What is an SEO plugin

SEO plugin

SEO plugins are extension modules for content management systems, browsers and software solutions. An SEO plugin extends the scope of the original software with special tasks and functions that can affect search engine optimization, web analysis or online marketing and other aspects. This includes - depending on the original system - the optimization of websites with SEO plugins for different CMS, as well as the analysis of key performance indicators with SEO plugins for web browsers. The range of functions of free and paid SEO plugins usually differs significantly. For the CMS WordPress alone, there are countless plugins that take on special, search engine-relevant tasks. This applies in a similar way to web browsers, whereby the focus here is on analysis and not on active optimization.

General information on the topic [edit]

SEO plugins can usually be installed relatively easily by the user and added to an application. Thanks to a programming interface (API) that was previously published by the developers, the application can be supplemented by other developers with plugins and add-ons.[1] If a certain program cannot perform specific tasks, a plug-in can help by expanding the program within a defined framework while the application is running.[2] For example, the now obsolete Flash Player added the ability to display SWF files using a projector and process multimedia content to a browser. Which functions a plugin adds to an application depends on the task and the developer.

How SEO plugins work [edit]

The principle is similar with SEO plugins: An API enables software modules to be connected to existing applications. However, a plugin cannot work without the main application - it depends on the software and the framework. The plug-in is registered in the standard library of the main application and can then be called up from there. The control of the functions is partially handed over to the plugin so that it can access the functions of the framework. The framework specifies the architecture in which applications can be programmed.

The plugin only uses individual components and implementations of the framework - for example, classes and functions that the framework makes available. The transfer of control to the plug-in or to components of the framework is also referred to as inversion of control, since a modularization and inversion of the control flow takes place: The main application is expanded, but the plug-in can use functions of the main application .[3]

Types of SEO plugins for WordPress [edit]

There are various SEO plugins for special tasks and functions for WordPress. They are offered for download in the WordPress Plugin Directory. Whether image optimization, performance, caching, minifying, XML sitemaps, crawling, broken link checking, redirects or breadcrumbs - there are corresponding plugins for every SEO aspect. A distinction should therefore be made between special and general solutions: Only a few plugins offer extensive functionalities with which web projects can be optimized from different points of view.

In addition to wpSEO, All in One Seo Pack or SEO Plugin by Squirrly, the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast is one of the best-known plugins that allow the search engine optimization of WordPress websites.[4] Yoast has more than a million active installations and numerous five-star ratings. WordPress is already relatively search engine friendly by default, but in order to make SEO-optimized basic settings and to change special details, extensions are necessary that are more powerful than the main application. Which SEO plugin is suitable for this depends not only on the functions offered and whether it is up to date, but also on the requirements and knowledge of the user. Because individual settings can cause undesirable effects that only become apparent afterwards. This is especially true for the Advanced Settings.

Example: WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast [edit]

The WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast allows the configuration of seo-relevant settings that can be changed both locally and globally. Technical, content and structural optimizations are possible. According to Yoast, the plugin focuses in particular on better content and provides the user, for example, with a keyword focus and content previews. Thus, articles can be thematically aligned to certain keywords and the display by search engines in the SERPs can be simulated. The paid premium version also includes support and expansion modules such as Local SEO, News SEO and Video SEO. The source code for Yoast's SEO plugin is available on GitHub.[5]

Some Yoast functions at a glance:[6]

  • Snippet Preview: The Snippet Preview simulates the display of articles and pages in the SERPs. Meta titles and meta descriptions can then be optimized with Page Analysis so that click rates may increase.
  • Page Analysis: With the Page Analysis function, the articles and pages can be checked for the length of the content, a focus keyword as well as images and the correct use of alt tags. Meta descriptions, metatitles, headings and sub-headings can also be optimized with a focus keyword - as can the HTML markups for category, archive and tag pages.
  • Technical SEO: Various technical SEO aspects can be changed in such a way that Google and other search engines receive certain signals. Permalinks, canonical URLs, metatags or paginations are possible.
  • Meta & Link Elements: Certain pages in WordPress are indexed by Google, although overview pages, tags and archives are not necessarily relevant for users. Yoast offers a wealth of settings to optimize such pages and their display in the SERPs. For example, the display of archives further back in the SERPs or the marking of paginated or canonical URLs.
  • XML Sitemaps: Sitemaps can be created automatically and passed on to search engines. Individual settings are adopted in the same way as the basic taxonomy of the page. Since the XML sitemap is in the XSL stylesheet format, it can also be read and changed by humans.
  • RSS Optimization: In order not to support the practices of web scrapers, Yoast uses an individual link that refers to the original resource and is automatically added to the RSS feed.
  • Breadcrumbs: Some themes in WordPress are compatible with creating breadcrumbs navigations. Yoast allows the integration of a secondary navigation, if the compatibility is given. Otherwise the theme can be adjusted.
  • Htaccess & robots.txt: Yoast has an editor that allows changes in the htaccess and the Robots.txt file. This can influence the behavior of crawlers and other agents. Authentication, forwarding, error pages or directory configurations are possible.
  • Social media integration: The Facebook Open Graph can be used in Yoast thanks to an implementation; Connections to Google Plus functions are in progress.
  • Multi-site, import & export: Yoast can be used with several websites and also offers the export and import of settings if the plug-in is also installed on other sites.

Importance for search engine optimization [edit]

SEO plugins have become indispensable in search engine optimization. Whether browser or CMS - the different plugins offer extensive optimization and analysis options for different application scenarios. The choice of a suitable plug-in should not be made lightly, however. In developer circles, the most popular plugins are clear to see, but as a relatively new user of SEO plugins it is difficult to decide on a good solution. Aspects such as compatibility, up-to-dateness or easy installation should definitely be taken into account when new users dare to use a plug-in. Tests, reviews and expert opinions can help you make a decision. Ultimately, however, users have to test an SEO plugin for themselves in practice and judge for themselves whether it meets their own requirements and achieves reliable results in the organic search results.

References Edit]

  1. ↑ Plugin API codex.wordpress.org. Retrieved on March 2nd, 2016
  2. ↑ Plug-in Basics developer.mozilla.org. Retrieved on March 2nd, 2016
  3. ↑ InversionOfControl martinfowler.com. Retrieved on March 2nd, 2016
  4. ↑ Search engine optimization: The best SEO plugins for WordPress drweb.de. Retrieved on March 2nd, 2016
  5. ↑ Yoast SEO for WordPress github.com. Retrieved on March 2nd, 2016
  6. ^ Yoast SEO de.wordpress.org. Retrieved on March 2nd, 2016

Web links [edit]