WordPress is currently the world’s most popular content management system, powering 19% of all websites on the internet, that is a lot of sites. But how do you make your WordPress powered site stand out above the rest and make it more discoverable?

WordPress out of the box fares pretty good on the SEO front, but sometimes you need just that extra bit of help to get you ranked better, fortunately there are a number of capable high quality, free SEO plugins, available to help your site rank better.

WordPress SEO By Yoast

Considered by many as the top WordPress SEO plugin, WordPress SEO By Yoast, offers you full control over a large array of features to help you optimize you content better. It allows you to set a focus keyword for your content and based on that make suggestions on how to improve your content, it also offers you a nice snippet preview to mimic how your content will look on Google Searches. Other features include XML sitemaps, RSS optimization, breadcrumbs, .htaccess and robots.txt file modifications, social integrations and a Google News SEO module to name a few.

All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack is considered the old kid on the block, it has been around for quite some time and with age comes experience, although not as feature rich as WordPress SEO it still packs a punch and is the top SEO plugin currently on the WordPress.org plugin repository. It will automatically optimize your titles for search engines and generate meta tags based on your content. It also has support for Google Analytics, custom post types, advanced canonical URLs and fine tuning page navigation links. One of All in One SEO Pack’s strong points is the fact that it helps you avoid duplicate content, typically found on blogs. It does lack features such as built in XML Sitemaps support, but nothing that can’t be added through another plugin such as Google XML Sitemaps.

SEO Ultimate

SEO Ultimate, although not as popular as the other two WordPress SEO plugins has been around for quite some time and also features an array of features. SEO Ultimate gives you control over title tags, noindex options, meta tags, Open Graph integration, page slugs, canonical URL’s, autolinks / deeplinking, 404 errors, and rich snippets to name a few. It also has a link mask generator for generating custom URL’s for use with affiliates as well as .htaccess and robots.txt file access with suggestions.

All these plugins are actively developed which is a must in today’s ever changing SEO environment meaning that when Google decides to push out an important update that could affect your search engine ranking, these developers will be sure to follow with an update to address potential issues that could affect your ranking.

In the end the decision with which WordPress SEO plugin to go with still lies with you, but all of these should give you results, it is just a matter of which one you prefer. I personally use all of the above plugins on different sites and have had great success with all of them as in the end they all do the same thing, just a bit differently 🙂

If you’re a WordPress user in Cape Town, be sure to check out the Cape Town WordPress Community and participate in the events and meet-ups.

Please feel free to post any questions or comments in the comments section below.

Gerhard Potgieter

WordPress web developer and WooCommerce Ninja at WooThemes.

Follow Gerhard on Twitter or View Gerhard’s blog.