Is your WordPress blog or a website optimized for search engines? How to optimize it for Google? What is search engine optimization?
These are the types of questions that people often ask themselves when dealing with their work. How to make your site Google friendly, what more can you do to widen the reach, can you do SEO yourselves?
To help you and ease the burden, we came up with the list of best SEO plugins for WordPress you can use to improve your content and rankings. What they do, how to use them, which one to choose… But, first things first.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
In short, it is a set of various activities you do to make your website more search engines friendly. You use it to improve your site visibility and better position on Google and other search engines. From technical to promotional activities, all with one goal in mind: to be on the first page of Google.
So, how does one do Search Engine Optimization?
Well, If we’d know the exact answer to this questions, we’d be billionaires 🙂 All jokes aside, you need to get familiar with the most important ranking factors and to understand how to implement them into your content strategy. As per Backlinko, there are over 200 ranking factors that determine one’s position on search engines. And to know all of them would be highly challenging, you got that right. Domain factors, site-level factors, page-level factors, backlinks, user interactions… There are just too many of them. But, you can choose the ones that are most relevant to you and learn as much as you can. Like, for instance, On-Page SEO. Those are set of measures you take directly within your article to improve rankings in the search engines. Once you get familiar with it, and with the help of the right tools, you can expect success in the long run.
But before we go to the list of recommended SEO plugins for WordPress, let us just go over on-Page SEO how-to.
What is On-Page SEO and how does it help you rank better? Just, it’s all that you do on your website or a blog. If your page is optimized by the specific recommendations, it can have a significant impact on how you rank. From the quality of the content to the use of proper H tags, and phrases, title tags, image alt tags, links… All that combined is what can make or break your search engine ranking.
How is that, you might ask? Let us break it down with you, the more you know, the easier you’ll pick the right SEO plugins later.
On-Page SEO ranking factors
Now, as we said, there are over 200 factors Google’s algorithm is looking when deciding page rank. So, what are the ones we need to consider with our site? We’ll name some of the general most important.
By far the most important thing on your blog or site. The quality of content determines how well will your website rank on search engines. Is it informative enough? Is it the stuff people search for? Do you provide the right and valuable information? These are the things you need to answer to yourself when creating any content for your blog or a website. If it’s good enough, more people will read it, the more they read, the more opportunity you get to be linked somewhere. And that leads us to a higher position on search engines. How? Well, all that signals to Google that your content is worthy; thus it will put it above someone else’s similar material that might not provide everything you do.
For Google to determine what is your page/article/post about, you need to put a proper Title tag for it. Write a relevant and meaningful title that is not too long, and that has a keyword you’re trying to rank for in it. Optimal title length should be no more than 50-60 characters, with spaces. When thinking about a title, try to put the keyword as close as possible to the beginning, it sends a good signal to Google.
Just like in Title tag, the URL of your page or article needs to be meaningful, relevant and descriptive. Try to keep it in the range of 3-5 words and keep the structure clean. Let’s say, for instance, you’re writing about easy baking best practices. Your URL won’t be like this:
But rather like this:
That way, you are connecting the content, the title and the URL, all of which signals explicitly to Google what the page is about, making it easier to rank. It’s all about making those URL’s SEO friendly.
We talked about meta description in WordPress in our previous article, so we won’t repeat ourselves again. Instead, we’ll just say it is a method designed to explain further what your page/content is about. This little piece of text below the headline:
Why use it and how to write it correctly is something you can find out in our meta description guide.
The old way of stuffing your content with the keyword is long gone. Keep doing it, and you find yourself penalized by Google, so just stop. Instead, do your research and put them inside the content in a natural way, don’t go overboard. Good practice includes you put keywords within the URL, in the Title tag, meta description, alt-tag and within the content. But in a way that comes naturally and meaningful. Google will see right through you if you try to trick him.
Another way people search and can find you is through images on your site. That’s why it is crucial to optimize your pictures, too. You do it with alt-tags or image alt text features. Another thing we wrote about on our blog so be sure to check it out. It is a significant On-Page SEO factor, too.
Once your content is written, proofread and published it’s time to help it live and interact. On-Page SEO is one way, Social Media integration is another. By adding Social sharing buttons, you make it easy for visitors to share it further. Every share signals search engines that your content is worthy and that they could put you higher in results. Help them help you kinda way.
Although is written several years ago, Moz’s guide to keywords and On-Page SEO is still a right place for you to start learning more, so check it out.
While Off-Page SEO is all the activities, you do get others to link back to you and your content. (Like, if you find this article helpful, mentioning it in your post with a link to us would be an Off-Page example).
Having the right SEO plugin is a right stable way to improve your On-Page SEO activities and improve rankings. Which is why we came up with this list.
The best WordPress SEO plugins
When you think of SEO in WordPress, the first thing that crosses the mind is, most often, SEO by Yoast plugin. A tool that more than 7 million website use on a daily basis. Comes in free and premium options, depending on your needs and wants.
SEO by Yoast is a useful plugin that both improves your visibility and takes care of technical things too. Everything from optimizing your text for search engines, to implementing meta description and the right amount of keywords and more – SEO by Yoast does it! The free version lets you do a lot. It includes powerful Page analysis tool that explains pretty easy what you need to do to improve your content. It’s included in the premium version too, with more technical features. Premium version checks for duplicate content, redirect old URLs to the new ones, lets you have full control over breadcrumbs and things like that.
Another great SEO plugin for WordPress that both beginners and advanced users can use. It comes both in free and premium option which help in your day-to-day SEO tasks you perform on your blog or site. Within its free choice, you can even integrate this plugin for e-commerce sites, including WooComemrce. All in One SEO Pro has additional features like XML Sitemaps, Social Meta, Google AMP support and more. All that helps you improve your visibility and search ranking positioning.
Advertised as the fastest SEO plugin for WordPress, The SEO Framework is a free plugin that helps you improve your content optimization for search engines. What it does is it automatically generates your titles, descriptions, a canonical URL, Open Graphs tags, images and so much more. That way, especially if you are a novice, you have no worries on your mind what comes where and how. It comes with an On-Page SEO status bar that indicates the state of your posts right within the Posts dashboard. But, just because it automates a whole lot of things, doesn’t mean you don’t need to know about them. It is advisable to learn this stuff, cause the tool can only do so much, and it needs a human touch, after all 🙂
This is a versatile WordPress SEO plugin that includes the main On-Page features that help you increase the SEO value of your website. It’s designed to support WooCommerce and WordPress Multisite plugins, too. The main features of Premium SEO Pack covers are:
• SEO Patterns for each Post Type and Custom Post Types
• Title, Description, Keywords, Canonical Metas
• Open Graph Image, Title, Description, Type
• Twitter Card Image, Title, Description
• Noindex and Nofollow options for each post type
• You can customize each page directly from post preview top bar or from admin top bar
• Works well with Woocommerce and other e-commerce plugins
• Works with WordPress Multisite
#5 SEO Squirrly
Assisted WordPress SEO plugin that is specially designed for non-SEO experts. Haven’t got a clue where to start or how to do SEO? This plugin helps and what’s even better – it is compatible with any other SEO plugin! So, it works equally well as a standalone plugin and as a booster. What’s slightly different with this plugin is that it comes with keyword research tool within the WordPress editor. Quite handy, if you ask me. This keyword research tool is also available as a standalone plugin, just download it from here and check it out.
Additional SEO related WordPress plugins
Other than these we mentioned, there are quite a few plugins to use to optimize your content further. From image optimization, to link checker and more, there are the SEO plugins you might want to check out, too.
In case you’re not using premium SEO Yoast plugin, this one lets you manage all the 301 redirections and keep track od 404 errors as well. Since, messy and error links can pretty much hurt your rankings, this type of tool is right to have, no matter the size of your site.
Optimized images are one of the SEO ranking factors, so it’s useful to have a plugin like this. Smush Image Compression and Optimization helps you resize, optimize and compress all your images which will increase your page speed without losing any image quality. Good one, indeed.
An SEO content analysis plugin that you can use to bulk edit all website meta, image file name and meta, SEO link title and more. It also serves as a breadcrumb generator, checks for 404 errors and internal broken links and is compatible with the Gutenberg editor. Some of the features within this plugin are also Google Search Console keyword suggestion in content, Email SEO report, custom post type in sitemaps and more.
Neat free plugin that turns your WordPress site into a fast machine adding Accelerated Mobile Pages /Google AMP Project/ function. Knowing that we now live in the mobile-first era, this makes your website faster for mobile visitors.
No site needs broken links because they stand for lazy, unprofessional behavior as well as provide a negative UI. Have too many of them and watch your bounce rate increases and your ranking drops, it’s connected that way.
Broken Link Checker will monitor your site and detect whether you have any broken links. Once it finds them all you need to do is fix them, and that’s all.
Another free plugin that you use for web performance optimization. It serves as a website accelerator cause it helps significantly increase the load time of your site pages. How? Basically, it reduces the amount of data required to load as well as the number of requests sent to the server and database. Thanks to that, you’ll see the improvements in search engine result page rankings.
This is our list of best SEO plugins for WordPress you can choose from. Now, bear in mind they can’t provide you with the overall SEO implementation, you need to learn /at least/ the basics of them to understand how it works and what it does. Also, you won’t need all of them, just choose the ones that fit your needs and demands. If you are unsure where to start from, select one of the free ones, test it out and see for yourself. And be sure to learn as much about SEO as you can along the way.