WordPress is an incredibly flexible, easy-to-set-up and manage web publishing platform that has been downloaded more than 60 million times since its launch in 2003. As of August 2013, WordPress is used by nearly 19 percent of the top 10 million websites. The content management system’s popularity has spawned thousands – nearly 30,000 in fact – of plugins that expand the basic functionality of WordPress. At Connect4, we routinely use 45 WordPress plugins. We use some plugins, for security, admin, and SEO, for example, on nearly every site we create.
The problem with WordPress plugins is that many of them present as much trouble as they do opportunity on a website. Not all plugins play friendly in the same sandbox. And not all plugin developers continue to provide updates for their plugins. Plugins that haven’t been updated in a year make for a security risk. So make sure you consult with your webmaster or web developer prior to installing any of these plugins. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have a backup before trying out a new plugin.
Today we are going to focus on search engine optimization (SEO) plugins. It’s a large category with two main plugins – WordPress SEO and All In One SEO. You can’t go wrong with either one but you should definitely use one of the two.
- WordPress SEO
- All In One SEO
- Google XML Sitemaps for Videos
- Broken Link Checker
- SEO Friendly Images
- SEO Smart Links
Out of the box WordPress out of the box is already a good platform for Search Engine Optimization. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t improve it further. The WordPress SEO plugin is written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects. While this WordPress SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, it first and foremost helps you write better content. WordPress SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.
All In One SEO
All In One SEO is like the little kid next door to WordPress SEO. If you want to improve upon the basic SEO settings of a clean WordPress site but don’t have time to optimize each page of content, All in One SEO Pack will automatically optimize it for you.
Google XML Sitemaps for Videos
Sitemaps are a way to tell Google, Bing and other search engines about web pages, images and video content on your site that they may otherwise not discover.
The Video Sitemap plugin will generate an XML Sitemap for your WordPress blog using all YouTube videos that you may have embedded in your blog posts.
Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker monitors your website for broken links and lets you know if any are found.
- Monitors links in your posts, pages, comments, the blogroll, and custom fields (optional).
- Detects links that don’t work, missing images and redirects.
- Notifies you either via the Dashboard or by email.
- Makes broken links display differently in posts (optional).
- Prevents search engines from following broken links (optional).
- You can search and filter links by URL, anchor text and so on.
- Links can be edited directly from the plugin’s page, without manually updating each post.
- Highly configurable.
Redirection is a WordPress plugin that manages 301 redirections, keeps track of 404 errors, and generally cleans up any loose ends your site may have. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, or are changing the directory of your WordPress installation.
New features include:
- 404 error monitoring – captures a log of 404 errors and allows you to easily map these to 301 redirects
- Custom ‘pass-through’ redirections allowing you to pass a URL through to another page, file, or website.
- Full logs for all redirected URLs
- All URLs can be redirected, not just ones that don’t exist
- Redirection methods – redirect based upon login status, redirect to random pages, redirect based upon the referrer!
Existing features include:
- Automatically add a 301 redirection when a post’s URL changes
- Manually add 301, 302, and 307 redirections for a WordPress post, or for any other file
- Full regular expression support
- Apache .htaccess is not required – works entirely inside WordPress
- Redirect index.php, index.html, and index.htm access
- Redirection statistics telling you how many times a redirection has occurred, when it last happened, who tried to do it, and where they found your URL
- Fully localized
SEO Friendly Images
SEO Friendly Images is a WordPress SEO plugin which automatically updates all images with proper ALT and TITLE attributes for SEO purposes. If your images do not have ALT and TITLE already set, SEO Friendly Images will add them according to the options you set. Additionally this makes the post W3C/xHTML valid as well.
The ALT attribute is important part of search engine optimization. It describes your images to search engine and when a user searches for a certain image this is a key determining factor for a match.
The TITLE attribute plays a lesser role but is still important for visitors as this text will automatically appear in the tooltip when mouse is over the image.
SEO Smart Links
SEO Smart Links provides automatic SEO benefits for your site in addition to custom keyword lists, nofollow and much more.
SEO Smart Links can automatically link keywords and phrases in your posts and comments with corresponding posts, pages, categories and tags on your blog.
Further SEO Smart links allows you to set up your own keywords and set of matching URLs. Finally SEO Smart links allows you to set nofollow attribute and open links in new window.