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Anyone who has breathed even a whiff of internet marketing has heard the term SEO, an acronym for search engine optimization. This is the process of influencing search engines, mainly Google, to help a website rank higher in search results.

It includes optimizing a page through the proper use of keywords, backlinks, quality content, and a dozen other factors that change every time Google updates their algorithms.

People spend years figuring out the best way to rank in Google, but SEO best practices change so often it’s pointless to keep up. However, a few things remain the same: the use of keywords, the quality of the content on the site and metadata.

Fortunately for anyone building a blog, there are dozens of WordPress SEO plugins to choose from that will help you optimize every page of your site. With all these choices, it can be difficult to separate the good from the bad. This article will help you determine the right choice for your site.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

When it comes to WordPress SEO, Yoast is the biggest name in the game. The Yoast plugin is included by default in a lot of premium themes, but you can also find the plugin on its own if you want. It provides a comprehensive solution for all things SEO.

Yoast appears at the bottom of the post and allows you to edit every feature of your SEO. You can insert custom meta descriptions, a custom slug, SEO title, and much more.

Perhaps most useful is the SEO analysis that Yoast performs. It tells you whether a message is well optimized or not, then lists key issues, areas that could use some improvement, and areas where the message succeeds.

Yoast has two options: a free version with many features and a premium version that costs $89. The premium version offers free support, a redirect manager, and much more.

There are also consistent updates every two weeks on average to make sure the plugin works as well as possible.

All in one SEO package (WordPress

According to its website, the All in One SEO Pack has been downloaded more than 50 million times. It’s one of the most powerful plugins out there for one reason: the paid version lets you submit your sitemap to Google and Bing. This makes it easier for the bots to crawl the site, which almost immediately gives a bit more SEO.

Like the Yoast plugin, All in One SEO has a free and a paid version. The free version has all the basic features, as you can see in the screenshot above. You can create a custom title, meta description, and URL.

It also gives you the option to activate NOINDEX on the post, which means that Google will not index it in their search engines. NOFOLLOW tells search engines to ignore links from the page. You can also disable SEO for the post. Clicking that checkbox will bring up another option below to disable Google Analytics.

The paid version is offered at the Individual, Business, and Agency tiers for $136, $236, and $1118 per year, respectively. For most people, Individual or Business will suffice.

The Pro version of All in One SEO offers advanced support for the WooCommerce shopping cart, SEO options for tags, categories and taxonomies, and access to a number of educational and support forums.

Yoast and All in One SEO are fantastic tools for users who want to delve into the optimization of their site and improve even the smallest details of it. But what about users who know SEO is necessary but want to be as hands-off as possible? That’s where SEO Framework comes in.

This plugin is largely considered the best alternative to Yoast for two reasons. First, it is powerful. Second, it’s completely free.

There is no premium version of SEO Framework. What you see is what you get. SEO Framework is pre-configured to deliver the best performance right away. It treats SEO as the difference between an automatic and a manual transmission; sure, if you’re a pro you might get a little better gas mileage from a manual, but is it? For real worth all the hassle of not having a vending machine?

The plugin appears below the WordPress post text box and has three tabs: General, Social, and Visibility.

  • The General tab allows you to edit the meta title and meta description, and a colored bar graph and description next to the text boxes indicate how optimized they are.
  • The Social tab allows for custom titles, descriptions, and a custom image for social media.
  • In the Visibility tab, you can set the custom URL, a redirect URL, and manage the robot and archive settings.

The right plugin for the right job

All three of these plugins are recommended over and over on dozens of different SEO sites. While there are plenty of other WordPress SEO plugins out there (as well as a whole host of different tools for specific tasks), these three will be the most useful. If you want a truly hands-on, controlled approach to your SEO, Yoast or All in One is the way to go. That said, Yoast seems to be just a little more powerful.

But if you’re looking for something simple to get you started in the search engine optimization world, SEO Framework is a low-risk way. Since the plugin automates much of the process for you, it’s impossible to make a mistake on your site that destroys the rankings — at least as far as optimizing your posts goes.

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