I’m evaluating the WordPress plug-in for SEO,Â Squirrly. SEO is Search Engine Optimization. I’ve been using Yoast SEO, which is widely considered the best in the industry, but it erroneously reports my sites are not searchable, and I know that is incorrect. Yoast has been easy to use in some ways, but their analytics are cumbersome. I installed Squirrly, but the free version only allows a few posts on the free plan, and I use more posts than it allows, so I uninstalled it. But I kept getting their tutorial emails, and their analytics were easier to interpret than Yoast’s, and they seemed to work. Then they sent an offer for a one-time upgrade to the full product at a reasonable price, so I’m giving them a second look.
I should have been evaluating them all along, but I’m doing this post with the plug-in installed and taking advantage of their Live Assistant. One thing I like is it’s in the sidebar next to my post editor, so I can see at a glance what its suggestions are for optimizing the post. Yoast’s is at the bottom of the page. They have a stoplight easily visible next to my post editor, but I have to enter the keywords in a box at the bottom of the window. With Squirrly, I enter and analyze the keywords up top. That holds them front and center for me.
Let me circle back to discuss why I care about search engine optimization. I want to get my content in front of people who want to see it, and people use search engines to find that content, so it makes sense that my posts get found by a search engine and displayed to people who are searching for similar content. It’s important that the search displays content relevant to what someone is looking for. I don’t want people to find my stuff if it doesn’t interest them. Why waste their time?
I’m going to say what I want or need to say, but I am going to try to say it in a way that is appealing to both people and machines. That’s why I would use an SEO plug-in, and why you might want to consider one if you’re setting up or re-configuring your own blog or site.
I have both SEO plug-in operational at the moment (not typically advised, but not harmful). I have this post configured so Squirrly says everything is green (except I haven’t used an image either in content or as a featured image). Yoast is saying I haven’t used the keyword, because I have inserted punctuation between the two words to make it more readable for humans (frankly, my ultimate target, so sometimes I ignore the machine). Squirrly seems to adjust for this. Yoast does not. I frequently have posts that “stoplight” out at yellow in Yoast because of this. I will take that, because my goal is for humans, not machines, but notice, machines have to be able to find it, or the right human may not. I’m going to guess that Squirrly’s algorithms have figured this out. Or maybe not. I’m not completely sure yet.
My primary objection to Squirrly was the free version limited my posts it could be applied to. I may have been able to get them all covered in time. I find the offer for the full version at a one-time cost attractive. I’m hesitant about whether they are the way I want to go or not, because they have some strange things in their plug-in, which I would not use. And, despite touting itself as a free plug-in, it really isn’t if you intend to use it, and I’m not comfortable with that marketing ploy. Here’s a decent recent review.
Do I give them $86 for the full version (normally, they are a monthly subscription, which I would NOT do), or do I stick with Yoast, which I find to be marginal at best, despite it’s rave reviews in the press. Since they’ll be a subscription service to anyone else, I’m not sure I’ll be able to recommend them, because people reading after me wouldn’t be getting the same pricing opportunity.