11 Free SEO Plugins for WordPress (based on Real Experience)

11 Free SEO Plugins for WordPress (based on Real Experience)

If you are looking for some awesome and free SEO plugins for WordPress, you are on the right page.

Do you know that ~60% of the websites in the world are powered by the WordPress platform. (Source: W3Techs)

Even if you exclude blogging, ~30% of shopping sites run on WooCommerce. That’s again WordPress for you. (Source: Datanyze)

The fact is that as an online business, it’s hard to ignore the ease that WordPress brings to you; all thanks to the free and paid WordPress plugins available in the market.

As per a study by WPEngine, there are ~47,000 active WordPress plugins available (as of 2019) and these have been collectively downloaded more than 600mn times.

And that brings in the problem of plenty i.e. making the right choice from so many options available.

Today, I am going to solve this problem for you by opening up my list of free SEO plugins that I use for my WordPress websites.

Here’s my list of 11 must-have and free WordPress SEO plugins:-

1. Yoast SEO

yoast seo_logoAvailability: Free and Paid Plans

Store Rating: 4.9 stars

Number of downloads: 5,000,000+

With five million-plus active installations to date, Yoast SEO is probably the most popular WordPress SEO plugin for checking on-page optimization.

When used with OnPage Champ’s SERP Audit functionality, Yoast SEO can save you lots of time and effort and give your on-page SEO a big boost.

I have been using Yoast for almost 4 years now and my SEO is incomplete without this plugin.

Use cases of Yoast:

Yoast plugin covers multiple areas of SEO and makes your life very easy.

Here are some of the most used functionalities:-

a. Setting HTML tags

Using Yoast SEO plugin, you can set important HTML tags (like Title and Meta Description) for your web page.

While you enter the text, you can actually see the Google snippet and how your data gets rendered.

b. On-Page SEO sanity check

Just enter the content and Yoast plugin will indicate how well your content is optimized for the focus keyword.

This is just an indicative score and shouldn’t be considered sacrosanct.

That’s because Yoast plugin gives on-page SEO analysis based on the exact match keyword. However, Google may consider keyword variations and larger context of the keyword before deciding the ranks.

That’s why it makes sense to do SERP audit research via OnPage Champ and then refer/accept/reject the Yoast recommendations.

c. Readability analysis

This is an important feature of Yoast SEO.

It analyzes your page or post for ease of reading (known as readability).

This feature is helpful to understand whether your content is easy to read or not.

It analyses the sentence length, paragraph length, subheading distribution, use of transition words, etc.

d. Other use cases:

Some other use cases of Yoast include:

  1. Auto generates XML sitemap (super helpful)
  2. Full control over breadcrumbs (an essential part of on-site SEO)
  3. Allows you to set canonical URLs (required for duplicate content)
  4. Setting of ‘nofollow’, ‘noindex’ attribute to pages (haven’t used much, but useful)
  5. Optimizing AMP pages (didn’t get a chance to use this feature)

Paid version

Paid plan of Yoast is available for USD 89 per website (one time). You can use the paid version to see on-page optimization for multiple keywords at a time.

2. Akismet Anti-Spam

Akismet plugin_logoAvailability: Free and Paid Plans

Store Rating: 4.5 stars

Number of downloads: 5,000,000 +

For any WordPress website, a lot of spam gets generated via unsolicited commenting and contact form submission.

Akismet Anti Spam plugin checks such activity against its global database of spam and prevents publishing malicious content on your WordPress website.

It automatically checks the comments and filters out the ones that look like spam, especially those coming from spammy link building agencies.

Paid version

  1. Plus – USD 5 per month, per site.
  2. Enterprise – USD 50 per month, unlimited sites.

3. Easy Table of Contents

Easy table of contents plugin_logoAvailability: Free plan

Store Rating: 4.5 stars

Number of downloads: 100,000 +

Our attention spans are reducing each day, and the same is true for our online behavior.

As a user, we tend to scan web pages and not read them.

Easy Table of Contents can help you capture the user’s attention by presenting the summary of your content as ToC, thereby making it skimmable and easy to navigate.

Adding such a table enhances the user experience. And you know Google loves great user experience.

Use cases:

  1. It’s up to you if you want a table of content for a particular page or a post.
  2. You can decide where you want to insert the table of content within a particular page.
  3. The appearance of the table is decided by you. Either you could choose from built-in themes or create one as per your need.

Overall, this WordPress plugin gives you complete control in improving the user experience.

Overall, a must-have plugin that positively affects your SEO.

 

4. Broken link checker

Broken link checker plugin_logoAvailability: Free plan

Store Rating: 4/5

Number of downloads: 700,000+

Google hates broken links.

Not only do they break the user experience, but they also break the crawling of the Google bot and affect your SEO badly.

Therefore it becomes essential to ensure you replace all broken links with relevant working links.

Broken Link Checker analyzes your website for broken links – both internal as well as external.

It monitors and detects broken links across content, comments, blogs, etc.

As and when it finds any broken link, it reports the entire information to you (like the anchor text, the URL, HTTP status and the content page in which it is present).

You can unlink or edit the URL of that broken link from the plugin itself.

When you click edit URL, it provides you with suggestions for a replacement.

It is easy to use and you can fix broken links in bulk and with less time investment.

5. Redirection

Redirection plugin_logoAvailability: Free plan

Store Rating: 4.5/5

Number of downloads: 1,000,000+

Redirection is an important concept within SEO.

It’s because they directly impact the user experience. And we discussed earlier, anything that improves UX gets love from Google.

If you move an existing page to a new URL, it’s important you should use a 301 redirect to pass the SEO link juice.

If the page is temporarily down, you should do a 302 or a temporary redirect.

If the page has been deleted, there should be a 404 error along with a suitable redirect.

Redirection Plugin can help you implement all such 3XX redirects and 4XX redirects and keep track of pages with 404 (not found error) errors.

Being more than 10 years old, it is one of the best redirect manager plugin available on WordPress to date.

It is easy to use, you just need to put in source URL and the target URL and hit add redirect.

This plugin is 100% free and has no premium version available.

6. External Links – nofollow, noopener & new window

external links plugin_logoAvailability: Free Plan

Store Rating: 4.5/5

Number of downloads: 50,000+

WP External Links helps you to manage all external and internal links on your website.

Use cases:

  1. You can set whether you want to open a link in a new tab or a new window.
  2. Also, you can set the attribute you want to give to links – nofollow, follow, noopener, noreferrer.
  3. Add attribute like title and CSS classes
  4. You can choose icon type – image, dash icon, font awesome, etc.

This plugin is extremely easy to use and reduces the manual effort to edit the HTML every time you want to change the properties of a link.

7. W3 total cache

w3 total cache plugin_logoAvailability: Free Plan

Store Rating: 4.5/5

Number of downloads: 1,000,000+

Back in 2013, Google accepted that page speed is an important on-page SEO element and a critical ranking factor, especially for mobile devices.

The logic still remains the same: a fast loading website translates to a better user browsing experience and engagement.

Ask yourself a question: how long do you wait for a page to load? If it doesn’t load fast, what do you do?

You close the page and move to the next search result.

Thankfully, caching is one concept that can fire up the speed of your website and help you retain the traffic.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, ‘caching” (pronounced “cashing”) is the process of storing data in a cache.

W3 Total Cache will improve website performance by reducing load time, thus improving the on-page SEO of the website.

Use cases of W3 Total Cache

  1. This plugin is compatible with shared hosting, virtual private/dedicated servers and dedicated servers/clusters.
  2. This plugin supports Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
  3. This plugin supports Secure Socket Layer (SSL).
  4. It does caching of pages, posts, CSS, javascript, etc in memory or on disk or on CDN.

8. WP Last Modified Info

last modified info plugin_logoAvailability: Free plan

Store Rating: 5/5

Number of downloads: 10.000+

WP Last Modified Plugin helps you show the last modified/updated date on your web pages.

As a user, we always prefer to see pages that have been recently updated. That improves the search CTR and user engagement on the page.

Again, both are critical SEO success factors.

Use cases of WP Last Modified

  1. It makes the user aware of the latest updates to the content. That improves the interaction with the user.
  2. The plugin automatically adds ‘dateModified’ schema markups in posts and pages that tell search engines like Google, Bing about the last modified date or time of posts and pages. It is beneficial because search engines may prefer refreshed or updated content for a particular query.

9. Contextual Related Posts Plugin

contextual related posts plugin _ logoAvailability: Free plan

Store Rating: 5/5

Number of downloads: 70,000+

Contextual Related Posts is a very useful WordPress SEO plugin that shows a list of related posts on your website and in your feed.

The related post list is based on the content of the title or posts, i.e, the articles that are contextually related to each other.

When used effectively, this plugin can make users stay on your website for longer periods thus resulting in reduced bounce rates and higher engagement. That impacts your SEO positively.

Also, your old content never gets old because of this plugin.

It has an inbuilt cache system that ensures that related posts get displayed without putting excess load on your web server.

10. Cloudflare Flexible SSL

Cloudflare flexible ssl_logoAvailability: Free plan

Store Rating: 5/5

Number of downloads: 100,000+

SSL(Secure Socket Layer) is a standard web security technology that encrypts the data transferred between a web server and a browser. This secure link ensures that customer data is safe and sound, i.e, a third party can’t monitor or tamper with the data in transit.

Using Cloudflare, you can use an SSL for free for your website.

It prevents threats such as data theft and other tampering to your website so that websites can operate in a risk-free zone.

11. Social Media and Share Icons (Ultimate Social Media)

social media share icons plugin_logoAvailability: Free and Paid plan

Store Rating: 5/5

Number of downloads: 200,000+

Social Media and Share Icons plugin is a social media share icon plugin.

It lets you add icons for RSS, Email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterst, Instagram, Youtube, etc. You can even upload custom share icons of your choice.

Social media signals are factored in by Google while deciding a page rank. And this plugin enables your users to share your content on social media with ease.

Use Cases:

  1. This free version of this plugin lets you choose your social media share icons from 16 different designs.
  2. You can give animated effects to your social media share icons like automatic shuffling, mouse-over effects, etc, to make users share your content.
  3. You can even add counts to your icons that can have a powerful positive impact on the users.
  4. Add several actions to one social media share icon with this plugin.
  5. Add a pop-up display of your social media icons on all or selected pages with this plugin.

It is a super customizable WordPress plugin that you can use to improve your social media signals.

Paid version

Premium version is for USD 25

Conclusion

This is my list of top free SEO plugins for WordPress that I use on my websites.

While the majority of these plugins directly impact the SEO of your website, there are few plugins that have an indirect impact.

I will keep adding more to the list as I try and use more plugins.

Stay connected.

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