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The Best WordPress SEO Plugins For 2013 Having recently written some of the best SEO practices f or 2013, it is time to take a look at some SEO plugins that can help us make our lives a bit easier when it comes to search engine optimization. Hands down, and to get started, one of the best choices to work with your blog or website, is by using the WordPress CMS platf orm. WordPress of f ers the f lexibility and ease of use that I have yet to see beaten.
Why is WordPress Good f or SEO? WordPress is a great platform and takes care of about 80 – 90% of the mechanics of SEO according to Matt Cutts (Google Spam Chief). While this is true, it does not mean that you can’t improve it further and this is where the SEO plugins come into play. They help your site go that extra mile for those added “technical” optimizations.
Will t hese SEO plugins t ake me t o # 1? SEO plugins f or WordPress serve only to help you get about the “technical” stuf f and help search engines better understand what your site is about. It also allows f or semi-automation of certain tasks, which otherwise would be virtually impossible or dif f icult to perf orm. However, please be inf ormed that making use of these plugins will NOT guarantee you T OP rankings. T hey will however help you achieve better placements on SERs (search engine results), in comparison to those who do not. T here are so many “inf ormation” out there that can steer you away f rom believing that there is an easy route to #1. T his is not true. T here are however some “quick SEO wins” that you can implement right now, to make things move a bit f aster. Finally, a quick reminder, WordPress plugins are great and makes our lives a lot easier, specially f or the non tech savvy like me. I know it does help me a great deal, however, you should know that there is a downside to “over using” plugins, so you may want to use check your WordPress perf ormance (recommended read) once in a while to avoid causing you some problems with speed loading issues and your web hosting. So let’s go to it! T his post is somewhat long (really long), so perhaps you may want to bookmark it, just in case.
The Best SEO Plugins For WordPress T here are many SEO plugins available out there (f ree and paid), and you should always do some research f or more inf ormation. T he ones that I will be recommending here are all f rom credible sources (credible developers and on the WP repository), 100% free and tested. I use them either here, on my other websites and clients sites. So, let’s recap a bit what the best SEO practices dictates f or on-page optimization (summarized version). Content Optimization (Titles, Descriptions, Alternate Tags) Page Speed (and uptime) Usability (UI and UX) Other (Schema – Microdata, Authorship, Social Engagement)
With that said, here are some plugins to address each of those situations mentioned above:
Cont ent Opt imizat ion Plugins
WP SEO by Yoast – For the second consecutive year, this is my SEO plugin of choice. I’ve said it bef ore, but I’ll say it again, Joost de Valk (developer) created an all-in-one plugin that is simply f antastic. It addresses so many things that it will take me a whole post in its entirety, just to go through each of the f eatures that this plugin of f ers. Really, this is not your ordinary plugin. Just see the f eatures it of f ers, and you’ll know what I mean. Oh, did I mention that it is f ree! In any event, this is one of the best reasons I recommend this plugin. It helps you write better content
Using the snippet preview you can see a rendering of what your post or page will look like in the search results, whether your title is too long or too short and your meta description makes sense in the context of a search result. This way the plugin will help you not only increase rankings but also increase the click through for organic search results.
Bef ore you install this plugin though, you should know that with so many f eatures, comes the need to understand how it works and what each of the f unctionalities can do f or you. Conf igure it wrong and unpleasant things may happen. I theref ore highly recommend you going through the “T he Def initive Guide To Higher Rankings For WordPress Sites” written by Joost. Everything you need to know on how to use the plugin is there.
All-In-One SEO (AIO) – While WP SEO is my new f avorite, AIO is the one that I started using f irst and have been loyal to it f or sites that I have it installed. T he main dif f erence between these two plugins is simplicity. I f ind AIO to be simpler to conf igure, in comparison to that of Yoast. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very good plugin (downloaded over 13 million times and counting), and while simple is powerf ul (perhaps a better choice f or the novice – you can later upgrade to WP SEO if you want). T he only thing is that if you choose to go this route, I also recommend installing other plugins to complement with it (not needed on WP SEO). See below f or more inf o.
Page Speed Plugins Google and other search engines are obsessed with speed. A f aster internet means better user experience. According to several reports that are widely available on the internet, user no longer have the patience to wait f or a long time f or a page to render. Mine you that long here means “seconds”, and any site that takes more than 10 seconds (that’s a lot already) to load is nearing the borderline of loosing traf f ic. T hese plugins and some more, will help you tame that “need f or speed” issue. I highly recommend using some or a combination of them, specially if you are on a shared hosting environment. Go this way f irst bef ore going to the expensive route. T hey really help a great deal. WP Super Cache / W3Total Cache – T hese plugins are highly recommended as they reduce page speed load time by serving cached version of your f iles. Essentially, these plugins generates static html f iles f rom your dynamic WordPress blog. Af ter a html f ile is generated your webserver will serve those f ile instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts. T his improves the user experience (UX) of your site by increasing server perf ormance, reducing the download times. Better UX, good f or SEO. Which one would you choose? Depends, test one or another and see f or yourself . Some plugins can be incompatible with one or the other.
User Experience (UI, UX, Mobile) With the ever growing amount of users using their smartphones, mobile devices, etc., it is important to have now more than ever to ensure that your site is also compatible with these type of devices.
Obviously, your site should be rendering well on dif f erent type of web browsers on desktop environment. But this section will deal with how to make your site mobile compatible. T here are some ways you can do that. Google recommends to Building Mobile-Optimized Websites, by using responsive web design. Another way is to make use of WordPress plugins that works as a “crossplatf orm” f or your site. UppSite – One of the best options f or you to make your site mobile and deliver an outstanding user experience to your audience. More than a responsive theme, UppSite’s plugin seamlessly turns your existing WordPress site into an HT ML5 app that acts as a mobile website on any mobile browser. It also let’s you publish native apps f or iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone on the respective app stores. You can install my Android app f rom Google Play. You benef it f rom the comprehensive mobile reach UppSite provides, as well as f rom the native user experience the plugin delivers that is tailored to the mobile device used. T his means easier navigation, f aster page loading and better engagement with your content, which signif icantly improve the UX and translate into better SEO. What is great about UppSite is that it works with any theme. Here’s some screenshots on how my site looks like on an iOS and Android device. Clean and perf ectly navigable.
You keep operating your site as is and the plugin automatically takes care of all the rest. You can get started f or f ree and upgrade your account if you want more f eatures, such as advanced customization and native apps. WP Touch – Another good alternative to make your site mobile compatible. WPtouch automatically transf orms your WordPress website f or mobile devices, complete with ajax loading articles and smooth ef f ects when viewed f rom popular mobile web browsing devices. Responsive Web Design T here are many WordPress responsive themes now available f or f ree. While these are not plugins, I am putting it here anyway, just f or you to know that it is important to improve users experience, specially if you are just in the beginning. Here are some you can look at. Responsive themes are great because they “suppose” to adjust itself based on the users size of the screen. Note that I mention “suppose”, because I have tested some themes but they don’t actually perf orm well. A quick test is to install a theme on a dummy site, put some stuf f in there and “resize” the browser. See how it works. See example below of my clients new non-f or-prof it website. Note how it f its nicely when the screen is resized. Look at the menu f or example. It changes f rom f ull screen to, tablet view and smartphone view. In case you are wondering the theme I used here is the Pytheas responsive WordPress theme (its f ree and plenty of choices – just read the instructions caref ully).
Ot her SEO plugins
Schema Creator – T his is an awesome plugin. Provided by the creators of “Google analytics conf iguration tool” and “Raven IM tools”, this Schema creator plugin is totally f ree to use. Cool! Structured data is a way f or search engine machines to make sense of content in your HT ML. Google and other search engines created a structured data standard called schema.org. If you’re like me, f inding
schema.org may be a little dif f icult to grasp at f irst. T his plugin helps you quickly build and get started with schema.org microdata. Alternatively, you can use the Data Highlighter in your webmaster tool f or teaching Google about the pattern of event-related data on your website. Google Authorship – Google authorship is something you should not take f or granted. If you are using Google plus and want to easily control your Google Authorship, this plugin works f or single user WordPress sites and multi-author sites. Each user has a new f ield to store their Google Prof ile URL, then on each page and post the plugin will create the required link in the HT ML Head. Just don’t f orget to link your Google+ prof ile back to your site. Here’s also an alternative way to set up your authorship. Google XML Sitemap / Image Sitemap / Video Sitemap XML Sitemaps are a way to tell Google, Bing and other search engines about web pages, images and video content on your site that they may otherwise not discover. T hese plugins will generate a sitemap f or your WordPress blog with all the URLs that are attached to your blog posts and WordPress pages. Google XML Sitemaps Google XML Sitemap f or Images Google XML Sitemap f or Mobile Google XML Sitemap f or Videos Related Posts plugins T hese type of plugins are responsible f or showing your visitors more related stuf f while on your posts. T he objective is to of f er them more related posts, based n what they are interested in. T heoretically, if they landed on your page about SEO, it is more than logical that they could be interested in other stuf f you have about the same topic. Related plugins does that, it shows them more. Here are the ones I recommend: nRelate (several options) LinkWithin (head over to their homepage, type in your URL and download the special plugin generated f or your site) Better WP Security – Yeah, you may be asking, what’s WordPress security got to do with SEO? Here’s a quick answer – If your site gets hacked, it will most like be tagged as “unsaf e” on Google’s Advisory list. If that happens, say bye, bye to rankings. Plus, its your site, and are you not interested in keeping it saf e? Social Engagement Google and other search engines are taking into consideration signals f rom social channels. T he more you get you get your brand and posts out there, the better. Also, building relationship and interacting with like minded people is of utmost importance. T his is all good, but your do have to get f ound and make it easy f or your user to share your stuf f on the sphere. T his is where Social plugins come into play. Digg Digg Share Bar Shareaholic SexyBookmarks by +DiTesco is a Business Consultant, an Online Entrepreneur and f ounder of iBlogzone. iBlogzone’s main objective is to help you achieve success in your online ventures. iBlogzone does this by providing internet users the necessary resources and tools to help you build a prof itable home based business.