This Is How to Improve Your Blog’s SEO Without Money or Plugins

By: | November 22, 2016 | Tags: , , , , |

Improve your blog's SEO without money or plugins #searchengineoptimization #blogging

The Mostly Blogging community has many strengths, not the least of which is diversity.

The readers are both self-hosted and hosted by a blogging platform like

A reader even commented (to my joy) that the tips at this site are for bloggers of all experience levels.

This is why, when today’s guest author Tom Watts offered to guest post for us, I explained his tips needed to be for all bloggers whether they self-host or not.

How to Improve Your Blog’s SEO Without Money or Plugins

By Tom Watts

Most people don’t know how to optimize their blog for search engines, and when you look for information, pretty much all of them relate to self-hosted WordPress sites.


Don’t worry, I get it.


Not everyone wants to go “all in” spending money on their blog, and most people prefer to keep their efforts on free platforms like or Blogger.


If you’re reading this post, I’d guess you’re probably already on a free WordPress or Blogger site and want to know how to improve your SEO, right?


Most people will tell you to upgrade to – and most articles will only really tell you what to do if you’re able to install plugins to your site.


Well, there’s actually many ways you can improve your blog’s SEO without having to worry about any of that. All of the below tips apply to any kind of website or blog.


So here are a few key points to focus on to improve your blog’s SEO, as well as a little background on how each of them works.


Do Some Keyword Research


The first thing you need to know about SEO is keywords. So what are keywords?


Keywords are essentially any phrase that a person types into Google (or other search engines) to find results.


For example, someone looking for this post might type in “SEO for my blog” or “how to do SEO without plugins”.


However, not all keywords are searched the same time on average each month and different variations are more commonly used than others. For example, the keyword “SEO for blogs” may be searched for more times on average than “SEO for my blog”.


So how do you know which keywords to choose?


Luckily, Google has you covered. They already have all of this information on tap and ready for you to browse – you just need to know how.


Finding the right keywords is a whole article on its own, and we have 4 more points to cover, so here’s a link to a page where you can find everything you need to know about finding relevant keywords for free.


Try to find general keywords that you can scatter across your blog, as well as more specific keywords that you can include in relevant blog posts.


Including keywords in your page lets Google know what you’re about – but less is more. Try to avoid spamming or including excessive keywords in your pages.


As a general rule, try to include at least one keyword in every 100 words, and try to avoid using more than 3 in each 100 words.

Improve Your Heading Tags


Heading tags help to structure your page by including text of different sizes. However, Google also uses them to figure out what the most important information on your page is.


If you think about it, the title of your page should say everything a reader needs to know about your page before they even read it, right?


So Google takes one look at your title and says, “Okay, that’s what the article is about”.


There are 6 heading tags; H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6 (“H” stands for “Heading”).


H1 is the most important tag and should be used for your overall page heading. H6 is the least important and rarely gets used.


To implement a heading tag, you have 2 options

  • Use the editor to assign a heading tag.
  • Add it manually by adding HTML tags.


To add an HTML tag manually, all you need to do is place an opening tag, for example <h1> before the heading and closing tag after your heading, for example </h1>.


So your heading would look like this – <h1>THIS IS YOUR HEADING</h1>.


You should try to include your “main keyword” in your H1 tag, and also include some other tags, H2 and H3, with more keywords in there to break up the article and give Google more clues.

Put Alt Attributes On Your Images


Google has an image search function too. This search function works in pretty much the exact same way as the webpage search – with keywords and relevance.


So how do you put a keyword on an image? The answer is an “Alt Tag”.


When you add images to WordPress, Blogger or anywhere else, you’re also able to put descriptions, captions, and Alt Tags.

Alt Text helps your blog's SEO


The Alt Tag is the keyword equivalent for images. If you include lots of images in your posts (which you should) then you should definitely be trying to get them shown on Google too.


If you have a very visual blog, if you’re a food blogger, or an art blogger or even a fashion blogger – Alt Tags should be at the top of your priority list.


Think about when you’re looking for images or ideas for images – where do you go?


I’m willing to bet it’s Pinterest, Instagram or Google Images.

Write More Content (But Make It Good)


Google also likes it when you give a lot of information, and I mean A LOT.

Studies have shown that longer content does better on Google.

The reason for this being that Google wants to show their users the best content available. Generally speaking, the longer your article is, the more information you’ve provided. More information means better answers, which means (normally) happy Google users.


However, making content long, just for the sake of making it long, is not a good idea.


Going back to the point on keywords, Google looks at ALL of the content, and the more content you add, the more keywords you’ll have to include.


This means you have to keep the content on the topic, otherwise, Google is going to mark you down.


In summary, write more if there is more to write. If you get to a point where you don’t feel you can add any additional value by writing more, then stop and keep the article concise.

Link More (And Encourage Links Back)


The final large part of SEO is backlinking.


There are so many factors that go into backlinking, and so I’m going to try to make it simple for you.


A backlink is essentially any link from a site to another site. In terms of SEO, backlinks are seen as “votes” for your site in Google’s eyes.


Think of Google as a popularity contest, and each backlink is a “vote” for your site to come out on top.


However, every link has a different level of power, and the effect it has on your blog will vary based on a few things;

  • The quality of the site the backlink comes from.
  • The power of the page on that site the link comes from.
  • The relevance of the page on your site the link goes to.
  • The anchor text (the text such as “see link here” or “click here for more”) that leads to a page.


There’s more to it – but this is a good basis to improve your understanding of backlinks.


So, there are two things you need to do.


The first thing is to start linking more to other people’s posts. Help other people to do well on Google, and also signal to Google what your blog is about by showing them you’re linking to other relevant blogs.


Secondly, you should encourage others to link back to you. You probably already ask your readers to comment and share your posts – and if not, why not? So why not ask them to also link to your blog if they have a blog of their own?

(Note: Mostly Blogging‘s Link Exchange is designed for the purpose of asking bloggers in your niche for a link to your site.)




SEO includes a ton of different “clues” for Google and there’s no one size fits all system. However, by following these best practices, you should start to see a rise in your Google traffic.


There are no set rules for SEO. Google doesn’t give you a step-by-step process on how to get their number one spot – otherwise, everyone would do it.


You don’t need to pay for SEO or install any plugins. SEO is possible without the use of plugins or spending any kind of money. Just work on the content you have, and you’ll start to see progress.


All you can do is follow best practices, keep up to date with changes or trends, and keep learning about new ways to improve your SEO.

Readers, please share, so other content creators know how to increase their chances of being found in search engines.

What do you do to optimize your blog for search engines? I look forward to your views in the comment section.

Related Posts:

2 Things About SEO You Need to Know To Get Traffic

7 Warning Signs That Google Can’t Find You

How to Boost Your Traffic: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to SEO

4 Ways You Can Improve Your Keywords and See a Big Surge of Traffic

  1. Anita

    Yes, we can improve our SEO optimization without money and plugins
    Thank you so much for good tips
    I applicate tht then
    kisses back to you

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Anita,

      Thanks for reading and responding! Let me know if you have any followup questions 🙂


  2. Smart barath

    Now i got some ideas about how to use keywords

    Thanks for your excellent post and keep it up

  3. Melinda Mitchell

    Thanks, Tom for the easy to read, and understand info on SEO. When I started blogging, I knew NOTHING!! Thankfully, I met my BBFFJanice soon after, and she has taught me so much!
    Now I even use alt tags! And I know what SEO IS!
    Another great guest, Janice.
    I saw you today on Anne’s page! thanks for all the sweet compliments!
    Your BBFFM

    • Tom Watts

      Thanks for the kind words, Melinda! SEO can be such a confusing subject – especially when people get into the technicalities of it. Once you do understand it though, it’s actually quite simple. Google has a system, and you just have to fit in to their criteria in order to show up.

      Thanks for commenting, and hope to see you again soon 🙂


    • Janice Wald

      Hey BBFFM,
      You are going to make me blush. Thank you again for Janice’s Jewels and your review of my book. You are a great BBFF.

  4. GiGi Eats

    My blog is definitely not SEO optimized – I certainly struggle with this because I like to be creative more than anything else.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Gigi,
      I saw your wedding video. How long did it take your husband to memorize all those lyrics? Now I’m listening to Hamilton music. Thanks for commenting on my post. You have the Golden Touch. I’m sure your creativity takes you far.

  5. Julie Syl Kalungi

    Awesome Tips and I definitely agree with the ideas you shared here Janice. I have never really thought of a Link exchange plan so this so awesome to know and try out.

    I do agree also that No one size fits all. Since I found Pinterest to be more generous to the Blogger and Creative, I find it easier to attract organic traffic to my content without thinking too much about Google 🙂 Thanx for this great guest share Janice! 🙂

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Julie,
      Regarding Pinterest– I emailed you my question. How many times a day do you put your own pins on Pinterest? Thanks!

  6. Donna Harvey

    Thank you Tom for the info it was a big help, and Thank you Janice for having Tom as a guest. I am now going to my Site and make sure I have Alt Tags on my Photo’s. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Debby,
      Thanks so much! Tom did a great job with his article. Thanks for writing us.

  7. Sherab Tenzin

    Thanks Tom for sharing this important tutorial on how to implement SEO features in our blogs’ contents. I am quite sure that every blogger agree SEO being an immune system of every blog-every effort must be used to implement them. You shared some basic and important aspects of it.

    And the post would be more elaborate if he could have shared some more tools (free and premium) that can used for keyword mining by bloggers. Many know only Keyword planner of Google.


  8. Leanne

    There is so much information out there about SEO – it seems to be a vital component for Google searching and it’s great to see some advice that doesn’t involve a self-hosted WordPress blog (yes I’m one of those cheap Blogger bloggers who loves where I am and doesn’t want to spend money!) The only issue I have with all the SEO stuff is the repetitive use of the same words all the way through the post to try and score higher – I hate it and often stop reading because it’s so annoying.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Leanne,
      Thanks for writing me. As far as “keyword stuffing,” I heard Google doesn’t like it either and penalizes people for it. I’m glad you liked Tom’s article.

  9. Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle

    Thanks Tom, I am sure those who are not self-hosted will be encouraged and can see how to improve their SEO. I am still a bit confused about reciprocal links and how Google sees them. But there is plenty that we can do as you have clearly shared with us.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Kathleen,
      Some people feel link swapping is okay if there is overlap in the content. Others would rather swap links through a more circuitous route. Thanks for writing us. I’m glad you liked the article.

  10. Kathleen Lovlie

    Thanks for the info, I keep forgetting to do this stuff! Still can’t figure out how to get that “alt text” box to come up on wordpress – all I get is the caption box. Sigh.
    Thanks for hosting!

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Kathleen,
      1. Thanks for writing.
      2. Regarding the “Alt Text” box. Did you see my screenshot in the article? Does that help you find it? Maybe non self-hosted is different.

  11. Jean

    Tom, this was excellent. First of all, I have a self-hosted Blogger blog and get a bit tired of seeing everything aimed at self-hosted WordPress blogs. Second, this is the best explanation of keywords I’ve ever read. Thank you!

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Jean,
      Such high praise! Thank you! I agree Tom did an excellent job with the article.

  12. Amrita Basu (Misra)

    Thank you so much for the tips for blog improvements. SEO is a difficult topic for DIY bloggers

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Amrita,
      Are you a DIY blogger? I thought your blog was about health. Thanks for writing.

    • Janice Wald

      Great to hear from you Cathy! Thanks for writing to tell me. I am making efforts in those directs too. I am making a concerted effort to have long-tail keywords in every post.

  13. Reuven

    I want to thank Janice and Tom for a very useful post that all bloggers could benefit from reading. I will definitely click on your links to continue exploring. We bloggers need to go to school to learn how to get our ideas out there. It’s great that both of you are helping us do so.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Reuven,
      I agree Tom did a great job with the article, especially for bloggers who don’t self-host. Thanks for writing us to tell us you found the tips helpful. Great to see you.
      PS I am getting traffic from your linky party, so I appreciate what you do for our community as well.

  14. In

    Extremely helpful article. Can you suggest me some free sites that offers keywords generation, headline related help

  15. Mansoor Bhanpurawala

    Excellent Tips, and I definitely agree with the ideas you shared here, Janice. I have never really thought of a Link exchange plan, so this so awesome to know and try out.

    I do also agree that No one size fits all. Since I found Pinterest to be more generous to the Blogger and Creative, I find it easier to attract organic traffic to my content without overthinking Google 🙂 Thanx for this excellent guest share Janice! 🙂

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Mansoor,
      Thanks for calling my guest author’s post “excellent.”
      You mentioned you are interested in trying the Link Exchange. The Link Exchange is a perk for my followers. You’ll see everyone is already grouped by niche.
      Just put your niche and your URL in the comment box.
      In regards to what you wrote: I have a post coming out on Pinterest traffic. I find Pinterest is more of a traffic generator for DIYers and recipe bloggers. Yet, you indicate Pinterest generates traffic for you. Have you written a post about your Pinterest methods? If so, can you share it here? I’d love to read it.
      Thanks for commenting.

  16. Bella D. @ Self-Publishing Made Easy Now

    This is a good post. I agree with you, I don’t rely on plugins too. I am focusing on making good quality blogs while doing backlinking and interacting with the blogging community.

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.