WordPress SEO Without an SEO Plugin

I optimize a few of my WordPress websites with out an SEO plugin as a result of typically, they merely have extra options than I want for sure initiatives.

In this column, you’ll learn to do WordPress SEO with out an SEO plugin.

This shouldn’t be meant to influence you to not use one, however to point out you methods to take full management of your SEO with no plugin for those who so select.

SEO Plugins Are Useful

SEO plugins are really useful options for publishers who can’t code PHP, who’re misplaced with HTACCESS information, and for these to whom robots.txt information are a thriller.

The technical aspect of SEO has a comparatively excessive bar by way of coding. SEO plugins democratize internet publishing.

A serious grievance about SEO plugins is how bloated with pointless options they’re. But this isn’t the case throughout the board.

There are SEO Plugins which are lean and quick in addition to modular, so you’ll be able to select which SEO options you want.


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An instance of this sort of SEO plugin is The SEO Framework. It’s an glorious alternative for individuals who need extra management over their SEO however desire to select and select the options they want.

SEO plugins are the secure alternative for publishers who’re risk-averse and don’t need to experiment with alternate options. Loads is at stake, so your best option is usually probably the most trusted answer.

Why I Don’t Use SEO Plugins

This yr, due to the complications attributable to an SEO plugin bug, I launched a web site with none SEO plugins. I used to be pleased with my outcomes and transitioned different websites away from SEO plugins.

I moved away from a single SEO plugin just because it appeared I might management a web site’s SEO higher.

It was a spherical journey journey again to the place I had began with WordPress — optimizing WordPress with no devoted SEO plugin.

Reasons I Do Not Use an SEO Plugin

There are 4 the reason why I don’t use an SEO plugin:


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  1. Features that duplicate what’s already in WordPress or in a theme.
  2. Unnecessary options that clear up presumed issues.
  3. The complexity of SEO plugins can introduce quite a few bugs and conflicts with different plugins.
  4. Greater management over SEO.

Reasons Why I Prefer Standalone Solutions

  1. Easier to code an answer that handles one downside.
  2. Some SEO options don’t want a plugin.
  3. Standalone options are simpler to take care of.
  4. Leaner WordPress set up with out pointless options.

SEO Features You Need for WordPress

WordPress has a reasonably sturdy core these days. Things like canonicals are accomplished mechanically.

Many WordPress themes include SEO options like schema markup, breadcrumb navigation, Open Graph meta knowledge, and so forth.

While your precise wants will differ in line with the template you utilize, right here are some things to search for.

Necessary WordPress SEO Features

  • Breadcrumbs with Schema.org Structured Data.
  • Meta descriptions.
  • Open Graph meta knowledge.
  • Removal of class base.
  • Schema metadata.
  • A technique to simply add the nofollow attribute to chose hyperlinks.

WordPress Plugins for SEO

Optional WordPress SEO Features


Breadcrumbs is a helpful characteristic.

Adding Schema structured knowledge to it is going to get you enhanced listings for those who rank within the SERPs. And the improved listings might assist the click-through price.

It’s potential to code breadcrumb navigation with no plugin. The code is meant to enter your web site’s “child” capabilities.php file.

Most tutorials say so as to add it to your theme’s perform.php file however you’ll lose your breadcrumbs if the theme is up to date and the capabilities.php file is a part of that replace.


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Getting breadcrumbs proper can even change into sophisticated since you nonetheless must affiliate schema markup with the breadcrumbs. So that’s much more coding.

It might be accomplished however at this level, it is likely to be simpler to dump the accountability of creating certain it really works to a plugin.

I’ve discovered that utilizing BreadCrumbs NavXT WordPress Plugin is an ample answer. It handles the breadcrumbs and the schema knowledge.

The NavXT plugin was the topic of a medium-level vulnerability but it surely was rapidly patched. This was uncommon for this plugin and in contrast to extra critical occasions related to devoted SEO plugins, it didn’t trigger issues for customers.

Meta Description

I’ve discovered Easy WP Meta Description an ample answer for meta descriptions. Meta descriptions aren’t a rating issue however they do present within the SERPs for those who rank.

Google will rewrite your meta description if a phrase out of your internet web page is a greater match. With that mentioned, Google does a high-quality job of offering a related snippet out of your web page.


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So it’s as much as you. You can add your individual meta description or let Google inform the person why your web site is related to the question.

Title Tag

I craft an article title that’s ample to make use of as a title tag. If it’s ok to function the title of the article, it must be ok because the title of the online web page. There are workarounds for coding this into the theme in addition to plugins however I feel these are superfluous.

Open Graph Meta Data

Strictly talking, this isn’t an SEO characteristic however might affect how a lot visitors goes to your web site. It lets you specify an picture and wording to point out when your URL is shared on Facebook and Twitter.

Open Graph Meta Data plugin helps you current knowledgeable look that may attraction to potential web site guests.

Remove Category Base from WordPress

The phrase “category” isn’t essential on your URL construction. Shortening your URL to the area identify, the precise identify of the class, and the web page identify is a greatest apply.


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A shorter URL is less complicated to recollect, much less prone to be mistyped, and may inform customers and search engines like google and yahoo what the web page is about utilizing the least quantity of phrases. Read extra in regards to the Remove Category Base plugin right here.

WordPress Plugin for Schema Structured Data

The Schema WordPress plugin will combine most Schema structured knowledge you’ll want, together with evaluations and article schema.

Schema markup might be coded by hand, as properly. For instance, you’ll be able to take the JSON-LD script for evaluations and paste it into the underside of your overview straight into the WordPress editor whereas in Text Mode.

Then, manually modify the descriptive fields for ranking, product identify, and so on.

JSON-LD overview template with creator:

<script kind="application/ld+json">


"@context": "http://schema.org/",

"@type": "Review",

"itemReviewed": {

"@type": "Thing",



"author": {

"@type": "Person",



"reviewRating": {

"@type": "Rating",




"publisher": {

"@type": "Organization",





Pretty a lot each ingredient of structured knowledge might be handcrafted and manually and even mechanically inserted on a post-by-post foundation, or by enhancing your template straight.

You don’t have to make use of a plugin. But the plugin is clearly the easiest way to scale this course of and have it updated irrespective of how typically WordPress updates.


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Ultimate Nofollow Plugin

The Ultimate Nofollow plugin provides the choice to make a selected URL nofollow in the mean time you might be creating that URL. There are further choices for sitewide nofollows, must you want these. But I don’t use them.

Optional SEO Features for WordPress

Attachment Pages Redirect

If you could have inadvertently created internet pages for each picture attachment in your WordPress web site, this plugin will simply clear up your downside.

The Attachment Pages Redirect plugin will restore your particular person attachments to their right habits. Just set up and activate it and that’s it, your downside is solved.

The Attachment Pages Redirect plugin wants no establishing. Just activate it and neglect it. Fixing rogue attachment pages couldn’t be simpler.

Just be certain that to make use of the proper setting for redirecting attachments to the publish when importing media sooner or later.

Redirect supervisor

This is a helpful plugin for those who really feel uncomfortable enhancing htaccess information to create redirects. Use this if in case you have a authentic motive to redirect an outdated web page to a brand new web page.


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404 Responses Are Not Unhealthy

Don’t use a redirect supervisor to redirect a deleted web page to the house web page.

Some SEO plugins attempt to scare you into believing that 404 error codes have an effect on the “health” of your web site. But that’s incorrect. 404 response codes will not be inherently dangerous to the “health” of your web site.

  • Some 404 responses are resulting from spammers linking to your web site with a partial URL. That’s regular and nothing to fret about. The 404 response is the proper response.
  • Some 404 responses are resulting from an inside linking error by the writer. That’s your error (you mistyped the URL). That’s one thing to repair by updating the URL to the proper URL.

The reality about 404 response codes is that they are completely pure and don’t make your web site much less wholesome.

Google’s John Mueller states that 404 response codes will not be one thing that wants fixing. He additionally states that 404 response codes are pure:

“There’s no need to “fix” crawl errors in your web site. Finding 404’s is regular and anticipated of a wholesome, well-configured web site.

If you could have an equal new URL, then redirecting to it’s a good apply. Otherwise, you shouldn’t create pretend content material, you shouldn’t redirect to your homepage, you shouldn’t robots.txt disallow these URLs — all of these items make it more durable for us to acknowledge your web site’s construction and course of it correctly. We name these “soft 404” errors.”

WordPress SEO Without an SEO Plugin

Here is extra data from Google about 404 response codes.


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XML Site Map

Google makes use of web site feeds to crawl a web site. If you add a web page, Google can discover your feed and uncover it in that method.

That’s why I checklist XML web site map as an non-compulsory answer. Here’s what Google’s developer web page says:

“Use Pubsubhubbub if you use Atom/RSS for your sitemap and want to broadcast your changes to other search engines in addition to Google.”

Google can even uncover the online web page by means of the conventional strategy of crawling from hyperlink to hyperlink.

Another possibility is which you could select to submit the URL individually or by means of a web site map; see full directions from Google right here.

If your web site shouldn’t be up to date typically, you’ll be able to crawl it with an app like Xenu Link Sleuth and select the choice to create an XML web site map. Then you simply add it to your server. No hosting assets are wanted to generate the map apart from permitting Link Sleuth to crawl your web site.


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Or, you need to use a plugin just like the Google XML Sitemap Generator plugin.

Redundant SEO Plugin Features

You might discover options included in SEO plugins which are redundant or not essential.

Canonical URLs

Canonical URLs are constructed into WordPress. You don’t want an SEO plugin to deal with this.

Robots.txt and htaccess File Editors

If you could have a textual content editor or an HTML editor, then you could have all you want for enhancing a robots.txt file or updating an htaccess file. Additionally, it’s best to solely mess with these information if you understand what you’re doing.

If you might be expert sufficient to edit these, then you definately don’t want a WordPress plugin to deal with this. Just open your textual content file and an FTP app like a traditional individual, proper?

404 Status Code Redirection

SEO plugins present this underneath the mistaken perception that 404 standing codes are dangerous. As famous above by Google’s John Mueller, 404 response codes are high-quality. Just repair those which are resulting from precise errors, like a typo within the URL.


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Sitemap Generators

As famous above, a web site map shouldn’t be strictly essential as a result of Google crawls URLs by way of RSS feeds and hyperlinks.

However, a web site map is beneficial if in case you have made main adjustments and need Google to find them as quick as potential. In this case, a manually generated web site map is beneficial, as you don’t have to put in a plugin to generate it.

You can nonetheless set up a web site map generator plugin and that makes way more sense to do than putting in an enormous SEO plugin to do that one single process.

Keyword Research and Word Processing

WordPress and your server assets may not be the very best platform for conducting key phrase and phrase processing capabilities. If you desire a real-world app for checking your content material, use an actual software program program just like the Hemingway App. If you need to do internet web page evaluation use an actual app that generates a phrase cloud.

All of those sorts of capabilities are restricted on an SEO plugin anyway. A standalone app will do a greater job.


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Why Use Six Plugins Instead of One?

An all-in-one SEO plugin is likely to be only a single plugin, but it surely’s nonetheless behaving as if it’s ten or extra plugins.

Count the options in your SEO plugin and rely every one as a single plugin. You’ll be shocked that you possibly can be larding up your WordPress web site with the options of twelve plugins – options that you could be not want.

So the query shouldn’t be about whether or not you want six plugins versus one. The query must be what number of options do you want?

For me, the clear reply is quite a bit fewer options which are supplied by all-in-one WordPress SEO plugin options.

All in One is Not the Same as All You Need

As you’ll be able to see, SEO plugins are helpful for customers who’ve little to no ability with coding or WordPress. SEO plugins accomplish an vital process for customers who don’t have the abilities to decide on what options they want.


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A devoted SEO plugin is an effective alternative for a big group that desires to play it secure and never must cope with particular person plugins or handcrafted options.

However, for these with extra ability or who aren’t constrained by bureaucratic constraints, SEO plugins might be overkill.

People are putting in SEO plugins by default, basically sleepwalking by means of their WordPress SEO.

This article reveals that you just don’t want the whole lot a devoted SEO plugin provides.

There are alternate options to putting in an SEO plugin with options you don’t actually need. An all-in-one answer is probably not what you want.WordPress SEO Without an SEO Plugin

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