WordPress SEO Plugin Comparison

Cary Hat I realized that I’ve added a lot of functionality to HeadSpace without actually making any kind of announcement about it. To make up for this this I decided to produce a comparison chart showing HeadSpace in relation to other popular SEO orientated plugins. This is not a chance to poke competitors in the eye but just an attempt for me to show exactly what HeadSpace can do and how it stacks up to other plugins. It’s also a good excuse to make sure I can tick as many boxes as possible – HeadSpace is now in its fourth year and although development is still going strong, it is easy to get stuck in your own world and not see what is happening outside.

Note that while I have tried to keep the comparison objective, this is my site and naturally I am biased.

This comparison will look at:

  • HeadSpace
  • All-In-One SEO (AIO SEO)
  • Platinum SEO (a derivative of All-In-One SEO)
  • wpSEO
  • SEO Title Tags (not really the same type of plugin, but was included due to it’s very good titling features)

HeadSpace AIO SEO Platinum SEO wpSEO SEO Title Tag
Version Tested 3.6.21 1.4.7.4 1.2.3 2.7.2 2.3.3
Translations 16 17 1 2
Data Importers 10
Cost Free Free Free License Free

First let’s look at some basic features:

HeadSpace AIO SEO Platinum SEO wpSEO SEO Title Tag
Titles Partial
Page numbering Custom Custom Custom Fixed
Inherited SEO settings Partial
Description
Keywords
Robots
Noindex
Google Section Targetting
Custom tagline
Custom more text
Keywords
Mass edit meta-data

These features can be applied to various parts of your website:

HeadSpace AIO SEO /
Platinum SEO
wpSEO SEO Title Tags
Specific posts All Features Title, description, keywords Title
Specific pages All Features Title, description, keywords Title
Posts (general) All Features Title Title, description, keywords, noindex
Pages (general) All Features Title Title, description, keywords, noindex
Archives All Features Title Title, description, keywords, noindex
Search Results All Features Title Title, description, keywords, noindex Title
Home Page All Features Title, description, keywords Title, description, keywords, noindex Title
Specific Category Archive All Features
Category Archives All Features Title, noindex Title, description, keywords, noindex Title
Author Pages All Features
404 Pages All Features Title Title, description, keywords, noindex Title
Tag pages All Features Title Title, description, keywords, noindex
Login Page All Features
All Pages All Features
Attachment Pages All Features noindex

Finally, here’s a table of other non-SEO features that HeadSpace provides:

Page tags Add tagging to pages
Google Analytics Add Google Analytic tracking code
Page specific CSS Include CSS on specific pages or areas of your site
Page specific JavaScript Include JavaScript on specific pages or areas of your site
Page specific themes Change your theme on specific pages
Page specific plugins Run plugins only on specific pages
Arbitary meta data Add any meta-data
Custom fields Add custom data fields that can be access via an API
Disable WP formatting Disable wpautop function
Custom page counts Change how many posts appear in search and archive pages
Disable HTML editor Disable the visual HTML editor for all users
First Time Visitor Display a message for first time visitors
Frame Breaker Prevents your site being used inside a frame
103Bees Add 103bees tracking code
Apture Add Apture to pages
AWStats Add extra AWstats JavaScript tracking code
CrazyEgg Add CrazyEgg tracking coe
HitTail Add HitTail tracking code
FeedBurner Stats Enables FeedBurner Pro Stats
Mint Add Mint tracking code
Piwik Add Piwik tracking code
StatCounter Add StatCounter tracking code
Google Webmaster Add Google Webmaster code
Microsoft Live Verification Add Microsoft Live code
Yahoo Site Explorer Add Yahoo Site Explorer code

As with anything SEO related you should use the tools available as best fits your own site. A lot of what people say you should do is myth and heresay so see what works best for you.

Please do remember that HeadSpace has a feature tracker where anyone can submit requests for functionality. If there’s something I’ve missed that you think should be included then do add it to the tracker.

31 Responses to WordPress SEO Plugin Comparison

  1. Just from scanning your comparison charts, it’s clear that the choice we made to switch from SEO Title Tags to All In One SEO plugin was a good choice. Now however, I am going to have to do some more research on your Headspace offering and consider making a recommendation to my supervisor. I know that I’m likely to do that research on some of my personal WP installs and that should be a good thing for my own sites!

  2. Hi John,

    I have used all of the plugins you analize and I think you have dismissed some of the features from wpSEO:
    – Titles con be configured nearly 100% customized
    – You can configure noindex and nofollow (per site or per page/post basis)
    – Specific title, keyword, description and noindex/nofollow configuration per page or post basis is available
    – It also allows you to configure the NOODP snippet and noarchive.
    – You can also set up the uploads renaming, order of title, description, keyword, noindex.
    – In the automatic keywords settings, you can dismissed certain words, detect more important keywords (strong, em, …)
    – Remove title/metas from template to introduce the ‘new’ ones
    – Prevent feed from been indexed

    Althoug I think your plugin is really great, I think your comparision is a bit subjective.
    – Clean HTML from
    – Set maximum words for description/keywords
    – Canonical tag

    – Characters and word counting when introducing title/keyword/description manually

    • Hi Alvaro,

      The comparison is subjective, and I do state this clearly! I listed wpSEO as having partial titles because while you can configure it, you can only select from a pre-defined set. I’ll certainly look at some of the other things you mentioned in case I didn’t use the plugin fully. Some of the others I didn’t understand or are included in HeadSpace but didn’t seem to fit in a comparison.

      A final question – why would you want to remove your feed from being indexed?

      • Hi John,

        Sorry for the delay in my answer. I would like to remove my feed from been indexed by search engines, to prevent duplicate content. Even Feedburner allows me to do this.

        One of the thing I miss more in HeadSpace is the canonical tag, which nowadays with url tracking is becoming more and more important.

        • RSS feeds do not cause duplicate content – I’m sure search engines can tell the difference between HTML and RSS.

          A canonical option will come soon.

  3. Nice comparison, but subjective. You list only the features which you have, but other don’t. Would be interesting if all features of the other Plugins would also be listed, which you don’t have. That would change the perspective.

    You list quite a lot features, which have nothing to do with SEO and most users won’t need most of them at all, or there is a nice Plugin already there for the listed features.

    No wonder your Plugin has a whopping 505.24 KB (Unzipped 1390 KB) compares to 38.4 KB (140 KB) of wpSEO.

    Also not the quantity of features are important, the effectiveness of the features are what counts, especially for SEO matters.

    • Yes, I did state that the comparison was not completely objective. I also did list a lot of non-SEO features, and pointed out they were non-SEO features.

      As you say, the effectiveness of the features is important and I strongly believe HeadSpace provides the best choices as well as including a lot of other features that all work together under one consistent interface and without running the risk of separate plugins interfering with each other. Also of importance is where the features can be applied, giving you much more control over your site. The third table shows details about this.

    • In support of John – I find Headspace so much easier to use and implement than the others that I really don’t care that it also has tons of features I don’t use or want. Sure it is large but it doesn’t seem to slow the site down much and it does everything I want – and a bunch of things I don’t know I want – without me having to do anything except put in my analytics codes.

      I’m sure I am leaving stuff on the table so to speak in terms of tweaking or not tweaking things, but I don’t want to be an SEO expert – I want someone else to do it for me.

  4. Hi John,
    I’ve been using AIO SEO for a while now, but have recently considered migrating to HeadSpace. My concern is this: currently, things work for me. If I migrate, I want them to continue to work, but I’d like to incrementally take advantage of some additional features of Headspace. In other words, I want my cake…and eat it too.

    How easy is it to migrate from AIO to Headspace? And what concerns, if any, should I have that this migration will temporarily break things on my site?

    With the help of a convincing argument, I’m sure there are scores of others like me waiting for the opportunity to take advantage of all the extra features Headspace offers.

    Thanks for your comparison…and your work.
    Cheers,
    Dan

    • HeadSpace should work fine with all of the above plugins, so you can run them together and gradually migrate everything across as needed. It also includes some data importers which attempt to convert data into HeadSpace.

    • Dan, I would like to add my unbiased (I didn’t write the plugin) view on the matter. I had been using AIO SEO across all my blogs (14), but needed a couple of extra features and was paying a heavy penalty in terms of site load time to get it. I ran AIO SEO and HeadSpace side by side for more than 3 months, with no problems.

      This allowed me to phase out, (after using the handy *Import* options to grab all the meta data I had already created) AIO SEO, Robots Meta, and a couple I used for sculpting the SEO on my site. Headspace does it all and one additional thing the plugin author doesn’t make enough of (to MY way of thinking)…conditional plugin usage.

      It is plain silly (to me) to install a plugin and have it loaded (with all it’s extra bloat) on every single page in my site. Instead, I disable the plugin (but leave it installed) and conditionally turn it on for the page I need it on. For example (just one, but you will get the idea), I use cForms for my contact me, ask a question and request a vid forms. I use Headspace to turn on the plugin for just those pages, rather than everywhere.

      Anyway, that’s my two cents worth. Make the move. It’s painless and the benefits are great.

      Cenay’

  5. Not long ago I had a moan at theme developers on the Themeshaper blog suggesting that SEO isn’t the role of themes, which they disagree with ;)

    That being said, if a WP SEO plugin replaces the need for a few functions of another popular SEO plugin, there should be an attempt to include all the functionality.
    Or… there shouldn’t be an attempt to include any cross-over.

    Duplicate functionality can cause too many SEO disasters

    That being said, there are some major holes in current offerings that no one currently offers. Once the todo list is empty drop me a mail.

    • “Not long ago I had a moan at theme developers on the Themeshaper blog suggesting that SEO isn’t the role of themes, which they disagree with”

      Amen. This is particularly true with the so=called frameworks.

      That said, I am happy with HeadSpace and would prefer to use it than the SEO options theme developers try to incorporate.

  6. I would like to add that the following plugins –
    1. Related Posts plugin
    2. popular posts widget plugin (+ wordpress stats)
    3. Canonical and others for duplicate content
    4. simple tags.

    are also important when it comes to SEO point of view (i.e. – SEO perspective).

  7. I’m with you – Headspace definitely wins. I switched over from AIO SEO after I couldn’t get AIO to create a unique title for a static home page – this might be fixed now – and was blown away by the range of features and relative ease of use. It’s one of my default plugins now.

    Thanks for the review!

  8. I’m so glad you got this article written and ranked so people would find it. An extremely good example of why branding and naming is important. I have heard of Headspace … even seen it recommend … but I never know what it was. I have been a user of AIO-SEO for some time, mainly becuase it also was recommended to me and the title makes its purpose obvious.

    I am certainly giving Headspace a live trial now, as I see several features that trhe competition doesn’t seem to have,

    Regarding the ‘objectivity’ comments, I can tell your intentions from the tone and openness of your writing. In fact you have pointed out features of the competition that I didn’t know they had so I certainly don’t see how much farther the ‘objectivity’ crowd expects you to bend backwards. The authors of the other packages could have gotten the word out on thier own creations as well, if they chose to.

    Thanks for your efforts, amazing h9ow much criticism one can run into for donating time and money to the community … thank goodness so many do.

  9. I moved from AIO SEO, which I did like a lot, to HeadSpace recently and am very happy. Also it was very easy to do so using the import feature. I also don’t quite get all the comments that point out the subjectivity of this post and redundantly repeat what the author has already acknowledged.

    It is a bit of an overwhelming plugin, it really seems to take a kitchen-sink approach. That may be my only critique.

    Thanks for a great plugin.

  10. So… if this is a very debateable topic I would like some real world data and numbers? Anyone have some? We have been live since April 12th. I have been using AIO since day one and we have users and subscribers, but they all come from our hard work and nothing from search engines…

    So …

    – if i switch will that change?
    – do i need to wait more time to see what happens with AIO?
    – will headspace 2 really give me the push i have been looking for!?

    webmaster; ttmyt.com

  11. Quick question, does the plugin create a google sitemap? I already have a sitemap generator plugin so I wanted to make sure they don’t conflict… Headspace looks really cool, I’m about to replace AIO with it, keep up the good work!

  12. I recently loaded Headspace 2 to my blog and I tickled to death with it. I’m still a newbie at this blog site stuff. The meta-tag feature was the first thing that jumped out at me. It made this process considerably easiest. I’m still learning about the features. I’ll report back as I find more goodies!

  13. Hi, John:

    I just installed HeadSpace and All-In-One SEO (AIO SEO)together in my site about one week ago.
    somebody just told me that these two plug-in cant work together. He suggested me to remove Headspace plug in as All-In-One SEO (AIO SEO) is easier for me.
    Would you please give me advice as I am originally a Chinese literature author and I am idiot with SEO? And I would like to trade you this help with a local help in shanghai when you visit shanghai.
    can these two plug-ins work together or not?
    I do need your help. Please.

    • There’s no need to use them both together as a lot of the functionality is the same. Saying that, provided you use different features from each plugin it should work fine.

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