Let's Get Crazy - SEO without an SEO Plugin

Last Update: June 24, 2019

BenjisMom can attest to this but I've always been a risk taker.

So let's turn this house upside-down...

I'm launching a new bog and I will fly solo WITHOUT an SEO Plugin. No 'All In One', no Yoast... NOTHING.

I won't lie... my palms are sweaty... knees weak, arms are heavy, there's vomit on my sweater already.. mom's spaghetti, I'm nervous. (if you understood this reference, drop me a, "Lose yourself" in the comments.)

But if you only learn one thing from this entire article, learn this... IT IS NEVER A BAD IDEA TO TEST.

Why Do something So crazy?

Don't get me wrong, SEO plugins are very useful and this article is NOT to convince bloggers to dump your SEO plugin.

In fact, let me state plainly that you should use what makes you most comfortable according to the training here at WA.

But for me personally... most SEO plugins have features I don't really need.

So my main goal in this test is this:

1. Improve Time Efficiency: There has been so many times where I had redundant features in plugins and those things negatively affected my sites reporting and/or performance. These were hard lessons that took me hours to figure out. Time that I could have used to create more content.

2. Get FASTER: Because of mobile-first indexing, I need my site to be as lean as possible. The fewer bloated plugins I have installed, the better. Google will not give you a bump in rankings for having the fastest site, but Google will ding you for having a slow site. So overall speed and loading time of my site is 2nd priority after Content creation.

3. Positive and Liberating Mindset: I used to be in the rat race of churning out content as quickly as I could and then manually indexing in Google and then get frustrated why Google won't crawl my site fast enough. But now, I write the content, hit publish, then move on with more important things.

4. Mitigate Points of Failure: I am sure some of you remember that faithful Yoast update that created a "Google Panda-like" slap to blogs. I don't want that to happen again because a software developer did not test their product properly.

Wordpress has you covered

So Wordpress, especially since Gutenberg, has a lot of the necessary SEO functions already built in.

Canonical URLs, 404 redirection, robots.txt editors, etc...

And for the few things you actually need an SEO Plugin for, you can install a very small, lean, and fast plugin that specializes in doing one function.

"But Chris, why would you uninstall 1 plugin to install 4 in its place??"

I hear you loud and clear...

Picture this... hiring an all-around (dare I say 'all-in-one') handyman to renovate your kitchen versus hiring a contractor that does nothing but renovate kitchens for a living.

Or even one step farther... when you go to your doctor (or general practitioner), when he sees something of note, he doesn't diagnose it himself; he refers you to a specialist.

Catch my drift?

Plus, how many times have you carefully worded your keyword-rich meta-description, only to Google your site and see that Google used another random snippet from the article?

Why waste time writing something that Google is ignoring?

But what if Google can't find my site?

First, we are talking about Google here... not Sizzler.

Those guys and gals are good at what they do. Google WILL find you. It is what they do all day, every day... no problem.

Plus, any information that you need to know about your site (good or bad), you will find in Google Analytics or the Google Search Console.

So concentrate on creating more content. Content is king and content will get you ranked.

So My Next Move....

I will do my best to optimize my site for SEO without having to use any bloated plugins.

Find a good theme with SEO functions already built-in.

Concentrate on the content and let everything else fall into place...

I will provide updates over the coming months to let you know how it goes.

Caution and Disclaimer...

I, again, just want to reiterate that I am doing this for MY TEST SITE.

Please do not follow suit. If you do, do so at your own risk.

As a seasoned (and obsessed) blogger/entrepreneur I have the time and funds to test this out and it not affect my bottom line.

The training here at WA is darn near flawless and works when followed step-by-step. So I recommend doing it just as constituted.

But if you are feeling adventurous, launch your next blog SEO plugin-free. Start creating content, give it a few months and see what happens.

Worst case... you can just install AIO and call it a day.

Take Control,

Chris M

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waltfair Premium
Thanks for the post, I agree wholeheartedly.
I think everyone should get a copy and rerad the book "Guerilla Marketring. The basic idea is to try various approaches to sales and marketing, keep track of the results and bail out on anything that isn't bring commensurate results.
Try anything and everything and develop data that indicate whether it is working or not. If not, try something different, but never overstep your operating budget, whatever that might be.
Brenda63 Premium
Im using a new SEO plug in for my theme, RankMath. I do not know how it works, that has yet to be seen. If I can ever get my written content going. I removed AIO and just added RankMath as that works best with my fast SEO theme. My site doesn't have any content yet. Just slowly learning how to build it. Good luck to you, Chris.
BenjisDad Premium
havent heard of that one... let me know how it goes!
gartnerf Premium
That is an interesting proposition. I personally like Yoast and use it to check each post I produce. I know with all the WA training and repetition of following Yoast guidelines one should theoretically do without an SEO plugin.
I haven't been a fan of Gutenberg yet, but I am road testing it on another of my sites. Perhaps it's built-in SEO capabilities will suffice.

Please report back your findings. We would be curious to know how you fared with Google.

Thanks for the post!
BenjisDad Premium
i just broke down and started using it.... i kind of like gutenberg now... lol
ERichardson1 Premium
Good evening my friend, I must say you are a pioneer I'm very interested in the outcome of this. And I hear you loud and clear, I have felt some of your frustrations and I agree with you 100%, content content and more content but make sure it's quality. May you have a successful week.
BenjisDad Premium
thansk Earl!
DaveStarr Premium
I applaud what you are doing. I've not convinced SEO plugins, especially Yoast, do that much for SEO anymore and OMG they add a lot of complication and slow down search times.

I'm an OF (Old Fellow), I've been online since long before there were any SEO plugins (before Google, even) and once Google got up to speed and eclipsed all other search enh=gines. they have never had any problem "finding" people's sites.

Let us know how you make out.
BenjisDad Premium
i agree. i need a lean mean website machine!
MoneyMech Premium
I like your mojo Benkis. But I would say that most if not all people actually Do Need Yoast SEO. Mostly because it critiques your blog posts pointing out SEO related issues as well as content issues that need improvement.

I don't care how seasoned a blogger you are, you are going to have mistakes in your content.

The other issue I see with using "4" vs "1", is that this idea looks great on paper, but not in execution. Using multiple plugins where 1 would have sufficed often creates technical issues in the back-end.

The more plugins you have, the higher chance you have that one will actually mess up another one you are using when one updates.
If every plugin had a synchronized update schedule, and if every plugin creator was working in conjunction with every other creator, then this wouldn't be a problem.

But the reality is, I've had Site Support have to disable plugins because they conflicted with other ones I was using, and I have had to entirely disable plugins before because their features were too similar to another I was using.

Food for thought, thanks for sharing.
BenjisDad Premium
yup, very good points Jacob. But it's a risk im willing to take.

I use Pro Writing Aid for my blogs, so not worried with errors.

I guess we have a fundamental difference in that one, I'd rather have a specialized plugin to do a ONE thing rahter than a jack of all trads plugin that does 30 things.

But that is what the test is for!

I tend to disagree about the more plugins more problems, philosophy. I'd rather be more modular with my approach.
MoneyMech Premium
I don't entirely disagree with you, and I get that this is a test, so I'm not trying to start an argument here.
I don't have enough information to fully understand your schedule or your motives, and thus my response is going to be more of a statement than a debate.

I am confused by your reply.

By your logic, you would prefer to have 30 individual plugins to do something that 1 could do, just for the sake of having "specialized plugins".

I'd have to disagree with you on this, as your preference to have quantity over efficiency is very dependent upon plugin file size and site speed.
This logic only makes sense if you aren't exceeding the size of the "jack of all trades" plugin, and if you don't slow down your site with multiple scripts that have to load for every plugin.

This is the reason GTMetrix and Google Performance Insights both say that having less Javascript and plugins is better for site speed/rank.

Secondly, I feel like you didn't really take what I said about plugin incompatibility seriously and I'm not sure why.

Are you financially free at this point? My time is much too valuable to be having to troubleshoot problems with plugins or constantly have to find new plugins to replace outdated ones, especially with how frequent Wordpress has been making PHP and script updates.

In my years of experience, centralization beats diversity in websites every time, especially with Wordpress.

Hope this helps.
fyre Premium
I'm definitely watching to see how this experiment unfolds.

I've read of others doing the same but, they were also able to code their own 'stuff' as needed.

My near future will not be code writing but, at least what I've read from you and a few other authority (in my eyes & mind) folks I've actually understood what they (and you) are talking about!

I tried YOAST for a milli-second (okay, it was a few grumble-worthy-headache-inducing days.) but, AIO has always been good to me here and with other sites I write for outside of my own biz & WA.

I like following and reading content like this. It doesn't matter if I can't wrap my head around all of it at once. I find, with my education from Wealthy Affiliate I can do and understand a little more every day of my life.

Because of WA I was able to make sense of some of the code (HTML) I was essentially just copying back in the day and pasting with only minor tweaks on my own end to build a very Draconian style web forum.

My education here also carried over to learning more about the ins & outs of software testing & development.

I say all of that because of what you said about noticing redundancies in SEO plug-ins. It's a lot easier for me to spot trouble when I'm testing other people's sites AND my own now. Nobody wants bloatware on well, on a new computer for example but, some will never even know what is and isn't bloatware.

I was totally distracted from my work reading this but, that's okay because you automatically triggered my research spidey senses.

If my Genisis now +AMP (accelerated mobile pages) theme and my WP Guttenburg are the stellar SEO agents as described to me by them-- then what is exactly would I need or, not need for any additional SEO optimization?

I may not know for a long time but, I will happily research until I DO know. I find it all fascinating but, thinking on my dear autistic brother that used to take clocks and watches apart just for the fascination of what was inside but, he could never put them back together, I'll just keep a curious eye out.

So, do not fear, I won't be tinkering where I shouldn't be in my stage of growth. I'm grateful for the critical-thinking-inducing article though!
BenjisDad Premium
lol. i know how yuo feel jennifer.
Sublimedrive Premium
Lose yourself in the moment you own it ;)
BenjisDad Premium
yup.. good job
Cav1966 Premium
i am following for the comments and to see the end result of this crazy experiment of yours
BenjisDad Premium
Mholmes160 Premium
Hi Chris,

I can’t wait to see your results. I’m confident you will make it work for you. Good luck on the study.

BenjisDad Premium
i hope so Rici
Ugomez Premium
You can make it happen, Good Luck
BenjisDad Premium
lets do this!
Nick-at-WA Premium
Good luck!
BenjisDad Premium
Benjamin89 Premium
Lose Yourself - 8 mile...
BenjisDad Premium
good job!
DK11 Premium
Great Idea! Love to here how it works out keep us updated.
BenjisDad Premium
will do Dan
OrgainITGuy Premium
Great Testing bro. Site Speed is no1 and those plugins are a real handbrake!...
Looking forward to your mastering of this:)

Go well Rob
BenjisDad Premium
got that right Robert
RKingsley Premium
That's excellent. The first half of innovation is identification. I hope you share your findings with us!
BenjisDad Premium
exactly jesse
SowAndReap Premium
My Bad, I was writing something and for some reason it went through with just an N and I can't delete it, LOL! Anyways, I have a site that doesn't have a sitemap and it gets indexed. It would be interesting to see what happens. I think it's a cool idea to test stuff out! Best of luck to your test!
BenjisDad Premium
no worries, i can delete it.
But yea, Google will find you just fine... I'm interested to see how this works out. Evelyn