WordPress is an incredibly versatile platform. These days, it’s for a lot more than just blogs, too. Many businesses run their entire sites on WordPress, and it’s a great idea for a lot of reasons. Namely, it’s customizable, easy to use, free to setup, and it’s pretty well loved by Google. All in all, WordPress is just naturally pretty great for SEO. There are ways to take it to the next level though. Here are 10 simple plugins that can take your WordPress site’s SEO from good to great just as fast as you can press “Activate.”
All of these plugins can be found in the searchable WordPress plugin directory, so no links have been included.
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast
This is the first and best SEO plugin for WordPress. It’s one of the first things I install no matter what the WordPress site is for, and it covers nearly all of the SEO basics that need covering. In my opinion, it’s so good that WordPress should just outright buy it and make it a default part of their platform.
Seriously, cannot recommend this one enough.
The WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin is easy to use, powerful as all get-out, and best of all, it’s completely free.
Get it. Install it. Love it. You can thank me later.
2. Simple URLs
This plugin is great for managing your outbound links. It creates an area in the backend of WordPress where you can track and control all of the URLs on your site. This plugin is great for SEO because it allows you to manage the way your PageRank flows, and it has the added benefit of being a great affiliate marketing tool, as it allows you to track the number of clicks you get on each specific affiliate link.
3. RB Internal Links
This plugin isn’t really updated often, but it’s tremendously useful for internal linking and I haven’t found a modern plugin that I like as much. Essentially, this plugin allows you to create internal links without relying on the URL structure. On the fact of it, this may not seem that useful, but anyone who has ever done a migration or a slug change knows that fixing broken links can be a pain in the butt. This plugin used post ID instead of URL, meaning it’s almost impossible for you to break your internal links. 404 no more with this simple but handy plugin.
4. Broken Link Checker
To go along with the one above, this little plugin is a great way to check if your site contains any broken links. Sure there are other ways to do this, but it’s nice to have one build right into the site itself. If you find any broken links, make sure to fix them right away. This isn’t just an SEO problem, it’s a user experience problem. The majority of users that encounter a broken link don’t bother to keep looking for a non-broken one, they just bounce right off of your page.
5. Widget Logic
This plugin is great for a variety of reasons, above and beyond SEO. It allows you to choose where each and every widget appears on your site. Maybe you want certain widgets on the homepage but not on posts, or on pages but not on staff pages, this plugin allows you to do exactly that.
Fair warning, this plugin does require a small amount of PHP knowledge. If you don’t feel comfortable, you can look through various support forums and find quick solutions to your problems, or even better you can learn a little bit of PHP.
This plugin makes it easy to add new users to your site. Sure, that’s already a pretty easy process, but this plugin streamlines it further and allows you to better define user roles. In the past, this wouldn’t have made out list of SEO plugins, but with Google Authorship becoming an increasingly important factor in search, we felt like it was worth including. Get it and make sure your users are set up properly as authors.
7. Use Google Libraries
8. W3 Total Cache
While we’re talking about performance, a good cache will boost your speed instantly. This is one of my favorite (free!) plugins for that purpose. It used a variety of techniques to deliver your content quickly and reliably. If you’re into the tech of a back end, you’ll be thrilled with all of the toys that W3 Total Cache gives you to tinker with. If you’re not so hot about the tech side of things, it’s pretty easy to set and forget this plugin.
Honestly all cache plugins are pretty decent, this just happens to be my favorite. As long as you have SOME kind of a cache, I’d say you’ll be pretty well off.
9. Google XML sitemaps
This is another one that I install the second WordPress is done installing. You don’t need it to add a sitemap to Google, but this plugin makes it instant, easy and foolproof. If you don’t know the importance of a sitemap, think of it a lot like a roadmap. It shows search engines the structure of your site so that they can find and index your pages easier. What’s more, this plugin updates dynamically once installed so your sitemap is always up to date, meaning search engines are always finding your newest content.
Install it, get your code from Google Webmaster Tools, and then just let it roll.
10 AddThis Social
This one isn’t technically SEO, but social has been playing a large part in an overall SEO strategy for years now, so I think it deserves a spot on the list. This plugin makes sharing and following your content as easy as a single click. You see the buttons at the top and the bottom of this post? Those buttons are AddThis in action. If you want to test how they work, just click share and share this post on any social network you want!