1. Rarst

    I just started tinkering with Hybrid (like yesterday), considering using it in the future. πŸ™‚

    I was impressed that it seems to do a lot of SEO stuff natively however “if theme changes” didn’t occur to me.

    So personally I am fine with option 3 – I can probably handle both moving to Hybrid from plugin and from Hybrid to plugin.

    On 1 – I mean is it rational to create one more SEO plugin? πŸ™‚ There are quite a few already (and I see developers bashing those and wanting to do their own bit too often).

    By the way is it viable option – providing plugin or theme functionality that can import/export SEO settings for popular 3rd party plugins?

    • Justin Tadlock

      Rarst — Yes, I would say it’s entirely rational to make another SEO plugin. For the people that have been using Hybrid for the past six months, it’s probably a good option to have that security of knowing they’ll get to keep their custom stuff even if they change themes (though I hope they continue using Hybrid for a long, long time).

      As for importing/exporting third-party plugin data, that’s not really a viable option. Everyone does things a bit differently, so it’d be tough to handle all situations.

      Mostly, I’m not really concerned with other people’s plugins. I’m concerned with my users being able to use what plugin they want and not losing data.

    • unklebonehead

      Rarst- I enjoy reading your blog and would love to see it with Hybid-News. Just my quick 2 cents.

      • Rarst

        Hey, hadn’t seen comment from you in a while there, glad you are sticking with it. πŸ™‚

        I am planning to take some framework (possibly Hybrid) and slowly build custom child theme. Large task for spare time that will require good chunk of custom PHP code as well. So don’t hold your breath for now.

  2. David

    I like the plugin idea best. This seems to be consistent with your overall concept of Hybrid theme as a Framework.

  3. deadhippo

    What would happen with option 1 if we were to change themes?

    • Justin Tadlock

      deadhippo — Nothing would happen. You’d continue using the same settings.

      • deadhippo

        I think I like this option then. I like the idea of the SEO and theme being separate because we can choose our own SEO plugins.
        I am confused by this option. It seems to me that the idea is that you will create a plugin that supports hybrids options. Would this plugin work with non-Hybrid themes though? If not then wouldn’t our SEO details be lost when moving to another non-hybrid theme?

  4. Japani

    Justin, thx for sharing your thoughts and concerns.

    I think you should better leave it alone for people. There are good plugins out there, and hybrid have some good SEO basics of it’s own. I don’t see in other themes the same neat and semantic HTML I see in hybrid. I think that a plugin will require coding effort from you, something that I would rather see go into hybrid, instead of plugins.

    I think it’s not broken, so there is no need to fix it. you should make the theme have basic SEO elements. you won’t believe how many themes, even premium ones, don’t have even this.

    Just my 2 cents.

  5. unklebonehead

    I agree with Japani-if it aint broke dont fix it. Hybrid does a wonderful job. I’m usiing it on Ryan’s Top Shelf.com. Havent submitted it to any directories or anything other than Theme Hybrid forums and I’ve gotten over 130 hits already! It’s a brilliant and beautiful theme. Dont be your own worse critic.
    If anything you should just put a warning on the read me file that states if the user changes themes the user will lose the SEO stuff

    • Justin Tadlock

      unklebonehead — I like the idea of a warning, but at the same time, I want to cater to everyone’s needs as much as I can. But, I’m guessing if someone’s still sticking with Hybrid after a lengthy amount of time, they’ll likely not want to change.

  6. Ipstenu

    A ‘Me Too’ post but, frankly option 3 is the best one in my eyes. Leave it alone. Don’t break anyone’s themes, don’t mess with a plugin. If you use a plugin and later change your mind (or it conflicts) you loose everything anyway, so why the hell bother?

    If a theme handles SEO, great. Better for me. If I move off that theme, well, that’s on me. Same as if I leave a plugin πŸ™‚

  7. hybridex

    Hi Justin,

    I don’t really care where the SEO is being handled (theme or plugin). What matters is where will it be done most efficiently (i.e. the best response time for the end-user).

    The other thing that matters is the flexibility of the theme with respect to customisation. I’ve recently been playing around with the Flexx theme (by iTheme I believe). You might already know this but it’s really cool how easy it is to change the look and feel.

    The problem with Flexx is that, it’s a bit bloated. The Flexx theme load time is slow so it’s pretty much useless for use as a landing page for PPC marketing (adwords etc).

    I’d rather stick to one theme that was cleanly coded but also allowed a high level of customisation so the look and feel can be changed quickly and easily… even by a techno-knob like myself. πŸ™‚

    Of course, the less plugins the better because of the extra load time with each extra plugin. Most of the plugins seem to be called from the header (even when that is not needed) which dramatically affects load time and end-user experience.

    I know my response is a bit off-topic but really appreciate you asking your customers what they want. πŸ™‚


  8. rgregory

    I like things as they are as well. I would be OK with a plugin, but would vote for 3 1.

  9. rgregory

    Sorry, no edit function. I meant would be ok with 1, feel free to delete this and edit top post.

  10. Derek Perkins

    I think that things work fine as is. There are a million things that you could spend time on, and I would personally rather see that time spent on cool Hybrid customizations, child themes, etc. The built-in SEO works great, and if somebody wants to leave the Hybrid theme, then tough luck. If they are worried about it, then they can use a 3rd party plugin like AIOSEO. If you were going to spend time doing anything to help people switch away from Hybrid, I would only do some sort of export script that would put the data into AIOSEO or something.

    • Justin Tadlock

      Derek Perkins — “Tough luck” is generally my attitude toward the whole matter. Mostly, I wanted to see what others thought. There are definitely some differing opinions. If nothing can be decided, then we’ll just stay on the same track.

  11. JohnMyrstad

    No doubt in my mind:

    Make a lightweight Hybrid SEO plugin to let the users choose whether to use it or to use some more advanced solution:

    1.Create a plugin that handles the Hybrid SEO options and remove these options from the theme: +1

  12. JohnMyrstad

    Second comment:

    If Hybrid is to be successful as a theme frameworks for developers/designers then there must be a option to remove the theme seo meta boxes.

    Child theme developers may want to develop their own solution with integration for a specific plugin, or a child theme for a redesign of a live site with users who have invested time in setting up seo data for hundreds of posts with a specific seo plugin.

    I find Hybrid specific plugins a good idea, much better than themes filled with options like discussed in the thread about some commercial themes. The same goes for additional menu/navigation solutions. ( you have a menu plugin on your to-do list dont you ? )

    Keep the framework clean and mean, but supported with opt-in free and “premium” resources !!

    • Justin Tadlock

      John Myrstad — I don’t like the idea of having them remove the meta boxes. I’d much rather make it easier to add them. I always think it’s better to add onto something than take it away. And, it’s nearly always more forward-compatible.

      I do want to keep it “clean and mean” though, which is definitely something I’ve been considering.

  13. Thomas Clausen

    As I’ve understood Hybrid so far, the optional metadata I can fill in will only be used if I actually punch something into it. If I don’t then this would be the case:

    Post title -> title-tag
    Tags -> keywords
    Summary -> Description

    Isn’t that so? If that is the case, the theme is pretty well off from the start. I actually only use the Hybrid theme optional one, when I would like a keyword to be present, but I don’t want that keyword as a tag.

    I can see good SEO sence in using a different title, but heck I say don’t sweat it dude. it’s a fantastic theme, and one of the features that are fantastic is your SEO-tricks. Make people aware of what they potentially loose from a switch away from ThemeHybrid πŸ™‚

  14. amyg

    The built in SEO is one of the reasons I chose Hybrid. (I’m always torn between Hybrid and Thematic – love them both)
    One more plugin/step I’m saved when building a site.

  15. Bonnie

    I dislike adding plugins so I vote for No. 3.

  16. Tom


    If it was up to me, I’d go #3. But, knowing you are you, I bet you’re going 2.

    Look, if hybrid ever loses it’s SEO, I’d rather go with a theme that doesn’t have so many custom functions.

    With a theme written for the “stock” WordPress, I can maneuver around very fast, and customize what I need. I choose a framework if it has most of what I would customize anyway, thus saving me a ton of time, except for the learning curve.

    “Learning Curve” being figuring out the new “re-written” functions and relationships in the code, to make small changes I still require.

    I choose “hybrid” because it’s awesome. (and Justin answers his forum more than Ian does.)


  17. The Frosty @WPCult

    I think a Hybrid specific plugin to handle the SEO would be suited best in this situation. The ability to update each hybrid specific plugin could be a lot easier if a bug was found than the whole theme (except for updates in 2.8 ).

  18. JohnMyrstad

    Comment 3:

    There is nothing wrong with plugins as long as they are well written and doesnt use to much resources on the backend or add to much extra css/js on the frontend.

    Plugins and themes are the key to WordPress success and makes it possible to extend and change WordPress without being a php/xhtml/css whiz. I would never use WordPress without plugins.

    1. Create a plugin that handles the Hybrid SEO options and remove these options from the theme.

    Excellent solution which everybody may be happy with, as long as its possible to use other SEO plugins without conflicts.

    2.Create a plugin that handles SEO and keep these options in the theme.

    There are excellent SEO plugins and I`d rather see Justin using his time on developing the framework and solutions to to make it easy to publish quality content than going into the SEO plugin competition.

    Developers should be able to decide by themselves what level of SEO support the CMS/blog solution should have. Some times SEO is very important and some times user friendliness is more important, and one solution will never make everybody happy.

    4. Stop worrying about it and let people figure it out for themselves. πŸ˜‰

    There are already issues with Hybrid SEO and SEO plugins and a framework should have as few compability issues as possible. I`m figuring on how to remove the Hybrid SEO…

  19. Ewen

    I vote for 3. I have a hazy recollection that an earlier version of Hybrid accommodates a few SEO plugins. If the user reckons they want an SEO plugin then they can go for it. In any case there’s a lot to be said for YAGNI and spending your time on more interesting things.

    Perhaps you could post a tutorial on how to extract or transfer the Hybrid SEO data to & from some popular SEO plugins. It’s basically database table/column names that would need a little re-rigging, right?

    • Justin Tadlock

      Ewen — Currently, Hybrid tries to accommodate two of those plugins, but it won’t in the near future.

      The transfer would not be a transfer at all. I believe most plugins/themes use custom fields for the sort of stuff that applies to this post. A search and replace tool would work.

      • CAD bloke

        Rightyo. Thanks for clarifying. If the exit option is a simple database find & replace then a straightforward tutorial on that is as far as I think you’d need to go – only if you’re keen.

        I’m in the process of putting together a site based on Hybrid news. I have 3 sandpit sites at various stages of tweakage / breakage and I’d like t oget an idea of when I should actually get my act together an publish the site. Can you reveal any timing of upcoming releases of Hybrid & News at this stage?


      • Justin Tadlock

        I’m hoping to have a post out tomorrow with news on the next Hybrid release. Mostly, I’m just waiting around for WordPress 2.8 to be released.

      • garyh357

        Justin – In your first reply to Ewin, what do you mean by “it won’t in the near future”? Maybe it should be obvious to me, but it isn’t.

        BTW, I just found Hybrid a couple days ago and I’m very impressed. I really wanted to start using a framework for my CMS sites and I’m glad I found this one. I’ve spent the past couple evenings scouring the web and this site for all the info I could find about it and I’m truly looking forward to learning child theme dev for hybrid.

        I also wanted to put my 2 cents in for either option 1 or support for AIOSEO with the option to turn off the meta boxes in write/edit post/pages. I don’t really see my clients spending efforts filling in the info when writing posts or pages, so I like for something to do that automatically. In the past, I have just used AIOSEO for that.

        Thanks for this wonderful contribution!

      • Justin Tadlock

        garyh357 — I mean that the theme will not add any additional code to accommodate other SEO plugins in the next release.

  20. Flirtilizer

    Justin, I have thought a lot about dropping the theme because I can’t use Platinum SEO with it. It has some features that were helpful to me. I wish I had a choice in the matter. Yes content is the most important thing but there are other things that matter as well.

    • Justin Tadlock

      Flirtilizer — I see no reason you wouldn’t be able to use that plugin. It should work fine. I take it you would vote for option 1?

      I understand that things other than content matter as well, but the meta element is pretty much at the bottom of that list.

  21. keith


    I am just wondering how I can exclude some pages from the navigation bar on the Hybrid theme.


  22. Pheromon

    I almost abandoned the theme because of the very idea of losing all the seo info if I want to change. Can we just ignore the theme seo and use our plugin?

    • Justin Tadlock

      Yes, you can use a different plugin. There’s nothing in Hybrid now that says you can’t use other SEO plugins.

      What’s up for discussion here is whether we should make an entirely new SEO plugin.

  23. Alec

    Hello Justin,

    We do WordPress SEO full time. Please put the SEO functions in a separate plugin.

    It would make Hybrid much more portable.

    Users would come into Hybrid via the plugin. For complex reasons, a user’s site needs an alternative theme. S/he can then move without trepidation. And perhaps come back later.

    Much, much more community friendly.

    I hate the way Thesis puts SEO and everything else in the framework and basically ends up not WordPress compatible.

    • deadhippo

      Very good point.

      • deadhippo

        I think the point he is making that if you input your SEO into the Hybrid theme it will be lost if we transfer to another theme and that’s what I thought too but after thinking about it a little bit I am guessing that is may not be the case. If we use the Hybrid SEO function it is really just a method of creating custom fields which would remain even if that feature were removed from Hybrid or if we changed our themes. If this is actually the case I am happy enough to have this function remain in the Hybrid theme.

    • Justin Tadlock

      It wouldn’t make Hybrid any more or less portable at all. It would make the SEO methods more portable.

  24. jeremyyoung

    Hi Justin,
    Have you come to a decision on what you intend on doing?
    Should we just continue using the custom fields in the theme or The AIOSEO?
    Can you shed some light on which way you think you would prefer to go based on the feedback you have received so far?
    For my 2 cents I like Option 1

  25. Warwell

    right now, I can’t imagine leaving the Hybrid theme, so I’m all for option 3!

  26. nautilusum

    i just installed hybrid news . I am new to word press.
    which plugins should i install, can you tell me please.

  27. […] There seems to be a lot of debate and discussion over whether Hybrid’s SEO features would be better as a plugin. You can read more about this debate in The Hybrid theme and SEO. […]

  28. PegasusTeam

    I was all for a plugin when reading the post, but after reading through some comments like Ipstenu’s I think just leave it the way it is.

    I like having it right there, it is light weight and it does a great job, no need for another plugin install, update and for you to upgrade.

  29. Dedicated Frank

    A intrestng article about Seo, Quality content that is original is the best way by far and I agree with you!

  30. Abi

    Hi Justin I am a big fan of Hybrid, now I am planning on disabling AIOSP but I don’t want to lose my meta tag (keywords n descriptions) is there away to copy all AIOSP data and transfer them all to Hybrid theme using SQL just like Thesis (see this page for example), can we do just like that, so we don’t need using AIOSP?

  31. Abi

    Sorry I didn’t mean to double post, but forget to mention the link in the previous comment, this is the link page I meant on the previous comment:


  32. […] SEO stuff (i.e., meta, indexing) has been a hot topic of debate. I’ve even brought it up for discussion and allowed you all to vote on the […]

  33. oes tsetnoc

    what is hybird themes?

  34. GHD Pink

    Nice Theme ….. This blog is amazing. It’s not only interesting but also enlightening. I have not come across such an interesting article for a long time. I m happy to know that good writers like you still exist. Congratulation on your amazing work.

  35. legitimitet

    Searching without proper keywords makes your difficult.Thanks for the good post.I am sure it is helpful for all those who find searching to be difficult.

  36. reg plates

    Thanks for giving such a great information about the SEO … i am also the great believer in themes.. I often change my themes for good appearance.

  37. Kronk

    Should we just continue using the custom fields in the theme or The AIOSEO?
    Can you shed some light on which way you think you would prefer to go based on the feedback you have received so far?

Comments are closed.