There are over 49 pages of WordPress SEO plugins.
That's nearly a thousand SEO plugins to choose from.
But you don't need that many to make your website “SEO friendly.
” So today, I'm going to show you how to buildthe perfect SEO setup on WordPress with just six free WordPress plugins.
[music] What's up SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool thathelps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche.
Now, as I'm sure you know, there are numerouscategories in SEO like on-page, technical and off-page SEO.
And WordPress plugins can help a ton to masteron-page SEO tasks like titles, meta tags, and other content-optimization-related things.
Now, plugins are also amazing for technical SEOtasks, like page speed optimization, redirects, canonicals, and hreflang to name a few.
So rather than listing off 101 plugins, I'mgoing to show you only the cream of the crop and the exact setup you can use to make Google and your visitors happy.
Let's get to it.
The first SEO plugin I recommend is Rank Math.
You might be more familiar with household names like Yoast SEO and All-in-one SEO pack.
These are two great options, but in my opinion, a newer plugin called Rank Math beats both of them hands down.
Rank Math is an all-in-one SEO plugin thatcan help you with a ton of on-page and technical SEO tasks.
Now, something I love about this plugin is that they've basically integrated a lot of featuresfrom smaller one-trick plugins.
Let's go through some of the features thatyou'll use in your day-to-day SEO tasks.
So I'm editing a post right now which is clearlytargeting the keyword “SEO tips” you can tell by the title and URL.
If we scroll down below the post, you'll seea preview of what the page will look like in Google's SERPs.
You can click on either the title or descriptionand easily edit your own custom text in there.
Now, an awesome feature I like is that youcan add Rich Snippets super-easily.
So let's say this post was a review I had written.
I'll change the Rich Snippet type to Review, add a score, and save it as a draft.
You'll then be able to see your updated SERP preview.
Some features like these are awesome for people who don't want to deal with structured data like this.
Another feature in the editor is that you have the option to add the rel=”nofollow” tag without adding additional plugins or manuallyentering it yourself in the HTML editor.
This is a great way to quickly add nofollow tagsto affiliate links or others you don't fully trust.
Now, from a sitewide perspective, Rank Math'splugin will do a few common tasks like automatically generating sitemaps, automaticallyadding the target=”blank” attribute to your links so they actually open in a new window, and they also have a feature for 404 monitoring.
This is a cool feature because if a lot ofpeople are hitting a dead page, it would be a good sign to redirect that page to a relevantone rather than leaving them at a dead end.
There are a ton of other features for controlling redirects, site architecture, and editing your robots.
Now, the next 3 plugins that I'm going to talkabout are all meant to improve page speed.
And the reason why I want to emphasize optimizingfor page speed is because a) it's a ranking factor; and b) it improves user experience.
So before we get to that, let's run a pagespeed test in Google PageSpeed Insights on this dummy website.
And it looks like our PageSpeed score isn'tso hot with low mobile and desktop scores.
I'll also run the same URL using Pingdom's Speed Test tool.
And it looks like our speed isn't great there consideringthis is pretty much a blank WordPress installation.
Let's optimize them with a few plugins andsee what kind of results we can get.
The first PageSpeed tool I'll be using isA3 Lazy Load.
This plugin adds lazy load to images and othermedia like videos.
This basically means that an image or mediaitem won't load until the user scrolls to it, allowing the page to load much faster.
It's literally plug-and-play as long as you don't have any other conflicting scripts or plugins.
Now, if I run a Page Speed Test on the same URL, the three things you'll notice is that the page sizehas shrunk a lot, the load time has gone down by around a full second, and the number of requestssent is just 1/7th of our initial test.
Alright, the next page speed tool is ShortPixel.
This tool compresses images, making large image filessmaller and the result is going to be faster load times.
To set it up, just sign up for a free account at ShortPixeland then enter your API key in the settings.
And with a free account, you'll get 100 freeimage compressions each month or you can pay for credits if you need more.
Here you'll have a few options for compression type.
Using Lossy will offer the best compression rate, while Lossless will give you the best quality photos.
Now, Glossy is somewhere in between, which is a nice balance in my opinion.
If you already have images uploaded on your site, just hover over media, and select bulk ShortPixel.
You can then optimize all images on your sitewith the click of a button.
Alright, so images should be handled withthese two plugins, so now we need to get into an important matter and that's caching.
The tool that I prefer to use for cachingis W3 Total Cache.
This tool is all about optimizing your website'sperformance.
Now, I won't bother going through the settingsI use for W3 Total Cache because I've already covered them in the second part of our WordPressSEO series, so feel free to check that out after.
Let's go and check our speed metrics.
So on PageSpeed insights, it looks like we have botha near perfect mobile score and desktop score, which is a huge improvement from the default setup.
And as for the actual Page Speed Test, itlooks like we're under a second now.
Not too shabby for a few minutes of work.
Now, it's important to note that I'm usingthe default theme here and I don't have external scripts installed like Google Analytics.
So these scores don't account for additional scripts.
But I have used this exact same setup with a fewcustom modifications on fully functional sites.
And yes, I was able to achieve similar subone-second load times.
Alright, so we got our all-in-one tool runningand our pagespeed is lightning fast.
Let's talk about a couple user experience tools.
A super lightweight and easy-to-use pluginis Easy Table of Contents.
This plugin allows you to create a table ofcontents for each post or page in just a few clicks.
Once you've installed the plugin, go to your post and scroll down to the Table of contents section.
Just hit the “Insert table of contents” checkboxand publish or update your post.
It'll then automatically include a table ofcontents based on your heading tags.
Now, if you have a super-long post like thiswith a bunch of headings and subheadings, you might want to clean this up a bit.
So this time, I'll set it to only create atable of contents based on H2 tags.
And I'll update the page.
And as you can see, it looks much cleanerand more user friendly for visitors to navigate around the page.
Now, since a table of contents makes long pageslook less daunting, it can help improve things like time on page, bounce rate, and dwell time.
Plus, it can help you win jump links in theSERP, which may help increase your CTR.
Now plugins are great because it allows youto do complex things without any coding.
In fact, we're creating our own free WordPressSEO plugin, which I'm super-excited about.
So if you want to be updated when it's released, sign up at ahrefs.
com/wordpress-seo-plugin, and just replace the spaces with dashes.
Now, as I mentioned before, WordPress SEO pluginsare great for on-page and technical things, not off-page SEO tasks like link building.
Backlinks are almost a necessity to rank forany competitive keywords.
Also, effective on-page SEO requires a solidfoundation in keyword research.
So I've linked up some tutorials and playlistsfor you on how you can up your link building and keyword research games, so I highly recommendwatching those now.
Now, if you found this tutorial to be helpful, make sure to hit the thumbs up button.
And if you have any questions, leave one in thecomments below.
I'll see you in the next tutorial.