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The Best-Of Series: SEO Tools

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September 19th, 2009
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Best of WordPress

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, there are a slew of options out there. Some good and some not so good. But today I want to talk about the best options out there for WordPress. There are many. But I’m going to try to sift through the cruft to find the truly great tools that are available. Here we go…

  1. All In One SEO Pack
    I suppose the most obvious plugin is the All In One SEO Pack. According to statistics it is the most popular plugin in the whole WordPress Extend repository. It has a robust feature set. Of all the SEO-related WordPress plugins I have tried it is, in my opinion, the best there currently is. The plugin allows you to optimize various things in WordPress for search engines including your site title, your keywords, page titles, and much more. One of the features I like the most is the ability to generate keywords automatically based on the current post. Very handy!
  2. HeadSpace
    The plugin HeadSpace comes in a close second for me. It also has a great many features and is also very popular. It has some of the features SEO Pack has and many others that it does not. One of the really great features of this plugin is the ability to automatically generate post tags based off the content of the post. Being a person who sucks at categorizing and tagging my posts I really love this feature. Another feature I like is the ability to import data from other plugins like SEO Pack.
  3. Google XML Sitemaps
    Having a well-defined map of your entire site is another important aspect of SEO. Google XML Sitemaps is the best plugin for that job in my opinion. I’ve used it extensively for the past few years and I have seen some good results from it. It’s really easy to use but still has a good number of features.
  4. SEO Smart Links
    I like SEO Smart Links because of the automation it provides. It can automatically link keywords in your posts to their corresponding posts and pages. This really helps with keeping visitors clicking further into your site. You can also specify custom keywords and the URLs they should link to. Nifty!
  5. Robots Meta
    Robots Meta is another good plugin. I like it for its simplicity. With it you can add meta tags to hide comments feeds from search engines, prevent search engines from indexing all feeds on your site, hide search result pages from search engines, hide the admin pages from search engines, and much more.

There we have it. 5 top plugins for WordPress Search Engine Optimization. Remember though, this is merely my opinion. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are in an order you would agree with. I actually like all these plugins very much. It’s pretty hard to choose what order to put them in but, I think I’m happy with how it is now.

What do you think? Do you like the order? Have I missed a really great plugin? Lets hear it!

Do you have a good idea for the next article in the Best-Of series? Drop a comment here or contact us and your idea just might be next in the series!

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37
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Comments

  1. Jason Drohn (2 comments.) says:

    Hey James – awesome post. A lot of bloggers don’t realize the importance of using some sort of SEO plugin in their writing until it’s too late and they’ve filled up their queue with hundreds of articles.. SEO is imperative for long tail, stable traffic that you can build on!

    – Jason

  2. Mr. I (2 comments.) says:

    I would rank HeadSpace #1. Sometimes, stats may not speak everything!

    All In One SEO Pack is a good plugin but as you said, HeadSpace has all the features and then some more!

    I have been using HeadSpace for long and only thing I can say is it’s wonderful. The ability to automatically create tags is very good. It also has lot of other settings you can use to disable/enable WP features. Add to that the support for 15+ visitor tracking scripts(including Analytics, Statcounter and others) and the plugin is better than SEO pack.

  3. Lazy (9 comments.) says:

    i think you forgot wp-seo in your list :) one of the really best SEO Plugins WordPress has ever seen.

  4. Jeff Byrnes (1 comments.) says:

    There’s two new SEO plugs I’ve really been liking, Greg’s High Performance SEO and Ultimate SEO. Check ‘em out!

  5. Clement (8 comments.) says:

    Is it possible to use All In One SEO Pack or Platinum SEO and Robots Meta on the same blog at the same time? Would there be any conflict between them?

  6. Rick says:

    I like the services provided by SEO Packs to help draw wanted attention to my site. I don’t know how these plug-ins work so the result is like magic to me.

    I’ve also noticed a lot of possibly unwanted traffic. I don’t know what, if any, harm is intended but often I get traffic from 6 – 10 IP addresses that all read the same URL, all within a fraction of a second, but have no referrer and have exactly the same browser details. I find it very odd.

    For some reason I tend to think of this activity as co-ordinated by a “bot” that uses SEO updates. They continue to poll every so often. So far no harm has been done. Any idea why my site is being scanned in this way? The behavior is benign so its more of a fun mystery to solve and not threatening. Ideas?

    • James Dimick (23 comments.) says:

      It definitely sounds like a bot to me. I would just keep an eye on it since it seems harmless like you said.

  7. Robert@PNG (6 comments.) says:

    Platinum SEO should have been in the list.

  8. David (1 comments.) says:

    All in one seo pack is a must have. I have tested and my blogs with that plugin in always perform better than those without.

  9. Bryan (2 comments.) says:

    3 of the ones I use frequently are on here. I love the idea of HeadSpace since I too suck at making tags up it seems so that should save some time as well. Great list for SEO all around.

  10. Erich Senft (1 comments.) says:

    James, how about a review of the most SEO friendly WordPress themes? So far the best SEO themes I’ve found have been pricey and fugly, and the ones I really like perform really badly :(

    Any advice in this area?

    -Erich

  11. Justin Tadlock (51 comments.) says:

    I would much rather have a solidly-coded theme than some plugin to handle meta stuff. AIOSEO isn’t going to do you much good if your theme is wrapping your widget titles with an H1.

    This was a missed opportunity to stress how important it is that you have a decent theme. The plugins mentioned above are only a part of the puzzle that is SEO.

    Of course, the most important tool is your ability to communicate your thoughts with the world.

  12. Charles Young (1 comments.) says:

    seo themes are good but the issue remains that most “seo based themes” are pricey and to be honest still ugly. I have ran into a couple that are well worth a price but not the prices they are asking. So we will have to use plugins that actually do the job that these themes say they can do.

    This is just my two cents so please just ignore it.

  13. LetUpdate (4 comments.) says:

    Thanks for this list especially robot meta plugins. I think that robot meta is really useful for my current blog.

  14. Anand (2 comments.) says:

    All in one SEO and Platinum SEO plugins will not work together. You should disable any one. I had used all in one seo pack but I shifted to platinum seo. I feel that platinum seo contains cool features.

    • Clement (8 comments.) says:

      Of course, I know that. But my question is can any one of them (All In One SEO Pack or Platinum SEO) work together with Robots Meta?

  15. Fabio Núñez (1 comments.) says:

    Thank you for this plugin list. I only use “All In One SEO Pack” in my blog but I going to check out the rest :)

  16. Leon Paternoster (1 comments.) says:

    It might have helped if you’d have detailed how these themes improve your SEO. And what do they actually achieve? I’m skeptical: Surely the best way to get a good ranking (and good quality traffic) is through writing decent stuff that real people link to. Visitors from these sources are also more likely to do what you want them to do as well.

    As Justin says above, your theme structure can help Google work out what your site is about. Using HTML properly doesn’t do any harm, either. But there’s no ‘magic’ involved, is there?

  17. Paul Thomas (1 comments.) says:

    Great post, thanks James. SEO-ing your content/site/blog is soooo important and these plugins will do the job (Google XML Sitemaps has to be top of my list). I have to agree with what some other commentators have pointed out though – your theme is crucial. With a theme like Chris Pearson’s Thesis you don’t need additional SEO plugins cos much of the funtionality is built right into the theme itself (like customised titles and meta-tags). OK, Thesis ain’t cheap but you get what you pay for… and what price do you put on driving targetted traffic to your site?

  18. MAKAZ (2 comments.) says:

    I have tried the All In One SEO Pack, I have tried the Platinum SEO Pack and Gregs seo plugin (forget actual name) and Headspace2 (major pain to set up imo) anyhow I have settled on SEO Title Tag plugin http://www.netconcepts.com/seo-title-tag-plugin/ and I really agree with what it does and in my inexperienced SEO opinion it really is the ideal plugin to use for SEO however…

    I find that many of these seo plugins clash with one another, meaning one overwrites the other / cancels out the other.

    What I really want is to use SEO Title Tags plugin with another seo plugin that handles all the noindex/rss/canonical/keywords and description stuff.

    SEO Title Tags doesn’t do all the meta/robot stuff it strictly does the title tags only.

    Do anyone know a plugin that works with SEO Title Tags, one that will provide all the meta and robot stuff but let SEO Title Tags handle the titles?

    Thanks

    • Maskil (2 comments.) says:

      I agree with your observation. From what I understand, the problem stems from the SEO-related fields (e.g. Title Tag) not being standard fields built into WordPress. Instead, every SEO plugin creates its own Custom field, not shared by other plugins. Similarly when it comes to themes and plugins, e.g. the SEO Title Tag plugin is incompatible with the Thesis theme in that each ignores the others Title Tag fields.

      The answer is probably to put pressure on WP (Automattic) to build in all these SEO-related fields from the ground up, and then for theme and plugin developers to support them.

      • MAKAZ (2 comments.) says:

        Hello Maskil,

        Thanks for your reply. You said you agree with my observation, about what exactly? I mean, have you tried the SEO Title Tag plugin yourself and seen what it does? If so I have followup question for you.

        In the four SEO plugin I tested, listed above in my original reply, I have not seen one that does exactly what SEO Title Tag plugin does. Do you know of a plugin that DOES but one that also handles the robot/canonical/meta stuff too?

        On something else you said about one plugin ignoring the custom fields of another, sadly for me it’s the SEO Title Tag plugin that is the one being ignored – meaning if I used All in One or Platinum, or Gregs or Headspace it’s THEM that overwrite the tile tags I set up in the SEO Title Tag plugin.

        Of course I wish they all played nice together but since they don’t so far I sort of wish it was the other way around. I wish SEO Title Tag ignored THEIRS – this way I could keep all the title tags I have set up in SEO Title Tag plugin and then use the other features the other plugins offered.

        Anyhow if you know of an addon that does what SEO Title Tag plugin does and also the other needed stuff that would great to hear about, or a least tell me one that plays nice with it – if you know of any that is.

        Thanks

        • Maskil (2 comments.) says:

          Hi MAKAZ,

          I was agreeing with your observation that “I find that many of these seo plugins clash with one another, meaning one overwrites the other / cancels out the other.”

          Yes, I did attempt to use the SEO Title Tag plugin. I migrated over from Blogger, so I wanted to use it to perform a bulk update of Title Tags. It didn’t play nicely with my Thesis theme, however, so I eventually uninstalled it. Now I need to find a way to get rid of the obsolete tables it created!

          I haven’t tried any of the other SEO plugins you mentioned; for now, I’m just sticking with the SEO functionality provided by Thesis. That in itself is a concern if I ever wanted to use another theme (although that’s unlikely for now). I suspect that all the Thesis SEO artefacts (e.g. Custom Title Tags) would simply be ignored by other themes and SEO-related plugins.

          Hence, my suggestion that WordPress should natively support the standard SEO artefacts, i.e. those that should be part of a standard HTML document on the Web. That way, plugin and theme developers would not need to create their own Custom fields for each, but instead maintain the standard WP fields.

          Regards.

  19. Found By Design (2 comments.) says:

    I agree with others… while the All in One SEO pack is good, the Platinum SEO Pack takes it to another level by adding index and follow options, as well as archiving and snippet control on each individual post. I traded the All in One for my Platinum SEO Pack and have not looked back!

  20. sedhot (1 comments.) says:

    i was try to use meta robot .. but i did’t know how best setting this plugin.

    i hope weblogtoolcollection.com can / was review this plugin. thankz :)

  21. High Performance SEO (1 comments.) says:

    Hi James,

    I’d recommend Greg’s High Performance SEO — the feature set is vastly larger than All In One’s, and it doesn’t rely on heavy-handed output buffering that can cause compatibility problems with themes and other plugins.

    As for download statistics, you do realize that those are cumulative, right? If a plugin has 1000 legitimate users, but it is updated with 100 different point releases, and each of those 1000 users updates 100 times, then presto, the plugin magically has 100,000 downloads. Wow! But does that mean you actually have any more than the original 1000 users? Um, no.

    It’s no accident that the ‘leading’ SEO plugins have gone through umpteen dozen minor version number releases for each major version number — they get more downloads every time…

    All the best,
    Greg

  22. raiderhost (2 comments.) says:

    i’m ussually use All in one seo pack and google site map to create sitemap my blog.

    thankz info dude, want to use seo smart link :) i hope have great effect for SERp

  23. V.C (44 comments.) says:

    I removed All in one SEO Pack after knowing Platinum SEO Pack.
    In my opionion, you shouldn’t use exceeding 5 plugins in your blog. That’s too much. They may make your blog slow down, they also crash each other.
    I think, just Platinum SEO Pack, SEO Image Friendly and Google Sitemap XML are enough.

  24. Pub Perspectives (1 comments.) says:

    Man…. This is such a useful post it all most pisses me off. Almost.

    This is a great informative and helpful article for newbies like myself!

  25. Project H2O (1 comments.) says:

    SEO has been my favorite and I just installed the others

  26. Chris Clapham (1 comments.) says:

    Hi James,
    A great list of WordPress SEO plugins. I find ‘All in One SEO Pack’ particularly useful for our blog. I’ve not tried HeadSpace out, but categorising and tagging posts can be a pain, so I’ll check it out on your recommendation. Thanks.

  27. Dhany (1 comments.) says:

    I wish there’s canonical feature in HeadSpace. I love all the features it brings, but lack that one.
    And it seems the author has not update it for quite some times.
    All in One SEO Pack is quite impressive and very easy to use.

  28. stefanos (1 comments.) says:

    I installed the All In One SEO Pack and in my opinion it is probably the best there is for the moment. HeadSpace is also great for categorizing and tagging posts.



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