If you are a blogger with your own hosted WordPress site, consider installing these WordPress plugins:
- Akismet Run, don’t walk, to install this plugin. In fact in most brand new WordPress installs, you should see this plugin already in your Plugins dashboard, ready to be activated. This plugin does a great job of filtering out spam comments on your blog .. it’s really painful to delete these comments by hand. The one trick, is that you will have to create an account at wordpress.com to obtain your WordPress API Key. However once you have that, you will be able to activate Akismet
- All-in-One-SEO For more control over your page title and meta tags: see my earlier post on title tags and a pointer to this plugin
- Google Analytics This doesn’t have to be a plugin as you can update the footer.php code directly with the Google Analytics tracking code, however there are several plugins available. I installed Yoast’s plugin and it was straightforward. With this, you should set up your google analytic account first. If you think you will need help, I would suggest watching the YouTube videos on the topic, just search on “google analytics wordpress plugin video” and browse through them until you find one that makes sense to you. Why do you want to install this plugin? So that you have information about the visitors to your site, what keywords they use … etc. Don’t worry about if you don’t understand google analytics at first. The important thing is to start the analytics tracking now, so you can look at your blog’s performance trends in the future.
- Google XML Sitemaps This plugin will help Google crawl your blog (and help Google discover it in the first place!). It creates a list of your blog posts and pages in a special format that Google likes (called XML) and updates it when you change or updates your blog. With this plugin, you MAY need to know how to create and change permissions on a file on your server, (usually done through a FTP client such as Filezilla). Another cool thing, which I plan to cover more in a future post, is that it helps with eliminating duplicate content. Instructions and download for Google XML Sitemap Plugin. You may be also able to install it directly from your wordpress config panel (Add New Plugin).
Update: March 4, 2013: These plugins are all still valid. I’ve published a more extensive list of WordPress plugins critical for SEO that you might want to check out as well.