An SEO Expert’s 5 Favorite WordPress Plugins

I am First Call’s Web Services Manager. I am your SEO Specialist, web guide, and connoisseur of cheeses.

If you’re a DIY web developer working on your own website, you may be wondering what plugins will help you out the most with your SEO and web performance.

There are thousands of plugins available for a variety of functions. After years of trial and error, we think these are the best plugins for any website to improve user experience, speed, and SEO.

We hope you can use this information to better improve your website but if you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

“A website without SEO is like a car with no gas.”

– Paul Cookson

1. Rank Math

RankMath is ou preferred SEO plugin. We have used other popular SEO tools such as All in One SEO and Yoast, but RankMath has won our hearts. Here’s why.

RankMath is a quick and easy plugin that uses little of your website’s data. It is also a smaller sized plugin than some other plugin options which can help with your overall site speed.

It has a LOT of options that you can turn on or off including:

It also can couple with several other SEO features such as:

Their page analysis is simple and comprehensive. Best of all, it’s free.

We prefer their dashboard to both Yoast and All in One SEO and found that it didn’t slow the site down quite as much. Overall, it is a free, comprehensive SEO plugin with a smart dashboard and great features.

2. Smush

Images can be a huge drain on your website’s load time. Aside from CSS and Javascript, they tend to be the primary culprit in low load speeds. Oftentimes, this is due to uploading an image that is too large (>1600 pixels) or in a format that requires extra storage (png). If possible, you should always compress your images before uploading them to your website; however, you can also use a plugin such as Smush to reduce file size of your images and improve load time. Smush can also be used to:

  • enable lazy load
  • auto-optimize
  • bulk compress
  • compression without loss of quality
  • detect incorrect image sizes

Again, we love it for its ease-of-use, great dashboard, and many of its features are completely free.

3. Redirection

While RankMath offers the option to include redirection, we encourage anyone not using a RankMath or All in One SEO to install the Redirection plugin. Redirection is a free plugin that monitors and manages your redirects.

You shouldn’t delete, move, or rename a URL without providing users with a redirect to send them to the right place. Google will view 404s negatively and it will impact your rank over time. Install a redirection plugin so you can monitor and control your redirects and avoid those 404s.

4. Google XML Sitemap

A sitemap is a valuable tool to use for your website’s SEO. It sends over an outline of your overall website to Google so that it has a clear map of your most important pages and content. It is crucial to have a good sitemap when you have a larger site. Google will limit the number of links that it crawls on a site and it may overlook some of your pages if you don’t have a clear sitemap.

If you have inherited a site, a very old domain, or have a site with tons of content, it may be valuable to run an audit of your existing links. You can do this through free tools such as Screaming Frog. You will get a complete look at your site’s links and can decide how to condense down your data from there.

“If You’re Going to Post Content on Your Site Anyway, You Might as Well Take the Time to Make Sure Google Takes Notice of Your Effort.”

– The Content Factory

5. Sucuri

Did you know your website was in danger? A security plugin is valuable for your website. Even small websites can be accosted by login bots trying to access your website to install malware. If your website is cited as a spam site, it’s a huge SEO hit and one that’s hard to recover from. Sucuri is a free plugin that is…you guessed it, easy to install with a straightforward dashboard. We like the email notifications to let us know if there were ever a breach to the site. There’s no excuse to be unprepared when it comes to your cybersecurity.

Get Going

The above plugins should provide rounded coverage for several of the essential factors of good SEO including:

  • keyword optimization
  • technical SEO (schema, image SEO)
  • speed improvements (image compression)
  • user management (redirects)
  • Google updates (sitemap submissions)
  • site security (Sucuri)

While these are our favorites, you may find that some of their competitors suit you better. We found these to be well-rounded, multi-functional, free, and easy-to-use – which check all of our boxes.

Have a question? Send one over to one of our web developers and we will be happy to help out.