11 Must-Have Free SEO WordPress Plugins for Your New Site (Beginners)

An SEO is only as good as their tools, and WordPress happens to have A TON of useful tools for beginner, intermediate, and advanced marketers. So, it's no wonder SEO's get overwhelmed with the number of choices. But don't fret, here we will outline the 10 best free SEO plugins for WordPress with an added bonus: THEY ARE ALL COMPATIBLE WITH EACH OTHER! No more sifting through guides trying to find the best combination of plugins to accomplish what you need. This guide will provide you the best 10-plugin combination to dominate search rankings and minimize your time coding, optimizing, tracking, and all that other stuff digital marketers do.

1. Yoast SEO

Yoast is #1 on every list for a reason- it's easy to use, provides the essentials for on-page optimization, and just about every other SEO plugin is compatible with it. With this versatility and ease-of-use, Yoast is the top free SEO plugin for beginners again for 2018-2019.

2. Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress (GADWP)

A good SEO should learn how to use the Google Analytics Dashboard, and all you really need here is a plugin to install your analytics code. This gets the job done, and includes a bunch of other features you will probably never use.

Bonus Tip: There is not an easy way to track phone calls in Google Analytics. Consider adding a tracking phone number to your website if your website will generate phone calls for another business. A popular free option is the Google Voice call forwarding service. For established businesses, we recommend call tracking and dynamic number insertion with CallRail.

3. Contact Form 7

Form submissions are an SEO's bread and butter, and Contact Form 7 is the easiest and most capable contact form around. Now, I know what you're thinking: "But, Contact Form 7 isn't a SEO plugin! What the heck are you talking about?"

You're right, CF7 is not a "SEO plugin" in and of itself, but it's extensions sure are!

4. Contact Form 7 Redirection

This plugin makes your analytics tracking much easier. First, create a "Thank You" page on your website, then simply install the plugin and activate it. Now, change the redirect settings on your contact form to redirect to the "Thank You" page after a form submission. Finally, create a goal in Google Analytics for the URL of your "Thank You" page and you now have a well-oiled conversion tracking machine!

Bonus Tip: In Google Analytics, navigate to Conversions --> Goals --> Overview and click on "Source / Medium" to view where customers came from before filling out your form.

5. Contact Form CFDB7

You're an SEO, so naturally you will have a customer who "lost" or "didn't get" the leads you generated for them on your website. Well, good thing you can store those leads in a database for future reference! CFDB7 will automatically store all of the information from your Contact Form 7 submissions in an easy-to-use database so you can tell that pesky client "No, I'm not yankin' your chain. Now give me my money."

6. Contact Form 7 MailChimp Extension

A good digital marketer knows that conversions don't stop after a form fill-out. Email integration is perhaps the most popular and effective way of making sure your one-time customer becomes a repeat buyer for life. With the CF7 Mailchimp Extension, you can automatically add form fill-out information to predetermined lists in Mail Chimp for segmentation, email triggering, and more.

7. Squirrly

Having two SEO plugins is generally a no-go in the digital marketing world, but Squirrly is an exception to the rule. Capable of running alongside Yoast and All-in-One SEO, Squirrly helps the average marketer research and optimize content for keywords in the WordPress dashboard.

Bonus tip- Make sure to turn off the meta title and description options in Squirrly if you are using another SEO plugin as well. The last thing you need is two plugins fighting each other to show up in SERPS.

8. W3 Total Cache

As SEO and search engines progress, there is one key element that will never change as a ranking factor: load speeds. In a digital world with consumers that want answers NOW, your site will need to provide information at a rate users are comfortable with. But, load speeds go beyond SERP rankings and into the "conversion rate optimization" category. This is where W3 Total Cache comes in. As a beginner, you may not understand all of the details, so I will leave it at this: W3 Total Cache will speed up your load times, which will effect your rankings and conversion rates in a favorable way.

Bonus tip- Use a site speed tool such as Pingdom or GTMetrix to test your site speed before and after cache installs.

9. Smush

Still worried about getting your load times lower? Enter: Smush. Smush is an image compression and optimization plugin that strips hidden, bulky information from your images and reduces file size without losing quality. The result is a faster loading website, higher conversion rates, and maintained quality excellence.

Bonus tip- Even with Smush, you need to optimize your images before upload. Try exporting for web in Photoshop or resizing your image before uploading.

10. Redirection

Broken links are an SEO destroyer, so how do you fix them? The easy answer is the plugin Redirection. Redirection can monitor your 404 errors, which allow you to then easily redirect these pages to existing URLs on your site. Users will love that all of your links actually work, and Google loves that you actually care about user experience.

11. Schema

Schema is a quick way to tell Google who you are, what you are doing, and why in the form of JSON-LD code. However, the average digital marketer is not a web developer, so this code can be tricky to write and implement. Have no fear! The Schema plugin can help generate and implement schema code on your site for business hours, logos, blog posts, contact us pages, and more.


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