This post about search engine ranking and what it takes to get into the first page of Google, Bing, Yahoo! is written to de-mystify the popular misunderstanding of “what plugin to install in my WP website so that ranks high in Search Engines”.
The quick and easy answer is “None.” No plugin can get you high with search engine ranking. That is not what they do. You may wish they would, but they don’t.
Imagine a rocket without a cockpit, a pilot, and a flight plan. Sure, you can start the engine in many different ways, but without the 3 elements mentioned above, the rocket (plugin) will go nowhere or crash (mostly crash). So, “Houston we have a problem”.
It would be great if the opposite stands, but it does not. If you think about it, if everyone could rank, nobody would. Besides being a practical problem, it is a philosophical one too, right? Think about it.
All and all, the answer is: NONE of the plugins can solely achieve search engine ranking and we will explain why.
Just imagine that traffic is also influenced by numerous factors. Even locality plays a great role in search engine ranking and traffic and conversions. How it could be possible that ranking would be achieved by simply pressing “a button”?
Let’s see how this goes.
Which are the Popular SEO Plugins for Search Engine Ranking?
The vast majority -when they refer to such plugins- they usually mean “something” that will be installed on their website (blog, eshop, corporate, other), and that “something” through some processes and functionality will turn their pages into search engine ranking miracles.
Of course, that is way far from being true.
The most popular plugins for WordPress are Yoast SEO and RankMath. Are these the only ones? No, but we have to recognize that they are indeed the most popular ones.
They come with free and premium versions. Of course, the premium ones allow for extended control over your website elements.
Anyone can install the free version (most do that) while avoiding paying for the Premium version(s). The biggest reasons for choosing the free version are that they cannot afford the fee or/and have no idea what is the difference. For someone to understand which one is crucial for their project, they need to have prior knowledge of how SEO works.
In fact, they need to know SEO in and out. That drives the decision. That is also the reason why many think that installing and setting an SEO plugin will get them ranking in search engines. They have very little knowledge about how search engines and SEO works.
So, most install a plugin making themselves believe that this is the search engine ranking Google Nirvana. It is not.
Again, if that was true anyone would rank, which would lead to none would.
Sometimes (plenty of times), their developer/designer who has little to zero knowledge on SEO, “promises” them that installing “the plugin” equals to “I will install SEO to your website”.
That is a joke and a tremendous disaster for many businesses out there, who aim to rank. It is a terrible thing to say to businesses that “installing this and that will make your website pages as SEO”. Imagine the time you may waste in doing things wrong.
Even a wrong setup can destroy your website and it may take from 12 months to years to discover the problem on why you don’t rank.
All these plugins are tools. Someone must know what to do with these tools and with what exact purpose. But, is that enough? No, it is not. Think of the rocket example.
Why a Plugin Can’t Rank you in Search Engines?
What these plugins really do? We can split their functionality in 2 parts.
Part one relates to functionalities and work that (if you were a developer) you could do without the plugin. Still, it would take a considerable amount of time, whereas the plugin saves you from wasting that time.
The second part relates to functionalities and checking lists/tools on if each page is search engine friendly for a number of factors, against a keyphrase you declare for that page (in the tool).
It shows up like traffic lights. Red means you are far from it, orange means it gets warmer and green means you are OK.
In both these sets of functionalities, you really need to know what you are doing, otherwise, you can mess up your website and still go green. Sounds absurd, right? But it is not. It is absolutely logical. You can lose, by winning!
So, there are 2 sets where one applies on the overall website and the other on individual pages.
All that doesn’t mean that these plugins will push/amplify/improve the ability of each page for search engine ranking. Raising a page in search engine results means that you have applied a long-range of rules and actions (in and out of the page), towards that page.
Basically, you need to know the SEO rules and how ranking and content marketing for organic search engine ranking is conducted, even before buying your domain or writing a single word for your website.
All these SEO rules and actions are popularly known as on-page SEO and off-page SEO and yes they are far beyond the common tip of “place your keyphrase in the post title”.
So, you may want page X to rank for a specific term, and you “go green”, and then you notice that after 6-12 months the page is still on page 40 of i.e. Google (that means you are the result 390 to 400). But you aimed for page 1.
You know how the SEO saying goes: If you want to hide a body, just place it on page 2 of Google where nobody finds it. That is not entirely true, but an exaggeration to make a point.
Imagine all the work and money you wasted, both creating the page and waiting without getting traffic on that page, not to mention conversions.
That is a failure, right? The worst thing is that you have no idea why that happens. You followed all the setup instructions and read all the posts about how to set up the plugin, but… nothing?
Why? Because following the setup instructions means only that. That is not SEO. That is mere: following some instructions on a wizard. Tough but true.
This is a common misconception in SEO and plugins, even in WordPress. Most, thing they will install WP and plugins and magically things will happen. They don’t.
So, “going green” means nothing; absolutely nothing.
Why My Page is Not Ranking in Search Engines?
The reason why is the following. For any phrase you type in these tools with the scope to create SEO content, the tool will only tell you if you followed the “typical” SEO writing rules. That is all. But that is not SEO. That is merely what you read above.
You can type anything in the “set your primary keyword” field and the plugins “checker” will check if you followed 7-10 rules. For any phrase you type, that is what the tool will do.
So, you may type “a be ba blom” as a key phrase and wrote your post about that. You can “go green” for that and you can even rank for that in a few days. But is anybody looking for that keyphrase?
What is the point to rank for something nobody is looking for in search engines? What is the point to rank for something that is irrelevant to your products/services/content?
Furthermore, you may found a valuable keyphrase that directly relates to what you “sell”. But, how easy is it for your page to rank for that query? Maybe there is strong competition around search results for that keyphrase and thus it may not be suitable for your content focus.
Imagine creating content about that keyphrase, or even different pages for the same keyphrase. Without knowing the competitors’ results and the SEO data that come with their URLs how can you plan a strategy for search engine ranking? Without knowing about keyword cannibalization you may end up undermining your own content.
Imagine having a hotel website that you want to rank and you do all things wrong.
So, things are more demanding from installing a SEO plugin to check if a page follows some writing rules.
Each of these SEO tools shows if you follow some rules but you have to know the strategy and have the plan and the milestones and the goals.
The tool has no idea why you create content for a page. That is the main thing to keep in your mind.
For a website and its pages to rank, it means that many things -apart from the content- are in place and they are correctly set. Speed optimization, design, mobile-friendly, backlinks, and their quality, the popularity of references, local SEO, and many others are needed. And all these are just for SEO.
Conversions are a different chapter. However, without organic ranking you don’t have targeted(!) traffic. Without that, you sure have no conversions, right?
There is a ton of information about SEO and plugins are a tiny part of that information.
See our detailed WP SEO Course Syllabus and know each step to build an SEO website (blog, eshop, any other) from A to Z, without knowing to code. This is what each business person needs to know even if they don’t build the website themselves. You don’t need to waste time and money doing wrong things or jeopardizing your business.
Technology is accessible, you just have to know how to do things right. SEO professionals like us do numerous tests every year to find out how things work and we monitor many different pages and factors. We have to do that, otherwise, if we relied on Google we would get that much information.
Conclusion on Search Engine Ranking
We will not stop saying the following. These days (and always) you need structured information in order to build and promote your business. Either doing Paid Ads or Content Marketing you need to know what and why you are doing each thing.
Avoid any “easy” solution that lure you with “SEO is easy if you install this and that”. It is not.
You may have done lots of things wrongly and still have no idea that you did and that is a fact. But you worry about your business where you invest your time and money, right?
Why not doing it right this time or why not start fixing things? It is never late to start fixing things.
Contact us if you wish to have a serious discussion about your project if you want organic search engine ranking. We will provide you with lots of information, along with good and bad examples so you can understand.