As an SEO Agency in Surrey who specialise in WordPress, it is only natural we are very familiar with the Yoast SEO for WordPress Premium plugin. Which has been the recommended plugin we refer to our clients, whilst also holding a 5-site licence for our websites.
In February 2017 I happily purchased the 5-site licence for $88. So was shocked when the renewal email came through in February 2018 only to find their checkout presenting a cost of $300 including my 25% discount. I immediately and honestly thought this was a mistake, so I contact Yoast to enquire. The response I got was an explanation for the price increase, meaning that this was genuine. The speed and pre-formatted response led me to believe that this templated email gets used a lot.
That’s a 240% price increase in one year!
If you are unlucky enough to fall outside of the discount renewal or are looking to purchase a licence for the first time, then the increase between 2017 and 2018 is 354%. Below is the response from Yoast…
Thanks for your email.
Our prices have changed due to a number of reasons:
- We have improved and will continue to improve our support. Because of more global coverage, we are able to answer any and all emails a lot faster.
- Our goal is to extend the features of our plugin even more than we already did. When we added the redirect manager, social previews, multiple keywords and internal linking tool to Yoast SEO Premium, we did not change our pricing. We are now at the point that the change in pricing is needed to further improve and maintain our plugins.
- The dollar/euro ratio has changed quite a lot over the past months, to an extent where we felt the same price in euros and dollars is no longer justified.
- On top of all that, we have set up a new user platform, My Yoast. This new platform integrates seamlessly with our premium plugins and offers you more control over your subscriptions, the sites these subscriptions are used on and more.
A single site subscription is $89 x 5 = $445. There is a 10% bulk discount, so it brings it to a total of $400.50. Since you are up for a renewal of your subscription, there is an additional 25% renewal discount, bringing it to the total of $300.38. This is the price you are expected to pay for a five-site slot subscription of the premium plugin with the updated pricing.
We hope that clarifies things for you.
So let’s break this down…
We have improved and will continue to improve our support. Because of more global coverage, we are able to answer any and all emails a lot faster.
Due to their fast growth and increased team size, they need to increase prices. That’s fair, I could live with that if the price rises were proportional to the value of their product in it’s intended use, but it is not.
Our goal is to extend the features of our plugin even more than we already did. When we added the redirect manager, social previews, multiple keywords and internal linking tool to Yoast SEO Premium, we did not change our pricing.
They extended their already global plugin with features seen amongst other free tools and believe because they didn’t charge more it now justify’s this increase.
The dollar/euro ratio has changed quite a lot over the past months, to an extent where we felt the same price in euros and dollars is no longer justified.
You will notice that renewals for those in Europe at least, are now in Euros. This means we will no longer benefit from any saving on the Dollar. The term no longer justified is a simple way of stating they can charge more for the same product. So a single licence is now €79 which at today’s rates is $98, $10 more than the US and an 11%+ increase.
On top of all that, we have set up a new user platform, My Yoast. This new platform integrates seamlessly with our premium plugins and offers you more control over your subscriptions, the sites these subscriptions are used on and more.
Most licence/subscription based plugins have a website where you can manage renewals, there is nothing new about this. The My Yoast platform allows seamless integration to validate your licences, but personally, I have not seen any value in this tool, although it is a great way to keep you coming back to the portal to see what else they are promoting, like all these courses I didn’t ask for or a clear visual guide of other plugins I can buy for Video SEO or Local SEO.
I’m sorry Yoast, you’ve turned one agency fan away due to greed. Nothing in your email justify’s the ridiculous price increase. Nothing in your plugin justifies the ridiculous price increase. It is your job to improve and keep your plugin relevant, that is your business. Charging more in line with offering value and changing markets is fine, this, however, is just plain Capitalism, given you have a monopoly on the market.
So, let’s look at what else you can use to optimise your WordPress site for great SEO benefits.
Yoast still offers a free plugin, which is not that different from the premium and can help you get your website optimised. Yes, the premium does have cornerstone content, cross page linking recommendations & redirect manager to name a few. However, these tools are easily available from other free plugins. So although it’s not the fully integrated approach, a collection of lightweight plugins used alongside the Yoast free plugin can achieve similar results.
This plugin is fast becoming a popular SEO option for WordPress. Developed by Sybre Waaijer, it offers the essential features to add value for users whilst remaining light-weight and simple. Also, the plugin is completely free and according to its author, will stay free. There is no upsell or premium version, everything is included. What’s more, they offer the SEO Framework Extension Manager for free as well, an advanced add-on offering Local SEO, AMP, Articles & more. The reviews look strong and I believe this plugin will continue to grow in popularity.
You can download The SEO Framework plugin from WordPress.org
Developed by Benjamin Denis, It’s built to be an all-in-one solution, which means it handles all of the standard configuration settings you would expect. Where SEOPress stands out is the non-standard SEO plugin features, such as download tracking & custom dimension. If you do decide to go Premium, for $39 a year it get’s silly. In-built GA Event Tracking, Structured Data Types, In-bound Link Tracking, WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads SEO, Easy Scan & Majestic API integration.
So is Yoast Premium worth it at the new rates?
Personally for me, no. However being an agency who can handle on-site optimisation in other ways, it is easy for me to say that. Yoast offers a solution that does a lot of the work for you with helpful suggestions on improvements, so depending what exact SEO features you require, you might decide it’s worth the investment.
My best advice would be to look at the options above and see which covers your needs, then price them up, because at first glance it looks like you can get some pretty serious light-weight plugins, offering the same or more features for a lot less. At the end of the day, Yoast isn’t going to magically make your structured data better than the next plugin. SERP Results speak for themselves.
Nuttifox have decided not to renew our premium licence for Yoast. Instead, we will keep the current plugin version we have whilst we continue to test the alternatives. Once we have made a decision, we’ll update this post with our findings and further recommendation.