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What Are the Best SEO Plugins for WordPress?

Paul Hudson July 13, 2016

 

One of the most commonly asked questions within the SEO community is “What are the best SEO plugins for WordPress?” There isn’t actually a definitive answer as each website has different needs and requirements. There are of course some obvious choices, but there are also other things that need to be taken into consideration as well.

Possible Negatives Of Plugins

Every plugin you install will in some way alter how your website runs. That, after all, is the point of the plugin, and unfortunately, all plugins are not created equally. 99 times out of a hundred when there is an issue with a WordPress site, a rogue plugin will be the culprit.

So, think carefully about which plugins you are planning to install, and then install them one at a time, and check their reliability before adding another one. There is always the danger of conflict between plugins and If one plugin is incompatible with another, this slow but steady method of checking compatibility will allow you to find the culprit much more quickly.

Having said all that, plugins are a really good way to make life easier and provided you do a quality check along with the appropriate research then you can really improve your site’s SEO. Listed below are our top choices for SEO plugins, some paid and some free. It goes without saying that the paid ones will generally be of better quality, and will certainly be updated on a more regular basis, but that isn’t to say that some of the free plugins won’t do a fantastic job.

Free Plugins

WordPress SEO by Yoast – This particular plugin is the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress, and there are many benefits to using it. This plugin is a virtual treasure chest of SEO goodness and includes amongst other things the best way to optimize your website including an XML sitemap.

This plugin keeps on working hard for you daily by analyzing each post you create just prior to publication. This means you can ensure you are doing everything properly before you hit the publish button. With the increasing importance of web 2.0 sites, particularly social media, this plugin will also help you manage that aspect of your site, another huge benefit. Considering the cost, this plugin is a brilliant addition to any site, and certainly the best free SEO plugin.

All in One SEO Pack – The world would be a very boring place if everyone liked the same things, and while a lot of people swear by WordPress SEO by Yoast, there is an equally vociferous following for this plugin. It’s designed with the beginner in mind, although there are plenty of options for expansion, it’s the kind of plugin that can grow with you. Advanced users have plenty of options to change and tweak and in a lot of instances the choice comes down to which user interface you personally prefer. There is actually very little difference in the end result that either of these plugins will give you, and both are excellent.

WP Social SEO Booster – Whilst WordPress SEO by Yoast will start off your social media optimization, this plugin focuses 100% on the social media aspect, and actually works in conjunction with WordPress SEO. This free plugin is like rocket fuel for your social media needs and is certainly a worthy addition to your site.

SEO by SQUIRRLY – This plugin is another that integrates and plays nicely with plugin number 1. It essentially marks your content and checks that it is SEO friendly, and just as important, human -friendly. This plugin will literally give you the green light when your posts are perfectly optimized for SEO purposes. For the statistic enthusiasts amongst us, you can also see your SEO stats, and perform a weekly audit.

Paid Plugins

As your skill set improves and your knowledge grows, the time will come when you want to step up your SEO tactics, and this is when you need to consider paying for your plugins. While the free ones will perform a more than satisfactory job, they simply don’t have the resources invested in them comparatively. These are our top two paid recommendations.

SEOPressor – This fantastic plugin in at version 5 at the time of writing and really is the plugin of choice for the SEO professional. This plugin includes an over optimization check. The search engines do not like you using a keyword too often, particularly if it is an attempt to rank for that phrase.

They are likely to penalize your site if they believe this to be the case, but with SEOPressor, you will be alerted to any instance of over optimization prior to posting your articles. This one feature on its own is quite invaluable.

Link Patrol – Your linking strategy is a very important part of your SEO process. Your link juice is key, and it’s important to know exactly where your links are pointing. This paid plugin allows you to easily scan all of your outgoing links within seconds, review the results, and then take the appropriate action based on its findings.

You can change those links to ‘do not follow’ for instance, or even remove the links to certain undesirable domains. This is a fantastic plugin, that can drastically improve your SEO while saving you time and effort chasing down links. The whole process is significantly less resource intensive than the free plugins that offer a similar functionality, and website response times can have a drastic effect on your website ranking.

The thing to remember with all plugins is that they have to add value to your site. If a plugin provides a wonderful service but increases your sites load time drastically, then in our opinion that plugin is not worthwhile. By all means test different plugins, certain people prefer the layout of one plugin over the other, and for a plugin to perform at its best you need to understand the various options fully.

Just remember that organic traffic from the search engines is the lifeblood of your internet business. Time spent learning how to get the most out of these plugins is a serious investment in your business, that can and will pay off over time. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and push the boundaries, but also remember that with every new plugin you add there’s a chance you’ll cause an adverse reaction to your other plugins.

In Conclusion

There is no doubting the benefits of SEO plugins to your business and websites. There, however, is no one size fits all plugin, and the main factors you should consider is how easy is the interface to work with, how compatible the plugin is with others, and if you feel it’s worth spending money on the premium version. As with anything, the more familiar you become with a certain plugin, the more beneficial it becomes. They certainly will give your website an lift with the search engines.