Finding a great host for your WordPress site is sure to speed it up and boost your SEO rankings. However, there’s much more that goes into it, including which keywords you target for product pages and blog posts, how large your image files are, and whether or not your content is readable. That’s why you need a good SEO plugin for WordPress. Otherwise, you’re stuck trying to fight against competition that is most definitely utilizing some of these tools.
Luckily, several WordPress SEO plugins exist, and many of them are completely free. In addition, you can find some third-party SEO tools for bringing up powerful stats, keyword rankings, and backlink information.
After finding some great SEO plugins and tools from the list below, make sure you bookmark our 45 tips to increase traffic with SEO tweaks.
The reason we say this is because SEO is confusing, even for experienced website owners. Finding posts and pages with high potential, fixing broken links, reorganizing site structure or conducting a complete SEO audit is not easy for most website owners. But when you’re equipped with the right tools (awesome SEO plugins) and the knowledge needed to implement those tools, you’ll be well on your way to search engine success.
To start off the list, we’ll talk about SEO plugins for WordPress. These are often easier to understand and install, and you can choose from a wide range of plugins with different features. The best plugins show you SEO projections and recommendations on your page and post editors, while others are limited in their feature-sets, but they have unique assets like options for checking broken links or minimizing the file sizes of images.
The quick list of recommendations is shown above, but we highly recommend scrolling through the more thorough reviews we’ve completed on the best SEO WordPress plugin options below.
Yoast SEO reigns supreme as the king WordPress SEO plugin, and is what we use here on the Kinsta blog. ? With an astounding 16,700 5-star ratings at the time of this article, Yoast continues to wow the WordPress world with impressive updates, a beautiful interface, and the most user-friendly option for making your blog posts and product pages stand out.
What’s more is that Yoast SEO has its own website with premium support options, a thriving community in the forum section, an informative blog to learn more about SEO, and SEO courses for beginners, intermediates, and advanced users alike.
You can also gain access to Yoast SEO premium from that website, which offers more advanced features like keyword optimization for five keywords on a page, previewing what your page will look like on Twitter and Facebook, and internal link suggestions for sending users to other locations on your website. Keep in mind that that’s a small portion of the premium features provided.
The premium plugin sells for $89 per site, making it a desirable deal for anyone. However, those on a budget still receive the free plugin, which beats out most other SEO WordPress plugins by a long shot.
Yoast SEO is officially recommended by Kinsta and we even have an automatic installer for the plugin when you add a new WordPress site.
To learn more about this awesome plugin check our in-depth tutorial: How To Use Yoast SEO On WordPress: Complete Tutorial
The All in One SEO Pack plugin is the closest competitor to Yoast SEO, and it’s a perfectly viable option for those who want an almost complete suite of SEO backend tools. Furthermore, All in One SEO has offered premium features and support for a longer period of time, so you might find that paying for this plugin will get you more in return. However, that’s all speculation.
That said, the primary All in One SEO pack plugin is free, but you can pay $57 for that premium support. The developer also provides a business license (up to 10 sites) for $97 per year and an agency license (unlimited sites) for $419 per year. One of the main reasons you might want to go with the premium version is because of the advanced support for WooCommerce. You’ll find all sorts of other great tools like a video SEO module, and SEO for categories, tags, and custom taxonomies.
However, most startups and bloggers will at least start with the free plugin, which works right out of the box for beginners and also has an API for developers. It can get a little intimidating and clunky at times, but in general, most of the common features like sitemap support, Google Analytics support, and advanced canonical URLs are set by default.
The SEO Framework plugin does the trick for those who want a fast, lightweight SEO plugin for WordPress without any ads our upsells. It strips some of the bells and whistles you probably don’t need and focuses on helping out those who are more concerned about keeping site speeds high while also spending less time with confusing SEO articles. It’s often considered as the greatest alternative to Yoast or All in One SEO, and that has much to do with the visual nature of the SEO ratings–along with more flexible options for targeting keywords (like with slightly off words or synonyms).
The post SEO settings are controlled with a few tabs, one of which uses a colored scale to show exactly how close you are to making your post search engine-ready. With the scale, you can instantly tell where you need to put in some work for your SEO, unlike some of the more cluttered versions of Yoast.
As you may have already assumed, the interface is perfect for beginners. The API is also open for advanced users to get their hands dirty. The plugin began as a project within the WPMUDEV community, but it was eventually released to the masses for free. The SEO Framework plugin is all-inclusive, and it offers more advanced functionality with the help of extensions.
Some of them include:
SEO Squirrly is marketed for people who aren’t SEO experts. It lives up to that claim by offering a complete SEO suite without any complicated elements. SEO Squirrly generates SEO recommendations differently than the other plugins we’ve already outlined. You start by typing in your article topic. The desired keyword is also punched in so that when you continue writing your content, a series of green lights is activated in real-time. It’s almost like you have an expert whispering into your ear as you’re writing.
SEO isn’t only about filling your pages and posts with a significant number of keywords. It’s also not only about making your content readable. One way to make your way past the competition is to go through your site to remove any broken links. When Google sees a broken link (aka a link that leads to a 404 page,) it sees this as a less than desirable user experience. After all, your customers have no interest in landing on an empty page.
The only problem is that it might take you hours or days to sift through all your content to locate every single broken link. Enter the Broken Link Checker.
This gem does the dirty work for you by scanning through your blog posts and pages. All broken links are revealed within a few minutes. The list is populated with the links in question, so you can go and remove them completely or change them to better references. If you keep the plugin active it continues to search your site and notify you when a link breaks.
After the links have been corrected the list will be empty and Google sees that you maintain your site quite well.
Important: Due to the constant scanning functionality of this plugin, we recommend enabling it, going through and fixing your links in batches, and then disabling it again. This will ensure it doesn’t impact the performance of your site. ?
When linking to other pages and websites, it’s important to realize that those links mean something to Google. The search engine wants to know the quality of those links along with the quality of the links going back to your site. The reason for this is because if you have hundreds of links leading to spammy sites, Google sees this as manipulative and unhelpful to users. This plugin is perfect for those of you with affiliate links.
One way to make sure your links aren’t hurting your rankings is to add “rel nofollow” attributes to all external links. This way, the link doesn’t influence the ranking of the external site. In short, it scares away advertisers who value those links for rankings.
Unfortunately, it’s a pain in the butt to go in and add “rel nofollow” tags to all links in your content. However, the Rel NoFollow Checkbox plugin provides an extra checkbox to mark when creating links in WordPress.
Below the “Open a link in a new window/tab” checkbox, you’ll also find a “rel nofollow” option, which cuts down on the time you would have to spend working through the HTML.
If you’re an affiliate marketer, you might also want to check out a free link shortener plugin, such as Pretty Links, which can automatically add the nofollow attribute to your links.
Rich snippets are visual search elements such as star rankings, images, and other important details that might grab user attention by having something different than the regular search results. Rich snippets are often used for eCommerce product page results and blog post reviews. Google enjoys rich snippets because they aren’t all that intrusive, yet still able to reveal valuable information to the user.
There’s no built-in method for offering up rich snippets with WordPress, but the All in One Schema Rich Snippets plugin does the work for you.
With the plugin, your search engine results are cut down to the most important elements. In addition, users see everything from photos to star ratings to author avatars.
If you don’t have reviews on your site and simply need a more lightweight plugin, we also recommend checking out the free Schema plugin.
If you need a quick list of the best SEO tools for WordPress users, or any user for that matter, feel free to click on the options we’ve provided in the list below.
If you’d rather go through the intensive research and really understand the features of each SEO tool, keep reading to learn about everything from keyword research features to SEO search volume rankings.
Ahrefs is an SEO juggernaut and the closest thing you can get to cover every aspect of your SEO needs. The whole point of it is to give you insights into your competition and find backlinks and keywords that might work just as well for your own business. It’s also great for locating keywords that competitors might not have taken advantage of yet. We utilize Ahrefs on a daily basis here at Kinsta. ?
As you can see in the screenshot, the Ahrefs dashboard provides several tickers, charts, and graphs for checking things like referring domains, organic keywords, and paid keywords. Yes, it’s a little pricey (starting at $99 per month for one user,) but an eCommerce store or blog could easily make that money back since it’s considered one of the best SEO tools on the web. In fact, it helped us clean up a negative SEO attack on our site.
Ahrefs can actually work for other websites not using WordPress, since it provides a comprehensive site explorer and dashboard, separate from WordPress.
Where Ahrefs excels at keyword research and backlink research, Accuranker takes charge with keyword tracking. In fact, the entire system is built on tracking your SEO rankings and the keywords that boost your SEO. The pricing is a little better than that of Ahrefs, but you should remember that it’s not the same type of SEO tool. We utilize Accuranker here at Kinsta to monitor how our content marketing is doing in SERPs.
Accuranker starts at $44.95 per month and that allows you to track up to 600 keywords. You can also use the tool on unlimited domains and check-in on one competitor. These numbers get bigger as you upgrade to other plans, with agency and enterprise packages available.
Both Bing and Google are tracked with Accuranker, as it delivers precise daily results based on keywords or other metrics.
SEMRush has a rather simple interface for those who are getting started with their SEO and don’t want to feel too intimidated. The pricing is still high (starting at $99.95 per month,) but you do receive a few domain overview metrics for free. That said, you need to sign up for an account first, and the upsells start coming fast.
Overall, SEMRush focuses on SEO, paid traffic, social media, and content. The technical SEO audit is where you find most of the information. The position tracking works similar to Accuranker, and the competitive intelligence is easy to understand.
One of the main reasons you would go with SEMRush is because of the analytic section. It does an awesome job of providing a comparison of paid traffic vs organic traffic. We also enjoy the ad strategy analysis, since this is bound to push more people to your website once you start learning how to post Google Ads in a more strategic way.
Check out these six different ways you can use SEMRush to dominate SERPs.
KWFinder offers more affordable pricing for those on a budget. The pricing starts at $29.08 per month. That includes support for keyword research, SERP analysis, rank tracking, and backlink analysis. The highest price point is $79.08 per month and this increases the number of lookups and keyword trackings. You also have the option to sign up for a free account, but you’re limited to five lookups per 24 hours. This might be okay for a small blog but not much else.
The KWFinder user interface is colorful and intuitive, with rankings displayed clearly for beginners to understand. The primary features suggest keywords for your website and also compares those keywords to what other competitors are doing.
If you have no intention of spending money on a keyword research tool, but would like some power behind your SEO planning, check out the Google Keyword Planner. This is what many online marketers use when they’re looking to sift through the best keywords to pay for. Google Keyword Planner has a hyper-local search volume tool, which makes it essential for those running small, local businesses. You can also target people based on their demographics, so eCommerce companies should have this in their arsenal.
The main problem is that it bases its results on averages instead of hard trends. However, you can typically pair this with Google Trends to find the right keywords then test to see how they are performing. However, if you are needing more accurate data, we recommend going with a premium tool.
Moz is most famous for its use of what they call the domain authority metric. Since Google has stopped updating PageRank, many SEOs utilize other metrics such as domain authority from Moz and domain rating from Ahrefs to quickly judge how powerful a site might be as it pertains to SEO.
Moz Open Site Explorer is free for the most part but is limited by the amount of data you can see without upgrading. For example, when searching your own website it brings up a list and analysis of inbound links, top pages, linking domains, and more. You can run a spam analysis to protect your site and look at link opportunities based on what you and your competitors are doing. Moz also has an area for anchor text, where you learn which keywords the site might be ranking for.
If you are wanting additional data and tools, you can upgrade to Moz Pro, which starts out at $149 per month. That’s obviously on the expensive side, but the suite is quite impressive and great for beginners that are just starting out with SEO. They have similar tools in the premium version, such as their keyword explorer tool.
You could definitely argue that Moz has most important features you would expect out of an SEO tool. From domain analysis to offsite SEO, and competitor analysis to keyword tracking, it’s hard to find anything wrong with it.
SEOquake takes a completely different approach to SEO in that the majority of the work is done through a Chrome extension. This way, you can navigate to a page and conduct an on-page SEO audit without any complicated dashboard. You can also check out external and internal links, while comparing URLs and domains, all in real-time.
What’s more is that SEOquake exports all of this valuable data into a file for you to place into a different program or send off to coworkers. You might initially think that a simple Chrome extension isn’t enough for your SEO needs, but the amount of information contained in the tiny SEO plugin is pretty impressive. For instance, you can see information on URLs, titles, servers, and meta descriptions. It’s also nice to view social activity and Alexa Pagerank.
Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where if you produce high-quality content, there will always be someone out there trying to copy it for their own gain. This happens to us a lot here at Kinsta. In fact, at the time of writing this, we have 4 DMCA complaints and cases open. Not sure whether or not someone has copied your content? Well, that is where the Copyscape tool comes in.
Copyscape essentially scans the web and checks to see if there are any other similar pages floating around. It bases everything on a percentage match, such as someone copying 80% of your content word for word, or 50% with partial matches, etc. While Google is pretty smart about duplicate content issues and ranking the original, you also shouldn’t let someone else take the credit for your hard work.
The free version works great for periodical checks, but you can also pay for the premium version and monitor more of your sites on a regular basis.
Here are some additional SEO tools (or those that relate closely to content marketing) we recommend checking out:
SEO seems so tedious and complicated when you don’t have the right tools on your side. However, when you find the best WordPress SEO plugin and spend some time learning how to use it, tasks like keyword planning, competitor analysis, and reporting are a breeze.
This list covers quite a bit, but some companies have different SEO needs. So, here are our final recommendations based on our research of the best SEO plugins for WordPress:
We utilize Yoast SEO, Ahrefs, and Accuranker on daily basis here at Kinsta. If you have any questions on finding the best SEO plugins for WordPress, or SEO tools, feel free to drop a comment in the section below!
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