History of an SEO plugin

With wpSEO (official site) I am connected by a long story and a part of it I have to break down here, because the test is actually much too late. Everything started with a forum, with which I expanded towards WordPress. By the change I not only got to know WordPress, but also learned to appreciate its peculiarities and to fear the quirks. Among other things, WordPress was everything but search engine compatible at that time, so the big success at Google was hard to imagine.

From Yoast and Co was also still no speech and so I discovered the extremely minimalistic SEO plugin from Sergei Müller. As a developer he was a real celebrity within the WordPress scene for a long time, because his work was very puristic and therefore also incredibly efficient and minimal. To cut a long story short: wpSEO brought me a big success and my blog doubled its number of visitors and got a lot of rankings.

Back to the former size

With time and the great success of SEO-optimized frameworks like Thesisbut also the SEO plugins like wpSEO, more fighters entered the battlefield. Yoast, for example, took the field and won because it was bloated with features and lacked any efficiency. It's always sad, but many users just look at as many features as possible and completely forget that clean and fast code is a real art that not everyone can master.

Like a piano piece by Rachmaninoffwhich, when played perfectly, can unfold an incredible flow of emotions, but will never have its full effect on a hobby pianist. The problem over the years, however, was that Sergej Müller withdrew from active development and wpSEO became more and more dilapidated, no longer implemented important standards and thus basically became irrelevant. A pity. Until exactly that became official, Sergej sold his plugins and wpSEO went to Eisy UG. They promised to quickly add the new standards and to actively work on new features. In the meantime, exactly that has happened and wpSEO is back to its old size. After a long abstinence, I am now back again and have reinstalled the plugin on some of my blogs.

With wpSEO everyone can assemble the important SEO Meta Tags and output them automatically.

Efficiency is the magic word here

Before I talk about features and functions, I want to point out what I think makes wpSEO different from all the other SEO plugins and what makes it so interesting. Right from the start, wpSEO was incredibly efficient and eats, in direct comparison to the other big SEO plugins for WordPress, much less memory, consumes less resources and is programmed with better performance.

This is often less important for the newbie compared to the features, but in reality it is of enormous importance, because WordPress with some plugins eats a lot of performance very fast and can cause problems. wpSEO is a wonderful example and this makes this extension, at least if you ask me, stand out of the crowd. Efficiency is the magic word, not feature race and function madness. wpSEO remains minimalistic and that is exactly the biggest strength of the WordPress SEO plugin.

Core areas of search engine optimization

The core of wpSEO is to generate perfect meta tags and conditions for search engines. The SEO plugin is divided into four important areas. The page title, the description, the indexing and social media. Within the menus, the standards are defined, i.e. what the page title, description etc. should consist of.

If desired, all this can also be done for each page individually, because wpSEO integrates an input field for this kind of input below the posts (see screenshot below). This way, you can optimize single articles or pages, while the rather unimportant ones are ignored and then automatically tagged with meta tags by wpSEO. Of course there are some additional options, so that for example only complete sentences or a maximum of 140 characters are included in the description for search engines. If desired, Google Suggest, i.e. the auto-completion of Google, can be activated in the fields to include the most frequently searched search terms even more precisely.

Social media integrates all the necessary tags for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to ensure that the correct titles and content are always displayed there. For security reasons, a standard image can also be stored there, which is used if no image is found or the start page is linked in the social networks.

wpSEO Screenshot 2
Under each post, wpSEO users may enter the values by hand if they wish, in order to guarantee a perfect optimization.

Performance is everything with an SEO plugin

There is not much more to say at first, because wpSEO takes care of the search engine optimization and nothing more. This has enormous advantages in terms of performance, because wpSEO always has the aforementioned efficiency in mind. There is even an option to switch off the automatic integration of meta tags. Then you have to add a small hook in the header.php of your theme and this is where the meta tags will be added from now on. The advantage: The automatic integration eats performance, the direct integration by hand does not.

As I said before: wpSEO knows its advantages very well and is probably the fastest WordPress SEO plugin when it comes to actual performance. And that is meanwhile a ranking factor that should not be neglected. Since the other SEO plugins for WordPress sometimes have enormous disadvantages in terms of performance, this is not an unimportant point. Also in my Performance test of the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress wpSEO was able to win, which is not surprising.

Sitemaps and other extras are missing

Now wpSEO is very performant, but it also does without some functions that are already standard at Yoast and Co. For example, wpSEO does not create sitemaps and does not provide many extras. The WordPress SEO plugin is really limited to the actual meta tags for Google and social media without presenting any outstanding features. However, the disadvantage is also the big advantage, because if you ask me, something like this should not be part of an SEO plugin, but should be outsourced.

After the takeover of Eisy UG, the team plans to gradually add the frequently requested features as modules. Thus, the performant user can do without them and features can be integrated on a module basis, as desired. Currently none of these are available, but the concept is successful because as a minimalist I don't have to be forced to use features, but can simply do without them. And if you absolutely need this and that, you just install the module or addon. Although nothing is available here yet, I'm not really worried about the implementation, because this should be the smallest problem in this area. As I said: I personally don't need all the extra stuff anyway.

wpSEO Screenshot 3
The pricing looks great, but there's also value added tax. Cents and annoying fine print. Does it have to be real?

Prices and licenses for wpSEO

If Sergej's price system was still correct at that time, the Eisy UG decided to deposit totally crazy, totally crooked prices in order to list the value added tax separately and "pseudo-mobile" to work. As much as I like wpSEO, I definitely can't stand such a theatre. The 19,99 Euro for the standard license will be exactly 23,79 Euro. The 49,99 Euro for the Deluxe-License will be 59,49 Euro.

The premium version costs 118.99 euros in the end. What bullshit and monkey business. But the license system itself is kept quite simple. The Classic for small bloggers, the Deluxe for those with several blogs and the Premium version for those who want to use wpSEO for customers and want to do without the branding in the source code. This is quite fair and despite all the criticism of the crooked prices: Yoast SEO costs significantly more and so wpSEO is more than fair in terms of price. Nevertheless: Indicate the value added tax separately, where are we? This is common in America, but not really with us.

With me, it always leaves the bland aftertaste of deception, so that the price displayed in large print is also cheaper and attracts customers. It just doesn't have to be, especially since the licenses are more aimed at bloggers.

Conclusion on wpSEO

Basically this is not a test at all, it is a clear recommendation. Why? Because I have been using wpSEO for more than five years and with the new owner, it is finally back on the right track. Besides, I am honestly an opponent of the all around so hyped SEO plugins, which have nothing to do with efficiency and are absolutely horrible for me.

Accordingly, I always wanted to recommend wpSEO to my readers, but unfortunately I never got around to it. Also because such an article was not a priority here, since wpSEO is well known. But now I took the time and can only recommend wpSEO, as mentioned above. A very efficient plugin, which is also ideal for beginners, because the default settings are already well chosen by default. So beginners just install it and forget about it, wpSEO does the rest.

All professionals set the title and description manually, of course, to present each item in the best possible way within Google. If you want to learn more about wpSEO, you will find on the website to the WordPress SEO Plugins everything he needs to know.

About Christian

My name is Christian and I am co-founder of the platform fastWP. Here in the magazine I am responsible for the more "technical" topics but I like to write about SEO, which has been my passion for over 10 years now.