yoast SEO Premium.

Free redirect management alternatives

There are a number of ways you can redirect URLs for free, just like in Yoast SEO Premium. Here are a number of fantastic free plugins that will help you add redirects to your website:

If you don’t want to use a plugin and you’re feeling brave, you can always add redirects using your .htaccess file.

4) Internal linking suggestions

Internal links help Google, and users, to navigate your website and find semantically related content. Yoast SEO Premium gives you internal linking suggestions, giving you a list of related articles on your site that you can link to. This makes internal linking very easy, but you don’t need a paid plugin to find internal link opportunities. There are plenty of free plugins, tools and methods that you can use to do this. 

How to find internal linking opportunities

Internal linking opportunities are relatively easy to find when you know how. Here are three methods you can use to find internal linking opportunities:

  • Use a pluginInternal Link Juicer is a free plugin that allows you to build internal links with ease. Simply set the keywords you want to turn into links and the plugin does the rest.
  • Use a toolScreaming Frog SEO Spider is a freemium website crawling tool. When configured correctly, it can help you to find internal linking opportunities. However, if you have more than 500 URLs on your site then you need to pay a subscription fee, so it might be better to use an alternative method.  
  • Use Google Search – Google Search operators are your friend here. There are 50+ Google Search operators you can use. Here’s the operator to find internal link opportunities on Google Search: 
Site:yourdomainname.tld -site:posturl intext:"keyword"

Simply add your domain name, the URL of the post you want to link to and the keyword to search for on your site. An example of this is provided below.

Site:witneyseoguy.co.uk -site:https://witneyseoguy.co.uk/seo-services/ intext:"seo services"

5) Outdated post notifications

Keeping your content fresh is important for a number of reasons, but most importantly it keeps your site relevant to Google. It can be difficult to keep a track of all the blog posts you publish and know when to update them. Yoast SEO Premium can send you notifications when your posts haven’t been updated for 6 months. 

Outdated post notification alternatives

There are plenty of ways to send notifications when your posts need updating. You could just add a reminder in your calendar app, but that would be time consuming to manage. Instead, why not install a plugin that will do the heavy lifting for you? You can use Juiz Outdated Post Message plugin to send you notifications when your posts get to a certain age, then update them accordingly.

6) Social media previews

Yoast SEO free provides a preview of how your posts will look on Google. Yoast SEO premium also adds Facebook and Twitter previews, which is great for avid social media publishers. 

Free social media preview plugin

WP Social Preview provides the exact same functionality as Yoast SEO Premium, but also includes additional social media platforms, such as Pinterest. You can even change your open graph meta tags within the plugin, giving you the flexibility to fully customise metadata for social media. 

7) Content analysis

Content analysis in Yoast SEO assesses your on page content using a traffic light system based on a number of factors relating to usability and SEO.

The content analysis feature in Yoast SEO Free allows you to add a single target keyword per page. Yoast SEO Premium is slightly more advanced and recognises word forms, which are singular and plural forms of words, such as “service” and “services”. It also recognises these in multiple different languages, which is useful if your website serves an international user base. 

Similarly, you can add synonyms and related keyphrases to the content analysis, as well as check keyword density on your pages. All of this added functionality basically feeds Yoast SEO with more information for its traffic light system.  Don’t get too hung up on this though. Google is intelligent enough to know about different word forms and understands language semantics, so your content will rank just as well, even if Yoast doesn’t give you the green light!

Free content analysis tool

There are a number of paid alternatives, but the functionality of Yoast SEO free is hard to beat in this department. The benefits of Yoast SEO premium don’t warrant the upgrade. If you can get past the free version not having a green traffic light (due to word forms, synonyms and related keyphrases not being recognised) then it’s definitely the best option. 

8) Reading time

People don’t have the time to read content these days. We’re all too busy and when we want information, we want it now, hence Google’s recent move towards passage ranking. By adding an estimated reading time to your content you make it clear from the outset how long your users can expect to be reading. Yoast SEO Premium lets you add estimated reading time to your posts, but there are a lot of other plugins that offer the same functionality.

Free reading time plugin

There are a number of great plugins to add the estimated reading time to your post. In fact, the reading time at the top of this post is implemented using one of these plugins. The plugin I used to do this is called Reading Time WP. It’s really easy to use and you can specify where it appears using a simple shortcode.

Is Yoast SEO Premium worth the money?

Yoast SEO premium alone isn’t really worth the £89 price tag. However, when used combination with the features of Yoast SEO free, it becomes a powerful SEO plugin that’s worth paying for. The plugin offers a number of SEO tools, but there are a lot of free alternatives that offer similar features. Yoast SEO premium may not be worthy of its price tag, but rewarding the Yoast team for their hard work is definitely worth paying for.