WordPress themes make it easy for users to regularly manage their content, update their pages, and create a more professional look. However, the best way to promote your website is to spend some time downloading and installing plugins.
Plugins are third-party software programs that add new features to your existing site. Written in PHP, these plugins can easily integrate with your current theme.
In this discussion, we will cover seven of the best WordPress SEO plugins to improve your traffic and optimize your page for search engines.
What is the Best WordPress SEO Plugin?
Most WordPress reviews admit that these seven plugins are a “must-have” if you’re serious about standardizing your website.
- Yoast SEO is the best overall plugin, ranked #1 most often by users.
- SEMRush offers the most comprehensive tools but is not cheap.
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP is the best plugin for analyzing traffic.
- SEO Squirrely is the best SEO plugin for beginners.
- The WordPress Multilingual Plugin helps reach non-English web traffic.
- SEO Framework is a popular choice for companies that don’t have a budget for SEO marketing.
- SEO Press is the best low-cost and or free service that offers the most important SEO features.
Yoast SEO proved to be the best, offering a balance between costly but thorough research. Below, we detail the pros and cons of each plugin.
#1 Yoast SEO – Best Overall
Why hire an SEO consultant when Yoast SEO can give you that consultation for free? Yoast can teach you how to get more traffic from search engines, attract social media users, and increase engagement with many interactive features.
Yoast helps you automatically create related keywords and synonyms for better SEO traffic, based on your input. You can also improve indexing by controlling the metadata, allowing search and social platforms to identify your site.
You get previews of how your site looks on social platforms and a readability check for natural flowing sentences and SEO efficiency. You can even check against duplicate content or mark certain links as “no follow.”
Some of our favorite features include getting suggestions for internal linking, the ability to add proper internal linking structure, and content insights, which intelligently analyzes your SEO keyword strategy.
Customer support includes premium level, and one year of 24/7 support and updates, or free, just a knowledge base. Yoast SEO was the plugin most users put at the top of their list.
- Available in multiple languages
- Automated warnings for broken links or old pages
- Work with block editor or classic WP
- Ad-supported, unless you pay for a premium membership
- The free version limits you to one keyword
- $89 for Yoast Premium for one website
#2 SEMRush – Most Competitive Tools
Some consider SEMRush the best overall SEO tool, on account of all the awards its won (US Search, MENA Search, SEMY, Interactive Marketing) and how comprehensive its set of tools are to the experienced web manager.
SEMRush does let you find organic keywords and search terms that you can actually compete for and easily rank for – which is much appreciated in a competitive field. Designed to help you outperform the competition, you can analyze other websites, including their ads, content, and social media pages.
You can research what other sites are doing with your targeted keywords and discover ways to top them. Aim for the top 10 results with focus keywords and also integrate your social media accounts.
SEMRush also auto-researches your industry, going so far as to report market leaders, game changers, and influencers to watch, see how they’re breaking the industry, and do to capitalize.
The plugin assists in four areas: eCommerce, enterprise, and lead generation for larger agencies. You can select PPC, content marketing, or social media ads for easy management and tracking.
The only reason SEMRush isn’t higher ranked is because of its high price compared to other plugins.
- Audit pages and do keyword research to rank fast
- Analyze your keyword competitors and learn from their winning strategies
- Track your competitors and industry leaders on social media
- One of the most expensive SEO plugins
- Some features are only available at the highest premium level, like branded reports, historical data, API access, and Google Data Studio Integration
- $99.95 per month for pros,
- $199.95 per month for gurus
- $399 per month for businesses
#3 Google Analytics Dashboard for WP – Best Analytics Plugin
It can be a chore going through the maze of the Google Analytics website. Most days, you want a fast update with the most relevant information. The Google Analytics Dashboard by ExactMetrics will report on traffic spikes, insights, real-time stats, and even eCommerce tracking.
You can easily customize the plugin to track affiliate links, Adsense banner ads, file downloads, outbound link clicks, and conversions for each WordPress form. You can even check out advanced insights like scroll depth (how long people scroll on your site), referrals from traffic sources, custom event tracking, and custom analytical reports that you design.
There’s no need to hire a developer when all you have to is click a few buttons and get reports delivered to your WordPress dashboard. The premium service comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
- Get page insights and track the popularity of pages, posts, authors, and products
- See “live” reports of users who are currently viewing your site
- Read summaries from a WordPress dashboard or an email summary
- Only works with self-hosted websites
- Minimal options for the lite version
- $399.50 for agencies
- $199.50 for professionals
- $99.50 for plus
- $699.50 for 100 websites
#4 SEO Squirrely– Best Plugin for Non-Experts
If you’re a bit lost looking over the complex results from Google Analytics or Yoast, know that SEO Squirrely offers a more accessible interface. The plugin also lets you manage your content in a search-friendly and ideal for human readers.
SEO Squirrely helps with tasks like finding targeted keywords, analyzing your content for mistakes and efficiency, and giving advice on improving the user experience. Choose between a non-SEO export mode, or perform 300 various SEO tasks manually.
With SEO Squirrely, you can check traffic reports, track engagement with your content, and even see ranking positions for all your pages accordingly. Get suggestions from AI on how to bring more traffic and how to make your pages more visible and readable for long-scrolling.
The plugin also performs several technical issues, such as generating an XML sitemap and also helps you create viable rich snippets and social snippets. The so-called “Non-Human Private SEO Consultant that lives inside your WordPress” doesn’t compete with other SEO plugins but enhances them.
Using red/green elements design explains what you need to do to change red-coded problems (site and SEO issues) into a green solution. The more “greens” you have, the more you will notice a correlation between top Google search results.
Along with an easy interface, SEO Squirrely also comes with an education cloud, coaching lessons, and 14 “recipes” to follow to improve SEO traffic immediately.
The free version of the plugin is limited by volume, but surprisingly, most features are still enabled.
- Compatible with other SEO WP plugins
- You can switch between free and pro, depending on your immediate needs
- The free plugin is almost fully-featured, except for a lower volume of traffic
- Ad-supported, unless you pay the premium
- $29.99 per month for pros, 35 focus pages, five websites
- $71.99 per month for business, 70 pages, ten websites
- $75.99 per month for agencies, 250 pages, five websites
#5 The WordPress Multilingual Plugin – Best International Plugin
The WPML plugin is ideal if you’re going for an international or multilingual audience. The plugin was designed for blogs, not just corporate sites, meaning it has many advanced features beyond simple translation.
The plugin performs technical processes, such as translating pages and taxonomy, menus, theme texts, and custom types. The plugin also works with every theme, plugin, or even page builders that use modern API.
You also get control over-optimization, specifically for multiple languages. Customize how you want URLs to look, or set SEO metadata for translations. Sitemaps are also generated for the language of choice and guaranteed to pass Google Webmasters validation.
With this plugin, search engines can understand your site’s structure and not be confused by inconsistent language. Drive traffic to the right pages, but always in the right language.
WPML comes in two versions: blog and CMS. Over 40 languages are installed and available for easy translation and publishing. Another great feature is that you can add your unique language variants to the WPML language editor. Or, you can customize different languages according to directories, domains, or subdomains.
Subscription rates are for the year, with a lower renewal rate than signup, making it fairly inexpensive.
- Make your website available in multiple languages and get the SEO benefits associated
- Customize further language variants directly into the editor
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Could be a waste of money if your product is not universally simple or tailor-made for non-English speaking customers
- Basic blog subscription does not have all the key features of higher premium services, such as WooCommerce integration
- $29.99 for multilingual blog
- $79 for complete CMS
- $159 for agencies and unlimited sites
#6 SEO Framework – Best Free Plugin
Many plugins developers claim their product is free but lets you download a “lite” version. Not so with SEO Framework, perhaps the only 100 percent freeware plugin that’s useful for SEO. No ads, no waiting, and no limits on what the product offers.
SEO Framework is not built for an agency but a small business. It’s also powerful enough to support a team and not just an individual. It integrates with WordPress and offers a colored scale showing how to optimize your posts for searchability.
By hovering the mouse cursor over the column, you get detailed notes on how to improve your pages according to traditional white-hat theory. It’s a must-have for users who have a limited understanding of SEO in the first place, particularly Google’s penalization policies.
SEO Framework operates on an almost-expert level, with the ability to generate meta tags (in multiple languages) and automating various technical processes. You don’t have to be an expert to understand the menus.
You tweak various words and structures according to the automated advice, which is based on Google webmaster guidelines – a great source of information for modern web design. Another excellent feature is the free support forums where users answer questions, usually within 48 hours.
You can also get advice for sharing on social media, avoid the most common mistakes, check for duplicated content, and notifying search engines when new content has been published.
While SEO Framework doesn’t have the in-depth analytics or systems of paid services, they offer a competitive package for a growing company (or individual) who can’t afford to invest in something more significant.
- Free practical SEO strategies with an easy-to-use system
- Works with WordPress API for easy integration with other plugins
- Avoid common mistakes made with SEO thanks to an automatic warning
- Not as in-depth as other plugins, particularly in analyzing competitors
#7 SEO Press – Best Low-Cost Plugin
Called the “most affordable” plugin, SEO Press offers a low-cost monthly subscription or a free SEO tool kit for free, with limited options. Basic SEO services are provided, even for the free services, such as automatic breadcrumbs (linking pages together), redirections, sitemaps, and broken link monitoring.
With an installation wizard, you can easily modify title tags or create a sitemap for indexing. Manage meta description for every post, page, or custom post type. Or, opt to improve your social networking presence with open graph protocol, pioneered by Facebook. An “open graph” lets you standardize metadata to represent a page’s content more efficiently.
Despite being low-cost (or free for the lite plan), the service does not contain ads, nor does it send back private information to the publisher. Multiple features are free, such as titles, metadata, sitemaps, content analysis, unlimited keywords, and some Google analytics integration.
For the premium service, additional features include importing and exporting SEO data, custom schemas, URL rewriting, breadcrumbs, 404 monitoring (for missing pages), WooCommerce integration, and unlimited sites.
- Even the free plan offers nice features, like keyword and content analysis
- Easy integration with other WordPress plugins and themes
- Money-back guarantee within 14 days
- Relatively new company with fewer reviews
- Free lite version
- Low cost $39 a year, with a year of support
FAQs About WordPress and Plugins
“How important is it to SEO-optimize your web content?”
One reason to download an SEO plugin immediately is to protect your site against a Google search penalty. Google’s penalties against websites have been well-documented, and in some cases, highly speculated upon, since the company explains very little about their algorithms.
While many will debate over what companies are allowed to earn #1 ranking, most smaller companies are guilty of minor breachers – most of which can be resolved. Even if you do get penalized, you can take steps to correct the issues, using Google’s webmaster site, or even reading a list of known Google penalties, such as from Search Engine Journal.
“Why do some plugins not work when I try to install them?”
Keep in mind that many plugins and even some themes will not work with older versions of WordPress. Most plugins require not only a newer WordPress installation, such as 5.5.1 but also a newer PHP version 5.620 or higher.
While it’s easy to update WordPress with just a click, updating PHP older versions may require installing new software on the web host Cpanel directory and then reinstalling WordPress. Your web host may assist with these issues, or they may not have higher PHP updates. Contact the company to know for sure.
“I haven’t read up on SEO for a while now… how have things changed?”
Things have changed quite a bit, and unfortunately, many businesses are experiencing “unexplained” drops in traffic as a result. As many SEO consultants would tell you, ranking high in SERPs is now a matter of better customizing your content for a targeted audience.
According to influencer Neil Patel, some SEO fundamental principles are still the same. Choosing the right keywords is critical, but it’s not just about producing keyword-friendly content anymore.
Some tips he recommends (and which some of our plugins address) include:
- Removing plugins or content that slows down your site
- Linking to other related websites for more relevant links
- Write for humans first – humans who enjoy reading!
- Improve metadata
- Integrate your website with social media
“Why should I backup my website before installing a new plugin?”
It’s important to backup your entire website before installing new plugins, new themes, or even a new version of WordPress. You can do this with software (for example, a company like BlogVault) or by merely downloading/exporting your website onto your computer for importing a WordPress backup or restoring a MySQL database.
Some people avoid the crashing problem altogether by creating a clone of their live website and using it just for installing plugins or themes to make sure the system doesn’t crash.
Usually, crashes happen because a plugin, written by an amateur, could be poorly coded or conflict with another plugin on your site. Not all plugins integrate well with others. Plugins can also crash with your choice of theme or even your version of WordPress.
“Help! A plugin crashed my website. What do I do?”
If you’ve received a white screen after installing a new plugin, don’t panic! You can be alarmed, yes, because obviously something went wrong and your site is not displaying correctly. But what’s important is that you still have options.
If you can still access the admin area, visit the plugins.php and deactivate the new plugin manually. You may have to deactivate more than one plugins or themes if you’re unsure where the conflict is happening.
If you can still access themes, go select a default meme until you remove all the errors/conflicts. If you can’t access anything, go to your files directory and Cpanel, provided by the web host.
You can rename the plugins folder and immediately deactivate all plugins automatically. If the white screen is still there, you may need to revert to a default WordPress theme. You can go to the themes folder and delete the theme from the server. WordPress should then go back to a default theme, restoring admin privileges.
Sometimes the white screen provided an error message, saying something like “Line 52” or something similar. While you could theoretically try to fix the bad coding yourself, never attempt to do this without first backing up the CSS file and any other files you’re going to be manually editing.
If you mess up the code even more so, you need to paste the text as it was, especially if you don’t understand coding. The safer alternative might be to reinstall WordPress and import your content all over again, rather than hire an expert to find the error.
Our research concluded that SEO Yoast was the most-wanted and researched plugin for WordPress, though there was formidable competition from other developers.
Remember that keyword marketing success is about understanding your target audience and not merely producing keyword content. Marketing professionals understand what the target audience is looking for and the best ways to reach them.
As recent news developments have shown, finding success in SERPs is determined not only by quality writing but also:
- A well-structured website that makes for comfortable viewing
- Content that’s shareable by social media outlets
- A more direct approach to pages lets the readers know this is what they want to read.
Companies are investing millions in modern SEO marketing because the rules have changed considerably from ten years ago. Customized content and relevant content is what matters and that’s where these plugins can help.
Downloading an SEO plugin for WordPress is the first step to making your site competitive locally, nationally, and, most of all, to the readers more likely to buy.