Search engines like Google are the biggest traffic source for many websites. With this fact, no wonder if many webmasters are trying their best to get their website to the first page of the search results page of a search engine. The process — known as Search Engine Optimization a.k.a. SEO) is really complex. It takes knowledge, patience, and appropriate tools. If you use WordPress, you can install an SEO plugin to assist you in creating an SEO friendly website or content.
Although SEO is so important, you should not sacrifice the quality of your content. Avoid over-optimization practices such as keyword cloaking, keyword stuffing, and keyword cannibalization.
By the way, what is keyword cannibalization?
It is an SEO practice where a webmaster creates multiple pages on the same website for the same keywords. A simple theory. More pages mean bigger chances to get a better position on search engines. The problem with keyword cannibalization is that search engines will consider it a content duplication practice, which you should avoid. Although the purpose of SEO is to have your website on the first page, the quality of the content should be your first priority.
Some WordPress SEO plugins come with an analysis feature to let you know if the content you create is over-optimized or not. Here are 5 of the SEO plugins for WordPress that you can use for free.
Yost is the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress. It has been downloaded over 5 million times. Yoast is a great SEO plugin for blogs, online magazines, e-commerce websites, and other website types that require a regular article update. It comes with an analysis feature to assist you to create a natural SEO-optimized content. The components analyzed by Yoast are:
- Outbound links
- Internal links
- Keyphrase length
- Meta description length
- Text length
- Image alt attributes
- SEO title width
When writing a new article, you can set a custom SEO title and add a focus keyphrase. Yoast also allows you to integrate Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. It also comes with crucial enough SEO features such as XML sitemap and breadcrumbs. Yoast is a freemium SEO plugin. The pro version allows you to add multiple keyphrases.
2. All-in-one SEO Pack
All-in-one SEO Pack is arguably the closest competitor of Yoast. It has been downloaded over 2 million times and also available as a freemium plugin. All-in-one SEO Pack is better-suited for mini sites or other website types that optimize their homepage as the main keyword. In All-in-one SEO Pack, you can optimize the homepage of your website such as setting the title and description. When writing a new article, you can also set a custom SEO title as well as meta description. However, there is no analysis feature like Yoast. Also, there is no option to set a keyword phrase.
Compared to Yoast, the features available on the free version of All-in-one SEO Pack are fewer. To use features like image optimization and category optimization, you need to use the pro version. There is no feature to add breadcrumbs to your website, but the XML generator is available.
Not as popular as Yoast and All-in-one SEO Pack but SEOPress is a powerful SEO plugin. It combines the features of All-in-one SEO Pack and Yoast where you can optimize your homepage as well as every piece of your site’s content. SEOPress comes with an analysis feature to allow you to create a natural SEO-optimized article just like Yoast. There are 13 components analyzed by SEOPress:
- Alt texts of images
- Keyword density
- Keywords in permalink
- Meta title
- Meta description
- Nofollow links
- Structured data types
- Last modified date
- Words counter
- Social meta tags
- Meta robots
- Outbound links
There are four indicators for each component: Red, orange, yellow, and green. Red indicates bad optimization while green indicated excellent optimization. SEOPress also shows the overall optimization score and shows you which parts need to be optimized more.
When creating an article, you can set target keywords (you can add multiple keywords by separating them with commas) and meta description. SEOPress also allows you to integrate Google Analytics and social media. Other features like XML sitemap and HTML sitemap are also available. You can import your Yoast/All-in-one SEO Pack metadata if you want to make a switch. The pro version of SEOPress comes with a white-label feature as well as other features like breadcrumbs, Google Suggest, WooCommerce optimization, and so on.
4. Rank Math
Rank Math is another less popular yet feature-rich SEO plugin. The plugin — which is available for free — is developed by MyThemeShop. The features offered by Rank Math are not much different from SEOPress where you can optimize the homepage of your website as well as the articles. So far, Rank Math is completely free. It has no pro version, but the features are pretty rich. Local SEO, WooComerce optimization, category optimization, tag customization, sitemap generator, social media integration. All these features are available on Rank Math.
In addition, Rank Math also comes with an analysis feature to allow you to create an SEO friendly article without having to over-optimize it. You need to be a little thorough since the analysis feature is available on the sidebar of the WordPress editor instead of beneath the editor like Yoast and SEOPress. You can also set a target keyword and set a meta description. Rank Math will let you know which parts need to be optimized more. It provides an optimization score with a scale of 100. A higher score means better optimization.
5. WP Meta SEO
WP Meta SEO is a better-suited SEO plugin for blogs and other website types that require a regular article update. This plugin comes with an analysis feature just like Yoast, SEOPress, and Rank Math, allowing you to create natural SEO-optimize articles on your website. WP Meta SEO analyzes the following components:
- Page title
- Page URL
- Meta title
- Meta description
- Image alt attribute
You are also provided an optimization score (in percent) to let you know whether your article already has a good optimization. Features like sitemap generator and integration with Google Analytics are available. The pro version of WP Meta SEO comes with extra features like integration with Google Search Console, 404 auto index, WooCommerce optimization, and local SEO.
The bottom line
SEO an important indeed, but you should not too aggressive with the optimization process. Avoid bad SEO practices such as keyword cloaking, keyword stuffing, and keyword cannibalization. The plugins above allow you to create SEO friendly content without needing to over-optimize it.