Five Free WordPress Plugins for Better SEO

WordPress is a simple and flexible publishing environment used to create blogs, sites and even simple ecommerce sites. One of the reasons it’s so popular is the prevalence of plug-ins that make customizing its functionality a snap. These are my five favorite free plug-ins for SEO on WordPress.

WordPress SEO: The core of the plugin features a page analyzer that checks whether you’ve written a meta description, included images and alternative attributes, and whether your SEO elements use your targeted keyword phrase. You can also customize your title tag and meta data in the plugin and preview the snippet that Google will generate for that page in its search results. If this plugin isn’t to your liking, All in One SEO is another very popular multi-function SEO plugin with similar features. Give them both a try and see which you prefer.

Simple 301 Redirects: If you need to end-of-life a page, this plugin lets you define a destination page to 301 redirect the old page. The 301 redirect tells search engines to pass the link authority from the old page to the new destination and also prompts the engine to deindex the old URL. You can delete pages without using a plugin, but the URL will return a 404 error that wastes the valuable link authority the page has acquired.

Google XML Sitemaps: XML sitemaps roll out the red carpet for search engines, like a polite request to crawl and index certain pages. This plugin automates creation and maintenance of XML sitemaps so you don’t have to think about them.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin: Linking between posts or pages that have related content facilitates strengthens the flow of link juice through the site and reinforces keyword themes. The YARP plugin automatically generates a list of up to five related posts and links to them at the bottom of the page. It’s good for SEO and usability both.

Sharebar: Make it easy for visitors to share your pages with this customizable tool. While more social than search related, Sharebar can help get your pages in front of more eyeballs, which in turn may lead to links from blogs or other sites that benefit SEO.

Jill Kocher is a seasoned SEO professional and all-around technogeek. By day, she manages Resource Interactive’s SEO practice here in Chicago and serves as contributing editor at Practical eCommerce. By night, Jill landscapes her home in the far northern suburbs of Chicagoland while enjoying a glass of wine and thinking about SEO some more. Family discussion centers primarily around SEO, analytics, social media, mobile apps, android, iOS, how-was-your-day and cats.

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