WordPress SEO without SEO Plugins: 7 Insanely Useful Tips!


Do you know that you can do WordPress SEO without SEO plugins? Yes, your read this right.

Without any doubt, SEO plugins are insanely useful. It helps you to optimize your site’s every aspect that needs to be met SEO standards.

As a result, your site’s ranking improves on SERPs. You can consider SEO plugins as a lifesaver for those who find coding PHP, .htaccess files, and set up of robots.txt files, very difficult.

Having said that, honestly answer that have you ever thought of doing SEO without an SEO plugin? I bet NO. So, now the question is, are we able to do WordPress SEO without SEO plugins?

Well, the answer would be YES or NO. It will vary from user to user. In our personal opinion, having an SEO plugin for doing WordPress SEO will always be a wise decision.

So, if you’re on the same page as me, you can skip this article.

However, in this article, we’ll shed light on 7 insanely useful tips for doing WordPress SEO without SEO plugins. You’ve to be glued to this to the last if you’re interested.

Are You Ready Enough to Start WordPress SEO without SEO Plugins?

Before heading to do WordPress SEO without SEO plugins, you need to be ready with a few aspects. Let’s see what are these aspects-

Reliable Hostings

There are a few major SEO factors that help your site to get ranked on SERPs. Such as speed, uptime, and security. And, by choosing a reliable hosting plan, you can check all these things.

While choosing a hosting plan, we will highly recommend you go with a fully managed hosting plan instead of any shared hosting plan.

However, a fully managed hosting plan will cost you a bit more than shared hosting but you can relax always. Because, all things (updates, daily backups, scalability, website uptime) will be handled by the hosting plan.

There are many hosting providers in the market. We recommend you get your hosting plan from any of these renowned hosting providers- BlueHost, SiteGround, and WP Engine.

N.B: Based on the latest WordPress security studies, insecure web hosting is the reason behind getting hacked for 41% of websites around the world. So don’t be a target for hackers by going with a shared hosting plan.

WordPress Themes: SEO-friendly

Since you’re willing to do WordPress SEO with SEO plugins, having an SEO-friendly WordPress theme for your site is a must. However, you may know, from thousands of themes – some are SEO-friendly and some are not.

A theme that is not SEO-friendly that can slow down your site with its heavy amount of scripts. Your overall website performance can be hampered because of having a theme installed that doesn’t meet SEO standards.

Therefore, choosing an SEO-friendly theme is a must option if you’re going to optimize SEO without SEO plugins. An SEO-friendly theme featured-

  • Lightweight
  • Clean code
  • Easy navigation
  • Highly responsive
  • Fast loading speed, and many more

A question is popping up in your head, from where you could get an SEO-friendly theme? Well, the WordPress theme directory is available for you with thousands of free and premium SEO-friendly themes.

Or else, go to CodeCanyon, check the review, ratings, and WordPress enthusiasts’ feedback on a theme, and purchase according to your needs.

Enable Search Engine Visibility Settings


It’s obvious that for getting ranked high on SERPs, you need to make your site visible to search engines so that search engines can crawl and index your site instantly.

And for this, WordPress has an option named ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site‘. Make sure this is unchecked when you want something to get ranked on SERPs.

Once you check this option, meaning you’re ordering search engines to not crawl and index that particular page. So, always do uncheck this spot.

However, you can check this option, when your site is under development or in maintenance mode. So to enable/disable this, login to your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > Reading, and now check/uncheck to enable/disable this option.

Well, if you check the above things you’re up and going for optimizing WordPress SEO without SEO plugins. Let’s check out the 7 useful tips that will help you to do WordPress SEO without SEO plugins.

7 Useful Tips for Doing WordPress SEO without SEO Plugins Installed

Following are the tips that will help you to optimize your WordPress site without any help from the SEO plugin.

Extensive Keyword Research


Keyword research is a primary and very important aspect of SEO strategy. In order to hit on the G-spot of SEO, keyword research is a must.

Usually, search engines display results based on the queries of the users. And these queries of the users are the keywords that you need to research and find.

You need to understand user intent and then find the most relevant and valuable keywords. Valuable keywords, meaning high search volume with low SEO difficulty (low competition).

Remember, the more your niche is relevant to the search queries (using keywords), the more your site has the chance of getting ranked higher on SERPs.

And for doing keyword research it’s not mandatory to have an SEO plugin. You can easily do keyword research using Google Keyword Planner.

Plus, there are free tools available to find keywords according to your needs- Ubersuggest or SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool, and many more.

Again saying, a keyword is ideal for you when it fits your niche and got a high search volume and low competition.

Neat and Clean URLs: SEO-friendly

Having an SEO-friendly URL is a gem that will help your site to get ranked on SERPs. You might know that search engines always prefer neat and clean URLs so that they read that easily and display them based on user queries.

And a big thumbs up to WordPress! Without any SEO plugins, you can create URLs that meet the search engine’s criteria.

To do so, you need to login into your WordPress dashboard, and then navigate Settings > Permalink. Now click on Post Name, and by doing so WordPress generates a link for you depending on the name of the page or post.

What if you don’t configure the permalink? Then, Google will see a default link (example.com/?P=123) for your blog which is difficult to read. Meaning, the search will not understand what your post or page is about.

However, with WordPress, you can easily edit slugs before publishing your post or page. The following are some requirements that make an URL ideal:

  • Slug’s character limit: standard character limit for any slug should be 59 characters. If it exceeds this limit, Google won’t understand your slug clearly as a result your post might not be indexed on SERPs.
  • Include keywords: the best practice of making a perfect slug is using the main keyword and erasing other clutters.
  • Readability: Google recommends using hyphens between words in your slug. It makes your slug readable to both search engines and users.

Manually Add Titles and Meta Description

As you know, adding titles and meta descriptions is as easy as summing 2+2 using an SEO plugin. On the other hand, adding these without using any SEO plugin need some basic coding knowledge.

So, let’s get to business directly without mentioning the importance of titles and meta descriptions in your post. If we say it in simple words, without these aspects, it’s quite impossible to rank your post or page on SERPs.

Below is the title tag that you need to insert into header.php file of your theme:

<title><?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?><?php wp_title(); ?></title>

  • <?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?>: this referes to the site name you fix
  • <?php wp_title(); ?>: it calls the page’s title and title tag

And, for meta description below is the code you need to go with into your header.php file:

<meta name=”description” content=”<?php bloginfo(‘description’); ?>” />

Lastly, for single posts, use the following code:

<meta name="description" content="<?php if ( is_single() ) {

single_post_title('', true);

} else {

bloginfo('name'); echo " - "; bloginfo('description');


?>" />

N.B: Keep in mind that your meta title characters should not exceed 60-65 characters (including spaces); on the other hand, 140-160 is the best SEO character practice for meta descriptions.

Therefore, always try to follow these instructions for your titles and meta descriptions characters limit.

Optimize the Content As Much As You Can

You’ve written content and published it and waiting for it to rank, is this work? We firmly say, No! Just writing content is not enough rather you’ve to maintain SEO standards in your content.

The good news for SEO plugins (YoastSEO or RankMath) users is, they can see the SEO guidelines with all the analysis. As we’re talking about WordPress SEO without an SEO plugin, so you’ve to maintain certain things manually.

The following are the most crucial optimization points for any posts you want to publish:

  • Choose a primary keyword (main keyword) for your blog post and put it in the title, beginning, and concluding part.
  • Try to use the main keyword at least once in H2 and H3 tags.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing, and always maintain keyword density properly.
  • Use internal and external links to make your post more credible to the readers and search engines.
  • Use a few LSI (Latent Semantic Keyword) keywords, instead of repeating the main keyword all the time.
  • The main keywords should be in the title, meta description, and image alt text.

If you follow these SEO criteria and write a unique piece of content, then there’s a definite possibility to get ranked high on SERPs.

Image Optimization is Vital

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Making your blog content visually appealing with images is a great way to illustrate your ideas.

As well as driving traffic to your website, well-optimized images can also boost sales.

You’ve got good news! In addition to adjusting file names, alt texts, titles, and descriptions, WordPress provides built-in image optimization options.


The file name of your images should describe the context of the content, rather than just 123.jpg or book1.png.

So, you should make it as brief as possible while still being descriptive. Your image filename will be easier to read if you add hyphens between words.

Need to Create an XML Sitemap

The XML sitemap provides information about the structure of your WordPress site. Even though it doesn’t directly boost your SEO, it significantly assists search engine crawlers in crawling, navigating, and indexing your posts and pages.

Is it possible to generate an XML Sitemap without using plugins? The answer is yes, certainly. You can do it manually or simply use this popular tool, xml-sitemaps.com.

Your XML sitemap must then be submitted to search engines, such as Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster so that search engines can crawl your site smoothly.

Boosting Page Speed

Ranking factors for Google include page loading time. Several factors contribute to a slowdown of your sites, such as large-sized images, too many plugins, and hotlinking.

Site speed is often improved by using caching plugins. As you won’t be using plugins, these key points should be taken into account for improving your site’s speed:

  • Consider using a lightweight theme
  • Choose a reliable hosting company
  • Cloudflare or MaxCDN are good CDNs to use
  • Enable gzip compression to reduce image size
  • Keep your plugins to a minimum. Remove unused plugins from your site
  • Ensure pingbacks and trackbacks are disabled
  • Google Speed Test can help you improve page speed
  • In order to prevent image hotlinking, configure the .htaccess file

Is It a Good/Bad Idea of Doing WordPress SEO without SEO Plugins, What Do You Think?

It is possible to optimize WordPress SEO without plugins, as demonstrated in the article. WordPress itself even configures some SEO factors.

Some processes, however, require you to learn how to code. If you’re not a techie (and we bet that’s most of you), optimizing your WordPress SEO without plugins is really difficult, if not impossible.

Certain aspects of the WordPress site can’t be added on your own, such as breadcrumbs and schema structure.

The following tips will help you boost SEO on your site manually if you want to challenge yourself. The process can be made easier with the help of plugins.

Are there any questions you would like to ask or any better tips you would like to add? Feel free to comment below!

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