This article is contributed by Steven Boggs.
The WordPress content management system (CMS) gives its users access to an unprecedented array of site construction, expansion and maintenance tools. With these, attached to a hosting account and private domain, almost anyone can create an awesome, high quality website of varying complexity in no time flat and with little or no programming knowledge.
Best of all, the WordPress CMS comes with a vast list of easy to install plugins that can help your site become more versatile and capable in minutes. Most of these are completely free and can be implemented within minutes. Since Google search rankings are one of the biggest worries most site owners have, it goes without saying that plugins designed to maximize search engine visibility are also available. Let’s go over the best and most important of these now.
Please bear in mind that you cannot download all of these. Some of them can’t even be installed at the same time as others because they perform the same functions, ie: the All In One SEO pack will conflict with WP SEO by Yoast.
1. All In One SEO Plugin
The classic original SEO plugin is still one of the best out there when it comes to optimizing your WordPress site. The All In One SEO plugin lets you quickly and easily set up title tags, descriptive tags, image attributes and generally improve the SEO quality of your entire page. It also helps with page URL descriptions, letting you more easily make them more optimization friendly. Best of all, with the All In One pack, you can optimize the HTML in the above and other sections of your on-page SEO without needing to know HTML programming.
All In One SEO is completely free and can be downloaded straight from the plugins search tab of your WordPress dashboard.
2. Google XML SiteMaps
Not specifically an SEO tools, but having your page site mapped does improve the ability of search bots to navigate all your pages more thoroughly.
The Google XML SiteMaps plugin does not improve your SEO by itself, and Google will not give you special consideration just for using this little application. However, it does serve the very useful function of making it easier for a search bot to locate all your pages, which you should have already optimized in other ways. That said, a sitemap is no substitute for an already well organized website in which text based navigation makes each page intuitively easy to locate.
3. SEO Smart Links
This nifty little app lets you automatically create optimized, diverse links on your website. They can lead to other sites or straight to other parts of your own website. This specific functionality is what makes the plugin so valuable as an SEO tool; a well interlinked website in which pages connect to each other based on in-text relevance is a site that has complied with one important aspect of On-page SEO: making everything easily accessible and navigable.
4. WP SEO By Yoast
Another fantastic and highly versatile SEO plugin that gives you access to an assortment of tools and optimization options.
WP SEO includes features such as an xml sitemap, webmaster tools verification, optimization for RSS, Social Media integration, breadcrumbs, page analysis, and snippet preview.
Snippet preview, for example, let’s you see exactly how the link to your content will look when it appears in Google search results, making it very useful for tweaking for best possible appearance and meta description value. The Analytics option, on the other hand, gives you an excellent listed overview of, keyword density, link qualities, how your content could be improved and what you’ve done right from and SEO point of view.
5. HeadSpace 2
Headspace 2 is a large complex plugin that offers many of the same options as both the All In One SEO pack and WP SEO. With Headspace 2, a little time and effort getting used to the interface is required, but once you get the hang of it, the plugin can be extraordinarily valuable.
One valuable interface feature of Headspace 2 is its page options menu, which clearly lists out all the optimization options that you have on hand for different kinds of pages and page optimization techniques; over all, this is a great and easy to navigate layout that kills off a lot of potential confusion.
6. SEO Friendly Images
Finally, a WP plugin that address image SEO exclusively and simply! Despite the fact that Google Image Search is becoming increasingly important as a feature used by millions of searching internet users and thus a very important optimization avenue; many people forget to optimize their images and few plugins dealt with doing this in a simplified way.
Now, SEO Friendly Images has arrived and you can rest easier. The plugin automatically creates HTML text image attributes for all of your images; you can modify them and add the proper descriptions that will give you improved rankings on the Google Image index.
Author Bio: Steven Boggs has been writing about technology and small business tools for nearly a decade. When he’s not writing, you can find Steve volunteering at his local community center.