One of the great things about WordPress is that it’s so search engine optimization (SEO) friendly.
But as with all things SEO there’s always room for improvement. In this guide we’ll look at the best SEO plugins for WordPress and how to get the most out of them.
(If you’re new to SEO you should also checkout this guide to improving your search engine rankings.)
Yoast is one of the most popular WordPress plugins out there because it combines ease-of-use with helpful SEO insights.
It allows you to quickly and easily modify meta descriptions and page titles, as well as providing you with keyword and readability analysis of your blog posts.
The free version should be more than enough for beginner bloggers and small businesses, while the premium upgrade should be considered by established bloggers and larger companies.
The original SEO plugin for WordPress, and it still has plenty of fans. It offers support for a huge range of things including Google AMP, Google Analytics and Schema.org markup. (Along with everything else you’d expect such as XML site map generation.)
Now if this seems a bit technical, don’t worry – the plugin’s creator says that beginners don’t have to worry about tinkering with things as the plugin starts working automatically once installed.
More advanced users, on the other hand, will be able to fine-tune things to their liking by making the most of the options available.
When it comes to SEO, speed matters. Slow loading times can lead to Google taking a dim view of your website, and can cost you sales as customers give up on your site and head elsewhere. (For more on loading speed and SEO, read this article.)
W3 Total Cache reduces load speed by reducing the amount of data that needs to be loaded when a page on your site is viewed. (You can read the basics about WordPress caching here.)
Now W3 Total Cache can be a bit complicated to set up, but it can also offer massive benefits for WordPress websites.
If you’ve worked with a WordPress expert while setting up your site, you may want to talk to them about installing and configuring the plugin.
If not, the makers of the plugin offer in-depth support for setting up W3 Total Cache.
Missing pages (404 errors) can really annoy website visitors, and too many of them may negatively impact your SEO.
But telling WordPress that a page is gone and where it should send visitors instead (called a 301 redirect) usually requires knowledge of Apache or Nginx and so is beyond the non-technical WordPress user.
That’s where the redirection plugin comes in. It tracks 404 errors and allows you to easily implement 301 redirects.
A very useful plugin for larger, older WordPress sites that have changed over the years.
You can learn more about 404 page not found and how to fix it in this guide.
Worried that your site might feature broken links, or missing images? Broken link checker is the plugin for you.
It’s easy and straightforward to use and you’ll be sent details of anything that needs fixing.
The only potential drawback is that it can eat up resources, so you may not want to leave it running all the time but instead use it to scan your site periodically.
Google doesn’t want its users being infected with malware, so if it detects a site has been hacked it will do its best to stop people visiting it. This could include removing a site from its search engine results.
That’s one of the reasons a proactive attitude towards website security is so important.
The Wordfence plugin will help protect you site against attacks, reducing the likelihood of malware infecting your site.
However, the free version doesn’t offer complete protection. For that you’ll need to upgrade to premium.
You should also consider GoDaddy Website Security, which offers malware protection and removal.
(Go here if you need to learn what malware is.)
Used correctly these plugins will improve the chances of your WordPress site ranking well in search engines.
If you run into problems with any of them, don’t be afraid to ask the developer(s) or other users for help – like WordPress itself, the best plugins have an active community around them so ask any questions you have on the relevant plugin support page.