WordPress and SEO can be tricky at times. Just a tip, if a theme’s website tells you that it’s SEO friendly, that’s not really a guarantee. . So whether you’re looking for a theme for your website or you want to build a TRULY SEO-friendly theme, here is a list of the definitive does and don’ts of WordPress SEO.
WordPress SEO Theme Don’ts
I’ll keep this one short. You want to keep your title tags listing the post title first, then the site title and not the other way around. For example, this blog would be listed as “WordPress and SEO – Vissina Digital Marketing.”
Static Meta Description for Pages
Some themes are actually designed to generate a meta description for you, typically taking the first few lines of the first paragraph on your page. If you use a plugin that allows you to create a meta description of your own, like Yoast, make sure the theme doesn’t interfere with it. You could end up with the same meta description for every page.
Your Logo as an H1 on Every Page
You see this a lot with CMS platforms like Squarespace, but it happens with WordPress as well. The developer gives you the option of choosing a logo or typing in the name of your website in that same space. Without differentiating, they might default to making both an H1. If you have a nice logo image you want to use, it might show up as an empty H1 and you have to do some very annoying coding to fix it.
Hiding Links in the Theme
This one if more for the developers; the only link you should add in the theme itself is the footer credit leading to your website where people can learn more about you as a developer and your products. Please, please, please DO NOT make your theme a minefield for links.
Ideally, you’ll want the HTML code for your theme to be as follows:
- Content (Title, text, images for the text, etc.)
- Related navigation
- Utilities (sitemaps, privacy statements, etc.)
WordPress SEO Theme Do’s
Allow taxonomy descriptions to be shown.
In most themes, taxonomy archives are boring and a little tired-looking. They typically don’t do a good job of picking your best content, either. However, WordPress has a core feature that allows for a description of taxonomy. Allowing users to browse similar content and automating that process is always a good idea.
Show Excerpts on Archives
I can’t tell you how many themes I’ve stumbled on that either give me no space for excerpts or they just list off the entire article. Both are a really bad choice for design.
Allow for Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are another way for users to interact with guided taxonomies built into the website. For proper SEO, we recommend enabling breadcrumbs.
When it comes to functionality, bigger doesn’t always mean better. The more bells and whistles your theme has, the more likely you are to run into redundant code. It’s our opinion that simple is always the best path. Even if you just have text on the page and not much else. Your goal should always be fast, effective code.