WordPress is a fantastic web platform simply because its open source nature allows people from all over the world to create plugins and code modules to solve any problem under the sun. However, one area that the WordPress plugins stand out is in the realm of SEO tools. There are a lot of SEO tools that are easily installed into your WordPress installation in the blink of an eye. Although, not all of these tools were created equally. Some are simply more useful or better designed than others. The following are some of the most popular and useful SEO plugins for WordPress.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

Ok, ok. I am sure you have heard of this one already, but it is certainly worth mentioning. The Yoast SEO plugin has been wildly popular, and for good reason. With over 1 million active installs, this tool is loved by many. The Yoast tools offer a comprehensive toolset to take care of your SEO needs. From titles and Meta descriptions to granular traffic descriptions, Yoast is many people’s first choice when it comes to SEO tools.

SEMRush

SEMRush is a great tool that allows you to gather stats and metrics from your competitors. Knowing what the competition is up to is a huge asset that can help you create an online marketing strategy. Not only will it help you discover more targetable keywords for your industry or niche, but it can also help you identify prime digital real estate to get back-links from. In addition, it can help you understand the online advertising strategy of your competitors. It offers so many benefits that it should be part of everybody’s online marketing strategy.

SEO Ultimate

The writers of this plugin certainly weren’t humble when they were naming their plugin. They get an A+ for hubris and their plugin is loved by the masses. This plugin aims to be an all-in-one package designed to take care of your every SEO need. In reality, it won’t take care of every need, but it does have some solid tools that are well respected within the WordPress community. This plugin will help you to optimize title tags, update Meta descriptions, and fine-tune your anchor text – all of which are crucial to any SEO strategy.

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SEO Friendly Images

This plugin helps users add SEO friendly alt and title attributes to images. Far too often people miss the opportunity to include their images in their SEO efforts. Instead, they just try to boost ranking signals with keywords in their content and by getting backlinks to their site. However, images are an extremely useful place to increase the value of your SEO campaign.

Google XML Sitemaps

Sitemaps are crucial to the success of your SEO efforts, and this handy plugin will help you out a lot. By creating a sitemap, you make it easier for the Google bots to crawl your pages. Instead of leaving some information tucked away in some corner of your website that is hard to access, a sitemap will help that content become indexed – thereby increasing the value of your SEO efforts.

NOTE: You do not need this plugin if you're using the Yoast SEO plugin mentioned above - the XML sitemaps are already built in.

Fair Warning

In the end, please understand that you don’t need to download and install every last one of these plugins. It is easy to get carried away, but installing all of these plugins could easily become too much of a good thing. Every time you download and install plugins and widgets, code is added to your site. In turn, this increases the processing overhead and ultimately the speed of your website. Use good judgement when selecting plugins.

Better yet, if you don’t know what you are doing or you are concerned you have room for improvement, reach out to a web expert that has been doing this for years. A qualified WordPress designer and SEO professional will be able to help you out a lot. Instead of fretting about a thousand different tediums related to your website, one solid Internet marketing professional will give you peace of mind.

Final Thoughts

A website without SEO is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without bread: sloppy, messy, and pointless. SEO is the cornerstone of any online marketing strategy. Simply having a website up does nothing if you don’t have a regular stream of traffic to see your message. If you aren’t well-practiced at managing a WordPress website or you know little about SEO, these tools will certainly help you. However, to overcome your competitors and to gain a bigger share of your online market, a WordPress web designer and SEO professional are invaluable. There is simply too much at stake to leave your SEO campaign in the hands of an unqualified individual. Use these tools to boost the effectiveness of your SEO campaign, but hire an expert if you really want to grow your business.

About 

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.