A part of good web design is allowing the end user the ability to SEO their website. Websites that don’t let you edit the content, create canonical tags, generate sitemaps, no index pages, etc, are, quite frankly, sub par, whether or not they look amazing. Fortunately, if you have a WordPress website it’s very easy to add most, if not all of the essential SEO tools.
WordPress plugins are an incredibly easy way to add functionality to your website, and SEO is no exception. But where does one start? In this post, we’ll be looking at the 5 best plugins that will allow you optimise your site for the search engines and get you ranking. And the best part? They’re all completely free!
One of the most famous WordPress plugins, and for a good reason! Yoast SEO includes many great features such as:
- The ability to alter page titles & meta descriptions with a SERP previewer;
- XML sitemaps with full customisation;
- Easy no index and no follow checkboxes on each page;
- Page analysis and recommendations;
- Canonical tag generation and much more.
Yoast SEO is a very simple and easy to use plugin with impressive functionality. It should be on every WordPress website.
One thing to note: While the page recommendations generally conform to SEO best practices, take what it recommends with a pinch of salt. Not every page is the same, and relevancy should never be compromised for a better score in their recommendation system.
A good alternative to Yoast SEO is the also-popular SEO plugin ‘All In One SEO Pack’. Like Yoast, All In One SEO Pack includes a lot of essential SEO functionality such as:
- XML Sitemap generation and customisation;
- Canonical tag generation;
- Title & meta description creation and more.
While not quite as popular as Yoast, in the right situation, All In One can be a valuable tool. Developers are especially keen on this complete SEO plugin.
No one likes a slow website, especially not search engines! W3 Total Cache is another popular plugin with over 1 million downloads and thousands of reviews from the WordPress community.
Basically, this plugin allows you to add caching functionality to your website, which temporarily stores parts of your website on the visitor’s computer, helping it load quicker and providing a better user experience. When utilised correctly, the results can be impressive and can make a big difference in how your visitors use your website.
Another thing no one likes (and especially not search engines) is broken links! Few things are worse than clicking on a link to view an image or article only to be shown a 404 page or told the ‘image is unavailable’ *shudder*. This free plugin automatically checks across your website for broken links and alerts you to any that need replacing.
Remember; a good user experience means happier people, which leads to brand loyalty and return visits.
The final plugin on our list is focused on keeping users on your website – YARPP automatically creates links to other blog posts on your website on each of your blog posts, tempting users to click-through to more content and, subsequently, spend longer on your site. It’s a simple but effective plugin that can lead to big improvements in your user retention and time spend on your website.