The fewer plugins you have on your blog, the faster it’ll be. And page speed is critical for SEO.
Page speed is just one ranking factor in Google’s ever-changing algorithm.
If you’re a smaller blog and you’re trying to compete in the SERPs with the big players, what advantages do you have other them? I would bet that you could build a faster site than them giving you a competitive advantage.
You can run a high-traffic blog with just a handful of plugins. The key is having a minimal theme (*cough* Carbonate) with simple goals.
For example, the goal of MoneyLab.co is to build a strong relationship with my readers by sharing my business-building experiences in an honest and transparent way. That means I don’t need plugins to make it easy for people to share my posts on social media.