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Best WordPress plugins for SEO 2021 (free & paid)

1081 754 Magdalena Kukułka

WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world. It’s well-known for its versatility and ease of use. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a blog recounting your travels, a highly specialized site about a niche engineering subject, or an affiliate marketing landing page, WordPress is the platform for you.

Either way, you surely want your blog to be found. Posting regularly is a great first step, but what about visibility? If you want your article to rank on Google, you need to think about more than just consistency.

So, if you want to find out what are the best SEO plugins you can use in 2021 to improve your marketing strategy, read the article, and reap the benefits!

Why do you need WordPress SEO plugins?

If you’re running a website, be it a WordPress blog or a custom build page, you probably want it to be seen. Unless the site is for your personal use only, you’ll want to bring traffic to it. There are a lot of options for that, both paid and free. If you’re here, however, it means that what you have in mind is traffic from search engines.

If you want your site to show up in Google search results, it needs to be well optimized. And that’s where SEO comes in. Search engine optimization can range from proper content planning to meticulous metadata descriptions. In fact, if you want to stay on top of your game and place as high as possible for both narrow and broad keyword searches you will need to put in a lot of work in your content.

The easiest way to make improvements to your WordPress posts is through a plugin. WordPress alone is a great platform for creating blog content but it doesn’t offer much in terms of search engine optimization.

All the efforts that you or your company will have to take to improve the visibility of your site can be made significantly easier by using plugins. There are SEO plugins that are rather universal for digital marketing. They have broader functions that aid in improving user experience and readability. On the other side of the spectrum, however, there are very specific plugins that add functionality to your blog.

Either way, they offer a wide range of add-ons and improvements for your blog and ultimately, business. If you’ve never used plugins before, these are some of the available functionalities.

Benefits of using WordPress SEO plugins:

✔︎ insights into Google ranking factors

✔︎ adding meta tags

✔︎ multi-dimensional page analysis

✔︎ recommending, adding, and optimizing keywords

✔︎ easier redirects

✔︎ user engagement tracking

✔︎ performance monitoring

✔︎ integrations

✔︎ security measures

✔︎ size and speed optimization

What are the best WordPress plugins for SEO 2021?

It’s hard to determine what are the best plugins because they depend on the kind of SEO problem you want to solve. The plugins we recommend are all worthwhile additions that apply to any kind of WordPress site. Without further ado, let’s look at the best choices.

yoast SEO logo

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO might be the most popular and most widely used SEO plugin with over 202 million downloads and 5 million active users since it was founded in 2010. There is a very good reason for that, too. Yoast SEO offers the most important functionality even in its free version. Here is what you get by installing the free Yoast SEO plugin:

    • Readability analysis and score
    • SEO text analysis and score
    • Google snippet preview
    • Feature for having FAQ and HowTo content shown directly on Google
    • Title and meta description optimization
    • SEO improvement suggestions
    • Extensive support resources
    • Full control over breadcrumbs
    • Automatic creation of XML sitemap

You can get even more, by opting for the paid version. If you care about integrations and being well connected, you might consider the €89 EUR/1 site for a 1-year version which offers:

    • advanced keyword suggestions and optimization,
    • internal linking suggestions
    • Social media previews
    • Content insights
    • Redirects in case of 404 error message
    • Focus keyword export
    • 24/7 support

Whichever version you choose, Yoast SEO has enough functionalities to be your first plugin. Of course, it doesn’t cover everything but it’s one of the best solutions for taming the search engine. If you’re not running a company but are merely trying to work your way up in any of the search engines, it’s the best SEO plugin for you.

all-in-one seo pack logo

All-in-One SEO Pack

All-in-One SEO Pack is another plugin with very broad functionality. It’s easy to use so it’s great for beginners but it also has more advanced features, including an API for developers. The amount of features increases along with the plan price. Here are the most important features of the All-in-One SEO Pack:

    • Unlimited Keywords
    • Advanced SEO Modules
    • WooCommerce SEO integration
    • Custom social media images & descriptions when sharing posts
    • Smart XML Sitemaps
    • Bad Bot Blocker
    • Advanced Canonical URLs
    • Google Analytics support
    • Meta description analysis and suggestions
    • Automatic Meta tags generation
    • Compatibility with many other plugins
    • Robots.txt editor which lets you control the web crawlers
    • Local SEO for higher Google Maps ranking
    • Google News sitemaps

The All-in-One SEO Pack is similar in quality to Yoast but it is leaning towards being agency-friendly. Despite having no free version anymore, the plans start from $49.50 per year and end at $299.50 per year for the Elite plan (for 100 sites!).

Good for beginners but perfect for business owners and agencies.

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SEO Ultimate

SEO Ultimate is very similar to the previously mentioned SEO Pack plugin. It offers similar functionality with a couple of additional features. They are both in the same price range and offer in-depth metadata optimization. It used to offer a free version however it is no longer supported so we’ll focus on SEO Pack’s currently available versions. The features in the advanced plan include:

    • Automatic keyword generation
    • Automatic internal links generation
    • Title tag rewriter
    • Meta description editor (including a mass-editor)
    • Advanced automatic deep linking solution
    • Open graph integration
    • Permalink tweaker
    • Semantic Tags
    • Canonicalizer
    • Rich snippet creator
    • Author highlighter in Google search results
    • Link Mask generator
    • 404 error monitoring (without redirects!)
    • SEO/SEM-enhancing code inserter
    • Linkbox inserter with automatically generated links
    • XML Sitemaps
    • Ability to set post types (good for affiliate marketing!)
    • Robots.txt editor

SEO Ultimate is a very advanced plugin for WordPress. The free version, despite no longer being supported, still offers such unique features as the deep linking juggernaut which alone is worth giving this plugin a chance.

The basic version for a single site starts at $49 with the pro version costing $249. SEO Ultimate also offers agency plans – $497 for 200 sites and $997 for 400 sites. 

SEOPress logo

SEO Press

SEOPress is yet another advanced WordPress add-on. It’s less popular and has a steep learning curve but it’s a great tool for both developers and marketers. Additionally, it’s a plugin that gathers multiple functions into one addon. Here’s what SEOPress has to offer in its free version:

    • Content analysis
    • Google preview
    • Titles and meta descriptions with dynamic variables
    • Facebook and Twitter social media preview
    • Google Knowledge Graph
    • Google Analytics
    • Meta robots
    • Custom Canonical URL
    • HTML and XML Sitemaps
    • Redirections
    • Automatic image title/caption/description setting

And the pro version for $39 has the following advanced features:

    • Importing and exporting metadata
    • Google suggestions for content analysis
    • Google structured data types
    • Broken Link checker
    • Various Google tool integrations ( Page Speed Insights, Analytics Events, Google Local Business, News Sitemap, Enhancer E-commerce)
    • WooCommerce SEO integration
    • Easy digital downloads
    • Custom breadcrumbs
    • 404 monitoring
    • Redirect manager
    • XML Video SEO Sitemap

SEOPress seems to be a comprehensive, all-in-one SEO solution for all kinds of businesses, but especially those involving an online store. It can also be considered as a budget-friendly WordPress enhancer that integrates well with countless other solutions.

Just like the three SEO plugins we’ve mentioned earlier, this one is universal and multifunctional. The most unique benefit of this plugin is that it works for an unlimited number of sites. Even the free version has plenty of integrations with other plugins (such as Yoast SEO) which makes it the best value for money WordPress plugin.

 

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Rank Math

Rank Math is the first fully free plugin on the list. It does not have a paid version but it’s not limited in its functionality either. It’s actually one of the most complex WordPress plugins on our list. Rank Math might even be considered the best plugin for both search engines and social channel optimization. Here’s what it offers:

    • Google Search Console integration
    • Rich snippet integration
    • Unlimited keyword Optimization
    • Google Keyword ranking
    • Pre-Selection of Optimal settings
    • LSI Keyword Tool integration
    • Advanced SEO Analysis Tool
    • 404 Monitor
    • Internal Linking Suggestions
    • SEO Optimized breadcrumbs
    • Elementor SEO integration
    • XML Sitemap
    • Google keyword suggestions
    • Robots.txt editor
    • …and more

Rank Math is undoubtedly a worthy competitor to Yoast SEO. If you want to make your website more visible and user-friendly without paying a dime, it might be a good choice. Among all the mentioned WordPress SEO plugins, this one offers the most for free.

WP Meta SEO Joom United logo

WP Meta SEO by JoomUnited

WP meta SEO is yet another SEO plugin that intends to compete with Yoast. It has both a free and a paid pro version with additional features. Once again, it’s a plugin that can be useful to all kinds of businesses and websites, not only blogs. The add-on offers the following benefits:

    • Easy bulk website meta editing
    • Content meta editing in live SEO analysis
    • HTML and XML Sitemaps
    • Google analytics integration
    • Dynamic image resizing
    • 404 error redirects and internal broken link checker
    • Facebook and Twitter post optimization
    • Breadcrumb generator
    • Canonical URL Checker
    • WooCommerce plugin integration
    • Various Google integrations
    • Yoast and All-in-one SEO plugin importers
    • …and more

This plugin offers relatively a lot in its inexpensive pro version. The yearly license costs 49$ and works for an unlimited number of sites. WP Meta SEO is a solid all-in-one plugin that takes care of many problems at once.

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The SEO Framework

The SEO Framework is another interesting option that offers, for example, automated meta tags generation. What makes it different from any other plugin on the list is the color-coded guidelines helping the user make the correct kind of optimization changes. It also offers other free features, such as:

    • Advanced query protection
    • XML sitemap
    • Lifetime plugin updates
    • Canonical URL checker
    • Bulk editing
    • Social Channel Optimization
    • Deep Search Engine Optimization analysis and optimization
    • Breadcrumb generator

And in its premium version, you can find these additional features:

    • SEO Auditing with focus subjects
    • Comment spam protection
    • Various Google integrations (including Google Search Console)
    • API access with up to 50,000 requests per month
    • Extension manager with all extensions unlocked for 200 sites

The SEO Framework has been built with small and large corporations in mind but it can be helpful to individual users as well. It’s visually appealing and comprehensive, and it focuses heavily on security. It also concentrates on the speed of your website as one of its priorities. In short, it’s a plugin for WordPress that does it all.

Apart from the free version, the pricing starts at $7/month for the pro version and ends at $27/month for the Agency version. 

Honorable mentions

We’ve already discussed the biggest and best WordPress add-ons for your website in 2021. Even if some of these choices are missing some features that you would love to try, there’s more you can do for your site. The following plugins have very specific, singular functions. They’re helpful in search engine optimization and improve user experience as well. Here are our top picks for 2021.

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Google XML Sitemaps

Google XML Sitemaps is a WordPress plugin that helps the search engine better scan your site.  It creates a special map so that crawlers from Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., can index your content in the most accurate way. The plugin supports any site generated by WordPress and has a single function – it can’t slow down or break your website.

Smush Pro SEO logo

Smush Image Compression and Optimization

Smush is all about keeping your website fast through image optimization. It has no monthly limits and can optimize, resize, compress, and otherwise troubleshoot the graphic side of your WordPress website. It also offers bulk image processing for up to 60 images. If you’re having trouble with the page loading speed, this plugin might be for you.

 

akismet logo

Akismet

Akismet is a WordPress plugin with a simple goal – to filter out all kinds of spam. Spam comments can be harmful to your website so by installing the plugin, you have your user’s best interest at heart. Encouraging people to leave a reply under your content is a great way to engage your audience but it can also attract malicious spammers. Akismet helps you keep those at bay.

broken link checker logo

Broken Link checker

The broken link checker plugin can be very helpful if you have links on your site. Keeping the best SEO practices in mind, you should link to working high-rated domains. This plugin will detect any broken link it can find, including the comments section. After scanning, the link checker plugin will send a report to your email address so that you can decide what you want to do with the broken link.

WPOptimize logo

WP Optimize

WP Optimize is yet another plugin for WordPress that watches over the performance of your site. It comes in a free and a premium version. One of its most important features is automatically cleaning your databases. It retains the data, in case you’ll need it again but it does enough tidying up to keep your site fast and well optimized.

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WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache has over 2 million active installations. It’s another plugin on our list that helps you keep your page up to standard when it comes to user experience, speed and weight. It works by generating static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress blog. If that seems a bit complicated, the WP Super Cache plugin also has a simple mode which is perfect for beginners.

Conclusions

As you can see, there is a lot you can do to improve your WordPress website. There are plenty of all-in-one add-ons that can positively improve your SEO performance. Your choice should depend on your needs and goals. You can choose a multifunctional SEO-pack kind of addition or a single-function helper.

Considering how much you can gain from installing SEO plugins for your WordPress website, you should just try them out!

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