Okay, that title might be a bit dramatic, but we certainly feel these tools will make your life much easier. While it's sometimes true that we SEOs get a little "plugin happy," we highly recommend installing these if WordPress is your platform of choice:
- WordPress SEO by Yoast - A huge list of helpful features come with this. See previews of your rich snippets in the search results. Use page analysis to check for all the little things you might forget, like subheadings, image alt attributes, etc. Write meta titles and descriptions. Optimize your on-site links. Automatically deindex excess pagination (if you want). Setup automatically updated XML sitemaps, so you get indexed rapidly. Optimize your RSS feeds so that scrapers link back to your site. Setup breadcrumbs. And there's still more. This is a serious tool.
- SEO Rank Reporter - This does pretty much exactly what it says. Track your rankings for keywords you choose, refreshed every three days, and graph the results. Compare your changes with the changes of your competitors. You can also set up alerts to warn you when your rankings change by a factor that you designate. You can export the results to CSV. You can also view a list of the keywords that are already driving traffic.
- Disqus Comment System - Disqus does all kinds of great things for online discussion. It aggregates social mentions and posts them as "reactions." It allows threaded comments. It blocks spam. It ensures that all of your comments are indexed. It offers subscription and RSS options. It's connected to the Disqus community, offering the potential for increased exposure. Almost certainly the best free comment system available.
- Sharexy - You pretty much need social sharing buttons, and there's no shortage of plugins that accomplish this for you, but this one seems to have the perfect combination of options, customizability, and aesthetics. You can choose from several different button styles, choose a floating toolbar, choose where to place the buttons, change the size of the buttons, and arrange and choose networks as you see fit.
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin - Uses a native algorithm to find related posts on your site and recommend them at the bottom of your post. It supports thumbnail images and offers an advanced template system to control how it looks. You can also use it to add related posts to your RSS feed. This is great for boosting your visitors' time on site.
- Google Site Verification Plugin - Easily verify your site with Google webmaster tools and get this over with.
- Author hReview - Get rating stars in your Google listing with schema markup without all the technicalities.
- SEO Smart Links - This plugin automatically searches for keywords and transforms them into links so that Google can easily identify which page on your site is most important for that keyword. Don't rely too heavily on this, or your site will appear excessively optimized.
- Redirection - Easily redirect pages. This is incredibly useful if you are migrating from one site to another, and very useful if you have any broken or out-of-date pages.
- Broken Link Checker - Find and update your broken links.
- WP No Category Base - This plugin cleans up your blog post permalinks so that the mandatory "Catagory Base" is removed. This eliminates needless and illogical URL structure from your site.
- SEO Friendly Images - This plugin automatically updates your images with the correct ALT and TITLE attributes so that the search engines can more accurately determine what the image is about.
Have any other plugins to recommend? Let's hear them in the comments, and pass this along if you liked what you saw.
Image credit: zzpza