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10 WordPress Plugins That are Essential for SEO

You’ve just finished your company’s website, or so you thought. You have all the pages just as you want them, with the right layout, text and graphics. All the links and navigation menus work, and the colors are so pleasing to the eye you never want to look away.

Let’s assume you’ve selected WordPress as your content management system (CMS). That’s a good choice, especially if you’re relatively new to web design. You can, generally speaking, get a solid WordPress website or blog up and running in no time.

So, there you are, ready to launch the site, when you realized that no matter how good it looks, you’d be hard pressed (“Pressed.” Get it? Like WordPress) to call it “optimized.”

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And without effective optimization, all your hard work will go unnoticed by the public at large.

But what if you’re not ready to do your own SEO, or can’t afford to hire a specialist or sign on with an agency? How do you even get started?

There are a wide range of WordPress SEO plugins that can help you optimize your website and keep it running smoothly.

[Get a free website report and see how your WordPress site is doing.]

No matter what industry or product your company delivers, these 10 SEO WordPress plugins are essential for any website:  

(Standard disclaimers apply: We’re not saying that you should go out and install every one of these plugins at once. We’re recommending a closer look at these tools and options to find the ones that can take your SEO to the next level.)

1.  Yoast SEO

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This plugin is one of the most popular and most downloaded among WordPress users. It provides one of the most comprehensive SEO solutions out there. You can use this tool to optimize your WordPress website without doing any coding. You don’t even have to know much about SEO because it will walk you through many of the important elements like the SEO titles, meta descriptions, and effective keyword usage.

It also allows you to write archives, categories and title tags. Yoast features Open Graph meta data, site maps, ping search engines and Twitter Cards when you update your site. Users can gather data from a built-in page analysis tool, get XML sitemap functionality, and include some technical WordPress search engine optimization.

2.  Google XML Sitemaps

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The first step to getting ranked is getting indexed Google. One of the goals of an SEO strategy is to make sure the search engine can fully index your site so it knows exactly what you’re about. It has to be able to find the correct pages before it can rank them.

You can help it out by adding a Google XML sitemap to your site.

With Google XML site map plugin, a sitemap will be automatically generated as soon as new piece of content is generated, whereby constantly keeping your updated website easily accessible to search engines.

3.  Rel NoFollow Checkbox

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When it comes to linking, some links are good for SEO while others aren’t. You don’t want some of your “link juice” to go to a less than prestigious site. To prevent this from happening, there is a tactic you can use called “nofollow.”

The Rel NoFollow Checkbox plugin adds a checkbox to the WordPress post editor where you can enter in external links you choose to “nofollow.”

4.  Google Analytics by MonsterInsights

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After you’ve deployed your website, it is important to monitor how it is doing. You won’t be able to improve the performance of your website unless you see areas where the opportunities for change actually exist.

This WordPress plugin requires some knowledge of Google Analytics to properly understand the value of the reports. The Google Analytics WordPress plugin by MonsterInsights embeds a tracking code onto the pages of your website which will send data to measure outbound and internal link tracking, website user demographics, and more.

5.  LinkPatrol

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A proper web optimization strategy would not be complete without link building. Links show how authoritative and trustworthy your website is, so it’s important that every link has a purpose and comes from, or points to, authoritative sources.

Not all links are created equal. Linking to poor-quality sites will, in turn, lower your website’s credibility, which will in turn lower your rank.  

To help you control the links on your website, there’s the LinkPatrol WordPress plugin.

This plugin does have a fee, but it allows you to monitor all the outgoing links on your site, find out which links are giving away link juice, clean up spammy links, improve your anchor text, and fix any link credibility problems your website may have.  

6.  W3 Total Cache

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You can have a great looking website, but still not be successful at converting people into buyers.


Because your website takes too long to load.

Having too much content, videos, graphics and animated objects can all slow your site speed down.

With the W3 WordPress plugin, you can see how your current website loading speed stacks up and get suggestions on what can be done to make it faster.

7.  All in One WP Security & Firewall

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There is nothing worse than spending time and money on building a great website and then find out it got hacked.

No business owner can afford to let their websites go down because of hackers, especially when all their customers are online. Your website is where most people will first interact with your brand, so the inconvenience of not being able to get in touch with you this way can hurt your business.

To reduce the risk of lost business, every website should have some sort of security and firewall protection software.

A popular WordPress plugin for this website protection is the All in One WP Security & Firewall.

This plugin offers a password strength tool, user enumeration, and login protection, making it harder for hackers and viruses to damage your website.

8.  WPtouch Mobile Plugin

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Consumers are browsing the Internet on their phones at a greater rate than on their desktops. That means you can’t just have a traditional website, you need to have a website that is mobile friendly. In other words, it has to look just as good on a tiny screen as it does on a computer monitor.

If you don’t have the time, money and resources to pay a developer or to upgrade your site, then you may try the WPtouch Mobile Plugin.

This plugin allows you to customize the mobile appearance of your website without having to mess with any code. You also don’t have to worry about the plugin altering how the desktop version of your website is displayed.

9.  Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

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An effective way to improve your website’s performance is to keep people engaged with your content and discovering new pages.

The Yet Another Related Posts plugin is a good way to displays post and pages (or other content) related to the current content.

This leads people to stay on your webpage longer, increasing the odds of them converting.

This plugin allows you to choose how the related content is displayed and how many articles are displayed

In today’s world of SEO, you need to lower your bounce rate and increase the amount of time that users spend on your site. A plugin like this can help you do just that.

10.  SEO Optimized Images

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e guidance of the SEO Optimized Images plugin, you can implement SEO friendly alt and title attributes to every image.

Images are an often-overlooked SEO element. You need images on your website, and they need to be fully optimized. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a well optimized image is worth, well, an added boost to the page’s value

Make Optimization a Part of Your WordPress Website

When you launch a website, you want to make sure it can get as much SEO juice as possible so it can rank well in search results. Web design has to go beyond just the layout and the colors. It has to be more than the words on the page. Take a look at some of these plugins and find the ones that can turn your website into a powerful marketing tool.


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Topics: SEO Web Development

Sarah Snider

Written by Sarah Snider

Sarah is a content writer at SEO.com and enjoys learning about the internet marketing field. She was born and raised in San Diego, CA and got her degree in public relations from San Diego State University. She also has a degree in nonprofit management from City Vision University. In her free time Sarah enjoys running, hiking, hanging out with friends, volunteering with the homeless and watching her favorite football, baseball and college basketball teams.

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