Themes and SEO

I am a fan of using these themes, and even re subscribed to take advantage of the new blogsmu theme etc. I am a little disappointed in the build of these themes, and find myself constantly having to hack theme up to make more seo friendly, h1 and h2 tags aren’t consistent, and used wrongly, lots of small things that all add up in seo. w3c errors all the time, for a premium theme, i would expect these areas to be thought of, like those in thesis, which validate, and seo friendly. just a rant

  • Tammie
    • WordPress Wizard

    @petem: We are constantly working to improve our themes perhaps if you have any suggestions you can add them. I would note that in modern web design validation is not the be all and end all – it is a good gauge I do not deny that but with scripting the way it is and in particular CSS3 and modern web design it is not always possible to a complete extent and validation never effects SEO this is unfortunately not a true statement (yes I am aware this is a contentious point in most circles). Broken links are in part where the idea that validation effects SEO came in – broken links can effect and are often shown in validation. Trust me though I am NOT saying validation should NOT be aimed at in a perfect world validation would work for all sites and be achieved by all.

    However, things like headers and other textual elements like alt tags do most definitely so if you can provide examples we can look at these perhaps. As a member we value your input and therefore if you can provide examples of what you’d like to see we can review because we’re always looking to improve.

  • petem
    • Flash Drive

    Yes, of course, validation is the be all and end all of seo, I just want to see a theme as great as thesis for seo, where seo is a big priority and just works, no hacking, tags are closed where they should be, h1s are used where they should be etc. I just don’t like paying for a subscription and having to move things around internally.

  • Tammie
    • WordPress Wizard

    @petem: As I said we’re happy to work to any suggestions. Most of our themes use h1’s for instance for the logos or header text which is what they should be however any suggestions will get taken on board so feel free to offer any. Infact on that note if there is actually a specific theme you would like to see developed we’re also very open to users outlining that. If enough users would want something it generally is looked at very strongly towards development for instance this has happened many times with plugins.

    Perhaps you can outline what in your eyes you’d want in your ‘ideal’ SEO theme lets not consider thesis for now as that just like anything isn’t perfect and is actually a framework not a theme (there is a difference) – what if there was no object – what would you like to see? I’m interested in knowing as potentially developing a more specific SEO theme could be a thought in the future – no promises just considering what you’d consider the ‘dream SEO theme’.

  • petem
    • Flash Drive

    i am using, well, hacking the daily theme, which has great features, but lets itself down with wrong tags, and alot of css issues with alignment and just being generally untidy on the inner pages, all these things might be minor in some cases, but all add up to time i have to fix them up. thats the last of my rant. thanks for listening.

  • Tammie
    • WordPress Wizard

    @petem: I’m interested as to what you mean by wrong tags and css issues considering daily uses a lot of the default buddypress and wordpress tags. If you want to expand feel free as I’m always willing to review. Also Daily uses headers correctly for seo for instance h1 for the header title and moving down the page in size. However, as said always open to considering thoughts. I am unaware of any unclosed tags in Daily so if you are please let me know along with any wrong tags (not sure what you mean by wrong though) as those are bugs that should be fixed up and I can address. I will pass one thought though that perhaps the issue here is more buddypress than the theme – now I’m not passing the buck here at all.

    You see Daily uses the core of BuddyPress for inner pages and styling. I’m thinking perhaps the problem here is more how maybe BuddyPress is addressing SEO rather than how the themes are? Thesis for instance is not designed for BuddyPress therefore would not inherit some of the troublesome problems – this theory does blow out of the water if we’re not talking about BuddyPress pages though so if you could maybe let me know which pages that would be great. As said I’m not dismissing this at all I’d like to investigate.

  • petem
    • Flash Drive

    I could write a big list, here is one important example, this should NOT be an <h1>

    <h1 class=”square-header”></h1>

    which is the Logo in the daily theme.

    Each page should have an <h1> tag which, which should be the main header of the page, like on a post eg, “This is my great new post” should be the only <h1> on that page, not an h2, definately not the code above

  • Tammie
    • WordPress Wizard

    @petem: hmm it’s a bit of a debate as to if the h1 should be used to denote the header text / title / tagline or the first header text for instance wordpress.org use it for the header text just like Daily and thesis themselves do not use it for the header title but for the tagline not the first post. I’ll review however what happens when an image is used as maybe that should change. SEO is such an opinionated area there is no clear cut particularly in the one area you’ve highlighted of h1’s. I am also interested in the unclosed tags you said about and wrong CSS classes internally you claim.

  • petem
    • Flash Drive

    We will agree to disagree, any h1 with the text HOME is not going to do anything for you, what does that tell engines about your site, or people with screen readers? I have been doing seo for many years now, and have tested all these kinds of issues, which is why keyword research is so important. You can look at all of these sites like wordpress, which obviously benefit from zillions of backlinks. thesis actually use h1s on the inside pages with the titles, the homepage is different and should be your tagline or something that describes your site, but they have it right on all of their pages, so your argument for thesis is completely wrong.

    when you have a forum used in daily, with a title as h4, is no good to me, or my clients. i can guarantee you i could upload 2 sites, same context, one with your theme, one with my adjustments, nothing else like links etc and mine would outrank it, we have tested it before.

    the only good seo i see coming from you guys, is the giveaway competition by linkbaiting your customers with a draw for free membership for a backlink.

    anyway, i am done, i am off to bed.

  • Tammie
    • WordPress Wizard

    @petem: I was going by the thesis page http://diythemes.com/thesis/… anyways I said I’d review the header tag as I said in my comment with regards to when it’s just an image so that should see one improvement out of this conversation.

    That being said unfortunately the h4 is buddypress itself you can try the default buddypress theme and the same thing will be occuring. That exposes an issue I think you are referring to where the core of buddypress itself in the surface files isn’t optimised for SEO. You see buddypress not the theme deals with forum, activity stream and so on. I’d actually encourage you if you’ve done such extensive input to those files to look maybe at getting involved with the BuddyPress project itself as you’re maybe showing there is a lack of SEO experience in it and as an open source project all can get involved and improve it for all.

    The good news.. if you can get these changes made into the core files of the default BuddyPress theme which all themes for BuddyPress are built on then ALL themes will benefit – that would be great wouldn’t it. To test what I’m saying I’d suggest you put on the default BuddyPress theme – it illustrates what are core files and what are specifically our theme or not. All this being said it doesn’t mean at some point we’d not consider an SEO specific theme where we could go far deeper and effect all files including core BuddyPress ones. You have to remember though ours are themes not frameworks like Thesis so like should be compared with like. We do try to use where possible the files BuddyPress uses in the default template to ensure easy updates for clients and that our changes are more CSS related for the core sections. We do not try and add or change these core files like the forum and activity stream or so on as said before we’re a theme not a framework.

  • petem
    • Flash Drive

    Yes, buddypress is actually s*$t for seo, however, you guys are making these themes from their core, but inside daily theme, /groups/single/forum/topic.php is your file, not the core… so I fix your files in the theme. which means, you guys could be offering a pure SEO ready theme?? and not waiting for buddypress to catch up right?

  • Tammie
    • WordPress Wizard

    @petem: We could if there was enough demand yes… that’s what I was asking about what would you want in your dream SEO only theme :slight_smile: However, it would have to have demand which it may. However, as the work would be intense for this it would have to have member demand. Maybe if you want start a thread see if any other users are interested – I would say see in this thread but I think to give it a chance of +1 voting you may want to have a title and outline more specific. Lets focus on the positive and see if others are also up for it and look maybe towards a dream SEO theme or at least the seed of it. I make no promises but the way it usually works is enough members want things they often happen.

  • petem
    • Flash Drive

    it is ok with me, as I have just about finished altering the daily child theme which is far more seo friendly. all i started this thread was, that i was frustrated having to do these basic things which should be on each theme released for paying members as it wouldn’t be difficult to make from the beginning.

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