Search Engine Optimization takes patience, dedication and knowledge but there are some simple things you can do for your business to speed up your SEO campaign and increase your organic search results if your website is built on the Wordpress CMS.
At ICS, we regularly conduct keyword strategies to ensure we help customers with their organic search rankings. With that being said, we have learned a lot about some of Wordpress's more valuable plugins to help with your SEO.
Here is a list of plugins that we recommend to help you with your websites performance.
1. YOAST SEO
Yoast is probably my favorite Wordpress plugin, SEO related or not. It is a great tool for people who are just getting started with SEO, but also well suited for seasoned veterans. There is a free version which gives you a ton of great tools; they also have a paid version where the Yoast team becomes more involved with your site offering additional tools and resources. Yoast is easy to use and provides you with a simplified overview of how your site is performing. I do like how Yoast allows you to easily choose what types of page templates you want, to override Wordpress's SEO with your own verbiage, however, my biggest issue with Yoast is that it won't always analyze the page content entirely. This issue very prominent if you are using Custom Post Types to create content. If you are a seasoned SEO expert this isn't an issue but if you are new to SEO you might become frustrated after following all of Yoast's recommendations, to still receive a red dot indicating the page needs improvement.
Plugin download link - https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/
2. Broken Link Checker
This plugin does exactly what it advertises, it finds and notifies you when there are broken links on your website. Why is this is important? Broken links are seen as a negative for your websites ranking. Broken links create a frustrating experience for the user and hurts your overall link structure. Fix those links or remove them!
Plugin download link - https://wordpress.org/plugins/broken-link-checker/
3. Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin is a must for all websites. What is a sitemap?
A sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, and the relationships between them. Search engines like Google read this file to more intelligently crawl your site. A sitemap tells Google which pages and files you think are important in your site, and also provides valuable information about these files: for example, for pages, when the page was last updated, how often the page is changed, and any alternate language versions of a page.
You can use a sitemap to provide information about specific types of content on your pages, including video and image content. - Taken from Google Search Console Support.
Google XML sitemaps creates a sitemap for you instantly without needing to use any external tools. SEO Yoast does have a built in XML sitemap tool as well but it's not as slick. I recommend turning that off in Yoast's settings and using this plugin. After your sitemap is generated be sure to submit it to your Google Search Console.
Plugin download link - https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/
4. W3 Total Cache
Over the last few years Google has placed significant importance on a websites speed in relation to its ranking. The benefit of having a plugin like this is beneficial for finding problems and fixing them automatically. W3 Total Cache reduces load time and increases download speeds. Before installing this I recommend running your website through GTMetrix. This gives a high level overview of what needs to be fixed to improve your site speed. W3 will not fix all of these issues but its neat to see what it does resolve.
Plugin download link - https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total-cache/
We've all visited the notorious 404 page not found on the websites we frequent. This is essentially unavoidable and important for your website to have but when you are changing a high traffic website URL to something different you want to ensure that traffic doesn't get lost. With the Redirection plugin you can easily manage all URL's on your site.
Plugin download link - https://wordpress.org/plugins/redirection/
There you have it! If you are looking for some easy increased rankings with no money spent, these are great plugins to help boost your websites performance.