Should I use the Theme SEO options or an SEO plugin?

Many themes these days come with built in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) options. Which is fabulous, however they can come with downsides.

So I wanted to go through the advantages and disadvantages of using the theme SEO options or using an SEO plugin on your WordPress site.

Advantages of Theme SEO options

Companies like StudioPress and WooThemes have their own SEO options built into their themes. This is great for ease of use and also integrating with your website.

So what does this mean? On each page and blog post you will see a section to put in your SEO options (title tag, description and keywords). Your theme then converts this into a readable tag for Google and optimises your website.

This is a perfect way for people new to Search Engine Optimisation to set up their custom options easily and quickly, without needing too much knowledge.

Disadvantages Of Theme SEO options

The downside of using theme SEO, (and this occurs a lot with blogging websites) is that you may want to change themes.

This can make it really difficult and time consuming to transfer the SEO optimisation you have already done on the website. And it is always something that people don’t think about when changing themes. Quite often people do so without realising the SEO isn’t there anymore and they slide in the rankings as a result.

The SEO them stores all the information within its own settings, so when you decide to change themes (particularly moving to another theme provider) you will lose these changes in your settings. Now this may not be a very big deal if you have only just started.  However if you have been blogging consistently for a year or more this could involve a lot of effort on your part to essentially copy and paste all of your existing SEO over.


Advantages of using Plugins for SEO

Without a doubt the best reason to use a plugin, is that you can change your theme as many times as you want and your SEO options will stay there.

In my opinion this is the biggest and probably the main reason I try to use a plugin, instead of my theme SEO.

Your SEO also won’t be affected by any updates that are made available from your theme.


Disadvantages of using Plugins for SEO

The main reason would be ease of use. Using a plugin requires knowledge as to which plugin is the best to use and also how to optimise the settings so that you are guaranteed the best outcome.

The theme SEO options will obviously be more integrated than the plugin SEO, and requires less knowledge on your part to do SEO.


In my personal opinion, I find that plugins work extremely well and they are something I have used all the time. It does come down to my individual client as to which option I decide to go with. However I do try and make it as easy for my clients to use their site without needing my help too much. So I usually go with an SEO plugin like All in One SEO so that no matter what theme they use, their SEO remains valid.



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