In August 2020, I decided to stop using Yoast SEO plugin, the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress.
The reason? I don’t need it anymore. I use Yoast mainly for two things, meta title & description, and sitemap generation.
Genesis Framework already have a custom meta title & description feature for a long time, and now WordPress 5.5 has a built-in sitemap feature. So, it’s safe to say that I no longer need to use Yoast.
I know some of you will say that Yoast is an absolute must-have plugin, because of the sitemap they generated is much more sophisticated blablabla…
I get it. But for my websites, I don’t need a sophisticated one. I need simple. Simple works.
After all, their content analysis sucks big time. If you force yourself to get the green lights turned on, you’d end up making a really weird and absurd content.
Alright, so here’s how I stopped using Yoast and transfer all the SEO data (meta title & meta description):
1. Install the SEO Data Transporter plugin by StudioPress and convert the SEO data
This is a plugin for converting SEO data from a plugin or theme to another plugin or theme. In this case, I’m using it to convert the SEO data available from Yoast to the Genesis Framework theme.
Using this plugin is really simple, you will know what to do.
2. Deactivate the Yoast plugin
After you convert the SEO data, deactivate the Yoast plugin and you should start seeing Genesis built-in SEO settings being activated again.
If you don’t see it, check your User setting and see if the Enable SEO Settings Submenu is checked.
3. Submit the new sitemap to Google Search Console
After deactivating Yoast, their sitemap will no longer exists and will be replaced by WordPress native sitemap at yourdomain.com/wp-sitemap.xml.
If you don’t see your WordPress sitemap and instead being redirected to the homepage, don’t worry. It take some time for WordPress to generate the new sitemap. Refresh your sitemap page in a few hours. If you still don’t see it, reinstall the WordPress 5.5 via the Updates page.
Submit your new sitemap to Google Search Console and let Google crawl your new sitemap.
4. Wait for a few days and make sure the Genesis SEO setting is to your liking
This is to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Make sure all the meta title and description is right.
Also, if you use custom meta titles with your site’s name at the end of the title, make sure you don’t get your site’s name mentioned twice since Genesis default SEO setting is to automatically add site title to the end of the meta title. Uncheck the option to make sure only your custom meta title is used.
Also, on the Indexing menu at Theme SEO Setting, I unchecked the Category Archives and Author Archives to let search engine index them. I have no need to hide them. It’s only making Google Search Console shows errors.
5. Delete both the Yoast and SEO Data Transporter plugin
After you’re sure everything is the way it should be, it’s time to delete both plugins.
Don’t forget to clean your database from leftover files. I myself use WP-Optimize to clean and optimize WordPress database.
That’s it. One less plugin for my websites.
The thing with plugin is, the fewer the better.