By now you’re probably aware of the importance of a great host for your WordPress website. It’s an efficient way to ensure that your site loads quickly and that you deliver a proper user experience.
However, that’s not all it takes to get at the top of search engines. There are numerous other factors that you should consider, and if you’re not monitoring your website’s performance adequately, it’s going to be very difficult to increase your organic traffic and improve your SERP ratings. Things like image size, focus keyword, your website’s readability, internal links, and so on can have a damaging effect on your SEO strategy if you’re not closely paying attention to how they influence your site.
It’s an issue a lot of our clients have found, and we’ve found a good solution. Well, a few, to be exact. No, we’re not talking about some SEO secret that will get you at the top of Google search instantaneously. If you’ve been reading our blog, then you know that we don’t believe in quick fixes or magic tricks. However, we have some aces down our sleeves when it comes to the best tools and strategies.
So here are a few WordPress SEO plugins we at Australian Internet Advertising swear by. We’ve tested them out with several of our clients and found that they are a valuable SEO tool that can help your website in this highly competitive market.
What’s a Plugin?
Let’s start with the basics first. A plugin is a piece of software that has different functions you can add to your WordPress website. They can either improve the features your site already has or allow you to install new ones.
Plugins make it easier for you to play with your website without having to learn how to code. You can browse through the WordPress plugin directory and choose the ones that fit your needs best Some are free, others require a small fee or membership for licensing, but the main point here is this: if you want to add something to your website, there’s probably a plugin for that.
And the right plugin can do wonders for your website’s SEO too.
How Can a Plugin Affect Your SEO?
Here’s the thing: Not all plugins affect your website’s SEO. The ones that do are called cache plugins, and their primary role is to improve your page load time. As you’ve probably learned by now, a better performing website usually translates into a spike in organic traffic.
Here’s how it works: every time users lands on your website, they tend to load the pages dynamically and explore your content. The browser does this automatically, but sometimes it can take a while if the pages have various elements that need to load.
A cache plugin loads your page once and then saves. So, every time a user returns to your website, they are redirected to a static version of your content, which is being served from the cache. That means a lower loading time, and less strain on your server. The user is happy, you’re happy, and everyone wins, because speed is critical in this day and age. Most users won’t visit a website again if it takes too long to load.
We will not get into the nitty-gritty of it, but what you need to remember is that cache plugins will help you improve your WordPress website’s speed. The question you may ask yourself now is what to choose. While you should consider your SEO needs before making any decision, here are the plugins that we found to be most effective when put to the test. Moreover, some of these plugins also offer information on users’ behavior that you can use to advance your goals.
Here are our top three choices for WordPress websites.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
When it comes to SEO plugins, Yoast may very well be the most popular one currently available. It provides a wide variety of features that can give your site’s SEO a boost.
Here’s a quick rundown of what it can do:
- Add SEO title descriptions and meta descriptions for all posts and pages from your website;
- Write custom titles for your site, category, and tag pages;
- Add Open Graph meta data, Twitter Cards, and XML Sitemaps.
Yoast SEO is a free plugin, but if you want access to increased functionality, then you could consider purchasing the premium version. Even so, it’s the best option for page titles and descriptions optimization, cleaning up your code, improving your speed, managing URLs, and so on. Not to mention, you can integrate most major social networks on your platform so that you won’t need a separate tool for this task alone.
Perhaps two of the things that make WordPress SEO by Yoast on of the best plugins available are the XML sitemap generation and the URL redirect.
The XML sitemap allows Google to discover the pages on your website quickly by generating updates automatically every time a new post and page is added to your blog. That way, you can keep Google in the loop with every change that happens on your website.
The URL direct is an excellent feature if you have broken links or old pages that must redirect to new ones. It acts like a broken link checker that integrates with Google Search Console. The downside is that you can benefit from this feature only if you subscribe to the premium version. It can be an amazing asset if you have a big website that needs a lot of maintenance. Small platforms, on the other side, can do without it since it’s not very difficult for them to keep track of all their website’s pages.
Hummingbird by WPMU DEV is a fantastic product, and it’s all due to its detailed performance reports and intuitive nature. It’s both sophisticated and easy to use, even if you’re a beginner.
Some key features:
- Detailed performance reports;
- It has the option of setting the longevity of your cached files in your visitor’s browser;
- Advanced minification features;
- It can work together with other WordPress caching solution.
If you are new to the world of WordPress plugin, then Hummingbird Pro is an excellent SEO tool to get started with and learn. Its primary selling point is that it has a rather simple setup process and a well-designed dashboard. And, that’s huge since most small business owners shy away from “fancy plugins’” specifically because they find them hard to understand. With Hummingbird Pro, you don’t have to worry about that.
Moreover, all WPMU DEV products are accessible with a single membership fee, so you can pay once and benefit from their vast array of plugins.
Another plugin we’ve found to help boost the SEO efforts of various WordPress websites is WP Statistics. It can help you learn more about your visitors, such as the browser they are using, recent searches, and what keywords they use when looking for the things that interest them.
One of the things that make it stand out is that it includes email updates on its tracking data. You can also add a widget to your sidebar and let your users know how many people are visiting your site. That can add to your business’ credibility if you routinely score high traffic.
But we’ve found this to be WP statistics’ main selling point: it has a large and responsive community built around it. Its support forum is filled with thousands of threads where you can find answers to almost any question.
Oh, there’s one more thing: it’s free. So if you are on a tight budget or you just want to explore before deciding on a plugin, then WP Statistics is a great pick. Of course, there is also a premium option, but truth be told, the free version holds up on its own too.
So, Which One Should You Pick?
It’s a hard question to answer, mainly because there is no right one, per se. All three plugins are effective and roughly offer the same benefits. It’s possible you’d prefer the particularities of one over the other.
From what we’ve gathered from our experience, it’s all about personal preference. Some of our clients prefer Hummingbird Pro for its dashboard, which they consider to be more intuitive. Others feel the WP Statistics is better at tracking data than other WordPress plugins, so it’s a two-in-one solution.
But we’re confident in recommending any of the three plugins here.
As a business owner in this day and age, you need any advantage you can get your hands on to get ahead. A cache plugin is just a simple solution to make sure visitors won’t have any problems loading your website. It is in your best interest to install one as soon as you can.
Whether it’s Yoast SEO, Hummingbird Pro, WP Statistics, or any other similar plugins is beside the point. Shop around and choose something you are comfortable with – just know that in this current market, a slow website is not a luxury you can afford.
If you have any other inquiries about cache plugins or your websites SEO, we’d be happy to help. Contact Australian Internet Advertising today.