Best SEO WordPress Theme

January 12, 2014

The latest changes implemented by Google over the last 18 months or so have meant that more people have been turning to on-page SEO for results, than ever before. What most people don’t realise is that not all WordPress themes are created equal when it comes to on-page SEO.

SEO Quake Toolbar

Lets start with a simple tool which can be installed free. The SEO Quake toolbar is developed and published by SEO Quake and can be downloaded here. It installs neatly in the Firefox, Opera or Chrome browsers (there is a beta version for Safari) and supplies a wealth of useful information. I won’t go into details on how to download, install and configure it because that is adequately covered in the manual which can be found in the same place as the toolbar download. Once installed, the two mot useful functions (for me, anyway {:O) are the ‘Diagnosis’ feature and the ‘Keyword Density’ feature.

Diagnosis – The essential structure and components of your web page.

  •  This covers the content of your meta tags – shows whether they are the correct length or not, including the meta keywords tag. Although Google has long since stopped using this, it is still used by Bing and Yahoo.
  • The structure of your <h> heading tags. It’s generally accepted that there should be only one <h1> tag in your page and that should contain your main keyword.
  • The presence, or otherwise, of correctly formatted <alt> properties in your image tags, Google Analytics, a robots.txt file and an XML sitemap.

Keyword Density – Probably the most important factor of all, post Panda and Penguin

The SEO Quake toolbar provides a full breakdown of word and phrase frequency for 1, 2, 3 and 4 word phrases and indicates whether they are included in the Title (T), Description (D) or Keywords (K). Ideally you would want to see all the T,D and Ks appear at the top of each keyword list, providing your meta tags have been correctly configured with your keywords.

The toolbar covers other factors as well but these are the main ones we’re interested in. I have a full review of the SEO Quake toolbar planned for another post, so watch this space, or sign up for our newsletter.

OK, lets get back on track – we started out talking about the best WordPress theme for Search Engine Optimization. It follows from this that the best theme to keep Google happy will be one that ticks all the boxes in the SEO Quake analysis. Sorry, if you were expecting a list of themes and where to download them!

What if I have a favorite theme that fails the ‘Quake’ test?

Everything is not lost. Let’s say that your theme has 3 <h1> tags according to Quake. There is a handy link on the toolbar to show the source of the page; this is just the HTML and CSS code that makes up the page. In Firefox or Chrome you have a search facility – just type in “<h1″ (without the quotes) and you will  see where the offending tag occurs. Mostly, it will be in the title of description, or both, and this is quite easy to fix, although it does mean altering your theme page template files. I will say now that before you do this, you should create a child theme and edit that version rather than editing the original theme files. It’s beyond the scope of this article, to cover this but I will in a future article. In this case, look in the header.php template for “<h1>” and change it to a <div>, and the same with the closing tag – </h1> to </div>. Be careful doing this because the original h1 tag might have been styled using CSS and this will be lost by replacing it with a <div>.

If it begins to look like you are in ‘over your head’ at this point, then it might be a good idea to look for someone on Fiverr who can help for a few dollars.



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