Getting organic traffic to your blog is becoming more of a strategic game rather than a hit-and-miss opportunity. As content websites begin to embrace the inevitable change of having to create content for the people, which automatically weeds out spammy websites, it’s critical to study the workings of the latest SEO trends and then take the appropriate action to ensure that your website is following the required guidelines. WordPress use in content websites has outgrown anyone’s expectations, which means there’s more pressure on developers to fight for the number one spot as a leading developer behind trending WP plugins.
Unfortunately, the default WP installation does not come with appropriate SEO tools for the current age. So, bloggers have to head over to the WP plugin directory to try and figure out which SEO tools are best for their website. This process can become time-consuming and, in fact, rather confusing. When you have so many areas of SEO to cover, you can’t expect a single plugin to resolve all of those issues at once.
In this review of plugins for general SEO settings and structure, we take a look at caching solutions and a range of image optimization plugins (images slow down websites the most). We also explore plugins from private developers who have their own way of understanding SEO for WordPress.
SEO by SQUIRRLY gives new WordPress bloggers tools and features that reflect the current SEO trends. With Squirrel, you can head over to the new post page. You’ll be greeted by a Live Assistant, a simple sidebar widget that shows you the essentials of your content SEO status. You can go through the settings to configure each post for the best SEO performance. Whether it means selecting a range of keywords (which this plugin can automatically pull) or adjusting descriptions to include your main keywords, it’s all presented to you so that once all settings have been optimized, the light will turn green and you’ll be able to publish a super-optimized search engine post that’s going to take into account search engine requirements but still be friendly to read for real people.
SEO Optimized Images
Being a WP blogger you will hindsight learn that SEO doesn’t just come from your written text content, but your images as well. Millions of people use Google Images and other image search engines to look up stuff interesting to them, but the only way that search engines can provide accurate results (and thus give you free traffic) is only if you use the properly allocated search engine Title and Alt tags. It’s easy to overlook this process, so if you have been missing out on adding proper tags to your images, the SEO Optimized Images plugin gives you a dynamic option to readjust those titles and tags so that search engines can better understand what your images are all about.
Yoast is an actively and widely used search engine optimization suite for WordPress. Once you install Yoast, your post editor dashboard changes to include a selection of widgets. You can then alter a post title, a description, and any important keywords. Yoast’s algorithm goes through your content to ensure that you use the right keywords at all times throughout your content. It also gives you concise reports on content readability and general search performance. The Yoast sitemap provides a Google-friendly sitemap solution that you can upload in your Webmaster Tools account, so search engines like Google can easily understand the structure of your content, including the published date and any update data if any at all.
Yoast SEO is an excellent first step in getting your site’s status more friendly to search engines. But what about all those other posts that you had already written? Who is going to optimize the keywords and descriptions for those? Even at 100 posts, you would end up spending countless hours to load each post page individually and to modify its meta structure for SEO. With SEO Editor, you can load all your posts into a single page. From there, you can automatically change the titles, keywords, and descriptions for your posts.
SEO Image Toolbox
SEO Image Toolbox does a dynamic rundown of how your images are performing in terms of structured data. If any errors are found, then the algorithm of the plugin will go through the errors itself and make any adjustments or changes that would resolve any potential errors. It’s a lightweight solution that won’t add extra weight to your WP blog performance.
The SEO Framework
The SEO Framework does an automatic configuration of the most important SEO essentials for all WP content. It has the ability to change SEO settings in a site-wide setting. It integrates social media graphs to have your content show up on social media beautifully. You can do things like verify your Google, Bing, Yandex, and Pinterest accounts using a simple meta settings panel. Those who’re blogging about food or similar topics can utilize Schema markup to further optimize the way content gets displayed across search engine results pages. Custom settings let you make each of your pages unique and stand out from any nearby competition.
Auto Clean URL for SEO
Search engines don’t usually enforce many strict rules, but URLs are definitely one of the elements of a website page that need to be looked at carefully. Are you using any bad words within your URLs that would stop search engines from indexing you? What about temporary stop words that don’t have room in the URL and only make it look silly? Auto Clean URL automatically scans your website URL’s to clean them up, to prepare them for better visibility and exposure to search engines. Save yourself some database space, and indeed the length of the URL by doing an automatic cleanup. Just remember to do proper redirects of past URL’s if any errors do arise.
a3 Lazy Load
Several years ago, developers came up with a jQuery solution for resolving the process of loading all images on the page at the same time. By using a Lazy Load script, such as a3, you can enable your WordPress blog to load visual content (images, videos, scripts, and iframes) only when the user accesses that part of the website element. So, site visitors will first see only the images that are presented on their viewscreen. As they scroll down the Lazy Load script, they will detect the location of the device and then decide whether to load the content. It reduces the number of requests that a page is taking when first loading a page. So, it will help you save bandwidth and improve load times. Moreover, it was built to support themes that take into consideration the official WP coding standard.
WP Scanner—Performance and Security
WP Scanner shows you the exact rundown of your WP website performance. It gives you concise information as to what is taking up the most load time on your site. It provides tips on how to resolve some of those issues. Also, this plugin checks for a range of performance optimizations. It tests your object cache settings, analyzes the number of HTTP requests your site is making, checks if you’re using a CDN, checks for cache control headers, checks whether you’re using gzip compression, and determines whether some of your scripts need to be moved to the footer of the page for improved load times. As a security tool, it can check for common security errors and can verify that your WordPress files are not injected or modified with malicious scripts.
APH Merge Scripts
Schema is essentially the coming together of all major search engines to create a new standard for content display. This new standard helps search engines to index and understand better how your content works and its purpose. Let’s say you’re running a food blog with recipes. Essentially, you’d like to include things like the final image of the meal and reader reviews as well, so others can learn from each other’s mistakes. Schema is the content structure algorithm that can specify custom tags for each part of your content. Search engines will then know how to display your content in search results. Have you ever Googled something and found that the search result has a featured image next to it, or it shows how many reviews the page has? That’s the basic example of Schema in action.
Relevanssi—A Better Search
This plugin improves your own site’s search. How does this relate to SEO? For one, it improves the user experience of your readers. If you’ve used WordPress for longer than five minutes, you’ll know that the default WP search is unviable. It simply sucks. Relevanssi is a strong search engine platform that totally revamps the way search works on your website. It encourages your readers to stay on your site longer, which may or may not be a ranking factor for Google. Some say that sites that use Google Analytics are giving Google their visitor time-on-site data, which may somehow alter your rankings. There’s also the factor of people clicking on your content pages from the search engine results pages. This Better Search plugin turns your WordPress database into a fully relevant and fully searchable content database that users will have a pleasure to interact with.
CDN Enabler—WordPress CDN Plugin
The fastest way to accelerate your WP performance is through a CDN (content delivery network). CDNs take your existing content and deliver it from their own servers that are nearest to the visitor. So if your website is hosted in the United States, whenever someone accesses it from the United Kingdom they might experience a slight delay in load times, versus using a CDN — the user from United Kingdom will get the content delivered from a location nearby, usually in the same country, significantly improving the overall load times. Most CDN networks these days also provided caching and optimization features, so you’re further optimizing your content. And, it’s also good to know that a lot of CDN networks right now offer free SSL services, which means you could secure your site for free, and further enhance the SEO signals. Google now takes into consideration HTTPS websites as a ranking factor.
OptinMonster shows popups and modals on your website without making the user experience suck. First of all, many of the visitors who come to your website are likely to never return. These are the users who only need a particular piece of information. Afterward, they’re no longer interested in your message unless you offer them a way to sign up to your newsletter. OptinMonster has built a strong exit-intent engine for capturing leads whenever someone is about to close your website window. This works beautifully on mobile and desktop devices. You can use OptinMonster with your favorite email marketing services like AWeber, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, and GetResponse. It will use the API provided by those services to connect to your email list automatically. So, all you have to do is select a theme, configure the design, sit back and relax, and watch your list grow exponentially.
Kraken.io Image Optimizer
Kraken is an image optimization tool. It reduces the size of your visual files by up to 75% each time depending on what kind of files you’re compressing. It can go through your whole media files library and optimize files that you uploaded way back in the day. Once you make a Kraken account, you can go back to the Kraken settings panel in your admin dashboard and enter the given API key. From thereon you have a limit of files that you can compress and optimize, and if you feel satisfied with the service you can purchase an additional plan to have the ability to fully optimize all your files within a single click.
WP Smush—Image Optimization
WP Smush is a modern, professional, and sleek interface that’s friendly to all level of WP users. Using advanced compression techniques, it can go through your library of files in a matter of minutes (or hours if you have many files). With it, you can resize your images and compress PNG, JPG, and GIF files on the fly. The free version lets you compress images that are up to 1MB in size, whereas the pro version allows you to compress files that are over 30MB.
Again, take time to think about making an investment in one of these tools. We did make a roundup of the best image optimization plugins for WordPress. So, refer back to that post as well to make the most sound decision based on your requirements. Nevertheless, image optimization is a big thing in SEO because it reduces page size, which naturally increases page load time, which further improves your rankings.
Page Builder by SiteOrigin
There’s Visual Composer and all the great plugins it provides, but Visual Composer is a costly venture. Also, not all new bloggers have the resources to invest into the blog and its design right away. Page Builder from SiteOrigin is an excellent and beginner-friendly alternative to getting a broader access to the way your content pages are designed. SiteOrigin’s builder can put you in full control over the way that site elements are displayed on any of your pages. It doesn’t stop you from using custom theme widgets and scripts. It simply enhances the experience of creating a unique page for each of the content pages that you have.
The default WordPress page navigation can be quite miserable, at least for search engines. The default one for each page is “Previous Page”, or “Next Page”. Sometimes it is also “Read More…” — this kind of pagination approach is super shallow for search engines, and in some cases the user experience for readers themselves. WP-PageNavi (a successful plugin in this department) changes the default navigation options to a numbered outline of the pages that your site has. This makes it easier to see just how many content pages you have, but also allows you to enable a feature so that users can browse through pages in their multiples, rather than singularities.
W3 Total Cache
This list includes W3 Total Cache not because of its stunning benchmark results, but because it provides more functionality than many plugins combined. W3 Total Cache does improve your site performance in a way that you can actually notice it yourself. Some bloggers have reported an increase in performance by up to 1,000%. W3, moreover, can minify, optimize, combine, and solidify your script files so they’re more browser-friendly and user-friendly. You get access to a sophisticated CDN control panel to determine how your content is going to be delivered by external CDN resources. There are ways to use proxy servers and advanced caching solutions to take your WP website performance to the next level.
In producing content, you will want to start to improve on, and often experiment with, ways that you can organize and display your posts. By doing this, you’re actually following a strategic marketing technique of making your content more readable, more appealing to a large audience, and certainly more interactive. Shortcodes Ultimate is a complimentary plugin with the right widgets, shortcodes, and scripts to make your content unique every time you hit the publish button. Shortcodes Ultimate consists of a range of short filters that go into the categories of content, boxes, media files, galleries, data display, and others. Custom shortcodes let you use customized versions of dividers, headings, pull quotes, quotes, animation effects, custom testimonials, and so much more. It just isn’t convenient for a new WordPress blogger to build all these scripts himself. So, using a plugin is the way to go.
WordPress Ping Optimizer
Whenever you publish a new blog post, the WordPress core algorithm sends out a ping notification to the most prominent news services, including sites like Bing and Google. However, when you’re updating and drafting content too often, and don’t even notice it, then you risk of having yourself blacklisted of being able to ping news sites of your latest published content, and that could put you at risk of a good standing with pinging services, which can often be crucial for having your content indexed within minutes of publishing. WordPress Ping Optimizer removes the worry of that happening.
Broken Link Checker
Broken links signals to search engines that your content might be a little bit out of date, and that’s not a good sign. New search engine algorithmic research suggests that the more fresh and relevant your content is, the better rankings it will get in the long term. However, what do you do when you have thousands of posts with tens of thousands of links to check? Doing all that labor manually will give you a massive headache. So, Broken Link Checker is here to help. This plugin monitors your posts, pages, and other parts of the site for any indication of a broken (not working) link. The current algorithm can detect images, links, and any broken redirects that might cause search engines to look down upon your site. The dashboard provides a convenient method of fixing broken links without needing to jump to each post manually.
AddToAny Share Buttons
Social media helps with the SEO of a website. Numerous studies have shown that social metrics are indeed helpful in improving website standings on search engines. So, it pays to choose a social media sharing widget for all types of devices: desktop, tablet, and mobile. AddToAny has worked its way up from its early versions to become a household social sharing software that provides deep analytics of your site’s social media metrics while giving webmasters a chance to select from a range of custom designs that would best suit their existing design outline. AddToAny prides itself for having built a plugin that’s optimized for WordPress performance. The concise HTML5 structure makes the plugin easy to load for the browser and the search engines that look for effortless calls of scripts and functions within an existing script.
WPtouch Mobile Plugin
Mobile sites are all the rage these days. Not having a mobile website design is going to harm your search engine rankings. These days, you don’t see WP themes without a mobile version. However, oftentimes, the desktop version of a site is totally different from the mobile one. As soon as you start making any changes or edits, the problems begin to appear. So, we recommend that you just put aside any desire to work with a custom mobile theme built by your theme developer. Instead, opt for a standalone solution like WPtouch. This is an effective plugin for getting your site ready for mobile visitors. Its universal design ensures that content is accessible and shareable. In addition, you can make custom calls and functions per your strategy.
How does Google crawl and index content on your website? It uses many of the internal links that you provide, so not only you should strive to include relevant internal links within the body of your content, but also use related posts widgets to show any other related content that you have published previously. Related Posts from Yuzo is one of the more modern versions of a related posts solution, and besides giving you tools to show thumbnails (or text links) of related posts within the content view area, you can also use Yuzo widgets to show popular and related content in your sidebars.
Premium SEO Plugins for WordPress
Happy with the choices above? SEO is beyond your usual meta tags optimization, and performance and content display plays a big role in how search engines recognize the niche of your site, and in turn how it understands the method in which in needs to index your content for best visibility. Surely, SEO also about marketing, but if you can master the first part, which is all about preparing your website and your content for a larger audience, then the results will naturally start to occur by themselves. Now for the last bit, we’re going to show you some premium SEO plugins which further amplify the above methods we have enlisted, and you might find something that would be appropriate for the current strategy that you’re using to create search engine friendly content.
SEO Cleaner—WordPress Plugin for Site Cleanup
SEO Cleaner takes a big broom and swipes your WordPress installation clean from any unneeded clutter and server response interferences. As you learned, SEO is all about performance and what better way to fine tune that performance by cleaning up the unnecessary crap that your websites is carrying around with each new page load.
Off Page SEO Plugin
You saw us mention an on-page SEO plugin, so now it is time to show you a wonderful off-page solution that’s created to help webmasters monitor and understand their search engines rankings from within the WP admin dashboard. Put in the console of the plugin a number of links and keywords that you’d like to monitor, and once every 3 days the script will run a comprehensive analysis of how your pages are performing for those specific keywords. Take it to the next level by analyzing the backlinks to your site, and if any links disappear the plugin will give you a nudge about it. The plugin can also monitor the number of social shares for individual posts, to give you a better idea of which content performs the best for your audience.
Interlinks Manager isn’t a trending plugin for no reason. This comprehensive internal links management solution for WordPress blogs puts you in the front seat of how your blog promotes all its internal links. Google considers internal links a network of pages that are correlated to each other. This helps Google to better understand how to categorize the relevance of each content piece that you’ve published. Interlinks Manager automatically analyzes your posts for any internal links. It calculates the link power that each of these links hold against particular pages. It can generate automatic internal link suggestions, so you can further optimize your posts for optimal relevance. The algorithm considers several factors and prioritizes specific posts when their titles include words that are also present in the posts being edited. It also includes or excludes posts that belong to specific categories, tags, or custom post types.
Tired of not knowing what people are talking about when they say analyzing your site for SEO? Tired of not knowing what kind of SEO precautions your site is following already? It can get frustrating to know what exactly you need for your site, so SEOAnalyzer will compliment your efforts by giving you a platform to enter any website’s URL and analyze that pages metrics in terms of SEO. You can get custom information like website ranking statistics, but also technical info like any potential errors. It can provide WHOIS information, custom snapshots of the website, social media shares amount, and other things. Technically, you could make your own analyzer site from this plugin, but it’s definitely a decent choice for knowing what the main concerns for your site are.
DELUCKS WordPress SEO Plugin
DELUCKS SEO gives you premium-level features for getting your WordPress blog completely optimized for search engine appearance. The latest version has revamped its own core structure for the sake of accelerating the overall performance. You can let your visitors rate your contents or products to make your information more trustworthy, or leverage the amount of social shares by inserting customizable lots of sharing buttons like Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
Rankie—Wordpress Rank Tracker Plugin
Rankie helps you monitor the rankings of your keywords. It’s an easy platform for integrating and managing your posts. It lets you understand your posts’ performance in the eyes of search engines. Knowing whether your content is going up or down in rankings can help you make improvements. You’ll also know whether those improvements are making any significant changes.
Which is the best SEO plugin for WordPress?
All you really need is to understand the fundamentals of search algorithms. Know why website speed has become such a big topic in the last couple of years. Webmasters who use WordPress should aim to have at least one general SEO plugin. There’s a plugin for optimizing images, scripts, and other media. There’s also a selection of plugins that integrate modern meta-tags and schema markup for best display possibility in the search results pages.