At Search Centered Digital Marketing, all of our WordPress SEO service plans start with the technical aspects of SEOifying your WordPress website. Our list of best WordPress plugins for SEO is stuffed with plugins to assist in the technical aspects of SEO for your WordPress website as well as content-driven SEO WordPress plugins. In fact, we setup many of these technical SEO plugins and services with our managed WordPress hosting and maintenance plans.
Not all of our favorite WordPress SEO plugins and services are free – frankly, we don’t believe any business should try to operate their business website using only free software and services – so be aware, many of our best SEO WordPress plugins do come with a fee attached, but all these WordPress plugins and related services are well worth the price of admission.
Get ready to think outside of the box and try something new while SEOifying your website!
WordPress SEO Plugins for Content
As I mentioned, SEO content is the starting point for most small business owners once they realize how important search engine optimization is for their website and business. Rather than listing out a bunch of “no duh” plugins or giving you a big list of plugins that all do the same thing, here are our favorite plugins to improve your WordPress website content SEO – many with an outside-the-box approach.
Okay, Yoast SEO is kind of one of those “no duh” WordPress SEO plugins. Yoast SEO is easily one of the most used WordPress plugins for SEO, but it is also our favorite all-around SEO plugin. Everyone knows Yoast.
My biggest advice for newbies when using Yoast: Don’t obsess on “getting all green lights” in the Yoast SEO panel for your post or page. Instead, learn the basic principles of SEO and implement them when writing content for your website. “All green lights” do absolutely no good if you’re fudging the content just to get green lights. Ignore the lights and learn how to do it right.
Yoast offers a free WordPress plugin and also has a premium plugin option, as well as many other specialized SEO plugins for Local SEO, WooCommerce SEO, news SEO and video SEO. Honestly, there’s not much real value with the premium version of the Yoast SEO plugin – and I believe some of the premium features actually detract from the real purpose of SEO and many of the strategies and philosophies we implement at Search Centered Digital Marketing.
It may sound as if we actually dislike Yoast, but we don’t. Yoast SEO is fantastic for easily controlling and modifying page and post titles and descriptions. Remember, don’t overly focus on the shiny green lights.
We also love Yoast for creating fantastic content sitemaps for you to submit to Google Search Console for quickly indexing and adding your new content to Google. A big advantage Yoast SEO has in this area is that the sitemaps are segmented by post (or content) type and the website owner has the ability to exclude entire post types from sitemaps. This is especially useful if your website uses a plugin to create landing pages or popups – these types of content definitely shouldn’t be indexed by Google.
The last feature we really love in the Yoast SEO plugin is the “Bulk Edit” feature. This feature allows the website owner to view a list of all posts or pages on their website and simply go down the list making updates to each page’s SEO title and meta description. This is a super-useful tool when we start a SEO project for a client with an established WordPress website, but who hasn’t previously put SEO at the forefront of their website’s content.
Inline Related Posts
Inline Related Posts plugin helps keep visitors on your site by recommending the next post for them to read automatically within your blog posts and/or pages. Keeping visitors on your site and moving through your content can help improve your SEO by increasing the number of page views and reducing the bounce rate from visitors only visiting a single page on your website.
Inline Related Posts offers a free WordPress plugin and a premium version. The biggest differences between the free and premium version is that the premium version allows unlimited number of automatic “Read Next” post suggestions and comes with premium themes for displaying the “Read Next” call to action message.
In most cases, we use the free version of Inline Related Posts, but some of our clients do use the premium version.
Popups Premium is easily the best and most cost-effective popup plugin available for WordPress. Popups is super-customizable, allowing users to put anything they want in the popup, as well as displaying popups in many different locations and for many conditions. We use Popups Premium to increase email subscriptions, suggest the next post for visitors to read, ask for connections and reviews on social media (keep scrolling down to see it in action), suggest simple one-off service purchases to go along with a blog post – just to name a few. The exit intent popup feature is one of our favorites. Exit intent allows the popup only to be displayed to visitors when they make an action to leave your website, such as hovering the back button or the address bar in the browser.
Using Reader Comments to Improve SEO on Your WordPress Website
Post comments are one of the most under-utilized tools for small businesses to be able to improve the SEO of their website’s content. Many website owners hate dealing with comments so much that they completely turn off the ability for readers to be able to post a comment and ask questions or add value to the content of your blog post.
Leave commenting on for your posts! Reader comments can do a lot for your content. First, a good question or comment actually adds useful words to the content on the web page. Yes, even as a comment, these words on the page are useful to Google to properly index your content for lots of additional search terms that your blog post may not have already covered in the post you have written yourself. Second, if a reader finds your post, takes the time to read it, still has a question that your content did not address, and takes the time to write a thoughtful question – they have let you know about a hole in your post. Now, you can go into that post to edit and improve it by including the question and answer naturally within the content of the post itself.
Instead of turning off the comments for your blog posts, moderate them. Yes, it can take time to moderate comments, but it is well worth it in the long-run. We have seen tremendous results from continually re-working each piece of content as great new questions roll in at the bottom of each post. Not to mention, updating your content and allowing comments entices previous commenters to return to your post on a regular basis.
Out of the box, the WordPress commenting system leaves a lot to be desired and has many many deficiencies and holes to fill. However, to be truly effective and get the most value, make sure that you do use the built-in WordPress commenting system (third-party commenting systems, like Disqus, are often hosted off-site and loaded via iframe, so they’re not technically a part of the post). Add these plugins to your WordPress website to tweak and improve the commenting process and improve your blog posts’ SEO.
Yoast Comment Hacks
We love Yoast Comment Hacks. This free plugin improves the look and functionality of the email notification you, as the blog post author, receives when a reader posts a new comment on your post.
As well, you have the ability to email all people who have previously commented on your post – this is great when you make an update to the blog post to address a great question left in the comments by a reader.
Also, you can redirect a first-time commenter to a specified page – great to get new email newsletter signups or for convincing readers to schedule a short phone call to discuss their potential need for your services or products.
Comment Approved is a simple plugin that sends out an email to the reader to let them know when you – the moderator – has approved their comment on your post.
Strange, right? Even if you have enabled comment moderation in your WordPress settings, commenters still have no way to know if/when their comment has been approved. With the Comment Approved plugin – now they do.
Subscribe To Comments Reloaded
It seems odd, but when a reader comments on a WordPress post, they do not have the option to receive a notification when someone else comments on the post and they don’t even get a notification when you (or someone else) replies directly to their specific comment. At the most basic level, this is really strange.
It’s actually fairly rare (as far a percentage of page views to comments) that a reader will leave a comment on a blog post, and when they do comment this shows that this particular reader is usually very interested in your content. As a website owner, you need to take every opportunity to reengage these active and interested readers.
Subscribe to Comments Reloaded is a free plugin that allows readers to subscribe and receive an email notification when comments are added to your post. Use Subscribe to Comments Reloaded to keep interested readers coming back to your posts and participating in the conversation.
WordPress Plugins for Technical SEO
Content is sexy. Technical SEO in necessary and many times messy. There’s nothing more frustrating than a slow or broken website. Website speed is a big SEO factor, as confirmed by Google way back in 2010.
In all honesty, this section should probably be listed at the top, with content-driven SEO plugins afterward… but, content is sexy, so it leads. The technical aspect of SEO can be tiresome and burdensome for do-it-yourself SEO newbies, but many aspects are much less daunting if implemented from the beginning.
Malcare Pro is more of a software as a service (SaaS) than it is a true plugin, but it is one of the most valuable technical SEO tools in our WordPress toolbox. I’m adding Malcare Pro to this list because we implement the Malcare service with every single website on our managed WordPress hosting plan.
Malcare Pro is a WordPress security, backup and firewall solution. If your website gets hacked or regularly goes down, your rankings in the Google SERPs (search engine results pages) will definitely drop or your website can be removed from search results completely if your website gets hacked and stays hacked – without repair – for an extended period of time.
Malcare Pro automatically backs up your WordPress website to their servers, from there, your website files and database are scanned right there on their server – this means no heavy load on your server or resources while performing these intense scans. Being that Malcare Pro monitors and manages so many websites, they know what types of malware may be found within each individual plugin, theme and the WordPress core – then they repair it automatically – or even manually if the system flags something odd within your WordPress website.
As well, Malcare Pro has many features to harden your WordPress website from attacks, blocks known malicious IP addresses from accessing your website, allows you to block specific countries from accessing your website, notifies you if your website goes down, provides information about website loading speed, includes automated reporting, allows you to create a staging site with one-click for testing WordPress website updates before pushing them live, allows you to restore a previous version of your website if you ever crash it and more.
Oh yeah, the service comes with a WordPress plugin to install on your website that binds it all together.
BunnyCDN is our content delivery network (CDN) of choice. BunnyCDN is not free, but the BunnyCDN plugin to integrate the service with WordPress is free.
BunnyCDN provides the best combination of speed and price on the market.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer
The free version of ShortPixel Image Optimizer plugin gives users 100 image compressions per month. If you need more, monthly plans start at $4.99 for 5,000 image compressions per month. ShortPixel compresses the file size of your website’s images automatically and in the background. Images with smaller file size result in faster loading web pages – and as we’ve already discussed, a fast website is very good for SEO.
ShortPixel can compress JPG, PNG, GIF and WebP images, as well as PDF documents. ShortPixel has multiple compression options, allowing you to compress images with no noticeable difference to the eye, or you can choose a maximum compression that still accurately represents the image (that’s what we’ve done with these WordPress plugin repository screenshots for this post).
WP Fastest Cache Premium
As we’ve already discussed multiple times, a fast website is very important. Website caching is a key factor to improve your website’s speed. WordPress is a dynamic content management system. When a web page loads, WordPress uses PHP and SQL (of course with other languages, too) to display a web page to the website visitor. This process takes a lot of “back and forth” checking the database to fetch all the pieces of content to display to the website visitor, such as: page title, page body, featured image, author, date, comments, images, etc.
Caching is process of creating static versions of your web page content, and serving the static version of the page to visitors. WP Fastest Cache generates static HTML pages of your content to speed up page load times. In addition to WordPress caching, WP Fastest Cache also offers various performance optimization options, such as the ability to minify HTML and CSS, speed up JS scripts and optimize your WordPress database to remove old, outdated and unused database tables and fields. WP Fastest Cache also supports GZip compression to reduce the size of files sent from your web hosting server.
A while back, we tested about a dozen free and premium WordPress caching plugins. In all instances, before we purchased a premium plugin, we asked the developers if they offered a money back guarantee if they could not out-perform WP Fastest Cache Premium. All of the major premium WordPress caching plugin developers agreed – and most of the time they even set their plugin up for us so we would receive optimal performance from their plugin.
Not a single caching plugin came close to matching the speed performance improvements of WP Fastest Cache and only one premium WordPress caching plugin was able to outperform the free version of WP Fastest Cache.
Pre* Party Resource Hints
Pre* Party Resource Hints allows your WordPress website to prefetch, prerender, preconnect and preload resources and assets that your website needs to display the web page – and future web pages – to visitors. Basically, these strategies optimize delivery of internal and external resources, reduce round trips to grab resources, and fetch resources to ultimately deliver content faster immediately while a user is browsing a page or to fetch/load resources in the background to be ready for the visitor when the resources are needed later.
The Pre* Party Resource Hints plugin is very likely outside the scope of abilities for most DIYers, but the plugin does have great built-in information and tutorials for learning how to use the plugin.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
WordPress is a pretty robust and fairly complex system. This complexity means that any business owner who is serious about growing their business should consider hiring a professional to optimize the technical SEO aspects of their website as well as help develop and implement content-driven SEO strategies to connect customers actively looking for their services and/or products.
I hope you got some value from my list of my top WordPress SEO plugins and I hope you will run with some of the out-of-the-box ideas I’ve provided. If you did get some value from this post, please take a moment to write us a review on Google My Business or recommend us on Facebook.
More WordPress SEO Plugins
Of course there are many other great SEO WordPress plugins, but this is a great list to give you some new ideas for creating and improving SEO-centered content and optimizing & speeding up your WordPress website.
Comment below and share share some of your favorite inside or outside-the-box WordPress plugins you use to improve your website’s SEO.