Best SEO Plugins in 2022: An Ultimate Guide
SEO plugins are one of the very useful elements that we use to optimize content. Here is a detailed guide to the best SEO Plugins in 2022.
Do you have a website for your e-Commerce, educational, or blogging business? Do you want your posts to appear as a top search result on Google? Then, you must be using the various SEO plugins, and if you’re not, it’s time to use one.
Ranking posts as the top search result is not easy and does not happen overnight. It takes time and energy to improve SEO rankings. Your rankings are determined by several factors that include external factors like trust and brand loyalty and internal factors which are concerned with content, titles, page speed, and many more.
The external factors are not in our hands but what we can handle are the internal ones. So, my dear writers, go ahead and write excellent pieces of content that your potential audience wants to read. Just ensure that your content is not jam-packed with keywords to grab the attention of Google because it won’t help you at all.
Remember that Google is smarter than you and has to make sure that it finds it easy to crawl through your page. So, identify the problem, install a plugin to solve the issue, and enhance the user experience.
You might be wondering what SEO plugin is and how do they resolve technical issues? Before we go on to understand SEO plugins, let us first discuss what exactly is Search Engine Optimization.
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What is Search Engine Optimization?
If you became anxious when you first heard the term SEO, welcome to the club because we all know that feeling. This fancy term is enough to convince you that content writing is “too technical for me”. But the question is, “Is SEO really technical?”
Yes, it is technical. No, it is not something you need to be anxious about. When I first heard about SEO, I was anxious like most of you but as I researched and learned about this topic, I was fascinated by it. I am still learning about it and the one thing I understood about SEO is that you have to learn consistently about the various practices and tactics of SEO that are being followed in the market. So, how do you do that?
You must be crystal clear with the basics of Search Engine Optimization. I can’t emphasize this point enough. The basics of SEO should be clear in your mind. From why the images of your website need to be optimized to how fast the content needs to load, you must know the reason for everything.
But you need not worry. I got you covered. In this article, I will acquaint you with all the necessary SEO terms so that you understand the functionality of SEO plugins and tools in a much better way. Let’s get going.
By now, you know that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. If we go by the definition, Search Engine Optimization refers to the series of actions that you can take so that the search engines (mainly Google) label your content as ‘relevant’ and shows it on the top of their search results for a particular keyword.
Take note that a keyword is anything that you enter in the search box of Google as search queries. Then, search engines (Google) look for the most relevant pieces of content in their algorithms and show it as the search results.
In simple words, any piece of content on the web has to prove its relevance for a particular keyword to the search engines. If the search engines decipher your content as the most appropriate among all, your content is bound to be on the first page of the search results for a certain keyword.
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This may be overwhelming to understand at first but keep reading. I promise to simplify this concept of search engine optimization for you.
Now, let’s take an example. The Google search result for the keyword, “How to become a social media manager” will not show my article “Importance of social media profiles for content writers” as one of its results.
Why is it so? Although the topic of my article is also concerned with social media, it will not appear as a search result. This is because Google will label my content as “irrelevant” to the keyword (How to become a social media manager) that the user is looking for.
But, the article, ‘How to become a social media manager‘ will appear as one of the Google search results because Google will find it ‘relevant’ to the keyword. It is easy for Google to decipher this article as relevant to the type of content that the user is looking for. To satisfy the user, Google will show this particular article over my piece of content.
Hope you understand that this is a game of relevancy. If any piece of content seems relevant to the keyword that the user is searching for, search engines will show it over others that may not seem so relevant.
This seems easy, right? You write an article for a targeted keyword, and you are good to go. No, you’re not. Content is just one of the many factors that influence your ranking in the search results of a particular keyword.
I will be discussing the various categories of Search Engine Optimization that target a particular set of factors that determine the ranking of your content.
But before that, let’s understand why SEO is important for every piece of content that is published on the web.
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Why is Search Engine Optimization important?
Okay, let’s be frank. We are all here to rank our pages on the web but why do you want your content to rank on the search engines?
We all write with a purpose, a pre-determined goal that we want to accomplish through our writing. It may be different for different people but, a large group of people wants their content to reach the audience who wants to consume quality content.
But a reader who wants to consume quality content will not go on looking for that by loading the multiple pages of search results. Chances are that he will not even load the second page of Google search results because he knows that Google has especially curated the content from its algorithm and the most relevant ones are on the first page of Google search results.
So, if you feel that your content answers a particular search query in the most significant manner, then you better optimize your page and improve your SEO.
Also, Search Engine Optimization is all about user experience. You optimize your content so that people who land on your page have a pleasant experience reading your content. SEO is also targeted to improve the quality of the traffic that you get on your page.
Categories of Search Engine Optimization
The three main categories of Search Engine Optimization are:
- On-site SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO
There are many more categories of SEO based on the type of firm you have. You may want to understand Local SEO and others as per the geographical location where your firm is primarily based. These three categories of SEO apply to all types of content irrespective of any external factors which may affect your ranking.
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Having said that, let us quickly discuss the different categories of Search Engine Optimization and how they affect your ranking on the search engines.
On-site Search Engine Optimization refers to the series of actions that you can take to optimize the various elements on your website. From content, page titles to page speed, every such element is a part of on-site SEO.
The various elements of Onsite SEO include the following:-
- Basic web page attributes
To all writers who hate the technical stuff around content writing, you have something to cheer for. Bill Gates said it right, “Content is the king.” and it is an evergreen statement.
Content can never be compromised. It is of utmost importance. If you want to drive quality traffic to your website, you ought to provide the best content to your readers.
Look, it is in your hands to retain the quality traffic that you’re getting on your page. What I mean by this is to ensure that your target audience comes back to you, you must serve them the content that is tailored to suit their needs and requirements. So, you can’t expect your SEO to rank you on top of the search results when your content is just not up to the mark.
Keyword research is one of the most critical factors when it comes to SEO writing. If you want your page to rank, you must target a specific set of long-tail and head keywords.
It is important in SEO writing that every piece of content is written targeting a set of both long-tail keywords and head keywords. As a beginner, long-tail keywords with less competition and head keywords with less competition must be targeted.
The basic difference between the head and long-tail keywords are:
|Basis||Head keyword||Long-tail keyword|
|Definition||Refers to a general keyword.||Refers to a set of words and phrases that is very specific.|
|Traffic||Generally, people who want to improve the quantity of traffic to their website produce content targeting the head keywords.||Producing specific content that is aimed to target a specific long-tail keyword will help you improve the quality of traffic on your page.|
|Competition||Competition is very high for head keywords as there is a lot of content available for them.||Competition is much less when it comes to targeting long-tail keywords as less content is available for the same set of long-tail keywords.|
Basic web page attributes
Apart from content, the alignment of the content is also important in SEO writing.
What I mean by “the alignment” of the content is how you present your content to your readers. Remember, I told you that Search Engine Optimization is all about user experience. That point will be discussed here in detail.
To start with, let’s understand that a basic web page has certain compulsory attributes attached to it that is as follows:
- Meta descriptions
Title of a page:
The title of a page refers to the main heading of your article or blog post. It is the title that appears as clickable links in the search results.
The title of the page has the largest font and is usually known as ‘Heading 1’ or ‘H1’. You must optimize the title of your page because it is the first thing that search engines come across while indexing your content. A title that has the necessary long-tail and head keywords will compel the user to click on your page.
Subtitles of the page:
The subtitles of the page refer to the subheadings that you may use in your article or blog post. They are mainly used to highlight different topics of the article from one another.
Unlike the title of the page, there can be many subtitles in a particular piece of content. It adds to the user experience and is an important part of SEO writing.
The subtitles of the page are usually known as h2, h3, h4, etc. You must optimize the subtitles of the page as it helps enhance the user experience. The readers can easily navigate through the various sections of the article. Bulleted points must be added under subtitles to improve the user experience.
Meta descriptions are the small body of the text of about 155-158 characters that usually displays what the main article is about. Yes, you got it right. Meta descriptions appear with the main title of the page that is a clickable link. It plays a crucial role in determining the click-through rates of a particular piece of content.
You must optimize the meta description for your pages by including the target keywords in it. You can also include the specific call to action (if any) in the meta description.
This may seem an insignificant point, but meta descriptions do influence searchers to click your page link. So, devote your time and energy to create a meta description that is compelling to your target audience.
Off-page Search Engine Optimization refers to the series of actions that you can take to optimize the various elements outside your webpage. It is related to improving the Goodwill of the website in the eyes of the searches and the search engines.
These include improving your bounce rate and domain authority. It is one of the major factors to determine your ranking on the search engine.
Off-page SEO is more concerned with brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. It lets the search engines know that you are a dominant face in your niche. It also signals the search engines that users can be assured of relevance, authority, and trust if they show your content as a top search result.
Technical Search Engine Optimization refers to the series of actions that you can take to optimize the technical aspects of your webpage that will help you improve your rankings in the search results.
This category of SEO is very closely related to user experience. Apart from UX, the design of the webpage plays an important role in deciding the ranking.
While curating content for a particular keyword, search engines crawl through your content to decide if it is relevant and optimized enough to appear as a top search result. This means that if your page is taking more than half a second to load content, it is not fully optimized.
Along with the page speed, it is also important to access the user experience and user interface of your content on mobile phones. Apart from this, make sure that your webpage is secured. An insecure network hampers the conversion rates and affects the goodwill in the eyes of the searchers.
Now that you know about the basic Search Engine Optimization terminologies, you can understand the concept of SEO plugins very easily.
Let’s start with the fact that SEO plugins are used to perform On-site SEO and technical SEO. This is the most important fact you must know to understand SEO plugins.
So, from what we’ve learned so far, we know that On-page SEO/Onsite SEO is optimizing the elements of our web page that mostly revolves around the content and its display on the web. We also know that technical SEO is associated with the technical aspects of a web page or a website and is closely related to elements of user experience.
We also understand that it is not possible to optimize each element of on-site SEO and technical SEO manually. This is where the concept of SEO plugins comes in.
SEO plugins are the extension of source software that allows the content management system to perform special functions that affect the ranking of the page.
Before we move ahead, let me first define the Content Management System.
A content management system is a software that facilitates the design and development of digital content that is created with the intent of being published on the web. Some of the famous CMS include WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and many more.
So, the thing is that you are supposed to install a particular plugin on your CMS according to your specified needs, and it will perform a set of activities so that your page improves the ranking of the search results.
TO make it clearer, let us take an example. Suppose your page is taking more time to load, then you will be required to install a plugin that will improve the page load time, and your content will be optimized.
Now that you have understood what an SEO plugin is. Let us now understand why installing SEO plugins on your CMS is important.
Why is installing SEO plugins on your CMS important?
The simple answer to this question is that installing SEO plugins is important because SEO is important. I’ve already acquainted you with the various reasons why Search Engine Optimization is important. It is essential to rank your page on the top of the search results so that you enjoy quality traffic.
To make your voice heard, you have to rank as a top search result for a particular set of targeted keywords, and how do you do that? Just by installing a particular SEO plugin that gets the work done for you.
How many SEO plugins should you install on your CMS?
So, it would not be a wise move to install tons of SEO plugins to speed up the ranking of your page on the search engines. You must understand that SEO does not work overnight. You can’t rank your page on the top of the search results by installing plenty of SEO plugins on your CMS.
Your approach should be strategic and you must identify the various problems that are affecting your ranking. So, go out there and take the page speed test, check the image resolution, improve the user experience on the mobile phones, and optimize each element that seems to hamper your ranking on the web.
After you identify the pain points, try installing a particular SEO plugin that can be used as a solution to your problem.
Also, wait for at least 3 months before you switch to another plugin for the same issue because your page cannot make it to the top overnight.
Which is the best CMS for SEO?
As defined earlier, a content management system is software that facilitates the design and development of digital content which is created with the intent of being published on the web. To put it simply, it is the CMS that provides an interface for you to integrate the various elements of the text i.e. the images, videos, the main body of text, etc.
Popular content management systems out there include WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and many more. They all come with their own pros and cons but when it comes to SEO, WordPress is simply the best.
But, how does WordPress beat every other CMS out there in terms of SEO? The answer lies in the fact that WordPress comes with a unique set of customizable plugins. You simply need to identify the problem which is affecting the ranking of your page and there is an SEO plugin available in WordPress to sort out your issue.
Other Content Management Systems either come with SEO tools that optimize your webpage automatically or provide you with options to customize titles and meta descriptions respectively. This again can be great for someone who is not so concerned with SEO.
But, if you write with an intent to rank your content, a WordPress site is a must. Automatic SEO is good but plugins have a sharp edge over them. SEO plugins are the best way to optimize content and as WordPress provides this feature, it is the best content management system for SEO.
You can indeed have SEO plugins as per your needs and requirements but there were about 57,937 plugins on WordPress at the time of writing this article. So you see, you have a plethora of options available to choose from and you might be wondering which SEO plugin might work best for you.
So, here I present the top 10 must-have SEO plugins for your website.
Top 10 must-have SEO plugins for your website
- WordPress version: 5.4 or higher
- Active installations: 5+ million
- Number of Languages available: 50
- Automated XML Sitemaps: Sitemaps refers to the structure of your website that makes it convenient for the search engines to understand your content.
- Customized title tags: You have the option of customizing the title tags which can be different from the title of the main article. You heard it right! There can be two titles for a single piece of content. One is the main heading of your article and the other is specially customized to attract readers and increase the click-through rates.
- Customized meta descriptions and snippets: With Yoast SEO, meta descriptions can be specifically created to involve target keywords and CTAs (Call to Action).
- Automated SEO Analysis: It performs all the necessary SEO practices and generates a Google preview of your content for desktop and mobiles.
All in One SEO Pack
- WordPress version: 4.9 or higher
- Active installations: 2+ million
- Number of Languages available: 55
- Image XML Sitemap Support: This helps the search engine that is Google to identify and relate to your content in a better way.
- SEO Integration available: it is a free plugin that supports Google Analytics and provides integration with my e-Commerce sites.
- Customized meta descriptions and titles available.
Rank Math- SEO Plugin for WordPress
- WordPress version: 5.2 or higher
- Active installations: 600,000+
- Number of Languages available: 16
- Rich Snippets Integration: The option to integrate rich snippets to improve the click-through rates along with customizable titles and meta descriptions is available.
- No follow tags: No follow tags can be easily added to your website. A no-follow tag is used to intimate the search engine of a less trusted link which the search engine is not supposed to crawl into.
- A mixed bag of common SEO plugins: Several common SEO plugins features combined like automated sitemaps generation.
- Monitoring of error 404 available to access dead webpages.
W3 Total Cache
- WordPress version: 3.2 or higher
- Active installations: 1+ million
- Number of Languages available: 14
- SSL support and CDN integration available: This is done to ensure that the webpage is secured and this enhances user experience.
- Caching of search result pages and browser caching.
- Minimalification of blog posts and web pages.
a3 Lazy Load
- WordPress version: 4.9 or higher
- Active installations: 200,000+
- Number of Languages available: 6
- Uses lazy load: This is done to improve page speed. An image/video will not load until the reader reaches that part of the content.
- Mobile oriented: Built-in support for Accelerated Mobile Pages which is made available to ensure that the content is friendly for mobile users.
- Supports Embedded media: It is compatible with various themes and supports WordPress embedded media.
Easy Table of Contents
- WordPress version: 5.2 or higher
- Active installations: 200,000+
- Number of Languages available: 12
- Generates a table of contents for every blog post automatically
- Highly customizable: It is highly customizable as you can select if you want a table of contents with h2, h3 headings.
- Formatting options available: Formating the table of contents is made very easy.
- Supports Rank math: It supports major plugins like Rank Math and is a must-have plugin to enhance user experience.
Smush Image Compressor
- WordPress version: 5.2 or higher
- Active installations: 1+ million
- Number of Languages available: 37
- Compress and resize images: Optimize the images of your blog posts to improve the Google page speed.
- Preserves the quality of the images: Compresses images with JPEG, PNG, and GIF extensions without affecting the quality of the images.
- Lazy Load technology: Like A3 Lazy Load, Smush also provides an option of lazy load to make your page SEO-friendly.
- Bulk Smush: This feature of Smush Image Compressor allows the users to optimize as many as 50 images with one click.
Broken Link Checker
- WordPress version: 4.6 or higher
- Active installations: 700,000+
- Number of Languages available: 26
- Ensures that your webpage is free of broken links: Broken links are those links that are no longer available on the web and attaching broken links in your blog post and can hamper your ranking.
- Monitors all internal and external links: Searches for any broken links by monitoring the internal and external linking structure of your blog post.
- Editable links: This plugin can be used to edit links directly.
- SEO friendly: Averts search engines from following the broken links and improves the ranking of the page.
- Enhances User Experience: Users have a pleasant experience on your page by not following the broken links.
- WordPress version: 5.0 or higher
- Active installations: 2,000+
- Number of Languages available: 1
- Facilitates keyword research: Primarily Ahrefs provides the facility to perform extensive keyword research and competition analysis.
- Content analysis tool: This feature of Ahrefs Plugin provides an option to optimize the content by highlighting specific keywords.
- Backlink analysis: Helps to promote your stuff by making sure that your posts are linked to maximum backlink sites.
- Detects duplicate content: It helps to identify duplicate text in blog posts.
- WordPress version: 3.8.0 or higher
- Active installations: 2+ million
- Number of Languages available: 25
- Install Google Analytics: With Monster Insights, you can have Google Analytics installed on your WordPress dashboard.
- Customized analytical reports available: It shows you the analysis of your page in terms of keywords, traffic, competition, content, etc.
- Produces practical solutions: You have a list of To-dos available based on your analytical reports which highlight what needs to be done to improve your SEO ranking.
Bonus tip: Install these Free SEO tools that can leverage your SEO game
This free web software of Google is a must for every SEO strategy. It shows a customized analysis of your traffic. It lets you know what kinds of visitors you have on your page. You can also track the activities of your webpage like bounce rate etc. It also allows to track sales and performance of e-Commerce websites.
Google Search Console
Like Google Analytics, Google Search Console is another free tool of Google that can help you improve SEO rankings. It allows the users to troubleshoot and scan the status of your webpage on Google search results. You can fix crawling and indexing issues easily through Google Search Console.
So, just register your webpage on Google Analytics and Google Search Console and see the magic happen.
So, it can be concluded that SEO plugins are the most efficient way to improve the ranking of your webpage on search engines like Google. Think of a problem and there will definitely be some SEO plugins to take care of it.
What’s important is to ensure that you do not use several plugins in one go. Make sure that compatible plugins are used together so that your site does not crash.
Now, go ahead and install SEO plugins and take your SEO game a step forward.