While there is a plethora of plugins for WordPress, there are a handful of favorites that can make a huge difference when it comes to optimizing your site. These SEO plugins take the guesswork out of optimization and allow you to focus your energies elsewhere, like on your content.
- WordPress’s All-in-One SEO Pack or HeadSpace2 SEO. I am including both of these optimization plugins because they are both high quality SEO plugins with enthusiastic followings. WordPress’s All-in-One is definitely the most popular, but HeadSpace is slightly more sophisticated and provides a bite more control. Honestly, you cannot go wrong with either one, but you need one comprehensive SEO plugin that will do the heavy lifting.
- W3 Total Cache. Yes, WordPress has WP Super Cache, but W3 Total Cache receives rave reviews. Without this plugin, WordPress generates your web pages fresh whenever someone accesses them. By caching your entire site, however, those PHP pages are stored as static pages, which means they load faster, your server performs better, and overall you provide a much better experience for your visitors. It can be a bit hard to set up but with proper wordpress hosting you won’t have any problems!
- Google XML Sitemaps. This plugin creates a special XML sitemap that allows search engines to index your site better. It captures the complete structure of your site, which makes it easier for search engine spiders to find and process your content quickly. While Google is in the title, it works for other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and Ask.com. As an additional feature, it also notifies these sites whenever you post new content.
- SEO Slugs. Quite simply, the SEO Slugs plugin removes common words from your slugs, which makes them more specific and therefore, more search engine friendly. Common words are generally articles, pronouns, and prepositions. The slug is generated when you save a post, and you still have the option of editing it before it is published.
- Trackable Social Share. Social media is an integral part of SEO, and there are quite a few plugins that add links which allow your readers to easily share a post through specific sites, email, or text. The most well known is probably Share This. Trackable Social Share, however, is a better bet because it tracks the number of share clicks in Google analytics. It also offers twelve sets of icons, which include the all important Facebook “like” button, which is also trackable, and allows for customization. If you prefer a different sharing plugin, by all means use that instead, but no matter what install a plugin for WordPress that will enable readers to share your content on the most popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and LinkedIn.
These are just five of the best SEO plugins for WordPress that make optimization quick, easy, and worry-free. There are plenty of WordPress plugins that can improve your site, and not just in terms of SEO. Plugins are also being created or updated constantly. It is worth spending some time in the WordPress plugin directory to see what is out there and how well it is received. Once you find and install the best plugins for you, you can devote your time and energy to doing what you do best, creating quality content for your site!