Best WordPress Plugins to Maximize Your SEO Efforts

Why does my WordPress site need SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important forces driving traffic to your site. An SEO strategy will make your site easier to find through search engines. Search engines like Google use algorithms to present search results to users. The better the algorithm understands what kind of content is on your site, the higher your page can rank in search results.

Why is WordPress good for SEO?

According to Blue Corona, if you’re currently using WordPress for your business, you already have a step up in the SEO strategy for your business. WordPress is a great platform because it makes it easy for non-technical users to design sites, it has a relatively fast site speed, search engines have an easy time crawling WordPress sites, and WordPress has wide variety of plugins (including SEO plugins) ready to enhance your site’s functionality. Especially if you are just starting out with working on increasing traffic and views for your WordPress site, an SEO plugin could be a great tool for you. SEO is of course just one part of a good marketing strategy to draw traffic to and generate leads via your website. Our team at Big Leap is here to help you better understand how to create an SEO strategy for your site and how to push your site higher in page rankings. Please feel free to reach out to us to chat about how we can be of assistance to you.

What is a WordPress plugin?

A plugin is software that adds functionality to your WordPress site. Plugins are a great tool for WordPress users because most users don’t know how to code. When you install a plugin, you are installing a package of code that a developer has prepared to perform specific functions on WordPress sites. Despite its name, a plugin isn’t something that you “set and forget.” A plugin is simply there to enhance efforts that you already have at play.

What are things to consider when shopping for an SEO plugin?

When you’re shopping for a WordPress SEO plugin, you’ll find that there are a lot of options on the market. Making an SEO plugin work for your WordPress site doesn’t need to be complicated if you are new to SEO plugins, but you can also dive deep if you have the expertise. Installing multiple plugins on your site can slow your site down (your site will only be slowed down by plugins if the plugins are bad, so definitely read the reviews for each plugin that you consider installing) or inhibit some of its functionality if your plugins do not interact well with each. To prevent this complication, do your SEO plugin research well before you start downloading all of the plugins that show up in your search results. When shopping for an SEO plugin for your WordPress site, you should also consider your skill level. Some plugins are designed for beginning users and do not allow very much customization and others are designed for more intermediate users who want to have more control over plugin settings.

What are some of my options for SEO plugins in WordPress?

When you search for an SEO plugin in WordPress, the top two most popular SEO plugins that appear in results are:

  1. Yoast SEO
  2. All in One SEO Pack

User reviews for these plugins seem to come to a consensus that Yoast is a great plugin for beginning users who do not have a lot of sites to manage and All In One SEO Pack is a better fit for more advanced users who want to be able to have more control over SEO settings. Keep following along below for a breakdown of these two WordPress user favorites and think about whether or not one of these plugins would work for your site(s).

Best Beginner Friendly SEO Plugin for WordPress

Yoast is the first plugin that shows up in a search for SEO plugins on WordPress and its friendliness to beginners is big part of its top position in search results. The Yoast plugin has over 22,000 reviews and over one million downloads. You don’t need to be an SEO plugin wizard in order to navigate Yoast. There are two offerings for Yoast users, premium and free.

Free Yoast includes:

  • Keyword optimization for one keyword
  • Google snippet preview
  • Readability check
  • Full control over breadcrumbs (breadcrumbs refers to how your users find their way back to where they started when they first arrived on your site)
  • No duplicate content
  • Technical pieces pushed to background
  • Updated every two weeks to optimize for Google algorithm updates

Premium includes all of the above and a few extras:

  • Keyword optimization
    • In addition to the initial keyword, premium Yoast also optimizes for synonyms and related keywords.
  • Twitter and Facebook previews in addition to the Google snippet preview.
  • Internal linking suggestions
    • Internal linking is an effective way to boost your site traffic and views. As you write your content, Yoast will suggest pages on your site that you can link to.
  • Content insights
    • Yoast will show you the top five words or phrases that you use on your page so you can check if your desired keywords match those.
  • Redirect manager
    • The redirect manager lessens the chances of your users landing on a 404 Not Found page.
  • Focus keyword export
  • Ad free
  • One year of 24/7 customer support

Another reason why Yoast is great is that since so many people have downloaded it, you can find a lot of resources for help around the web in form of tutorial blog posts and videos. Even if you have the free version of Yoast, you can still figure your way around not having the 24/7 customer support if you have the time to sift through search results for troubleshooting and tutorials. For more intermediate users, Yoast can be a bit frustrating because it gives general recommendations for improving and may not be able to offer you the control and customization options you’d like.

Best Intermediate Level SEO Plugin for WordPress

All In One SEO Pack is the second most popular SEO plugin for WordPress and actually has more downloads currently than Yoast. Just like Yoast, All In One SEO Pack has both a free and a premium option. Its paid options are more pricey than Yoast, but it does allow you to use one license for multiple sites, which is a plus since Yoast only allows one site per license.

All In One SEO Pack Free gives users:

  • XML Sitemap and Image XML Sitemap submitted to Google and Bing to improve SEO
  • Google AMP support (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and Google Analytics support
  • Support for SEO on Custom Post Types
  • Advanced Canonical URLs
  • Redirect attachment pages to parent post
  • Automatically notifies search engines like Google and Bing about site changes
  • SEO Integration for e-Commerce sites, including WooCommerce (All In One SEO Pack claims that they are the only free SEO plugin for WordPress that offers this feature).
  • Automatically optimized titles for Google and other search engines
  • Automatically generated META tags automatically
  • Avoidance of duplicate content

All In One SEO Pack Pro offers everything included with the free version plus:

  • Unlimited All in One SEO Pack Pro downloads and access to upgrades for the duration of your subscription
  • Priority support including access to a video tutorial library on SEO in general and using All in One SEO Pack Pro
  • Access to a variety of SEO modules designed for all types of users
  • Schema.org and Google Knowledge Graph support
  • Advanced options for Google Analytics tracking
  • Control of how content looks on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms
  • Set images to appear when WordPress posts are shared on social media
  • Access to debugging tools provided by Facebook
  • Ad free (especially ideal when you are working on sites for clients)
  • Advanced WooCommerce support
  • Video SEO module (including Video XML Sitemaps)
  • SEO for categories, tags, and custom taxonomies

More advanced users may prefer All In One SEO Pack to Yoast because it allows for some customization. Users can override titles, and set their own META descriptions and META keywords to optimize SEO. Beginners may prefer the premium version of the Yoast SEO plugin to the premium version of All In One SEO Pack because of the lower price point and because Yoast’s interface is simpler to navigate. However, if want an SEO plugin with more control that you can also use for multiple sites, All In One SEO Pack could still give you better value over Yoast since Yoast would require you to purchase a new license for each individual site you’re like to use the SEO plugin on.

What should I do if my DIY SEO plugin efforts aren’t delivering the results I want to see on my WordPress site?

Increasing traffic and views for your site will take time, but a good SEO plugin that you and your team understand how to use will be a great tool in your toolkit. Even though SEO plugins can definitely benefit your site, always remember that the quality of your published content ultimately is the biggest driver of traffic and determining factor in your page ranking.

If optimizing your site’s SEO is something that you have been thinking about for your business, please let us know. A robust SEO strategy can become quite technical, but here at Big Leap, we excel at by building digital marketing strategies that amplify the strategies that you already have at play and increasing your business site’s visibility.

Allison Lew
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