When was the last time you checked your site’s traffic analysis? If you haven’t done so in the last day, take a moment to head over to Google Analytics and check out what’s going on.
Okay, now that you know what you’re working with, let’s take a look at what’s happening around the web.
Google alone handles roughly 5.5 billion searches every day. Granted, comparing your website’s traffic to Google searches isn’t really fair, but this statistic should still put things into perspective. If people around the world are conducting 5.5 billion web searches daily (just on Google), what does that say about your share of organic search traffic? And, more importantly, are you making the most out of it?
To be honest, search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t easy. Search algorithms are always changing and it requires a lot of time (and sometimes money) to get your website to show up on the first page of search results.
That being said, it’s not an impossible feat—especially if you’re running your website on WordPress. Optimizing your website for search takes serious dedication and, luckily for you WordPress users, there are more than enough plugins and tools to help automate and enhance your SEO efforts.
If you’re ready to learn more about the WordPress plugins and tools that can help you tap into a greater share of those billions of daily web searches, keep reading.
Improve Your Search Ranking with These WordPress Plugins and Tools
If you want to grow your business, then you’ve got to grow your reach on the web. Sure, you could opt for paid opportunities to try and put your business front and center, but that’s not enough. And it gets expensive after a while—especially if those leads aren’t converting.
The best way to expand your reach and convert more visitors is via organic search traffic (people who find you on their own via search engines).
The better performing your website is…
The greater value visitors find in the content you’re creating…
The more closely people associate your website with specific keywords…
All of these factors contribute to a search-optimized website.
If you’re looking to improve your website’s search rankings, don’t attempt to do it alone—and don’t break the bank doing it. The following free WordPress plugins and tools will help optimize your website for search and drive more quality leads to your business.
Tool #1: Yoast SEO Plugin
The Yoast SEO plugin is one of the most popular and highly rated plugins in the WordPress directory—and there’s a reason for it. This plugin does it all:
- It provides all the fields you need to populate in order for the search engines to read your content.
- It analyzes the content on your page or post for readability and keyword optimization.
- It generates XML sitemaps that get sent to the search engines every time your site’s content changes.
It even prevents scammers from scraping content off of your site. If you don’t keep this from happening, you may experience a huge drop in traffic and severe penalties by the search engines for having duplicate content… even if the content was yours to begin with!
This plugin is the built-in WordPress guide to creating searchable, quality content for the web.
Tool #2: All in One SEO Pack Plugin
If you’re not already using the Yoast SEO plugin, chances are good that you’ve got this one installed in WordPress instead. Unlike Yoast, that requires management of the settings, this is an out-of-the-box plugin you can rely on it to:
- Optimize page and post titles.
- Notify the search engines about changes to your site.
- Integrate with Analytics.
- Integrate with WooCommerce.
The one thing to keep in mind about this plugin is that while it may work just fine out-of-the-box, it doesn’t have the built-in guidance features that Yoast does. So if you’re looking for an easier setup, but more work on the front-end, go with this. If you want more help in creating you content, Yoast would be the better option.
Tool #3: WooCommerce - All in One SEO Pack Plugin
This plugin is actually an add-on to the aforementioned All in One SEO Pack plugin. So if you’re running a WooCommerce site and you want to optimize your product pages for search (which you should), then you’ll need to get this plugin in order to do that.
Tool #4: Jetpack by WordPress.com Plugin
The Jetpack plugin isn’t typically associated with SEO, although I think it should be. While its primary purpose is to help users better manage their WordPress website with built-in security, analytics, and an easy-to-use dashboard, it offers a lot in terms of improving your site’s ranking:
- It provides extra security. (Search engines are less likely to rank sites high if they are deemed unsafe to visit.)
- It optimizes images for faster loading. (If visitors choose not to stay on your site because it takes too long to load, search engines will ding you for it.)
- It includes the “Publicize” feature which allows users to connect their social profiles to WordPress and auto-promote as new content publishes. (A greater social presence correlates with higher search rankings.)
- It creates XML sitemaps and sends them to the search engines for processing and ranking. (More on that below.)
Tool #5: Google XML Sitemaps Plugin
As you can see in the above plugins, XML sitemaps play an important role in getting your website indexed by search engines and, consequently, found by visitors. This plugin is solely dedicated to this part of your site’s SEO and is one that is strongly recommended if you want your site thoroughly indexed and submitted for review whenever your website changes.
Tool #6: WP Smush – Image Optimization Plugin
Many people are surprised to discover that one of the major causes of a slow-loading website is their site’s media files. Here’s the thing: you need to have high-resolution imagery on your website. However, those photos should be compressed in size so that the weight of the files don’t drag your entire site down. You’ve got about three seconds to hook a visitor, so you’ve got no time to waste!
With this plugin, you don’t have to worry about resizing images yourself. Just load them into WordPress and this tool will take care of automatically compressing the files for you.
Tool #7: Broken Link Checker Plugin
As you’re starting to notice, search engine optimization isn’t always about using the right keywords or tags on your website. A lot of it has to do with the quality of your site, too. Broken links tend to be one of those areas that get overlooked, but are actually an important piece of the optimized website puzzle.
With this plugin, all of your links will be checked—and rechecked on a regular basis—to ensure your visitors never stumble upon a bad link.
Tool #8: SEO Redirection Plugin
This tool goes hand-in-hand with the broken link checker above. So, if you’re going to monitor for broken links on your site (which does happen from time to time), you’ve got to get smarter about where you redirect visitors to when that happens. People tend not to like seeing the “Oops! Something went wrong” page, so this plugin will help you plan out redirection paths to keep visitors within your site’s content pages.
Tool #9: W3 Total Cache Plugin
This plugin is all about optimizing your website from every angle. Creating high quality and relevant content will still be up to you, but in terms of speed, browser caching, minification of scripts, mobile support, and security, this plugin will keep you covered.
The one thing to keep in mind is that this plugin works best when you have an SSL certificate and are using a CDN service. If you’re running a smaller website, you may not want to add a bulky plugin like this one to WordPress unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Tool #10: Google Pagespeed Insights Plugin
If you’re using Google Analytics to track your website’s performance from within, Google Pagespeed Insights will show you how your website is performing from the outside. Google has a freestanding version of this tool here which gives a high-level overview of what’s holding your website back from total optimization. If you want a more comprehensive analysis of each page on your website, use this plugin instead.
Search engine optimization is an absolute must for businesses of all sizes, from the independent blogger to the bustling enterprise. The more you can optimize your content and your website’s performance, the greater your chances are of the search engines taking notice of you over the competition that has broken websites, slow-loading pages, and irrelevant content.
So, if you want the search engines to deem your website “searchable” and worth ranking higher in results, you’ve got to give them a quality site worth ranking. Put these WordPress plugins to good use and you’ll start to see the results in no time!
Nathan Oulman owns and contributes to his website Dailyhosting.net which he focuses on reviews like Hostmonster.