What do you own that’s so important to you that it has all the bells and whistles? Perhaps an iPhone with hard shell casing, Bose noise isolating earbuds, 3G anti-glare film set, and Photoshop mobile app. I wish I had that. My baby is my blog. WordPress Blog accessories called plug-ins to make my blog the best it can be in search results, each addressing a killer function.
Most articles on this subject will list the top 10 plug-ins and why each one is helpful. I’m going to write this the other way around, starting with the need and then the solution. That way if you’re on a blog platform that does not offer plug-ins like Blogger or Movable Type, you’ll still get monster value from this section.
Top 10 WordPress SEO Plugin
Here we go…
1. Title and Description to Control WordPress Posts
The most important place for keywords is the page (or post) title. Title keywords not only help a page to rank, but help the user click the page as a search result. Similarly, a page’s meta description shows in its search result and if written well can help the user to click. Control the title and description text for each page and you’ve given yourself the best chance of traffic from search. One of the most well known WordPress plug-ins, the All in One SEO Pack, has fields for title and description in the edit mode of any page or post. That way you control the fate of your search result and not something pre-set by whoever developed your blog theme.
2. Let Google Find All Your Pages – wordpress seo plugin
To rank a page, Google has to know about the page and consider it relevant. As blog posts get older, they become more difficult for Google to find and consider important. Wouldn’t it be great if Google just had a list of all your pages and knew immediately when you created a new one? That’s the benefit of creating a sitemap (list of pages) and submitting it via Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools. It takes less than a minute to build a sitemap with the Google XML sitemaps plugin, which notifies search engines each time it changes. That handles the problem of getting found.
Page relevance is managed by links. The more links to a page, the more important it is. Breadcrumbs offer the simplest way to create links to all pages from the main navigation. For example, the top of your blog post may have a breadcrumb that looks like this Home >> Weddings >> Beach Wedding Posts >> Cliffs Resort Wedding Post. It’s called breadcrumbs because each page has a link trail to all of the pages above it in the site’s architecture, allowing the user to navigate back to the main page if needed. Yoast Breadcrumbs can automatically create these links.
Another great way to link is with pagination. For example a homepage might have some links at the bottom guiding users to older posts with << Previous Page | 1 | 2 | 3 | Next Page >>. By making the older pages ALL accessbile right from the homepage, search engines consider them important. I use WordPress SEO Pager plugin to achieve automatic paging.
3. Keep Users on Your Site
Once a searcher clicks on your link in Google, you have the difficult job of keeping them on your site and hiring you. Conversion of those searchers to new business becomes a critical part in the success of an SEO campaign. WP Greet Box looks at where the user came from and displays a dynamic message. For example if the user came from search you can have a message popup within the post that says “Glad you found me in Google. Make sure to visit my pricing page to get started.”
At the end of the post it’s great to follow up with related material to keep a user interested in your information or products. LinkWithin automatically calculates which posts are similar to the current one and shows links to them at the end of the post with a thumbnail as well. For a non-thumbnail version try Yet Another Related Posts Plugin. Not only does it offer great information to your audience, but the linking helps Google understand your content more efficiently.
4. Engage Users Via Comments
Allowing comments on a blog post is an essential component of blogging by encouraging engagement. WordPress by default adds a nofollow tag to the link s created by your commenters to prevent people that comment just for SEO purposes. Following those links with the DoFollow will attract a lot more comments, but you may need Akismet to block the spam. The other thing I don’t like about comments is that they dilute the carefully created keyword density from my blog post. I mean that I spent good time using the right words in my blog post in order to rank well, and comments add to the overall post word count, and none of those words are quality ranking words. I just want you to be aware of it, even though I would never turn off comments.
If you want to take comments to the next level of engagement I can recommend Disqus threaded comment system that pulls from multiple sources (like social sites). Yoast has a Subscribe to Comments Plugin to keep users informed when new comments are made, and a Comment Redirect Plugin that can give a special message to a new commenter. I don’t see incredible application here for photographers, but I thought I would throw them in anyway.
5. Keyword and Link Scores – wordpress seo plugin
The right use of keywords in a post can make or break the chances of ranking well. I like to check my keyword usage to insure that Google interprets my post the same way I intended to write it. The paid Scribe SEO tool connects with WordPress to assess the SEO effectiveness of a blog post.
By default, search engines will index every page of your site, and give search credit to every page you link to. Normally you would need to add a noindex tag to the pages you don’t want to be found, and it is fairly technical to do it. Similarly a rel=nofollow tag can be added to links so that Google does not give credit to those links. I don’t let my archives, search, or login pages get searched by Google which offers duplicate versions of my content and can dilute the chances of ranking. I also don’t follow links to tag pages, categories, and login pages. Robots Meta allows even the technical novice to setup this advanced SEO practice simply by checking boxes.
6. WordPress Image Optimization Plugins
A typical webpage has only a couple images and tell Google a lot about a webpage. Google doesn’t have eyes (not yet anyway) so it reads an image by looking at the alternate text in the image code. Alt text like this “White frosted wedding cake for Zach and Amber at their Cliffs Resort wedding” describes the image and the post with great detail. Thus alt text keywords are weighted more heavily when ranking an image or page. SEO Friendly Images auto generates the alt text for you based on the image filename. If your filenames use quality keywords, this can be a shortcut to tagging all old images. To be honest I would rather take the time to hand select and tag images from my most important posts.
I’ve heard Faster Image Insert can be a great way to speed up the posting of images. Less time creating means more time optimizing.
The best URL goes against the default WordPress structure and uses a custom permalink structure with /%category%/%postname%/. The downside – changing a permalink structure updates all your URLs and anyone linking to you gets broken pages. A technical workaround is to add 301 redirects in an .htaccess file, but I’ve heard Permalink Redirect Plugin automatically redirects the old URLs to the new URLs and also preserves their page rank.
8. Tracking SEO – WordPress SEO Plugin
Google Analytics offers industry-standard website statistics straight from Google about how much traffic a website receives, down to the exact keyword. It also can tell a site owner where traffic is coming from. For example, you would know that “Who is the best Sacramento photographer” sent you 5 visits last month from search and facebook.com sent you 100 visits. After creating a Google Analytic account simply plug your account ID into the Google Analytics for WordPress plug-in so it can start measuring your blog.
9. WordPress Security Plugin
Nothing can get you bumped from search results faster than site downtime or getting hacked. Keeping your WordPress install up to date helps prevent spammers from taking over your blog. I’ve heard that WordPress Automatic Upgrade Plugin gives you the latest version without the effort, and Pingdom has a paid service that notifies you when your site is down.
10. Social Sharing WordPress Plugins – wordpress seo plugin
It’s always fun to see your post Liked 20 times, or re-tweeted a bunch. Share icons distribute links to your post through social networks and increase a site’s chance of being seen. The more times you’re seen, the increased chance of being visited or even linked to by people who like what they see. There are several options for getting social and share icons at the bottom of each post. My favorites are Sociable,FaceBook Like Button Plugin for WordPress and TweetMeme Button.