In this post, I have made a list of best and free SEO WordPress plugins. After using Genesis Theme, i don’t use any other SEO plugins. In Genesis theme, there is a SEO settings section where you can easily edit the SEO settings within 10 minutes. However, if you are not using Genesis theme, then here’s a list of free SEO WordPress plugins. I have sorted the list based on the number of downloads.
1) All in One SEO Pack: All in One SEO Pack is one of the best SEO WordPress plugins. I have written a post specifically for changing SEO settings in All in One SEO Pack. You can find details in this post to edit SEO settings for All in One SEO Pack.
Here are the features of All in One SEO Pack WordPress plugin:
i)Enable canonical URLs.
ii) Set up homepage title tags, meta description and meta keywords.
iii) Log important events for debugging options.
iv) Automatically generate keywords for posts and pages.
v) Add title formats for posts, pages, categories, archives, tags, search, description, custom post types and 404 pages.
vi) Enable or disable menus.
vii) Verification options for Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Center and Pinterest Site Verification.
viii) Integrate Google+ profile in your blog.
ix) viii) Integrate Google Analytics in your blog.
x) Apply noindex for categories, archives and tags.
2) WordPress SEO by Yoast: Advantage of WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin is that you will get all the important SEO options in a single plugin. You don’t have to add extra plugins. I have made a beginner’s guide for changing settings for WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. You can refer this tutorial for more details on changing SEO settings.
Here are the features of WordPress SEO by Yoast WordPress plugin:
i) Change title tags, meta keyword tags and meta description for posts, pages and custom post types.
ii) Integrate Alexa, Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Center, Pinterest and Yandex webmaster tools for your blog.
iii) Enable Google authorship and add your Google publisher page in your blog.
iv) Apply noindex and nofollow settings.
v) Add noodp and noydir meta tags.
vi) Hide date in snippet preview in SERPs.
vii) Add Facebook insights, Open Graph meta data and Twitter cards.
viii) Add breadcrumbs in your blog.
ix) Change permalink settings in your blog.
x) Enable XML Sitemaps in your blog.
xi) Create robots.txt file in your blog.
xii) Edit .htaccess file for your blog.
xiii) Import content from other SEO plugins.
xiv) Add HTML content before or after RSS feeds.
3) SEO Ultimate: SEO ultimate WordPress plugin is a collection of SEO modules. You can enable or disable anyone from the plugin settings page. To learn more about changing settings in SEO ultimate WordPress plugin, you can read this article.
Apart from regular SEO features like setting up title tags, and meta descriptions, SEO ultimate has some unique features like:
i) In-built tool to monitor 404 errors in your blog.
ii) Add codes anywhere in your blog. For example in header section , before content, after content and in footer section.
iii) Add deep links and auto links in content and footer.
iv) Create custom robots.txt file.
v) Edit .htaccess file for your blog.
vi) Link masking tool for creating link aliases for internal as well as external links.
vii) Apply noindex and nofollow to content types.
viii) Tool to check SEO settings.
ix) Apply canonical URL settings.
x) Tool for tweaking permalinks.
xi) Integrate social networking buttons.
4) Platinum SEO pack: SEO settings of Platinum SEO pack are similar to All in One SEO Pack, but with more options. After you have installed and activated the plugin, click on “Platinum SEO” menu on the left side in the Dashboard.
i) Automatically do 301 redirects for permalink changes: Check this option to automatically enable 301 redirection for old posts to new ones when permalink is changed. This option is helpful when you are updating permalink for an individual post or page. 301 redirection will be automatically applied to that post.
ii) Home Title: Here, you can add the title tag for the homepage of your blog. You need to make sure that it is between 50 and 60 characters.
iii) Home Description: Here, you can add the meta description for the homepage of your blog. You need to make sure that it is between 150 and 160 characters.
iv) Home Keywords (comma separated): This section is for adding meta keywords for the homepage of your blog. Meta keywords have been dropped by many search engines and I don’t use them in any of my blogs. However, if you wish you can add it.
v) Canonical URLs: Check this option. This feature is helpful for solving duplicate content issues.
vi) Rewrite Titles: Check this option and then you can specify the title formats for post, pages, categories, custom taxonomies, archives, tags, search pages, description pages, 404 pages, and for paged format.
You can use the following variables for the title formats:
a) %blog_title% variable: For adding blog title.
b) %blog_description% variable: For adding blog description
c) %post_title% variable: For adding post title.
d) %category_title% variable: For adding category.
e) %post_author_login% variable: For adding login of author.
f) %post_author_nickname% variable: For adding nickname of author.
g) %post_author_firstname% variable: For adding first name of author.
h) %post_author_lastname% variable: For adding last name of author.
i) %page_title% variable: For adding page title.
j) %page_author_login% variable: For adding login of author.
k) %page_author_nickname% variable: For adding nickname of author.
l) %page_author_firstname% variable: For adding first name of author.
m) %page_author_lastname% variable: For adding last name of author.
n) %category_description% variable: For adding category description.
o) %term% variable: For adding custom taxonomy term.
p) %date% variable: For adding date.
q) %tag% variable: For adding tag.
q) %search% variable: For adding tag search item.
r) %description% variable: For adding excerpt.
s) %wp_title% variable: For adding WordPress title.
t) %request_url% variable: For adding URL path.
u) %request_words% variable: For adding URL path in text format.
v) %page% variable: For adding page number.
vii) Use Categories for META keywords: You can check this option if you want categories to be used as meta keywords. Since, i don’t use meta keywords, this option is irrelevant for me.
viii) Use Tags for META keywords: You can check this option if you want tags to be used as meta keywords. Since, i don’t use meta keywords, this option is irrelevant for me.
ix) noindex settings: Check all options for noindex like Use noindex for categories, Date based archives, Tag archives, comment pages of posts, comments RSS feeds, RSS feeds, Search result pages, sub pages, and author archives. It helps in solving duplicate content issues.
x) nofollow settings: You have options to nofollow category listings on pages, category listings on posts, archive listings on posts, archive listings on pages, tag pages, login and registration links. You can leave them unchecked as they are all internal links of your blog.
xi) nofollow external links on front page: This option is important. You can check this option to enable nofollow for external links on homepage.
xii) noodp meta tag and noydir meta tag settings: You can check both these options. If you check this option the description of DMOZ and Yahoo directory will not be taken as the default meta description for your blog.
xiii) Autogenerate Descriptions: You can check this option to autogenerate meta descriptions for your blog.
xiv) Additional Post Headers: Here, you can add reference to CSS stylesheets and Google verifiation links for posts.
xv) Additional Page Headers: Here, you can add reference to CSS stylesheets and Google verifiation links for pages.
xvi) Additional Home Headers: Here, you can add reference to CSS stylesheets and Google verifiation links for homepage.
xvii) Log important events: You can check this option to enable log for events which is useful for debugging.
5) SEO plugin by Squirrly: By using SEO Plugin by Squirrly, you can automatically apply the SEO settings in your blog. You have to create a free Squirrly account to use this plugin. After you have installed the plugin and created the account, go to: SEO settings under Squirrly menu on the left side in your dashboard. Under “Let Squirrly automatically optimize my blog”, option “Yes” will be automatically enabled by default. All SEO options like canonical URLs, XML Sitemap, and home page meta are enabled automatically.
You can also click on the Custom button on the right side to add custom Title tags meta description and meta keywords.
Here are the other features:
i) In “Social Media Options” section, you can add Open Graph and add Twitter card.
ii) In “Squirrly Options” section, you can select “Yes” for all the options.
To use Squirrly SEO Live Assistant, go to the post editor and here you can research for the keywords. Based on your keyword, Squirrly will generate domain information, optimization information, title information, keyword analysis, and content analysis.
iii) To add a favicon, go to “Change the Website Icon” section and upload favicon for your blog.
iv) From the “Tracking Tools” section, you can add Google Plus+ URL, Google Analytics ID and enable Facebook Insights.
v) In “Search Engines Tools” section, you can enable Alexa tool, Google Webmaster Tools, and Bing Webmaster Center.
vi) You can also check the performance analytics in Squirrly based on date, monthly traffic and Google position. Click on “Performance Analytics” menu in Squirrly.