Stop right there! Don’t use an SEO plugin with WordPress! No. Don’t do it and here’s why.
Keywords are not the only answer
Back when Google first came out we were able to manipulate our rankings almost solely by using keywords. You could get away with a page saturated with the target keyword and get ranked for it. Google is almost 19 years old – don’t you think they might have changed tactics? Answer: oh yes indeed. Keywords are still a part of the equation but they are only a small part of a much bigger equation. Many users of these plugins only know about keywords. You need to know a lot more than just keywords.
Get an education
If you don’t know what a canonical URL is or can’t list 5 items that help your search engine rankings (with the confidence you’re actually right) then you don’t know SEO. Get educated by attending a course taught by people with a solid reputation in the industry like:
- Pubcon Masters Group Workshops (Las Vegas 2015)
- Bruce Clay
- Any place Rae Hoffman (aka Sugarrae) speaks (also find her at Pushfire)
SEO Plugins are great examples of smoke and mirrors
More smoke than mirrors. No tool can optimize your website for SEO without you. You are still an important part of process and should be. Giving up control of the on-page elements and other techniques to an automated tool is foolish. While SEO plugins have a lot of options and use buzzwords, they do not have your awareness of the industry nor do they have your knowledge of the target audience. If you don’t either then you have no business messing with SEO plugins.
SEO Plugins can do more harm than good
Many of the SEO plugins come with a lot of options and settings. In the hands of someone that knows how the tool works AND has a solid working knowledge of how SEO works today, seo plugins can be useful (notice I didn’t say they were THE answer). In the hands of someone that doesn’t, you can do more damage to your search engine rankings than you imagine. Even with these plugins you can still create situations that undermine your efforts.
It’s not just about you
The web isn’t about you. It certainly includes your website but you’re one in several million. Actually there are almost a billion websites online as I write this. What you do or don’t do with the keywords and code on your own website is just a tiny portion of how your site is valuated. Think bigger. Think about what the trends are with web technology. If social media came to mind then good! You’re on the right track. But social media is just another metric. If you thought of backlinks then good! Another point for you. But what is the common denominator here? SEO is about your place in the online world.
Everything you do and say online is a potential contributor to your rankings. Google and Bing are evolving and they are thinking up new ways to measure the value of the websites they index. They’re looking to provide quality and relevant search results that match their visitor’s requests. SEO plugins are completely unaware of this and cannot help you even begin to measure this.
SEO Plugins are just chunks of code that automate some of the tasks that go into an SEO plan and can influence only what they are connected to – your website. Think bigger. If you aren’t active online or don’t fully understand the many pieces (and what is used and how it is used in the equation is always changing), then you really are wasting your time.
WordPress does a pretty good job with on-site SEO straight out of the box (influenced by the theme you choose). Start without an SEO plugin and learn the basics first. You’re more likely to see better results and less likely to do damage.