The Essential WordPress SEO Plugin Checklist
In order to ensure that your website is performing at its absolute best, you need to use the best WordPress SEO plugins available. This is true whether you are running a blog or managing a complex eCommerce store. Without the right optimizations in place, it will be difficult to generate enough organic traffic and sales.
There are hundreds of resources online for deciding which SEO plugins to use and why, so many in fact that it can become overwhelming if you are simply looking for straightforward answers. That’s why this guide dispenses with all of the fluff and will only touch on the exact plugins you need for your WordPress website, without getting lost in the details.
Once you feel confident that you have all of the right plugins on your website, take a look at our WordPress blogging guide for SEO, which will help you create powerful content that will help in your optimization efforts.
Do You Really Need SEO Plugins For WordPress?
Before jumping to the checklist, you may have your doubts that SEO plugins are even necessary at all. If you have any experience with search engine optimization, you may already be aware that technically speaking, it has nothing to do with using certain plugins.
There are no magic apps or special themes you can use in WordPress to automatically improve your SEO. All work in this area has to be performed manually. However, there are definitely certain WordPress plugins and SEO tools that can significantly cut down on superfluous work and make your job easier when it comes to improving your website. Think of these plugins like strengthening the foundation of a house. While you are still not in the process of building the structure itself, you are making enhancements that will give your site a clear advantage and just make your life easier all the way around.
WordPress SEO Plugin Checklist
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but should be used when first starting your website or to start off on the right track at the beginning of a SEO campaign. If you are concerned about your website ranking in Google and performing properly for your users, these plugins are exactly what you need for your WordPress site.
Yoast SEO Plugin
No conversion about WordPress SEO would be complete without mentioning Yoast. While All in One SEO Pack is a strong alternative, Yoast is considered the de facto gold-standard when it comes to adding basic necessary optimization features to your website.
Yoast provides a comprehensive suite of different features, allowing the user to customize the way their website appears in the search results, which kinds of content can be indexed, XML sitemap functionality, social media metadata, and a variety of other little fixes, which would otherwise have to be altered through code without this plugin, which is not ideal.
What Yoast is known for most of all however is its various on-page readability and keyword guides that help with creating better-quality content for your readers. While these features don’t actually improve SEO on their own, they can help you take initiative to improve your content and make it more useful and digestible. This also applies to the homepage and product pages as well, which can greatly affect your SEO when everything is taken into consideration.
Google Analytics by Monster Insights
Why not just log in to your Google Analytics dashboard to see your traffic data? Monster Insights simply gives webmasters and store owners the option to view vital traffic data right in the WordPress dashboard without having to venture into the depths of Google. This can save time and aid in understanding, as the data provided in the plugin is considerably paired down compared to what you get in Google.
If you want to improve your on-page SEO, you always have to think about user experience pain points such as navigation, searchability, and page speed. One way in which many websites hamper themselves is by hosting too many overly large images. While attractive photos are one of the best attractions of a professional eCommerce website, you also want to make sure these images have been properly compressed in order to increase page load times.
The Smush plugin makes it so that you don’t have to worry about manually compressing your photos in a program like Photoshop before uploading them to WordPress, saving time and a ton of hassle. This is a WordPress SEO plugin that can directly improve the quality of your website.
W3 Total Cache
One of, if not the best caching plugins for WordPress. A strong competitor is Autoptomize, which might be the better choice in some cases for a paired down experience, but for eCommerce websites that need to fine-tune their caching options, this plugin is the way to go.
If you are not entirely up to speed as to what caching is, it’s essentially a means of condensing and streamlining the content of your website so that it loads faster for the user. This is done by combing pages of code into a single document, and also taking dynamic elements such as PHP and making them static, which reduces load times. These changes can cause glitches and problems for complex websites, so caching is inherently complex. W3 Total Cache gives you extraordinarily fine control over all aspects of your website’s compression, from combing JavaScipt and CSS files, to limiting how your site is cached on particular pages and in certain browsers, this plugin does it all.
WP Sitemap Page
You may already have an XLM sitemap, which is what Google needs in order to crawl your website properly, but do you have an HTML sitemap as well? To improve your user-experience and give your SEO a little boost, it can be helpful to generate a full user-facing sitemap on your website. For sites that have a lot of categories or blogs, this can make finding them much easier. The additional contextual links can also help Google index your website properly as well.
While Elementor is technically a page-builder and not an SEO plugin, it is quickly becoming an “essential” aspect of many WordPress builds. This is because user experience and design is increasingly lumped in with search engine optimization.
To truly make sure your website is optimized for the search engines, you have to be able to control all of the content throughout your website. This is something that vanilla WordPress does very poorly. High-quality page builders like Elementor give you the ability to create attractive, user-friendly content all over your website with ease, and you can have total control over this content in order to make sure it follows the specific conventions that you want it to.
With a page-builder like Elementor, you can improve user experience significantly, giving your WordPress site a professional look and feel without necessarily having to get a custom theme developed or any other more comprehensive changes made. When you have full control over the posts and pages of your site, right down to the spacing between paragraphs and the size of buttons, you can tailor each and every section of your store for optimal usability and visual appeal.
The Best Choice For Your WordPress Store
Even with the help of the right plugins, taking care of your SEO can be tough. If you feel lost when it comes to making the proper optimizations and would rather a professional team manage your campaign, we’re here to help. A WordPress SEO agency can give you the edge you need to improve your website enough to start ranking on the front page of Google, which can help you get more traffic and sales.
Here at Genius eCommerce®, we create powerful SEO strategies for eCommerce websites looking to get ahead. From in-depth keyword research to professional content writing and quality backlinking, we know how to give online stores the lift they need to succeed. If you don’t want to deal with the pain of having to figure out SEO on your own, give us a call and we’ll help you get a handle on it.