Implementing an effective SEO strategy is the key to getting more exposure, generating more traffic and making your website stand out from others. Unfortunately for most website owners, SEO addresses many aspects of website development, which makes the optimization process difficult and time-extensive.

The good news is that you can successfully optimize your WordPress-based website even if you are not an expert. There is a multitude of WP SEO plugins that take the hassle out of optimizing your pages, creating meta descriptions and other such tasks. Keep reading to see our list of top recommended WordPress SEO plugins that will certainly make a difference in how your website ranks within SERPs.

1. Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

WordPress SEO by Yoast

The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin is the most popular free SEO plugin for WordPress, integrating many features that simplify the optimization process at a great deal. This single plugin covers many important aspects of SEO, ranging from social SEO to adding meta value to a single post, adding meta value for homepage, creating a sitemap file, editing the robots.txt and .htaccess files, and also controlling the indexing of your website.

But since the plugin offers so many features, the setup process may become very cumbersome. An incorrect configuration of the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin can stop search engine bots from indexing your website anymore, so it is important to carefully consider how you set it up. There are many tutorials on configuring the correct settings for this SEO plugin by Yoast, so you may want to check them out before you start using it.

2. Social SEO Pro

Social SEO Pro is not as effective as Yoast WordPress SEO since it lacks many of the features that we’ve seen in the latter, but it still is one of the very best SEO plugins for WordPress. Social SEO Pro focuses mostly on improving your performance on social media platforms to drive more traffic and gain more exposure as well. But what really places Social SEO Pro miles ahead of competing products is the concept it integrates: instead of letting search engines take what you think is appropriate, the plugin lets them take only what they think is appropriate, which will dramatically boost search engine rankings.

We like Social SEO Pro because it enables website owners to define their content perfectly thanks to the rich snippets and authorship integration. The plugin allows images, content and other elements to be liked by others with your own custom message, so you can make Facebook sharing easier and more enjoyable. At the same time, Social SEO Pro also expands on Twitter’s 140-character limit so you can effectively share important messages.

If you have a local business, Social SEO Pro allows you to conveniently optimize for most of the tools that you need to get visible and make yourself stand out. The plugin can be acquired for $47, which makes it quite expensive for starters, and even for website owners who just don’t want to invest any money.

3. Broken Link Checker

Broken links can have a negative impact on your website’s search engine ranking. Broken links are links that point to a web page that has been deleted or moved. However, very few website owners think of the broken links that they have, and even fewer actually do think about tracking their number. Broken Link Checker is an effective SEO plugin for WordPress that will find all internal and external broken links. Once you get to know these broken links, you can take further action to successfully remove them or create redirects in order to prevent search engines from indexing them.

Unfortunately, Broken Link Checker may have issues with specific blog posts, and it might also freeze your hosting for a while, especially if you run it on days with high traffic. We recommend that you run the plugin on low-traffic days instead to prevent this issue. Broken Link checker is available for free, and can be easily downloaded from WordPress.org.

JibJab error 404 page
JibJab’s error 404 page – source: JibJab

4. SEO SmartLink WordPress Plugin

Cross-linking has been long considered to be part of any effective SEO strategy, allowing website owners to rank higher for specific keywords and commercial anchors. Many webmasters choose to barely include one or two links due to the process being quite difficult, time-extensive and not as intuitive as initially expected. SEO SmartLink WordPress plugin takes the hassle out of effective cross-linking by letting you automatically link your words to any post link.

Before you start linking any words in your posts to other pages of your website, we recommend that you take the time to research your site’s highest-ranking keywords to improve your strategy. Google Webmasters Tools is our favourite tool for finding the phrases that your website ranks for, but you may consider uses of other analytics tools too since Google won’t likely provide the whole scoop on your best-ranking keywords.

5. SEO Friendly Images

One of the best and most effective SEO plugins for WordPress is SEO Friendly Images – a plugin that allows you to quickly optimize the title and alt text of your images so that your website becomes easily findable on image search engines. Surprisingly, images can drive as much as 1 percent of your total website traffic, which is a lot.

You can choose the pattern that you want your image titles and alt texts to have. Available options include “%title” (replaces post title), “%name” (replaces image file name, without extension), “%category” (replaces post category) and “%tags” (replaces post tags). You can create any pattern you want – assuming that you have a photo named “Apple.jpg,” setting the title attribute to “%name photo” will change the photo’s title to “Apple photo.”

Luckily, the plugin is free to download and install, and it’s very uncomplicated to configure and manage as well.

Wordpress CMS

Final Word

Installing these WordPress plugins will most definitely help your website rank higher within search engines. But let’s not forget that SEO isn’t solely about optimizing on-page content. Web design is another part of the optimizing process, so you should be very mindful of the design that you implement, which essentially helps build the face of your company.

It’s better to look for a reliable and highly experienced web design agency to handle the process for you, as you can avoid common mistakes that might negatively impact your website’s ranking.