The most popular websites receive a majority of their traffic from search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and Baidu. So what’s the secret to achieving high search engine rankings? ( apart from great content ). Your website must be accessible and attractive to the search engines.
So to tackle this little conundrum, WordPress users use plugins designed specifically to tackle search engine optimisation. While this isn’t necessarily essential because WordPress is already pretty optimised for search engines, SEO plugins do tend to go the extra mile.
There are a couple of well rounded Search Engine Optimisation plugins for WordPress that save you from the hassle of optimising every aspect of your website for search engine results. And then there are a few plugins that can be used for altering certain aspects of your website that are vital to ensuring a good search engine result page.
First, let us have a look at the plugins that provide the user with an all-in-one search engine optimisation solution.
Free & Fremium Plugins
1. WordPress SEO
Quite possibly the best SEO plugin for WordPress out there. The plugin has been downloaded over 14.5 million times and has a user rating of 4.7 on a five point scale.
You can use this plugin to write content that looks better on search results. With the snippet preview, you check if your title is too long or too short, whether your description is the right length, etc. So basically in addition to helping your website up the search results page, it can improve click through rates as well.
The plugin’s page analysis feature can be used to check for simple SEO tricks that you may have have forgotten to employ say for example, alt tags for images. The plugin can be used to control which pages of your website are indexed by search engines.
XML sitemaps can be created and then brought to the notice of search engines with this plugin. With WordPress SEO you can make sure that you aren’t outranked by anyone who is scraping your RSS feed. Use breadcrumbs with the plugin’s in built functionality. In addition to all these features, you can edit your .htaccess & robots.txt file and achieve social media integration.
Since this plugin is so widely used, there is an enormous amount of documentation to help you through installing and getting the most of “WordPress SEO”. Check this extensive FAQ section, if you ever have any doubts while using or installing this plugin.
Yoast also offers 2 premium add-ons for their SEO plugin.
2. All in One SEO Pack
All in One SEO Pack is another great plugin that handles all facets of search engine optimisation under one hood. The plugin provides XML sitemap support, Google Analytics support, advanced canonical URLs, generates meta tags automatically and helps optimise your titles for search engine results. This plugin has been downloaded over 20 million times with an average rating of 3.9 on a five point scale.
There is another plugin designed by Foliovision which is a basic version of All in One SEO. This plugin is designed for a WordPress newbie who needs to use SEO to receive better search rankings.
You can download it here.
If you have a difficulty choosing between the above two plugins (WordPress SEO/ All in One SEO), have a look at what Elegant Themes has to say on their website, about the best two plugins on the market for Search Engine Optimisation.
3. SEO Ultimate
Yet another SEO plugin that offers an all-in-one solution for SEO. The plugin is used to rewrite tags, titles to make your SEO better and make it attractive to search engines. The plugin’s features include a deeplink juggernaut, open graph integrator, rich snippet creator, author highlighter, canonicalizer, link mask generator, a permalink tweaker, 404 monitor, meta robot tags editor and much more.
4. Squirrly SEO
An SEO plugin that offers advice on how to create content as content is being is created. You can monitor and audit your website to find the SEO practices that best work for you. You can avoid using copyrighted images. This plugin is advertised as one that doesn’t require an SEO expert to use it effectively.
5. Infinite SEO
A SEO plugin that provides powerful sitemaps, title & meta data optimisation and automatic sitewide linking. The plugin was developed by WPMU.
More details & downloads | Price: $19.60 per month for a year of use
This plugin seems like a great deal for someone looking to construct a large WP site with enormous traffic. The plugin not only satisfies and provides for all the SEO necessities but is also designed to enhance monetisation value of a website. The plugin’s developers react to any changes made to the search algorithms of Google and respond appropriately to ensure that your website is never penalised.
The plugin also features an over-optimisation warning, if your try to mess with SEO far too much. I can not overstate the importance of this feature, especially for someone who might tend to obsess over SEO too much and affect their website negatively.
More details & downloads | Price: $97
7. SEO Plus
Another all in one solution for SEO for WordPress websites. An easy to use plugin with most of the same features as the aforementioned plugins.
More details & downloads | Price: $39
The above plugins try to tackle Search Engine Optimisation for WordPress users with a solution that targets all facets of SEO. But if you are looking specifically to optimise a specific aspect for your website for a better SEO score, there a few plugins to help you with that as well.
8. Remove Query Strings From Static Resources
Use this plugin and make your website faster, the shorter the page load times the more attractive your website becomes to search engines.
9. SEO Friendly Images
The plugin helps add alt tags and title attributes to all images thereby improving your website’s SEO rating.
10. Simple URLs
A simple URL management plugin that helps you edit, create, manage and delete URLs & outbound links on your WP site. This plugin helps avoid any potential permalink conflicts and hence helps prevent any performance issues.
11. Google XML Sitemaps
XML sitemaps help search engines index your website. It creates a website blueprint for search engines and updates your sitemap every time you publish a new post.
More: Social Media SEO
There two pretty good plugins for SEO while sharing your website on social media.
Achieve Better Caching
Search Engines rank pages that load faster higher up on search results. A few of the best free caching plugins!
If you run a small website, one of the free “all in one” SEO plugins should be sufficient. But I do have to warn you of the dangers of over optimisation, in many a website there are far too many plugins jammed in and as a result your website’s load time increases, this affects your website’s SERP negatively. And do try to remember that SEO plugins merely help you along and do not serve as a substitute to good content. So happy writing!
If there’s an awesome SEO plugin that I have missed out, please do let me know in the comments section.
If you must read more about SEO in general and what it necessary to achieve it, in great depth then I’d suggest you read this article titled “The Definitive Guide To Higher Rankings For WordPress Sites” written Joost de Valk, the creator of WordPress SEO.