Seven beginner WordPress plugins
So, your WordPress blog is coming along nicely. Now it’s time to make improvements. You’ve done some research, and you know there are tons of ways to boost SEO – maybe you’ve even started streamlining your blog’s SEO yourself.
And while you know what to do, you’re quickly finding out that the what is only half the battle – you have to actually make the changes and keep your site optimised.
But all of this tedious legwork doesn’t have to be done manually. WordPress is incredibly user-friendly, meaning there are a plethora of plugins to help with your blog’s SEO. Beyond that, there are hundreds of other SEO tools at your disposal across the internet.
Luckily, you don’t have to do the work of sifting through all of these potentially useful tools. Below are some of the absolute best plugins – and more – for making the job of optimising your website that much easier.
Sure, it’s the most popular. But this is about more than following the crowd: Yoast SEO just plain works. WPBeginner calls Yoast SEO “the most comprehensive WordPress SEO plugin,” and they’re absolutely right.
Whether you’re a novice or becoming more adept at this whole WordPress thing, the long list of features means it will help you no matter what. It helps you with individual tasks like testing keywords, previewing search results, and cleaning up links.
You can also use the page analysis tool, which will go over each post and tell you exactly what you’ve done – or haven’t done – to appeal to search engines.
There’s even a premium version if you’re so inclined, but don’t worry – the numerous features that come free are more than enough for the average website owner or blogger.
Check out Yoast SEO
Your blog is growing, and it’s becoming harder and harder to keep up with maintenance. Broken Link Checker is one of the simplest plugins you can get, but it’s also your best friend.
Nothing is more annoying than visiting a site full of links that lead nowhere – you probably wouldn’t return.
Broken Link Checker does exactly what it says on the tin – checks for broken links – but it does so not only on blog posts, but in the comments as well.
It also allows you to stop search engines from visiting broken links on your site – which would otherwise hurt your blog’s SEO.
Check out Broken Link Checker
If you love data – and having a successful website – then you probably already use Google Analytics.
If not, you need to be. It’s chock-full of vital statistics from your website, including page views, site visits, clicks, average time on site, and much more.
Basically, it tells you everything you need to know about your visitors’ behaviour. This plugin by MonsterInsights makes Google Analytics that much easier to use on WordPress.
Rather than switching between your site and Google Analytics, this plugin lets you go over this juicy data right from your blog’s dashboard.
Check out Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
How often have you gotten frustrated by a page that takes forever to load? How many times has this frustration made you just leave the website altogether?
Showing up in Google searches is vital, but it’s meaningless if your website is sluggish. Luckily, WordPress has a plugin for the performance side of SEO, too. W3 Total Cache promises “at least 10x improvement in overall site performance when fully configured” – and considering the popularity and high ratings, we’d tend to believe them.
Speeding up your site keeps visitors around, and faster websites also rank better in Google searches. This plugin is your best bet to optimise your site’s performance.
Check out W3 Total Cache
Adding images in WordPress is as important to the success of your blog as it is easy. It’s also yet another opportunity to improve SEO, and it’s often overlooked.
SEO Optimized Images addresses this by streamlining the SEO side of adding images – you can easily add alt attributes, tags, and more with this plugin, boosting your blog’s SEO that much more.
And since we were just talking about how critical site performance is, this can help you compress images so that your website doesn’t get bogged down loading huge image files.
Overall, SEO Optimized Images is simple, quick, and necessary – like all of the plugins on this list.
Check out SEO Optimized Images
It might sound like old news at this point, but you need to give users a reason to stay on your site for more than a couple of minutes. Obviously that means users are enjoying your content – always a good thing – but the longer they stay, the better it is for your WordPress blog’s SEO.
When I think of sites where I get sucked in easily, it’s the ones where there’s always something new to look at – because those new posts are right there in front of me. Once I’m done reading, I’m on to the next thing.
YARRP makes it easy for your readers to find a new, interesting post as soon as they’re done reading. It displays any content that is relevant to the current page, or the post being viewed.
You can even customise how the related content is displayed to the user to maximise the likelihood that they’ll stick around and keep reading.
Check out Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARRP)
“This site may be hacked.” If security breaches cause that little note to appear on results pages, you can be sure no one will be clicking that link. Ever.
Forget it. Pack it up. You had a good run, but it’s over. Users and search engines alike stay away from sketchy pages.
So sure, WordPress is secure – but impervious? It never hurts to take extra precautions. All In One helps with things like password strength and permissions, and again, if you like data (you should), it even gives your WordPress blog a security score.
It never hurts to be prepared, and this plugin is a little bit of work for a lot of peace of mind.
Check out All In One WP Security & Firewall
From beyond WordPress
WordPress offers a lot of plugins, but no rundown of SEO tools would be complete without offering a handful of others from around the web. To see more of our favourites, check out our post on SEO tools we love!
Streamlining an entire website or blog for SEO can be a headache. And while the search for SEO-related plugins on WordPress can be daunting, once you have them, they’re always making your life easier.
While this list isn’t a comprehensive inventory of every useful plugin out there, it should provide you with enough tools to get started optimising your WordPress website. It’s over to you now though. Have we missed an amazing SEO plugin for WordPress you think should absolutely be on our list? Let us know by dropping us a comment below 👇 or tweet us @3WhiteHats.