WordPress SEO Plugin – which one is the best?
WordPress is used to host more than ⅓ of all websites online.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are hundreds of thousands of plugins to help build, maintain and operate a WordPress site.
One category that has many plugins is SEO. And we’ll take a look at a few of the best ones in this article.
The best SEO plugin for WordPress
You might be here to see what the best SEO plugin for WordPress is. Unfortunately, there’s no one actual ‘best’ plugin. That’s like asking ‘what’s the best car in the world’. What’s ‘best’ depends on what you need. If you’re struggling to improve your technical SEO, a Local SEO WordPress Plugin won’t help you at all.
What’s best for you depends on your specific needs and what you like to use on a regular and ongoing basis.
Many SEO plugins in this article do various things – be that on-page optimization, help with indexing, or with traffic and other minor things. In other words, there’s not one SEO plugin that does everything, but the plugins mentioned in this article can help you do most things.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of our favorite SEO plugins for WordPress.
SEMRush SEO writing assistant
On-page SEO is usually the first place to start looking when trying to improve your SEO. There can be a lot to remember to get your on-page SEO right, including getting the proper keyword density, using the right long-tail keywords, using keywords in headings, and alt tags.
SEMRush’s SEO Writing Assistant tool helps make that process easier. After downloading and installing this WordPress SEO plugin, you enter your keyword, target device, and your audience’s location. Then, the plugin assesses the top 10 search results for your term and presents you with a load of tips.
These tips include:
- how often to mention your keyword (compared to the top 10 search results),
- long-tail keywords that the other top 10 search results rank for,
- how long to make your text in comparison to the existing SERP results,
- whether you should use video to increase your ranking chances.
There are many more suggestions that the tool offers, such as how likely you are to rank for a featured snippet.
The tool also measures the readability, tone of voice, and originality of your text.
What’s most interesting about this tool is that it combines good SEO practices and assesses what the top 10 search results are doing. Google ranks the top 10 results in those positions for a reason, so by evaluating the on-page tactics of these search results, you increase your chances of ranking.
Thanks to the fact that you can laser target the location where you want to optimize your content, SEMRush SEO writing assistant also becomes a potent Local SEO plugin for small businesses trying to grow and expand.
The tool is free to use.
Google XML sitemaps
Sitemaps are used to tell Google’s bots how to crawl your site. A good sitemap is free of unnecessary information and helps Google crawl your site quickly and efficiently, thus getting to rank higher faster.
This plugin not only helps Google’s bots crawl your site but also Yahoo, Bing, and other popular search engines.
It’s simple to install and very easy to use. What’s more, when you delete or remove a page, this plugin will update your site accordingly.
XML Sitemaps tool is free to use.
Once your content has been published, it’s essential you don’t forget about it. That is to say: it’s crucial that every few months you assess its performance and update it accordingly.
But update it with what?
That’s where Rank Math comes in.
Rank Math helps writers and SEOs fine-tune their sites for search engines and the search queries people use to find their sites.
It’s straightforward to set up, just like most other WordPress SEO plugins. Rank Math also helps users place Google Schema markup on their site. Schema helps sites find out what you’re about and put your content in the right place. It also sends Google many positive signals to your site, and Rank Math helps with that.
Rank Math can also give you optimization advice on an unlimited number of keywords. But what keywords? Well, thanks to its integration with Google Search Console, you can let the tool assess which keywords you’re already performing well for and optimize them accordingly.
Rank math is free to use.
The first line of the Yoast plugin page reads:
‘Since 2008, Yoast SEO has helped millions of websites worldwide to rank higher in search engines.
Yoast is the default tool for most people in content writing or marketing to install on their WordPress site. That’s because it’s a powerful tool that can do a wide range of things – and do them well. And that’s also why Yoast has been used on millions of websites!
Yoast is most widely known for its on-page assistant. In a section just under your WordPress blog, you type your target keyword, and then Yoast gives you a red/orange/green readout as to how well your page is optimized. The Yoast plugin tells you in great detail precisely what you need to do to improve the chances of ranking for your target keyword. That includes keyword density, ALT tags on images, internal links, and much, much more.
But what most people don’t realize is that the paid version of Yoast can also help you with indexing issues. For no-indexing pages and helping add breadcrumbs and other schema markups onto your site, the premium version of Yoast is undoubtedly worth exploring!
Yoast is free to use, and the premium version costs 89EUR per year.
Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin
Most organic traffic comes from Google. So it’s safe to say that any tool Google makes to help you track traffic from Google is going to be a good tool.
And the Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin is precisely that.
While it’s not explicitly focussed on SEO, it does tell you a lot about the performance of your site and can therefore help you adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.
On the outside, this WordPress SEO plugin pulls your Google Analytics data into your WordPress site. But, under the hood, it does so much more.
One thing we love about it is how it presents the number of links your site or a specific page has. Not just links from other sites to yours (which we know are a huge ranking factor, but also internal links. Internal links are links from other pages of your site to another one. And they are a ranking factor, too – they’re just so often forgotten about as external links are harder to get but also more effective.
What makes this plugin more powerful is that you can easily see the user engagement from your page. For example, the time on page and pages per session is easy to view. These two metrics are essential to follow to ensure that you’re providing the right content to your reader and that those readers are staying on your site, too.
Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin is free to use, with more features unlocking at $199.
When it comes to technical SEO, 404 pages are a big no-no. They come into existence for many reasons, but the only way to fix them is to redirect them.
That’s where the simple redirection plugin can help your technical SEO efforts.
Simply enter the URL of the page you want to redirect, and then enter where you want that redirect to point.
It sounds simple, and it is. But for sites that publish and unpublish a lot of content regularly, this plugin is an absolute must.
The Redirection plugin is free to use.
Rel NoFollow Checkbox
If your website is monetized by selling affiliate products, you want to link to those sites as much as possible. But too many do-follow links to a single domain on your site can start to hurt your SEO authority. This is a perfect opportunity to turn these links into NoFollow links.
Simply put, NoFollow links tell Google’s bots not to follow these links and therefore don’t pass on any ‘SEO Juice’. But adding the NoFollow tag usually involved modifying the code unless you’re using a plugin like Rel NoFollow Checkbox.
Now when you insert a link into your WordPress copy, you can simply check a box, and that link will become a NoFollow link.
This means that Google doesn’t see you linking to your affiliate site hundreds, possibly thousands of times and therefore won’t rank your site lower.
The Rel NoFollow Checkbox plugin is free to use.
SEOPressor is a paid SEO tool, but it provides incredibly detailed information about your on-page SEO efforts. It has been developed knowing that Google’s ranking algorithm is constantly changing, and the developers often update the plugin accordingly.
SEOPressor helps you optimize your on-page content for a specific keyword – nothing revolutionary there. But it also assesses whether you’re ‘over-optimizing’ for a particular keyword. Keyword stuffing, for example, not only looks terrible but can quickly bring on a penalty from Google.
What’s more, the tool can quickly assess your on-page copy and place keywords where it feels those keywords would fit most naturally. It can also repeat this process with links, placing internal links to your other copy in areas where they naturally work.
The result of this means that your page is optimized without being over-optimized, your site can be crawled more efficiently thanks to naturally placed internal links, and users can also explore your site quicker.
SEOPressor starts at $9.
All in One SEO for WordPress (AIO SEO)
Many SEO experts and newbies alike swear by the power of AIO SEO. With a huge host of features that are all easy to use, it can certainly help you build the foundation of your SEO plugins.
It includes what you’d expect from a tool like this – the ‘focus keyword’ section, and what you need to do to optimize your copy to rank for that keyword. But what’s also interesting is how AIO SEO gives you control of social thumbnails, video SEO, Robots.txt, and more. It even doubles as a Local SEO plugin, helping you complete your GMB (Google My Business content) and more.
AIO SEO starts at $49.50 per year.
To bring together everything that’s been mentioned above, there are a lot of SEO plugins for WordPress. None of them does everything, but many of them do a lot of things.
The best way to use the above-mentioned SEO plugins is to simply try them. You’ll find that some are easier to use than others, while some you only need from time to time, if at all.
However, it’s important to remember that the SEO plugins you decide on should complement an existing SEO strategy. Simply downloading a plugin and expecting it to grow your organic traffic isn’t an SEO strategy. A comprehensive keyword map combined with an effective outreach strategy, supported by some of these SEO plugins, and you’ll be well on your way to making your organic traffic skyrocket!