Not long ago, I shared my opinion on SEO plugins, but I still had questions whether they’re overrated? For most SEO plugins, I don’t think they are, because not everyone is a writer, and sometimes, a little leg up is helpful.
However, SEO plugins are merely tools or guides to help you optimize your content, and parts of your website.
I’m not sure how much I need to stress that. They won’t tell Google what keywords your articles and pages should be in. They won’t automatically insert keywords for you. They won’t magically soar you to the top of the search results. Sorry Harry Potter fans, no waving of a wand, and there’s no SEOus Maximus with SEO plugins.
Ask Nile: Are SEO Plugins Overrated?
What works is unique and quality content, good web design, good linking (internal and external), and of course, social engagement (social search.) You have to have all of these things to make your website better.
I looked around at others who had opinions, and Lisa Irby believes that SEO plugins are overrated. With some, I can agree. Some of them give the illusion that they will boost your website more than the next plugin. What the plugin developer, or company behind it doesn’t do is educate.
You do need to know about Basic SEO, or at least the person who manages your website does. I do believe, out of all of the SEO plugins I’ve seen throughout the last 5 years, Yoast has done an excellent job on trying to educate their users (and just about anyone else that’s curious) about SEO, and using their plugin. It’s on their website’s blog. It’s free information!!!
SEO isn’t as simple as the early days, when you could just whip up a website in some pagebuilder in GeoCities, and let your cares float away. You can’t even use pagebuilders for WordPress like Divi and Themify and Visual Composer without making some extra effort. In order to have a chance at ranking your articles, pages, and overall website, you have to put effort into your website, and even into your SEO plugins.
For example, with Yoast SEO for WordPress, if you fill out your titles & meta templates, social profiles, enable Open Graph, and submit your website to Google Search Console, that is just a tip of what you need to do. You need to be researching keywords instead of blogging about willy nilly. You need to have social share buttons on your website, so people can share your article. You need to write articles that your readers are interested in, as well as entice them to engage in conversation or some action (buy, subscribe, share, or comment.) There’s a lot of work.
SEO plugins aren’t the solve all problems solution. Getting educated about SEO first and foremost should be something you try before touching an SEO plugin. It will help you understand Google, and what you should be doing. You can try relying on some of the content analysis tools that SEO plugins provide, but in the end, your content has to make sense to the reader, so sometimes, you may have to ignore the gamification notices (green light, red light, SEO score) when writing your article.
It’s not that difficult to learn the basics of SEO, and put together some simple keyword research habits to get you on track to tackling your readers needs. Sure, you might of started your blog on a whim, and you’ve built some following, but most bloggers looking to reach more people, will have to start tackling topics that people want to read.
If you don’t want to use an SEO plugin, you still need to do some work. There’s no workaround this area, so if a SEO plugin has some or most of the tools that you don’t need to learn to code into your website (example: Schema markup, meta description and title suggestions, social profile markup, Open graph, etc.), then it’s a good guide to get you started.