Over the years, WordPress has become the dominant choice for small and medium businesses to develop their web personas. And although WordPress is a powerhouse, there are numerous ways to customize your business's website. By doing this, you can improve site speed, SEO rankings, and other components. Website improvements are crucial in areas where several businesses offer similar products or services and compete for the same keyword rankings. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) plugins come into play. But why are they important? Which plugin is the most effective? Below, we'll answer these questions and further explain how to improve your business's website. Are you interested in even more business and marketing related tips? Check out our newsletter, where we cover relevant business topics. [cta-newsletter]
Why Are SEO Plugins Important For WordPress?WordPress websites utilize the most robust coding outputs and best practices to ensure efficient code. This ensures the platform is SEO-friendly as soon as it is installed. Over a third of all websites run on WordPress. Due to this, simply installing the CMS isn't going to provide a substantial leg up over your competition. There are likely thousands of websites competing for the top spots on the same keywords that your business is targeting. To truly surpass your competitors, you'll probably need to enlist the help of a high-quality SEO plugin. SEO plugins allow people of all skill levels to optimize their website for better rankings in search results. They also assist with some of the more delicate SEO tweaks where WordPress may be lacking. This includes content optimization, focus keyword management, submission of XML sitemaps, integration with search engines’ webmaster platforms, and more. While there are many high quality SEO plugins for WordPress available, there's one that stands out compared to others: Yoast SEO.
Introducing Yoast SEO: The Best WordPress SEO PluginYoast SEO is a well-known WordPress plugin. As a standalone option, it can provide the extra edge your website needs to push past competitors in search results. With in-depth content management, on-page SEO tips, and straightforward controls, Yoast is a powerhouse in the WordPress game.
Yoast Helps You Write Better ContentThe Yoast SEO WordPress plugin includes a “meta box” directly under the editing pane of any WordPress page. In the free version of Yoast, this box allows authors to include:
- A focus keyword
- Their meta title (with a character count guide)
- A slug (the URL after your primary website address)
- Their meta description (with a character count guide)
Yoast Makes The Complicated SEO Tasks SimpleAre you looking to develop a one-off landing page, and don’t want it shown in search engines? With Yoast’s simple search engine restriction feature, you can easily “noindex” a specific page or range of pages. By doing this, you won't have to manually do it in your WordPress dashboard settings. Another aspect that can be trick are Sitemaps. With the Yoast SEO plugin, there's no need to install an additional program to handle sitemap creation. Yoast sets itself as the best SEO plugin for WordPress by generating sitemaps and submitting them to Google and Bing. Yoast also integrates directly into Google Search Console, letting you view site performance without leaving WordPress. In addition, one of the many problems that come with WordPress sites is the prevalence of “scrapers.” These sites grab content from RSS feeds of sites and re-publish it. Often, these sites' pages are indexed before your own, which can lead to Google penalties. Yoast solves this by adding links to each RSS feed, which points to your original content. Lastly, website owners may need to revise their robots.txt or .htaccess files, which reside on the file system’s root directory. Typically, webmasters connect to FTP clients to make changes to these folders. Yoast SEO has a tool that lets you view both files in WordPress and make edits from the dashboard.
Support and Pricing For Yoast SEOYoast SEO is a free plugin. There's never a requirement to purchase a premium version (although you have the option to upgrade on nearly every Yoast screen). However, it doesn’t come without a glaring downside. Yoast SEO’s free version doesn't include any support options. This makes sense, as responding to support questions from millions of users would be a daunting task. Regardless of this, there are extensive tutorials available for the plugin, which also provides in-house documentation. This is courtesy of plugin founder and creator Joost de Valk. If you're interested in purchasing the premium version of Yoast SEO, it's surprisingly affordable. A one-site license is currently $89 per year. The pricing decreases on the more sites you plan to utilize the plugin on. You can use it on as many as 150 sites, which is $6,675 per year.
Alternative SEO Plugins For WordPressThere are plenty of alternative options available in the plugin shop besides Yoast. Below are three other notable options that may be worth considering:
- Rank Math: Rank Math is the closest thing to an all-encompassing bundle with no purchases required. It’s comparable in many ways to Yoast and does wonders on the on-page SEO of almost any WordPress website. Rank Math combines multiple plugin options, allowing for a comprehensive bundle that keeps your site from being packed with plugin code.
- All-In-One SEO Pack: This plugin has been touted as the closest competitor to Yoast SEO regarding feature-rich capabilities. It's a great choice for those looking for a near-complete suite of backend website tools for SEO. They also have ample “premium” features, as well as a more extended support period for the paid version compared to Yoast.
- The SEO Framework: This plugin prides itself on following white-hat guidelines that meet WordPress and search engine requirements. This plugin is ideal for business owners that want a fast, user friendly WordPress SEO option without pushy upsells and ads.