As well as powering a quarter of the world’s websites, WordPress is blessed with an abundance of plugins. The WordPress.org portal currently hosts over 55,000 separate programs, each designed to perform a specific role. Many of these plugins are focused on improving website SEO – helping sites and their constituent pages rank more strongly in future Google and Bing results.
Given the importance of website SEO, we thought it was worth taking a few minutes to consider which WordPress plugins will improve your site and curry favor with search engines. Bear in mind that SEO extends far beyond publishing keywords and long tail phrases. Nowadays, it encompasses everything from web page update frequency and download speeds through to image compression and inbound links…
W3 Total Cache
Arguably the best of several excellent caching tools, W3 Total Cache is designed to store content and reduce download times on subsequent visits – a key metric in search engine results. Mobile support comes as standard, while W3 claims to cut up to 80% of bandwidth requirements.
The Swiss Army knife of plugins, Jetpack handles everything from security to esthetics. More importantly, from a website SEO perspective it also takes care of image optimization and overall site performance. It even creates sitemaps to simplify the job of web crawlers.
Google XML Sitemaps
If you want to go the whole hog with sitemaps, Google XML sets a high bar. Activating this plugin automatically produces an XML sitemap of your site, enabling Google and its rivals to view the site structure and effectively retrieve results.
An abbreviation of the very long name Plugin Performance Profiler, it’s slightly ironic that this plugin is designed to prevent plugins slowing down sites. Even so, a periodic scan should identify code fragments adding to overall loading times, enabling you to install quicker alternatives.
BJ Lazy Load
Loading speeds are also susceptible to file downloads, which become significant on a large page featuring multiple images. BJ Lazy Load ensures that graphics only load as the page scrolls towards their location. This saves bandwidth, contributing to a more streamlined UX.
One of the most popular plugins of all time, Yoast makes website SEO quick and easy by performing detailed content and page design scans. A simple traffic light system indicates possible improvements to meta descriptions, keyword usage, headings and plenty more.
Google Analytics for WordPress
MonsterInsights has created a real-time GA plugin, capable of tracking individual user activity from page views to conversion rates. It also dovetails with Google AdSense, so advertising performance can be monitored at the same time.
The quality and quantity of web links has become a leading metric when search engines are calculating their ranking results. Linker tracks outbound links to see which ones are being clicked on by site visitors, with 301 redirect capabilities also under the hood.
An innovative take on link management comes from Redirection, ensuring that changes to page or post addresses are updated in historic links you may have forgotten about. Managing 301 redirects minimizes 404 errors – crucial when migrating pages to a new domain or directory.
Social Metrics Tracker
Want to know how your social media posts are getting on? Look no further than this handy tool, which monitors activities from Pinterest to Reddit. The SEO benefits of keyword-optimized social posts with inbound links are hard to overstate.
If a website is offline when web crawlers visit, its ranking results will plummet. Downtime can be caused by anything from DDoS attacks to ransomware. VaultPress maintains regular site backups, restoring content within seconds alongside malware and spam protection.
For optimal security, Sucuri is worth a look. Its web application firewall is praised as one of the best in existence, designed to repel DDoS and brute force attacks. By investigating file integrity and monitoring blacklists, it also puts up strong resistance against malware.
OptinMonster is admittedly a slightly leftfield choice. But being able to convert people who are about to navigate away from your site into email subscribers has a great deal of merit. It means you can sell to them in future, and it helps to keep them on-site a little longer – boosting SEO in the process.
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