If you keep yourself up to date with the latest SEO trends, you should know one thing:
There are certain on-page SEO techniques that each one of us should follow.
And this is where an SEO plugin comes in handy. It takes care of the on-page SEO of your website and ensures that your site is well optimized for Google and other search engines.
Even if you use a plugin for your SEO needs, I would still recommend you to have some basic SEO knowledge.
And that is why I decided to include this section.
So, here are some on-page SEO techniques that I highly recommend:
- Use H1 heading tag for your title
- You should use the H1 tag just once in a page
- Use SEO friendly URLs
- Make sure to add your focus keyword in your title
- Add your target keyword at least once in the first 100 words of your content
- Long form content tend to rank better in search results
- Add your keyword in the image file name and ALT tag
- Use LSI keywords or related keywords naturally in your article
You may also follow this article by Brian Dean where he talks about 16 on-page SEO factors that search engines love.
Before I talk about the things you need to look for in your SEO plugin, let me tell you one important thing:
There is a misconception among new bloggers and website owners that installing an SEO plugin will help them to rank for their keywords.
Well, that is not the case.
There are more than 200 ranking factors and no one except Google knows about them.
However, according to Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, the three most important ranking factors are Content, Backlinks, and RankBrain (searcher intent).
Now, your SEO plugin won’t be able to create backlinks to your site.
But it can help you to make your content well optimized for your target keyword. Some of the plugins even take care of other on-page SEO things.
So, the point I am trying to make here is – to rank for a keyword, installing an SEO plugin is just not enough. You need to work on things like backlinks and searcher intent along with your content.
With the misconception out of your mind now, let’s talk about the things you need to look for when choosing your SEO plugin:
- Number of downloads
- How frequently it is updated
- Content Analysis tool
There are many free and premium plugins available on the web. However, I decided to select the best 8 among them and discuss their features with you.
You DO NOT need to install all of these plugins. Just select the one you like the most and use it on your site.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
#1. Yoast SEO
With more than 5 million active installs and 21,000 5-star ratings, Yoast SEO is one of the most popular SEO plugins in the WordPress community.
It is a one-stop destination for all your on-page SEO needs. It allows you to optimize your content, create a sitemap, set canonical URLs, and add breadcrumbs on your site.
You can also add SEO title and meta description to your posts, pages, and category pages.
One of the features that I like about this plugin is Content Optimization. This analysis tool measures how SEO friendly and easy to read your content is.
The content optimization box is present below the visual editor. And you will find two tabs here: Readability and SEO.
In the SEO tab, you can add a target keyword for your article and Yoast will give you suggestions on what needs to be done to properly optimize your content.
And the readability analysis tab makes sure that your content is easy to read and provides you LIVE suggestions based on various parameters like the number of transition words or phrases, Flesch Reading Ease, and paragraph length.
But you should remember one thing – do not force yourself to get green lights for all the suggestions. Write naturally and try to follow the suggestions if possible.
Yoast also updates the plugin in every 2 weeks. This is useful since Google comes up with major and minor updates throughout the year. So, this plugin ensures that your website is optimized as per the recent changes to the Google’s algorithm.
Recently, during one of their updates, a bug caused ranking drops for some of their users. The Media & attachment URLs setting was accidentally set to NO and this caused Google Panda like problems for people who updated to 7.0 version.
However, Yoast came up with a quick update and made sure not everyone is affected due to this bug.
Anyways, let’s take a look at some other important features:
- Add different titles, meta descriptions and featured images for your article for Facebook and Twitter
- Snippet Preview shows how your post might look like in Google’s search results
- Access and edit important files like Robots.txt and .htaccess
- Import SEO settings from other SEO plugins
- Fetch crawl errors of the site from Google Search Console
Yoast also offers a premium version of this plugin and it starts at $89/year.
The premium version lets you add up to 5 focus keywords as compared to the free version which allows you to add just one focus keyword.
But I don’t think that is something you really need. Just concentrate on one target keyword and add related keywords naturally in your article – that will be more than enough!
However, you may try the premium version for useful features like:
- Redirect Manager
- Social Preview
- Interlinking suggestions
- 24×7 Premium support
#2. Premium SEO Pack
As the name suggests, Premium SEO pack comes with a pack of useful features or modules. It is one of the most popular WordPress SEO plugins on CodeCanyon.
One of the features that I really like is SERP Tracking.
This allows you to track keyword rankings on Google for different countries and languages. You can also track your competitors using this module. Cool, isn’t it?
Wait! There is even more.
The SEO Friendly Images module adds ALT and title tags to your images if they are missing. On the other hand, SEO Friendly Links module adds title attributes to your links based on your settings.
As you may already know, site speed is one of the Google ranking factors. Also, it is important for the user experience as one-second delay can turn your visitors away. Hence, these optimizing techniques help you to increase the speed of your webpage.
Note: TinyPNG is free up to 500 image compressions per month. However, you may upgrade to their PRO plan if required.
Anyways, some of the other modules present in this plugin are:
- Title and Meta Descriptions
- Link Redirect
- Local SEO
- Social Stats Module
- Rich Snippets
- Facebook Planner (automatically post content to Facebook)
- 404 monitor
- Google Analytics
Overall, this looks like an awesome plugin with lots of features. It is priced at $45 and comes with free lifetime updates.
There is a question that I have heard a number of times:
Which is better – Yoast SEO or All in one SEO?
Well, I’ll let you decide that after reading this article.
However, we can’t deny the fact that All in one SEO Pack is an old player in the WordPress SEO industry. It was created in the year 2007 and is one of the most downloaded WordPress plugins.
This plugin comes with a Feature Manager where you can activate or deactivate the modules. To be honest, this is quite useful as you may not use all of the features.
The individual post SEO box comes with the option to add title and meta description. But strangely, it doesn’t have the option to add a focus keyword. So, you won’t be receiving any score or suggestions for individual posts and pages.
For social settings like Open Graph and Twitter Card, you have to go to All in one SEO -> Feature Manager from the left sidebar and activate Social Meta. Now you will see a new Social Settings tab along with the Main Settings:
Similarly, you can also activate XML Sitemaps, File Editor (for editing the .htaccess file), and Robots.txt modules.
As far as the global SEO settings are concerned, you need to go to All in one SEO -> General Settings. You will find all the things on a single page.
This felt a bit overwhelming to me – however, each of the settings come with a help sign (?), clicking on which explains what it is meant for.
All in one SEO Pack comes with a pro version and it starts at $97/year for a single site. Presently, you can get it for $57/year as they are running a limited time sale.
Some of the features of the Pro version are:
- Support for e-commerce sites
- SEO Module for Video
- SEO for Categories, Tags and Custom Taxonomies
- Access to Premium Support
I heard about The SEO Framework plugin 2 years ago, thanks to this Facebook post. It was discussing the speed difference between The SEO Framework and the Yoast plugin.
And Sybre Waaijer, the man behind this plugin, came up with some data showing The SEO Framework to be the fastest.
Anyways, let’s check out this plugin:
The SEO settings for individual posts come with 3 tabs – General, Social, and Visibility. And to be honest, it uses a clean interface and the settings are very easy to understand.
However, I did not find any option to add a target keyword initially.
Later I found out that I have to install the Extension Manager if I need additional features.
Actually, this plugin doesn’t come bloated with a lot of features, unlike other SEO plugins. You have to install the extension manager to use additional features like:
- Focus Keyword
- Local SEO
- SEO Monitoring
Once you install this plugin, you can activate the ones you want to use.
However, not all of them are free.
To use both the free and premium extensions, you need to purchase the premium license which starts at $59/year for a single site.
SEOPressor is a premium SEO plugin that provides you maximum control over the SEO of your site. It does a sitewide SEO audit and provides you a list of errors and warnings. Just fix them to improve the overall site SEO score.
This plugin allows you to optimize your content for up to 3 keywords. It also provides SEO score, Word Count, Keyword Density, and Readability score for your article.
You can also add schematic markups, Facebook Open Graph, and Twitter Cards without having to touch the code.
One feature that needs a special mention is LSI Keyword Suggestions.
Based on your target keyword, SEOPressor plugin provides you a list of LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing keywords. In case you don’t know, LSI keywords help you to boost your rankings for your focus keyword as well as other long-tail keywords.
Some of the other features of this plugin are:
- Homepage SEO Settings
- Setup Canonical link
- 301 URL redirect
- Link Manager
- Setup Local SEO
- XML Sitemap Generator
As far as the pricing plan is concerned, SEOPressor is priced at $9/month and can be used on multiple domains with a single license.
#6. SEO Squirrly
SEO Squirrly comes with some cool features like Snippet Tool, Copywriting Options, Advanced Analytics, Weekly SEO Audit, SEO Virtual Assistant (provides live suggestions), and XML Sitemap.
One of the features that need a special mention is Keyword Research.
Yes, this plugin comes with an in-built Keyword Research tool and shows the related keywords, search volume, and SERP competition of the keyword. And you can even use it while writing a post.
However, the free plugin is just limited to 3 searches per month. In case you want more than that, you need to upgrade to a pro plan which is priced at $29.99/month.
Tip: If you want to use this plugin just for their Keyword Research tool, then I have a better solution for you – use the Keywords Everywhere browser extension. And it is 100% free.
#7. WP Meta SEO
WP Meta SEO plugin focuses on the following
- Page title word is included in sub-headings (h2, h3 tags)
- Page title word is in the page content
- The URL matches with the page title
- Meta title is present
- The meta description is present
- Image have ALT tag
Though this plugin comes with some great features, I am a bit upset with one thing:
This plugin allows you to add a maximum of 320 characters in the meta description of your article.
Yes, Google expanded the length of the meta description last year. However, they have reduced it again. And this has still not been updated by WP Meta SEO even after Google has confirmed this 2 months ago.
It is also one of the few SEO plugins that doesn’t have the option to add a target keyword to analyze your content.
Anyways, this plugin also comes with a Pro Addon which is priced at $39 with 6 months support and $49 with 1-year support.
#8. Smart SEO
Smart SEO is a premium plugin that helps you to optimize your content for Google and other search engines.
This plugin checks your content based on a number of rules:
- SEO Title contains your focus keyword
- The number of characters in the SEO Title
- The number of characters in the meta description
- Focus keyword is present in the meta description
- The permalink of your post contains the target keyword
- The first paragraph of the page contains your focus keyword
- Number of words in the page
- Checks whether the images have the target keyword in the ALT tag
- The article contains subheading (h2, h3 tags)
- The page has any internal and external links
- Checks the Keyword density
Based on the above, Smart SEO plugin provides you a score out of 100 and lists the things you can do to improve the score.
Now, let’s talk about the price of this plugin:
The regular license of this plugin will cost $20, which is quite affordable in my opinion. It also includes 6 months support, which can be extended later if you want.
If you are looking for a free SEO plugin, the free version of Yoast SEO is the most recommended plugin for your SEO needs. It updates its plugin frequently and keeps itself up to date with the latest SEO trends.
If you want additional features like minification, image optimization, 404 error monitor, and SERP tracking, I would recommend you to use Premium SEO pack.
Anyways, which one of the above plugins do you use on your site? Is there a particular feature that you would like in your existing plugin?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.