The ultimate guide to Hybrid theme SEO

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I’d write a tutorial on how to use the Hybrid theme’s SEO features. I knew this would be a daunting task, so I finished a few projects first, took a vacation, and revisited the idea.

The result is 2,173 words of pure SEO goodness.

I’ve spent the better part of today writing and rewriting this guide to try and give you all a reference on how to best use the theme. Well, as it turned out, the guide isn’t just about using the theme. It’s mostly about blogging in general and how to make the best use of your content.

Content is king, and this guide will help you out with that.

This guide will be a work that I’ll probably continue building over time. There are so many things that can be said about SEO that haven’t been worked completely into the article.

This will serve as a great basis for those of you that don’t understand the first thing about the SEO settings in Hybrid. Plus, maybe a few of you that do have a solid understanding will learn a thing or two.

What does a theme developer know about SEO?

Well, theme development has a lot to do with building themes that are optimized for search engines. Aside from just making things pretty, I’m constantly studying how the Web works.

I first started blogging back in April of 2003. Yep, I’ve been doing this a few years. I suspect I started out just like many of you — just blogging for fun or for the sake of trying out something new.

It wasn’t until sometime in 2008 that I started thinking about growing my audience and focusing my site’s content. Once I began this transition, things started looking up.

Today, I run three successful websites. Between all three, I get around 700,000 pageviews a month at the moment. This number is continuously rising. One site gets more visitors. Another site gets more pageviews. Sure, there are sites that get that much traffic alone and much more. I’m happy enough with the amount of visitors I get and believe all three sites to be successful.

I don’t usually post many stats about my sites because I don’t like to boast about it. But, I just wanted you to have an idea of where I’m coming from.

So, what do all three of these sites have in common? Content people want to see.

The point of this is to let you know that no SEO guide in the world is going to change the most important thing about SEO — content.

Check out the SEO guide

As with most tutorials, this one is for exclusive theme club members.


  1. Ian

    The reason why I love hybrid because it’s seo friendly theme.. I hope I can read the exclusive seo tutorial ASAP after get the scholarship from you.. 🙂
    *waiting 4 ur email*

  2. Diane

    Dude, you rock! I spent 2 months searching for *the* theme as a framework that would stand the test of time and wordpress upgrades. Thesis is OK but supposedly “premium” and Sandbox doesn’t come close. I admit that I can get lazy filling in the Hybrid Settings form but totally worth the extra time.

  3. i think its the greatest themes wordpress…

  4. This is really good and easy to understand material Justin. Very valuable and useable guide.

  5. Finally, someone explains tagging content in a way that makes sense. Thanks, Justin. I cleaned up all my tags last night, and already I am seeing a difference. Joining your theme club was the best $25 I’ve ever spent.

  6. xodigoguy

    Wow, that was a huge help. (Pity I just tagged like crazy on one site, but interestingly enough, I figured out after the fact that simply adding all available tags must be a bit silly to search engines and certainly to people.)

    This was really worth reading Justin.
    Thank you.
    I see some challenges to SEO as technology “changes” or at least is updated.
    For example, “Tags”, certainly not ‘new’ are never-the-less becoming major in most WP themes. When they first came out I used them mostly for my own reference, such as posts with “video”, and posts with geographic settings (Korea or Hong Kong for example).

    I once added a plugin which gave me “Yahoo suggestions” which were of course many ( 30 – 40 ?) (many at least) per post!

    I could not see the significance of this for Yahoo, Google or MS. So it is very helpful to get some intelligent input into this from you.

    Well worth your effort Justin, thanks so much!

    One Q about the “keywords vs tags” Q. I seem to understand that keywords are more for older search engines who might still use them but that tags are more modern? Hence the fact you build both into Hybrid. Any truth to that?

    (No need to respond here, but perhaps when you write more about on this SEO thread, again, since Hybrid offers both.)

    Thanks again, Ron

  7. Ian — Yeah, one of the main reasons I created this theme was to be able to handle SEO functionality out of the box.

    Diane — Even I don’t always fill in the extra boxes. The theme is solid enough to do most of the work there, but the extra options are there for more customization.

    eds — Well, thank you. 😉

    the-elder — Thanks. I’m glad you found it useful.

    John J Savo — I have even more things to say on tagging. I think it’s a useful tool that isn’t being used effectively enough on most blogs.

    xodigoguy — Thirty to forty tags!?! That’s insane. I hope you ditched that plugin.

    Tags are not necessarily for search engines but can be used as meta keywords with this theme, of course. If you have any questions, there’s a thread running on this tutorial in the forums. Feel free to ask away.

  8. Ghada

    thank you for the good job Justin :- )

    @Ron SEO changes always confuses me specially that google has slap some of very effective techniques
    we have to be up to date all the time


  9. Thank you.

    You have really shown that Theme Hybrid is really a “Hybrid”. I can’t wait to join the exclusive members as soon as possible.

  10. This Hybrid Theme kicks @ss! I love it, and Im glad I stumbled upon it. Thanks!

  11. WordPress is very nice for a blog, Joomla a bit better I’d say, but a lot more confusing and not so logically to operate…

  12. Thank you for a very nice article about seo and your theme, its much appreciated.

  13. A very good post. Do you send newsletters as well ?

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