Every website owner wants to rank high in the search results. You need the right tools and strategies to get your website noticed on Google.
WordPress SEO plugins can boost SEO efforts, plus augment your site’s security, page loading speed, and overall performance. But how do you tell the difference between plugins that deliver on their claims and those you should avoid?
Choosing the right SEO plugin can make all the difference to your site’s optimization, while bad plugins can negatively impact a website’s search engine effectiveness and performance.
To avoid your site turning into an SEO disaster, you need to understand why you need SEO plugins in the first place. Then we’ll get into nine of the best SEO plugins we recommend for your website.
Why do you need SEO plugins for your WordPress website?
Hosting your WordPress site with a reliable hosting service is a surefire way to boost your site’s speed and SEO rankings. But that’s just the start.
Research shows that 75% of people who use Google Search never go beyond the first page of search results, making it imperative to optimize your site for the SERPs. This is key to getting relevant and organic traffic, and ultimately driving conversions.
Other elements that contribute to excellent performance in the search results include the keywords you use to drive relevant traffic, your understanding of search intent, the size of your image files, and your content’s readability.
This is where the right WordPress SEO plugin can help you. It can bring up backlink information, keyword rankings, and influential stats – tactics that can help improve your rankings. Furthermore, SEO plugins allow you to find pages and posts with high potential, reorganize your website’s structure, fix broken links, conduct a comprehensive SEO audit, and more.
Google processes up to 3.5 billion searches per day, so using proven-effective SEO plugins can effectively optimize your site, while helping you stay ahead of your competitors and increasing your brand’s online visibility.
With an SEO plugin helping to make your optimization tasks quicker, more efficient, and even automated, that frees up time to focus on improving communications and collaboration between your SEO, marketing, and sales teams.
From there, you can implement software with features that allow your team to stay on top of the latest SEO data, implement strategies quickly based on the results, and boost productivity. This will make all the difference when it comes to implementing a successful SEO strategy.
Now you know why you need SEO plugins, and how they can help you enhance SEO performance and implement effective strategies. Here are our top picks when it comes to WordPress SEO plugins for your new website.
The 8 Best SEO Plugins for WordPress
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast is a brilliant, comprehensive plugin that is quite beginner-friendly and provides various SEO features. Here are some of the great features this tool has to offer.
You can easily manage meta descriptions, URLs, page titles and more by using Yoast on WordPress.
With the tool’s user interface, you can create a customized (and optimized) title for your web page, a unique meta description, and an SEO-friendly URL. When enabled, it will give you an SEO report card on your blog posts to help you improve optimization. You can also manage the discoverability of your post or page by switching the robot tags on or off.
Configuration Of Google Search Console
You can authenticate your website with Google Search Console and harness its powerful SEO data by simply copy-pasting some HTML code into the Yoast user interface.
When added through the plugin, your code will be safe from accidental overwrites. This saves you from having to add the code again after modifications to your site code, like theme and WordPress updates that aren’t carefully handled by web developers and SEO specialists.
Automatic XML Sitemap
Sitemaps provide search engines with a list of pages to crawl on your site, and are important for SEO. Yoast has an auto-generated dynamic XML sitemap that gets updated whenever you publish new content on your website.
With the user interface, you can choose to make your website sections more accessible to search engines through the XML sitemap.
Robots.txt is a file that tells search engines which pages they can and can’t crawl. You can change your robots.txt via the Yoast SEO plugin. This is easy to manage via the tool’s user interface, instead of installing, modifying, and then uploading the robots.txt file each time you want to make a change.
Additionally, your robots.txt file is protected from accidental overwrites due to updates to your site theme, WordPress themes, or other plugins.
Want to learn more about Yoast? Check out our guide to Content Optimization Using Yoast SEO!
You can download the Redirection plugin for free from the plugin repository of WordPress. It helps manage your redirects – forced direction from a retired URL to a new one, which prevents visitors from getting a 404 error message.
Instead of hard-coding 301 redirects into the HTACCESS document on your WordPress website, you can manage them through the plugin’s simple user interface right in your WordPress dashboard.
The Redirection plugin is easy to use, receives regular updates, and is secure. Apart from the 301 redirect functionality, the plugin also helps you report errors on other servers, such as broken links (404 errors) including information about how it was able to access the error.
3. Really Simple SSL
Google has recently made significant changes to how visitors access websites using their search engine. Websites with a secure connection (HTTPS) via an SSL certificate will dominate the rankings, while Google doesn’t have to show non-secure sites at all.
Even though you can purchase and configure an SSL certificate through hosting providers, you need to configure the whole domain-recognized setup of the SSL address in WordPress – this is no task for beginners.
Instead of learning to hard-code the HTACCESS file’s configuration, the Really Simple SSL SEO plugin streamlines the process by configuring it in the WordPress interface. You need to download the plugin, make your web domain’s HTTPS version the default address, and the plugin will take care of the rest.
This plugin will also ensure that the encryption behind SSL, and encryption protocols, are being continuously updated to protect them against cyberattacks that are carried out.
4. Easy Table of Contents
A table of contents is great for the user experience, which, in turn, is good for your SEO.
The Easy Table of Contents SEO plugin creates a handy table of contents that readers can use to jump to key content. It also has an automated feature that adds an HTML table into your web pages or web posts, which creates hyperlinks internally within the page.
Rather than hard-coding the links into the Editor, this plugin automatically generates those links specifically based on the content headings that appear on the page. You can configure the style of your table within the plugin’s dashboard settings.
5. WP Super Cache
Page speed is now a critical ranking factor. The WP Super Cache plugin helps you improve web page speed across your site. All you need to do is install the plugin and turn on the caching features. WP Super Cache plugin does the rest.
This plugin lets you test loading speed across multiple web pages on your website, leveraging tools like GTMetrix or Pingdom Tools.
6. WP Internal Link Juicer
The WP Internal Link Juicer plugin is designed to help you optimize your website’s internal link structure. This plugin can automatically link phrases and keywords in your comments and posts with corresponding pages, categories, tags, and posts on your blog.
All in all, it conveniently helps you create internal links while simultaneously avoiding fraudulent SEO practices that can potentially result in hefty penalties.
7. Rank Math
Rank Math is another excellent WordPress SEO plugin that helps you with website content optimization. It provides insights in real-time about your content without requiring you to leave the WordPress dashboard.
You can also optimize meta descriptions and titles with a snippet preview, which reduces the probability of SERP display errors on search engines like Google. The exciting thing about this plugin is that it has been optimized for better speed, so it doesn’t affect your website’s loading speed.
As an added bonus, Rank Math now has IndexNow integration. This means that the plugin quickly alerts search engines to any changes you make: new content, deleted content, redirects, and more. No more waiting weeks or even months for Google to crawl your content!
All your SEO efforts will be wasted if you don’t track your website’s performance and analytics, and that is precisely what MonsterInsights is good for. This WordPress SEO plugin delivers Google Analytics data to your dashboard in a user-friendly interface.
You can see exactly how people search for and engage with your website. Also, it has a content reporting feature that allows you to monitor the most visited pages by audiences on your site.
If Google Analytics has always felt too complex for you, MonsterInsights is a good alternative. It can help you streamline the way you gather and interpret your data without ever needing to log into your Google Analytics account.
Wait, what does translation have to do with SEO? A whole lot! Whether you’re about to go global or you already have an international presence – your website copy impacts SEO for two key reasons:
- Grammar is a ranking factor for Google and other search engines
- Copy impacts the user experience, which in turn impacts SEO through on-page signals
Unless you employ multilingual team members who manually translate your content, you need a reliable translation plugin! One that reflects the way languages are actually spoken, to correctly convey your brand story and offering. We recommend Weglot to all of our clients, as it has the most accurate translations we’ve found so far (and we work with lots of organizations that need Canadian French versions of their pages!).
Be Aware of Harmful WordPress SEO Plugins
WordPress SEO plugins can help boost the visibility and ranking of your website when used correctly. Add them to your WordPress website, configure them to improve the accessibility of your content and URLs, and watch your website’s traffic and SEO rankings improve – often within three months.
With that said, there’s always a risk when you give plugins access to your website. You have many options to choose from, which unfortunately include potentially harmful plugins that might:
- Have easily exploited vulnerabilities
- Be outdated and unsupported
- Be incompatible with your existing plugins or site code (aka break your site!)
- Not have gone through enough testing
- Or in rare cases be a scam created to gain access to your site
That’s why you should always have your website’s developer look into any plugins you’re considering, before you install them.
In order to protect your site, software developer and online marketer Gary Stevens of Hosting Canada recommends choosing a WordPress plugin that will automatically back up your site as well as protect it with the right SSL protection.
“The bottom line is you should never trust the internet not to reach out and capriciously blast your website into cyber oblivion,” says Stevens. “You need a regular backup program, and it should be free. There are plenty of WordPress plugins that can do this automatically behind the scenes with no further action from you than to set it up in the first place.”
Whether you have an eCommerce site, a blog, or something else, one of the best ways to drive “free” targeted traffic to your site is by ensuring it dominates the result page for the right queries. The SEO plugins detailed above will certainly make the job easier. They have been tried and tested by countless webmasters and developers, and proven to achieve stellar results.
With the right plugins and SEO strategies to increase search traffic, there is no reason why your site shouldn’t soar to the top of Google Search – and even get featured at the top in Google Snippets!