Plugins are a great way to customise WordPress, but they can also cause problems for your website’s SEO.
While some plugins don’t affect the search engine optimisation of your site at all, others can actually hurt it.
If you’re not careful about which plugins you install on your site, you could be doing more harm than good.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to minimise any negative effects and keep your website running smoothly.
What is a plugin?
- What is a plugin?
- Why plugins can be bad for SEO?
- Do inactive plugins affect site speed?
- Do outdated plugins affect SEO?
- What happens when you deactivate a plugin?
- What do SEO plugins do?
- Can SEO plugins help rank your website?
- What is the best plugin for SEO?
Plugins are software additions that allow for the customisation of computer programs, apps and web browsers.
When we talk about plugins in relation to websites, we are talking primarily about WordPress plugins.
There are thousands of plugins in the WordPress plugin directory, many with very innovative features.
What is a WordPress plugin?
WordPress plugins are essentially pieces of software that can be downloaded to your website to increase the functionality of your WordPress website.
Some examples include contact forms or analytics tools that make it easier for website owners to customise their site without having any programming knowledge at all.
Why can plugins be bad for SEO?
WordPress plugins are great in terms of what they can provide for your website but there are downsides when it comes to SEO and general website performance.
Whilst plugins can give you a lot of design freedom and improve the user experience of your website, you need to be aware of how they can potentially harm your website.
Some of the main reasons plugins can be bad for SEO include:
Reduce website performance
Using too many plugins or using plugins that don’t work well together can significantly limit your site’s speed and overall performance.
You want your visitors to have a good experience on the website and being too reliant on plugins can seriously impact performance.
Increased security vulnerabilities
One of the most common ways for hackers to gain access is through plugins. There have been many security vulnerabilities in WordPress core.
When installing additional plugins that do not have the necessary security protection, hackers can use this to break into your website.
Increased chance of website crashes
Poorly written plugins can cause a site to break. One of the biggest fears for any website administrator is that their site will crash. An overreliance on plugins can lead to more chances of crashes and downtime on your website.
Maintenance of updates
You will often need to update plugins and keep on top of any changes. When you have a large website relying on a number of plugins, keeping on top of these changes can be time-consuming and difficult to manage.
Leaving a plugin without an update for too long can increase the chances of security and maintenance issues.
Do inactive plugins affect site speed?
Plugins can be deactivated or inactive and it will have no effect on your website. When a user requests content from you, WordPress only loads those plugins that are active.
In terms of maintenance, however, it is not advised to have too many inactive plugins installed on your WordPress site and any that you do not use, you should delete.
Do outdated plugins affect SEO?
Outdated plugins make your websites more vulnerable to hacking. Plugins usually need updating in order to fix and patch security issues.
It is good practice to have a plugin update schedule that involves you regularly keeping on top of updates. Updating too many plugins at once can lead to code on your website breaking which would ultimately cause a site to break completely.
Well designed plugins that are light on the code they use will keep your site performing well and shouldn’t cause any issues. However, if you install a plugin you do not know a lot about, this can cause issues with your overall site performance that can definitely impact SEO.
What happens when you deactivate a plugin?
When you deactivate a WordPress plugin, it is turned off. However, the plugin will still be installed on your website so that if needed you can it activate again.
If you need to remove the plugin completely, you would need to deactivate the plugin and also ensure to delete it completely from your plugin library.
When deactivating a plugin from your website, you need to ensure that you are not using it anywhere on your website to prevent any of your pages from breaking. As long as you know you are not using the plugin anywhere on your website, then you should be able to remove the plugin without any issues.
What do SEO plugins do?
There are many WordPress SEO plugins that can boost your site’s overall performance. Good SEO plugins can help you enormously when it comes to helping you rank your website in Google.
SEO plugins such as Rank Math can help you organise metadata, build custom schema for your pages as well as provide recommendations as to what on-page elements you need to include in order to rank for a particular phrase.
There are also site performance plugins such as WP rocket that helps to improve your website performance which in turn can help with your SEO.
Can SEO plugins help rank your website?
SEO plugins can definitely play a role in helping your website to rank.
Rank Math provides a user-friendly way to make changes to your metadata which is one of the main factors in telling Google what a page on your website is focused around.
This is also what customers see on the search results so getting this right is essential to increasing your SEO positively.
What is the best plugin for SEO?
I often get asked which is the best plugin when it comes to SEO. There are a few which I believe are essential to your SEO efforts.
The plugins which I would recommend for SEO are as follows:
Rank Math SEO – Rank Math makes it easy for anyone to optimise their content with built-in suggestions based on industry-specific recommendations.
WP Rocket – WP Rocket is a site performance plugin that helps to increase the speed at which your website loads. It achieves this by organising code and ensuring your images load fast as well as a range of other cool features.
Smush PRO – Smush is an image optimisation plugin that helps decrease the size of your images as well as a number of other image performance-related features to help with site loading speed.
Header Footer Code Manager – HFCM plugin helps with managing code in your header and footer. This makes adding things like schema and verification codes far easier to manage.
Are plugins bad for SEO? The answer is… it depends on how you use them.
Plugins can be bad for your website if they are mismanaged but they can also enhance your site performance by using the right ones.
The key is to make sure that you only install plugins that are trusted and will enhance the way your site works.
Be sure to read reviews on plugins too as well as check for regular updates and feature improvements.