While the basic version of WordPress offers a large number of very useful options, anyone looking to take their SEO score to the next level will probably have to use additional tools to make this happen. SEO plugins fit this role perfectly, and their small size and plentiful features make them an invaluable addition to any WordPress site.
To give you an overview of SEO plugins and what they have to offer, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular ones. These are in no particular order, and simply present a quick glance of all the features SEO plugins have to offer.
Do note that you don’t have to use all of these. In fact, it’s much more practical to start off with an all-in-one, user-friendly plugin. After a while, you can fill in any missing features with a more specialized tool.
For a while now, Yoast has been the undisputed number one when it comes to SEO plugins for WordPress. It’s easy to use for beginners and the free version offers a wide array of features, such as:
- Lets you create templates for titles and meta descriptions.
- Webmaster tools verification (Google, Bing, and many others).
- Makes it easier to exclude pages from indexing.
- Guides you through creating an XML sitemap.
The pro version costs $89 per website and adds things like local and video SEO and internal link recommendations, to name a few.
One of the standout features of this plugin is the custom SEO box. Yoast will add this box to every page you post. Here you can optimize your post title and add a slug URL and meta description. It will also give you an overview of your post’s SEO performance in relation to the target keywords and suggest ways you can improve it.
This feature is also the biggest downside of Yoast. Many beginners will try and make sure they are ‘in the green’ for every suggestion Yoast makes. What they forget is that this feature is still pretty basic, and can encourage things like keyword stuffing.
While it can be useful to look over the suggestions it gives, you should still use your best judgment over which ones you choose to implement. Because of this, it’s much more useful to focus on the readability portion of the overview and improve your SEO score through high-quality content writing.
Even though it’s nowhere as well-known as Yoast, an argument could be made that Rank Math is perhaps the better SEO plugin of the two. Only the free version is available at the moment, but it offers a whole host of features, many of which other plugins like Yoast and All in One reserve for the pro version.
Rank Math is also very light-weight and won’t bring down your WordPress performance. Some of the other all-in-one solutions tend to bloat and hog resources as a consequence of the sheer number of features available, but Rank Math is not one of them. It also offers a preview of your WordPress pages on social media like Facebook and Twitter.
If you are considering using Rank Math, you should also know that it comes with a handy migration wizard, so any changes you made with another SEO plugin will be integrated from the get-go.
All in One SEO Pack
Another popular SEO plugin with a comprehensive list of features, All in One SEO Pack is both effective and beginner-friendly. Some of the features it includes are:
- Integration for Google Analytics
- Free integration for WooCommerce
- Support for canonical URLs
- XML sitemap
There is also a pro version, coming in at $79 for one website per year. It features advanced support, SEO for custom taxonomies, video SEO and many other options.
As an alternative to Yoast within the all-in-one range of SEO plugins, it holds its own pretty well. It has roughly the same features as other plugins but is very lightweight and offers things like WooCommerce support for free, where other plugins might charge for it. Another useful feature is that it doesn’t start off with all of the options turned on. This will both increase your WordPress performance and allow you to customize your SEO suite.
Unlike the other entries, SEMRush isn’t a plugin, but rather a standalone toolkit. It is one of the most comprehensive SEO tools on this list, covering almost every area of SEO. This includes analytics, content SEO, keywords, and backlinks.
It’s primarily aimed at professionals such as bloggers, marketing experts, and businesses. Because of this, it doesn’t really have a free version. The most affordable variant comes in at $99.95 per month, although you can get a free trial for any version. One could even argue that it’s priced in such a way as to present a viable alternative to hiring an SEO firm.
Aside from the usual suite of features, SEMRush also offers tools that will help you monitor the ads on your website, analyze your market niche, and compare your domain with others in the industry. It also leans heavily on the content side of SEO, offering a writing assistant for blog posts.
As an alternative to SEMRush, as another standalone tool, Ahrefs shares many of the same features and options. The pricing starts at $99 per month, with the option of trying the suite out for a week costing $7.
Just as SEMRush excels in content SEO, Ahrefs focuses heavily on backlink analysis. You can use it to see which sites link back to your competitors, so you can reach out to those sites and build off-page SEO.
Ahrefs also allows for a detailed content overview, easily finding duplicate content on your pages. It can also help identify content you haven’t covered, but your competition has. You can use this information to plan out your blog posts and make sure you rank for relevant topics.
Google SEO Plugins
Ok, we’re cheating a bit here by including more than one plugin, but if you want to make sure your SEO rankings are at the top, Google is your best source of insight.
One useful tool to take note of is Google Keyword Planner. It’s free to use, and it will suggest keywords you can include in your posts based on difficulty, number of results and search volume.
Another useful plugin is Google Site Kit. While you can see all the information it provides on the actual website, it is still useful if you want an overview of Google Analytics, Google Search Console, AdSense, and PageSpeed Insights on your dashboard.
Finally, we have Google Analytics by Monsterinsights. It is easy to install and will provide Google Analytics results in a more manageable format. It can also help you optimize SEO for WooCommerce.
Broken Link Checker
Moving on to more specialized plugins, Broken Links Checker does exactly what it says on the tin. It helps you search your website for broken links and lets you fix them without editing the page.
Broken Link Checker will also run in the background while you’re working with WordPress, allowing you to fix broken links in real-time. It also makes fixing links easier by allowing you to fix them in bulk.
Broken Link Checker is completely free to use. Do mind that, if you already have one of the more comprehensive plugins we mentioned above, you might not need this one, as many of them already have a link checking tool.
As of 2010, website loading speed has become one of the more important factors for SEO ranking on Google. Shortpixel will help you in this department by optimizing images on your website.
Once you install the plugin, you can choose one of the three settings offered (lossy, glossy, and lossless), and Shortpixel will do a bulk compression of all the images on your site. It supports JPG, GIF, PNG, and PDF formats.
The creators describe Shortpixel as a ‘freemium’ plugin, with the free version coming with 100 image compressions per month. If you need more, you can either choose a monthly subscription plan (starting at $4.99) or pay a one-time fee for a fixed number of additional images (starting at $9.99 for 10,000 images).
Rel Nofollow Checkbox
A small but useful plugin, Rel Nofollow Checkbox adds a simple checkbox when inserting links.
All in One Schema Rich Snippets
The term ‘rich snippets’ refers to the additional text under the page link on Google search results. These can take the form of images, a short description or ranking, and offer more information besides the basic page title and link.
Since they are a contributing factor to SEO ranking, using All in One Schema Rich Snippets is a quick and easy way to include rich snippets in your page description. This will also make your pages easier to share on social media since the posts will offer a more detailed summary of the page.
Optimizing your website for SEO might seem daunting at first, but with the right set of tools, all it takes is a little time and effort. We hope that the list above helped you find the right SEO plugin (or a combination thereof) for your website.