Every time I build a new site or work with a client on theirs, I make sure the necessary plugins are installed.
Don’t worry if your site is already created. You can download these anytime!
All but one of these top 5 SEO plugins for WordPress are completely free.
Let’s dig in—
How SEO works
Before we dive in to these top 5 SEO plugins for WordPress, you should understand what SEO is and how it works. These plugins won’t help if you don’t know how to use them.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of bringing a website to the front page of Google or other search engines.
Google rewards websites that obey their EAT principles and penalizes sites that don’t.
Sites that get to the front page of google are much more likely to bring more sales for their business than a site that completely focuses on advertisements.
Not only is SEO more cost-effective than advertisements in the long run, but it continues to bring traffic to your site until somebody else knocks you off your rankings.
Any site that is trying to outrank you will most likely implement most of these top 5 SEO plugins for WordPress.
Getting a site to rank on the front page of google can be quite a challenge and require a good amount of elbow grease.
The plugins we will discuss are designed to help improve page speed and make optimizing the site easier (you’ll learn why page speed and optimization are important later).
This article will discuss the top 5 SEO plugins for WordPress.
You don’t need all 5 of the plugins as some provide the same value, but you will definitely need some sort of combination of the following plugins listed.
#5) WP Fastest Cache
Were you aware that almost 50% of users leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load? Users simply do not trust sites with slow page speeds.
WP fastest Cache helps your site reach the front page of google because it helps improve page speed, making your site more user friendly and interactive.
This allows you to also add more content to your site since it can now take on a larger load without sacrificing load time.
WP fastest cache is extremely easy to use and will clear your websites cache every couple of hours.
It clears your cache as well as minifies CSS.
I download this plugin (or one like it, if I can’t use this one for some reason) on every single one of my websites to ensure the fastest possible page speed.
WP fastest cache has a premium version but the free version is usually just fine.
Smush is a great plugin that minimizes all of your photos size, making your page speed load much faster.
Large image sizes can make a major dent in your page speed slowing your site down drastically.
Image size is actually one of the most common reasons a sites page speed is lower than average.
Smush allows you to minimize up to 50 photos at a time, just wait about 10 min and tap continue on the backend of your site to continue to minimize another 50.
Smush is completely free and I download it on every single one of my websites.
10 out of 10. Would recommend.
BONUS: for Mac users, I also highly recommend ImageOptim. I’ve been using it daily for 10+ years.
#3) Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO helps users optimize their content by giving tips on each page on how to properly optimize the site content.
You’ll receive a score for a range of variables from meta tag descriptions to content readability.
If you’re missing anything on a site Yoast SEO will point it out and give you a chance to fix it.
They offer a paid version (wouldn’t recommend) as well as a free version and has been a trusted brand for over a decade.
Yoast SEO covers everything necessary to rank your products, pages, tags, and categories.
If you check their reviews there are a lot of happy customers that swear their lives to this tool.
For many years I used yoast SEO on every site until I ran into rankmath.
Although Yoast is the only plugin on this list of top 5 SEO plugins for WordPress that is not downloaded on all of my sites, I felt it would be disrespectful to not add it to the list.
Yoast is extremely effective, it’s just a point of personal interest to choose to download Yoast SEO or Rankmath.
Rankmath is an amazing tool that allows users to get an idea of how search engine friendly your content is.
It’s based on the same principles as Yoast SEO.
The main difference between rankmath and Yoast is rankmath’s free version offers everything yoast offers in their paid version.
Rankmath allows users to select a keyword for products, pages, post, tags, and categories.
Rankmath also has a paid version but I do not recommend it.
If you just stick to the basics you should be fine.
There is more than enough stuff for you to optimize on your site, no need to get lost in the sauce.
There is an entire checklist on what to do in order to make your content user friendly.
I highly recommend Rankmath and download it on all of my sites (sorry Yoast).
Ahrefs will actually tell you if you’re ranking or not for a keyword as well as give your page a SEO health score.
This is the #1 of the top 5 SEO plugins for WordPress because it is at the core of your sites health.
Ahrefs is a paid tool that helps with keyword research to bring the best possible results for your website.
There are tons of other ways to use Ahrefs, it is a essential paid tool that is necessary for every step of your SEO journey.
If you want to take SEO into your own hands, you should consider purchasing Ahrefs.
RankMath and Yoast give you direction on how to optimize a site, Ahrefs tracks how your site actually performs.
This is different from Yoast and RankMath because Ahrefs actually shows your pages positions on SERPs (search engine results page) as well as analytics to measure traffic and much more.
Here are some plugins that didn’t make the top 5 SEO plugins for WordPress but can still bring benefits to your site.
SEMrush is an equivalent to Ahrefs. It’s just as effective as Ahrefs when it comes to keyword research and and rank tracking, whether you choose either or is a matter of personal preference.
This is (as well as Ahrefs) a plugin with a monthly payment, how much you pay is completely dependent on the package you purchase.
Purchasing and using a keyword research tool can separate the amateurs from the professionals.
SEMrush has an entire academy on how to use their platform.
Breeze is a tool that helps clear your cache to improve page speed.
There are lots of plugins out there that do the exact same thing, go through their reviews to see what others have said about the plugin to ensure its right for you.
I download all plugins before getting started on designing a site to ensure nothing weird happens later down the line.
I stick with WP fastest cache because it has never done me any wrong and has the best reviews.
Tiny PNG minifies your images to help increase page speed.
Tiny PNG is a good tool but it just wasn’t bringing the results I was looking for.
I highly prefer smush, it is much more effective and reliable.
With tiny PNG you would minify an image and the results were always different.
Tiny PNG gives users a percentage of how much of the image was minified, this percentage will range anywhere from 1-100% making every image compression a gamble.
Smush is quick and convenient and the reason is made the top 5 SEO plugins for WordPress.
Ok, now what?
We were able to go over the top 5 SEO plugins for WordPress as well as some honorable mentions of others that did not make the list.
There are lost of variables to ranking a website on the front page of search engines, these plugins are here to help you every step of the way.
You can benefit from this article whether its page speed optimization, keyword research and every other aspect of website optimization.
Feel free to check out my other articles on SEO.