WordPress, on its own, does all right when it comes to search engine optimisation if it’s set up correctly. You make sure your permalinks are the post name (so it goes
www.yourdomain.com/the-best-wordpress-agency-on-the-planet instead of
www.yourdomain.com/?p=3213213), you make sure your chosen theme has good headline order (
<h3>, etc.), and you make sure your content is a good length, uses the keywords you want for the page, and generally fits in with your overall search engine strategy.
But sometimes you need just a little more. Sometimes you want to make sure you are doing everything you can to get good search engine results. This is where SEO plugins come in. And here are a few that should help.
Redirection makes it incredibly easy to set up 301 redirects for any stray URLs that have gotten in the way of your strategy. Whether you’ve deleted an old post and want to make sure people are going to the new one, or are discovering that people are going to the wrong URL and getting piles of 404 errors, Redirection gives you a fast way to point people in the right direction.
Not only does it let you make those smooth transitions, it also has a great 404 log, giving you a chance to see where people are going wrong.
If you’re starting to refresh your content, change over to new products, or just want a nice tidy on your site, Redirection is a great little plugin that makes it a breeze.
This is entirely optional if you don’t use Google Analytics, but if you do have GA on your site, then it’s an absolute gem. Find out exactly how your site is doing in GA without having to wade through piles of information and complicated reports. See what search terms get people to your site, which posts are the most popular, and where people are coming from, all in one convenient dashboard.
Site Kit also really helps if your WordPress site is a subdirectory of a larger site like this blog is — I can see what’s working best for the blog, without having my data drowned out by the rest of the site.
(And, as an aside, if you don’t use GA, but you’re looking for a nice, small, and privacy-focused analytics plugin, can I recommend Koko Analytics? It won’t give you all the information GA would, but it can tell you what’s been popular and where people are coming from without stalking them across the Internet.)
We’ve just started using this for the blog, and, so far, it’s been great to use. It gives you details on title and description length, lets you tweak your social media cards for convenient posting, and lets you see exactly what’s going on with your posts in clear and concise language.
It also has extensions, if you want to add in structured data for articles, local business information, or want to have a specific keyword to focus on. Some of the extensions are free, but others are available only for paying customers, starting at €72 a year.
RankMath is one of the more highly recommended plugins out there, giving you plenty of information in one relatively small package. Along with letting you optimise for up to five keywords per post, RankMath also has 12 Schema frameworks, making it easy to optimise your site for your particular field, such as local businesses, recipe blogging, music reviews, or e-commerce. Plus, with its Image SEO option, it’ll produce alt and title attributes for your images.
There are paid tiers for RankMath, which include email reports, keyword tracking, and more, but it does cost at least $129 a year.
If you’re looking for a plugin that won’t weigh down your site, Slim SEO might be a good option. It prides itself on being fast, lightweight, and not bogged down with advertising, coming in at just 40kb in size. It automatically generates title tags, meta descriptions, and descriptions for social media, as well as automatically generated alt attributes for images.
There is a Pro version in development, which will add more features, and you can sign up to be a part of the initial launch.
Yoast is, like, the matriarch of search engine optimisation plugins, so it’s no wonder it was recently sold to Newfold Digital. And you do get a lot of bang for your not-bucks with the free version, including that great keyword optimisation, good meta description/title tag optimisation, and plenty of additional features that make it easy to use and great for optimising your site. If you’re looking for one plugin that does everything, Yoast is a great option but can be a bit bloated.
Yoast Premium is £89 a year for one site, which offers you even more features, such as multiple keywords, redirect options, internal linking suggestions, and a lot more.