What is search engine optimizationWho might be interested in this post?
• Anyone that uses WordPress for their website or blog.
• Those wishing to understand more about current Search Optimization requirements.
• WP authors who believe the most popular SEO plugin is too costly.

With that said, readers who are unfamiliar with SEO might find this a little over their head. But you have to start somewhere if you want your business to be found. I try hard not to be too technical.

Choosing and using key words only scratches the surface of search engine optimization requirements. If you want to refresh your understanding of the SEO process read this SEO overview on our website. (https://imagineinc-usa.com/internet_marketing/seo-process)

I was determined to find an alternative to the WordPress SEO Plugin Yoast Premium at $89 a year for each site. That fee might not be a concern if you have only one WordPress website or blog. However, I manage many blogs so multiples of $89 really gets pricey and I don’t want to pass on that cost to my clients.

Although I’ve researched alternatives many times over the years, I just now came across a very viable SEO plugin with a free version that offers considerable capability. Thankfully new internet business’s are launched everyday, and a company found the need for a hefty and reasonably priced SEO plugin. My find is the plugin The SEO Framework.

the best SEO plugin imageThe SEO Framework is fast and complete. It is a two part plugin. The core functions are in a zip file called “autodescription” which is a confusing name, but who knows what they were thinking. The second file called “the-seo-framework-extension-manager” offers expanded capability with more extensions. Some of these extensions are free and some are paid. So far I’m using the free extensions which along with the free core capability offers functionality comparable to Yoast but with many more critical functions.

Remember there is no SEO plugin magic bullet for getting found. At the end of the day, search success depends on how engaging and well-constructed your content is as well as your optimization execution. This plugin will help you create better SEO value for your content.

Critical elements missing from most of the websites I audit are:
• Google Structured Data
• AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
• Open Graph descriptions to integrate with Facebook and Twitter tags.

There are individual plugins that provide that functionality, but The SEO Framework includes that SEO capability. That and the following extended capability are what sold me on The SEO Framework.

By default, The SEO Framework automatically generates:

  • Titles according to your settings with archive prefixes.
  • Descriptions with anti-spam techniques and detection that informs you when it can be improved.
  • A canonical URL to prevent duplicated content
  • Various Open Graph, Facebook and Twitter tags.
  • Special Open Graph descriptions, which organically integrates within the Facebook and Twitter snippets.
  • Open Graph images, they are automatically resized and optimized when needed.
  • Structured Data for Google Search and Chromium that adds extended on-site search support.
  • Structured Data for Google’s Knowledge Graph; like Personal/Business site relations, names, and logos.
  • Structured Data for Breadcrumbs that extend pages and categories relationship support in Google Search.
  • Structured Data for Google Search that lets it know your preferred site name.
  • Publishing and editing dates for social sites and search engines alike.
  • Paginated content relationship links, to help visitors going to the right page.
  • A sitemap with all your pages, posts
  • Feed excerpts and in site backlinks to reduce automated content theft.

On top of those features, The SEO Framework allows you to adjust over 100 site settings. All of them are covered by their thorough documentation.

Visual Performance Scores

The SEO Framework uses a visual color scoring method similar to Youst. This helps you to create better content by showing you:

  • If the title is too long, too short, duplicated, and/or automatically generated.
  • If the description is too long, too short, duplicated, has too many repeated words and/or automatically generated.
  • If the page is indexed, redirected, followed and/or archived, while looking at other WordPress settings.

SEO done right imageFree and Premium Extensions

Additional extensions are bundled with The SEO Framework. The premium extensions communicate with The SEO Framework’s API server to provide extra functionality. The free extensions might be enough for most users, but the premium extensions will add value for some businesses. At half the price of Yoast, the premium extensions should be considered.

1) AMP (Free)
What is AMP and what does it do?
In 2012 (yes, as of this writing that’s 6 years ago) Google proclaimed websites had to be optimized for mobile, or they would fall way down the SERP’s (Search Engine Results). AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) came along to reinforce that requirement. AMP’s primary goal is to create fast-loading pages, that are served directly from Google’s servers.

Why is this important?
Google is favoring mobile in searches. So much so that Google sends mobile users to mobile-specific results pages. By the end of 2018 AMP validated websites will appear at the top of search results. If your site is not optimized for AMP, it will not appear in mobile search results. What more incentive do you need?

What does the AMP plugin do?

The excess code has to be stripped from website pages to meet Google speed loading requirements.

I have yet to see how The SEO Framework handles this. My experience with the Joomla AMP plugin requires the webmaster to trim (delete) content on a page, then the plugin provides speed validation. So for Joomla, AMP adds to the SEO workload.

2) Articles (Free)
Structured Data is produced with The SEO Framework Articles Extension

What does Google Structure Data do?
Structured Data helps search engines understand the setup of your website and its content. Structure Data quickly tells search engines what the current page and website is generally or specifically about. Structure Data is like a shorter version or synopsis of the whole page.

Why is this important?
Structured Data allows search engines to quickly process your information for use on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). When you add schema to your site, you help Google better understand your content. Displaying Structured Data is literally an optimization requirement along with a page meta description.

3) Focus (Free & Premium)
This extension helps you write targeted content that ranks with focus keywords, their inflections, and their synonyms.

4) Local SEO (Premium)
Set up crucial local business information. This extension connects to a services admin area giving you control over your data. The SEO Framework takes care of API connections and geocoding services which might be worth the fee in itself.

5) Monitor (Premium)
For those who don’t frequent Google analytics, this extension tracks your website’s SEO, optimization, uptime, and statistics.

6) Honeypot (Free)
This extension catches comment spammers.

7) Origin (Free)
This extension redirects attachment-page visitors back to the parent post.

8) Title Fix (Free)
This extension checks to be sure your title is as appropriately configured.

9) Incognito (Free)
The Incognito extension removes all front-end branding from the extensions and The SEO Framework.

In conclusion, The SEO Framework is easy to use and well documented. It eliminates the need for many single-use plugins, and it beats the competition for function and price. I’m sold. See for yourself.

Sorry if I lost a few readers along the way. Search Engine Optimization can be complicated if done well. SEO is one of our specialties. If you think your website needs better SEO, our free audit will show what issues the site may have. We’ll meet with you and recommend what can be done to improve your SERPs (search engine results placement).

Imagine, Inc. works with companies to develop an internet marketing strategy that’s in alignment with their business strategy. Business blogging is most often one of our internet marketing recommendations because of these values:
• Ongoing, off-site Search Engine Optimization. Every time you publish a post your Google indexes your website. The more a site is indexed, the higher it will rank.
• Each position becomes another page on your website. The more pages a website has, the better it ranks.
• Raise brand awareness
• Share expertise and thought leadership
• Become a trusted resource
• Drive traffic to a company website
• Communicate with prospects & customers

Imagine, Inc. can guide you through the internet marketing process or execute any part of it. Call us at 954-257-7066 and see how seamlessly we work with you and your staff.