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April 15, 2013

Top SEO Plugins for WordPress Sites

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If you run one of the 70 million websites built with WordPress, you are likely concerned about SEO, and overwhelmed by your options. These days, there is no shortage of plugins built to assist with SEO and social sharing, but it’s hard to find the gems in a sea of widget madness. Read on for advice on which are truly helpful in boosting your search engine efforts!

WordPress SEO Basics

Before you start installing a plethora of plugins, you’ll want to tackle a few basic SEO tasks on your WordPress site. These are must-haves for Google-friendly sites, and are a great place to start your strategy.

1) Map Out Your Site’s Structure

All you need to create an easy to follow site flowchart is a great MindMap tool. Mind42 makes an excellent one, and it’s totally free too. The tool will help you create a site guide that compartmentalizes navigation sections and lets you see a snapshot of the entire flow.

2) Setup Your Permanent URL Structure

First, set your preferred permalinks format in the WordPress settings; you’ll have several options to choose from, but none are completely SEO friendly. To rectify this, download the WP No Category Plugin, which will then remove the <word>/category sections of your URLs. This makes them clean, concise, and keyword rich.

3) Specify Which Folders Can and Cannot Be Crawled

Chances are there will be sections of your site that you would rather not allow search engines access to. To manage this process, create a Robots.txt file in the top-level directory of your site. For full instructions on how to add one to your site, visit the ‘Robots.txt how-to guide’ (http://www.robotstxt.org/ robotstxt.html). Once created, you can specify any folders that search engines will thereby ignore, and keep others from spying on this private content as well. It’s also a great solution for hiding duplicate content. Don’t forget that users can still access the pages through the direct URL.

4) Create a Sitemap

Many of the tools listed below will help you quickly generate a sitemap. When this is complete, don’t forget to submit it to Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools as a request to start crawling your content.

The Best WordPress SEO Plugins

1) SEO Ultimate

This puppy is a meta data powerhouse, with access to controls for descriptions and keywords, Google Webmaster Verification, and integration with Google Analytics. If you have a lot of pages with separate titles, Ultimate will help you manage all this data with ease.

2) Local Search SEO Contact Page

Perfect for those just beginning their quest for great SEO, Local Search allows you to add all business information to your site’s contact page, and will also include an embedded Google map, which links to your Google+ Local account.

3) WordPress by Yoast

Yoast helps determine what your current SEO score is, and in tandem, lets you monitor the areas that require some improvement. Yoast will let you know if your keywords are missing from title and H1 tags, and looks at your content and metadata too. This tool is rumored to be the most-used WordPress SEO plugin, and for good reason. It assists in setting up XML sitemaps, helps you map out all title and description templates, and truly enables you to stay on top of all the SEO must-do’s. If you only have one SEO plugin, this should be it. It’s regularly updated too, which is a big bonus.

Top SEO-Friendly Image and Content Tools

1) SEO Friendly Images

This plugin does exactly what you’d expect – ensures all your images have alt attributes, title tags and all other relevant search engine data. There’s also a premium version that unlocks a myriad SEO features, like XML sitemap generators and custom settings.

2) SEO Content Control

If you’ve got a lot of content on your site, you need this tool to help you identify the weakest links. Options for SEO Content Control include viewing a list of all pages/posts that have lackluster (too short) text, missing meta data, and missing keywords.

Must-Have Analytics Plugins

1) SEO Rank Reporter

Rank Reporter is an awesome tool that allows you to monitor your Google ranking through your WordPress dashboard, and it’s updated every three days. This plugin will help you assess if and when more SEO improvements are needed. When your ranking slips, you can use the other tools to identify why this may have occurred, and then set out to address each one.

2) Google Analyticator

If you’re a fan of Google Analytics, download this plugin now and integrate the data directly into your WordPress dashboard. You’ll be able to view your top performing pages, referrers, and keywords, among many other invaluable metrics.

Top-Notch Social Plugins

1) Sociable

Sociable is a superior sharing plugin that is jam-packed with
customization options. It features an excellent default setup,
with the options to use all your own personal icons and images.
It’s super easy to connect to most WordPress themes, and makes
your social sites immediately accessible to your users.

2) Social Media Tabs

This one is a unique plugin that allows you to add a social media widget to your site in a tabbed format, showing data from your major social sites. It currently supports Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, and RSS.

You are now armed with a gaggle of excellent, functional and easy-to-use WordPress SEO tools. Go forth and enjoy your increased rankings!


Producer, game designer and freelance writer, Tina Courtney-Brown has been a bona fide web fiend since she discovered Poetry.com in 1994. Tina’s fortés include all aspects of online business, social media, marketing trends, alternative health, digital production and many more. She’s a passionate truth-teller, a sincere advocate for the environment, and an obsessive dessert creator. Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook.

29 Responses to “Top SEO Plugins for WordPress Sites

    avatar SAK says:

    Thanks for providing a list of great SEO tools here

    avatar Tom Hargrave says:

    While these may be great tools, there is no substitute for content.

    I prefer to use Yoast WordPress SEO which is many configuration for best result

    avatar AllanIT says:

    What a great article many of the plugins here I had never heard of before. I will be trying out the Social Media ones soon.

    Thanks

    avatar David says:

    Hi

    I would just like to say thx for this awesome article.

    Some great plugins listed here that I have never heard of and will def consider implementing in the future.

    Keep up the good work.

    Never knew about Mind42. I am going to check it out today. Thanks for sharing.

    I use the Yoast SEO pack, purely for the ease of functionality that it adds being able to update title and meta data per page / post and it also has Google Analytics integration now.

    avatar ydontyou says:

    Excellent article will defo check out yoast.

    How can we employ seo ultimate to our wordpress site?

    Hi there! To install the plugin, visit this site: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/seo-ultimate/ – follow the download instructions, then access/activate the plugin from the Plugins panel inside your WP dashboard. Enjoy!

    Thanks for creating this list of plugins. Some here I haven’t tried. Will be checking them out shortly.

    avatar Zo Nicholas says:

    An interesting selection. Thanks for sharing.

    Nice collection! In addition to the plugins mentioned in the article, a cache plugin can also be useful, because Google considers page load as a ranking factor. A cache plugin will make your pages load faster and hence climb in Google’s SERPs.

    Thank you Tina for such good collection of plugins for WordPress. I will use social media – Sociable on my web site for sure

    avatar william T. says:

    Thank you i have just uploaded rank reporter and wp no category and i will see how they go.

    All-in-one-SEO is a very good tool too.

    avatar Adrian says:

    Some interesting plugins listed here. I certainly recommend Yoast for SEO.

    The Jetpack plugin in also provides a range of optional facilities for bot statistics and social media and is worth a look.

    avatar Don Parnall says:

    very useful, Rank reporter is great ,but very depressing as we have been the victim of a bad SEO Co, but now have dumped every thing but one URL and now use word press, I hope this plug in will bring better news !

    avatar Joanna says:

    Very useful article. I add two plugins you recommend and it works! Thank you.

    avatar friv pop says:

    nice one admin, i already try some of recommended plugins and hope this works perfectly of frivpop.com. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    avatar M.J. says:

    Nice to find “SEO Ultimate” in the first range of your listing; it is my no.1 too, I use it on several sites. But all the other cool plugins, some of them I´ve never heard before! Thanks!!

    avatar Joel says:

    Hey Tina a very Impressive collection of Seo Plugins.I would also like to add SEopressor plugin for wordpress which does on Page optimization in a breeze and helps to improve serp rankings for wordpress blogs

    avatar abhi says:

    Manimahesh Yatra is pilgrimage to Manimahesh Lake (4115m) situated at the base of Manimahesh Kailash Peak. Manimahesh yatra is held from Janamastmi to Radhastami every year. Manimahesh Yatra from Bharmour takes about 3-4 days.

    avatar abhi says:

    manimahesh yatra

    I’m scared of using WordPress for my sites. Have you seen how many hack jobs there are listed online for WordPress based websites?

    There is no need to scared, you can use WordPress for your site, but your site can be hacked if the server isn’t properly configured.

    avatar Tom Nguyen says:

    How accurate are the results in the SEO Rank Reporter Plugin?

    avatar Ross says:

    Hi,
    Great post. For social bookmarking I think that the Digg plugin is the best, because it floats on the sidebar and fully customizable. Cheers!

    Hi!

    I’ve written a SEO plugin called SEO Content Helper.

    http://www.xn--finanshjlpen-ncb.se/plugins/seo-content-helper/

    If you write about SEO plugins again it might be on the list?

    Regards Jens

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