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An SEO plugin for WordPress can run the gamut from offering basic SEO suggestions to providing a full-fledged analysis of what you could be doing better. We spent dozens of hours testing SEO plugins on WordPress sites, comparing features like analytics, keyword research capabilities, and interface simplicity, to determine the best options. AIOSEO is the number one option for most people, due to its automatic solutions and user-friendly experience.
The Best SEO Plugin for WordPress for Most
SEO isn’t something that anyone can learn in a few minutes. It takes time to perfect, but tools like AIOSEO make it so much easier to understand. This beginner-friendly plugin is easy to start using right away, yet it gives detailed insights into your site’s on-page SEO, search engine friendliness, and other factors that affect its searchability and user experience.
In fact, AIOSEO is about as set-it-and-forget-it as you can get for an SEO plugin. Unlike other SEO tools that have you taking a deep dive into keyword research and speed optimization, this plugin allows you to rely on its settings and features to do the heavy lifting. AIOSEO automatically generates smart sitemaps, checks for critical errors, and sets you up with optimal features and performance based on your site’s purpose.
The Best SEO Plugin for WordPress Options to Consider
- AIOSEO – Best SEO WordPress Plugin for most
- SEOPress – Best for simplified SEO
- Yoast SEO – Best for content optimization
- W3 Total Cache – Best for speeding up a website
- Schema Pro – Best for creating click-worthy rich snippets
- Semrush – Best for keyword research and analysis
When It Makes Sense to Invest Into SEO Plugins for WordPress
Just about every SEO plugin for WordPress requires a one-time payment or subscription to unlock all its features. Free plugins might give you the basics, like the ability to edit meta tags or check that your blog content is readable by most, but they lack the advanced SEO features that most sites will eventually need to grow.
So if you’re looking to start growing your site, or at least increasing its SEO ranking, investing in a paid SEO plugin is going to be a must for you. Even solo WordPress bloggers should consider investing in an SEO plugin if their goal is to eventually make money with their blog.
Paid SEO plugins can also help with specific SEO issues or goals you may have. If you’re wanting to ramp up your content, speed up your site, dive deep into keyword research, or do other more advanced SEO tricks and tactics, a particular paid plugin can help you do those things. In this article, we’ll look at several of these plugins.
#1 – AIOSEO — The Best SEO WordPress Plugin for Most
Aptly titled All In One SEO, AIOSEO is perhaps the most comprehensive SEO plugin for WordPress on the market. But the best part is that it doesn’t feel overly complicated, despite having just about every feature and setting you need to make sure your site always hits the mark with SEO. Everything you need sits within its simplified interface, making SEO seem relatively straightforward, even for beginners.
Some key features you’ll get with this plugin include:
- Automatic meta tag generation
- SEO analysis
- Keyword research and optimization
- Custom breadcrumbs
- Schema markup assistance
- Image SEO guidance
- Social media integration
- Redirection management
- Integrations with tools like Google AMP and MemberPress
No matter what type of site you have, you can make AIOSEO work for you. Ecommerce site? AIOSEO has a module to manage your WooCommerce product pages and other SEO needs. News site? Use the plugin to submit your news articles automatically and create rich snippets that make people want to click your links.
AIOSEO starts at $99/year for a Basic plan for one website. Other plans range from $199-$599/year, with the highest tier the best option for agencies that work with multiple clients. You can try any plan for 14 days with a money-back guarantee. AIOSEO frequently offers limited-time promotions—as much as 50% off—just by visiting its website and locking in the special price before the offer runs out.
#2 – SEOPress — The Best for Simplified SEO
Let’s face it: There’s not really anything that’s simple about SEO. However, there are ways to make SEO simpler, and SEOPress does an excellent job doing just that. This plugin is one that’s stripped down to the basics, allowing beginners as much access to SEO as experts.
Once you’ve activated the plugin, the installation wizard gets your site all set up with what it needs. From there, you can access a full content analysis with unlimited keywords to optimize your pages and blogs, build sitemaps, and set up captions, descriptions, and ALT tags for images. Everything is just a few clicks away.
Even better is that all features are in one spot. Unlike other plugins that require you to download more plugins as add-ons to get each feature, SEOPress includes it all. You’ll get all the SEO goodness without overloading your site with extra code.
SEOPress starts with a free plan with HTML and XML sitemaps, content analysis, title and meta description editing, and imports from your other SEO tools. The free version is ad-free, so you can enjoy all basic tools without bothersome marketing, and you can use it for unlimited websites. Pro costs $39/year, and adds support for Google Local Business, WooCommerce, Google Suggest, custom schemata, and more.
#3 – Yoast SEO — The Best for Content Optimization
Ask almost any WordPress blogger, and they’ll say that Yoast SEO is their go-to plugin for content optimization. Granted, Yoast SEO was one of the first plugins of its kind, so it’s one that many have stood behind regardless of the competition. However, the plugin still holds its own in its ease of use when creating the most searchable blogs and pages.
Yoast SEO provides detailed on-page SEO guidance, like optimizing your page for your chosen keyword(s), writing a meta description and headline, and updating your content. As you change your page or post content, Yoast SEO will let you know, in real-time, if what you’re doing is good or bad for SEO. Look at the green, yellow, or red light for a quick glimpse, or scroll below your content in WordPress to get a more detailed analysis of what to improve.
There are also sitemaps, page previews on Google and social media platforms, permalink structures, and increased loading time features to enhance your site’s overall SEO performance.
Yoast SEO starts with a free plan, which is suitable for beginning bloggers, but limited for anyone who wants more automation and in-depth SEO. Premium starts at $89/year for one site with as much as 50% savings for multiple sites. The paid plan includes 24/7 support, content syndication with Zapier, internal linking suggestions, and keyword recognition.
#4 – W3 Total Cache — The Best for Speeding Up a Website
Google itself notes that page speed is a factor for its ranking algorithms. A slow site may not rank as high as a faster site, even if its content might be better, making page speed an important consideration when optimizing sites for search engines.
W3 Total Cache targets the speed issue with its easy-to-use WordPress plugin that reduces load times. Tactics like optimized page rendering, improved web servers, minified scripts and codes, and browser caching, keep your site running smoothly and loading quickly for visitors. You can even clear the cache on pages with one click, making it simple for anyone to use.
W3 Total Cache is offered in Free or Premium plans, with the latter costing $99/year. With Premium, you’ll get a few additional benefits, like customer service through ticketing, support for Genesis Framework, fragment caching, and lazy loading for Google Maps.
#5 – Schema Pro — The Best for Creating Click-Worthy Rich Snippets
Best for Click-Worthy Rich Snippets
For the best rich snippets, Schema Pro has you covered. It has fill-in templates for multiple types of snippets and automatically tracks Google to make sure your snippets stay relevant. And it’s flexible to pay for, with both subscription and lifetime access models available.
In case you’re not sure what they are, rich snippets are special snippets of content that show up in Google search results. They have more information than the average snippet, depending on the page’s content. For instance, a rich recipe snippet might show some ingredient information and a star rating, while a book snippet might show places where you can buy the book.
Schema Pro is all about creating the best rich snippets easily, no matter what type of content you want to share. The plugin lets you create snippets for products, FAQ sections, events, articles, people, videos, and more. The developers of Schema Pro update it regularly to keep up with Google changes, so your snippets will always remain competitive in search results.
To create a snippet, simply fill out the fields provided by Schema Pro for your specific type of rich snippet. There are also spots for custom fields to make sure you include all the necessary details. Use the plugin’s live schema testing feature to view how your rich snippet will appear in search results.
Choose between an annual subscription or a one-time fee for lifetime access to Schema Pro. Annual Schema Pro is $79, or $523 when you purchase the Growth Bundle, which includes the SkillJet Academy for online marketing training and the Astra Pro theme. Lifetime pricing is $249 for Schema Pro or $1,893 for the Growth Bundle.
#6 – Semrush — The Best for Keyword Research and Analysis
Keywords are the backbone of SEO, as they’re what searchers use to come across your content in search results. Having a clear keyword strategy with content built around specific keywords can boost your SEO organically over time.
Semrush is a full-featured SEO tool that offers perks like:
- Optimization for local searches
- Link building opportunities
- Social media analysis
- Content optimization
- Competitor analysis
- On-page SEO tools
But Semrush happens to excel in keyword research in ways that other plugins only touch upon. Use the plugin’s multiple keyword tools to analyze competitors’ keywords, discover new keyword opportunities based on an analysis of your content compared to your competitors, and research keywords to focus your content on.
The built-in keyword manager also shows you as many as 1,000 keywords to compare at one time based on their performance trends and current popularity.
Semrush is pricier than others, starting at $119.95/month or $1,199.40/year for Pro. However, that price gives you as many as 10,000 keyword results per report and 3,000 reports per day. For more comprehensive historical competitor data, you’ll need Guru, which costs $229.95/month or $2299.44/year.
Methodology for Choosing the Best SEO Plugin for WordPress
Which SEO plugin for WordPress is going to give you the best bang for your buck? That depends on what you need it for and the kind of support you get as a plugin user. The following criteria are what we’ve used to determine our top picks, and each point may also help you find the right plugin.
Broad vs. Narrow SEO Focus
Not all SEO plugins are all-around solutions for SEO. While some, like AIOSEO and Yoast SEO, certainly are, others focus more on one or two specific pieces of SEO. W3 Total Cache and Schema Pro are two examples of this type, targeting speed and rich snippets respectively.
If your goal is to get an all-in-one plugin for everything SEO, check that the plugin offers an array of features to tackle the biggest jobs. However, if you’re already using an SEO tool that takes care of most of that stuff, you won’t double its benefits by getting a full-featured plugin. Instead, opt for one that focuses on the specific SEO goal you want to meet.
Plugin updates are crucial when you use WordPress. If there’s a weakness in WordPress, it’s that outdated plugins can significantly affect the way your site operates and its security. It’s not necessarily WordPress’s fault, but as a user of the platform, you need to be aware of third-party plugins and their potential risks.
The best WordPress SEO plugins get updated regularly, usually monthly or so, and are quick to update when there’s a new WordPress update. Visit the company’s website or search the plugin on the WordPress plugins database to view a plugin’s update history and notes. Once you’ve downloaded and installed a plugin, be sure to keep it updated through your WordPress Dashboard.
The last thing you want is to invest in an SEO plugin and not have any of the support you need to use it to its full potential. Customer support is key to getting your money’s worth from any tool, especially with challenging stuff like SEO.
Does a plugin come with customer support options, like live chat, forums, or a knowledge base? How many contact methods, like support ticketing or social media messaging, are available?
The options in our ranking offer excellent customer service before you become a customer and after you’ve bought the plugin. Check out reviews of other plugins before spending money on them. Usually, past and current users openly share their thoughts on its customer support.
Trial or Free Version
Pricing varies between WordPress SEO plugins, and it can be difficult to compare differences in features from information on their websites. Trials and free versions help you figure out the basic features and usability of a plugin before getting your money involved. Be sure to use the plugin as much as possible during the trial period to get a feel for how it all works.
While some plugins don’t offer free versions or a trial, many do have a money-back guarantee, which is an acceptable alternative option. Mark your calendar so you don’t forget to contact the company in time if you decide the plugin isn’t a match.
Our top WordPress SEO plugin pick for most users is AIOSEO. You don’t need to be an SEO expert to use it because it’s so simple to pick up and start learning it. Plus, it tackles just about every area of SEO you’ll need for your site, whether you’re a casual blogger or an online seller. SEOPress is even more simplified, so it could be best for complete beginners in the SEO world.
But you might already be using an SEO suite you love and just want to target a specific SEO element or two. If speed is your priority, W3 Total Cache can decrease loading times to keep visitors happy. Schema Pro has all the tools you need to create eye-catching rich snippets in Google search results. Consider using the methodology above to find an SEO plugin that digs into the specific SEO goals you have for your site.