SEO Plugin Performance Report for Q2 2022

In June 2021, and then again in September 2021, we compared the performance of the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress. To continue what has become a bit of a tradition, we present the latest SEO performance report for April 2022.

We’ve classified the performance of each SEO plugin into one of three categories (best, average, and worst) and included a baseline chart for WordPress and the 2021 theme. This gives us a good baseline reference for the performance of each SEO plugin – as you will see, the best performing SEO plugins have almost no effect, while the slowest SEO plugin almost doubles the page load time and the number of database queries.

In the following charts, a grey background is used to show results that are not significant to ranking, while green, yellow, and red are used to highlight performance metrics that are significant to ranking an SEO plugin as best, average, or worst. The number of database queries, for example, is very significant.

Baseline Performance Chart

Version Page Gen DB Queries DB Query Times Peak Mem
WordPress 5.9.3 31 ms 35 of 37 1.8 ms of 1.9 ms 6,370 kB
2021 Theme 1.5 2 of 37 0.1 ms of 1.9 ms

SEO Plugin Performance Chart (Singular Post)

SEO Plugin Name Version Page Gen DB Queries DB Query Times Peak Mem
The SEO Framework 4.2.3 +2 ms +3 +0.2 ms +802 kB
WPSSO Core 12.1.1 +3 ms +2 +0.1 ms +855 kB
WP Meta SEO 4.4.5 +3 ms +10 +0.5 ms +836 kB
Squirrly SEO 11.1.12 +6 ms +6 +0.3 ms +676 kB
Yoast SEO 18.5.1 +8 ms +7 +0.4 ms +2,368 kB
SEOPress 5.6 +15 ms +7 +0.3 ms +594 kB
BoldGrid Easy SEO 1.6.10 +7 ms +3/2/3** +4.0 ms +247 kB
Rank Math SEO 1.0.86.2 +11 ms +19 +0.9 ms +1,702 kB
All in One SEO 4.1.10 +22 ms +25/1/0** +1.9 ms +2,338 kB

Data captured on 2022/04/11 using the Query Monitor plugin viewing the WP Test "About" page with a featured image selected.

** Denotes an SEO plugin that uses additional select/show/update database queries (instead of only selects).

About the Results

Some things to keep in mind when looking at this chart:

  1. The number of database queries in these results is very significant – most hosting providers offer very poor database performance, and dedicated / self-hosted VPS servers rarely have a properly tuned database. I would avoid any plugin that significantly increases the number of database queries.
  2. It’s always best to measure your site performance before and after activating a significant plugin – if a plugin significantly impacts the performance of your site (like the worst performing SEO plugins in this list), you should definitely consider alternatives.
  3. Not all SEO plugins offer the same features – all SEO plugins should provide basic SEO meta tags (ie. description and canonical URL meta tags) but a few plugins, like the WPSSO Core plugin, also provide extensive social meta tags and Schema markup for Google Rich Results.
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