WordPress isn’t just easy to install and use, it is also quite SEO friendly. While the SEO world is known for drastic and dramatic changes, some basic things are likely to remain the same in the foreseeable future. Google likes internal links to useful information on your site, they like social media, and they like a clearly laid out website that allows their bots to go through your web pages and map out all the information. Giving them what they want is the best first step to improving the search engine rankings of your site.
Since there are some basic things that every website should offer search engines, this means that certain WordPress plug-ins should always be used to help you create this ideal website that the search engines are looking for. Most people just install a well-known plugin like Yoast’s WordPress SEO or All In One SEO and expect their rankings to improve overnight. These plugins are undoubtedly good but they are not as comprehensive as you would expect. If you are looking to improve your rankings then you should optimize your site in every way possible.
In this article you will find 5 amazing plugins that can help you improve your search rankings:
RB Internal Links
Backlinks used to be the number one factor in getting a website ranked. While this led to massive abuse and “link farms,” there is one way where you can still give your individual posts a little more authority and help with ranking and that’s with internal links. Internal links are allowed to be a little bit more keyword based, and they can be used to help bring attention to your best blog posts or best website articles, even as you continue to add content. The internal linking makes your website stronger, and as your website gets stronger, those links are even more powerful.
The RB Internal Links plug-in has one huge feature that makes all the difference: it uses the actual post ID for internal linking instead of the actual post URL. Why is this important? This means that if at some point you want to change the URL of a page or an old post, you can do that without nullifying your internal linking. The plug-in takes care of changing the internal links affected on all pages automatically.
This really cuts down on the serious risk that comes with internal 404 pages and “page not found” errors. These not only don’t look good, and not only is any traffic to those pages wasted, but those types of errors are penalized by search engines.
Google XML Sitemaps
Google XML Sitemaps is a very simple plug-in but one that should be included on every website, no matter how big or small. Google XML sitemaps sets up an easy page that search engine spiders can crawl over that map out your entire site. Every page, every post, is organized in a way that is easy to collect information on. This is something that the search engines love, and that clear construction of a website has actually been mentioned by Google as one of the ranking factors for a website.
Even though the WP plug-in is called “Google XML Sitemaps,” this isn’t just for Google search engines. Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines look for sitemaps, so it’s a winning plug-in no matter which search engine you want to rank for.
Efficient Related Posts
This plug-in is more effective for larger sites, and specifically for websites that are blogs or publish frequently with a blog type setup. If you’re working on a simple 5 or 10 page site for a small business, this plug-in won’t be as useful. However for websites that have dozens or even hundreds of blog posts, this is a great plug-in that not only connects related pages, but also gives a little SEO boost because of that internal linking.
The efficient related posts plug-in basically scans your website based on tags, titles, and content and includes a list of 1-5 blog posts at the bottom of the page. This is a “If you liked this page, you may also be interested in…” type of setup that gives a lot more of your pages exposure.
WordPress Social Sharing Optimization
Social media is more important than ever when it comes to ranking in the search engines, especially Google. Not only does Google really like links from Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (among many others) but they will actually penalize sites for not having any social media footprint at all. This clearly shows just how important it is to make sure you give people the ability to brag you up on social media or connect with yours. This WordPress plug-in takes care of both!
While this might not be a direct SEO benefit, this plug-in allows you to easily add your website URL to your Google Analytics account. You’ll know how your SEO efforts are going because you’ll be able to see your traffic, where that traffic is coming from, and this gets tracked by URL. You can see all the stats for your website that Google sees and you can track how traffic has been affected over time.
While there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of factors that go into ranking a website, the truth is that there are a small handful that have 90%+ effect on total ranking. Having these five free WordPress plug-ins is a great way to make sure that your website has the right infrastructure and setup to thrive in the search engine rankings.
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