I like to think of SEO as an old Nintendo role-playing video game.
I remember it like it was yesterday when I first laid hands on a brand-new Nintendo NES box. I remember rotating between Duck Hunt daily and Mario Brothers, before finally trying a role-playing game called “the Dragon Warrior.”
Unfortunately, I never won the game. But I did come close. I remember acquiring the most powerful armour, sword, and shield. I was unbeatable. Unfortunately, when I was about to get to the final enemy, my game froze, forcing me to hit reset… and blow into the cartridge.
If you’ve ever played Nintendo, then you know what I’m driving at.
The reason for making this trip down the memory lane is because I see a lot of similarities between role-playing games and SEO.
In both cases, the more you play, the faster results come. It’s no rocket science. It’s just a matter of doing the work.
SEO is not quite as fun. Regardless, the same principle applies. The more you play the more you’re likely to see results. It’s, however, not enough to just create a website and optimize it for search engines.
Once your website is ready, you have to invest both your time to build enough strength to race to the top. Luckily for WordPress users, there are a lot of WordPress SEO plugins to help you out with this every step of the way.
What’s a WordPress Plugin?
To understand what a WordPress SEO plugin is, you must first understand what a WordPress plugin is.
A WordPress SEO plugin is a tool that can be added to your WordPress site or blog to improve its functionality, efficiency, and overall look.
You can install more than one WordPress plugins, and dramatically improve user experiences, provided they’re used correctly.
Even better, you don’t necessarily need any coding experience to use a WordPress plugin.
At the time of this publication, you have more than 55, 000 plugins in the WordPress repository to choose from (paid and free).
What’s a WordPress SEO Plugin?
A WordPress SEO plugin is a tool that can be added to your WordPress site to help you optimize it for search engines.
For instance, they can help you optimize your titles, images, blog descriptions, and meta tags to name a few.
What Exactly Does an SEO Plugin Do?
An SEO plugin allows you to optimize certain elements of your website’s structure and code to make them more crawlable by search engine bots.
An SEO Plugin Will Help You to Optimize Your Meta Data
Your page title and metadata appear in a webpage’s code, as well as in the search engine’s results that show. Search engine bots rely on it to find out what a webpage is all about.
Your WordPress website might automatically generate the metadata for you. But, likely, they won’t be that well-optimized for search engines.
An SEO plugin simplifies the whole process of adding metadata to your web pages.
Note that: The plugin won’t write the metadata for you. Just having the plugin isn’t enough to help you improve your search engine ranking. You’ll still need to write the meta descriptions and title tags yourself and make sure they’re well-optimized for your target keywords.
A WordPress Plugin Will Also Help You with Social Sharing
WordPress SEO plugin will also help you out with social sharing through a technology called Open Graph.
The Open Graph technology was first introduced by Facebook in 2010. The goal was to allow for an easy integration between a website, user data, and social media.
It’s a technology that lets you have total control over what content is shown whenever someone shares your website on Facebook or any other social media platform.
An SEO plugin can help you optimize this information. What it won’t help you out with is research. Nor will it help you with writing your metadata content for you.
Other areas an SEO plugin can help you out with:
- Optimize your XML sitemap
- Optimize canonical elements
- Optimize .htaccess and robot.txt
- And more
If you have trouble understanding any of these, then there’s a good chance installing an SEO plugin won’t help you that much.
And here’s the reason:
While optimizing your website’s structure and code is important in making your site more crawlable and easy to get indexed, that’s only one part of the equation.
To succeed in ranking your website, you might also need to:
- Optimize your site structure and code. Luckily for you, this can be easily achieved with the help of an SEO plugin even if you’re not sure of what you’re doing.
- Website content. Your success with SEO, for the most part, depends on the quality of your website content. If you can’t write high-quality SEO-optimized articles and sales copies, then it helps to just hire a copywriter to help you out with this.
- Establish yourself as an authority figure in your industry. Potential readers should view you as the go-to person every time they have a problem or when they need industry-related answers.
The point is, it takes a lot more than installing an SEO plugin to rank your website. A plugin is not a shortcut, but a tool to simplify your work.
If you’re serious about ranking your website on Google search, then you should at least try to learn and understand SEO.
Can You Install More than One WordPress SEO Plugin?
Technically, you can install any number of WordPress SEO plugins you want.
However, it’s unreasonable to have two or more plugins performing the same task.
If one plugin lacks the features you want, then a more logical step would be to try and install the superior one.
Just pick one.
Also, instead of installing more than one SEO plugin, you might want to check to see if the plugin you have has an extension for that particular feature you’re looking for.
That way, the extension only provides the missing feature without conflicting with the plugin’s functionality.
Note that a plugin may also impact your website’s speed, and the more plugins you use, the more strain they’ll put on your website’s load time.
For this, you want to try and use a minimal number of plugins. Only use one when it’s necessary.
How to Install a WordPress SEO Plugin
There are three ways to install a WordPress SEO plugin or any other plugin for that matter.
- Installing the plugin via the WordPress dashboard
- Installing the plugin via WordPress Admin plugin upload
- Installing the plugin via FTP
One Caveat: While installing the plugin, a lot of issues might arise. For instance, you may find that the plugin is not compatible with one of your previously installed plugins.
Because of this, you want to make sure that you’ve backed your website before you can go ahead and install any plugin (not just an SEO plugin).
That way, in case anything goes wrong, you can always restore your old version and get everything up again.
An even better approach would be to set up a dev server for testing the changes you make to your website. You can always upload your plugins on this server and test everything first before uploading it to your website.
1# Installing the plugin via the WordPress Dashboard
This is the easiest and less tech-savvy way to install the plugin.
- You can begin by logging into your WordPress dashboard. All you need to do is add /wp-admin at the end of your website’s URL.
For example, in our case, our URL becomes mediaonemarketing.com.sg/wp-admin.
You’ll be asked to provide your username/email address and WordPress password.
- Head over to “Plugins” on the left side of the dashboard and click on it.
- Click on “Add New.”
- Now, try to search for the SEO plugin that you wish to install. It should be among the results that show. Alternatively, you can just search for “SEO plugin” and you’ll be presented with a long list of SEO plugins to choose from.
- Choose a plugin to install and click on “Install Now.”
- Activate the plugin – click on “Activate.”
- Your plugin is now installed.
2# Uploading the Plugin Via WordPress Admin Plugin Upload
Not every plugin that you want to install can be found in the WordPress repository. There are times when you may want to install a plugin that you downloaded from a third-party website or elsewhere.
If that’s the case, here’s a simple, step-by-step procedure on how to get it done.
- Download the plugin that you want to install. Just make sure you’re downloading it from a legitimate source, and that the plugin is in a zip file.
- Next, go to your WordPress dashboard and select “Plugins.”
- You’ll be directed to a page with an “Upload Plugin” box. Click on the box and a plugin upload form will pop up.
- On the upload form, go ahead and click on the “choose file” button. You’ll be directed to your PC, where you’ll find the SEO plugin you downloaded. Go ahead and select it.
- Next, click on the “Install now” button.
- Once the installation is done, go ahead and click on “Activate Plugin” and ta-da! You’d have uploaded the plugin.
- The next thing you want to do is click on “settings” to configure the plugin. How you proceed with that depends on the plugin you’ve installed.
3# Installing the Plugin Manually Via FTP
You can also install the plugin manually via FTP. However, this method will only work if your WordPress hosting service has no file restrictions.
- Again, you have to begin by downloading the plugin’s source file. Make sure the plugin is from a legitimate source and that’s it’s in a zip file.
- But this time, you want to extract the zip file so that all the files are in an open folder. Use win zip or 7zip to extract these files.
- Next, you’re to manually upload this folder using an FTP client. So, open an FTP client (such as FileZilla) and enter your login details. You can reach out to your web host for this information in case you can’t remember them.
- Once connected, navigate to /wp-content/plugin folder on your server.
- Drag the entire extracted plugin folder and drop it inside the plugin folder (make sure you’re not dropping it inside another plugin file.”
- Once uploaded, head over to your “WordPress Dashboard” and click on plugins.
- You should be able to see the plugin. What remains is for you to activate it and that’s pretty much like it.
- Again, you may be required to go through the plugin settings to configure it before it’s ready for use.
Top 20 WordPress SEO Plugins to Check Out
Now that you know what an SEO plugin does and how to install it, what next?
Well, you have to decide on the plugins to install.
While there are dozens of SEO plugins to choose from, we’ll only be focusing on 20 of the very best:
1# Yoast SEO Plugin
Yoast is one of the most popular WordPress SEO plugins. It’s one of the most valuable SEO tools that no serious SEO would want to miss in their marketing pellet.
It’s also one of the simplest plugins to use. Whether you’re a professional SEO expert or a web owner running a simple blog or site, Yoast offers to help you make your website as SEO-friendly as possible.
It’s the most comprehensive SEO plugin you’ll ever come across. Moreover, the free version of the plugin comes with all the important SEO features and functions. But if you have a budget for it, we’d suggest that you go for their premium version (which goes for $69/year for a single site license).
Yoast is hands down the most advanced SEO plugin available, boasting tons of features that places it second to none.
Here are some of its top features:
- Yoast SEO Metabox: This feature allows you to add and edit your posts’ meta description and title.
- Choose a Focus Keyword: With Yoast, you also get to choose a focus keyword. Once you do, the plugin will analyze your content against the keyword and assign an SEO score. It will also recommend a few steps you can take to improve the score.
- Built-in Readability Score: Yoast will also analyze your content and assign a readability score. You can even use the feature to edit your content and make it more readable.
- Hide Your Content from Search Engines: You can also use it to hide some of your pages from getting indexed by search engines. Yoast has a simple feature that lets you restrict these pages from getting indexed by adding the no-index tag to them.
It also allows you to hide single-author blogs, author archives, tags, no-index category, and archive pages.
- Add Canonical Links: Yoast is also a great plugin for adding canonical link elements to your website. This is supposed to help search engines understand which pages to index and which ones not.
- XML Site Maps: Yoast will automatically generate XML Sitemaps for your website and even help you submit them to Google and other search engines.
- Protects Your RSS Feed: The internet is filled with scraper websites. For those who don’t know, a scraper website is a website that relies on using RSS feed to automatically curate articles from other websites and publish them.
The problem with this is that search engines bots may mistakenly rank this content first. However, with Yoast, you don’t have to worry about this ever happening, as Yoast will try to ensure the curated content is published with your link. That way, search engines can tell where the content was sourced from and mark it as the original post.
Yoast is one of the few SEO plugins where the free version can still get the job done. As a matter, you might not see the need to upgrade to their premium version. But if you have to, then be prepared to shell out $69 per year for a single site license.
2# Rank Math
Rank Math is the newest kid on the blog. Developed by MyThemeShop, the plugin comes with lots of powerful features that could give Yoast a run for its money.
Like Yoast, the free version of the plugin is enough to get the job done. RankMath comes with lots of sturdy and easy-to-use features that give it a competitive edge over some of the best SEO plugins on the market.
It’s safe to say it’s one of the best SEO plugins you’ll ever come across online.
- Post Optimization: Rank Math is a game-changer. It’s one of the few SEO plugins that allow you to optimize your posts as you write them. They even provide you with an SEO score with some pointers on how to improve it.
- Setting up Rich Snippets and Open Graph: Rank Math allows you to add rich snippet and open graph for your site. They have different types of rich snippets for you to choose from when editing your posts.
- Get to View Your Ranking Data: Rank Math is one of the few tools that allows you to view your ranking data right from the WordPress dashboard. You can use it to view your ranking position, SERP, keywords, and so on. The took can also help you monitor set redirections, 404 errors, keyword stats, etc.
- SEO Audit: You can also use Rank Math to conduct a full SEO audit of your site. This makes it a powerful SEO analysis tool. It will even point out some of the issues to be fixed.
Rank Math has three pricing plans: free version, pro version, and business version.
Their pro version goes for $59 per year can only track 500 keywords. Their business version, on the other hand, goes for $199 and can track up to 10, 000 keywords.
3# SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant
Most SEO tools try to oversimplify SEO. In order to sell, they’ll take the fairly complicated SEO process and oversimplify it to absurdity levels.
That’s not the case with SEMrush. Their approach is different.
All you need to do to download the plugin is head over to their official SEMrush site and register for a SEMrush account (if you don’t have one, that is). Download the plugin.
The plugin also comes with a browser extension.
It can also be installed on Google Doc and as a WordPress plugin.
It goes without mentioning that it’s a fairly simple tool to use. You just have to pick a keyword target and then proceed to write.
Overall Score: SEMrush uses this feature to give you a bird’s eye view of your overall quality performance. It’s a vague metric, but a pretty useful one if you’re not that much interested in details.
Out of the possible 10, we suggest you at least try to maintain a 7.
Readability: This one is interesting. SEMrush advises you to try and match your readability to that of your top 10 competitors on Google.
Here’s what the different scores imply:
- 90% to 100%: Simple enough to be understood by a 5th grader. An 11-year-old average student can understand it.
- 80% to 90%: can be understood by a 6th grader. Easy enough to be understood by an average consumer.
- 70% to 80%: It’s fairly easy.
- 60% to 70%: can be understood by 8th and 9th graders. Plain English, easy enough to be understood by 14 and 15 years olds.
- 50% to 60%: Fairly difficult.
- 30% to 50%: college-level English. Not quite easy to read.
- 0 to 30%: Extremely difficult. Can only be understood by college graduates and professors.
Words: Evaluates other search results and recommends the ideal word count. It tells you how many words you’ve so far written and what’s should be your target word count.
Plagiarism: How much of your content is plagiarized.
Target keywords: It makes sure you’ve used your target keyword at least once in the article.
Recommended keywords: Recommends more keywords that you can also include in your article.
SEMrush SEO writing assistant is one of the tools you get by signing up for a SEMrush account. It’s not charged separately.
So, as long as you’re willing to pay for a SEMrush account (which ranges from $0 to $449/month) then you’re free to use the tool.
4# Google XML Sitemaps
This is a free WordPress SEO plugin that automatically generates sitemaps for search engines, especially Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
An XML Sitemap is meant to help search engines see the pages to be indexed. It also helps search engine bots crawl these pages.
It’s one of the best WordPress SEO plugins around, and here are some of the supporting reasons:
- It automatically updates your XML sitemap whenever you publish a new post. Saves you from manually doing it.
- A no-brainer to use. Easy to figure out how to use it.
- Requires no configuration. Just upload the plugin and activate it, and that’s pretty much like it. All the configuration settings come already adjusted.
5# SEO Ultimate
SEO Ultimate is an all-in-one SEO tool. It’s a feature-rich WordPress SEO tool that could rival any SEO plugin on the list.
- Edit Robot Tags (no-follow/no-index): You can edit Robot tags in bulk.
- Deeplink Juggernaut: Helps you create internal links, adhering to all the necessary rules and guidelines.
- Code Inserter: This feature is exactly as it’s written on the tin. It allows you to add code in your header tag, footer, and after and before item content. It’s a pretty useful tool if your theme doesn’t come with the option of manually inserting codes.
- Open Graphs: It automatically creates open graphs for your posts and pages.
- Keyword Setup: It will automatically help you set up keywords.
Their free version comes with almost everything you’ll need to get the job done. Their paid version starts at $49/year.
6# Squirrly SEO
Squirrly SEO was designed with SEO in mind. If you’re looking for a plugin that can help you out with creating a successful SEO strategy, then look no further than Squirrly.
They also have a premium version of the plugin that comes with more advanced features.
Live Assistant: Allow you to optimize your content in real-time.
Easy-to-follow Guide: They have an easy-to-follow guide for navigating different Google ranking factors.
Squirrly SEO has a free version that’s equally capable of handling all your SEO needs. However, to access more features, you may have to upgrade to one of the paid plans (which starts at $29 per month).
7# The SEO Framework
Billed as the plugin that delivers results, the SEO Framework lets you follow white-hat SEO rules and guidelines as imposed by Google and other search engines.
It uses proven methods to help you optimize your website for SEO. It’s clean, extensible, dedicated, and with no strings attached.
It’s also one of the most lightweight full-featured SEO plugin that snuggly blends into your WordPress site while updating you on almost everything there’s to know about SEO.
- It’s Brilliant: It’s one of the most organized SEO plugins you’ll ever come across. It’s like having an SEO expert in your corner, ready to help you with some of the most advanced SEO stuff.
- It comes Pre-configured: You don’t have to worry about tinkering with the settings after you’ve installed the app. While you can still tweak it up however you prefer, all the bases will already be covered for you.
- Meta Data Optimization: The plugin follows Google’s SEO guidelines to the letter. This allows you to optimize your website content without worrying about getting anything wrong.
- No Room for Errors: The SEO Framework focuses on the features you need while ignoring the rest. It’s all about quality, not quantity.
8# Google Analytics (GA) Plugin for WordPress
GA WordPress plugin is a simple plugin that allows you to access your Google Analytics account directly from your WordPress dashboard.
- It allows you to access your Google Analytics account directly from your WordPress dashboard.
- It’s a great app for tracking your website’s traffic
- Can also help you track user engagement
It’s a free tool from Google. Their paid version goes for $199/year
9# All-in-One Schema Rich Snippet
All-in-one Schema Rich Snippet is a simple WordPress plugin designed to help get eye-catching results in the SERPs.
The plugin has features optimizing your website content for the various types of rich text, including events, recipes, products, services, etc.
It’s a great app for targeting position zero in the search engine results pages.
- Simplifies the process of optimizing your website content for the various types of schema, including recipes, articles, products, reviews, and events.
- Works great with ecommerce sites.
10# SEO Friendly Images
SEO Friendly Images offers you a chance to streamline your website’s images. Done correctly, and this could catapult your ranking status a few notches higher.
The plugin enables you to optimize your website’s images by inserting proper TITLE and ALT tags.
ALT tags are a critical part of optimizing your website’s images for search engines. Search engines bots rely on them to understand your images better and rank them appropriately.
Sync Capabilities: The plugin allows you to sync your existing alt and title tags.
Override: You can use the plugin to override your existing alt and title tags.
Scheme: You can use the plugin to set a scheme for your title and alt attributes and optimize your content for search engines.
The plugin is free. But the pro version can be bought at Codecanyon at a one-off fee of $20.
11# SEO Wizard
SEO Wizard is a household name in the world of SEO. They have one of the most coveted and feature-rich SEO plugins you’ll ever come across online.
It’s a simple plugin specifically designed to help you architect better SEO blog posts, metadata, and even monitor them.
The plugin also allows you to coordinate your online network.
- Indexability check
- Useful links
- Performance Issue to Improve
12# SEO Press
SEO Press is a fast-rising WordPress plugin.
The plugin has been gaining a lot of popularity of late.
Among the things that SEOs have grown to appreciate about this plugin is the intuitive interface. It’s like there’s no learning curve to it.
Here are some of the things you’ll notice about its interface:
- Let’s you control what features are active
- Helps to keep everything streamlined
- Gives you access to deeper settings if need be
The plugin is free. But their paid version starts at $39.
13# Answer the Public
Answer the public is a simple SEO plugin that allows you to optimize your website content for search engines.
All you need to do is enter your primary keyword, and the plugin will work its magic and generate related keyword phrases that people query into the different search engines, particularly Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
The goal is to ensure your website gets to rank in all the relevant keywords.
14# SEO Quake
SEO Quake is another popular SEO plugin, used by thousands of SEO marketer and web owners.
The plugin also operates and browser extension for Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and opera.
The plugin provides critical SEO information, including:
- Webpage health
- Page age
- Alexa rank
- Last update
- And more
15# SEO Redirection Plugin
SEO redirection plugin is a useful plugin for redirecting your website’s pages after migrating to a new web host or changing your domain name. It can handle all the 301 errors and even help you monitor 404 errors without requiring access to your .htaccess files.
It’s a free plugin that can be downloaded here.
16# Google Page Speed Insights
Site speed is among the things that search engines’ algorithms look at when ranking your website. Other factors held constant, the faster a site load the more it’s likely to rank high.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a simple plugin that lets you view your website’s speed. It can also detect any issue that’s bogging it down and even offer some valuable tips on how to fix them.
Keyword Tool is a free keyword research tool. It can generate more keyword ideas based on your primary keyword, as sourced from Google’s autosuggest feature.
The tool also sources these keyword ideas on sites such as Amazon, Bing, and YouTube.
18# WP Rocket
WP Rocket is one of the best caching plugins on WordPress. For those who don’t know, webmasters cache their websites to boost their performance.
And as we know, speed is one of the things that Google considers when ranking a website.
WP Rocket boasts the following key features:
- Page caching
- Cache pre-loading
- Gzip compression
- And more
Ahrefs is one of the most popular and most-coveted SEO tools on the market.
It’s one of the most comprehensive keyword analysis tools and a great alternative to SEMrush – its biggest competitor.
- Keyword research
- Backlink research
- Competitor analysis
- Monitoring keywords ranking
- And more
Monster is a feature-rich Google analytics plugin for WordPress.
It’s a simple plugin that lets you install Google Analytics right into your WordPress dashboard.
It also shows an easy-to-understand report, right in the dashboard that you can use to find out more about your website’s traffic and user engagement.
You can use the plugin to find out where your traffic is coming from, what they’re doing on your website, and which pages or content performs best.
It’s also a great plugin for monitoring your ecommerce store. For example, you can use it to find out which product performs better and so on.