SEO has been the name of the online game ever since search engines existed. It has always been a race to the top of that coveted search results page. The higher you are on the list, the more visitors you would likely get. That’s a fact.
A recent study conducted by ahrefs using their Content Explorer tool found out that 90.63% of all the pages in their index got zero traffic from Google. That means of all the pages that they have in their database (over one billion pages) only 9.37% of them got any traffic from Google.
With a few caveats from that study aside, it’s clear that only a fraction of the pages online gets any search ranking, much less traffic, at all.
And here’s where SEO comes in. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic going through your website via organic search engine results.
Simply put, SEO is making sure your page or website ranks as high as possible in search engine searches to ensure the highest number of traffic possible.
Out of the box, WordPress is pretty decent with SEO, especially the newer versions. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Especially behind the scenes. Since SEO has come a very long way from simple link building and adding a bunch of keywords.
And of course, as with anything WordPress, there are plugins for that. It’s simply the easiest way to deal with improving your site SEO.
And in this article, we’re going to discuss a few of our top-picks for your must-have SEO plugins for 2020 .
Here’s a quick overview for those who’d like to see what we have in store:
|Plugin||Ease of Use||Pricing|
|Schema Pro||10/10||Plugin Alone – $55 per year|
Agency Bundle – $249 per year
|All in One SEO Pack||8/10||Individual – $79 per year – Single Site|
Business – $139 per year – Up to 10 Sites
Agency – $699 per year – Unlimited Sites
|WordPress SEO Plugin by Rank Math||8/10||Free|
|The SEO Framework||7/10||Essentials $49/year|
|Premium SEO Pack||7/10||Free|
|BoldGrid Easy SEO||7/10||Free|
|SmartCrawl SEO||9/10||$49/month |
For all plugins by WPMU Dev
What Is a WordPress SEO Plugin?
An SEO plugin is a tool that you can install on your WordPress site that will help you improve your overall position in search engines through implementing various required metadata.
It seems simple enough, right? So just get one and let it work it’s magic, right?
Well…It’s not that easy.
Why Do You Need a WordPress SEO Plugin?
As mentioned before WordPress is already decently optimized for SEO from the get-go. With exceptional content and an already established niche and clientele, you’re already likely to rank a few levels higher on search engines than most other pages with the same category. But even then, most pages still have trouble with both keeping their visitors or gaining new ones.
Since SEO crawlers from most search engines don’t just take content and layout into account, there’s still a lot of things that can be improved. And most of these settings are either extremely hard to get to and set up, or not visible at all with a bare WordPress install.
That’s where the plugins come in. WordPress SEO plugins give you the option to set and change certain settings specifically to your WordPress set up. These can either be applied to a global(whole site), per post, per page or per category or any combination of settings.
These settings or options include:
- Post metadata
- Open Graph metadata
- Search snippets, featured images, and descriptions
- Main keywords
- Breadcrumb settings
- And Search Console settings
What to Look for in a WordPress SEO Plugin?
There are a lot of SEO plugins out there. And you can’t just install them all and wait for your visitor count to go through the roof.
It’s always helpful to make sure that the plugins that you are installing to your WordPress site match the features that you need.
Ideally, you need SEO plugins that would allow you to change/set the following easily and just as a beginner would:
- Main post/page keywords – these are the main keywords that tell what your page/post is about and would uniquely identify your page with search engines.
- Social Media Snippets and Display – this is called Open Graph metadata, the information that is displayed and called by social media platforms whenever someone shares your content/URL on their social media platforms. These may include:
- Featured images
- Publishing date, etc.
- Mobile and Desktop Search Snippets and previews – how your post/page is displayed on search results.
- Sitemaps – the basic map that search engines follow when visiting your site. This helps search engines quickly identify which pages allow indexing and which don’t
- Redirection tools – these tools help resolve DNS/URL redirections from page to page and can count for or against your SEO Score so managing these is important too.
- Trackers and Analytics tools – these are the tools where they may not be directly affecting your SEO score, they can surely help you figure out which sections require more optimization than others by giving you the exact numbers that you need.
These are just a few things to keep in mind, but among these features, we’d, of course, need to be looking at reviews, usability, pricing, and overall performance of these plugins
It’s best to avoid having more than two SEO plugins that have the same features as each other since this will most likely cause conflict and potentially even damage your SEO ranks.
Top 11 WordPress SEO Plugins of 2020
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is a popular WordPress SEO plugin with over 5+ million active installations. This plugin has become the go-to solution for a lot of WordPress users with skill levels ranging from beginners to experts.
Yoast easily lets you add SEO titles and descriptions to all posts and pages on your website. You can also add Open Graph metadata for your social media pages along with automatically generating an XML sitemap for your site.
Among Yoast’s top features include:
- Being able to create cornerstone content and internal linking features to help with ranking with the right keywords
- Manage Social Media metadata separately from the posts or pages
- Add title and meta description with templating for brand consistency
- Full control over site’s breadcrumbs
- Automatically set canonical URLs avoiding duplicate content
- Webmaster tools verification via Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, etc
- Exclude certain types of content from being indexed in search engine results.
That and so much more. Most of their cooler features are for premium users only.
Yoast is a freemium plugin, meaning there are a lot of basic features that are available to you from the start. And these features alone are very powerful and can already help you stand-out among your competitors. You can download the free version from WordPress.org.
But Yoast also comes with a Premium version for $89/year with free updates and support.
The premium version includes features like multiple keywords for more optimized content, automatic internal linking suggestions, redirect manager, among others.
2. Schema Pro
Schema Pro is a plugin developed and maintained by the same team who brought you Astra! We made this plugin to compliment its free counterpart.
Schema is as vital to any WordPress site’s SEO as it’s content. We built this plugin from the ground up to give you the option to add Schema and display Rich Snippets in Google’s or any other search engine’s search results.
Some of it’s best features include:
- JSON-LD output that’s in compliance with Google’s recommended standards
- A guided start page and set up to make sure you don’t have to stress over it
- Full-packed options and types of schema that’s supported
- Support for Custom Fields
- Easily extendable, and lightweight.
Schema Pro is a premium plugin that you can purchase either independently or as part of Astra’s Agency Bundle.
- Plugin Alone – $79 per year
- Agency Bundle – $249 per year
- Plugin Alone – $249
- Agency Bundle – $699
The Agency Bundle includes all of Brainstorm Force premium products including Schema Pro, Astra Pro, Convert Pro and so much more.
All in One SEO Pack is a plugin even older than Yoast, boasting itself to be the “Original WordPress SEO Plugin.” With over 2+ million active installs, this plugin is also one of the most popular ones when it comes to SEO plugins for WordPress.
All in One SEO Pack has most of Yoast’s features but is slightly more customizable and flexible with some added juice of its own, one of which is having support for AMP meaning it can easily integrate with the official AMP WordPress plugin out of the box.
Some of its top features include:
- Easily add SEO titles and meta tags
- Add Open Graph Meta tags
- XML Sitemap support
- Google Analytics support
- Schema.org Markup
- Advanced Canonical URLs
- Support for SEO on Custom Post Types
- Automatically notifies search engines like Google and Bing about changes to your site
- Built-in API so other plugins/themes can access and extend the functionality
- ONLY free plugin to provide SEO Integration for e-Commerce sites, including WooCommerce
All in One SEO Pack is free to download from WordPress.org.
But for premium features such as being able to edit your .htaccess file without FTP, or edit your robots.txt file, or block “bad bots” including referral spam, you’d have to get the Premium version.
- Individual – $79 per year – Single Site
- Business – $139 per year – Up to 10 Sites
- Agency – $699 per year – Unlimited Sites
Rank Math is one of the most powerful, fast-growing, and user-friendly SEO plugins out there. It allows you to easily optimize your site for search engines and social media.
With Rank Math, you can easily add meta titles, descriptions, and Open Graph metadata. You can also generate an XML sitemap, be able to connect your site to Google Search Console, and set certain plugin features only for certain user roles.
Rank Math’s powerful features include:
- An easy to follow Setup Wizard
- Integrated Google Schema Markup (Rich Snippets)
- Unlimited Keywords
- Search Console Integration
- Google Keyword Ranking
- 404 Monitors
- Content Analysis Tests
- Internal Link Suggestions
- Role Manager
- Multisite Ready
- Advanced SEO Analysis Tool
- Optimized and minimal lines of code versus other SEO plugins
Rank Math for all it’s wonderful and amazing features is free. Absolutely free!
The SEO Framework is a feature-filled SEO plugin that is very similar to all of the other plugins on this list. The main difference is that this plugin is more lightweight than the others also making it a worthy option.
With ease of use in mind, this plugin is surely one that would need your attention. Being able to pre-fill meta tags helps you shave off hours from doing it yourself.
Some of The SEO Framework’s top features include:
- Comes pre-configured out of the box
- Easily Edit Open Graph metadata
- Enables breadcrumbs for Google Search
- Automatically generating titles and descriptions according to Google’s guidelines
- Open support forums available
And so much more.
The SEO Framework has a free version available with limited features just like all the other plugins on this list. For more advanced features check out their premium versions:
- Pro – $84/year
- Business – $204/year
- Agency – $324/year
SEOPress is another simple yet powerful SEO plugin that you can install instead of Yoast. It comes with pretty much the same features as Yoast SEO including the ability to add meta titles, descriptions, open graph support, image and content XML sitemaps, and more.
The setup is incredibly easy for beginners and advanced controls for more experienced users. It is easily a great competitor to the other plugins on this list.
The top features of SEOPress include:
- Installation wizard to quickly set up your site
- Titles (with dynamic variables: custom fields, terms taxonomy…)
- Meta descriptions (with dynamic variables too)
- Open Graph Data
- Google Knowledge Graph
- Google Analytics with downloads tracking, custom dimensions, IP anonymization, remarketing, demographics and interest reporting, cross-domain tracking…(GDPR compatibility)
- Twitter Card
- Canonical URL
- Meta robots (noindex, nofollow, noodp, noimageindex, noarchive, nosnippet)
- Build your custom XML Sitemap to improve search indexing.
- Image XML Sitemaps to improve search indexing for Google Images.
- Build your custom HTML Sitemap to enhance navigation for visitors and improve search indexing.
And so much more for the Pro version:
- Import metadata (titles, open graph, robots…) from CSV file
- Export metadata (titles, open graph, robots…) to a CSV file
- Video XML Sitemap
- Google Suggestions in Content Analysis
- Google Structured Data Types (schema.org): article, local business, service, FAQ, course, recipe, software application, video, event, product, job, simple review, site navigation element, and custom
- Automatic Schemas
The main advantage of this plugin is its pricing. There is a free version similar to the others and it’s available to download from the WordPress.org site.
The premium versions, however, with similar features to Yoast Premium, are at a cheaper price $39 for unlimited sites including a year of updates and support.
7. Platinum SEO
Platinum SEO is a seemingly lightweight plugin to help with SEO for your WordPress site. It offers all the basic functions that you’d need to be able to increase your SEO score with search engines.
You can easily add canonical URLs, add Open Graph metadata for social media, and add posts and page titles for search engines.
The only difference between this plugin and most others on this list is that Platinum SEO does not provide any content suggestions aside from helping add the necessary tags and metadata.
- Some of Platinum SEO’s top features include:
- Create and set any kind of JSON-LD schema markup tag for any post, page or taxonomy.
- Canonical URLs
- Create social meta tags for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
- Optimized Post and Page Titles for search engines
- Generates all SEO relevant META tags automatically
- Option to specify meta description and meta keywords tag for categories and tag pages.
- Option to turn off Page title or Post title rewrites for any particular post or page
- Helps you avoid duplicate content
- Lets you override any title and set any META description and META keywords, for any post
- Support for custom taxonomies
The Platinum SEO plugin is free to use and download from their website or WordPress.org.
8. Slim SEO
Slim SEO is an incredibly powerful and handy SEO plugin that basically does all the same functions as the other plugins on this list, but with one main difference. It wants to save you all the time by configuring all the things that you need to and does most of them automatically.
Slim SEO is suitable for all types of users especially those who prefer simplicity with the way they work their page SEO.
Slim SEO’s top features revolve around being able to manage itself and automatically do things for you, including:
- Slim SEO automatically adds some structured data to the website via JSON-LD
- Output a breadcrumb trail on your website easily by automatically fetching the information from the current post and output a hierarchy
- Automatically generates an XML sitemap
- Auto-generate the following meta tags:
- Meta title tag: display your title in an SEO-friendly way.
- Meta description tag: auto-generated from posts/pages excerpt or content.
- Meta robots tag: decide which pages are indexed and which ones not.
- Facebook Open Graph Tags: share your posts on Facebook beautifully.
- Twitter Card Tags: share your posts on Twitter beautifully.
Slim SEO is free to use and download from its website or the WordPress.org page.
Premium SEO Pack is another lightweight SEO plugin that has all the same basic features as all the others on this list. You get to increase your SEO score by adding meta tags, descriptions, keywords, and Open Graph meta to your posts.
One of the main features of this plugin is that it’s free and works well with WooCommerce and other eCommerce plugins. Also, you can customize each page directly from post preview top bar or from the admin top bar
Here are a few of Premium SEO Pack’s top features:
- SEO Patterns for each Post Type and Custom Post Types
- Title, Description, Keywords, Canonical Metas
- Open Graph Image, Title, Description, Type
- Twitter Card Image, Title, Description
- Noindex and Nofollow options for each post type
- Works well with Woocommerce and other e-commerce plugins
- Works with WordPress Multisite
Premium SEO Pack is free to use and to download from the WordPress.org site.
BoldGrid Easy SEO is a simple yet effective SEO plugin for your WordPress site. It will easily help you rank higher in search engine searches by analyzing your page in real-time and providing easy to follow recommendations on how to best improve your SEO.
You don’t have to be an expert too when using BoldGrid as it is very easy to use and has a very intuitive user interface.
BoldGrid Easy SEO’s top features include:
- Real-time analysis of optimal keyword density
- Title and description editor with recommendations
- Automatic analysis of header tags to make sure you are using them properly
- Content analysis including content links
- Search Engine Indexing options
- Easily add and edit canonical URLs
- Easily set follow/no-follow links
- Automatic image ALT Tags checking
BoldGrid Easy SEO is free to use and download from the WordPress.org site.
SmartCrawl SEO is yet another amazing plugin from the WPMU DEV family of plugins.
SmartCrawl boasts amazing features with an easy to use interface that can automatically provide you the best recommendations on how to increase your site SEO rankings. It also has a one-click setup that can prove to be extremely useful and helpful to those who aren’t experts in the SEO field.
SmartCrawl SEO’s top features include:
- One-Click Setup Wizard – Activate settings to boost your reach – no more guesswork!
- SEO Checkup & Reports – Run a Checkup and get recommendations for improving SEO.
- Titles & Meta Descriptions – Customizes how your meta tag titles and meta descriptions display on search pages.
- Leverage Social Media – SmartCrawl includes Open Graph, Twitter card, and Pinterest verification and credits you when someone shares your posts.
- Sitemap Generator – Choose which post types, archives, and taxonomies you wish to include, exclude or add.
- Smart Page Analyzer – SmartCrawl has an SEO checker that scans pages and posts for readability and keyword density and makes suggestions for optimizing your content.
- Integrate With Moz SEO Tools – Already use Moz? Connect your Moz reports and comparison analysis including rank and links.
- Quick Setup Import/Export – Quickly add your custom SmartCrawl SEO settings to all your sites with included import.
Just like all the other WPMU Dev plugins, SmartCrawl SEO is free to use and download from WordPress but only has basic functions.
For added features and benefits you can purchase a WPMU DEV membership from their website for $49 per month with a free 7-day trial
FAQ on WordPress SEO Plugins
After considering and hopefully helping you decide which SEO plugin to use, we’ll be answering a few Frequently Asked Questions about these SEO plugins to avoid any misconceptions.
Will Using an SEO Plugin Make Me Rank 1st on Google?
Not on it’s own, but it will help.
SEO is admittedly a complicated process with a lot of different factors to take into account. As good as these plugins are they still only take what you input.
You’re definitely better with them, but do not expect to magically rank first on Google with common and popular keywords even with these plugins installed.
SEO takes into consideration a lot of things including and most especially content, images, bounce rates, page quality, and other factors that these plugins, even the best of them, cannot set for you.
The best tip that we can give to improve SEO? WORK IT. It’s not something that you can do overnight and certainly not with a single plugin. Put the work in learning it, understanding what each item means, and optimizing it with your specific niche or demographic.
Why After I Installed an SEO Plugin Am I Finding That My Rank Hasn’t Improved?
As mentioned above, these plugins are definitely useful, but only take what you input.
They do their best in helping you, some automatically, but there isn’t a perfect system for this. Try testing and checking all the settings that you set. If you think it’s the plugin that has the bug, reach out to the developer. If that doesn’t work, check the forums. If all else fails, try another plugin.
Those are rare occasions though, most of the time, the reason they’re not working is they aren’t set up correctly.
I Need Schema for My Site, Should I Use a Secondary Plugin for That?
Schema is very important to have for your WordPress site. It provides the right context to search engines whenever they are searching your site and it will pair your site or content to the right search keywords.
Before going and installing a secondary plugin, try double-checking the existing ones that you have for these settings. Or you could test it using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
The main thing is that while these existing SEO plugins do a great job in making an initial Schema for your site, most of the time, it’s either not enough or not suited for the type of site that you have.
One such plugin that we recommend is the Schema Pro plugin by us, Brainstorm Force. It respects and gracefully provides schema markup for those content/posts that Yoast SEO does not cover. At the same time, you’re assured that they won’t overlap in function because it’s just built like it.
Generally, it depends on how your site is set up and what your plans are for your site, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s better to check first, and make sure everything is covered. As far as SEO is concerned, it’s best to maximize the potentials and make sure we have the right schema set up.
SEO is everything. For novel sites and beginner bloggers on the internet, it’s your best tool to get those visitors and followers that you’ve always wanted. But it’s a tricky game with a lot of rules and regulations.
WordPress on its own is SEO friendly out-of-the-box, but to amp up your game, you might still want to consider using SEO plugins to help you out.
And there are a lot out there, so be sure to choose the one you need and only the one. Since most of these plugins will not work properly if in conflict with each other.
What other SEO plugins are you aware of that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below.
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