Our Review of the Best SEO Plugins for WordPress
One of the tricky things about ranking SEO plugins for WordPress is that so many of them have similar features. Among the most popular options in this space, there simply isn’t much difference between the contenders. So, it comes down to small differences and personal needs and preferences when making your choice. The list below highlights some of the things we kept in mind while creating this list.
What Criteria we Used to Rank the SEO WordPress Plugins:
- Cost. This is an important one because you can get a lot for free in this space. While you don’t get the full benefit of every feature a plugin has to offer without spending some money, you can do a lot of important SEO work through the free versions of these plugins. So, with that in mind, when paying for the premium version of one of these options, you’ll need to be sure that you are getting value for your money.
- Feature set. As mentioned, you’ll find a lot of similar features across most SEO WordPress plugins. With that said, some of the best offer add-on features that help them stand out from the competition. Of course, features require you to do a personal evaluation since some added features of one plugin compared to another might not be interesting or useful to you.
- Learning curve. You have enough to do when trying to build and run a quality website — you don’t need to be bogged down with the technical side of trying to work with an SEO plugin on your WordPress site. The best of these options will be easy to use right from the start, so you can simply install the plugin and immediately benefit from what it has to offer.
Take these rankings into consideration while exploring all of the options to determine which one will serve your site best. Remember, you can always make a switch later, so it’s okay to experiment with one and see how it works.
Our List of the Top 8 WordPress SEO Plugins
The list below highlights eight great WordPress SEO plugin options. Each of these plugins is capable of doing wonders for your site. With any luck, the best will have an immediate impact on your site and will allow you to move up in the rankings sooner rather than later.
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is the best place to start for WordPress plugins. This is the plugin with the largest base of users, the most name recognition in the industry, and plenty of features to back up those credentials. If you want to simply install Yoast SEO on your site and look no further, it would be hard to blame you. Plenty of site owners just default to Yoast SEO without even considering the competition.
There isn’t enough room here to touch on all of the various features and benefits of this product, but it does everything you are likely to want out of a WordPress SEO plugin. You can get started with the free version to test out this product, and the premium version is available for a reasonable one-time cost. If you decide to pay for Yoast premium, some of the many features you’ll have access to include keyword optimization, internal linking analysis, Yoast SEO academy courses, and even a readability check.
2. Rank Math
Although it lacks the pedigree and name recognition that is delivered by Yoast, Rank Math has steadily been gaining prominence in recent years. Its growth is for good reason, as Rank Math is a powerful tool with a feature set that includes detailed analytics, rank tracking, a simple interface, and much more. One notable ability included with the premium version of Rank Math is how it works with schema to help provide as much information as possible about your site to both search engines and users.
Like Yoast, you can get started with Rank Math for free. Purchasing the Pro or Business premium plans will require an annual payment. The annual subscription model does make this a costlier option than some of the plugins that only demand a one-time purchase, but the power of Rank Math may make it worth that expense for your business.
The name of this plugin stands for All In One SEO, and that’s an accurate description of what you’ll find with this product. A long-standing option in the WordPress SEO plugin space, there are features here that will serve nearly any site well. Perhaps the most notable of what you get with AIOSEO is the SEO Audit Checklist, an overview of your site that will track down any mistakes you have made along the way.
As for pricing, this is another plugin that goes with a subscription model. While less expensive than Rank Math at the lowest tier, you will still have to pay annually, so some site owners might prefer to look at a plugin that only requires a single payment to buy the product.
4. The SEO Framework
The SEO Framework is a plugin that is all about simplicity and getting the job done. This product is not as well known as the others we have highlighted so far, but it delivers value and keeps everything simple. If you don’t have any experience at all with SEO, The SEO Framework would be an attractive choice to get started. Also, it has a strong free plan that will allow you to do serious SEO work on your pages without paying anything. If you do choose to upgrade, you’ll be looking at an annual subscription with a modest price tag.
5. SEO Press
Keeping with the theme of plugins that are easy for beginners to use, SEO Press is another worthwhile alternative. It includes many of the standard features you’ll see on other top plugins, like sitemaps, content analysis, analytics, and more. Surprisingly, you’ll get access to many of these features at the free level, so investing money upfront in this plugin won’t be required. Should you decide that you’d like to upgrade to the Pro Plan, it’s an annual subscription that is one of the most affordable in the business.
MonsterInsights is an analytics plugin that will help you view all of the data from your Google Analytics account within WordPress. That ability alone is a huge convenience and timesaver. We consider this an SEO plugin because having access to prompt, accurate data will help you make better decisions related to your SEO initiatives. You will need to invest in this tool to utilize its power — it’s sold as an annual subscription and is one of the pricier tools on our list.
7. Premium SEO Pack
Getting back to a more traditional SEO plugin, Premium SEO Pack brings with it a collection of standard features like rank tracking, competition monitoring, and an easy-to-use interface. Unlike many of the other options you have seen above, this product is sold for a one-time fee, and the price is lower than many of the annual subscription costs of other plugins. Some of the power and versatility of other options may be missing here, but you’ll get good value and plenty of information that you can use to make SEO decisions.
8. Squirrly SEO
Our final entry is Squirrly SEO, another plugin that can deliver you valuable information to drive your site forward — and hopefully higher in the rankings. This is a paid product that offers a monthly subscription model. Even at the lowest subscription level, you will still have access to keyword opportunities, audits, content marketing analytics, rank checker, and more. If you would like to make sure that your chosen plugin can touch on all areas of your SEO needs, this is a product worth your consideration.
Why is it Important to use SEO Plugins?
It’s easy enough to ignore SEO. As you go about the work of building your site, you may just fall into a rhythm of creating pages and adding content without giving a second thought to the search engines. Unfortunately, ignoring SEO could be a costly decision, as organic traffic is the lifeblood of many sites. Here are some of the many things you can improve through the use of an SEO plugin for WordPress.
- Keyword frequency. You probably know already that keywords are the cornerstone of SEO. You need to target words and phrases that people in your niche are searching for, and you need to use those keywords at the right rate — not too little and not too often. An SEO plugin will help you identify the right frequency for your chosen keywords, and it will notify you when your content is off the mark.
- Missing elements. Do all of your pages have meta descriptions and title tags? This is a seemingly minor element that can play a big role in the SEO puzzle. With an SEO plugin in place, you’ll see when you are missing one of these pieces on one or more of your pages.
- Create a site map. Nearly all SEO plugins also include the ability to generate a sitemap that can help search engine bots find all of the pages on your site. You can’t be found in the search results if search engines like Google don’t even know that your pages exist. Having a quality sitemap is one of the best ways to make sure your entire site is crawled.
- Monitor the competition. You can never rest in the SEO game. Just when you think your pages are in a good place and you can count on traffic to keep flowing, one of your competitors will make a big move and take away some of your rankings. By using a quality SEO plugin like one of the options we’ve pointed out in this article, you can keep track of what your competition is doing and hopefully counter their strategic moves. Plugins don’t make SEO easy, but they can give you a fighting chance to keep up in such a competitive market.
The value of SEO plugins for WordPress goes a lot farther than these three points, but those are more than enough to motivate you to pick out a plugin for your site. Even if you never get deep into the weeds with what these plugins can do, nailing the basics will help you move in front of some of the competition.
Adding an SEO plugin to your WordPress website is an easy decision. Skipping an SEO plugin altogether would mean missing out on an opportunity to optimize your site and move up in the rankings. Rather than thinking about whether or not you are going to use one, you should be thinking about which one to choose. There are plenty of great options listed above, so take some time to review those possibilities and pick the one that is right for your needs and your budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are plugins required for good SEO?
You don’t need to use plugins to create an SEO-friendly website. In fact, there isn’t necessarily an agreement on what makes for a proper SEO strategy, given that there is still much debate surrounding which factors are most important for rankings. The goal of these plugins is to make your life easier and save you time in the optimization process. Using one of the best SEO plugins for WordPress should make it easier for you to hit on various points that you have decided are important for your site to grow.
Will an SEO plugin make my site rank better in Google?
There is no way to know how your site’s rankings will be impacted by adding one of the best SEO plugins for WordPress to your process. Of course, the goal is for this addition to help you rank better, but far too many factors go into rankings to guarantee that outcome — and some of those factors are out of your control.
Does an SEO plugin replace the need for an SEO agency?
You will have to decide if what you get from a good SEO plugin is enough on its own or if you still want to get help from an agency to strive for better rankings. While powerful, plugins are limited in what they can do as compared to an agency that employs professionals in this space. One of the great things about plugins is that they are either free or come at a modest cost. You’ll certainly spend far less on a plugin than you will to retain the help of an agency, so plugins are great for people just getting started with their sites.
When is the right time to install an SEO plugin on my WordPress site?
We recommend putting a plugin in place right from the start when developing your site. As you add pages and content to the site, your plugin may be able to help you optimize things along the way. This will be easier than going back later to tune up your site with SEO in mind. Of course, it’s never too late to use one of these plugins, so you can still pick one and apply it to an older site if you skipped this step when in the startup process.
Are SEO plugins hard to use?
Most of the plugins on our list are popular in large part due to their ease of use. While there is some degree of learning involved with any new tool you add to your site, you should have little trouble getting up and running with one of these plugins. After spending just a few minutes reviewing its features and reading the instructions provided by the developer, you can jump in and start improving your site.
Should I use a free plugin or a premium version?
We recommend getting started with the free version of a plugin just so you can see how it works and what it has to say about the current state of our site. Eventually, you will probably want to turn to a premium version so you can access more advanced features and keep track of your site’s progress and growth with greater detail. But don’t rush into spending any money — the plugin developers will always be happy to take your payment at a later date once you have confirmed that you are on the right track.