If you haven’t mastered the world of SEO, you’re not alone. It’s a field that takes some practice, and with every Google update there is always something new to take in. Luckily, there are quite a few SEO plugins out there to make this part of website ownership a bit easier. Read our guest blog post for 6 great SEO plugins for WordPress.
You’ve got to love the versatility of WordPress. There is so much that this free software allows us to do. Some businesses have been entirely built upon WordPress. Come to think about it, guess what Search Engine Journal uses as its content management system?
Okay, let’s focus a little bit, as talking about everything WP can do is not really practical in a single post. In this post, we will be talking about 6 plugins you can use to make your WordPress blog or site even more SEO-friendly than it is out-of-the-box.
All plugins discussed in this post are compatible with the latest version of WordPress to date (WordPress 3.9.1).
Plugin #1: WordPress SEO by Yoast
This plugin allows you to actually see how your web page will look like in the SERPs. This means that you can adjust things like a title that’s too long, or a not compelling enough description.
It also makes sure to remind you to put your keyword in your title, description and as an alt tag if you have an image. You also gain the ability to further customize sections that you usually can’t, like the categories, taxonomy archives and tags.
This plugin can also create an XML sitemap for your website, and notifies Google and Bing that you have one. In addition to this SEO benefit of giving the search engines an actual map of your website, it can also be used by human readers as it uses XSL style sheets, making it easy on the eyes.
It could take an entire article to talk about all the features of this plugin; it has no less than 10 other features!
Rating: 4.7/5, downloads: 11,000,000+
Link to plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/
Plugin #2: All in One SEO Pack
It’s similar to Yoast’s plugin. Some people trust it more because it’s been around for longer. Some prefer its less cumbersome menu (while others would argue that simpler also means less features).
If you are a complete newbie, this is the plugin you should probably go for. As its description says:
For beginners, you don’t even have to look at the options, it works out-of-the-box. Just install.
Ratings: 3.9/5, downloads: 18,000,000+
Link to plugin: http://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/
Plugin #3: Google Sitemap
This sweet plugin automatically creates a Sitemap file for your website after opening it. It also adds this sitemap to your Google Webmaster Tools and push the data from your website there.
That’s it. A plugin doesn’t have to be complicated to be useful. Remember, plugins were meant to make our lives easier!
Note: Plugins 1 & 2 above do generate an XML sitemap for you, but this one actually links it to your Webmaster Tools.
Ratings: 4.8/5, downloads: 580,000+
Link to plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-sitemap-plugin/
Plugin #4: Lightbox Plus and NextGen Gallery
We’ve decided to write about these two plugins together because they can really work in synergy to give your website that professional edge that corporate websites seem to have.
Lightbox Plus Colorbox
This plugin allows visitors to view photos in a larger format without actually leaving the current page. It can also be used to display videos or forms. Its lightweight nature allows your website to load faster than if you were to put the original-sized image directly on your page, and this contributes to your on-page SEO.
Ratings: 4.2/5, downloads: 1,000,000+
Link to plugin:http://wordpress.org/plugins/lightbox-plus/
From the plugin’s page:
“NextGEN Gallery is the most popular WordPress gallery plugin, and one of the most popular WordPress plugins of all time, with over 10 million downloads.”
These are some impressive credentials! This gives you a lightweight option to have a gallery on your website. It works beautifully with Lightbox Plus.
Ratings: 3.9/5, downloads: 10,000,000+
Link to plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/nextgen-gallery/
Plugin #5: W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache
Both these plugins offer the same features, but they use slightly different technologies. From the reviews all over the web, it seems that W3 Total Cache is more suitable for advanced users while beginners prefer the ease-of-use of WP Super Cache.
W3 Total Cache
This is a highly configurable (overwhelming for some users) plugin that increases server performance, reduces download times and actually does much more. Oh and of course, better performance and fast-loading pages are always a plus in terms of SEO. Among its users are AT&T, Mashable.com, and Yoast himself!
It claims at least 10x improvement in overall site performance if configured properly, and it supports extensions for WordPress SEO and CouldFlare, and it works with every major Content Delivery Network.
Ratings: 4.5/5, downloads: 3,500,000+
Link to plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total-cache/
WP Super Cache
SP Super cache has the same functions as W3 Total Cache, i.e. it’s meant to boost your website’s performance and decrease page load times. However, they do differ in terms of the technologies they use behind.
This little tool might not be the most highly configurable, but it does look like it’s the most simple to get started with quickly. It also supports the use of CDNs.
Ratings: 4.2/5, downloads: 5,800,000+
Link to plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-super-cache/
Plugin #6: Simple URLs
This plugin doesn’t show that it is compatible with WordPress 3.9.1, but it actually is! That’s probably because the coding behind is not dependent on WordPress itself, but on how the server behind it processes requests.
Anyway, this plugin is a URL management system which allows you to turn ugly affiliate links into nice ones, as well as do other redirects and track your outbound links.
What does it have to do with SEO at all? By adding a Disallow: /go/ to your robots.txt file, you automatically stop your website’s authority to leak to the URLs that you redirect to.
Ratings: 4.6/5, downloads: 39,000+
Link to plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/simple-urls/
We hope you like this list of 6 WordPress plugins for SEO (well, more than 6!). We tried to cover plugins that both beginners and advanced users can use. Let us know what you think in the Comments section below, and feel free to tell us what plugins you use on your website!This guest article is a work of Sameer Panjwani, founder of Mondovo, an all-in-one tool to gain useful insight to your website’s SEO, Social & Analytical aspects.