Search engines can make or break a blog (and any other type of website). If you know how to play your cards right when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and you can write engaging articles, then you’re on your way to the top. The problem is SEO can be very tricky to get right, which is where specialized tools come in.
With WordPress, you have access to a lot of SEO plugins that can make your life easier. They do this by providing you with tips and letting you know when you’re doing something right or wrong, which can be invaluable.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at what WordPress SEO plugins do and why you can benefit from using one. Then I’ll introduce you to my favorite three options and help you choose which one to use.
Let’s talk SEO!
What Are WordPress SEO Plugins (And Why You Need One)?
As you may know, WordPress plugins are extensions that enable you to add new functionality to the Content Management System (CMS). You can use plugins to add anything from contact forms to forum features to your website.
SEO plugins – as their name implies – are all about helping you to improve your content so it ranks higher on search engines. The way they do this varies from plugin to plugin, but generally speaking, these plugins tend to include one or more of these features:
- They enable you to choose ‘focus’ keywords.
- You get data on how well you’re using those keywords.
- You can set your own meta descriptions.
- They enable you to visualize how your content will look on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
More often than not, WordPress SEO plugins tend to pack a lot more functionality, so I’m going to introduce you to a few of my favorite picks and tell you what makes them different.
Before we get to that, though, if you have any questions about how to get your blog started, check out the Start a Blog guide, which covers all the basic steps.
3 WordPress SEO Plugins Compared
WordPress SEO plugins are some of the most popular tools for the CMS. Chances are almost every WordPress blog you run into is using one of the three plugins below, so let’s help pick the best fit for you.
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is the king of WordPress SEO plugins if we go by popularity alone. It’s one of the most installed WordPress plugins today and it packs a whole lot of features to make your life easier.
When it comes to SEO, this plugin uses a simple color-coding system to tell you if you’re on the right track. For example, if your keyword doesn’t show up enough throughout your content, you’ll get a red light, alongside a brief blurb telling you how to improve that aspect.
The great thing about Yoast SEO is it evaluates a bunch of criteria and weighs them to give you two unique scores, one concerning SEO and the other readability.
That last aspect is something people often don’t consider when it comes to SEO. However, it’s important to remember the more accessible your content is, the more likely people are to read and engage with it. In other words, you can have an article that’s perfect from an SEO standpoint and that gets a lot of clicks. However, if that article is too dense or difficult to read, then all that effort could be for nothing.
Overall, Yoast is an excellent option if you’re completely new to SEO. It makes the optimization process simple and it can help you develop good habits. The downside is the plugin can be a little heavy on resources, at least in my experience.
The SEO Framework is one of my favorite new plugins. To be fair, it’s been around for a while, but it’s still the new kid on the block where it concerns SEO plugins.
What sets this plugin apart is its ease of use and extendability. With The SEO Framework, you get an experience that’s a little more streamlined than with Yoast. However, that is not to say the plugin is lacking in options. My favorite aspect of it is you can install extensions that add new features to The SEO Framework.
In practice, that means you can customize the plugin so it fits your exact needs instead of having a tool that packs a lot of functionality you won’t use. With that in mind, I recommend you give this plugin a go if you already have a little bit of experience with SEO and you don’t need as much hand-holding.
The best way to describe All In One SEO Pack is as a midway point between the previous two plugins we talked about. Out of the box, this plugin gives you a lot more features than The SEO Framework, but it’s not as comprehensive as Yoast SEO.
Moreover, you can also extend this plugin’s functionality using add-ons, although they’re mostly premium. There’s also a paid version of All In One SEO Pack available, which provides you with access to dedicated support and additional functionality.
Overall, I’m a fan of this plugin, but I usually suggest that you try out the previous two picks beforehand. In most cases, Yoast SEO or The SEO Framework should hit the spot for you. However, if you find yourself wanting to try something different that’s not lacking in features, then this plugin is the way to go.
If you want your blog to be a success, you’re going to have to learn about SEO – there’s no way around it. Without a focus on SEO, it can be years before you start getting a decent amount of traffic. By then, chances are you’ll be burned out on blogging, so it’s better if you start your journey on the right foot.
In my experience, using the right WordPress SEO plugin can make your life a lot easier since they’ll let you know if you’re doing something wrong. Here are my top three picks:
- Yoast SEO: A comprehensive SEO plugin for beginners and professionals.
- The SEO Framework: You can extend this plugin’s functionality using extensions.
- All In One SEO Pack: A perfect middle ground between our previous two suggestions.
Are there any SEO-related questions you’ve always wanted to ask but never had the chance to? Feel free to do so in the comments section below!
Article image: Pixabay.