WordPress is the most popular open-source content management system (CMS) that is used by mostly every blogger. When it comes to the blogging platform, most of the blogging site owners recommend WordPress as their first choice, and there is nothing that WordPress can’t do. The default WordPress comes with basic functionality and if you want to add some advanced features, then here WordPress Plugins for SEO come.
If you are using WordPress first time, then you might ask a question, “What is a WordPress plugin?” It is fairly a common question, and here I am going to define it more accurately “what does a WordPress Plugin mean?”
“In human term, WordPress plugins are just like apps which improve the functionality of the smartphone. Similarly, WordPress plugins offer additional functionality and new features to the WordPress site. Basically, these are some kind of dynamic code that is specifically designed to meet the requirements of missing components of the WordPress site.”
There will be various paid and free WordPress plugins available, you can choose as per your requirements, and budget. The quality of each WordPress plugin may vary, some plugins can slow your website or can also enhance the performance of your website.
Consider, you’ve built your WordPress website or any kind of website, added high-quality content, and launched it for your target audience. Now, the question arises “Is your website SEO friendly?” If your answer is ‘no’ then you are missing great opportunities for organic website traffic and conversion. Now, you might ask:
# How to make a WordPress website SEO friendly?
In order to get tons of traffic on your website, then search engine optimization (SEO) should be your next step. SEO is an on-going process, but probably, WordPress is having plenty of SEO tools to help you to do it efficiently and strategically. Again, the question arises, “Which WordPress plugin will work for SEO in 2020?” That’s exactly why I have gathered the best WordPress plugins for SEO and in 2020 you can’t afford to avoid search engine optimization. The following are the best and most useful plugins for a WordPress site to make your site SEO friendly:
- Yoast SEO Plugin
- Rank Math
- All in One SEO Pack
- W3 Total Cache
- Broken Link Checker
- WP Smush
- Wordfence Security
- Really Simple SSL
Yoast SEO Plugin
Yoast SEO plugin is one of the most popular options and most widely used SEO plugin for the WordPress website. Most WordPress site owners recommend Yoast SEO plugin because it is free and offers an extensive range of features to optimize your website from SERP preview to XML sitemap creation. If you don’t have much technical knowledge then opting for this plugin will be the best option for you because you don’t need to code your sitemap on your own.
Yoast SEO makes you able to find and avoid redundant or duplicate content so that Google won’t penalize you. It also offers you template for title and meta-description that helps you to make your page more impressive and appealing in SERPs.
Yoast SEO offers on-page SEO features that will suggest you how to add your target keyword, have you used your keyword enough time or more than expected time on the page, how you can best optimize your title, Meta description, and URLs for the keyword. Basically, it guides you how you can manage each element for best SEO practice.
Key features of Yoast SEO
- Create and manage your XML sitemap
- It’ll have full control over site breadcrumbs
- To avoid duplicate content, set canonical URLs
- The snippet preview shows you how your page or post will look in the search results even on mobile devices.
You can install it for free on your WordPress site to access all of its features and benefits. However, if you want to go for the paid plugin, then also you can buy and it will give you more upgrades like:
- Page review on different platforms
- 24/7 support
- Will not show you an advertisement
- Redirect management options
- Internal linking suggestions
Rank Math is a relatively new offering, and it allows you to optimize your website for both search engines and social media. It is one of the popular and fast-growing user-friendly WordPress plugins, and it is integrated with Google Search Console, so you can see all important information from the administrative dashboard in WordPress.
It also helps you to tell you which keywords you are ranking for, how many impressions you get for various searches. This plugin is optimized for speed so that your site’s speed wouldn’t be affected and help to make your website fast. Some additional features offered by rank math are written below:
- Offers built-in suggestions from Google
- 404 monitoring that informs you where users see errors
- Easy to set up, and configuration wizard
- Offers options of optimizing unlimited keywords
- SEO for WooCommerce sites
- Internal linking suggestions
- XML sitemaps
- Rich snippets support is added which offers you different types of snippets such as Article, Recipes, Events, Video, Product, and local business, etc.
- It provides you with an option to automatically incorporate alt or title tags to images that are missing
All in One SEO Pack
After Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack is mostly recommended by WordPress website owners, as its name explains it all. The main and biggest advantage of using this plugin is that you don’t require any experience to get started. All you need to do is read and put the right data into the right field, that’s it.
It offers comprehensive tools that help to improve your website and allows you to easily add SEO title and Meta tags, XML sitemaps, Open Graph Meta Tags and many more.
It is recommended that if you have a basic blog or startup, then you should opt for a free version of All in One SEO Pack, it will fulfil your requirements. Even advanced WordPress users use this free plugin. If you want to perform on-page SEO while considering the knowledge graph, schema, and AMP, then choosing this plugin is the best option for you.
Key features of All in One SEO Pack
- You can easily integrate it with WooCommerce
- Automatically generate and submit sitemaps to Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other popular search engines
- Maximize your web presence
- It enables you to have access to different settings through a feature manager
- Advanced canonical URLs
- Helps to redirect attachment pages to a parent post
- It has built-in API so that other plugins or themes can access and extend the functionality
- It automatically generates meta tags
- It automatically optimizes your titles for Google and other search engines
W3 Total Cache
As we know site speed matters a lot, and it is a huge ranking factor for search engines such as Google because they want to get sites that satisfy the user’s query while providing efficient site speed to website users. This is the reason why W3 Total Cache is popular among plenty of WordPress plugins, as it improves site speed via caching, minimizing, and integration of CDN so that you can reduce download time.
Key features of W3 Total Cache
- AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) support
- Offers Secure Socket Layer (SSL) support
- Caching of (minified and compressed) posts and pages in memory or on CDN or disk
- Caching of database objects, search results pages, and fragments on disk or in memory
- Minification of posts, feeds and pages
- Minimizes page load time
- Enhance site performance
Broken Link Checker
If your site is having broken links, then it can have a bad impact on your users, and broken links also slow down a search engine crawler’s ability to crawl your website and rank your content. If you are running a blogging website, then it is recommended to check your site time to time if there is any broken link and try to fix it. Google algorithm will penalize you if your website is containing any broken link, so it is recommended to use Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin to identify broken link not only in posts and pages but also in comments and also helps to identify missing images and redirects.
It detects any broken link and makes you able to remove, dismiss, or edit the issue with just a few clicks. It is not only great for SEO but also important for the user experience.
Key features of Broken Link Checker
- Detect broken links in your posts, comments, pages, the blogroll, and custom field
- Identifies links that don’t work, redirects and missing images
- Helps to prevent search engines to follow broken links
- Highly configurable
- Links can be edited directly from the plugin’s page instead of manually updating each post
- Enables you to search links by URLs, anchor text and so on
- Notifies you through either by dashboard or email
With the help of Redirection WordPress Plugin, you can keep track of 404 errors and manage 301 redirections. It is one of the trusted and oldest WordPress plugins, which boost SEO, and minimizes errors and often it is considered as one of the best WordPress redirect plugins.
For SEO strategy, 301 redirects are important elements and enable you to easily redirect those URLs with Redirection.
Key features of Redirection
- It is easy to implement 301 redirects and keep track of 404 errors
- Automatically create a new redirect when permalinks changed
- Query parameter handling
- With the help of Redirection statistic, you will be able to know how many times a redirect has occurred, the time it last happened etc.
WP Smush is used for on-page SEO, and image optimization is an important step in the on-page SEO process, but often it is missed out by many. The image size impacts on the page load time, as a result, you may miss the opportunity of getting higher ranking in SERPs. This is where WP Smush helps you to optimize images by using various compression techniques. When you upload any image, it automatically compresses the image size, and it can also help you to optimize existing image files.
You can manage image size by giving your image height and width, and your image size will compress or scale down to more reasonable sizes without compromising the quality and look of the image.
Key features of WP Smush
- Up to 50 images can be optimized with one click
- Set image height and width and large images will be compressed at a reasonable size
- It can quickly detect the incorrect image size that is slowing down your site
- It will also optimize those images which are not located in the media library
- It can help you to optimize all your images up to 5 MB in size forever
Wordfence is one of the most trusted and free WordPress plugins, and it has a wide range of security features that help you to protect your website by including malware scanner and endpoint firewall which scans core files, plugins and themes for malware, backdoors, bad URLs, SEO spam, code injection and malicious redirects.
If you are looking for a premium version of Wordfence, then also you can go for it, as it offers real-time threat intelligence to protect your WordPress site. It also helps you to identify and blacklist suspicious IPs in real-time.
Key features of Wordfence Security
- It is freely available for as many sites as you need
- Two-factor authentication
- It monitors live traffic or visits by viewing Google crawl activity, website visitors, bots, logins and logouts
- It monitors and alerts you about breached password usage so that you can immediately create a new and strong password
- With limiting failed login attempts, it protects you from brute force attacks
- It runs on your own server rather than on cloud
- It blocks attackers by IP or by building advanced rules based on hostname, IP range, referrer and user agent
Really Simple SSL
All of us know that Google prefers HTTPS over HTTP and gives a slight ranking boost. Having an HTTPS website, it will ensure that your website visitors are connected to a secure site and it helps you to build trust and confidence in your brand. HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, and if your website is not using HTTPS then it is a time to redirect your HTTP website to HTTPS.
Really Simple SSL WordPress plugin is the easiest way to switch from HTTP to HTTPS with a couple of clicks.
Key features of Really Simple SSL
- Incoming requests will redirect to HTTPS
- Your site URL and home URL will change to HTTPS
Key features of Really Simple SSL Pro
- Mixed content scan, and let you know what you should do if your website doesn’t contain green lock yet
- You’ll get an email when your SSL certificate is about to expire
Key features of AMP
- Full-site AMP experience: Enables full-site AMP experience without compromising the flexibility of the platform or accuracy of the content.
- AMP content: With AMP content in place, you will be able to offer better user experience to your mobile users and you can get higher search result ranking.
- CSS tree shaking: It automatically removes unused CSS and gives priority to all important theme stylesheet and leave less important ones to be executed.
- AMP stories: AMP plugins allow creating, editing, and publishing AMP stories in WordPress.
# What should you consider before installing or choosing a plugin?
When you start reading any article to know what WordPress plugins are and how you can drive more traffic on your website through SEO plugins, then you’ll come across the article where you can get several dozen tools.
You’ll read about various SEO plugins, but the truth is you don’t need plenty of SEO tools instead you can use one WordPress SEO plugin on your website to avoid plugin conflict.
The following are some important things you need to consider while choosing any plugin for your WordPress website:
Before installing or downloading any plugin on your website make sure that plugin is compatible with your WordPress version.
Check conflict between plugins
Sometimes, it happens when your plugin doesn’t work properly. It may be due to conflict between any other installed plugins. So, check by deactivating the older plugins and activate only new plugin. If now this plugin works properly that means its functionality is getting conflicted by some other plugin.
It is a misconception that if you download too many plugins on your website, then it can make your website work slow, or it can affect your website speed. But, it is all about coding that means a badly coded plugin will slow down the speed of your website for sure.
Free or premium
It is not a bad thing to use the free plugin, if you are getting features almost similar to the paid plugin, then go for a free plugin. If you already know that you need new updates and support, then you should go for a paid one. Premium plugins offer a warranty as well as full customer support.
If you think choosing a free WordPress plugin for SEO will be a bad choice, then you are wrong, not all free plugins are bad. If you have any doubt or query then you can take help from advisors of WordPress forum as they are available to help you out. All you need to do is leave your query, then they will answer you in a short period of time. Google and other search engines also can help you out if you are facing any problem related to choosing plugins or other.
Ratings and Reviews
Before downloading any plugin make sure you have checked its ratings and reviews given by the customers who have used it. You can try plugins as many as you want until you get your perfect one. Also, check how many downloads have been there for that particular plugin.
# Why SEO plugins are important for a WordPress site?
As we know SEO helps to boost the ranking of the website, and it is the process of optimizing your website to drive more traffic on your website. The following are some important points that explain why SEO plugins are important for a WordPress site:
Permalink is a kind of URL of your page or posts. WordPress contains different types of methods to create permalink. By default, these permalinks will look like:
This is not a standard permalink, and it is complex to read for search engines. And if we create permalink like this:
The above example is more readable and accessible for both search engines as well as visitors. Simply, WordPress allows you to create customize permalink for your post or page. With the help of an SEO plugin, you can get the right permalink for your page.
Use of SEO friendly titles
Title tags are a very important element of any post or page as it directly impacts on search engines. Since the search engine’s main focus is on the initial words of the titles. To get better ranking of your website, it is necessary to use unique and impressive titles.
Distinct Meta Description
You can see the Meta description under the page link within search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo or any other search result page. It is a simple snippet that tells a brief introduction of any posts or web pages. To rank better, obviously, you need to use unique and SEO friendly Meta description.
XML sitemap enables you to tell Google and other search engine bots about your posts and web pages that exist on your website. With the help of SEO plugins, it automatically creates XML sitemap and informs Google and Bing etc. of its existence.
Link to related posts
If you link with your older posts then it makes easy for search engines to crawl your previous or older posts easily.
Image optimization is also important, so don’t avoid it. It is an important factor for good SEO. With image optimization, you can create and engage relevant image titles and alt text as it can help you to get better ranking and visibility on Google and other search engines. When you upload any image, then WordPress makes it easy to add title and alt text to your image.
Your content must be unique and impressive, you should not use other website’s content because it will negatively impact on your ranking. If Google finds that your content is copy-pasted, then your website will never get a higher ranking in search engines. So, try to use your own content.
# Why WordPress is Good CMS for SEO?
Most of the users often ask the question, “Is WordPress good CMS for SEO?” The answer is yes! WordPress tends to rank well on Google, and it is not a coincidence. There are various reasons why WordPress is a good CMS for SEO:
Customization of metadata is easy
WordPress does not only offer you a default site template, but it enables you to customize each page of your site SEO friendly. You can create unique title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs for landing pages or any blog pages that will be optimized for the keyword. You can also use other plugins depending on the type of your website.
Fast site speed
When Google or any other search engine develops ranking for the website, then they consider website speed, and it can be beneficial for WordPress users. WordPress sites have fast load time, and it can even make faster via certain plugins. Therefore, it is important to consider your website speed so that you can have a better ranking on the search engine.
Plugins help to improve site functionality
You can improve your site’s functionality by using appropriate plugins for your website. There are various plugins that specifically developed to boost SEO. You can choose any plugin which I have mentioned above as per your needs.
Easy to crawl for search engines
WordPress not only comes with a customizable website, but it also offers a simple framework and link structure that is shared among different other websites. Search engines know these types of websites very well, and it is easy for Google’s crawlers to find your page, index those pages and rank them.
Optimization of WordPress site
Now, you all are aware of the features of a WordPress site that how it makes your site SEO friendly. But you should know how to optimize your WordPress site. The first and main thing is to ensure that each page is having a unique title tag and meta description. You can install plugins that can help you to optimize your WordPress site. The important factor is to give crawlers access to the XML sitemap because it can help your pages to show faster in the search index. To track your website visitors and leads, you can set up your site on Google Analytics, and you can also get content ideas from Google Analytics as well.
After reading this article, I hope you’ll get an idea of what you should do for making your WordPress site SEO friendly. It doesn’t mean that you should expert in SEO, here the main point is you should at least use a plugin that can help to boost SEO.
If you are using WordPress site, then you’ll have various plugins, and you can focus on the above SEO plugins so that you can stop wasting time on strategies that won’t work.