WordPress Theme SEO

WordPress Theme SEOWhy the themes developed by Seismic Themes have superior SEO built in. Many themes out there claim to be “SEO friendly” but are they really? The answer is a resounding NO! As a matter of fact most themes out there premium and free are just plain crappy when it comes to SEO, there are many reasons for this.

Some of the major reasons for bad SEO proformance:

Site Title: Many themes out there don’t implement the title of the site in the title tag the right way. Maybe they just don’t take the time to understand what works best and what doesn’t or they just don’t care. Either way the title tag should be setup in a particular order; yes order matters here as it does elsewhere on the page and theme. If it’s the front page of the website it should be: site title | tag line or something similar to that. Otherwise if it’s a single page on the site the layout should be page title | site title or something similar. If they are arranged in any other order, chances are it’s hurting your overall SEO proformance.

Add in their own “SEO” bits: Some theme designers out there take it upon themselves to add in their own SEO bits to the theme, which can include meta tags such as description, keywords, and robots. While the intentions might be good the results that come from this aren’t often as good. If it’s showing the same description tag for every page this is definitely hurting your sites SEO proformance.

Another problem that often comes along with the implementation of these features is that even if they do work they end up “locking” you into using and being “stuck” with that theme. What I mean by this is that if you would like to easily change the look of your site you can’t, without disrupting everything else that you might have had setup with the functions that were built into the theme.

H1 overuse: Almost all the themes out there use H1 for the site title, which is fine for the front page; but is that really the most imporant part on single pages? The answer is no, on single page the most important words that should be encapsalated inside H1 is the title of that page or post. It make it much easier for search engines to understand what the title of the page is and what words should be focused on.

Code Setup: The last major problem that I am going to point out here is the code setup, and by code setup I mean two different things. The first is where the main content of your page is located in the HTML and second I mean how many stylesheets are used and how many JavaScript files are loaded along with what the actual markup looks like.

To cover the first issue of where the content is located within the HTML markup, I would like to point out that some themes will actually put sidebar content into the HTML before ever getting to the main part of the web page. This isn’t good from an SEO standpoint, the lower in the markup something is located the more its viewed to be unimportant to the actual page itself.

The second issue of how many files are being loaded, and what does the actual markup look like. If the theme is loading many stylesheets and alot of JavaScript files it can be assumed that the page load speed is taking a hit. This causes your sites visitors to lose interest in the page possibly before it has even loaded, and search providers know this which causes the site to be ranked lower in the results. The problem with the markup is similar, if it’s all bloated with extra elements and unneeded classes, and ids the page load time will be taking a hit again, albeit usually much less significant but its still there none the less and it shouldn’t be.

How is Seismic Themes Different?

We’re different because we know all of this and strive to make our themes the best they possibly can be. The site title is implemented in the correct order for every page, H1 is only used on the front page and we even go the extra mile to add H2 to the tag line on the front page. The code setup is as light as possible and the markup is as clean as a whistle, nothing unnessary that will cause anybody a hit in page load times.

As for the other SEO bits, that’s left alone for plugins to deal with. There are some mighty fine plugins available that implement everything just the way it should be, in particular Yoast has one of the best that will soon be natively supported by all of our themes.

New Free WordPress Theme: TwentyTen Plus Two

Seismic Themes is happy to announce a new WordPress theme today. It’s based on the TwentyTen Theme and looks very much just like it, however it does have some major upgrades that improve on the already great theme. First let me show a screenshot of the new theme and then I’ll tell you a little more about it.

This great new theme is built so that’s it’s responsive all the way down to mobile. We didn’t mess with the max width, which is still set at 960 pixels. Next we set about adding some jQuery and JavaScript features that would really make the theme pop.

The first jQuery feature was to add a search input to the main menu, which I personally think looks really good. But, if the screen size decreases to much the search switches back to only being available in the side bar.

Next up we added an easy scrolling feature, so that your sites visitors can easily reach the top or the bottom of your page/post with just one click. This automatically changes based upon their scrolling position.

What if they don’t have JavaScript Enabled?

That’s a great question, but we have you covered. If it turns out your visitors don’t have JavaScript enabled they won’t see any more than the original TwentyTen WordPress theme.

The best part of all of this is that it’s all free. Go ahead download it, give it a try and see if you like it. I think that you’ll find that you will and so will your visitors.

New Free Theme Coming Soon

So last night I had mentioned that I had started working on a new theme framework for WordPress, before writing that post I had been thinking about whether or not to release a the whole thing for free or just a free version of it. Then after writing that post I came to the conclusion, I would build a totally separate but equally beautiful theme, that I would release freely, it’s not quite done yet but once it gets there I will submit it for inclusion on the WordPress theme directory.

What it has so far

So far I have built in a custom background, custom header image, and custom header text color, and you can totally remove the header text if you would like. It also supports a custom menu with drop-downs, I initially built a version that had the option for two menus I still have that but have been moving forward with the single menu version.

Layout

It’s a pretty standard and straight forward 2 column layout with the content on the left and the sidebar on the right. I have some other style sheets that I have been working on which will allow you to place the sidebar on the left and the content on the right. It incorporates primary and a secondary sidebar widgets, which will also enable a 3 column layout which I also have a style sheet drawn up for. I haven’t decided if I will just include those file in a folder called CSS, and than just include directions for how to use them, or if I will put together a theme options page that will allow switching between them with the click of a button.

I like the later option the best but, it might be rather hard to get it to pass the directory theme requirements in that state, because of the theme root directory style sheet requirements. I’m not real sure about this though it’s something I would have to look into a little farther before making a final decision.

Conclusion

The current theme of this site (as of 22 July 2011), is running on a very early version of this theme, although there is still quite a bit of work to be done on the back end. I am very excited about getting this theme completed and released to the public, so I’ll be spending quite a bit of time working on it this weekend.

Here’s a screen shot incase I end up changing the theme in the future:

If you have any questions or comments about this theme, please feel free to leave them below.