For websites running on WordPress, there’s a myriad of plugins that can ramp up their SEO ranking and enhance organic traffic. But with more than 50,000 WordPress plugins available in the official directory, it becomes quite daunting to choose the most suitable plugin for managing your SEO.
Today, we‘re going to look at the top three plugin options, and explain why they’re essential to boosting your SERPs.
1. Yoast SEO
One of the most popular WordPress plugins is Yoast SEO. It has gained immense popularity owing to its huge range of features that allow the user to optimize their site for both search engine bots and humans as well.
Yoast SEO is so popular because it is easy to use, and gives you control over the optimization and readability of your content. As a result, you don’t have to write for Google, or any other search engine, you can just write for humans and still end up with content that ranks better.
Yoast SEO’s main features include:
- Submit an XML sitemap to help Google and Bing index your site;
- Set the focus keyword for your content;
- Edit the snippet of text that is displayed on search results alongside your title;
- Shows you how to optimize your site by providing suggestions;
- Adds canonical tags to ensure there’s no duplication of content;
- Allows you to control breadcrumbs on your site;
- Allows multiple focus keywords;
- Monitor the number of inbound and outbound links;
- Integration with the Google Search Console;
- A readability score to help you improve your content.
There is also a premium version of Yoast, predictably named Yoast SEO Premium, available for $89 per month. It’s expensive, but includes features that benefit video SEO and WooCommerce SEO, so if you’re running a profitable ecommerce business it’s worth considering.
2. Google XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap helps search engines index your website, by listing the URLs of all of your content, as well as their likelihood to need indexing. Google XML Sitemap generates this important file for you.
The main benefit of Google XML Sitemap is that you can update your file regularly, which is important if you have lots of fresh content to add frequently. It also ensures that you don’t make any mistakes, which could damage your ranking.
Google XML Sitemap has been around for almost a decade, and is one of the most widely installed plugins. Once installed, it can take care of all of the work for you. It’s recommended that you use XML Sitemap as soon as you start publishing with WordPress. (You’ll need to use the Google Search Console to submit the URL of the sitemap itself.)
3. W3 Total Cache
An important aspect for every marketer is website speed. The reason being that a slow website, leads to a high abandon rate. With dwindling attention spans, users simply won’t tolerate a slow site. Ultimately a high abandon rate means a downgrading of your search engine ranking, so it’s vital you keep your site fast.
W3 Total Cache Plugin allows a website to scale, and avoids crashes even when there’s a massive influx of traffic. It enhances both user experience, and SEO by reducing download time and improving performance with the help of a CDN (content delivery network).
For a marketer or business owner hoping to build organic traffic, this plugin is essential. Leading web hosts such as Page.ly, Synthesis, Dream Host, Media Temple, GoDaddy, and Hostgator recommend W3 Total Cache.
The main features of W3 Total Cache are:
- A 10x improvement in overall website performance (tested with Google Page Speed and WebPagetest);
- Repeat pages views instantly thanks to caching;
- Pages render faster;
- Visitors spend more time on your site;
- The server performs better, especially at times of high-traffic;
- Approximately an 80% reduction in bandwidth through minification of resources;
- Compatibility with shared hosting, virtual private servers, and dedicated servers;
- Transparent CDN management;
- Support for Accelerated Mobile Pages;
- SSL compatibility;
- Option to use cache-control for browser caching, future expire headers, and entity tags;
- Access to caching statistics to provide insight into website performance.
There is also a pro version of W3 Total Cache, offering a fragment caching module, exclusive extensions, and full site CDN mirroring. It is expensive at $99 per year, but worthwhile if that is within your budget.
Bonus Tips to Enhance Search Engine Ranking
For novice marketers, the All-in-One SEO Pack lets you optimize WordPress sites for search engines without any additional effort. It generates meta tags and optimizes titles automatically. Those just starting out can simply focus on content and let this plugin take care of the rest.
Images make content much more attractive. SEO Optimized Images is a great plugin that dynamically adds search engine-friendly alt and title attributes to any images you add. This in turn will benefit your search ranking and lead to more visitors.
Simple URLs allows you to manage all the links on your website by using custom post types and 301 redirects, tracking outbound links from your site.
Broken links will damage your ranking. The Broken Link Checker runs through all of your posts, comments, and other content and notifies you of any dead or broken link. You can then edit the links from the plugin’s page instead of updating ever post manually.
Whether you’re a newbie or an expert, these simple to use plugins can be invaluable in driving organic traffic to your site. Avoid adding too many plugins, which will slow down your site, and stick to these tried and tested solutions to take care of the vast majority of your needs.
Featured image via DepositPhotos.