Last year almost 75 million websites worldwide used WordPress including some of the heaviest hitters in blogging—CNN, the New York Times and Mashable, for example. You are likely one of the businesses relying on WordPress; but are you well-versed in the best WordPress SEO plugins?
You already know how critical great SEO is to your business. Don’t leave your rank to chance: take advantage of the amazing SEO tools available for use with WordPress.
All-in-One SEO Plugins
WordPress SEO by Yoast
This is about the most popular SEO tool on WordPress. It boasts a high rating of 4.5 stars from almost 1,500 users and in excess of one million active installs. It lets you address SEO issues in multiple ways, and you can target your settings both locally and globally.
This plugin lets you do a lot: create SML-Sitemaps automatically; edit meta descriptions, SEO titles, and more; analyze your content at a deeper level for actionable optimization opportunities; use Google auto suggest for keywords; and optimize your content for social media, to name just a few important functions.
All-in-One SEO Pack
All-in-One is fairly similar to Yoast. It earns 4.4 stars out of 5 from around 250 raters and has more than one million users. It has many of the same options, but its overall design and style favors users with less interest in controlling the minutia of their site (or less ability to do so). If you want the basic Yoast tools but don’t feel the need to configure every little aspect of your site, this may be a great option.
Some of All-in-One’s notable features are: it is user-friendly, even for beginners; it allows you to set descriptions, titles, and other significant markers for pages and posts; it provides webmaster verification for various search engines; and it is compatible with WordPress eCommerce websites.
SEO by Squirrly
This plugin automates much of your SEO work. It includes Google Suggests in its editor, so if you’re not sure about your keywords it’ll help you. When you do choose keywords it checks keyword density, assesses the title and gives you an overall picture of your SEO for that post or page. It also pulls things like pictures for you to link to by searching your keywords in Blogz, Google News, Twitter and Wikipedia automatically. SEO by Squirrly is rated 4.2 by just over 100 users among more than 10,000 total.
SEO Data Transporter
Maybe you’ve been there: you need to migrate your SEO data, meta descriptions, titles, and meta robots settings but whatever SEO plugin you’re using won’t let you without upgrading. This is frustrating until you discover SEO Data Transporter which lets you quickly migrate all of your SEO settings from plugin to plugin. It supports many different SEO plugins and a variety of theme frameworks, all for free. It is rated 4.7 stars by 15 people.
Internal Links and Link Quality
WP Optimize By xTraffic
Internal links allow you to rank higher and build credibility. In fact, internal links offer the chance to use low-competition keywords more easily. This plugin does this job for you automatically based on your keywords. It is rated at 4.5 stars by 37 users (out of more than 4,000).
Choose high-value, specific keywords—especially long tail keywords—to ensure that the plugin actually helps you like it should. Be cautious about using the same old keywords every time; this can actually get you dinged by Google.
Rel Nofollow Checkbox
This is a great plugin for when you have to link to another site but it’s not one you’d like to endorse, even passively with the link. This is especially useful when you need to link to competitor sites and don’t want to give Google that message about their authority. The plugin lets you place a rel=“nofollow” link in the WordPress editor so the link is not included in search engine page ranks. It’s rated 5 by 16 users.
Redundancy and Page Loading
This is an extremely popular plugin, rated 5 out of 5 by almost 300 people. This plugin optimizes your page by getting rid of redundant information, like multiple versions of a post or spam. You can choose what backup data it gets rid of or use it manually—or just let it do its thing.
W3 Total Cache
Local SEO and Business Listings
This WP plugin is designed to be a one-stop shop for local SEO. It is ranked 4.4 by 7 users (so one user with a rate of 1 is taking it down a bit). Even the basic version is very useful, and may be enough for many small businesses. The plugin lets you do a lot: manage all of your basic local SEO functions; analyze local competition; track your keyword ranking; monitor popular citation websites to ensure you’re listed; generate sitemaps; and use web analytics.
It’s not surprising that Akismet is so highly rated—at 4.8 out of 5 with more than 400 raters so far it’s well-loved by its users. Akismet is one of the best spam protection tools in the WordPress universe, moving most of your spam comments out of your way. Better still, you can name your price to use the basic version which is enough for most sites.
Captcha by BestWebSoft
While Akismet catches spam when it’s already been left on your site, but Captcha prevents spam from landing there in the first place by presenting visitors with a skill testing question or a standard Captcha. You can also add a Captcha to your login and registration pages. This plugin ranks at 4.5 with almost 300 raters.
WP Facebook Open Graph Protocol
If you use a good all-in-one SEO plugin this one isn’t necessary for you, but WP Facebook Open Graph Protocol is great for those that just use in-theme SEO settings. It adds Open Graph data to your content to ensure your pages and posts look great in LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook. It’s very simple to use, and everyone needs social optimization. This plugin ranks 4 out of 5 among 31 users.
Better Click to Tweet
This is a plugin that allows your visitors to Tweet your best one-liners (or 140 or fewer character quotes and messages, anyway) easily and quickly with just a click. All you need to do is envelope your Tweet in a shortcode to ensure that the plugin shows the quote highlighted in a box with a button for tweeting. It is ranked 5 out of 5 stars by 19 users.
Floating Social Bar
The downside to social media plugins on WordPress is that they can slow things way down, adding too many scripts. Floating Social Bar is optimized for speed and lets you choose which social media networks are important to your business and use only those. It is rated 4.3 by 70 of its more than 20,000 users.
Website security should be one of your top priorities, but many business owners don’t manage their security very well. This all-in-one security plugin is enough for most websites on WP and handles both your firewall and malware scanning. It is rated 4.6 by just over 100 users.
Media File Renamer
Because search engines use image file names your images should be named right for every page and post. This isn’t always easy in WordPress; you have to download the file, rename it, upload it, and delete earlier versions. With this plugin you can change media file names from the WordPress backend directly and will even update your links with the file. Media File Renamer is rated 4.4 stars by around 30 users.
EWWW Image Optimizer
This plugin automatically optimizes any images you upload to WP. It functions a lot like WP Smush, but it is ranked much higher by a larger number of users: 4.5 stars by 200 users. It can also reduce the file sizes for images already on the site in bulk. Optional lossy optimization is also offered by EWWW Image Optimizer; this can result in a poorer image quality but means more space is freed up since it discards part of the image data to leave you with a smaller file.
Analytics and Reports
Google Analytics by Yoast
Although not as popular as the other Yoast plugin on this list, this plugin allows you to connect Google Analytics and your site easily and quickly. In fact, since it adds a dashboard for analytics right into the backend of your WP site, you don’t even need to leave your site to view Google analytics. It can also track 404 errors, downloads, and search result pages. This plugin is rated 4 by 300 users.
Social Metrics Tracker
This plugin allows you to monitor your site’s social media performance by tracking your shares on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Twitter. You can use this via the backend directly and export your results. Social Metrics Tracker is rated 5 by 19 users.
Site Map Plugin
Google XML Sitemaps
A sitemap is a bare minimum for SEO purposes, and Google XML Sitemaps is about as popular as plugins get. Rated 5 by 1,200 of its more than one million users, this plugin creates a complete XML sitemap for you and adds new content to it automatically as your site grows.
Broken Link Plugins
Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker scans your site including all comments, images, pages and posts for broken links that irritate your visitors and hurt you in search engine results. You can even edit broken links it detects without manually editing your content right from the plugin’s page. It is rated 4 by more than 200 users.
This plugin also deals with the broken link problem; Redirection monitors your site for instances of visitors hitting broken links and provides 301 redirects for them. This eliminates the 404 error page and shows the search engines where the content went, maintaining your rank. It automatically sets up these redirects and gives you statistics about these activities. This plugin is rated 4.2 by more than 150 users of the 400,000 total users.