WordPress SEO Without an SEO Plugin

Most of the time I optimize a few of my WordPress sites without an SEO plugin because often SEO plugins have more features than is required for certain projects.

In this article, you’ll find how to do WordPress SEO without an SEO Plugin. This is not intended to give an indication that you should not use SEO Plugins rather than it is quite possible to do without any possible in many simpler projects.

Just refer simplicity and user-friendly environment of Google itself. There is a concept of “KISS” you can say it simply “KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID”.

SEO Plugins Are Really Helpful

SEO plugins are really helpful for those who are not aware of coding in PHP, and people who get lost with htaccess and robots.txt files. Technical SEO has relatively high standards in terms of coding. SEO plugins ease web publishing.

Not all but few SEO plugins have many unnecessary features which are really not needed for all kind of website or blogs. There are many SEO Plugins that are lightweight and fast as well as modular also, so you can choose which SEO features you need.

One example of this category of SEO plugin is The SEO Framework. It’s the best choice for those who want more control over their SEO but they need to pick and choose the SEO features they need.

SEO plugins are the safest choice for publishers who don’t want to experiment with other alternatives. The best choice is often the most trusted solution in case of SEO Plugins.

Why I am not Using SEO Plugins

SEO Plugin Bug was reported in Yoast one of the best SEO Plugins created panic so I decided to launch a site without any SEO plugins. I was quite happy with my results and so decided to transition my other websites away from SEO plugins.

I decided to move from a single SEO plugin simply because of it.  I wanted to have full control over my website which yields good results compared to SEO Plugin.

It was a go back to home kind of journey where I had started with WordPress — the goal was optimizing my WordPress without a dedicated SEO plugin.

Specific Reasons Why I Do Not Use an SEO Plugin

Well, I can see there are four reasons why I don’t use an SEO plugin. Let me share with you.

  1. The Features which is already there in WordPress and Theme need not have more burden with same featured from SEO Plugin simply means I am using two WordPress or theme and again using same featured from SEO Plugin.

  2. Unnecessary features from SEO Plugin which I do not really want.

  3. SEO plugins may introduce numerous bugs and conflicts with other plugins.

  4. And the major one to have a Greater Amount of control over SEO.

Why I Prefer Standalone Solutions

  1. Very Easy To Code A Solution That Handles One Problem.

  2. Some SEO Features Do Not Require Plugin.

  3. Standalone Solutions Are Easy To Manage.

  4. Light & Leaner WordPress Installation without Unnecessary Features Makes it faster to serve.

Main SEO Features You Need for WordPress

WordPress has evolved now so as themes and theme owners also optimize their themes keeping view of SEO features like canonicals are done automatically in WordPress itself.

Nowadays many WordPress themes contain SEO features enable like schema markup, breadcrumb navigation, Open Graph Metadata, and so on.

What you need to code depends on what theme you are using it may vary a little bit but here are a few features you may need to look for to avoid SEO Plugins on your WordPress installations.

Mandatory SEO Features For  WordPress

  • Breadcrumbs with Schema.org Structured Data.

  • Meta Descriptions.

  • Open Graph MetaData.

  • Removal of Category Base.

  • Schema Metadata.

  • Adding nofollow Attribute To Links.

Optional WordPress SEO Features


Breadcrumbs are a convenient feature. If you rank in the SERPs, adding Schema structured data to it will result in better listings. Additionally, the improved listings may improve the click-through rate.

Breadcrumb navigation can be coded without the use of a plugin. The code should be placed in the functions.php file of your website’s “child” section.

Most guides recommend adding it to your theme’s function.php file, but if the theme is updated and the functions.php file is part of that update, you’ll lose your breadcrumbs.

Because you still need to associate schema markup with the breadcrumbs, getting breadcrumbs right might be difficult. That’s a lot more coding.

It is possible, but at this stage, it may be more convenient to delegate the burden for ensuring that it works to a plugin.

BreadCrumbs NavXT WordPress Plugin has proven to be an adequate answer for me. It’s in charge of the breadcrumbs as well as the schema information.

A medium-level vulnerability was discovered in the NavXT plugin, although it was swiftly addressed. This was unique for this plugin, and unlike more serious incidents linked to specialist SEO plugins, it caused no issues for users.

Meta Description

Easy WP Meta Description has shown to be an adequate option for meta descriptions. Although meta descriptions are not a ranking element, they do appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs) if you rank.

If a phrase from your web page is a better fit, Google will change your meta description. Having said that, Google does an excellent job of giving a relevant snippet from your page.

So it’s entirely up to you. You have the option of adding your own meta description or letting Google explain why your site is relevant to the query.

Title Tag

I create a title for the content that is suitable for use as a title tag. If it’s good enough for an article title, it should be good enough for a web page title as well. There are workarounds and plugins for coding this into the theme, but I believe they are unnecessary.

Open Graph Meta Data

Although this isn’t strictly an SEO feature, it may have an impact on how much traffic your site receives. When your URL is shared on Facebook and Twitter, you can define an image and text to appear.

The Open Graph Meta Data Plugin aids you in presenting a professional image to potential site visitors.

Remove Category Base from WordPress

For your URL structure, the word “category” isn’t required. A best practice is to shorten your URL to the domain name, the category name, and the page name.

A shorter URL is easier to remember, less likely to be mistyped and can notify users and search engines exactly what the page is about with the fewest words possible. Here’s where you can learn more about the Remove Category Base Plugin.

WordPress Plugin for Schema Structured Data

The Schema WordPress Plugin integrates the majority of Schema structured data, including reviews and article schema.

Hand-coding schema markup is also possible. For example, you can put the JSON-LD script for reviews directly into the WordPress editor while in Text Mode at the bottom of your review.

Then, manually adjust the rating, product name, and other descriptive sections.

Almost any bit of structured data can be manually or even automatically inserted on a post-by-post basis, or by directly altering your template.

You do not need to utilize a plugin. But, regardless of how frequently WordPress updates, the plugin is certainly the best method to scale this process and keep it up to date.

Ultimate Nofollow Plugin

The Ultimate Nofollow Plugin offers the ability to designate a specific URL nofollow while it is being created. If you require more choices for sitewide nofollow, they are available. However, I do not use them.

 Optional SEO Features For WordPress

Attachment Pages Redirect Plugin

This plugin can simply address your problem if you have mistakenly built web pages for each image attachment in your WordPress site.

The Attachment Pages Redirect Plugin will adjust the behavior of your individual attachments. Simply install and activate it, and your issue will be resolved.

The Attachment Pages Redirect plugin does not require any configuration. Simply turn it on and forget about it. It’s simple to fix rogue attachment pages.

When uploading media in the future, please sure you utilize the correct setting for forwarding attachments to the post.

Redirect Manager Plugin

If you’re not comfortable modifying htaccess files to create redirects, this is a valuable plugin. If you have a good cause to redirect an old page to a new one, this is the method to use.

404 Responses Are Not Really Bad

Redirect a removed page to the home page without using a redirect manager. Some SEO plugins may try to scare you into thinking that 404 error codes have an impact on your site’s “health.” However, this is wrong. 404 response codes aren’t automatically bad for your site’s “health.”

  • Some 404 replies are caused by spammers using a partial URL to link to your site. That’s perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about. The 404 response code is the ideal answer code.

  • Some 404 answers are caused by a publisher’s internal linking fault. That is your blunder (you mistyped the URL). This is something that can be fixed by changing the URL to the correct one.

The reality is that 404 response codes are entirely natural and do not degrade the health of your website.

XML Site Map

Google crawls a page using site feeds. If you create a page, Google will be able to find your feed and discover it that way.

Google can also find the web page by crawling from link to link as part of its routine procedure.

Another method is to submit the URL individually or through a site map; Google provides detailed instructions here.

If your site isn’t updated frequently, you can use software like Xenu Link Sleuth to crawl it and build an XML site map. Then all you have to do is upload it to your server.

Other than permitting Link Sleuth to crawl your website, no web hosting resources are required to create the map. You can also use a plugin such as the Google XML Sitemap Generator.

Redundant SEO Plugin Features

You may find some features included in SEO plugins that are redundant or not necessary.

Canonical URLs

Canonical URLs are already builtin into WordPress. You don’t need an SEO plugin to handle canonical URLs.

Robots.txt and htaccess File Editors

If you have a text or HTML editor, you already have everything you need to update a robots.txt file or make changes to an htaccess file. Furthermore, you should only deal with those files if you are confident in your abilities.

You don’t need a WordPress plugin to manage this if you’re skilled enough to edit them. Just like a regular person, open your text file and an FTP app, right?

404 Status Code Redirection

This is provided by SEO plugins under the incorrect assumption that 404 status codes are bad. 404 response codes are good, as Google’s John Mueller mentioned earlier. Just fix the ones that are caused by true problems, such as a URL typo.

Sitemap Generators

As previously stated, Google scans URLs using RSS feeds and links, thus a site map isn’t necessarily necessary.

A site map, on the other hand, is useful if you’ve made significant changes and want Google to find them as soon as possible. In this scenario, a manually generated site map is advantageous because it does not require the installation of a plugin.

You may still use a site map generator plugin, which is significantly more practical than using a large SEO plugin to accomplish this one task.

Keyword Research 

WordPress and your server resources may not be the optimal platform for keyword and word processing. Use an actual software tool like the Hemingway App if you want a real-world app for checking your material. If you need to analyze a web page, utilize a real tool that creates a word cloud.

All of these features are already limited in an SEO plugin. A solo app will be more effective.

Why Use Six Plugins Instead of One Then?

Even though an all-in-one SEO plugin is only one, it behaves as if it were ten or more plugins.

Count how many functions your SEO plugin has and treat each one as a separate plugin. You might be surprised to learn that you could be clogging up your WordPress site with functionality that you don’t require.

As a result, the question shouldn’t be whether you need six or one plugin. The real question is: how many features do you require?

The clear answer, in my opinion, is that all-in-one WordPress SEO plugin solutions offer far fewer capabilities.

All in One is Not the Same as All You Need

As you can see, SEO plugins are beneficial to people that have little or no coding or WordPress experience. Users who do not have the ability to determine the solutions they require to benefit from SEO plugins.

For a large firm that wants to play it safe and avoid dealing with individual plugins or handmade solutions, a dedicated SEO plugin is a suitable alternative.

SEO plugins, on the other hand, can be overkill for individuals with more talent or who aren’t bound by bureaucratic limits.

By default, people install SEO plugins, essentially sleeping through their WordPress SEO.

This article demonstrates that you do not require all of the features provided by a dedicated SEO plugin.

Installing an SEO plugin with the functionality you don’t need isn’t the only option. You might not require an all-in-one solution. It is up to you to take a call which path you need to adopt.

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