SEO is a large topic. It changes so much that gives me heartburn but here is the “low-down” on SEO in one word….. FINDABILITY!
Thats right, no magic tricks… the purpose of Search Optimization is to make content findable. I recall my first ever website and my uneducated assumption that people would just find it… thats it, just create a website and suddenly thousands of people will be clamoring to view your brilliant content….
Boy was I wrong
Then I heard about this thing called SEO and later the powerful SEO features that WordPress could bring with some carefully selected plugins. After much trial and error I found my go-to set of SEO plugins for wordpress and will cover choices here. But first…
One Word of Warning..
Just having the proper plugins does not guarantee powerful web rankings or #1 google positions. Although these plugins will maximize your chances of success they will not guarantee it. The bottom line is that you will need to create content, quality content that people will read and share. The plugins will just make success more likely. So with that slight disclaimer, lets move forward with the list…
Best WordPress SEO Plugins
This list is in no particular order of importance. So #1 does not mean it is the most important, these SEO plugins all work together rather than independently.
#1 – All In One SEO – Cut and dry simple plugin to ensure that every post is optimized. Automatically creates Meta Titles, Meta Keywords and Meta Descriptions. It does some other fancy stuff like webmaster tools integration and G+ authorship stuff. I don’t typically mess with such things as I am interested in making sure that the META details are all in order and handled somewhat automatically.
#2 – Google XML Sitemaps – Having a sitemap makes it easier for web crawlers (aka spiders) to view the structure of your site and index the content. This plugin will notify the search engines every time you create and post new content.
#3 – Strictly Auto Tags – This plugin that scans an English language for words that could be used as tags. This gives search engines a better idea of what your post is all about. I use this plugin, out of laziness, to set a baseline of tags. I often forget to tag my posts and this plugin ensures that my basic tags are created.
#4 – WP SEO Tags – This plugin is a complement to Strictly Auto Tags. It takes inbound search queries and adds them as tags which increases search relevance and traffic. This makes your content more dynamic and relevant… and being a lazy blogger… this does the work for me. Unfortunately this plugin has not been updated since 2011. In reality I would like to merge Strictly Auto Tags with WP SEO Tags into one new super plugin.
#5 – Auto SEO links – This is another plugin that I think could be merged with the tagging ones mentioned previously. This plugin is very useful for creating internal and outbound links with relevant keywords automatically. Having outbound links to authority sites improves your credibility with the search engines and linking to internal content provides value to readers while improve search relevance. This plugin helps you do all of that with very little effort, just select a keyword and the location to link to. The plugin handles the rest automatically by searching your website and creating the appropriate links for you.
#6 – WordPress SEO Images – An often overlooked search optimization opportunity lies with images. Sure you can add descriptions and links to images manually but who has time for that? THis plugin handles it all for you and it is extremely simple to setup.
There you have it. I admit this is a brief list and I have not covered much of the “Why” but allow me revisit the key to all this… it is findability. These plugins will make your content findable and that is half the battle. The rest is up to you, unique quality content is the other part of the equation.
After some quick research you will find there to be a fair amount of debate over the value and quality of WordPress SEO plugins. I such, I will cover a few more of the “all encompassing” SEO plugins at a later date. Having said that, let me mention that having one giant plugin that does everything scares me sometimes. If that breaks then everything is broken… a toaster makes toast and that is all it does. I like toasters. What do you think?