Reader Question: SEO Using Genesis for WordPress or SEO Plugin by Yoast?

Jenny’s Update 10/31/13 

Yoast or Genesis, Yoast or Genesis…since I originally wrote this post in July of 2012, I have had some interesting feedback from people both agreeing and also disagreeing with me and my assessment. In full disclosure, I actually do use Yoast and most of my small business SEO clients do too. However, unless they know how to use this plugin properly, Yoast often comes with more confusion and questions than clarity and answers. 

I’ve asked Beth, a Genesis web design colleague I converse with on Twitter and email frequently, to chime in with her insights. What do you think? Let us know in the comments! 

Beth Hood’s Genesis vs. Yoast Insight:

I don’t claim to be an SEO expert and don’t have a lot of experience working with Yoast, but I have found the Genesis SEO settings to be incredibly effective in helping my clients sites rise naturally in a Google search, in surprisingly little time. I call it the “magic of Genesis.” I don’t know how it works, I just know it works.  The built-in SEO settings in Genesis allow me to achieve my goal of providing my clients with the best tools possible for their websites so that they can increase their exposure online and grow their businesses.     

Most web development experts will tell you that if you can add functionality to a site such as SEO via the theme, that this is always recommended. With the developers of Genesis, Studiopress, you can always be assured that they are building the best into your theme, including the best SEO options and security features. So while not all plugins will slow down a site, having too many or the wrong ones, can slow it down, or possibly break a site if the plugins aren’t being updated to work with the latest WordPress update. I’ve been using Genesis for 4 years exclusively and couldn’t be happier!   

From a user-friendly standpoint, I would never add an SEO plugin to a client’s site unless they requested it because most of them have too many options. If you are looking for advanced options and want to spend a good amount of time making head’s or tails of them, then it might give you a boost over Genesis. However, I find it is too confusing for most of my clients, and if a tool can’t be simple to understand and implement, then they won’t use it. I prefer the simplicity of the Genesis SEO Settings. And since it works, why make our lives more complicated? 

Beth Hood is owner of Websites with Aloha, a design company that offers advanced WordPress web design for small businesses and nonprofits, built proudly on the Genesis framework. Visit for more information.


SEO using Genesis for WordPress or SEO plugin by YoastI got this question from a reader that I wanted to post for those of you who use WordPress:

“Is it better to use the built-in Genesis theme SEO or the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast? Does it make a difference? I assumed they both accomplish the same thing and that what you put in them is way more important than which you use. Do you have an opinion or preference?” 

Yes, I do have an opinion. I would use the built-in SEO functionality that comes with the theme, especially one as well-known as Genesis. No use in wasting a plugin that would just duplicate something the theme already allows.

With WordPress, it’s easy to get plugin happy and start downloading lots of plugins which you really don’t need. Having an over abundance of plugins can make your site slow, which will absolutely have an effect on your SEO, not to mention other negative consequences.

Also, this reader is absolutely correct that it’s way more important what you put in there. Make sure to always have keyword rich titles and descriptions, follow best practices, and leave the keywords tag blank. It’s a waste of time to fill this out as Google no longer takes the keywords field into account.

Your Turn:

Do you have any burning SEO questions I can answer for you? Email me at and let me know – I’d love to hear from you (really!). :). Or, today.


Photo Credit: SAN_DRINO


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Jenny Munn

Jenny is an independent Digital Marketer and SEO Consultant with more than 10 years of experience helping companies and content creators generate brand awareness, traffic, and conversions with SEO. She is a frequent speaker and is on the faculty for the AMA (American Marketing Association) and has taught SEO to thousands of marketers over the past 10 years.


  • I agree with you, but Yoast plugin gives more functionality to get more in terms of SEO. You are right, plugin slow down the speed of a website, but there a lot of options to speed up your website and it up to you to think what is necessary for your website.

  • Reginald says:

    Hi there!

    Thanks for your write up. I am very skeptical honestly. I used to use Genesis inbuild SEO and it was good. Now, I had changed to Yoast SEO. Basically both are very good but I yet to see why I would need an additional plugin like Yoast for that matter.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean that Yoast is bad. Just giving my opinion. Currently, I am using Yoast SEO on my latest website,

    Have a great day!

  • Ha ha….
    Well i not from Yoast team, i just gave my opinion because i think that this plugin have more functions then inbuilt functions of Genesis…

  • Will says:

    Just a word of caution: If you rely on the ‘magic of Genesis’ for your SEO success, you may well end up finding yourself left in the dust when Google makes a ‘magical change’ to their algorithms and you suddenly find yourself unable to explain the problem or solution to your client(s) who have suddenly fallen from the rankings, or have far fewer visitors than they used to.

    I really wish theme authors would leave SEO to the SEO plugins and experts, and not try to employ “SEO friendly” tools with their themes that only do a half-ass job.

  • Jamie says:

    I have recently had a site redesign – unexpectedly I have gone from a genesis theme to a bespoke theme. In the process losing all keywords and the developers have used the Yoast plugin. I am pretty much starting from scratch again so I wonder is Yoast the best plugin solution? Advice appreciated…

    • Jenny Munn says:

      Jamie – my sincerest apologies that I saw your comment so late. I assume you’ve taken care of this by now, but when I transferred over there was an option to export the old data so that’s really a shame there was not an opportunity for that. Regardless, no one ever seems to regret moving to Yoast. It is very good!

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