Sure thing! A fast website, a good hosting company, and great content can attract readers. But did you ever think of that dreadful thing called Search Engine Optimization?
You need to optimize your content so that search engines like them and put them in front of users or visitors.
Don’t forget that your competitor might already be doing that to score a good rank in SERPs or Search Engine Result Pages. If your content is not showing up in SERPs, there is something wrong with your SEO efforts (assuming you already have great content).
SEO isn’t a simple thing. There are many aspects to deal with. From optimizing your content to capture user intent, to ensuring strategic use of keywords – there’s a lot that you need to do.
Some of these things are quite technical. For example, you need to ensure that you have an ideal keyword density, proper readability (ease of reading), internal and external links, and more!
Focusing on these nitty-gritties can be, at times, quite overwhelming. A helping hand is almost always desirable. This is where the SEO plugins come in.
These plugins can help you understand whether you have overdone the keyword density, or you have not achieved the desired density. They can help you by informing about missing alt text for images, missing internal and external links, and more.
However, never forget that an SEO plugin is not everything. It should be used as a technical aid, and never considered as the ultimate guru. A plugin is not a human being. It is a piece of code that plays by the rules set by some.
Sometimes, your content needs to go astray. Sometimes, you need to shred some rules to achieve your intended purpose. So, trust your instincts while keeping these plugins as only a technical aid that can spot and highlight the technical problems your content might be having!
Here I am going to list the best SEO plugins for WordPress and give a short overview of their features.
In case you are in a hurry, here is the quick list that you might want to go through before you leave:
- Yoast SEO
- The SEO Framework
- SEO Squirrly
- All-in-One Schema Rich Snippets
- Broken Link Checker
Okay, now that you know the list of best SEO plugins, let’s go through the features that each option has to offer.
Are you ready?
Yoast SEO is the go-to SEO plugin for millions of websites globally. With over 5+ million downloads from the plugin repository, and over 25,000 five star ratings, Yoast has built quite a fan following.
It is exceptionally good in spotting on-page technical SEO issues, and even throws in a brilliant content analysis tool that can spot excessive usage of passive voice. It also analyzes the content and gives it a reading score, that is, it tells you how easy or difficult it is for people to understand what you write.
The support system is quite robust, and users can get support through their active forum. The developers also maintain a well-document blog with SEO courses available to address the needs for rookies, moderately experienced, and highly experienced people.
The plugin is freemium plugin, which means that you can use the free version of the plugin, or decide to opt for the premium version that gives access to few additional advanced features, and access to a dedicated and responsive customer support.
The plugin will allow you to add meta description, meta title, snippet, FAQ schema, and more.
- Analyzes the content to find out how well it has been optimized for the focus keyword.
- Allows adding multiple keywords (a premium feature) so that you can optimize your content to rank for multiple keywords.
- Allows you to see exactly how your Google search results will look like. You can adjust your meta description, meta title, etc. to score better.
- The readability checker will tell you how easy or difficult it is to read the content. It will tell you whether you need to break your content using headers and subheadings, minimize the usage of passive voice, etc.
- It can detect whether there is duplicate content on the page or not.
- The plugin is updated frequently.
The interface of Yoast SEO plugin is minimalistic, and the configuration process is very simple. The free version of the plugin is very powerful, and you truly don’t need to upgrade to the premium version. The downside of the plugin is that it consumes more memory compared to alternatives like RankMath.
RankMath developers positioned the plugin as the Swiss Army Knife of SEO tools. And they are right! This plugin allows taking complete control of technical on-page SEO with the power of multiple plugins integrated into a single one.
This extremely lightweight plugin allows managing on-page SEO for products, posts, pages, and various other taxonomies. You can control everything from no-follow to no-archive and no-index meta tags. You can set globally applicable settings, or you can control things on a page or a post level.
One of the most powerful features of RankMath is its tight integration with Google Search Console, allowing you to get essential information right in your WordPress dashboard.
The plugin throws in various features like Redirections, 404 monitor, XML sitemap, local SEO, rich snippets, internal link building, automated image SEO, etc., making it one of the most powerful SEO plugins to exist today.
- Includes an SEO analysis tool for pages and posts that run tests based on 40 different factors.
- There is a beautiful XML sitemap module. It is even capable of pinging search engines whenever you make changes to posts and pages.
- There is an integrated 404 monitor. You don’t need another plugin for that.
- RankMath also has a redirection module that eliminates the need for a separate plugin.
- It supports different types of rich snippets including Article, Recipe, Products, Video, Events, Local Business, etc.
- Allows automatic addition of title tags or alt tags to images.
- Comes with support for breadcrumbs.
- Twitter Card and Open Graph support are built in.
- Gives keyword suggestions when you enter the focus keyword.
The interface of the plugin is really clean, and the sheer number of features that the plugin offers is overwhelming. There is a Pro version available with more advanced features. On the downside, the settings can be a bit complicated and intimidating for rookies.
Lightweight and fast, this SEO plugin doesn’t have any ads or upsells. Unlike Yoast and RankMath, the SEO Framework comes with less complicated settings. In fact, the plugin actually strips off certain things that you don’t really need.
The post SEO settings page comes in a tabbed format. One of the tabs has a colored scale that will tell you how SEO-friendly your articles are.
The SEO Framework is designed specifically for rookies who do not have experience handling complex settings. Advanced users can always use the API to play around.
The functionality of the plugin can be extended using various extensions.
Some of the extensions that you can get are:
- AMP or accelerated mobile pages integration.
- Support for local SEO.
- Redirection module.
- Article enhancement extension.
- Comment caching feature for dealing with scammers.
- Uptime and SEO monitoring extension.
- Very powerful just like Yoast.
- Visual method for checking SEO level of posts.
- Supports local SEO through an extension. This is particularly good for companies/businesses that want local visibility.
- Instead of emphasizing on focus keyword, it emphasizes on focus subject to encourage more natural writing that end users or readers find valuable.
- Most SEO settings are preconfigured leaving very little to set up after installation.
While the plugin is amazing for rookies, the free version doesn’t support structured data. If you want to add structured data, you need to purchase the extension separately.
Yet another simple, fast, and powerful SEO plugin is the SEOPress. Just like all the counterparts above, SEOPress is a freemium plugin, which means that you can stick with the free version, or you can upgrade to the premium version for more advanced features.
Even the free version of the plugin is white labelled – something that you won’t get with other freemium plugins.
With the free version you can manage meta descriptions and titles for terms, post types, pages, and posts.
It has support for both XML and HTML sitemaps, Twitter Cards, Open Graph, Google Analytics, content analysis, etc.
There are over 75 hooks that allow developers to set up the plugin in whatever way they want.
The premium version of the plugin has way more features, some of which are considered as a standard offering in free versions of Yoast and RankMath. Here is a quick list of premium features of SEOPress:
- Local SEO
- WooCommerce optimization
- Easy Digital Downloads optimization
- Google News and Video XML sitemaps
- Structured data
- Backlinks through Majestic integration
- 404 monitoring and redirection
- Google Page Speed V5 integration
- Allows adding Google Analytics.
- Supports Facebook Open Graph.
- Supports Twitter Cards.
- Page and post optimization using meta description, title, etc.
While the plugin is simple and powerful, some features should have been available for free. For instance, paying for breadcrumbs and structured data doesn’t really make any sense. However, if you want to settle for something truly simple, and you don’t mind paying SEOPress is a good option.
SEO Squirrly is yet another plugin that is targeted towards rookies. Despite not having anything complicated, this plugin is still a complete SEO suite.
To start optimizing, you need to first key in your article title and provide the focus keyword. Then, as you start typing, the plugin activates a series of green lights in real-time as long as you are doing things right.
- Keyword optimization happens as you keep typing the content/article. This is quite different from Yoast or RankMath where you need to save your article as draft to see optimization suggestions.
- It can import settings from other SEO plugins.
- It comes with an integrated tool for competitor analysis.
- Includes content reports that you can share with others.
- There is a weekly progress monitoring feature that will show recent tweets about your topics. That can be quite an inspiration to further improve your content.
Star ratings, videos, images, and several other elements that you see in Google SERPs are all rich snippets. These are small pieces of information that are very valuable to users. Google absolutely loves them.
WordPress doesn’t have a native feature for this. You can achieve this using the All-in-One Schema Rich Snippets.
- It has support for various types of content including people, products, reviews, events, videos, and recipes.
- You can easily share your search results on Facebook.
This lightweight plugin is suitable for those who use simple and basic SEO plugins that do not support structured data.
If you are already using a plugin like RankMath, you don’t need this separate plugin. Also, don’t forget the fact that plugin has come under radar because of WP Hive that analyzes WordPress plugins on various parameters.
SEO is not always about optimizing your content using keywords. There are many technical aspects. One of them is broken links. Broken links return 404 errors. While it is impossible to get rid of 404 errors and they don’t usually impact search rankings, too many of them can be detrimental.
Excessive 404 errors diminish user experience, and Google is currently focusing more on user experience. So, you need to be careful about broken links.
It is difficult to go through each post individually to find broken links. This is where the Broken Link Checker plugin comes in. It will automatically scrape your entire site and find out which links are working and which aren’t. It checks both internal and external links.
Whenever the plugin finds a broken link, it notifies you with an email so that you can quickly fix it. It also gives a visual cue by creating a strikethrough on the anchor texts with broken links. They are pretty easy to spot.
- Constantly monitors your site for broken links and notifies you with emails.
- It has a feature of searching and filtering links.
- It monitors links even in comments, custom fields, and more.
- It also finds redirects and missing images.
- It gives an optional feature to prevent search engines from following broken links.
Broken Link Checker is a very handy tool, but on the downside it is a memory hog that can cause performance issues, especially on shared hosting environments. So, if you are using it (and you should use it), I recommend running it once every week to find broken links and fix them. Once the job is done, disable the plugin to prevent performance issues.
WordLift is a premium plugin powered by Artificial Intelligence. It automates structured data markup and helps you to organize your content. It also adds internal links and thereby improves content findability.
The other tools it uses to improve content findability include semantic-rich metadata and recommendations widget.
The plugin also translates the content into machine-friendly language that personal digital assistants, chatbots, and crawlers can easily understand. This feature helps to boost organic traffic.
- The plugin uses knowledge graphs and natural language processing for automation of structured data markups.
- Allows performance tracking of content using WooRank’s technology.
- Offers advice on how to improve and optimize your website.
- Comes with easy Google Analytics integration.
WordLift is used by some of the biggest businesses in the world including TheNextWeb, Greenpeace, AmazonAudible, Airbnb, etc.
WordLift has different pricing plans that start from 59 Euros a month. If you have a deep pocket, WordLift can give you the much needed competitive edge over your competitors.
The SEO plugins listed in this article are great. They can help to boost your SEO efforts in a number of ways. But never ever blindly depend on them. Use your human intellect. Afterall, your readers are humans. You need to ensure that your content has a human touch.
Any SEO plugin that you use is just a bunch of codes doing some technical stuff for you. They are never a complete replacement of the human brain.
I personally recommend using Yoast or RankMath. If you had a chance of in-depth interaction with any of the plugins mentioned above, drop us a comment and let us know why you chose that plugin over others.
Your comments can help many by providing them with vital insights on the plugin’s capabilities.
Finally, if you want some other plugin to be included on the list, mention that as well. Don’t forget to tell me the reasons why you want it on the list.