Why some WordPress Themes hurt your SEO.
Once again, I want to tell you to not blindly trust theme authors when they say their theme is SEO friendly. “SEO friendly” is just a label they put on their theme and since most of their customers don’t know what to look for to see if it’s actually true, yet know that it’s important, it helps “sell” themes.
Yesterday I was helping out Rick, and found something that was the reason for this post. His blog, Noah’s dad is a blog about a child with Down syndrome and aims to help other parents with children with Down syndrome. Rick contacted me over Twitter as he’d recently switched to my WordPress SEO plugin and a new theme, but his rankings were dropping.
Turns out that the theme he was using had a faulty rel=canonical link in its header, pointing to the site’s homepage instead of the proper URL for a page or post. He was also using my SEO plugin, which added the correct canonical link, but because of how the theme was built, the canonical from my plugin was below the one in the theme and thus Google picked up the wrong canonical. That caused Google to literally remove a lot of the blogs pages from the index.
I’ve since emailed the theme authors and they’re taking action to fix it, so there’s no reason for me to name them here, but I think it shows that they, as goes for many theme authors, didn’t really know what they were doing.
Some themes have a better reputation in this regard. StudioPress first hired me and later on my good friend Greg Boser of BlueGlass, one of the best SEOs in the world, to make sure their themes were SEO friendly. They, unlike others, have earned the right to say their themes are SEO friendly. Others might have invested in the same way, but it’s hard to know for sure. Do you want to bet your site’s rankings on that?