The following article provides information on the best SEO plugins for WordPress sites and how they can benefit your SEO campaign.
WordPress is the no.1 Content Management System (CMS) for many webmasters around the world. There are currently more than 76 million WordPress-powered websites, including the likes of CNN, TechCrunch and NBC Sports.
One of the main advantages of using WordPress to power your site is the extensive range of 3rd party SEO plugins that have been developed for the platform. The following article will now explain some of the best SEO plugins that you can install on your own site.
Best SEO Plugins for WordPress 2014
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is the world’s most popular WordPress SEO plugin and is completely free to install on your site.
The Yoast SEO Plugin contains everything you need to optimize the content, layout and structure of your site for search engines. It also contains a number of useful features (such as advanced editor) for editing specific sections of your site.
The reason why the Yoast SEO plugin is so popular is that it manages nearly all of the aspects of on-page SEO for your site. For example, it allows you to customise the Page Titles and Meta descriptions of pages and posts as well as insert easy 301 redirects and rel canonicals for individual pages. Finally, the plugin is great for beginners because it provides a simple page analysis tool to check whether you’ve inserted your keywords in your page title, h1 tag, URL, content and Meta description.
Once you’ve installed the Yoast SEO Plugin, it will take you on a easy walkthrough guide of the features that show you how to use it. The plugin also adds navigational breadcrumbs to your site with a simple short code.
The full features of the Yoast SEO plugin includes:
- Posts Titles and Meta Description preview screen
- Advanced SEO editor for pages and posts
- Edit your robots.txt and .htaccess
- 301 redirects
- Canonical URLs
- XML Sitemap
- Robots Meta Configuration (e.g. edit the robots configuration of your site’s categories, tags, author pages and media to index/no-index, follow/nofollow)
- Content Analysis Functionality for optimizing keywords in page title and description
2. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
YARP is a really useful plugin that lets you customize and add related content underneath your posts/pages on a WordPress site. Users can then edit the number and size of thumbnail images to display under your posts for the related content.
The main advantages of installing this plugin is that it helps improve the internal link architecture of your site and helps to increase the user experience (UX) design and page views on your site, which can indirectly help your SEO campaign. It keeps users on your site longer and prevents them bouncing immediately after reading an article. From my own experiences, installing the related posts plugin has had a 5% Click Through Rate (CTR) for the posts at the bottom of the page, which means it has reduced my site’s overall bounce rate by 5%.
The Display Widgets plugin allows you to customize particular widgets on your site to be shown for different pages, categories and custom taxonomies. This is incredibly useful for large WordPress sites (200+ pages) that want to improve the user navigation and SEO architecture of the site.
The plugin works by adding check boxes to each widget in the admin. Users can then customize widgets to either be shown or excluded on particular pages, posts, categories and custom taxonomies.
For example, you might want to display a special SEO offer on the SEO pages and categories of your site, but exclude them for everything else. This plugin allows you to do just that.
W3 Total Cache is the ultimate WordPress Performance Optimization (WPO) plugin. It is designed to improve the page speed and user experience of your site.
The plugin works by allowing you to cache pages and objects of your site (improves user experience for users), increasing sever performance, reducing download times and optimising page rendering. According to the plugin’s website, it can lead to 10x improvement in overall site performance once installed.
The reason this plugin is so important for SEO is that Google has begun to start using Website and Page Load Speed as main factors in their ranking signals. This means a slow loading or badly performance site could be causing ranking drop issues and hurt your Panda score.
Overall, the W3 Total Cache plugin is really easy to install and is recommended by sites such as Mashable.com, AT&T and MattCutts.com (head of Google’s Search Quality Team)
5. WP Smush.it
WP Smush.it is an image optimization tool that automatically compresses and optimizes images on your site. The plugin works by stripping unnecessary Meta Data and unused colors from the image file, as well as optimizing JPEG compression and converting certain GIFs to indexed PNGs.
The benefit of the plugin is that it optimizes all images to speed up the load speed of your site.
Once the Smush.it plugin is activated, it will automatically compress all new images added to the media. You can also run a bulk smush.it in the admin in order to optimize all images in your media library (this process takes a total of 20-30 mins to complete based on a library of 200+ images).