The Best WordPress SEO Plugins in 2019 (It’s Not Yoast)
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The Best WordPress SEO Plugins in 2019 (It’s Not Yoast)


There are over 49 pages of WordPress SEO plugins. That’s nearly a thousand SEO plugins to choose from. But you don’t need that many to make
your website “SEO friendly.” So today, I’m going to show you how to build
the perfect SEO setup on WordPress with just six free WordPress plugins. Stay tuned. [music] What’s up SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool that
helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche. Now, as I’m sure you know, there are numerous
categories in SEO like on-page, technical and off-page SEO. And WordPress plugins can help a ton to master
on-page SEO tasks like titles, meta tags, and other content-optimization-related things. Now, plugins are also amazing for technical SEO
tasks, like page speed optimization, redirects, canonicals, and hreflang to name a few. So rather than listing off 101 plugins, I’m
going to show you only the cream of the crop and the exact setup you can use to make
Google and your visitors happy. Let’s get to it. The first SEO plugin I recommend is Rank Math. You might be more familiar with household names
like Yoast SEO and All-in-one SEO pack. These are two great options, but in my opinion,
a newer plugin called Rank Math beats both of them hands down. Rank Math is an all-in-one SEO plugin that
can help you with a ton of on-page and technical SEO tasks. Now, something I love about this plugin is that they’ve basically integrated a lot of features
from smaller one-trick plugins. Let’s go through some of the features that
you’ll use in your day-to-day SEO tasks. So I’m editing a post right now which is clearly
targeting the keyword “SEO tips” you can tell by the title and URL. If we scroll down below the post, you’ll see
a preview of what the page will look like in Google’s SERPs. You can click on either the title or description
and easily edit your own custom text in there. Now, an awesome feature I like is that you
can add Rich Snippets super-easily. So let’s say this post was a review I had written. I’ll change the Rich Snippet type to Review,
add a score, and save it as a draft. You’ll then be able to see your updated SERP preview. Some features like these are awesome for people
who don’t want to deal with structured data like this. Another feature in the editor is that you have
the option to add the rel=”nofollow” tag without adding additional plugins or manually
entering it yourself in the HTML editor. This is a great way to quickly add nofollow tags
to affiliate links or others you don’t fully trust. Now, from a sitewide perspective, Rank Math’s
plugin will do a few common tasks like automatically generating sitemaps, automatically
adding the target=”blank” attribute to your links so they actually open in a new window, and they also have a feature for 404 monitoring. This is a cool feature because if a lot of
people are hitting a dead page, it would be a good sign to redirect that page to a relevant
one rather than leaving them at a dead end. There are a ton of other features for controlling redirects,
site architecture, and editing your robots.txt file. Now, the next 3 plugins that I’m going to talk
about are all meant to improve page speed. And the reason why I want to emphasize optimizing
for page speed is because a) it’s a ranking factor; and b) it improves user experience. So before we get to that, let’s run a page
speed test in Google PageSpeed Insights on this dummy website. And it looks like our PageSpeed score isn’t
so hot with low mobile and desktop scores. I’ll also run the same URL using Pingdom’s
Speed Test tool. And it looks like our speed isn’t great there considering
this is pretty much a blank WordPress installation. Let’s optimize them with a few plugins and
see what kind of results we can get. The first PageSpeed tool I’ll be using is
A3 Lazy Load. This plugin adds lazy load to images and other
media like videos. This basically means that an image or media
item won’t load until the user scrolls to it, allowing the page to load much faster. It’s literally plug-and-play as long as you don’t
have any other conflicting scripts or plugins. Now, if I run a Page Speed Test on the same URL, the three things you’ll notice is that the page size
has shrunk a lot, the load time has gone down by around a full second, and the number of requests
sent is just 1/7th of our initial test. Alright, the next page speed tool is ShortPixel. This tool compresses images, making large image files
smaller and the result is going to be faster load times. To set it up, just sign up for a free account at ShortPixel
and then enter your API key in the settings. And with a free account, you’ll get 100 free
image compressions each month or you can pay for credits if you need more. Here you’ll have a few options for compression type. Using Lossy will offer the best compression rate, while Lossless will give you the best quality photos. Now, Glossy is somewhere in between,
which is a nice balance in my opinion. If you already have images uploaded on your site,
just hover over media, and select bulk ShortPixel. You can then optimize all images on your site
with the click of a button. Alright, so images should be handled with
these two plugins, so now we need to get into an important matter
and that’s caching. The tool that I prefer to use for caching
is W3 Total Cache. This tool is all about optimizing your website’s
performance. A few of the features it includes are: using CDNs, minification of CSS, HTML, and Javascript,
combining scripts, browser caching, and more. Now, I won’t bother going through the settings
I use for W3 Total Cache because I’ve already covered them in the second part of our WordPress
SEO series, so feel free to check that out after. Let’s go and check our speed metrics. So on PageSpeed insights, it looks like we have both
a near perfect mobile score and desktop score, which is a huge improvement from the default setup. And as for the actual Page Speed Test, it
looks like we’re under a second now. Not too shabby for a few minutes of work. Now, it’s important to note that I’m using
the default theme here and I don’t have external scripts installed like Google Analytics. So these scores don’t account for additional scripts. But I have used this exact same setup with a few
custom modifications on fully functional sites. And yes, I was able to achieve similar sub
one-second load times. Alright, so we got our all-in-one tool running
and our pagespeed is lightning fast. Let’s talk about a couple user experience tools. A super lightweight and easy-to-use plugin
is Easy Table of Contents. This plugin allows you to create a table of
contents for each post or page in just a few clicks. Once you’ve installed the plugin, go to your post and scroll down to the Table of contents section. Just hit the “Insert table of contents” checkbox
and publish or update your post. It’ll then automatically include a table of
contents based on your heading tags. Now, if you have a super-long post like this
with a bunch of headings and subheadings, you might want to clean this up a bit. So this time, I’ll set it to only create a
table of contents based on H2 tags. And I’ll update the page. And as you can see, it looks much cleaner
and more user friendly for visitors to navigate around the page. Now, since a table of contents makes long pages
look less daunting, it can help improve things like time on page, bounce rate, and dwell time. Plus, it can help you win jump links in the
SERP, which may help increase your CTR. Now plugins are great because it allows you
to do complex things without any coding. In fact, we’re creating our own free WordPress
SEO plugin, which I’m super-excited about. So if you want to be updated when it’s released,
sign up at ahrefs.com/wordpress-seo-plugin, and just replace the spaces with dashes. Now, as I mentioned before, WordPress SEO plugins
are great for on-page and technical things, not off-page SEO tasks like link building. Backlinks are almost a necessity to rank for
any competitive keywords. Also, effective on-page SEO requires a solid
foundation in keyword research. So I’ve linked up some tutorials and playlists
for you on how you can up your link building and keyword research games, so I highly recommend
watching those now. Now, if you found this tutorial to be helpful,
make sure to hit the thumbs up button. And if you have any questions, leave one in the
comments below. I’ll see you in the next tutorial.

100 Comments

  • eKelum SA

    Going to remove premium Yoast and install Rankmath. Because of rich snippets. Can I know that, Rankmath has updated its rich snippet markups with new google updates ? Thanks Dude..👌

  • Michael Gordon

    Another great video! Thanks! I have to admit though… I am a little surprised, I thought that Yoast would have made the list since its been brought up in previous vids. Guess I should come out from under my rock and try something new. Can't wait to see what you guys produce!

  • Cristina M.

    The upcoming “free” Ahrefs SEO plugin will be for Ahrefs customers only 🙄. It’s ABSURD to call it “free”. It will cost a minimum of $99 USD per month.

  • Gaming Gajju

    Hii Sam i have an old article on query like "xyz referral code"

    And being on top 5 is generating some revenue for me but now some good authority sites upranked me and now i'm on 11th position peoples are not visiting 2nd page of google thats why im not generating any revenue. So. What can i do to make it in top 5??

  • Kandaman

    My man Sam Oh…You ARE killing it man!!
    This video was EXTREMELY helpful. I REALLY liked Plugin #1. I've never heard of it until now. I'll certainly check it out!

  • Christian Slagter-Koster

    Ahrefs, Sam & Max good to sum up some plugins. But it would be good to also point out the negatives/cons. For example did you read this https://www.reddit.com/r/Wordpress/comments/cyj8gr/yoast_seo_vs_rank_math_do_we_have_a_new_winner/?utm_source=amp&utm_medium=&utm_content=comments_view_all & https://www.littlebizzy.com/blog/rank-math-seo-fraud?

  • Okba Cherboub

    I'm using WP Rocket for caching and lazy load. I will try the new SEO plugin Rank math. Thank you Sam for this helpful video.

  • Izey Victoria Odiase

    I installed Rank Math and used it for a while. It's good, but a work in progress. I'll stick with Yoast for now.

  • Andrew Kordyban

    Awesome video Sam. I've been using rank math for a few months now and love it! Love that it will optimize snippets. Solid work!

  • Ahrefs

    Thanks for watching. In case you missed it, we'll be creating our own WordPress SEO Plugin (hopefully sooner than later). If you'd like updates on the release, you can sign up here: https://ahrefs.com/wordpress-seo-plugin

    If there were any plugins we missed that you love, let us know in the comments.

  • HeroHondenbrok010

    Seriously Sam Oh is the real deal, he’s keeping ahref alive. @Sam Oh are you the founder/CEO? If not, you should get a shit ton of shares!!!

  • Mac

    Excellent video Sam! I am using free version Cloudflare and do I still need to install extra plugin like W3 total cache? What is the max numbers of plugins we can have without burdening our site? Is it recommended to switch from yoast to rank math for established site? Tq

  • Chad Thiele

    😳 Did you see this before recommending Rank Math? https://www.littlebizzy.com/blog/rank-math-death-threats

    Not spam, this is why I removed Rank Math from all of my sites and never recommend it.

  • Avidon Marketing Group - Los Angeles SEO Company

    Awesome video Sam. I guess the Rank Math secret is officially out 😉 Worth noting to viewers that Rank Math imports previous SEO plugin settings, so switching is pretty easy – https://rankmath.com/kb/how-to-setup/#Import_Data

  • James Scott

    Nice tips Sam 👍 shortpixel is awesome. Impressive compression savings on lossy 👍

    No mention of Yoast because you guys are gonna crush them with your SEO plugin lol.

  • Simon RB

    Instead of ShortPixel and A3 Lazy Load, why not use Smush instead? It compresses more images and adds the lazy load feature in the free version. Surely one plugin is better than two.

  • Peak District SEO

    Great Video Sam, thanks so much. Lots of useful goodies in there. We had heard of Rankmath, but never tried it out, it's now on our list. Love your videos, they are informative but concise, no waffling, and not too techy. Perfect stuff.

  • SEO Tools TV

    It causes addiction to watching Ahrefs videos. There are a few more tools in my base )) Right now I need to ask my content manager to test new staff. On-page SEO is really important. Websites lose 20% of their conversions for each loading second. Amazon invests a lot to improve site speed and have today over 40% of all hosting resources in the US. The second is Microsoft, the third is Google. Big brands know about the importance of UX and how just simple loading kills conversions.

  • Eric Siemek

    So you're using 2 plugins for images (lazy load & compression) have you ever used tools like WP Smush Pro which gives you both those options in one plugin? We use these on our client sites, but wondering if you've tried them and seen a better result from the 2 separate plugins?

  • JB Jackson

    You did not provide link for settings of W3 Total Cache or where to find the page you mention here to find your settings?

  • Just Jason

    Hi, I wanted to know how relevant is SEO in 2019, especially with everyone now using websites as a sales funnel instead of a site for information or specific keywords?

    And I'm currently building a website that is completely built in Revolution Sliders, is it user-friendly? Trying to find informations regarding this but the results are mostly outdated.

  • Paritosh Pandya

    Please consider divi page builder , Elementor page builder while making you SEO tool. I use divi and divi has 6 million website

  • John Zhao

    Hi sam, If i use the siteground hosting, How About the SG optimization plugins, I think it's a Great a plugins to improve the site speed And optimize pictures, hope you can Do some test. Or recommend some hosting, Waiting…

  • J B

    This was supposed to be about the TITLE of the video: http://prntscr.com/pnqfgw yet instead went elsewhere. And RankMath aint the Best, SEOPess kills it by far. example Rankmath ONLY just in last 30 days from this comment added support for ACF in Titels and Descriptions…. lol

  • Dalibor Sojic

    Nice said, but in the real world it's not so easy. I'm talking about speed optimisation. JavaScript minification is not working properly. It might broke some of JavaScript features.

    In general, this is job for professionals, somebody who knows what's is happening under the hood.

  • Nick Litten

    I recently jumped ship from yoast to rankmath and love it! It's worth mentioning it imports your old yoast settings like url-redirect 👍

  • Mark Sceats

    Hi Sam – another helpful video. Agree with you that Rank Math is better than Yoast, however another option I suggest people consider is SEOPress which blows Yoast out of the water. We switched all our sites from Yoast to SEOPress.

  • Michael Taiwan

    I didn't find this "video helpful" but CRAZILY INTERESTING that I watched till the end, liked, subscribed, Bell for all and spend time with writing a comment! I already use the last 4 plugins mentioned. This video is a free mini course so I suppose the channel is full of gems… Many thanks!

  • Jonathon Emery

    I'd be curious to hear what the folks at Ahrefs think about the Genesis Framework for WordPress. I use its built-in SEO features in lieu of a multipurpose plugin like Yoast or RankMath. I still use plugins for site speed (WP Rocket and Imagify), though.

  • Guillaume Hamel

    Hi Ahrefs people,

    Can you talk about all the claims that this plugin is actually flawed? There are tons of comments/rumors saying that the plugin received lots of fake reviews and I see lots of comments from people saying that their traffic tanked after switching to this plugin.

    My problem though is that all the review are really shallow… no real in-depth analysis of code (meta, schema, etc) generated nor any thorough before / after stats comparison.

    Oh, and as a tech lead in a WordPress maintenance company, I can tell you that W3TC while powerful and free is not a good recommandation. Unless you know what you do, you can easily break your site and the results achieved are not the best. For example, WP Super Cache has been getting better results in most independant tests and is way easier to setup (and less prone to break your site.)

  • Nayeem Ahmed

    Thanks for this awesome video. Can you make a video about how to use & configure rank math? I want to use it on my site.

  • Claudio Pereira

    Sam, I really enjoyed your video. I didn't know about the AHREFS channel and I thank Google Discover for the suggestion. The suggested plugins are amazing. RankMath was chosen as the best SEO option for WordPress in 2019 by @cursoemvideo, a Brazilian online training channel. Thank you so much for sharing and congratulations on your work. I already subscribed to the channel and I will certainly enjoy all its content. Greetings from Brazil!

  • Dero Moona

    Hi and thanks for the video what if I delete my yoat SEO and install this New plugin yank math can i have some problems with my website

  • Espresso Triplo

    I must admit this video is great as much as Ahrefs is.

    The only question mark I have is about RankMath. Surfin forums and chats several people complain about the volume of information the plugin collects from the website. Now we all know how clickstream datas are collected but why it is not mentioned anywhere? Just to give you a link: https://www.littlebizzy.com/blog/rank-math-seo-fraud

    What's your opinion about it?

  • Giridhar Addagalla

    Hi Ahrefs thanks for the information I really liked, and can u suggest any security plugins and product add-ons plugins which is free of cost please. Thanks

  • behthiansu

    Thanks! Very helpful! What's your view about WP Rocket plugin in improving page speed? Is A3 lazy load and WP total cache good enough to improve speed?

  • Edouard Soutzo

    Why guys you are not making a plugin that synchs with your API and analyze people content to give some advice on TDF and competition

  • Lumosia | Actor Headshots Photography

    We have just gone through all the steps and got amazing results!!! I documented the changes for our site https://www.lumosia.com on a LinkedIn article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/slow-website-we-followed-one-video-got-huge-results-sean-gannon

  • Susan Sperling

    Great video thanks. The question, I have been using WPFastest Cache when I switched to W3 my score went down and time went up. Do you have experience with WPfastest Cache?

  • Mis Películas Favoritas

    Hi there! This is a great video, very useful. This tools seems to be very helpful. I just wonder, would this tools work as well for websites with a different language rather than English? Keep up the great work!

  • Bram Donderwinkel

    I already commented on how I wanted to try everything you mentioned in the video. Now that I've implemented everything: I actually managed to get my desktop page speed from 59/100 to 98 out of 100 using your advice.
    And mobile speed went from 39/100 to 62/100. You guys know your business, thank you so much for sharing!

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