When you hear someone like Google webspam chief Matt Cutts saying that WordPress takes care of 80-90% of search engine optimization (SEO) mechanics, you know you’re using the right blogging platform.
Take a quick moment to pat yourself on the back. It’s nice to your choices validated.
But the greatest allure for WordPress is that it is so easy to extend the functionality of its basic platform through plugins. That means you can take an already powerful SEO platform and make it even better.
And do you have a lot of options!
Here are the SEO plugins that we love.
1) WordPress SEO for Yoast
We’ve been using WordPress SEO by Yoast from Day One and haven’t looked back since. It is easy to use and provides such a wealth of insights that we wonder why it’s still free. Not that we’re complaining, of course.
Here ‘s what it can do for you:
- Create XML sitemaps
- Strip the /category/ base from the URL (which can create duplicate content issues)
- Enables breadcrumbs
- Easy verification with Google and Bing Webmaster tools
- Set noindex, nofollow and 301 redirects to individual posts or pages
However, it really shines when you’re writing your blog post.
You can set a target keyword or keyword phrase, and manually enter the title and meta description for the blog post or page.
After you save your draft, it will not only show you how optimized your post is for the targeted keyword, but will also provide a detailed analysis on what you can do to improve it.
In our opinion, this has become the de-facto standard for an SEO plugin (we recommend it to our web design and SEO clients at CLOUDROCK). Yoast also offers premium Video SEO and Local SEO plugins. We’ve never used either of them before so leave a comment if you have. We’d love to hear about them!
2) SEO Rank Reporter
If you want to track your keywords without having to do a manual search for them or pay a pretty penny for rank tracking software, then use the SEO Rank Reporter plugin. It automatically checks your ranking for you every 3 days.
The SEO Rank Reporter lets you choose which Google search engine (google.com or google.sg etc) you want to focus on. Furthermore, it suggests keywords that you should track and you can also choose to receive email notifications if any keywords move up or down the rankings a certain amount.
Unfortunately, you can currently only track one search engine at a time and only for Google.
3) Broken Link Checker
Broken pages are annoying to both search engines and your users. Unless you want to manually check every link on your website, use Broken Link Checker to save yourself time.
It will detect broken links on your website and either send you an email (recommended) or display it in a widget on your dashboard. You can also choose to stop search engines from following those links.
4) Google Analytics for WordPress
Google Analytics is the go-to analytics software for most bloggers. It’s robust, flexible and, most importantly, free! Google Analytics for WordPress (another plugin from those guys over at Yoast) is a plugin that allows for easy implementation of your Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC).
You can activate GA on your WordPress site either by manually inserting your tracking code or authenticating with Google. And you’re done!
Of course, if you want even more functionality, the plugin comes with the ability to track downloads and outbound clicks as well as pre-specified custom variables such as logged-in users and views per category.
While Google Analytics can do even more, this plugin is helps you get the most out of it without having to fiddle with the GATC.
As you very well know by now, your page load speed is a SEO and user experience factor. Both Google and your users favour websites that can serve up a page faster. It becomes even more important as we transition into an increasingly mobile world.
CloudFlare started out as a security platform that used crowdsourcing to identify and prevent attacks. An unexpected effect of its security measures was that it also made websites load about 30-40% faster. So now it both protects your website and acts as a lightweight content delivery network (CDN).
Also, if your site is experiencing an outage, it will automatically serve a cached version from its nearest servers. If you’re still having doubts, consider that Cloudflare was front and centre protecting thousands of WordPress websites during the global brute force attack the last few days.
You will first have to sign up for a CloudFlare account. After that, it is the simple matter of changing your nameservers to point to theirs (you can usually ask your web host to do that for you).
6) nRelate Related Content
You know your readers are interested in what you have to say if they read your posts to the end. So give them something else to read! By giving interested readers relevant articles to choose from, you increase visitor engagement, which leads to return visits and better conversions.
nRelate has a variety of attractive styles you can use. It can also be customised to exclude certain categories from appearing.
If you’re looking to further monetize your blog, you can join their advertising network. We’re not sure how it works though because we haven’t tried it out yet.
So there’s our pick of the litter. Do you have your own favourite SEO plugins that we might have missed out? Leave us a comment below!