Power Up Your WordPress SEO With These 7 Essential Plugins
WordPress is a great content management system, it works well straight out of the box but what makes it so popular is the availability of plugins which can extend WordPress to do almost anything you can imagine.
Although the WP framework is already fairly well optimized to be search engine friendly, there are a few extra (and in my opinion essential) WordPress plugins that really boost the SEO effectiveness of your website.
I have purposefully kept this list short, this is not one of those ‘see how many different plugins I found that all do the same job’ type of list posts, these really are the essential WordPress plugins I use on every new WP site I publish.
I’m not saying that these plugins are the best ones available, I have tried many in my time and these are the ones I find work for me the best and all of the plugins in this list are all free.
Important: Sometimes plugins can conflict with each other, the plugins in this list should all play nicely together but may fall out with other plugins you already use. I always recommend you keep regular back ups of your site and WordPress database and install only one plugin at a time, test your website to ensure everything is as it should be before installing another.
The Essential WordPress Plugins I Use
Sitemaps inform search engines about URLs on a website that are available for crawling. As you may know, Google uses software that effectively visits every website to collect certain information which they use to help keep the search results fresh.
When the software sends out crawlers (aka spiders/bots/googlebots) to your website, you really want it to be able to reach and index every part of your site (well, the parts that you want featured in search results anyway). So by making the Googlebots job a little easier with sitemaps for text, images and videos, you can make sure that you have the best chance at getting all of your content crawled and indexed in a timely manner.
I use all three of these plugins, but if you don’t have any videos on your site you can just install the XML and Image sitemaps. After installation make sure you go to Settings to create your sitemap and ping the search engines with it.
WordPress already has good SEO features but there are several plugins that really increase the SEO power of your site by allowing you to tweak meta data and monitor 404 errors. My personal favourite is SEO Ultimate but there are a few other good ones that you may like to take a look at.
SEO Ultimate (Recommended)
Most website hacks are done by people who do it just because they can, and usually the attack methods are not very sophisticated, so with a few tweaks you can protect yourself against minor vunerabilities which means that the majority of would be hackers will just move on to another weaker website.
Bulletproof security plugin will tighten up your website with the click of a few buttons
You can’t manage what you cant measure, so an analytics account is essential (Google is still the most popular analytics option). You can paste a tracking code into your website HTML, but this plugin makes the process super simple and lets you see your data from inside the WordPress dashboard.
Google is not a fan of paid links intended to pass PageRank, Matt Cuts(head of the Google webspam team) says you should ‘no-follow’ outbound links to show that this is not the intention of the link. To be on the safe side (whether paid for or not) I’d advise adding the tag no-follow to every external link (a link on your site that goes to another website).
If that bunch of jargon just went right over your head, don’t worry, just install this plugin which will add no-follow to every out bound link on your site automatically.
So that’s my list of essential wordpress plugins for SEO. As I said at the top of the post I don’t intend this to be a huge list, but if you think I’ve missed something let me know in the comments.