I’ve given a couple of presentations on WordPress SEO and recommended several plugins. Due to demand I’ve been providing my list as a PDF to attendees. Now here it is for my blog readers.
All in One SEO Pack OR WordPress SEO by Yoast – There are certain optimizations that are must dos for most blogs, and even if your WordPress site is not a blog you will want to optimize key tags for each post or page to give Google important clues about your content. Both these plugins will do the job. All in One is a more streamlined plugin, while Yoast’s plugin holds your hand more and offers more functionality (including XML Sitemaps and Breadcrumbs so you don’t need to install separate plugins). Both allow you to noindex your archive pages (such as tags). Keep in mind that some themes (such as the Thesis framework) come with the SEO essentials already built in.
Google XML Sitemaps – The easiest way to get your site indexed by Google is to simply tell it what URLs it should come and visit. This plugin will generate a sitemap file for you that you can register in Google Webmaster Tools.
Akismet – While comments are good, spammy comments are not. Handles and disposes of spammy comments for you, do you need to know any more? A must have for any blog.
Google Analytics by Yoast OR Google Analyticator – You can’t measure your growth if you don’t have a way to track your traffic. Either one of these plugins is a good choice to enable Google Analytics for your site. WordPress Stats can get you started, but ultimately you will want the sophistication of Google Analytics.
W3 Total Cache OR WP Super Cache – Speed matters, to your site visitor and to the search engines, get your WordPress site responding quicker by using these plugins to cache your pages.
SEO Friendly Images – Although this is slowly changing as technology advances, it is still true that a great graphic that conveys lots of meaning to humans is basically unreadable to the search engines. That’s where alt tags come in, they describe the image or graphic to the search engine spider and are another place to put your keywords. This useful plugin will automatically set your image tags using your post title or the filename. This is great if you have an editorial staff publishing your posts.
Sociable OR WP Socializer OR Sexy Bookmarks OR ShareThis OR AddThis OR Shareaholic – Make it easy to get the word out by giving your readers social media buttons to share your great content. We aren’t entirely sure how much the search engines use social signals, but most SEOs believe they are used in some way. Yes I know I’ve given you several plugins to look at, but believe me these are just a tiny fraction of what’s available. Use this as your short list and pick the one that best fits your style and needs. I’m using WP Socializer at the moment.
WP-Pagenavi – Get Google to discover your older posts easier by implementing this plugin that puts them on equal footing with your later posts with a more sophisticated pagination scheme.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – Did you know that the search engines reward sites if people stay for a while? Entice your site visitor to read more than just one post by offering them related posts to check out.
WPTouch – If your WordPress theme isn’t “responsive” (a web design technique that has it adjust to the smaller smartphone and iPad screens) then consider installing this plugin so that your site is formatted for a smartphone. Why is this good for SEO? So mobile traffic doesn’t abandon your site in a hurry.
Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.