All bloggers long for more traffic, but as we all know generating traffic to any site, blog or otherwise, is a challenge.
Most people tend to focus on “offsite” campaigns be it link building, media advertising or paid click sources but have you ever considered there could well be more traffic to be had just by making a few simple changes to the “onsite” elements of your blog? That is what we’re going to look at today.
Below I’ve outlined what I consider to be the top 10 SEO plugins available for Wordpress. All of which provide a variety of features and functions but all have one very important thing in common. They’re designed to help you build traffic to your site.
No tricks, no borderline techniques, just simple plugins assisting you in the best practices surrounding on site SEO. So let’s take a look.
As a good all rounder, you won’t go far wrong with Yoast. Yoast knows that it’s the content which can make or break any blog and that rings true for your SEO efforts also. As a result they’ve built in a plethora of content-related features that put simply, can help you create better content.
Once Yoast is activated, edit any post and you will see a score determining how good your content is from an SEO standpoint. It analyzes sentence length, keywords, repetitive phrases and grammar. It will also check for image content, alt tags and assist in the creation and management of your page titles and meta info.
Taking your content out of the equation, all in one is simply the best all rounder out there. You can use it to quickly manage your meta tags and page titles out of the box and you can also set pages to no cache. This is handy when your blog has lots of duplicate content such as categories and archive listings.
It also comes with advanced canonical link management, XML site support and Google AMP support (accelerated mobile pages). You can fine tune absolutely every element of your on site SEO setup and when combined with the likes of Yoast you are truly giving your blog the best chance of success.
Google loves a fast website. It also loves sending your visitors and them visitors sticking around – not simply hitting the back button. A fast loading blog addresses both of these requirements.
As we all know, Wordpress can become a bit bulky, especially if you’re loading an advanced theme with lots of JS/CSS calls or running a ton of plugins across the board. It’s inevitable that this will slow your site down but there are ways to address it.
As the name suggests, W3 Total Cache works by caching your content so that common elements are not loaded on each page view. It makes use of traditional user caching and combines techniques such as Minifying and Gzip compression to ensure your visitor has an enjoyable (and speedy) experience.
By now I’m sure you’ve all seen the star ratings in certain Google search listings or additional URLs / information appearing next to a given result. These are called rich snippets and are delivered via numerous schemas.
This plugin, in short allows you to generate these snippets automatically for your content at hand. Having such snippets can increase your CTR (click through rate) massively and the more people who click your search result over the other sites around your listing, the higher you’ll rank.
SEOPressors is one of the more advanced SEO plugins on the market as it is designed for people who want to do more than just a basic run through of optimisation. It features highly detailed analytical reports which taken into account not only your on page/content factors but all of your off site elements also.
It has some fantastic features, one of which is keyword suggestion where it will inform you of different, alternative page titles to use or keywords to combine/place in your current content.
This little plugin has two key features. The first is that is features something called “Lazy Load” which basically defers the loading of images until the user wants to see it i.e. when they scroll down the page. The second, and most important is the optimisation of your image alt tags. A task it performs automatically.
In short, when your images are placed in your content it will analyze your content and place/suggest words to use an an alt tag. It also contains functions for managing title attributes across the links throughout your posts.
Broken links, aside from SEO, are just no good for your readers. It looks unprofessional and can make it seem as if you don’t care about your blog.
As you’ve probably guessed, this plugin cycles through your posts, pages and theme files and identifies any local links. By local I mean links to other pages of your blog. If any of those links point to a page which no longer exists (or never existed) then it will report on it. You can then address the issue as you see fit.
Google can only send you traffic once it has ranked your page. And it can only rank your page once it has found it. Google XML Sitemaps assists with this. When you activate the plugin, with some minimal setup and config the script will generate a Google sitemap file containing the address of every page on your blog. This is then submitted to Google which in turn will crawl (and rank) the pages listed.
Google will obviously crawl your blog without this plugin (unless you specify otherwise) but it can be slow. Googlebot (the crawler) works at its own pace and if you’re adding lots of content on going there is a risk of it becoming buried deep in your blog and the crawler not reaching it. The Google XML Sitemaps plugin seeks to alleviate this potential issue.
I can’t stress enough how important the likes of GTMetrix is when addressing page speed issues. It’s the best service out there for speed testing, identifying and assisting in resolving any potential issues that arise.
The plugin version literally does all that but right there on your blog. So you can quickly spot and address issues in place currently or as they appear with each post you add as opposed to posting your URL periodically to the regular service.
A nice simple plugin which I swear by. The All 404 Redirect to homepage, as the name suggests literally does one thing and one thing only. It redirects (via 301 or 302) any page that is found to be 404 (not found).
Not only does this stop your readers coming across old pages and posts which you’ve since removed but any links you’d generated to those pages instead of being worthless, the weight will now be transferred to the homepage of your site. Simple.
Putting It Together
The good thing about these plugins is that you don’t need to use one or the other. In truth you can actually use all 10 of the plugins listed above in conjuction with each other as each one takes care of a different element with regards to your onsite SEO.
As to how effective it will be will primarily depend on where you’re at currently. If you haven’t addressed anything SEO-wise, applying the above will generate significantly more gains than if you were simply missing a sitemap or mishandling your redirects for example. It’s all relative.
One thing I would say is if you are going to start installing plugin after plugin, make sure you’re combining them with a reliable caching plugin. I wrote a post on wordpress caching plugins previously. The last thing you want to be doing is improving your onsite SEO but sacrificing your page load times as a result.
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