WordPress SEO Without an SEO Plugin

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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 would like for sure tasks.

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

This shouldn’t be meant to steer you to not use one, however to indicate you learn how to take full management of your SEO with out a plugin when you so select.

SEO Plugins Are Useful

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

The technical aspect of SEO has a comparatively excessive bar when it comes to coding. SEO plugins democratize internet publishing.

A serious criticism 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 can be lean and quick in addition to modular, so you may 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 wonderful alternative for many who need extra management over their SEO however favor to select and select the options they want.

SEO plugins are the secure alternative for publishers who’re risk-averse and don’t wish to experiment with alternate options. Loads is at stake, so your best option is commonly essentially 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 proud of 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 out a devoted SEO plugin.

Reasons I Do Not Use an SEO Plugin

There are 4 explanation 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 resolve 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 keep up.
  4. Leaner WordPress set up with out pointless options.

SEO Features You Need for WordPress

WordPress has a reasonably strong core these days. Things like canonicals are executed mechanically.

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

While your actual wants will fluctuate in accordance with the template you employ, right here are some things to search for.

Necessary WordPress SEO Features

  • Breadcrumbs with Schema.org Structured Data.
  • Meta descriptions.
  • Open Graph meta information.
  • Removal of class base.
  • Schema metadata.
  • A solution 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 information to it’ll get you enhanced listings when you rank within the SERPs. And the improved listings could assist the click-through charge.

It’s potential to code breadcrumb navigation with out a 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 operate.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 grow to be sophisticated since you nonetheless must affiliate schema markup with the breadcrumbs. So that’s much more coding.

It could be executed however at this level, it may be simpler to dump the duty of constructing positive it really works to a plugin.

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

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 severe occasions related to devoted SEO plugins, it didn’t trigger issues for customers.

Meta Description

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

Google will rewrite your meta description if a phrase out of your internet web page is a greater match. With that stated, Google does a tremendous 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 sufficient to make use of as a title tag. If it’s adequate to function the title of the article, it must be adequate because the title of the net web page. There are workarounds for coding this into the theme in addition to plugins however I believe 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 means that you can specify an picture and wording to indicate 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 needed in your URL construction. Shortening your URL to the area title, the precise title of the class, and the web page title is a finest apply.


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A shorter URL is less complicated to recollect, much less prone to be mistyped, and might inform customers and search engines like google 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 information you’ll want, together with critiques and article schema.

Schema markup could be coded by hand, as properly. For instance, you may take the JSON-LD script for critiques and paste it into the underside of your assessment instantly into the WordPress editor whereas in Text Mode.

Then, manually alter the descriptive fields for score, product title, and so on.

JSON-LD assessment template with writer:

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

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

"@type": "Review",


"@type": "Thing",



"author": ,

"reviewRating": ,


"@type": "Organization",



Pretty a lot each factor of structured information could be handcrafted and manually and even mechanically inserted on a post-by-post foundation, or by modifying your template instantly.

You don’t have to make use of a plugin. But the plugin is clearly one of the best ways to scale this course of and have it updated regardless 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 for the time being you’re creating that URL. There are extra 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 resolve 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 overlook it. Fixing rogue attachment pages couldn’t be simpler.

Just be certain to make use of the right setting for redirecting attachments to the put up when importing media sooner or later.

Redirect supervisor

This is a helpful plugin when you really feel uncomfortable modifying htaccess recordsdata to create redirects. Use this when you have a reputable motive to redirect an previous 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 usually are not inherently dangerous to the “health” of your web site.

  • Some 404 responses are on account of spammers linking to your web site with a partial URL. That’s regular and nothing to fret about. The 404 response is the right response.
  • Some 404 responses are on account of 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 right 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 usually are not 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 faux content material, you shouldn’t redirect to your homepage, you shouldn’t robots.txt disallow these URLs — all of these items make it tougher 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 net web page by way of the traditional means of crawling from hyperlink to hyperlink.

Another possibility is that you would be able to select to submit the URL individually or by way of a web site map; see full directions from Google right here.

If your web site shouldn’t be up to date typically, you may 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 internet hosting sources 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 could discover options included in SEO plugins which can be redundant or not needed.

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 modifying a robots.txt file or updating an htaccess file. Additionally, you must solely mess with these recordsdata if you recognize what you’re doing.

If you’re expert sufficient to edit these, you then 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 beneath the mistaken perception that 404 standing codes are dangerous. As famous above by Google’s John Mueller, 404 response codes are tremendous. Just repair those which can be on account of 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 needed as a result of Google crawls URLs through RSS feeds and hyperlinks.

However, a web site map is helpful when you have made main modifications and wish Google to find them as quick as potential. In this case, a manually generated web site map is helpful, 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 much 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 sources may not be the perfect 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 wish 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 may 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 each 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 rather a lot fewer options which can be supplied by all-in-one WordPress SEO plugin options.

All in One is Not the Same as All You Need

As you may see, SEO plugins are helpful for customers who’ve little to no talent 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 efficient alternative for a big group that wishes to play it secure and never need to cope with particular person plugins or handcrafted options.

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

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

This article exhibits that you simply don’t want all the things a devoted SEO plugin presents.

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

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