Are you looking for the best wordpress theme for SEO out of the box?  Since you're looking for a (SEO) search engine optimized wordpress theme I'd thought I'd give a rave review of what I think is not only the best wordpress theme ever designed, but one that is SEO friendly and highly customizable.

I'm talking about the Thesis theme developed by Chris Pearson of Pearsonified.

Not only is Thesis well developed it is very robust giving bloggers many options for customization.  And yeah, it's the best wordpress theme I've seen where someone took the time to work in things that are important to SEO.  And I'm talking mostly about page structure here… mainly the use of H tags.

H Tags and SEO

If you're like me you've spent hundreds of dollars on wordpress themes over the years only to have to go into the code to fix the H tag structure used.  Which is a pain when you have to upgrade wordpress and the theme frequently.  I can't count how many wordpress themes I've come across where the H tag structure is totally screwed up.  Meaning, H1, H2, H3 and even H4 tags are used for things like the titles in the sidebar.

Thesis Theme for WordPress:  Options Galore and a Helpful Support CommunityH tags are really important to SEO, so each page of your site should only have one H1 tag, and subsequent H tags directly in your post content.  You shouldn't have H2 and H3 tags wrapped around things that aren't related to your post… ie.  Blogroll, Recent Posts, Pages, Calendar, etc.

If you want to see what I'm talking about you need to be using the Web Developer toolbar to disable the CSS of your site… or try it on this one to see what I'm talking about.  The post title should be an H1 tag and any subheadings in H2… and H3.

Thesis takes care of this for you and does a perfect job at it.  Right out of the box Thesis includes only a single H1 tag on each page, including the homepage.  Post titles on your homepage are in H2 which is correct.  On sub pages the Post title is H1… not the title of your blog (if you're using text instead of a graphic) and any subheadings you use in your post are the only ones that appear on the page.  Perfect!

Title Tags in Thesis

Again Thesis gives you some options on the way to display Title tags in your pages.  Which is very helpful.  In your wordpress dashboard navigate to Design > Thesis Options to set the following options.

Change How Page Titles Display Easily

Change How Page Titles Display Easily

Home page settings:
Show site name in title
Show site tagline in title
Show tagline before title

All other pages:
Append site name to page titles

Because I'm super picky about my title tags here (for obvious SEO reasons) I've decided to add my own custom bit of code to display page titles.  If you look at the titles of my pages you'll notice they're only the post title or page title, nothing else.  That's because I want my titles to be super targeted.  Including “Jeff Hendrickson Design” to the ends of my page titles only waters down the keyphrases I'm targeting.  So I leave it out.

Here's the code I use to achieve this: (NOTE: You no longer have to use custom code to achieve this… it's built into the admin of Thesis now.. Sweet!)

<title><?php if (is_home () ) { bloginfo(‘name'); } elseif ( is_category() ) {
single_cat_title(); echo ” – “; bloginfo(‘name');
} elseif (is_single() || is_page() ) {
} elseif (is_search() ) {
bloginfo(‘name'); echo ” search results: “; echo wp_specialchars($s);
} else { wp_title(”,true); }

Add Custom Meta Description Tags

Thesis allows you to easily add and edit Meta Description tags within each post or page by simply adding your description to a custom field.  All you have to do is add a custom field called “meta” to your post or page and insert your desired text.  This means you don't need any extra SEO plugins to achieve custom Meta descriptions for your blog.

Also to make your category page titles more SEO friendly and unique you can change the titles of your category pages by simply adding a custom field “meta” to your categories.  This gives your category pages a more SEO friendly title then they would have otherwise.

Add Custom Meta Descriptions Easily

Add Custom Meta Descriptions Easily

Page Content Structure

The page's content structure is very nice indeed in Thesis.  Your post title (H1 tag) and post content are high up on the page meaning your content is closer to the top of the page in the source code.  This means your page's main content is the first thing Google or any search engine sees.  They don't have to wade through countless links and basically all the stuff in your sidebars because your sidebar content appears after your main content in the source code.  You should see this if you view my site using the Web Developer toolbar and disable CSS.


If you're a blogger using wordpress and you care about traffic and search engine rankings I suggest you pick up Thesis and try it out for yourself.  I only touched on the SEO aspects of Thesis but there are a ton of other great features that make it the theme I will be using here and on clients sites for some time to come.  It comes with lifetime updates as well and I've already seen some really sweet new features being added in the last update.  I am looking forward to what comes next.  My hats off to Chris and the team that developed and are continuing development of Thesis.  I appreciate it.

If you're in the market for the best ever SEO wordpress theme then go get a copy of Thesis.  It's currently $87 for a single license.   A drop in the bucket if you're monetizing your site through search engine optimization efforts.

Thesis Updates

Thesis 1.6 has just been released.  It comes packed with a lot of new features that I think are pretty cool and much needed.  Check out this video on some of the new features. This video is on setting up drop down navigation…

As you can see Chris added new features that allow you to edit and customize your navigation menu easily from within the wordpress admin.  Pretty powerful.

In the below video Chris goes more in depth on setting up a site and doing customizations.

I've been using Thesis for well over a year on this site and can say without a doubt that it's the best SEO theme ever produced and probably the best supported and most updated theme out there.  Even when I'm tempted to change the theme just for something different I don't because I don't want to have to go through all the customization and upgrade headaches other themes make you go through.  With Thesis it's a lot more simple.

Grab a copy of Thesis and see for yourself.

Thesis has released a totally new version titled Thesis 2 with a lot of new features.  You'll have to visit their site to see all what's new.  They've done a lot to upgrade it.  Check it out!

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