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I was wondering: aside from the fact that plugins are easier to use, wouldn't it be better to configure meta description on a wordpress website manually by code in the header.php or functions.php file or anywhere else you can do it, instead of using YOAST SEO or other similar plugins, so that you can have less plugin bloat and more website speed? Is it advised to use a plugin just for conveniency or is there another reason?

For example, the yoast seo focus keyphrase functionality is just to see if a certain phrase is inside your meta title, description and image alt, but you could, for example, just check yourself without typing the focus keyphrase anywhere. Not having this funcionality would mean less code beign executed on your website, right?

  • I'm voting to close your question as "primarily opinion-based", because for me, your question comes down to: "Is it better to use plugins or manually code everything?" – kero Nov 14 '19 at 9:49
  • Sorry, I was probably unclear. I meant something like "better for performance" or "do professionals usually do this or this". – MrCrostataH Nov 14 '19 at 10:00
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It is always best to avoid the use of plugins as it is simply an overhead on server resources. I strongly recommend that you use header.php or functions.php for adding the code.

This is not true.

In the end, it all comes down to PHP code. If the code lives in a plugin, a theme, functions.php or you manually edit a core file doesn't really matter for performance.

A problem can arise, when you install plugin X and that plugin brings with it a lot of functionality that you do not need. This can really slow down your site because there exists lots of code that is not needed.

But when you use (almost) all the functionality a plugin provides, why should your custom implementation be any faster? Additionally, I think you're missing one very important part for this specific case: With proper (page) caching, for a visitor, the page is just as fast in any case.

One very important aspect you're missing, as you're only asking for performance, is maintainability.

Yoast has a team of developers, constantly working on their plugin. They can do much more than a single developer can, just because of numbers. Now say, Google changes something in their ruleset, for example the description must not be longer than X.

How long does it take a single developer to know this change happened and take the time to implement the changes?

When using Yoast, you don't have to worry about that, someone else does. And you just need to click one button.

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It is always best to avoid the use of plugins as it is simply an overhead on server resources. I strongly recommend that you use header.php or functions.php for adding the code.

It also depends on what are the things you are looking for when it comes to meta descriptions. There are many tools that are available in YOAST SEO which can reduce your efforts but if you are familiar with WP and webmaster tools than sure go ahead with custom code.

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