Organic traffic is the one that comes to your website from search engines such as Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, etc. As per BrightEdge, 53% is the percentage of all trackable website traffic that comes from organic search. This might seem much, but, there’s a trick. Ahrefs says that 90.63% of web pages worldwide don’t get organic search traffic from Google.
Now, don’t let that 90.63% statistic scare you. Take it as an opportunity. Few websites know how to develop the right strategy to drive organic traffic. Sure, it takes time and effort, but, in the end, you will see long-term results.
Here are some other interesting stats that are relevant for a digital business in 2022:
- 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
- 53% of all website traffic clicks on organic results.
- More than 200 ranking factors determine your position in Google search results.
- Around 33% of all clicks go to the first three positions in Google search results.
- Ecommerce sites get 10x more traffic from search engines than from social media.
- 58.4% of consumers purchased a product or service online each week.
So, let’s see which are the advantages of developing search engine optimization strategies (aka SEO).
Why does a website need SEO?
According to Moz, SEO has about 20 more times the traffic opportunity of paid ads both on mobile and desktop. What does “opportunity” mean? Well, once you manage to grow a steady monthly organic traffic, and as long as you refresh your content and build links, you will end up having ever-green targeted traffic.
In a nutshell, SEO refers to:
- doing keyword and topics research that focus on your audience’s needs,
- identifying those keywords that have significant monthly search volumes, as well as low keyword difficulty (meaning that a blog article focusing on that article can rank higher and faster, while needing a few number of backlinks),
- developing fresh and original content (on the blog) around the topics your audience is interested in, or optimizing product and service pages around those keywords.
- developing a strategy for acquiring links toward the articles. In the eyes of Google such links are proof that your content is worthwhile.
For example, there is this recipe website that I like, loveandlemons.com. Just take a look at those pages and their organic traffic (as per Ahrefs data)! You can see the keywords the pages rank for in US, and their position in organic results.
So, coming back to our question, why would a website need SEO? Here are our answers:
- If done properly, organic traffic is cheaper than paid traffic. The moment you stop pouring budgets into your paid ad campaigns, that traffic will stop. This won’t happen with organic traffic. Yeah, it might fade over time if you stop building links, or refreshing old content, but it will still bring in traffic. On thing though, make sure to focus on the right keywords, and the right audience.
- Higher conversion rates on product pages, if you focus on keywords that focus on the proper intent.
- Users trust search engines and those brands that show up in the top positions seem more credible and reliable.
- SEO can give you a competitive edge. If more websites are selling the same thing, the one invests more in SEO is more likely to have more customers. You can use a Google scrapping service to analyze keyword positions or fetch any other information from search engine results pages.
Now, when it comes to your WordPress website, you can kick-off with your SEO strategy with the help of SEO plugins.
What are WordPress SEO plugins?
SEO plugins are modules specially designed for WordPress, that have features that aim to improve the quality of websites’ content. Improvements in content quality concern both users’ experience with the website and meeting search engines’ standards.
Can you do without SEO plugins?
Yes, you can. But, you will still need to use some other tools such as Ahrefs, Moz, or SEOSurfer, that are CMS-agnostic, that can help you with on-page and off-page optimizations.
WordPress SEO plugins just give you a head start in terms of keyword and links optimization. They provide you with some basic recommendations. But you will need to do much more than that. At the end of the article we’ll give you some extra recommendations as well.
Obviously, SEO doesn’t mean just technical improvements and monitoring. The scope of website optimization is much larger, from studying the niche and users’ behavior to tightly managing inbound traffic, engagement, and leads/sales. For instance, you can use one of the comprehensive tools such as the DataForSEO SERP API. The tool will provide you with structured data from Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex results pages. For each search engine, you can set different parameters such as keywords, location, time frame and language in order to get the full overview and develop your SEO strategy.
At the end of the day, if your research this is done wrong, no other tool will be of use…
Introducing the most popular WordPress SEO plugins for 2022
Yoast SEO is the no. 1 plugin for WordPress website optimization. I has over 5 million active installs. It checks the content readability, and keyword density (for content relevance). It also takes into account semantic SEO, meaning related keywords, phrases, and synonyms are submitted to the Yoast analysis. With Yoast, there’ll be no more duplicate content (especially useful for e-commerce websites).
They provide recommendations like the ones below:
Here are some of its most appreciated features:
- Yoast helps with optimizing your posts for the desired keyphrases,
- Yoast SEO can recognize related keyphrases, synonyms of keyphrases, and different word forms of your keyphrases, across 10+ languages,
- The plugin helps you spots optimizing opportunities, like discovering hard-to-find unlinked content on your site,
- Preventing your visitors from ending up on dead links,
- Google and social previews that help you visualize what your post will look like when shared online.
- Readability recommendations,
- Advanced XML sitemaps,
- Title and meta description templating, for better branding and consistent snippets in the search results,
- In-depth Schema.org integration,
- Breadcrumbs (you can enable this option and configure breadcrumbs links and appearance in the website),
- Permalinks (you can use this option to clean up permalinks and give a SEO-friendly structure to the links in your website),
- RSS feed (this feature is used to automatically add content to the RSS feed, while search engines will identify you as the original source of content – links that have been added to the feed).
Price: Free version available. Yoast SEO Premium costs EUR 99 per year (ex-VAT).
This WordPress SEO plugin provides site-wide and page-level optimizations. It has over 3 million users worldwide. It’s easy to configure, and its corresponding options come in an expanded list of settings for the website to be optimized.
Here are some of its most popular features:
- SEO audit checklists,
- Schema and knowledge graph support,
- Detailed content and readability analysis to help you optimize your pages for higher SEO rankings,
- Smart Meta Title and Description – Automatic SEO generation, dynamic SEO smart tags, and more,
- Setup canonical URLs,
- Use Schema.org Markup,
- Set homepage/simple page title format,
- Apply SEO to certain types of content (posts, pages, media, etc.),
- Set NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW for certain pages/posts/media,
- Supporting lots of advanced redirects,
- Generating and validating a robots.txt file to guide search engines through the site. Here, you can specify which portions of content have to be excluded from indexing,
- Performance analysis and optimization (it controls memory limit and page loading time),
- Video sitemaps (this feature in available only in PRO version, and helps creating a sitemap for video content, similarly to a sitemap for text content).
Pricing: starts at $49.5 per year.
The Swiss Army Knife of WordPress SEO: Now that’s a powerful tagline. It seems it works, because RankMath now has over a million active installs.
But, what does Rank Math offer its users?
- Posts optimizations with the integration of rich snippets,
- Internal linking recommendations for all the posts on your site,
- Keyword ranking tracking,
- Autoconfiguration settings,
- Artificial Intelligence to write SEO optimized content,
- Dynamic suggestions,
- 30 detailed SEO tests,
- Deep content analysis tests,
- Intelligent Questions (with schema markup),
Price: Free version available. Premium version from 59$-499$ USD per year.
Now let’s go a bit more in-depth into some of the features these plugins come up with.
General optimizations with Yoast, AIOSEO, and RankMath
XML sitemaps are .xml files listing all the pages (URLs) you want search engines to index and position in the search results pages.
All the three plugins generate XML sitemaps automatically. Each new post/page will be added to the list. Search engine bots, when crawling the XML sitemaps, will analyse all pages/posts in the website, new entries included.
Also, you have the possibility to exclude some pages/posts you don’t want to appear in the sitemap. These plugins provide a functionality for excluding posts/pages from search engines indexation. They will thus not be taken into account for the sitemap listing.
With All in One SEO Pack, you have lots of control over the XML Sitemap configuration. You can choose what content types will be added to the sitemap, create a compressed sitemap, and enable the option to dynamically generate a sitemap or schedule updates for the sitemap (in accordance with the frequency of publishing new content).
XML Sitemaps in Yoast SEO
XML sitemaps in All in One SEO Pack
XML sitemaps in RankMath
Integration with Google Search Console.
Yoast SEO allows for easy integration with the Google Search Console account. Thus, the website owner has direct access to Google Search Console Data, keywords performance and click-through rates for each page/post in the website.
AIOSEO also makes it easy to connect your website with Google Search Console, Bing webmaster tools, Yandex webmaster tools, Baidu webmaster tools, Google Analytics, and all other SEO webmaster tools.
Unlike Yoast and AIOSEO, Rank Math saves you a ton of time by integrating with Google Search Console and displaying important information about your website right inside WordPress. You can see the keywords which you rank for, your sitemap status, and indexing issues. This information is invaluable in maintaining a high-performance website.
Data for social profiles
Yoast SEO allows for adding Open Graph metadata (for Facebook), and Twitter Card metadata (for Twitter). These control how the posts will be displayed on social networks, upon sharing.
With All in One SEO Pack, you have the possibility to configure social meta (settings for the homepage, settings for the image as it will display upon social sharing), provide social media links associated with the website.
With RankMath you have access to the following: default OpenGraph thumbnail, auto Facebook Open Graph, Facebook Open Graph for homepage.
Page Optimization with Yoast, AIOSEO, and RankMath
Yoast SEO provides 2 distinct analyses for every page/post:
A readability analysis – it checks how easy it is for users to read and understand what the page is about. At the end of the analysis, the plugin offers a readability score, with suggestions for what improvements should be done.
A keyword analysis – it checks how many occurrences for the targeted keyword are in the page. The plugin calculates the optimal density of keywords while considering the page is not keywords-stuffed. Likewise, at the end of the analysis, the plugin offers an SEO score, with recommendations to improve the relevance of the page, based on keywords.
Note: if you set a page/post as cornerstone content, Yoast SEO will consider this into its analysis and that page will receive in-depth SEO analysis.
All in One SEO Pack provides a basic analysis of pages/posts:
- Title optimization, with characters count and unique phrases.
- Description optimization, with characters count and unique text.
- Settings for: NOINDEX (if you want the page not to be indexed in search engines), NOFOLLOW (if you want the link of the page not to be followed by search engine bots), EXCLUDE from sitemap.
RankMath uses AI generated suggestions to know exactly what to write. It also performs a content audit and a technical audit on your website to give you the most SEO benefit. Rank Math lets you optimize your posts for up to 5 keywords to attract unlimited traffic. another amazing feature is the Bulk Optimization (SEO), that allows you to optimize thousands of posts with ease.
As a conclusion, our opinion is that RankMath is now challenging the Yoast position as the WordPress SEO plugin leader. It adds new and more powerful features to the table, that would help you rank faster.
Now that you know which are the most popular WordPress SEO plugins out there, let’s see how you can install one.
How to install a WordPress SEO plugin
The moment you decide on the plugin you want to use, you will need to install it. Here’s how this is done:
- From the WordPress Dashboard head over to Plugins->Add New.
- Type the name of the SEO plugin in the search bar.
- Go to the plugin and click on “Install Now”.
- Select “Activate”.
Now, the moment you activate the plugin, you will go through an onboarding wizard that differs from plugin to plugin.
You will also see the plugin you chose inside the dashboard menu on the left, with menu items that allow you to proceed with the SEO optimizations.
Now that you have a plugin installed, you need to do a proper keyword and topic research.
For this, there are some tools that we recommend. Check them out below:
Tools for keyword research
Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing the search terms that people type into search engines with the goal of finding information, buying products or services, etc. These keywords are the ones around which you will need to optimize your pages and post. There are some tools that can help you with this, some of them are free, some paid.
Ahrefs contains a set of tools for keywords and links research, rank tracking and competitor analysis. It’s a goldmine, I’m telling ya.
Now, this tools is paid, and widely used by marketing professionals. The next tools I’m gonna present are free and more accessibile.
Back in 2021 Forbes asked 11 experts to analyze the SEO upcoming trends. Jonas Muthoni, CEO of Deviate Agency, mentioned that one of the major trends in the near future is ‘having best in class intent content curated with the user in mind’. In other words, creating content based on what people are searching for. AnswerThePublic does just that. This tool analyzes users’ intent and generates word maps with the questions people are asking in search engines. AnswerThePublic is very easy to use. If you want to write an article about B2B sales, write down the topic in the search box. See the results and choose from hundreds of ideas.
You’ll love it because: it’s almost like a game. Its unique design makes you feel part of the process and keeps you engaged while you look for new topics to write about.
Google Keyword Planner
Google has an 85.5% market share of desktop searches worldwide.
This means that almost 9 out of 10 people are using this search engine every day. But, what are they searching for?
The answer to this question is in the most important keyword database in the world: the one that Google Keyword Planner offers its users.
With Keyword Planner you can find new keywords at the click of a button. Write a word in the search bar and get instant keyword suggestions.
The tool rates keywords using metrics such as monthly search volume, competition and ad impression share. This way you’ll be able to choose always the words that suit you the most.
You’ll love it because: it has everything you can expect from a Google tool. It has an intuitive design, it’s free and accessible to everyone.
I often end up hearing that “SEO is dead”. Not true. The same goes for “email is dead” or “ads are dead”.
No such thing. It means that they don’t work for you, or you’re doing something wrong.
The truth is that SEO takes time, you might create targeted and quality articles for 6 months, and see the results after a whole year. This is because link building takes time.
For example, we started working on another project of ours, called ConvertSquad, back in may 2021. We started creating WooCommerce-related articles almost on a weekly basis. Linkbuilding was done as well. In 6 months we managed to have more than 1000 organic monthly visits on the blog. The numbers are growing monthly. And the market is very competitive. This means, that with proper research, and some effort, you can do it too.