Search engine optimization is the big scary gorilla in the room when it comes to businesses or bloggers who need to have a lot of content online.
Online sites like Semrush run courses on SEO (search engine optimization), as do many others.
If your wondering, many of these courses are free or free to start.
Do SEO plugins work?
Lets dive in and look at the pros and cons on SEO plugins. Lets find out, are seo plugins useless?, or do I need an seo plugin. I will do 5 pros and cons of seo plugins. It could have a dozen or more, but 5 for and against should get the point across.
I prefer to use one. I know others who don’t, and even though they throw a bit of ridicule my way, I don’t care.
It’s my way of feeling ok about my content, and I don’t have to open other pages to check things like my Google analytics. It is all there for me.
Still I will give both sides of the story, and you can make up your own mind.
Two points of discussion.
Two common discussion points about SEO plugins are that themes do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to site seo, and having an seo plugin is not going to help you in the rankings.
So there is no point having one.
Others say the code in themes, is no more efficient than the code in plugins. That themes are not meant to be applications, and they’re not meant to do tons of complex stuff.
That is the reason for using plugins.
Lets start with the Cons.
5 Reasons not to have an SEO Plugin.
- They have heavy coding which slows your site load times.
- Google and other search engines are getting smarter, and they can easily understand what your page is about. They can find your links, and quickly find the most relevant information.
- Your content becomes more robotic when writing using an SEO plugin.
- An SEO plugin is more to help you, than optimize anything for the search engines.
- All the newer WordPress themes cover most of the basic SEO within their code. Wrapping the title in HI tags and covering all the basic SEO practices.
Lets deal with the heavy coding issue.
I would take this as referring to Yoast. It is feature rich, and I have seen people become confused, lost and really upset after installing Yoast.
Interestingly enough, they hung on to it and many I know are very happy with it.
The issue for them was not that Yoast failed, it was they ( being newbies and wanting all the bright lights and shiny buttons), did not not uninstall the plugin they were using before installing Yoast.
So they had the situation of one plugin trying to override the other, causing the problems.
An example of problems with Yoast.
I am using the Yoast SEO plugin but facing a couple of problems after activating it.
It is degrading the speed of admin pages badly and whenever we try to save/edit any posts, some strange error message comes in. That message is:- CONNECTION LOST SAVING HAS BEEN DISABLED UNTIL RECONNECTED
When I deactivate the Yoast plugin, speed improves and the above message loses its frequency of appearing, however sometimes it still appears, maybe 2-3 out of 20 times.From Quora.
Ok, all plugins have glitches from time to time, often from their own updates. But looking at the above I would say there is a clash with another plugin. Another SEO plugin possibly, or an outdated or poorly coded theme.
I seriously doubt that Yoast with all its professional techies is at fault here.
Yoast is a high quality plugin and the fact is, well built or small plugins impact on performance ( site speed or conflicts), is negligible.
Point 2, 3, 4:- Google is getting smarter etc.
Really! I think we all know that Google (like most search engines), tries to keep pace with the growth of internet users, developers, and services. Nothing new there.
Ok there is some truth to item 4. But, if you get it right, then it helps Google put your content where it is supposed to be.
Otherwise your article on best carrot peelers might be indexed among porn sites.
Two things to remember.
- Google, Bing and the other search engines are like your English teacher marking your test.
- An SEO plugin doesn’t write your content. You do. The plugin just gives you some tips, and some tools to help you pass the test.
All an SEO plugin does is give hints, The paid versions give scores and offer ideas for headings, relevant keywords, and a few other goodies.
You have to pick the keyword though. The plugin doesn’t choose your keyword or title.
You do that. It can offer suggestions, but keyword selection is your job.
You still have to set your content up so Google understands it. The SEO plugin doesn’t do that either, It gives you hints you can either use or ignore.
How that becomes robotic, I don’t know.
I think curated or content delivered using AI is more robotic. I imagine the Google bot yawning, while crawling AI bot content that has minimal variation.
Believe it or not, there is more than one way to set up a blog post for search engine optimization.
Some people use a Picture with their H1 title, and all H2 heading tags, because they say each heading is as important as the next.
It works, it works well in fact.
Not every blog is content. Artistic, Recipes, Photography, Video, E-Commerce etc. all have varying ways of ranking in the search engines.
I use the WordPress default title heading, H1, then (usually), one H2 heading at the top of my content then all other headings are H3, or H4.
It works too. So Google does accept different models of content set out.
It is not one size fits all.
Point 5. Themes do the heavy lifting.
The best WordPress theme developers add the basics of seo in their coding, and they keep it light so it loads fast etc., and some developers will run an seo plugin alongside a theme. So everything is compatible.
But not all theme developers develop an seo plugin, and not all seo developers develop themes.
Themes (usually), do not include the more complex coding applications. That is why we have plugins. Themes tend to focus more on style, ( probably why they are changed often), so if you choose a poorly coded theme, then you will likely have conflicts with an seo plugin.
But that is not the seo plugins fault.
This site uses a My Theme Shop theme, and Rank Math SEO plugin. Both are from the same company, so the risk of conflicts is somewhere between zero and miniscule.
Plus they are pro versions, and I can get support if I need it.
The Pros of an SEO Plugin
Lets take a look at some benefits and see how they relate to search engine optimization.
All seo plugins have an emphasis on title tags and meta descriptions. There is a reason for this.
They are important, the search engines are like librarians, and they like to have everything organised.
- You have the seo basics in the side bar/or at the bottom of your page.
- The site structure Schema.org output allows search engines to gain knowledge on how your website is built. Also you can validate your schema while you are adding it.
- Get your content to appear as a rich card in the SERPS.
- The more popular paid plugins have title analyzers, integrations with Google analytics and other sites. AISEO has a companion plugin called Monster Insights, and will integrate with Semrush, if you have a paid version.
- XML and HTML sitemaps. Tell the search engines about every page you want indexed.
Get it right and seo is a great way to organically boost your website traffic without spending a fortune on PPC (pay per click).
Plus, add in all the other benefits like Image seo, social seo, redirections and your work becomes even easier.
Is this how to get my blog on the first page on Google?
No! Sorry to inform you, it won’t guarantee you will get on the first page of Google, but it allows Google and other search engines to index your content quickly.
I say content submitted to the search engines needs a few months to “mature”.
What I mean by that, is that it will depend on the number of searches your keyword receives, impressions and how often it is viewed.
As I mentioned earlier, keywords are the most important metric for getting ranked high in the search engines.
So, search engine optimization extends to writing content as well as all the other tips and tricks provided by seo plugins.
Do SEO Plugins Find Keywords
Yes some paid versions use AI to find keywords. You can see the selection Rank Math gave for this article.
Most are useless to me because many of them don’t make sense and have no relevance to this article.
Determine your keywords. This is sometimes probably easier said than done.
You have an idea, but 150 million others have a similar keyword to the one you want to use.
Some people find keyword tools a benefit.
I still use them as a reference. but take a look at the keywords (on the right), offered by Rank Math for this article.
I used one, the others were not relevant or made no grammatical sense.
Obviously this is not typical and sometimes it throws up some good keywords I can use. It all depends on what I input as the focus keyword.
like many others, I look through the google searches and forums for real questions asked by real people.
Keyword research is a whole different topic though, and does not really have much to do with SEO plugins.
My Final Thoughts on SEO Plugins
Are SEO plugins necessary?
I do agree that they are not necessary for bloggers with some experience turning out content.
For me, I find them usefull for seeing how my finished product rates.
After a while it becomes like that pet cat who sleeps nearby while you work. A crutch some might say.
Why do I use Rank Math over other Plugins?
I have used Yoast and AISEO. I first tried the free version of Rank Math because it had some things that you had to pay for with Yoast.
I still have a travel website with AISEO as the SEO plugin. However Rank Math has a lot of learning modules and includes new modules when they do an update.
So for me it is all about gaining knowledge.
Google changes its algorithms, often, at some point it will also change the way it displays content on its search pages, which is why I like the rank math schema.
I just don’t see the simple listing of results 1-10 on a page as being sustainable of the SERP of the future. Already you can videos making up a lot of the top places in Googles first pages, so expect more changes.
Thanks for reading.