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12 Best Free SEO Plugins for WordPress

If you’re ready to step up your SEO game, but not willing to break the bank on premium WordPress plugins, then you’ve come to the right article. We’ll walk you through 12 of the best FREE WordPress plugin for your entire SEO strategy. Use the table of contents below to navigate this guide:

Is WordPress Good for SEO?

The short answer is yes. When you compare the SEO capabilities of WordPress against other popular content management systems, you’ll find that WordPress gives you greater control over your site’s optimization. Here are several reasons why WordPress is good for SEO:

  • WordPress is open-source, so there are tons of free or low-cost options for improving SEO
  • Out-of-the-box installations are friendly to searchbots and load quickly
  • Its flexible permalink structure makes it easy to create search-friendly URLs
  • There are tons of plugins for adding or improving SEO functions

Best All-Around SEO Plugins

1. The SEO Framework

the seo framework wordpress plugin

Pricing: Free, with premium extensions (all available with $59 / year license for 1 website)

This all-around WordPress SEO plugin built for SEO professionals. It’s packed with features, but best of all? It’s FAST. Unlike other SEO plugins that can weigh down your website’s performance, this plugin consumes fewer resources and does not serve any ads.

Highlighted features of The SEO Framework plugin (free version):

  • Automated page title and meta description options
  • XML sitemap
  • Robots meta tag directives
  • Social meta tags
  • Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools verification
  • Basic website and business schema markup

While this plugin gives you a ton of control over your website’s SEO configurations, it’s not built for beginners. If you have limited SEO experience, you may find it confusing to work with this plugin.

2. Yoast SEO

yoast seo plugin

Pricing: Free, with a premium version ($89 / 1 site) and premium extensions

With over 5 million active installations, this is the most popular SEO plugin on WordPress. It’s a fantastic plugin, especially for people who are new to SEO.

Highlighted features of the Yoast SEO plugin (free version):

  • Configuration wizard
  • XML sitemap
  • Robots meta tag directives
  • Google Search Console integration
  • Organization schema markup

My biggest issue with this plugin is that it seems that there’s less and less customization available as the plugin gets updated (with some features moving to the premium version). Other users have complained about bugginess, but I haven’t experienced anything like that.

Best Image Optimization Plugins

3. reSmush.it Image Optimizer

resmush.it image optimizer plugin

Pricing: Free

Lossless (and lossy) image compression is a great way to ensure that browsers are loading the smallest possible image file while retaining high quality. If you’re doing this manually, it can be time-consuming. If you’re not doing any image compression, then you’ve got to download this plugin.

Highlighted features of the reSmush.it Image Optimizer plugin:

  • Compress PNG, JPG, GIF, BMP and TIF images up to 5MB
  • Automatically optimize images on upload
  • Bulk optimize all of your images

This plugin beat out a number of other popular image compression plugins in a test by WPBeginner.

4. WP Smush

wp smush plugin

Pricing: Free, with a premium version (all of WPMU DEV’s plugins come with a $49/mo subscription)

This plugin comes recommended by WP Engine. Like reSmush.it, it

Highlighted features of the WP Smush plugin (free version):

  • Lossless image compression
  • Bulk compress 50 images at a time
  • Automatically optimize images on upload

This plugin is really easy to use but doesn’t give you any control over the image compression settings.

5. WP Retina 2x

wp retina 2x plugin

Pricing: Free, with premium upgrades (starting at $14/yr)

Retina devices can display crisp, high-resolution images but require that images be sized two times larger than their normal display size. This creates a UX vs page speed conflict. Do you sacrifice page speed by uploading larger images? Or, do you risk showing blurry images to keep your site loading quickly?

WP Retina 2x solves that problem by automatically creating retina images and serving them to retina devices.

Highlighted features of the WP Retina 2x plugin (free version):

  • Bulk generate retina images for your entire media library
  • Automatically generate retina images on upload

If you’re using an image compression plugin (like one of the two mentioned above), I recommend that you check to make sure this plugin is compatible.

Best Site Speed Plugins

6. W3 Total Cache

w3 total cache plugin

Pricing: Free

If your goal is to score a 100 on Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool, then you’re going to need this plugin. This is the most complete caching plugin for WordPress websites.

Highlighted features of the W3 Total Cache plugin:

  • Caching of all kinds
  • CDN integration
  • Minify CSS, HTML and JS
  • Combine CSS, HTML and JS

W3 Total Cache is a complex plugin. It has the potential to break your site if you’re not careful. You’re likely going to need to find a guide online that’s relevant to your particular theme or host to properly configure the plugin. Or, you can pay the W3 Total Cache team a fee to set it up for you.

7. WP Super Cache

wp super cache plugin

Pricing: Free

If reading that last paragraph made you nervous about trying to configure W3 Total Cache, then consider WP Super Cache. This plugin is packed with many of the same features but requires little configuration to get going.

Highlighted features of the WP Super Cache plugin:

  • Scheduling for clearing cached pages
  • Precaching for quick first-time loading
  • Ability to export settings

Although easier to setup, you’re not likely to see the same performance boost as W3 Total Cache. But, with its easier setup, some optimization is better than no optimization.

Best XML Sitemap Plugins

Note: If you’ve installed The SEO Framework plugin or the Yoast SEO plugin, then you already have a free XML sitemap. Make sure the XML sitemap setting is activated in your chosen plugin, then you can find your sitemap using one of these URLs:

  • For The SEO Framework plugin: /sitemap.xml
  • For the Yoast SEO plugin: /sitemap_index.xml

8. Google XML Sitemaps

google xml sitemaps plugin

Pricing: Free

There really is only one best XML sitemap plugin. This reliable plugin will generate an XML sitemap for you that is optimized for search engines.

Highlighted features of the Google XML Sitemap plugin:

  • Automatically regenerates when changes to your site are made
  • Notifies search engines when the sitemap is updated
  • Add the sitemap URL to your robots.txt file

One advantage of using Yoast SEO’s sitemap feature is that it creates a sitemap index file. Meaning, you have individual sitemaps for separate sections of your website (e.g., Posts, Pages, Products), which can be helpful for monitoring crawling and indexing activity in Google Search Console.

Best 301 Redirect Plugins

9. Redirection

redirection plugin

Pricing: Free

301 redirects are essential for retaining your SEO authority whenever your URLs change. The self-proclaimed “most popular redirect manager for WordPress” has everything you need to keep up with redirects.

Highlighted features of the Redirection plugin:

  • Tracks 404 errors to suggest opportunities for redirects
  • Create conditional redirects
  • Import and export redirects

If you know your regular expressions, this plugin can also be great for easily creating bulk redirects based on URL patterns.

10. WP 404 Auto Redirect to Similar Post

wp 404 301 auto redirect to similar post plugin

Pricing: Free

If you know your WordPress site is riddled with 404 errors and you don’t have time to fix them individually, then consider the WP 404 Auto Redirect to Similar Post plugin. This plugin detects 404 errors from your posts and will automatically fix them by creating a redirect to a similar post.

Highlighted features of the Redirection plugin:

  • Auto-detect 404 errors
  • Automatically creates redirects to similar posts
  • Set your redirect preferences
  • Compatible with the Redirection plugin highlighted above

Best Schema Markup Plugins

If you need to create some limited schema markup or are comfortable manually adding it to your site, then save yourself a plugin and check out our post on the best free schema markup generators.

11. All In One Schema Rich Snippets

all in one schema rich snippets plugin

Pricing: Free

If you’d like to go beyond the basic schema markup offered by the free versions of The SEO Framework and Yoast SEO plugins, then go with the All In One Schema Rich Snippets plugin.

Highlighted features of the All In One Schema Rich Snippets plugin:

  • Schema markup types that are supported:
    • Review
    • Event
    • People
    • Product
    • Recipe
    • Software Application
    • Video
    • Articles

12. Schema

schema plugin

Pricing: Free

This plugin makes it easy to add schema markup of several different varieties in the preferred JSON-LD format. Unlike the previously mentioned plugin, this one has breadcrumb markup, which can be useful for larger websites.

Highlighted features of the Schema plugin:

  • Schema markup types that are supported:
    • Creative Work
    • Blog
    • Breadcrumbs
    • Person
    • Video
    • Audio
By | 2018-07-23T22:46:33+00:00 July 7th, 2018|SEO, Tools|0 Comments

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