Wordpress is a content management system (CMS) that has always been very SEO-friendly out of the box, with a range of features that were both simple and innovative since the start.
For example, Wordpress comes with an easy-to-use URL rewrite system that has never bothered with session IDs in URLs like a lot of community-driven software that was developed around the same time. With a single click you have the option to move from dynamic URLs to simple URLs using dates, numbers, and/or simply letters. The result is a simple and clean set of URLs that have always been easy for search engines to crawl.
Additionally, Wordpress avoids common mistakes of duplicated content, in even the most basic install, making sure that it remained very search engine friendly due to its close adherence of web standards, as opposed to many other platforms where developers appeared to code for themselves, rather than users and their needs.
The result is that today Wordpress is the CMS of choice and can make for a great website that is fully search engine optimization friendly.
However, despite the great foundations, there are always different ways in that the SEO of a Wordpress website can be improved. This may only involve small changes or tweaks, but enough applied could provide a cumulative advantage that is the difference between a successful website and a very successful website.
Here we'll feature the best SEO tools and plugins for Wordpress.
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Yoast is probably the most popular and established SEO plugin for Wordpress, and it comes in both a feature-packed free version and paid-for advanced version.
One of the most useful set of features of Yoast is the ability to customize page titles, headings, and meta-descriptions. This means rather that rather than the post title dictating the page title and heading, you can assign different ones for each. The advantage here is the ability to ensure keyword variations between each rather than direct repetition.
Additionally, the ability to construct a custom meta-description means you have a chance of this showing in search results rather than a snippet of your next, and so write a description to specifically encourage clickthroughs.
Other advantages are the ability to implement a schema so that search engines can make better use of your site. You can also have better control of breadcrumbs to help with site structure and crawling. There's also a one-click set up for creating a sitemap facility to help with crawling.
The premium version extends these hugely useful tools by providing additional support for news, video, local, and Woocommerce SEO. On top of this, the premium tool also provides internal linking suggestions, and content insights based on your most commonly used keywords to make sure you are properly targeting them. There's also the ability to redirect old URLs to new ones, in order to pass on any ranking benefits to them rather than 404 error pages.
Altogether, Yoast offers an easy to use but powerful set of SEO tools, with very useful features in both the free and paid-for versions of the plugin.
The All in One SEO Pack is the original SEO plugin for Wordpress, and comes in both free and paid-for versions.
The free version contains a range of essential SEO features, such as the ability to customize page titles and headings to be different, as well as provide meta-descriptions for snippets on search engine results pages. Additionally, it allows for the control of URLs, and comes with a handy redirect to help users avoid useless 404 pages.
For beginners, the All in One SEO Pack comes with a good range of pre-configured settings so you don't need to worry about these. A sitemaps of your content is automatically generated, and there are additional image and RSS sitemap options available.
Experienced users have the option to customize these as required, and the All in One SEO Pack also comes with its own API so that other plugins and themes can extend its functionality. On top of this the All in One SEO Pack is also optimized to work with Woocommerce.
The premium version adds to the raft of features, with options such as a Google Local Business SEO module, News sitemap module, and advanced SEO options for Woocommerce. There are also additional analytics and tagging options for custom taxonomies.
Overall, the All in one SEO Pack is an established favorite for many, covering essential basics without complicating matters for users. While other SEO packs aim to out do it in terms of features, this is still a very competent and very useful Wordpress plugin to cover your SEO needs.
Rank Math is a free SEO plugin that comes packed with a lot of features from the start, some of them useful, others not so much. Only there is currently no charge for use, the developers have stated they plan to release a premium version with added features at some point in the future.
Rank Math is easy to set up an use, though offers an advanced install option if you want to choose a customized base configuration. Like with Yoast, you can set up different page and heading titles, as well as set up meta-descriptions for trying to control text snippets in search results. There's also a set of options for controlling your site schema, as well as integration with Google Search Console and other tools.
Frankly, the list of actual features for Rank Math is very impressive, and many of these will be useful for those who really want to drill down into a more proactive SEO strategy. However, there are easily more tools than users will need, and it's unlikely most will be worried about such features as MySpace URLs and Alex verification.
The main concern really is just how aggressively Rank Math is being developed and provided for as a free product - it even comes with an importer if you want to switch from Yoast. Which raises the single concern of how the project will charge to fund itself in future in order to continue it's already considerable momentum.
Overall, a strong tool with a very comprehensive set of features, but a caveat on how reliant you might become on it.
SEOPress is another popular SEO plugin for Wordpress, and like most of the others here it comes in both a feature-packed free version and a paid-for pro version for more advanced users.
It comes with a default setup so that beginners can start without any complications, but settings are customizable for those wanting to tackle them. As expected, SEOPress covers the important basics, such as being able to control the page title, heading, and URL for each individual page, as well as create a unique meta-descriptions. There are also auto-generated sitemaps for content and images, as well as for HTML navigation.
However, SEOPress puts a little more focus on the social media aspect than other SEO plugins for Wordpress. As well as connecting your accounts, it also uses the Facebook Open Graph and Twitter Cards to help improve sharing. There are also a number of neat URL rewriting and redirection tricks available in the free version.
For paid-for pro users, benefits include much more detailed schema for structured data which can be used manually or automated using advanced conditions. There are also various breadcrumb options, advanced redirects, as well as integration with Google Analytics.
SEOPress is a capable Wordpress plugin that offers a wider range of options for users. It even offers the ability to import data from all of the other major Wordpress SEO plugins, making it easier for users to swap if they want to.
WP Meta SEO presents itself as a SEO manager for Wordpress, which is also available as both free and paid-for versions, with the specific aim of being able to bulk manage SEO information across your website. This is especially done through the free version by using a meta information manager, which allows you control over meta titles and meta descriptions.
The plugin also includes a sitemap facility, as well as optimization of images such as resizing them in bulk plus being able to edit the meta data of all images for better SEO. There's also a breadcrumb generator for control of rich snippets and the display of links. You can also run a broken link checker on your site and apply redirects accordingly.
The pro version adds further bulk management tools, such as a duplicate meta checker, automated index of 404 errors, sitemaps link checker, as well as custom email reports. There are also features for adding Google Business Local to your website, as well as SEO optimization options for Woocommerce.
While many of the SEO plugins for Wordpress listed above cover day to day running, WP Meta SEO does a nice job of putting the focus on bulk management, which could be especially useful for those with an existing and large Wordpress website who want to be able to implement a quick and easy SEO solution across the entire site.
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