This page has list of my top recommended SEO plugins for wordpress, as I update the list I’ll update the page, you can also browse back through previous years recommendations:
Essential WordPress Plugins 2010
Surprisingly, the number pure SEO plugins is relatively short. This is due to two factors: my use of Thesis as a Theme (see Thesis Theme Review) and WordPress SEO Plugin.
WordPress SEO – In the past, I haven’t been a huge fan of all-in-one SEO plugins, but this year Joost De Valk changed my mind. This plugin does the work of 8 plugins. It builds XML sitemaps, breadcrumbs, builds the canonical tag, takes care of robots, Google analytics, and more. Really, if you use only one plugin from this entire post, this is the one to get.
Scribe SEO – Scribe SEO is a plugin that checks your post for keyword focus and bunch of other SEO factors (see my Scribe SEO Review for more details). This plugin is part of paid service, but I can tell you it’s one I use, and it makes me more money every month. For an example on how to use it, check out How to Perform a Content Audit.
Dagon Design Sitemap Generator – An HTML sitemap is one of the key features of making your website more crawlable. This plugin builds the sitemap and updates itself when new pages or posts are added.
WP Super Cache – With the announcement that site speed became a ranking factor, you need to pay attention to site performance. Caching is one of the easiest ways to do it.
WPtouch – As smart phones become more ubiquitous, everyone is going to need a mobile-friendly version of their website. Rather than having two versions, though, this plugin takes care of all the heavy lifting for you.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – This is a great plugin because it allows you to expose your readers and the search engine spiders to other related content.
UTILITIES AND EDITING
Tweet old post – Tweets posts from your archives very configurable. SEO Crybabies don’t like it, but the rest of the world gobbles up your old content like freshly baked bread. Make sure to disable the dates though.
Optimize DB – Cleans up your DB, making it smaller and faster.
Redirection – Sometimes pages move; this helps you identify and fix the problems.
WordPress Database Backup – Essential for making backup of your WordPress database.
Essential WordPress Plugins 2008
Meta Robots WordPress plugin – Adds meta tags automatically to posts
Aizatto’s Related Posts – Adds related post information to posts and feeds
Cross-Linker – Set up commonly used words to link to posts or redirects (also useful for affiliate links)
Sitemap Generator – Automatically builds and HTML style sitemap
Google (XML) Sitemaps – Automatically build and ping multiple sitemap services with an XML file
HeadSpace 2 – A monster plugin that lets you rewrite titles, meta data, and host of other features watch the video on the page for the full list of features
SEO Title Tag – Don’t need all the power of Headspace try SEO title tag
SEO Slugs – keeps slugs from becoming too long
Secure Form Mailer – makes building and integrating multiple and custom forms easy
FeedBurner FeedSmith – Makes integrating with feedburner easy
Feed Footer – Adds advertising, copyright or other custom messages into feeds
Flickr Photo Album – Integrate your flickr photo’s, albums, sets, and groups into your website
flickrRSS for WordPress – add photos from any flickr RSS feed into your website
Future Posts Calendar Plugin – A calendar that shows which days you have posts scheduled to publish, very helpful for multiple authors and scheduled posts.
Full Text Feed – Lets you use the “more” tag and still publish full feeds
GoCodes Redirection Plugin – Add tiny URL style functionality into your blog
Got Banners – Makes adding advertising banners quick and easy without having to monkey with the template
Highlight Author Comments – Makes giving authors comments a different style much easier
Objection Redirection! – Makes setting 301’s (especially lots of them) easy as pie
WordPress Organizer – Makes adding and managing uploads and images easier
Who Sees Ads – Makes ads or other elements conditionally displayed
Absolute Comments – Makes replying to comments and managing them much easier
Photo Dropper – Makes adding Creative Commons licensed photos from flickr quick and easy
Search Pages – Lets the search box search both posts and pages
Permalink Redirect – Keep urls with parameters from being indexed
WordPress Mobile Edition – Display a simple stripped down version of your site to mobile users
WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin – Save yourself thousands of hours of time upgrading wordpress
WordPress Database Backup – Automate backups of your blog
Cloud Based WordPress Databse Backup – Backup your wordpress files directly to a cloud server
Increase Sociability WordPress Plugin – Display custom messages for people who came from social sites like Digg and stumbleupon
Share This – add buttons for social networks under the share this icon
Subscribe to Comments – let people subscribe and be notified when new and follow up comments are made
What Would Seth Godin Do – Display a message to a new visitor on your blog
Twitter Tools – Integrate twitter functionality into your blog
Close Old Posts – Closes old posts keeps them from becoming spam targets and maintenance issues
Search and Replace – Lets you easily search and replace information in your database
Simple Tags – Manage and get tag suggestions for all posts
Reports and Analytics
Blog Metrics – Gives you comments and stats on monthly and author levels
Google Analytics and Feedburner Reports – get feedburner and google analytics in your wordpress admin section
Search Meter – Find out what people are searching for on your site
Essential WordPress Plugins 2006
These plugins go on 99% of the wordpress installs I do. I’ll only leave one off if there’s a very specific reason for it not to be there.
Akismet – This one actually comes with wordpress you only need to get a liscence to activate it. Unless you have need for spam in your blog this is one the most effective tools for stopping it. Very little actually gets through and very little gets flagged as a false positive.
Dagon Design Sitemap Generator – Let’s be honest once you’ve got a site over 50 pages maintaining a sitemap by hand is tedious and inefficient. This plugin has quite a few options and takes care of all the grunt work for you.
Organizer – This plugin allows you to create and upload files from the web browser without having to fire up your FTP program. It’s especially helpful on blogs with multiple users who aren’t tech savvy. The only downside is if they don’t know the “rules” things can get messy and disorgainzed very quickly.
Feedburner Replacement Plugin – Let’s you keep your feedburner feed on your domain.
Objection Redirection – This plugin by Dax is one of the most powerful and useful plugins I use. It let’s you redirect old and broken url’s to clean and fresh url’s without you having to touch an htaccess file.
Google Sitemaps The Google Sitemaps Webmaster Central program by Google is absolutely one of the most helpful things Google has ever put out. If you are fixing your own site or someone else’s there’s no better way to figure out what a search engine thinks about your site. This plugin updates and rebuilds the XML file everytime you make a new post and ping’s google to tell them about it. It’s especially helpful if you publish on a predetermined schedule. Warning make sure you have the file permissions set correctly or this won’t work properly.
WordPress Database Backup – If there is one wordpress plugin you absolutely need this is it. It gives you the ability to backup the core database tables and any other tables you specify. The backups happen on demand or on a nightly schedule. While it might be against TOS what I do is set up a dedicated gmail account for each wordpress blog. I then set this plugin to backup the tables every night and email the file to a gmail account. Viola a free daily incremental offsite backup.
Highly Reccomended Plugins
These plugins go on most of my installs but not all of them
Search Pages – This plugin ties the built in search function in wordpress to the pages. The default installation only searches blog posts. This is an absolute neccesity if you are using wordpress as a CMS and not a blogging tool.
Search Meter – Looking at search logs to find out who’s searching for what can be a valuable tool for figuring out what’s right and what’s wrong on your site.
Static Homepage – If you want to use wordpres as a CMS instead of a blog this plugin makes the homepage magic happen.
Not necessary but sometimes pretty helpful
Adhesive – Allows you to stick a posting to the top overriding the standard chronological order of things.
Adsense Deluxe – A powerful way to control adsense from a master level on your blog.
Adsense Injection – Another Dax special that randomly inserts Adsense somewhere in each posting. Not advisable for the control freaks, definitely advisable for sites with lots of returning readers who don’t normally click on Adsense.
Bunny’s Technorati Tags – A simple and easy interface for tagging in each blog post.
Bread Crumb Trail Generator – A little tricky to configure but very useful once you do. Especially nice when used on a static website.
Feed Copyrighter – Let’s you add copyright info to your feed. Makes it easy to track and follow scrapers.
Moderate Trackbacks – Not used as much as it once was Akismet catches most of the spam, but I keep it around as a backup.
Postie – A very powerful tool if you do remote posting via email. Takes a little tinkering to get it set up right but once you do it’s hands off. Combine with cronless postie for regular automated checking.
Related Posts – Automagically creates a list of related posts.
Recent Posts and Recent Comments – Shockingly these two plugins give you a list of recent posts and recent comments, go figure.
Flickr Photosets – If you are doing anything with flickr this plugin kicks ass letting you tie it into your wordpress bog. Especially nice if you’ve upgraded to flickr pro and have multiple albums, see an example.
Top 10 Posts – gives you the top 10 posts by views, very hackable see my top 100 posts for an example.
WP Cron – Makes all sorts of wordpress housekeeping features happen automagically. Just be sure to activate the main plugin first before any of the others or things may not work properly.
WP – Admin Bar – Puts a really nice navigation bar up for users who are logged in.
WP Contact Form – A very simple no frills contact form.
Use with Extreme Caution
These are specialty plugins that you really should know what the heck you are doing before you touch them as they could seriously mess things up if you aren’t careful.
Bad Behavior – Does a really good job at keeping out robot scrappers. Also does an excellent job at blocking people who have their user agent set as bot. Also does an amazing job of blocking bots that you may want to let in. Not very configurable.
Custom Query String – Let’s you set the number of posts to appear in a category or monthly archive page. Can result in some really huge files.
Subdomains by Category – Very cool but also dangerous if you don’t know what the heck you are doing.