Top 5 WordPress SEO Plugins For 2018
If you’re trying to build an online presence with your website, then you’re going to want your visitors to find your website quickly through search engines like Google. Search engines are vital in expanding your company’s reach and are one of the primary sources of generating traffic, leads, and ultimately sales. As such, it’s very important to consider Search Engine Optimization (SEO) when you’re developing your digitial marketing strategy. If none of your visitors can find your website, then what use is having exceptional content?
Every day millions of users are searching for keywords relevant to your industry, and with over 200 ranking factors to consider when developing your SEO strategy, it can be difficult to know what to prioritize.
Luckily, SEO is made simple with WordPress. Through the plugin marketplace, there are dozens of SEO plugins to help optimize your website for you and boost your website’s rankings easier than ever before.
To help you choose the right SEO plugin for you, we’ve come up with a list of the top 5 SEO Plugins that are currently available.
Before we dive into it, let’s look at what exactly Search Engine Optimization is.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization is generally defined as the practice of optimizing a website’s content based on a variety of factors in order to improve your website’s rankings on Google. The end goal of SEO is ultimately to get your website to the top of the results page, which will in turn gain you more organic traffic from search engine users.
But you might be thinking, what does the term organic traffic mean?
Traffic is generally referred to as organic if it isn’t paid ad traffic and comes from any of the following sources:
- Search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc)
- Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc)
- Referral traffic from another site
- Direct traffic from entering the URL directly
As trends have changed over the years, SEO has become a necessary consideration for increasing brand exposure, and without a solid SEO strategy you risk losing business to your competitors. If your customers find a competitor’s website on Google before yours, you may be missing out on a sale.
Additionally, relying on paid advertisements isn’t enough to produce results – Pay Per Click (PPC) ads can be ineffective when not properly planned , and visitors are generally much more likely to click on an organic result instead of a paid advertisement.
1. Yoast SEO
The top spot in our list goes to Yoast SEO Plugin, a longstanding leader in the WordPress SEO plugin market. Developed in 2010, the open-source WordPress plugin was one of the first of it’s kind and it’s feature-rich yet easy to use platform solidified it as one of the most robust SEO plugins available.
Yoast offers the most streamlined, user-friendly optimization experience with WordPress, with some of the most convenient tools you can find anywhere. It also provides the best free experience out of all the SEO plugins for WordPress that we’ve used.
As well as making technical optimizations behind the scenes to handle robots.txt, .htaccess files, sitemaps etc, the free version of Yoast also includes an extensive feature set including:
- Multiple Keyword optimization
- Content analysis including readibility check
- Search Engine Results page preview
- Custom categorization/taxonomy
- Automatically updated for Google’s algorithm
- Content insights for premium subscriptions
Yoast simplifies the task of optimizing your website for search engines by integrating all SEO considerations into a single easy-to-use interface, viewable as soon as you create or edit a wordpress page. The Content Analysis tool is the foundation of Yoast’s user experience, and lets you check most areas of your SEO while editing the page itself:
The traffic light system is a very effective way of displaying the health of your SEO, and gives a detailed analysis of exactly which areas need improvement. Checking your posts for the green lights before publishing will become a habit when using Yoast!
The plugin also features many configurable options, allowing you to choose to exclude any areas of your website from search results, set metadata templates, bulk edit metadescriptions, and much more.
- The easiest platform to use
- Free version is packed with useful features
- Widely used with great support resources
- Incredibly useful content analysis tool
- With some bloated features, you may find that Yoast can slow down your website
- Lack of recognition for newer SEO techniques such as LSI keywords
- Premium edition and addons can be expensive
2. All in One SEO Pack
Next on our list is the All in One SEO Pack plugin for WordPress. All In One SEO Pack has been around since 2007 and boasts an impressive 30 million downloads, making it one of the most popular search engine optimization plugins for WordPress ever.
Featuring a wide-ranging feature list, professional technical support, and an interface to rival Yoast in terms of simplicity, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.
- Works out of the box – no setup required
- Automatic meta tag generation
- XML Sitemaps support
- Social Media integration
- Google Analytics support
All In One SEO Pack includes a user-friendly module manager which lets you enable or disable modules to your installation, with a single click. Removing the stress of changing settings and options, this interface delivers a very convenient and fast solution for expanding functionality in your website’s SEO.
All in One SEO Pack doesn’t require any additional setup or configuration, but does let you adjust pretty much every aspect of your website’s optimization.
All in One SEO Pack also includes an on-page meta description editor, as well as Keyword settings and a preview snippet of your search engine result. While editing posts it does lack some of the more advanced features that Yoast offers, however the interface is simple and accessible so more inexperienced users may find it easier to use.
- Gives you plenty of control over advanced settings
- No additional setup needed, works straight away
- Simple and easy to use interface
- Broad range of powerful features
- Content analysis tool doesn’t offer as many advanced features as Yoast
- Some settings may be overwhelming to new users
- Support resources can be lacking in some areas
- Premium option can also be on the expensive side
3. The SEO Framework
Number 3 on our list of WordPress SEO plugins is The SEO Framework, a new contender in the SEO plugin space. The SEO Framework began as a project setup by a contributor at WPMUDEV aimed at offering a more advanced SEO experience than what many default WordPress themes provide. This plugin is 100% free and open source, and offers a fast, accessible automated solution as well as a vast array of advanced settings to tweak.
- Support for custom post types for plugins such as bbPress and WooCommerce
- Compatible with many extensions for added functionality
- Handy tool for switching SEO plugin
- Social media integration options
- Automatically generates descriptions, titles, and sitemaps
Perhaps the standout feature of The SEO Framework is the intuitive ‘SEO Bar’, which is a colour-coded representation of the status of your post’s SEO. This feature sets The SEO Framework apart from many other free SEO plugins, and helps you quickly spot any obvious SEO issues such as lengthy title tags or insufficient text content.
The SEO Framework provides you with an extensive selection of advanced settings and options to tweak. Advanced users will be happy to know that you can take control over every aspect of your SEO.
- Completely free, so no subscription or addons to worry about
- Large selection of advanced settings
- Helpful visual SEO bar
- The plugin’s code is well optimized, so it runs quickly and efficiently
- Relatively new plugin so the support resources are slightly lacking
- Lacks a content analysis tool on posts
- Not quite as user-friendly as some of the more popular plugins
4. Premium SEO Pack
Premium SEO Pack is a powerful SEO plugin for WordPress that provides a flexible, feature-rich SEO solution suitable for any kind of website. This expansive WordPress plugin is equipped with one of the most complete feature sets available, and provides a complete, professional SEO solution.
Offering a premium all-in-one SEO package, most users will find that Premium SEO Pack comes with all the tools they’ll ever need for optimizing their website, as well as an abundance of extra features.
Premium SEO Pack is incredibly functional and feature-rich, including:
- Backlink Builder
- Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Tracking
- Video Sitemaps
- PageSpeed Insights
- Social Media statistics
The interface is easy to use and includes every setting you can think of, even including plugin cron jobs. Installation is quick and simple taking only a few clicks, with advanced setup options for the advanced user. The tool also makes it simple to backup your settings and migrate to a different installation.
The dashboard also has innovative menus for checking the server status, miscellaneous settings, as well as integrations for popular applications such as Google Analytics and PageSpeed.
Another useful addition is the Social Statistics featured on the Dashboard area. At a glance, you can see how well you’re performing across your social media platforms – rather than checking each website individually.
- Excellent keyword research and optimization
- Fantastic SERP features
- Bulk editor makes quick work of mass optimization
- Innovate Backlink Builder feature
- Full version is paid, however there is a viable free alternative
- Lots of options can be confusing to new users
- Support resources aren’t comprehensive
- Lacking in RSS settings
5. SEO Ultimate
The final spot on our list is taken by the SEO Ultimate solution WordPress plugin. This feature-rich plugin boasts an all-in-one SEO management solution with a simple interface and extensive set of configuration options to tweak. The plugin offers one of the most flexible and complete SEO platforms available, with no need for extra plugins or modules to add extra functionality.
- Structured Data, Schema, and Rich Snippets
- HTML/XML Sitemaps
- Mass alt attribute editor
- SEO Importer tool for importing data from popular plugins such as Yoast
- Comprehensive support with the premium version
There are two versions of the SEO Ultimate plugin – paid, and free. The paid version can get expensive, especially for multiple websites, however it does offer a range of extra features and premium technical support. If you want to save money though, you’ll find that the free version is more than adequate.
The dashboard, while somewhat stripped down in the free version, is still simple and easy to get to grips with. Modules are quick to enable/disable so you there’s no playing with settings to get the plugin to work the way you want it to.
SEO Ultimate also features a meta description editor and various other features accessible when editing a post, and while it doesn’t offer as many features as competitors Yoast and All in One SEO Pack, it does still let you easily change the most useful optimization features.
The editor also includes options for social media posts, as well as settings for the generated Autolinks and the standard meta noindex and nofollow options. Managing these aspects of optimization straight from the post or page you’re writing significantly helps speed up the SEO process and gives a consolidated, integrated experience.
One of the standout features of SEO Ultimate is the Deeplink Juggernaut content linking tool. This tool lets you automatically create links for certain words or phrases to custom URLs that you’ve specified, with granular options for settings autolinks for certain types of content as well as more advanced options such as footer links and self-linking. Deeplink Juggernaut is a welcome feature that can definitely take some of the effort out of streamlining your search engine optimization.
- Very complete feature set with many useful options
- Extensive open graph features with a mass-editor
- Useful ‘Deeplink Juggernaut’ tool for automatically linking words/phrases to custom URLs
- Helpful mass-editor tool for descriptions, titles and more
- Paid versions can get expensive, starting at $49
- Content analysis tool lacking in advanced features
- Lack of advanced keyword optimization tools
- Not as many rank tracking features as competitor plugins
It’s safe to say that there’s a staggering number of SEO plugins available for WordPress in 2018. There are however, some clear leaders in terms of usability, functionality and support.
Yoast is arguably the most complete free solution on the market, and offers the most user-friendly experience with the most comprehensive toolset we’ve seen so far. Suitable for a website of any kind, Yoast is a good starting point for covering all the basic SEO points. However, if you’re looking for a plugin with more control and less bloat, you might want to try one of the alternatives such as The SEO Framework or All In One SEO Pack.
For paid plugins, Premium SEO Pack offers the most complete experience with newer features that can give you useful insights into how to improve your site’s rankings.
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