This is a conversation that happened just recently between me and a potential customer.
Anon: “Is the theme you’re offering SEO Optimized”
Me: “I don’t know.”
Anon: “How come you don’t know about it? Didn’t you said that you made it yourself?”
Me: “Well I sure did.”
Anon: “Then how come you don’t know?”
Me: “While I’m confident that I know every line of code that I wrote… that doesn’t mean I also know about SEO. I’m willing to check things out if you could tell me the criterion of SEO Optimized theme.”
Anon: “How should I know about that? You are the expert here!”
If you browse for WordPress Themes out there in the wilderness of internet beyond WordPress repository, you can easily find cheap/free WordPress themes labelled, and advertised as SEO Optimized. But I wouldn’t be surprised if most of those theme’s creator simply put those SEO Optimized labels to make their themes looked more appetizing… without even knowing what SEO Optimization meant.
But I can’t do that. I’m terrible at sales department. I don’t want to lie, so I can’t say that my service is the best, because I know other veteran developers with their crazy skills and payroll. I can’t say my service is the cheapest, because I know a lot of other people offering similar service with much, much lower rate to the point where it sounds suspicious.
I can’t say I’m rooting for an acquaintance’s romance when I don’t give a damn about them. I can’t say that my theme is SEO optimized when I don’t even know the bare minimum criterion of SEO Optimized WordPress Themes.
All I can say is that I create my themes using similar structure as one of WordPress’ default theme, TwentyTen. I was taught it was a good starting point to learn the common sense about creating WordPress themes.
But I think being ignorant is NG, so I tried to learn a bit about this SEO business. Simple googling found me a 32-pages long PDF file called “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide“.
After casually reading the book, I found out that most of SEO works aren’t on us, theme developer’s hand. Most of it must comes from the contents written by the site’s author(s) and their effort to publicize their writings… the role of us, theme developers aren’t really that much it seems…
Here’s the few things that we, WordPress Theme Developers, can do to help improving SEO part:
- Manage Heading Tags Outside Post Contents
I think TwentyTen showed us enough good example about it, like having only a single
<h1>tag on every page. Nothing less and nothing more.
- Responsive Design
Making sure our design is accessible on smaller devices, and don’t forget that by then, the users will use their thick, fat fingers instead of high-precision mouse to navigate the site.
- As Fast As Possible
Because users these days apparently couldn’t wait more than 3 seconds for the page to load.
- Proper Document Meta
I believe its better to leave this part to proper SEO plugins.
And the extra stuffs which won’t directly affect SEO but could still help:
To let user know their current location in the website.
For easier crawling, ’nuff said.
Your Narration Is Too Long! So What’s The Final Judgement?
Is It SEO Optmized? Or Is It Not SEO Optimized? Which Is It?
I don’t know.
… … …
I apologize for the abrupt negative answer… but I really don’t know…
Or more like… I no longer care about this whole SEO craps…
I’ll just tell people to use some popular SEO plugins from now on…
I’ll just keep writing my code as neat as I could, make my design as good-looking as I could, and make sure it doesn’t load anything unnecessary to make things as blazing fast as things could…
Pay me if you want and I’ll give you my best service…
Don’t use my service if don’t want to…
EL, PSY, CONGROO.