Let me guess: for you, the best free SEO plugin for WordPress is the one that
- is feature-packed
- is quick to set up
- is super easy to use, featuring a straightforward UI
- automates common SEO optimization tasks such as setting the meta-information
- is regularly updated
- “plays well” with other plugins
“Am I asking too much from an optimization plugin?” you might ask yourself.
Not at all.These are all legitimate expectations.
Now, we've done some digging and put together a top 5 WordPress SEO plugins that meet your criteria.
So, without further ado, here are the finalists:
If you're looking for a lightweight optimization plugin tailored for smaller-sized websites, this might just be the one for you.
Here's how it works:
It displays color-coded guidelines that point out to the aspects on that page that you need to improve.
And that's not all:
If you hover over with your mouse pointer, it'll trigger useful notes on how precisely you can optimize those specific elements on the page.
In short: it provides you with both the WHAT and the HOW to optimize (on) your website.
You'd want to go with The SEO Framework because:
- it's lightweight
- it provides you with good documentation and enough filters to customize your SEO settings
- it's effectively simple (or “simply effective”): there are no extraneous features, it's one of those WordPress SEO plugins that does precisely what you expect it to do
- it's open-source
- it has clean, well-structured code
- it ships with a UI that integrates seamlessly into WordPress
2. Rank Math, Probably the Best Free SEO Plugin for WordPress
As Joshua Hardwick from Ahrefs admitted it, as well, Rank Math is the free SEO plugin for WordPress with the most intuitive UI.
And if, to the convenience of an easy to use interface, you add a heavy load of SEO features, your quest for the best optimization plugin might just end there.
But let's see precisely what its set of features and selling points include:
- it's free
- it's easy to set up
- it comes with built-in redirection
- it integrates with Google Search Console
- it provides you with full Google Schema Markup (rich snippets... 14 different snippets, to be more specific)
- it enables you to keep track of your Google Keyword rankings
- it provides you with card previews for Facebook and Twitter
- it generates internal link suggestions
- it monitors 404 errors: it keeps track of the users landing on “dead” pages and provides you with useful data on the URL of those “problem” pages and on the no. of times they've been accessed
This WordPress SEO plugins comparison had to include a reliable plugin for implementing 301 redirects, right?
Well, here it is.
And here are its strongest pros:
- it's so very easy to use: just enter the source and the target URLs, click “add redirect” and you're good to go
- it's free
- it provides support for other 3xx redirects as well
Tip: if you're in the “advanced users” league, you can go even further and use regex matching for redirects (and ignore URL parameters, trailing slashes, etc.)
Simplicity at its best...
If you're looking for a “swiss tool” to boost your SEO efforts with, this might just be the one.
The All in One SEO Pack plugin comes packed with all the essential SEO features you need. And it makes a great option if you're not an SEO guru yourself.
If you only want to help your blog (or startup website)... gain some traction in the search results.
But let's see which are the specific features that make it a strong candidate for the title of “the best free SEO plugin for WordPress”:
- it sets itself apart from Yoast (its more popular “twin plugin”, some say), with unique features such as canonical tag support, auto-generated description tags, a “bad bot” blocker
- it “spoils” you with a clean, intuitive dashboard
- its essential (free) features are robust enough to power your SEO strategy if it's a basic blog (or a small website) that you need to boost in the search engines
We couldn't have left out precisely an image compression tool from our list of top 5 WordPress SEO plugins now, could we?
EWWW Image Optimizer comes as the most effective free alternative to the well-famed ShortPixel image optimizer.
Its biggest selling point? It's very easy to use.
You get to compress your images in bulk, on the go. And by “images” I do mean the previously uploaded ones, as well.
But let's see what are its most “tempting” features:
- it provides you with options for lossless and lossy image compression
- it puts no limit on the number and the size of the image files that you upload
- it provides you with JPG, PDF, PNG, and GIF optimization support
- its free version carries out the optimization tasks on your web server; no need for you to sign up in order to use this plugin
And that last feature becomes particularly important if it's a privacy-focused website that you need to optimize for speed.
Word of caution: since EWWW uses your own server to perform the optimizations, it can put a strain on it if you go overboard with the no. of images that you use it for.
Honorable Mention: The Yoast SEO Plugin
Why did we leave the “rockstar” plugin out from our list?
Isn't Yoast the best free SEO plugin for WordPress, according to many users?
Yes and no...
Yes, it's by far the most popular (and the most comprehensive) SEO plugin for WordPress.
But there are certain aspects which have blurred its “rockstar aura”:
- the annoying paid aids
- the reputation of slowing down the back-ends of the websites using it (its features aren't powerful enough to compensate for that)
- the fact that it trades looks for functionality: its UI is not one of the prettiest ones
What's the best free SEO plugin for WordPress according to your own feature requirements and criteria?
Is it included in this list? And why do you prefer it?
Let us know in the comments below.