Essential SEO WordPress Plugins for 2017

With the New Year just around the corner, Google continues to update algorithm changes, to wrap up 2016. Google’s new AI, Rank Brain has set the standard for search queries, using machine learning to better understand and predict better results. It goes without saying that user experience on a website is first and foremost in modern SEO, Google search results are rewarding websites with great on-page metrics, like low bounce rates and longer periods of time spent on pages.

As SEO becomes more complex in 2017 and builds upon the already known 200+ ranking factors, this resource is for anyone who has already moved from Wix and is looking to improve their WordPress visibility hands on. These plugins are useful for website owners to understand and adjust for the many Google ranking factors.

We cover categories for architecture, sitemaps, performanceon-page optimization and more.

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SEO Sitemap Plugins for WordPress

How to I make a sitemap?

Connecting your website with Google requires providing a sitemap to increase the potential of being indexed by the search engine. These sitemap plugins turn a tedious task of manually building a sitemap file into an easy WYSIWYG process.

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Google XML Sitemaps

Google XML Sitemaps is one of the oldest plugins for generating xml sitemaps and has been around more than 9 years. Not only does the plugin generate a fully functional sitemap for your website, it will also ping Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com when new content is published so that search engines have the best chance at crawling and indexing it. A good alternative if you are not using the sitemap features of Yoast.

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XML Sitemap & Google News feeds

The XML Sitemap & Google News feeds plugin is has some extra features aimed at news results. This plugin features a dedicated Google News sitemap, which can be helpful for AMP results. This plugin also supports language sitemaps allowing content to be indexed in the search engines for multiple languages. This sitemap plugin also dynamically updates robots.txt with the locations of your sitemaps to help crawlers to locate them.

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SEO Performance Plugins for WordPress

One of the most important factors

Google cares about pagespeed and general UX. If a new user arrives to your website and its loading too slowly, typically they will bounce off the page and send a signal to Google that the quality of their search result is no good. Over time if page speed is not corrected and this pattern persists, it will impact your rankings negatively, and advance competitors that are paying attention to user metrics.

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W3 Total Cache

The W3 Total Cache plugin is a Lion Eater favourite and is useful for minifying and compressing HTML, CSS, Javascript to improve site performance. It saves cached versions of the website on server memory, or provides advanced features such as a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

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WP Optimize Speed By xTraffic

The WP Optimize Speed By xTraffic is a decent plugin to start boosting your site performance especially if you are using limited resources that cannot run WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. Try running your website through Google’s PageSpeed Insights first and compare the results. While not all websites can benefit from a plugin solution, this one is pretty helpful.

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Integrate Google Libraries

Integrating Google Libraries can provide a simple solution to improve page performance for WordPress. The plugin Use Google Libraries saves from loading common Javascript on WordPress servers, pulling directly from Google’s AJAX Libraries API. It is likely that users will already have these libraries cached in their system, and it reduces the strain on your server and load times, increasing parallelism and better caching.

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EWWW Image Optimizer

If you are not hosting with a company like Lion Eater your provider may limit you from installing caching plugins. Although this is not the ideal situation, we have discovered a plugin that can assist through the image optimization process. The EWWW Image Optimizer is perfect for any image heavy website. Using a lossless optimization technique, it optimizes both JPEGs and PNGs so that your pages will load faster and use less bandwidth.

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P3 Plugin Performance Profiler

The P3 plugin can useful for diagnosing bulky applications in your WordPress plugins directory. The plugin sends traffic and analyzes how the website loads to estimate which plugins may cause bottlenecks on your website. Useful for developers or logging information in a WYSIWYG friendly way that can be used to fix issues caused by WordPress plugins and improve page speed of your website.

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On-Page SEO Plugins for WordPress

Search under Control

One of the fastest ways to improve your SEO is properly optimizing existing content for search. The best way is to do this is by improving On-Page SEO, such as title tags, meta descriptions, website breadcrumbs, sitemaps and other integrations. These WordPress plugins will help you control all of these tasks and more.

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Yoast SEO

At Lion Eater we use the Yoast SEO plugin for essential SEO features and free functional websites. The plugin features an easy to use interface for SEO access to title tags and meta descriptions for each page, a website sitemap tool, social profile linking, rich snippet integration and Google and Bing Webmaster Tool integration. Yoast has pretty much been the standard for SEO.

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All in one SEO

The All in One SEO plugin has identical features as Yoast, however some people believe Yoast outperforms the All in One SEO plugin in 13 out of 16 categories. We prefer Yoast and the developer is a friendly guy.

Conclusion

For anyone looking to improve search presence in 2017 these plugins will provide more than enough resources to improve your organic visibility. For more information on how to apply the concepts in this article, get in touch with Lion Eater.