No matter if you’re a beginner or pro, the following 5 free SEO tools are a must have on your WordPress sites. I personally use these.
Here are the 5 I recommend (and use):
Now I can tell you that there are more than just these options available and some are probably better than the ones on this list, but there’s a number of good reasons why these are recommended, even by someone like me, who does SEO seriously…
1) They are free.
2) They are beginner friendly when it comes to set up .
3) They provide some essential perks to help you with your ranking game.
4) They help you and your WordPress site work better, faster and create smarter, keyword focused content that ranks better.
I’ll go over each and explain the perks:
1) All in One SEO.
This is a plugin you can install for free on all WordPress site. A paid upgrade for this plugin is available, but honestly it’s not necessary.
I’ve been using this plugin on just about every WP page I’ve made, including this current page.
How it helps:
This plugin helps “label” your pages when it’s new, so Google can read it’s metadata quickly. This helps improve the speed of indexing and ranking for your page.
Specifically, this plugin auto labels the content you create and publish and basically inputs the most important, initial data Google looks at (the metadata). This just helps Google spiders cut corners and quickly see what your content is about, faster.
It also makes it easy to install other important things like Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools.
2) EWWW Image Optimizer.
I don’t know why this plugin has such a “tasteful” name, but whatever, it’s free and it’s great for SEO. It basically takes any images that are on your site and makes them load faster when someone visits the page, including Google.
How it helps:
One important thing to note about loading speeds is that the longer it takes a website to load, the worse it affects rankings. Additionally, one of the main causes of slow loading times on a page are images and graphics.
Using this plugin helps cut down slow loading speeds on that specific issue, thus helping the speed of the site loading to rise, and that itself is what helps with SEO.
A great experiment you can run is testing the speed of your site loading without this plugin on a page like this, and then testing it on the same page, but with the plugin running. Odds are, you will notice that there is an increase in score and speed, and that itself makes this plugin well worth it.
And once it’s activated, you do not need to really do anything else, other than update it once in awhile (which you are notified on, so you won’t miss it).
3) XML Sitemaps.
This is a VERY important plugin, which is thankfully free as well. This plugin basically creates an index of your pages, and then you take that info and let Google, and Bing (another important search engine), know about it.
How this helps:
A sitemap basically gives search engines a better, deeper look at your overall pages and this allows them to rank it better. It’s sort of like giving search engines a “tour” of your pages.
There are several plugins like this available in the WordPress directory if you do a search. I personally use this one:
Once you activate it, it will create the map of your whole site and give you a link. You will take that link and put it into a free program called Webmaster Tools (here are instructions).
The added benefit of this thing is that you can also use Webmaster Tools to then fetch your content faster and avoid having to wait for days or longer to see it indexed in Google. Here are instructions on that.
Note: Once this plugin is installed, you can also use it with Bing Webmaster Tools and I WOULD highly recommend you not neglect this search engine either.
4) Anti Spam.
It doesn’t matter how new or old your page is, it will be spammed and most of them will try to infiltrate your page through comments. You’ll get fake people (bots) leaving comments on your pages attempting to hack it and even steal information. Allowing such things to run rampant on you pages will ruin the SEO for it because search engines will never trust a “tainted page”.
How this helps:
Since most of the spam and hackers try to come through the comments, installing the anti-spam plugin will help prevent most of it from ever even getting close. That protection just offers less chances that your page will ever get taken down by a hacker or spammer and when I say taken down, I mean through SEO, because these things do ruin rankings it if they are unchecked (see this).
While I do recommend you look at every single comment someone posts on your pages, you will honestly not be able to handle doing this on your own, without this plugin.
That plugin will eliminate just about every single bad, hacker intended comment that your page gets and the remaining ones will be up to you to moderate. I typically advise trashing any comment that has a link in it.
If you’re going to link comments, do it yourself, where you edit the comment and internally provide a link, so it’s yours and not an unknown link and that WILL actually help with SEO.
5) Keywords everywhere.
This is the only tool on the list that is not a plugin for your actual WordPress site. It is actually a plugin for your browser and it’s free. You just need to install it. Here is how.
How it helps:
Intelligent keyword research is one of the core things a good SEO person requires. What is the point of writing so much content (a necessary ingredient if you want traffic) if it’s not intended to rank for a keyword that is bound to get your page tons of traffic?
Well using an intelligent plugin like this will help you create more”rankable” content by finding keywords with good search numbers and then targeting them on your page fixes that.
This plugin literally “latches” onto your browser so when you do searches on Google, the results you get ALL come with data on if and how many searches that keyword gets:
After seeing this list, you may have 1 question…
The question is basically if there’s any free or paid SEO tool that basically “does” the work for you, where by installing it, that it basically handles everything that’s needed for your page to rank well.
The truth is that there is no such thing (and if you see some that say that they are, they are black hat and 100% fake). SEO is a business where YOU need to personally be working to creating content (or paying someone to do it) and that is an effort that no tool can do for you.
The tools (even the very best ones out there, including these), are simply added accessories, which don’t have any effect if you don’t do the major work yourself. The very plugins mentioned in this article basically help maximize my own hard work by having Google notice it better and keeping my page safe from spammers and hackers and that itself is a benefit to SEO growth.
If there are any questions about these plugins I mentioned, please ask!