WordPress has been with us since 2003 and has grown to become the top CMS in the world. According to the Netcraft November 2018 Web Survey Survey, there are over 1.6 billion websites on the web right now, and WordPress controls nearly 60% of the entire CMS market, powering over 30% of the world’s websites.
Why is WordPress so popular? Because it is a free and open-source CMS that makes creating secure and visually appealing websites easy.
But WordPress’ strength also lies in the enormous number of plugins that have been created to support it, most of which are also free (or free for the basic plugin; many have additional features that you can access on a paid version). There are just under 55,000 plugins that can take care of any number of small tasks on your site, from creating forms to building e-commerce sites and handing spam.
What plugins are available to boost your SEO? There are literally hundreds of them. But which ones are the most powerful to help you create a website that will smash your SEO out of the park?
Yoast SEO has been around since 2008 and boasts the tools to improve your SEO at the press of a button. With the abilities to set metadata, breadcrumbs and alternative titles and slugs, Yoast helps crawlers to easily find your site. You can create advanced SML sitemaps, set your own urls and it integrates with Google Search Console so you can view how your site is performing.
Mario Peshev, the CEO of DevriX, commented on this plugin, saying: “Yoast SEO is our most favorite SEO plugin. The premium version supports complex redirection rules and tracking multiple focus keywords, as well as internal linking suggestions and various content checks”. It’s a must-have tool for your WordPress website, as it’s the best solution for all your SEO needs.”
It is most important nowadays to have a mobile-friendly website, with Statista reporting that over 50% of website traffic is generated from mobile phones. If you lack the time, skills or resources to upgrade your site, you can use a plugin that will add a mobile theme to your site to improve mobile visitors user experience.
WPtouch turns your website mobile-friendly with just a few quick clicks. Since Google prefers mobile optimised websites, this can also help to improve your SEO rankings. The best part? Customisation is simple and easy without any coding required at all.
Google XML Sitemaps
Having an XML sitemap is one of Google’s major ranking factors. Search engines will index your site better if there is one available. This file helps search engines to learn more about your URL, including when it was last updated and how often you change it as well as the interactions between URLs on your site.
You can create a manual XML Sitemap. It is a process that requires you listing all of your sites pages and linking each of them to their URL. A very time consuming and frustrating process.
Use the Google XML Sitemaps plugin to generate an XML sitemap automatically. Google XML Sitemaps has been supported for over nine years and is a top-rated plugin that is guaranteed to work properly, not slow down your site and not annoy you.
SEO Optimized Images
Optimization of your images will also improve your search rankings, because Google loves visuals. Optimizing images calls for adding missing attributes to your image files so that Google can easily search them, a tedious job that nobody has the time to do.
SEO Optimized Images is a perfect WordPress plugin for that, as it will automatically add “alt” and “title” attributes to all the images you insert into your content.
Broken Link Checker
Broken links are the bane of every blog owner, especially as your site starts to grow. It is vital that you identify and fix broken links as soon as possible, so that users don’t navigate away from your site, thinking it is out of date or hacked. Broken links also negatively affect your SEO rankings.
Broken Link Checker is a WordPress plugin that constantly scans your site checking for broken links, as well as missing images and redirects. If it finds them it instantly notifies you so you can amend and make sure your user’s experience remains first class.
W3 Total Cache
The speed of your website is one of the most important factors for providing your visitors with a seamless user experience and, hence, boost your SEO rankings.
As Maile Ohye from Google says, “2 seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.”
W3 Total Cache reduces page load time, helps to increase your download speed, and optimizes your conversion rates. In fact, it promises a 10x improvement in your overall performance when the plugin is fully configured. Other benefits are better performance during high traffic periods, and 80% bandwidth savings via minify and compression.
All In One WP Security & Firewall
Adding extra layers of security to your website is never a bad idea, although WordPress is a highly secure platform. Google takes security very seriously, with trust rankings one of the ranking factors. Site security is paramount for keeping your site and your business running smoothly, it is also vital for building credibility and trust with your users.
All In One WP Security & Firewall monitors your site constantly to check for vulnerabilities, as well as implementing the latest WordPress security practices and techniques to keep your site secure.
While there are thousands of WordPress plugins available, and hundreds for SEO alone, installing too many will slow your site down. Make sure that you closely consider what your site needs, and only instal the necessary plugins, but seriously consider the seven mentioned above.
What about you? Are you already using any of these plugins? Do you have any insights to share? We’re happy to have your thoughts in the comments section below.
Author bio: Georgi Todorov is a digital marketer. He recently started his own blog about digital marketing called DigitalNovas. His passion is to help startups grow and thrive in a competitive environment. Hit him up on Linkedin or Twitter under @GeorgiTodorovBG.