If you want to get more out of your WordPress site, then you know how important it is to have the right set of plugins. Recently, there has been a new surge of plugins designed to help your site perform better on keyword searches.
These SEO-friendly plugins will bring in a lot more traffic and that is always a positive. In this post, we will run down five of the best new WordPress plugins that either directly or indirectly improve SEO outcomes.
1. Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
AMP is a new initialtive from Google that aims to speed up the user experience on mobile devices. The basic concept is simple: a content delivery network for your site. A CDN is a system of data centers that cache and load your site. Whenever someone clicks on your site and you are participating in AMP, they will be served by the data center closest to their physical location. That makes the site load up to four times faster.
Plus, because it is a Google product, your site will rank above competitor sites that are not using AMP. It's totally free to use and easy to install. Google will begin linking to AMP versions of pages in the coming months, so now is the time to get on board.
Yoast is one of the most popular SEO plugins for a reason: it keeps getting better. Even though it is not technically new, Yoast is updated often to keep up with the very latest SEO trends and techniques. The plugin can scan your posts to search for any ways you can improve them, such as by adding alt tags to images, having the right length, writing to include your focus keyword, whether you used a meta description properly and more.
There's several social media tools, an XML sitemap generator, the ability to edit robots.txt and .htaccess, easy switching between multiple sites, and new features coming online with every update. Yoast has a free and a paid version.
3. Schema Creator
Are you using rich snippets? These are extra bits of information that Google will display below your link in SERPs. For example, a product link could display ratings, price, availability and the number of ratings that product has. A business link could display hours of operation, payment methods, and contact information. These are very attractive to searchers, and if your snippets are formatted according to Schema.org standards, they are attractive to Google as well. Schema Creator is a free plugin that will quickly and automatically make microdata for any and all of your posts in the right format. It's the best way to start learning about and using rich snippets, which really make you stand out from other results in an SERP.
4. Ultimate Social Deux
Social media integration is critical for SEO as well as for propagation of content across reader networks. If you want a light and clean set of social media buttons, then you need Ultimate Social Deus. It costs $14, but it is well worth it. The buttons don't use iFrames, so they load very quickly. In addition, they are mobile-responsive, which is another big SEO win.
You can place the buttons in several different configurations around your post, and you also get to control whether they display counters of how many shares each social media network has gotten for each post. It's quick, easy, and extremely effective, so you don't need to worry about slowing down the user experience or losing your responsive status for mobile search.
5. WP Optimize
Here's another speed-oriented plugin. WP Optimize has a lot of features, and they are all aimed at helping you reduce clutter in your database. There are a lot of default options in WordPress that can fill your database with old revisions, deleted comments, unapproved comments and other junk. WP Optimize goes through and cleans all of that out regularly for you. It has a mobile interface so that you can get it running while you are not at your computer. You can also tell it how many weeks of data to retain, so that you do not accidentally delete anything too recent. WP Optimize is a free plugin.
There are always more updates and new plugins coming out for WordPress, but these five should give you a major boost in SEO if you are not using them already. They are also great for other functions and quality of life improvements for your workflow, so try them out and you will see just how much your publishing process improves.
What's your favorite WordPress plugin? Let us know in the comments!