If you have decided to use WordPress for your internet marketing website, or perhaps have added a blog to your eCommerce site, it just makes sense to know which WordPress SEO (search engine optimization) plugins are available to make your life easier. I really love WordPress plugins, and probably use about 10 to 15 of them on every site that I decide to take live. Let’s take a look at some of the best paid and free SEO plugins that I know of, and you can decide which ones might work best for your needs.
As we look at the SEO plugins that will make your life easier, I will also share some customizations and tips for using WordPress, that will help to properly configure your site for SEO. As we discussed in Getting Results With SEO Strategies That Work, your website is constantly communicating with the search engines, and you want them to understand what targeted keywords you are looking to rank for. By utilizing the tips and plugins in this article, you will greatly increase this “understanding” between Google and your site, which will result in higher rankings in the search engines.
Basics of WordPress Plugins for SEO
Before I get into the list of the plugins, I want to be sure that anyone who is new to using WordPress and plugins understands how they can affect your SEO efforts. When you create a blog or website using WordPress, always be sure to delete the plugins that you don’t use. The main reason for this is because each plugin takes up a certain amount of space in the memory, and has programming that could interfere with your website’s performance.
I cannot emphasize this point enough. If you have a WordPress blog with a lot of valuable content, this causes your site to typically load slower. Having additional plugins will only increase the amount of load time for your pages. You can check out the amount of time that it takes to load your webpages at Pingdom.com. If your site takes longer than 2 seconds to load, Google looks at this as an unfavorable user experience, and it will hurt you in the rankings.
Since these programs take up space in the memory, having too many plugins will likely also cause problems at some time in the future. WordPress upgrades are coming out all of the time, and when it comes time to upgrade, some of the plugins you are using may or may not be compatible with your new version of WordPress.
We Want To Avoid As Much Frustration As Possible (On a side note here, you should always keep your WordPress version up to date. This is because they roll out security enhancements and other necessary fixes, and because Google Panda will penalize your rankings if you are not using the most current version.)
Some of these plugins may even cause nightmares when you try to upgrade, so usually less plugins are a better way to go. I typically use only about 10 to 15 plugins at one time. Each plugin that you add to the memory will slow down how fast your webpages load, so stick to the ones that you really need. I usually delete the Google Analytics plugin if it is installed, since it is just one line of code that you can add to the header. However, if you are a newbie, you may find the plugin to be useful.
Best SEO Plugins For WordPress
I will just list these by name here. You can go to the install plugins menu in your WordPress dashboard and use the name as search terms to find most of them.
Platinum SEO – This is a great plugin that helps you quickly make changes to your meta-tags for each post and page. You can enter your titles/descriptions and adjust your SEO settings easily right from the Edit Post(or Page) page. I always use this plugin with each WordPress install. You may have heard of the All In One SEO plugin, and this is basically the same thing. Platinum SEO has a couple of extra features like choosing whether the page is indexed or not – and whether or not to re-write the titles. It is a must have when you are optimizing your site.
Google XML Sitemaps – This WordPress plugin makes it easier for crawlers to find each of the files in your WordPress database, and automatically submits a copy of your sitemap to the search engines when you update posts and pages. I highly advise everyone to use this, especially if you want the updated information on your site to be indexed as quickly as possible.
WP Touch – This awesome plugin will optimize and create a version of your website for iPhones and Android devices. This will increase your ROI from social media, and will help your rankings also. There is evidence that Google is ranking websites that have a mobile version better than those without, so definitely check this one out.
Socialize. Will Open Up Your Social CirclesSocialize – This plugin is great for adding the social sharing buttons to all or some of your posts/pages. It will add them to the top and bottom of each page, and is customizable. There may be other good free social sharing ones out there, but this is one of the best I have used. It will help your pages to rank better for targeted keywords, just by having it.
WP Super Cache – This one helps the overall performance of your website. It keeps copies of your pages that it can serve up faster to users online. It is really easy to use, and you will see a small increase in overall site speed. This plugin will not help a site that has poor design however, and I have not noticed any real improvement if there are more than 15 or 20 plugins in use.
All In One Favicon – This puts your favorite little favicon in the corners of the address bar and on each separate tab and bookmark in the users browser. It is great for branding your site and helps your followers with finding your bookmark in the toolbar and on separate tabs or browser windows. I always use it to help set my site apart from the rest.
WP Sticky – This will put one post at the top of your homepage with the rest at bottom as excerpts. It is perfect for SEO, since it will keep a specific post on your homepage without letting it roll off. This will help you to rank better for the targeted keywords for that post, instead of the total content of the page always changing.
Important Tip: You can also go into your reading settings in your WP dashboard and setup a static homepage using one of your posts or pages, but it won’t have the excerpts from the other posts at the bottom.
Authorsure – This great plugin helps you to control your authorship of unique content that you put on your site. If you get your content scraped and posted all over the web, you can prove to Google that the content is yours. It also sets you apart from your competition by putting your picture with your search results for some of your pages (for some reason, it doesn’t seem to work for every post/page). Anyway, this will help you to attract more visitors to your pages.
WP Fancy Zoom – This great little plugin will allow users to zoom in on pictures and images on your site by clicking on them. It really makes your site a lot more professional looking, and is great for websites with reviews and screenshots.
Siteguarding Website Antivirus – This is a little difficult to setup, there are a couple of steps you have to follow to get it all setup properly. You really have to read instructions for this one, but it is definitely worth it. It will lock-down your database files, and prevent malware from infecting your site. You have to take your website security seriously.
Blubrry Powerpress – This free plugin is great for adding pod-casting to your website. It also has a lot of videos included to walk you through the setup.