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Let’s Talk SEO: 10 High-quality WordPress Plugins to get SEO Done

Source: freepik.com

WordPress is the most commonly used open source content management system (CMS) that powers more than 26 million websites, or almost one third of the entire internet. It powers some huge brands’ websites, such as NASA, BBC America, Disney, Sony, TechCrunch, Time Magazine and many more. It’s also considered to be the most SEO-friendly CMS of them all, and there’s a huge number of WordPress plugins that can make it even more efficient in this respect. Firstly, let’s see what you should expect from an SEO-focused plugin and have a quick overview of the few basic criteria upon which you can choose the right ones.

What should I look for in WordPress plugins?

Source: kinsta.com (screenshot)

When it comes to improving your SEO with a plugin, there’s several qualities that you should focus on when deciding which ones to use. First of all, you need to make sure that the plugins you installed don’t slow your website down, because that way you’re not just failing to improve your SEO, but you can even experience some negative effects on your rankings.

Therefore, you have to make sure that plugins you use are well-developed and that the code is perfectly efficient, with no unnecessary entities that would ruin your website’s performance. That’s why it also makes a lot of sense to install plugins that are versatile and multi-functional, as downloading a separate plugin for every important SEO feature could put some unnecessary burden on your site. This strategy also helps to avoid compatibility problems – the more plugins you install, the bigger chance of incompatibility between them.

Compatibility problems can also be prevented with regular updates, so you need to make sure that the plugins you have to provide such a service. It’s important that the plugin is carefully and continually maintained so that new bugs don’t put your website at risk. Here you should try to rely on other users’ experiences and mistakes. Hence looking at reviews and ratings before downloading anything is always a good idea. It’s not a 100% reliable method, but it’s a good start.

WordPress is such a huge enterprise that it offers more than 55,000 plugins developed for this CMS, and this number is growing every day. They are developed by top WordPress website design companies, developer teams, SEO firms and independent individuals. It’s impossible to cover the entire landscape of WordPress plugins in a single post, but it’s possible to single out some of the best ones, at least when it comes to those that primarily deal with SEO issues. Here’s a list of 10 plugins that can help you with optimizing your WordPress website for various search engines. Another good source of plugins is Codester.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is the single most popular WordPress SEO Plugin, with over 5 million downloads so far. There’s a free version available, but the premium version does offer some additional conveniences, such as optimization for multiple keywords. Probably the biggest advantage of Yoast SEO is that it’s extremely comprehensive and multi-faceted. It can be very handy as it can easily do the job of many different plugins, perform a complete SEO page analysis and award an appropriate score for each page.

Furthermore, it’s a rather easy one to use and it’s comprehensible for novice users, yet not too primitive for experts. The traffic-light color system used for different SEO indicators is understandable to everyone. Yoast SEO can create a sitemap and link up your website with both Google and Bing Webmaster console. Among other things it can do, there’s integration of social media, checking content for length as well as handling your redirections and alt tags. It’s got thousands of reviews and is generally considered one of the most reliable plugins out there.

Redirection

Unlike the previous one, Redirection belongs to the group of WordPress plugins that are narrowly-focused and used to handle one specific task. Obviously, in this case it’s redirections and redirection-related issues. This plugin can be very useful when you decide to migrate pages to a new website but want to retain the authority, backlinks and other important SEO aspects. It can follow 404 errors and map them to 301 redirects as well as ensure a URL is passed to another page without much hassle. This plugin also gives you access to all the redirection-related data, so you can easily keep track of when and where the redirections have happened.

Broken Link Checker

Broken links can hurt your SEO both directly and indirectly, especially if those links are internal. Hence this is something that has to be regularly checked. Broken Link Checker is a free plugin that finds broken links for you and notifies you right away. Then you can choose to edit or remove these links without actually having to edit the post at all. Apart from that, it does some other useful things, like not allowing search engines to follow broken links, as well as detecting missing images and redirects. However, it can get quite heavy and slow your server down, which is why it’s blocked by some hosting providers.

All in One SEO Pack

This is the second most popular free plugin, being topped only by Yoast. And much like Yoast, All in One SEO Pack is multi-functional and covers many areas that are important for your SEO. It’s slightly less user-friendly though, but still perfectly suitable for beginners. Some of the features offered by this plugin are XML sitemap, automatic optimization of titles and whole pages for all search engines and an automatic generation of meta tags. It’s also up-to-date with mobile optimization and supports Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Smush Image Compression and Optimization

Slow page loading does not just hurt your SEO, it can also destroy your traffic and make your bounce rate skyrocket. Namely, 40 percent of users are not ready to wait for more than three seconds for a page to load. And one of the most common reasons for a slow website is the fact that the uploaded images have not been optimized well enough. Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugin can compress all the images on your website so that you don’t have to do that manually. Compressing or resizing the images can significantly increase page speed and provide a much better experience for your visitors.

W3 Total Cache

This plugin also improves your website’s performance, although not by optimizing images but by, roughly speaking, optimizing the code. It can compress and minify CSS and JavaScript files and cache them, thus saving you up to 80 percent of the bandwidth. In fact, the creators claim that it brings a tenfold improvement in the website’s performance. There’s a simpler version of the plugin, WP Super Cache, which is convenient for beginners, but if you want to take full advantage of all the customization options this plugin offers, you should definitely go for W3 Total Cache.

WP Meta SEO

One of the most important advantages of WP Meta SEO is that it’s accessible to both beginners and experts, the former not finding it too cryptic and the latter not finding it too basic. It is one of the WordPress plugins that keeps you up-to-date with the current status of the most important SEO parameters for your website.

Among other important features, it offers to create XML and HTML sitemaps, and there’s an option to import metadata from Yoast, the most prominent name in the industry. Finally, the biggest advantage is the bulk processing feature, which enables you to improve some of the SEO-related factors across the entire website in just a few clicks. You simply select the content and the image size and WP Meta SEO does the rest for you.

SEO Squirrly

SEO Squirrly is both human and robot-friendly, which means both user satisfaction and high search engine rankings. With this plugin, you’ll get weekly reports on how you’re performing when it comes to all crucial SEO statistics. This includes the results of a keyword research, where it recommends the keywords you should focus on in order to gain some traffic. It even offers real-time advice on optimization while you’re writing or editing an article. Among other things, SEO Squirrly creates an XML sitemap for your site, helps you write top-quality copy and supplies you with images that are free of copyright.

All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets

This is a plugin that helps you generate a brief summary of what your website is about. This summary is shown whenever the site appears in the search engine results. It’s just a quick overview of what you are and what you do, together with your rating and an image of your choice. This improves your CTR and your search engine rankings. All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets also helps with some Facebook-related issues – namely, it ensures that the right info is presented to users every time someone shares a link from your website.

Rankie

The last of the WordPress plugins we’ll look into is Rankie. Rankie is basically a plugin that checks rank of your website for every relevant keyword and sends you reports on this every day. These reports are also sent to you on a monthly and annual level. Rankie generates ranking graphs for all of the crucial keywords and delivers a list of suggested keywords based on the existing ones. Finally, it provides you with a log that allows you to check each and every action the plugin has performed.

Conclusion

Source: pixabay.com

Never underestimate the importance of SEO for your website. Good SEO is one of the most efficient ways of gaining organic traffic and ultimately getting your site to be really visible. WordPress is the best CMS you can use for this purpose and plugins can give you some additional help with optimization.

If you’re avoiding to deal with this because you consider yourself not to be IT-minded, that’s no excuse. Most of these plugins are easy to understand and handle, even for beginners. Therefore, if you have a WordPress website, check what you’re missing in your SEO efforts, do a little research on what you can do about it and try changing it for the better with the clever use of appropriate plugins.

 

Author: Meaghan Yorke

Meaghan is a web designer who is also quite passionate about digital marketing. These days she is all about researching various IT related topics and collaborating with other bloggers. When she is not working she enjoys dancing classical ballet.

 

An In-Depth Guide to Creating Custom Page Templates for a WordPress Websites

Introduction to WordPress Page Templates

The process of creating a website can be filled with frustration and confusion. WordPress makes this process much easier, offering one of the easiest ways to successfully create a business website, personal blog, or landing page.

WordPress is specifically designed to offer users the ability to tweak everything about their page template. These page templates are basically one way for WordPress and the template to communicate in order to display the appropriate web page layout or design.

For example, a user may wish to equip their website with a personal blog widget. This can be efficiently done by selecting the Blog prefab from the template section, and then the template data will be applied to the web page. Suddenly with the click of a button, a web page has been configured to utilize a blog template to save hours of prototyping and configuration nightmares.

Step 1 – Creating Custom Page Templates (The WordPress Template File)

In order to successfully get started in customizing WordPress page templates, it is best to start with finding a text editor that is easy to use. This can be Notepad, Wordpad, or some other standard text editor that allows you to easily save and load documents with.

Once you have selected a text editing software, you should create the template file by creating a new text file, adding the following line of code…

<?php /* Template Name: TEMPLATE_NAME_GOES_HERE */ ?>

Replace the TEMPLATE_NAME_GOES_HERE with the name of your web page template. You can then save the template file. The file extension has to end with .php in order for WordPress to recognize the template file.

Step 2 – FTP Client Connection

Once you have created the template file, you will need to upload it to your website. This can be done using a popular FTP client, such as FileZilla FileZilla is a free FTP client that allows you to transfer data with ease.

Before initiating the transfer process, be sure to have logged into WordPress and established a web page. Once this is completed, you can then upload your custom website page template to your website theme.

Once the template file is uploaded, WordPress should successfully recognize the template on the template drop down menu. Select the newly uploaded template and the file should open up within the editor.

Step 3 – Editing Custom Page Templates on WordPress

There are a few different options when finally editing the web page template within the editor. The first option is to start from scratch and slowly add HTML code, PHP code, or tags to the template file. This can be tedious, and is only recommended for experienced website designers and coders.

The second option requires access to a WordPress theme. Select the theme and copy the code within the page template file provided by the WordPress theme. Paste this code into your own custom page template file and begin adding and removing contents. This is the easiest way to start editing and customizing a page template.

There are also code snippets available on the internet than can be copied into your custom page template file in order to establish web page layouts, or to present other useful widgets or tools on your web page.

Step 4 – Additional Details about Editing Page Templates

As you continue to apply new code snippets to your WordPress template, it should become easier to understand the process of customizing a web page. Each section of the template code is usually designed for a specific region of the web page. These sections can be easily managed within the page template file. Every time this file is edited, it will need to be re-uploaded through the FTP client onto the WordPress website.

You can also edit page template files directly through the WordPress page editing screen. This can allow for the ability to make quick tweaks and adjustments to the page template without having to go through the entire FTP transfer and upload process.

It is also smart to create one baseline page template that can be used with your WordPress theme, across your entire website. This baseline page should be blank so that you can copy the page template and paste its contents into a new page file whenever you are creating a new page on your website. This process will save time instead of having to start from scratch each time.

Conclusion to WordPress Page Templates

There are a number of common practices that can be recommended before starting your official WordPress website. Some of these practices have been summarized in the sections above. While this article can provide assistance in creating your WordPress page template, the truth is that only personal experience will genuinely get you comfortable when it comes to customizing web page templates.

For some users, this experience can take some time to understand. But with every minute that you spend working with WordPress page templates, you will slowly grow more comfortable with the tools that are offered in order to customize your website.

There are many tutorials and code snippets that are available as resources on the internet for free. If this article is not enough to get you started, there are plenty of other resources that can be utilized in order to get started. This article has summarized the simple process of creating, editing, and uploading a custom page template file to a WordPress website.

The best way to get experienced working with anything is through experience, and I assure you that with consistent practice, you will eventually become a master of editing custom page templates on WordPress.

BIO

In addition to being the editor at designrfix and writing about tech, web and graphic design among other subjects, I love “unplug” and be outdoors hiking and enjoying nature. If you can’t reach me, it’s probably because where I am at doesn’t have cell phone reception.