You’ve built a great WordPress site, spent a lot of time on content, and launched it for your website visitors. You’re hoping that “If you build it, they will come,” like the Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams, right? Not necessarily.
In order to drive organic website traffic (i.e. traffic not resulting in paid ads), search engine optimization — or SEO — is the necessary next step.
SEO is an involved and ongoing process, but fortunately, WordPress has a variety of resources to make it easier.
To optimize your WordPress site, you can select a quality WordPress theme and a WordPress SEO plugin to help you implement your SEO strategy. In this article, you’ll get an overview of the best SEO plugins for WordPress, what they do, and why they could work for your business.
Without good data, it’s hard to build a quality SEO strategy. That’s where HubSpot’s free WordPress Plugin can help. HubSpot provides built-in analytics about all of your marketing performance in easy-to-read dashboards.
Monitor the quantity and quality of your traffic on a page-by-page basis, or zoom out to get an overview of your entire site. With the plugin, you can start discovering where to focus your attention — all without leaving WordPress.
An added bonus? The plugin comes with live chat, email marketing, forms, and more to help you grow your business.
Ideal for: Small and scaling businesses benefit from this plugin because it’s free and it works seamlessly with HubSpot’s suite of products including its CRM.
With over 2,000,000 professionals using All in One SEO (AIOSEO), this plugin is another popular choice for those who want to perform on-page SEO. The plugin’s SEO audit checklist will analyze your entire WordPress site to detect errors and provide actionable recommendations to improve your SEO and boost traffic.
AIOSEO can also automatically generate and submit sitemaps to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other popular search engines, maximizing your presence on the web. Other important features include schema, knowledge graph, AMP, local SEO, and more.
Ideal for: This is a time and money-saver for local and small business owners who rely on online searches for sales and revenue.
3. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO plugin is one of the most widely used SEO plugins for WordPress. It’s a free plugin that offers nearly every feature you’ll need to optimize your website. SERP previews, XML sitemap creation, meta description rating, and more are all included.
The on-page SEO insights feature is one of the key highlights: It will tell you how to best incorporate your target keyword, whether you’ve used the keyword enough times (or too many times) on the page, and how to best optimize your title, meta description, and URL for the keyword. It’s meant to be a guide for managing each element based on SEO best practices.
Ideal for: If you have a team of writers who work in-house, they’ll love that this plugin prioritizes the reader experience and provides actionable tips for optimizing content. With Yoast, they can delight readers and search engines without having to memorize every SEO best practice.
There’s no SEO without tracking analytics and performance, and that’s what MonsterInsights helps you do. With its WordPress plugin, it brings Google Analytics right to your WordPress dashboard and provides you with actionable insights on how to improve.
You won’t have to use any code to install your Google Analytics tracking script, you’ll be able to see exactly how people find and use your website, and it has a content report that shows which pages on your site are visited the most. If you think Google Analytics is too complicated, MonsterInsights provides a simplified and streamlined way to look at your data without ever logging into the Google Analytics platform.
Ideal for: Marketers and other stakeholders who want to optimize their site for conversions. If you’re looking for a “trail” to see how people are finding your website and why, this tool can help you enhance that experience for the visitor.
5. Rank Math
Rank Math helps you optimize your site as you write content, providing real-time insights about your posts without you having to leave the WordPress interface. You’ll also be able to optimize titles and meta descriptions with a snippet preview, reducing the likelihood of SERP display errors in Google. The best part is that this plugin has been optimized for speed — it’s fast so that your site’s speed doesn’t impact your SEO efforts. It also offers additional SEO features such as redirections, 404 monitoring, and SEO for WooCommerce sites.
Ideal for: Working on content, SEO, and managing the health of your website as a one-person team? RankMath keeps all the pertinent data you need for these tasks at your fingertips using the advanced SEO analytics module.
What makes the Premium SEO Pack unique is its advanced features that handle SEO elements that other plugins don’t. While it has some of the foundational features available such as sitemap generation and Google Analytics monitoring, it also includes unique features for monitoring page speed, rich snippets, 404 checking, and link building. It also provides you with insights about your internal linking structure.
7. WP Meta SEO
Working through a website redesign? Don’t forget to optimize those new pages for the search engine. WP Meta SEO offers a meta information bulk editor, making it easy to perform optimization across the site at once (without having to go in and out of each individual page), saving you an incredible amount of time.
It also integrates with Google Search Console to power its keyword suggestion features so that you can use accurate data directly from Google to make informed decisions about your keyword strategy. There are also additional SEO features built in such as a redirections manager and a sitemap generator.
Ideal for: The jack-of-all-trades entrepreneur or marketer who handles website, SEO, and content. The bulk editor feature can help speed up your workflow so you can spend more time crafting content to reach your audience.
Site speed is so important because the goal of every search engine is to retrieve sites that satisfy the searcher’s query while providing a delightful user experience. W3 Total Cache improves site speed through caching, minifying, and CDN integrations which make it easier to manage all the benefits in one place on your website.
Ideal for: Website owners who manage lots of content on their site like gifs, videos, and images can benefit from this type of plugin because it directly impacts a major aspect of SEO ranking — site speed.
Your SEO strategy is only as good as its data. Rankie provides you more data with which to make the smartest SEO decisions for your site. By helping you track your rankings and create powerful reports, Rankie offers the insights you need to make modifications to your pages without needing to open up a new tab for Google Analytics, and WordPress, and a random excel spreadsheet you use to track every keyword you plan to target.
With this plugin, you can track your target keywords to monitor your ongoing performance as well as add new keywords that visitors are using to discover your content.
Ideal for: The SEO or marketing data analyst that wants to understand how their site is performing in the SERP and in the eyes of the reader.
Using machine learning algorithms that have analyzed over 600,000 sites over 7 years, Squirrly audits websites based on internal architecture, keyword utilization, backlinks, web authority, and more.
Its artificial intelligence enables it to identify the gaps that are keeping your site from ranking as well as you’d like so that you can focus on the activities that will give you the fastest results. The idea is to achieve big breakthroughs from fewer activities, saving you time and money.
Ideal for: Professionals looking for a tool that can assist you in an SEO audit for your website. If you’re taking over an existing site that needs a new SEO strategy, SEO by SQUIRRLY could be the right tool to get you started.
Riddle me this: You delete a page because you no longer need it. However, Google ranked that page pretty highly on page one for a high volume keyword. You have a lot of backlinks pointing to the page that you don’t want to lose. How do you delete your page without losing traffic?
You’d implement a 301 redirect that tells Google to look at another page instead.
These 301 redirects are an important element of SEO strategy, and you can accomplish this without a lot of effort. Simply specify the new URL the page should link to and you’re done.
(As an added bonus, Redirect helps you stay on top of 404 errors, too.)
Ideal for: A marketing or dev team starting a website redesign.
A rich snippet is a Google feature that displays search results in an attractive way that could even boost your click-through rate. They are often interactive and can display photos, star ratings, price, author, and more. Therefore, earning placement in a rich snippet helps you break through the competition and win more traffic.
The All In One Schema Rich Snippets plugin helps you compete for more of these snippets by implementing schema coding such as Review, Events, Recipes, Article, Products, and Services. The best part is that you don’t have to be a web developer to use it.
Ideal for: Small businesses, blogs, and review sites looking to establish a greater presence on SERPs.
After years of being a go-to SEO toolkit for keyword research and other SEO data for campaigns, Ahrefs developed a WordPress plugin to provide more actionable insights directly to your dashboard.
Some of its more unique features include backlink analysis powered by its backlink index (the largest backlink index online), SEO analysis based on data from your Google Analytics, and a content audit tool to provide real-time recommendations as you produce content.
Ideal for: PR professionals and social media managers can benefit from this type of data just as much as SEOs and content writers can, so don’t forget to share access with those teams. Understanding your backlink profile can reveal partnership opportunities and guest collaborators that could help grow traffic to your website.
In a highly competitive market, your competitor’s SEO trends are worth their weight in gold. The SEMrush Writing Assistant plugin for WordPress doesn’t just help you write better, but it also gives you clues about what your competitors are ranking for and why.
SEMrush is another keyword research platform, and they’ve made their highly popular Writing Assistant available in the form of a WordPress plugin. The Writing Assistant checks your content as you type and provides recommendations based on your keywords and competitors. This allows you to better produce content that is competitive with what’s already out there and ranking.
Ideal for: Marketers and other content creators who are familiar with SEO best practices, but not experts.
SEOPress is Ideal for: business owners who want to redesign their website for a better user experience and need to optimize in bulk.
If you’re worried about bloating your site with too many plugins, SEOPress provides an all-in-one package for your SEO needs, including breadcrumbs, redirections, schemas, and sitemaps. You’ll be equipped to optimize titles and meta descriptions, submit your sitemap to Google’s index, and even check broken links, all from your WordPress dashboard.
Ideal for: Large websites that need stay at peak performance to handle high traffic and lots of content.
Quality SEO Starts With a WordPress Plugin
A good quality WordPress SEO plugin is a must for any WordPress site. You may find that your theme comes with SEO settings built in. However, if you undergo a redesign, an SEO plugin lets you transport your settings from one theme to another with ease.
Proving that your SEO efforts have been worth it, you need a way to measure them. HubSpot’s WordPress plugin gives you all the tools to attract, convert, and delight your visitors in one simple, lightweight plugin.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.