Description: A rundown of some of the best SEO plugins to use on a WordPress website to cover most requirements and the advantages of seeking advice from SEO experts.
Enhancements to help your website get found by those who matter
WordPress is a highly popular platform for websites offering as it does a free, template driven solution to creating websites easily and effectively. There’s no tricky programming language to learn, and it’s easy to give a site the personal touch or ‘corporate look’ at the click of a mouse by using themes either supplied by WordPress or available from third parties.
WordPress sites are also ‘SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) friendly’ in that they’re constructed so as to be ‘found’ easily by search engines. That said, to make the most of a WordPress site and ensure its seen by relevant people then add-ons, or plugins, specially designed to improve SEO are available often for free.
The world of WordPress plugins
Plugins are extra pieces of software that can be added to a WordPress website to perform various functions. For example, a contact form plugin provides a readymade contact form for visitors to contact you with. An anti-spam plugin can vet blog post comments, and SEO plugins can help your website appear higher in online searches.
Which ones are worth considering?
It’s worth pointing out that, while free and easy to create a web presence, WordPress websites will be even more effective if designed by specialists who offer SEO services. While ‘prepackaged’ SEO plugins can help, there’s no substitute for the personal touch from a knowledgeable company.
- All in One SEO Pack
One of the most user friendly and famous SEO plugins, it’s been downloaded more than 14 million times and is available as a free or ‘pro’ version.
It’s highly popular with those possessing little or no understanding of SEO and for website owners who don’t consciously undertake page optimisation.
- WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast
Highly regarded and considered a more ‘professional’ alternative to the All in one SEO Pack since it offers more customisation options and is more fully featured. For example, it has a site map generator and submits your sitemap to Google (very useful for SEO) so there’s no need to add a separate sitemap plugin to your website.
The ‘standard’ (although still highly specified) version of Yoast is free and there’s a ‘premium’ version which is chargeable for.
- Broken Link Checker
There’s nothing worse than broken links on your website – a visitor clicks a link only to see the ‘404: page not found’ message. Too many of these and your site looks moribund and can get penalised by the search engines, but if you have a lot of content with many links then keeping track of them all manually can be very time consuming.
Broken Link Checker will check your site for broken links and advises you accordingly before giving you the option of replacing with the correct link or deleting it.
- SEO Friendly Images
Optimising images is very important; it’s all too easy to simply upload an image with a name like ‘image048.jpg’ or ‘DSC009.jpeg’ and leave it at that.
The problem is, search engines use ‘crawlers’ to analyse websites and they rely on tags and text – they can’t ‘see’ an image so have no clue as to its usefulness. SEO Friendly Images helps you add title tags to your images and thus engages Google image search; a significant way in which people seek the information they require.
- SEO Content Control Plugin
If your website has older content – especially if it’s a blog or website containing a blog – then editing meta descriptions to optimise older content for newer SEO trends is very useful.
- Plugin for Local Search SEO Contact Page
Very useful for those lacking coding skills who wish to optimise their local business WordPress site to attract searches from those in their catchment area.
This plugin adds a custom contact page allowing you to add a Google map for your location and a facility for users to leave a review. Considered a very useful local business SEO tool.
- Google Sitemap Generator by BestWebSoft
If you don’t use the Yoast SEO plugin described above, then a sitemap generator – a way of submitting your sitemap to the key search engines Google and Bing – is well worth having.
Sitemaps help search engines index your website and enable their ‘crawlers’ to determine the structure of your site quickly, so this plugin helps you get your site ‘known’ by Google quicker and thus shown in relevant search results.
There are many more WordPress plugins for SEO let alone other functions and features of your website. For example, while the All in One SEO pack or the Yoast option offer a comprehensive suite of features, SEO Pressor is even more powerful and advanced. Caching plugins, which required their own blog discussion, are vital to help speed up your site load times.
While there are many SEO plugins from the WordPress plugin directory, you won’t need them all. Indeed, it’s unwise to overdo it and add too many as you may end up with some that are a little ‘overkill’ relative to your requirements.
This is where good advice can come in useful from an SEO professional as mentioned earlier – they have a good understanding of what SEO plugins work best for certain sizes and types of website.