Everyone knows Yoast’s SEO Plugin and All-In-One SEO. But what about SEO plugins you haven’t heard of? I use certain SEO plugins in my work developing WordPress websites and doing SEO for my clients—and these plugins are my go-to resources for making WordPress websites SEO workhorses.
Keep in mind that not all of these plugins may be allowed by your hosting company, particularly caching plugins, and there are often better ways of doing the things these plugins achieve. However, if you’re looking for plug and play capabilities, these are a great place to start!
A word of wisdom from my own mistakes: be sure to do a backup before you install new plugins because plugins can do strange things sometimes.
11 SEO Plugins for WordPress Websites
These plugins help you do SEO tasks beyond what the big SEO plugins do. I always recommend Yoast SEO as my top SEO plugin and have a free Yoast tutorial to walk you through how to set it up to optimize your website.
One of the most useful plugins if you’re just getting started in SEO is the Broken Links Checker. This plugin helps your SEO by locating broken links across your site so you can fix them. Broken links are never when it comes to visitors on your website—or for Google! If you’d really like to know what’s going on with your website’s SEO, I recommend using an SEO crawler over this plugin to find broken links as well as other missing SEO elements but this is a fast way to check your website for broken links quickly and easily.
One topic in SEO that’s often talked about is no-follow versus do-follow links. While there’s a lot of debate about how you should treat links on your website for the most SEO benefit, adding no-follow links isn’t easy unless you know a bit of HTML. This plugin adds a checkbox to your linking window in WordPress to add the HTML information that makes a link no-follow. As a reminder, any sponsored content should have no-follow links, otherwise Google might crack down on you!
Caching helps to make your website faster, which is great for SEO. The faster your website loads, the better you’re serving your audience. Google loves sites that function easily and quickly for visitors. This plugin sets up caching for you website and even allows you to add in a CDN for lightning fast load times. But, this plugin and others like it are often banned by hosts—so check to make sure it’s not blacklisted for your hosting.
If W3 Total Cache is confusing to you, WP Super Cache is a better option. It’s far less customizable but is easier to install. Again, this might be blacklisted by your host so double check before installing.
WordPress is terrible for image optimization out of the box. It creates nearly endless versions of the same image in a range of sizes. On top of that, if you’re uploading images without compressing them, you’re adding a ton of bloat to your website without even knowing it. In the battle to make your websites SEO-friendly, WPSmush is a great plugin because it works as you upload images to keep your website fast as you work on it. You can also run it on old images in your library but the free plan only gives 50 images in a run, so it can take some time.
Why another image optimizer? If you have user-contributions on your site, like a membership portal or BuddyPress, this also covers those user-uploaded images too.
You probably know by now that including SEO-focused information in your image titles and alt tags is important to your site’s SEO—but it can be a huge pain to go back and add that to each and every image you have on your website if you didn’t do it from the beginning. This plugin helps your SEO by applying a standard rule to all your images if they don’t have titles and alt tags. You can set it to be the post’s title or anything else you’d like for quick and easy image optimization.
Having your website hacked can be one of the most negative things that can happen to your SEO, even if you’re doing everything else right. If someone else gets into your website, they can easily plant bad links or spam that signals to Google your site has been compromised—and that can result in a quick rankings drop. Recovering after a hack can be very expensive too. Installing this simple and free plugin helps protect your website and keep it safe!
Videos on your website need a special solution for letting Google know where they are. Sitemaps are an essential for SEO and a video sitemap is no different! This plugin is easy to use and adds a simple sitemap for videos.
While I always advocate using the .htaccess file to do your redirects to prevent plugin bloat, this is a plugin that allows you to add redirects without having to know what an .htaccess file is. It’s also useful if you have redirect rules because you switched from one CMS system to another (like Blogger to WordPress!). Redirects are one of the most important elements of making sure your website is healthy for SEO.
If you use one of the major contact form plugins, this is a must have that I install on every WordPress website. It has absolutely nothing to do with SEO but is still worth the mention. Sometimes WordPress sites can have hiccups when it comes to sending completed forms to your email—and you’ll never even know it’s missing. Form completions are recorded in your WordPress database so there’s a backup! This plugin allows you to easily see those backups so you never miss an email.