Figuring out how to optimize your website for search engines can be a daunting task for startups.
New business owners need to wear multiple hats and juggle many tasks – and using digital marketing to grow your business is a big one.
One critical marketing activity for any new startup is to apply SEO tactics to their website. By following SEO best practices, you make your business more visible online and drive traffic to your website without shelling out on paid advertising.
Google uses a long list of factors when it ranks websites for specific keywords. And to boost your chances of ranking for your desired keyword, you need to:
- Make high-quality content
- Increase your website’s domain authority
- Boost your site speed
- Work on your click-through rate and more
And these are just a few of the long list of things you need to do to implement SEO.
But one simple and effective step that you can take is to use a good SEO plugin or tool.
At WPBeginner, we rely on SEO plugins to help us do the following:
- Add meta titles and descriptions to web pages, single post pages, and archive content
- Set up XML site maps for our website
- Apply Open Graph metadata to control what images appear on search engines, social media posts, and other places
- Easily set up 301 redirects for deleted pages and posts so that those pages’ ranking power passes to the new web pages or URLs
- Optimize for eCommerce platforms
- Add breadcrumb navigation
Choosing a good SEO plugin makes it easy for you to structure your content and site information. This helps search engines find it easier to know what your business is about. And they will rank your website and show it for the right searches.
Here’s my list of the top SEO plugins and tools you can use to optimize your website and boost your search rankings.
If you had to pick one SEO plugin for your website, then AIOSEO is your best option.
It has an easy smart setup wizard that will make setting suggestions based on your unique profile.
It’s great for small businesses that cater to a specific location since it has Local SEO features and will help businesses get noticed in their area of operation.
Other features like XML sitemap creation, SEO audit checklists, WooCommerce SEO features make it a real ‘all in one’ plugin that any business can use.
A major strength of this tool is that integrates with a large number of platforms and applications. Connect to social media, Google Search Console, and other top plugins for membership portals, landing page plugins, and more.
You don’t need to be an SEO expert or know any jargon to work with the tool since its user interface is made for everyone to use.
And when it comes to value for money and customer support, you’ll be hard put to find a better option. The premium version of this plugin will let you add it to a large number of websites and you’ll have top-notch support for any bumps along the way – if any.
2. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is another powerful plugin that will help you optimize your WordPress site for search engines.
It comes with a content analysis tool that helps you optimize every single post or page on your website.
And it helps you add SEO titles and descriptions to your content to improve your likelihood of ranking for a specific keyword.
You can make XML sitemaps, add Open Graphs metadata, breadcrumb navigation, and more.
When you create your posts, you’ll get a Yoast SEO meta box with a snippet preview. This lets you know what your website will look like when it appears in your search result.
Yoast SEO is a comprehensive plugin with multiple features. Let’s check out a few more awesome plugins that you could consider using for your website.
3. Rank Math
Like AIOSEO and Yoast, Rank Math is another top WordPress plugin for SEO. It offers suggestions to optimize your website based on current best practices.
Rank Math has an easy setup feature that takes you through a step-by-step installation process.
Its user-friendly interface will show you just what you need when you need it so that you’re not overwhelmed with information.
Rank Math lets you connect to your Google Search Console account and your Analytics dashboard, giving you access to important information easily.
You can control which pages to index and easily use their structured data tool to control how your website appears in search results.
Its setup wizard will make it easy for you to add meta titles, descriptions, and Open Graph metadata. Like the previous plugins, you’ll be able to add an XML site map and carry out multiple SEO tasks.
This plugin’s functionality is developed to boost the quality of your content. SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant will give you a clear picture of how good your individual posts and articles are in relation to readability, your keywords, and other factors.
You can make improvements to your content as you write. The plugin will give you feedback on the tone of voice you’re using and you’ll get suggestions for related keywords that you can add to reach more people.
SEMrush is a major SEO platform that you should consider subscribing to if you want to get reports on how well your website is performing.
You can also use the platform to collect information on things like keyword difficulty, your competition, and to find content gaps that you can fill.
You need to have a SEMrush account to create an SEO template with its WordPress plugin and to access more functionalities. It’s worth it since you’ll get great recommendations based on SEMrush’s powerful data collection and analysis features.
Ahrefs is a well-known SEO platform that’s a powerful alternative to SEMrush. Both the platforms have a number of similar features and tools.
However, Ahrefs is especially strong when it comes to backlink analysis. You can not only track backlinks leading to your own site but can also learn which websites are linking to your competitor’s content.
With this knowledge, you can reach out to these websites and develop partnerships and get backlinks.
Ahref’s SEO plugin is a ‘lightweight’ SEO tool that helps you perform content audits and improve your content quality.
Their plugin has features that are similar to the other plugins mentioned here. But the unique offering that they have is their Backlink Index feature which consists of freshly updated live backlinks.
If you want to focus your SEO strategy around backlinks, then this is a good plugin for you.
So far, the tools we’ve looked at have had comprehensive features and functionalities.
It’s also helpful to use plugins that focus on a single function to complement your existing tools or to fill in any features that aren’t there.
Breadcrumbs are navigational aids that tell people where they are on your website. Your users can use breadcrumb navigation to explore different topics and products under specific categories.
They also tell search engines how your website is structured and indicate that it’s user-friendly and a good site to show to people.
Adding breadcrumbs navigation to your website will add a positive SEO signal and improving your chances of ranking higher.
My recommendation is to use Breadcrumb NavXT. It’s a plugin that does one thing and does it well – enables you to easily create highly customizable breadcrumb navigation for your site.
The advantage that this plugin has over even comprehensive plugins like Yoast SEO is that it allows you to specify the maximum title length in your breadcrumbs. It has more options for breadcrumb navigation than any other plugin in the same space.
7. WP Rocket
The speed at which your site loads and runs plays a major role in search rankings. If your page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, people will leave in frustration and probably never return.
So, part of your SEO strategy should be to monitor your website’s speed and performance regularly.
To improve your website’s speed, you need to enable caching. What happens is that copies of your web content are stored in a cache. So that when people return to your site, your content loads faster and creates a good user experience.
If you’re looking for a reliable WordPress caching plugin, then WP Rocket is a great choice.
I recommend it because you don’t need to have any technical knowledge to use it. It’s made to be user-friendly and also has a great support team behind it.
When choosing the right plugin for your website, you need to consider your goals and your expertise in SEO.
If you want to give your business the best chance of success early on, work with a comprehensive plugin like AIOSEO.
However, make sure that you only use one plugin with multiple features at a time. Trying to work with more than one can lead to plugin conflict and cause problems on your website. What’s more, you won’t get any added benefits from working with plugins with so many overlapping features.
A strong SEO strategy includes several activities like creating mobile-responsive websites, social media marketing, good UX/UI, and more.
By choosing a good SEO tool, you can automate and carry out several critical SEO steps and boost your site’s rankings fast.