If you’re going to upload an SEO plugin, you need to add a plugin that provides SEO benefits that contribute to the site’s page loading speed, security, and overall performance.
The team from Digital Next has battle-tested several different WordPress SEO plugins over the past five years as a part of their WordPress SEO services. Below are the top plugins that the agency has used to consistently improve the SEO performance for clients.
The Redirection Plugin can be downloaded for free from the WordPress plugin repository. Instead of hard-coding 301 redirects into the HTACCESS file on your WordPress site, it can be managed through the user-interface in the WordPress CMS.
The plugin is simple to use, is updated regularly, and is secure. In addition to the 301 redirect function, the plugin can also report other server errors such as 404 errors from broken links; as well as information about how the error was accessed. (For example, was the error a result of Googlebot finding a 404 web page?)
Really Simple SSL
Google wants to send users from its search engine to websites that use SSL to protect the exchange of information on the website. Even though the SSL certificate can be purchased and configured through most website hosting providers, the actual domain canonical setup of the SSL addresses needs to be configured through the WordPress CMS.
Rather than hard-coding, this configuration in the HTACCESS file, the Really Simple SSL plugin makes it easy by configuring it in the WordPress CMS interface. You simply need to install the plugin, make the HTTPS version of your web domain the default address, and the plugin will do the rest.
Once the plugin has been installed and the SSL has been configured, you can check the following:
- The domain should be showing an SSL verification for the domain in the address bar in the web browser.
- All versions of the domain (HTTP, HTTPS, www and non-www) should be redirected to the HTTPS version of the web domain.
This is a great 'all in one’ plugin. The plugin provides several SEO-friendly features such as:
1. Page optimization tools
Page titles, URLs, and Meta descriptions can easily be managed at the page or post level on WordPress with Yoast. Through the user-interface, a custom web page title, meta description, and URL can be created.
Additionally, the page or post’s accessibility can also be managed by switching the robots tag on or off.
2. Google Search Console configuration
Instead of having to go into the WordPress Editor and configure the web code, you can verify your website simply by copying and pasting the HTML code in Yoast in the user interface.
Additionally, the code won’t be overwritten or erased as long as it is added via the plugin. If you were to add the code via the Editor, you would need to add the code in again with each WordPress update or web theme change.
3. Automatic XML sitemap
Yoast automatically generates a dynamic XML sitemap, which gets updated every time you publish new content on the site. Through the user-interface, you can opt to make sections of the website accessible to search engines via the XML sitemap.
4. Robots. txt
The robots.txt can be changed via the Yoast plugin. This is easy to manage through the Yoast user-interface, compared to having to download, amend, and then re-upload the robots.txt file. Additionally, the file won’t be overwritten if there are any updates to WordPress, the website theme, or the website’s plugins.
Easy Table of Contents
The Easy Table of Contents plugin automatically adds an HTML table into web posts or web pages, which creates internal hyperlinks within the page that can trigger hyperlinks from the organic search results on Google.
Instead of having to hardcode the links into the web editor; the plugin automatically creates those links based on the headings that appear within the web page content.
The table’s display can be configured within the plugin’s settings.
WP Super Cache
You can improve the page speed across your website by switching on the plugin from WP Super Cache. Simply install the plugin, and switch on the caching functions. The plugin will do the rest.
Once this has been installed, you can test the web page loading speed across the different web pages on your site using tools such as Pingdom Tools, or GT Metrix.
These SEO plugins will boost the SEO performance of a website when they are used correctly. Add these plugins to a WordPress site, configure the plugins to improve the website’s accessibility to URLs and content, and watch your site’s SEO rankings and traffic improve over the next 90 days.
Nathan Elly is the branch manager for Digital Next, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne, Australia. When he isn’t busy optimizing web marketing campaigns, you can find him supporting his favourite football team or enjoying a friendly game of futsal.