Our List of the Best SEO Plugins for WordPress
WordPress is pretty good for SEO right out of the box. However, there are a number of free plugins that are always featured on a client’s WordPress Website, and some that I would only use on select websites. All of them, either directly or indirectly, improve SEO performance. You can include plugins to optimise titles, decrease loading speeds, improve internal linking, and more.
Here are 16 of the best WordPress plugins for SEO:
1. Yoast SEO
It’s very likely that you’ve heard of Yoast if you use WordPress.
It’s probably the most popular plugin for WordPress, and definitely the most famous. Upon activation your website is improved instantly with better, more targeted titles that are controlled with templated snippets, well-grouped sitemaps, knowledge graph schema markup, tools to edit your robots.txt and .htaccess files, and so much more.
Although the built-in snippet-controlled titles are good, I’d recommend always manually writing your titles on a page or post-level. This is because content titles and browser titles should be slightly different for maximum impact.
My recommendations for Yoast:
- Add Organisation Schema in Search Appearance
- Modify your taxonomy titles and remove “Archives” from them
- Disable Author archives if you’re only publishing posts from one account
- Submit your sitemaps in Google Search Console
- Insert a breadcrumb if your theme doesn’t already have one
- Add links to your social profiles in Social
- Add your Search Console verification META tag
- Remove the categories prefix from category URLs
Yoast SEO can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
2. Broken Link Checker
Broken internal links are bad for both users and search engines, and should be resolved as soon as they’re discovered.
That’s where the Broken Link Checker plugin for WordPress comes in. It automatically monitors all of your internal links at any time period you set (default is 72 hours) and will send you an email if any broken links are discovered on your website.
It also adds custom CSS formatting to broken links for easy visual identification, which by default is a strikethrough. There’s also an option to automatically add the nofollow attribute to broken links to avoid wasting link equity until the link is discovered and fixed. You can also set the type of links to monitor (HTML, image, plain text, etc.).
Broken Link Checker can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
3. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)
Another great SEO plugin is Yet Another Related Posts Plugin, better known as YARPP. It’s an internal linking machine that helps you to spread link equity across all of your blog posts, by linking the most relevant posts together.
It works by including a list of the most related posts at the bottom of every post on your blog. It’s highly customisable, allowing you to remove categories or tags from the post pool and choose to show only posts from the past X amount of time. It matches posts based on relevance from categories, tags, titles and body content – you can choose which ones are used, and set the match threshold you prefer in order to get the best, most relevant posts possible to the current one.
My recommendations for YARPP:
- Set your match threshold to 2 unless you have a lot of posts
- Don’t show only posts from the past X amount of time
- Use the list output rather than image
TIP: You may see ‘Titles’ and ‘Bodies’ greyed out under Relatedness when you first install the plugin. To resolve this you will need to create a fulltext index by clicking the link at the top of the screen. On most hosts this should work fine.
YARPP can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
4. Internal Link Manager
This is another fantastic plugin for improving internal linking throughout your website, but it provides much more control and enables you to pass around link equity through targeted anchors to assist with the ranking of your internal pages and posts.
Unlike YARPP, Internal Link Manager allows you to enter pages or posts individually and set up a list of keywords to automatically link when they’re found on a page or post. You have complete control over how many times a term is linked on each page or post, and also whether the link should have the nofollow attribute or be opened in a new tab.
There’s also a statistics page where you can see how many clicks every link has had, which is very useful.
My recommendations for Internal Link Manager:
- Enable it on both pages and posts for maximum impact
- Avoid using the link title option if a link targets multiple keywords
- Make sure the number of links is set to 1
- Make sure the links are followed by search engines
Internal Link Manager can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
5. PublishPress Content Calendar
As an SEO who believes in and understands the true value offered by fresh content and content in general, I am a massive fan of PublishPress. It is easily one of my personal favourite plugins for SEO and should be used by every content team.
At its core, PublishPress is a content calendar that supports team collaboration and seamless workflows to get content planned, scheduled and published. The calendar shows you a number of weeks at a time where you can click into any day to add post ideas and drag them around to different days, if required. Posts added in this manner are marked with the status Pitch.
Post statuses, out-of-the-box, include Pitch, Assigned, In Progress, Draft, Pending Review and Published.
My recommendations for PublishPress:
- Put together pitches from keyword research data from SEMRush or KWFinder
- Have at least 3 months of content mapped out
- Turn off notifications if you only use it for yourself (they get annoying)
PublishPress can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
6. Site Kit by Google
We wrote a post about Site Kit back when it was first released. It’s Google’s first official WordPress plugin.
Site Kit brings some of your favourite data right into your WordPress dashboard, including insight from Google Analytics, Search Console, AdSense and even PageSpeed Insights to see how your website is performing on Desktop and Mobile devices.
This plugin is more for insight at a glance rather than deep analysis. You can take a look and see how many visitors you’ve had over the past 28 days, and from which channels, along with your most popular landing pages and a list of search terms you’re being found for. And that’s it. It’s good enough for most people, like busy business owners.
Site Kit can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
7. WP Fastest Cache
There’s no doubt about it, website and page loading speeds have a direct impact on SEO. After all, why would Google want to send their trusting users to a website that is going to frustrate them? They wouldn’t want to. And won’t.
Fortunately, there are some great plugins that can significantly improve the speed of your website on both Desktop and Mobile devices, with our favourite being WP Fastest Cache. We use it on our clients WordPress websites and get great results every time. We’ve found that it improves speed instantly upon activating and enabling its core features.
My recommendations for WP Fastest Cache:
- Enable the caching engine right away
- Disable caching for logged-in users so you can see changes right away
- Clear caches when posts or pages are updated
- Minify HTML and CSS
- Combine JS files
- Disable Emojis
This is one of the few plugins where i’d recommend upgrading to the premium version. It’s very affordable and enables further speed improvements with support for lazy-loading, eliminating render-blocking scripts and optimising image sizes.
WP Fastest Cache can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
8. Smush Image Compression
Smush is another great plugin for assisting with website speed. It’s dedicated to image compression.
It supports lossless compression, where unused data is removed from images without reducing image quality, and from experience that alone provides a huge reduction in image size and page loading times. Smush also supports lazy-loading, which defers the loading of images until they enter the visitors viewport alongside many more great features.
The best thing about Smush is the ability to bulk smush (or bulk optimise) 50 images at a time, completely free. You can also set a maximum width and height of images if you’d like to and auto detect incorrect sizes.
Smush can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
It doesn’t directly help with, or influence, SEO performance, but it does support it.
That’s because the Insert Headers & Footers plugin enables you to add scripts to the headers and footers of your website, either globally or on an individual post and page-level. You can use it to add your Google Analytics code, your conversion tags, webmaster verification meta tags (Yoast is better for this) or schema markup for reviews and FAQ rich snippets in search.
Insert Headers & Footers can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
10. AMP for WP
According to Google, 53% of Mobile visitors will leave a website if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds.
AMP (Accelerate Mobile Pages) is an open-source project from Google. Pages with support for AMP have a lightening bolt next to them in Mobile search results, and load pretty much instantly for users when they click on them.
AMP for WP is the most popular and best-supported AMP plugin for WordPress.
Out-of-the-box it will instantly make your posts and pages AMP-friendly, although they will look different from the rest of your website. They provide a number of templates you can choose from, but you can also get somebody to adapt your website to an AMP version for a more seamless and consistent feel across all versions. Though I don’t think it matters on posts.
AMP for WP can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
11. Really Simple SSL
It’s old news now, but some people still haven’t got the memo. Google doesn’t like websites without SSL certificates, and back in 2018 their Chrome Browser started telling users that HTTP websites weren’t secure.
There’s simply no good excuse for not having a secure website these days. You can get one instantly for free on most web hosts using LetsEncrypt, or you can use CloudFlare for fast caching and great security and also get a free SSL certificate from them. There are too many easy and free options to mention.
Once you have an SSL certificate you’ll want to ensure that your visitors are being served only the secure version.
That’s where the Really Simple SSL plugin comes in. Once installed, you simply enable it and your website is instantly redirected to force the HTTPS version. It’ll also automatically fix any content being served using HTTP instead of HTTPS, ensuring a totally secure connection for your visitors, and another bonus point for SEO.
Really Simple SSL can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
Google doesn’t like 404 pages because they’re frustrating for users who arrive on a website looking for a solution to their problem, an answer to their question, or a product to buy, and instead get hit with “sorry, page not found.”
Not only that, but it’s wasted link equity when you’re linking to broken pages, so damages your SEO.
The best way to avoid these problems is to use this Redirection plugin alongside the Broken Link Checker plugin listed above. Once you receive a broken link notification, redirect the broken page to the new page (if it was moved), or a similar page if you simply removed it because it is no longer required. If there are no similar pages, redirect to the homepage.
My recommendations for Redirection:
- Turn on monitor changes to posts and pages for automatic redirection
- Upload redirects in CSV format when doing a site move with a lot of changes
Redirection can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
Social media shares aren’t just great for increasing exposure and traffic to your website because Cognitive SEO found a definitive correlation between the number of social shares and top rankings when it studied a number of websites.
AddToAny provides out-of-the-box social sharing buttons that can be added to your website content for users to easily share your content with just a few clicks, alongside share counts which are optional. You can choose where they appear, and you can even have them floating at the side of the screen if you’d like – horizontally or vertically.
AddToAny Share Buttons can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
14. Premmerce for WooCommerce
If you use WooCommerce for WordPress, you’re probably well aware of the messy URL structures it provides.
With Premmerce you can instantly remove the clumsy /shop/, /product-category/ and /product/ slugs so that you’re left with a clean, SILO-style architecture that makes sense and improves relevancy for both users and search engines.
Example of URLs before using Premmerce:
Example of URLs after using Premmerce:
Much better, right? Premmerce is a no-brainer for WooCommerce users on WordPress.
You can also use Premmerce to remove the product tag base, use the primary category to build product paths, add canonical tags to duplicate pages and automatically create 301 redirects from old pages when you change the structure.
Premmerce can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
15. All 404 Redirect to Homepage
We’ve already covered the topic of Google disliking 404 pages with the Redirection plugin above, and how you can find those pages and broken links with the Broken Link Checker plugin, and this plugin makes a great addition alongside those.
This plugin will redirect all 404 pages to your homepage.
It’s not the best solution, as missing pages should be redirected to their newer versions, or to their closest related page. But if you happen to miss any or some appear when you’re away or something then you’ll want to make sure that 1) you’re not frustrating your users, and 2) you’re not losing valuable link equity. It’s extremely important.
Don’t use this instead of the Redirection plugin. Use it alongside it. This is simply a failsafe solution.
All 404 Redirect to Homepage can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
16. Read More Without Refresh
Content is extremely important when it comes to SEO and top rankings. And longer content ranks better than shorter content most of the time, although there are exceptions as you’d expect with anything. But generally, longer content is better.
But what do you do when your long-form content is ruining the aesthetics of a website?
Well, you use a nifty plugin called Read More Without Refresh, of course. With this plugin you simply place a shortcode on your page and it places any content you specify out of view that appears when you click on a read more link.
Great uses for this plugin:
- Homepage content that doesn’t fit aesthetically
- Category content on ecommerce sites that pushes products out of view
Here’s the shortcode you use:
[read more] Your long text [/read]
Read More Without Refresh can be downloaded from the WordPress website here.
Need Help with Your WordPress SEO?
At Paramount Digital we manage over 160 accounts for clients, and many of those are on WordPress.
We’d love to have the opportunity to work with you and your WordPress website. Whether it’s devising and implementing an effective SEO strategy, consulting, or even freshening it up with our design and development team, we can help.
Got any recommendations for our list? Drop it in the comments below.