The most exciting part about creating a new website with WordPress is how quickly and easily you can deploy it. You can then tinker with every little setting, add in new plugins to extend your WordPress installation and customize your code until your website reaches perfection.
On your way to making that perfect website, it’s important to keep in mind that you will need to customize certain things like your titles, meta descriptions and links while enabling things like sitemaps for search engine spiders to use.
Below is a comprehensive list of must-have SEO and SEO-related plugins for your brand new WordPress site.
Bear in mind that not all of these plugins have to be installed together as some bring the same or similar features that other plugins allow. Some plugins may be better for you to install due to the technical skill required or the degree of optimization that you can perform. This means that you should thoroughly review the plugins and their features individually before installing them.
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast
This WordPress plugin has been around for years and it has attained the status of being one of the most highly rated plugins available for WordPress. It brings the basic features that allow you to optimize meta keywords and descriptions on each page or post while bringing some more advanced features that make creating a high quality website easier.
For example, WordPress SEO by Yoast comes with a feature that allows you to provide a “Focus Keyword” that you can optimize your post or page for as you create it. If your focus keyword is lacking in density, this plugin will suggest a few ways you can include it in your content to make it more agreeable with search engines. This makes it a must-have for your WordPress site if you plan to blog or to fill it with hundreds or thousands of articles.
WordPress SEO by Yoast provides XML sitemaps, RSS feed optimization, social sharing integration and the standard SEO features like tweaking the meta content of your pages.
2. All-in-One SEO Pack
While debatably not as feature-rich as WordPress SEO by Yoast, the All-in-One SEO Pack plugin makes it easy for novice webmaster and website owners who want to perform quick SEO on their website to deploy a brand new WordPress site.
The basic set of features that other SEO plugins for WordPress provide are available with the All-in-One SEO Pack. You can change individual page titles, meta keywords and descriptions.
The unique features that All-in-One SEO Pack provides includes the ability to fine-tune navigational links, utilize advanced canonical URLs and generate meta tags automatically based off of your content. All-in-One SEO Pack is also one of the few plugins that supports the features needed for WordPress e-commerce websites.
3. SEOPressor 5
SEOPressor 5 provides you with real-time recommendations that refresh as you write content in the WordPress administration section of your website. It analyzes keywords in places besides your content’s main body, which means that your title and header tags are included in its evaluation of your keyword usage.
The interesting part about this plugin is that it seems to rate keywords in a way similar to how Google and other major search engines value them. This allows you to stop focusing on just one exact phrase or long-tail keyword while trying to aim for other keywords that are related due to latent semantic indexing and other newly added features to search engines.
In addition to this, SEOPressor comes with a handy feature that will automatically stylize and decorate keywords while adding alt text to images.
4. SEO Ultimate
SEO Ultimate provides all the standard features that other SEO plugins provide, but it also gives you a few handy features that you won’t find in any other SEO plugins.
The most important feature that it provides is referred to as “Deeplink Juggernaut”, which is just a fancy way of saying that it can automatically create a deep interlinked scheme for your website by searching for keywords in your post and then automatically linking them. You can use this to link your posts and pages while creating your content with the autocomplete link tool provided, or you can scan your post after you’ve completed them to create links.
The best part about the Deeplink Juggernaut feature of SEO Ultimate is that it allows you to avoid most over optimization penalties by giving you the ability to control how many times a page is linked across your entire website in content or just how many times it’s linked on just one page.
The other key feature that SEO Ultimate provides is Open Graph integration, which allows you to maximize your content’s documentation and compatibility across other networks like Facebook.
5. Google XML Sitemaps
While most SEO plugins include the creation of XML sitemaps as a standard feature, not all of them do. Sometimes, you may just want to ensure that your sitemaps will be as compatible as possible with search engine spiders.
To achieve this, you can use the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. It will create a sitemap that can be easily interpreted by search engines, which in turn ensures that every piece of your content is crawled and indexed. This is especially useful for brand new WordPress sites, as search engines tend to miss content even when it’s linked directly from the main page simply because your website is new.
The other plus that this plugin brings is that it will automatically notify search engines when you create new content. This will help foster more visits by search engine robots, which in turn means that your content can begin ranking faster.
6. W3 Total Cache
The speed at which your website loads is one factor that search engines like Google use to determine how useful your website is to visitors. It’s also one of the most influential factors on statistics that can negatively affect your website, such as the bounce rate of your visitors.
W3 Total Cache works by taking everything that would normally be left up to a potentially lengthy database query and then caching it as a plain HTML page that can then be served up almost immediately. This is a great plugin for websites that are likely to receive a lot of traffic in the future or for websites hosted on shared hosting plans that can potentially be affected negatively by other customers with unoptimized sites.
7. Contextual Related Posts
With the recent Google Panda and Penguin updates, interlinking content that is closely related has become more important than ever before. Although there are a few plugins that can link related posts, they don’t do so with the same depth that the Contextual Related Posts plugin does.
It comes in two flavors: you can have posts linked automatically right after you install the plugin or you can create custom templates for a manual placement. It supports WordPress thumbnails and allows you to define which of your posts should be excluded from displaying related posts.
8. 404 Redirection
As you rearrange the pages on your website and tweak the URLs, you’re almost guaranteed to have links that will ultimately provide 404 errors. Instead of letting these pages become completely removed from Google’s listings, you can use 404 Redirection to turn 404 errors into 301 redirects to your home page.
This will allow you to pass any link authority that your old links had to your website’s homepage.