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5 Reasons Why Genesis SEO Needs to Go Away

We love Genesis. We use it all the time and we encourage people to use it almost daily. Generally speaking, the Genesis framework is the most SEO-friendly WordPress theme framework on the market. It’s got baked-in Schema.org data, semantic HTML5 markup, and a ton of great features that make doing on-page SEO a lot less of a chore.

Now that I’ve pushed that out of the way… I honestly believe it’s time for the Genesis SEO settings to be deprecated. I know, I know… the Genesis settings are great and they helped your site get more visitors. It’s true, the Genesis SEO settings are above average and they’re certainly better than having no SEO options on your site at all. Unfortunately, they’re just not on the same level as WordPress SEO by Yoast and to be perfectly honest, they never will be.

It’s no secret that I don’t think SEO belongs in a theme and Genesis is no exception. In my opinion, the Genesis SEO settings are an inferior product and if you’re using on them on your site you’re missing out on some potential organic search traffic. In fact, depending on how your site is set up, you could be missing out on quite a bit.

I also think that having the SEO settings included in Genesis gives people the false impression that all they need to do is switch to Genesis in order to have perfect on-page SEO. While switching to Genesis is a great first step, it’s certainly not the end of the road and removing the SEO settings would help clarify that a bit more. Now, I don’t want you to get the idea that I’m just spouting a bunch of fallacies, so let’s run through five REAL reasons why the Genesis SEO settings need to be removed.

 #1 Genesis SEO is Infrequently Updated

Anyone who does SEO for a living will tell you: SEO changes very frequently. What works today might not work tomorrow and you need to keep your finger on the pulse if you want to be successful. The most popular WordPress SEO plugin, WordPress SEO by Yoast is updated on a very consistent basis to keep up with changes in Google’s quality guidelines.

In contrast, Genesis SEO is almost never updated. The parent theme itself isn’t updated all that often and the SEO portion of the framework receives even less attention. In my opinion, this alone is reason enough to avoid using Genesis SEO.

#2 No Feedback for On-Page Optimization

One of the biggest issues I have with Genesis SEO, and some SEO plugins for that matter, is that it offers no real feedback on how well an author has implemented on-page SEO. The only freely available plugin that does this correctly is WordPress SEO by Yoast.

For someone who is new to SEO and doesn’t understand how to optimize a post, getting a green light in Yoast is something that makes perfect sense to them. For an SEO novice, having the feedback directly in front of them so that they know they’re doing a good job can make all the difference in the world.

Without this feedback, a publisher has to make their best guess on optimization using things they’ve read on blogs and forums or they have to depend on an external tool such as Moz for feedback. Having the data directly in front of them on the WordPress post edit screen is invaluable. Not having this kind of feedback is one of the biggest shortcomings of Genesis SEO.

#3 Improper Canonical URL Handling

One of the most common issues we’ve seen when performing our WordPress SEO audits on sites which are using Genesis SEO is  that the canonical URLs are not implemented correctly. Generally the implementation is fine, but there are a few instances where things are not set up quite right.

For example, on paginated posts Genesis SEO does not create the necessary rel=”next” and rel=”prev” links which makes it much less likely that Google will pay attention to the content on the additional pages of the post. Genesis SEO also doesn’t handle paginated archives very well and has no option for no-indexing paginated results. There is an option to add a canonical URL for the archives, but on more than one occasion I’ve seen this fail and cause weird archive indexation problems. At this point in time, a noindex tag seems to be the most reliable way to deal with paginated archive content.

These might sound like minor details, and for many sites they are, but on some larger sites this kind of a mistake can mean the difference between 10,000 visits per month for a set of keywords and 1,000 visits per month. If you’re serious about capturing as much traffic as possible, this minor issue can quickly become a real concern.

#4 No Sitemap Functionality

Having a sitemap is still very important for Google in terms of site crawlability and indexation accuracy. If you want Google to crawl your site correctly and on a consistent basis, you really need an XML sitemap to help guide them through. This is especially true on large, complicated sites. Because Genesis SEO is built into the theme, it doesn’t make sense to include any kind of sitemap functionality…. but this is yet another reason why it makes no sense to include SEO settings of any kind in a theme.

Tying your sitemap to the rest of your SEO data makes perfect sense which is why Yoast has included it in his plugin. By making the sitemap and other SEO data related, it is much easier to control what content is being indexed by Google. By simply changing meta tag settings and choosing options for what is included in your sitemap, you can quickly deal with any indexation problems on your site. Not having the ability to control these things is another huge reason why Genesis SEO should be deprecated.

#5 Limited Support for Custom Post Types & Taxonomies

The final reason why you shouldn’t use Genesis SEO is that it has very limited support for custom post types and taxonomies. Custom post types and taxonomies are essential for any complicated WordPress site and being able to have granular control over their SEO data is very important as well. Not all post types and taxonomies are created equally. While many should be indexed and included within a sitemap, there are also types of content that should be hidden from Google’s view due to their thin and/or duplicate nature.

Let’s use the Simple URLs plugin as an example. Simple URLs creates a custom post type called “surl” to manage redirected links. By default, this post type will be crawlable, indexable, and will show up in Google search results. With Genesis SEO, there’s really not a whole lot you can do about this issue and if you’re using Simple URLs to manage your affiliate links this is definitely no bueno. On the other hand, If you’re using WordPress SEO by Yoast, you can add a setting to noindex the post type. Plus, you can use the “edit files” menu to block Google’s access to the post type via the robots.txt file and you can also remove it from inclusion in your XML sitemap.

This is just one example of the issues that crop up when dealing with custom post types and taxonomies with regard to SEO. There are also lots of other similar problems with things like eComerce plugins, slider plugins, and just about any type of plugin that creates a custom post type or taxonomy.

Does This Mean Genesis SEO Sucks?

No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. Genesis actually has one of the best implementations of SEO settings within a theme; it’s just not on par with the best SEO plugins anymore. It isn’t being updated frequently enough, it can’t be easily extended by add-on plugins, and it’s missing a lot of the modern features that people expect in a WordPress SEO plugin.

The creators of Genesis did a great job building out the feature set, but the time for including stuff like this in themes has passed. It’s time for them to deprecate the feature and start moving people over to something like WordPress SEO by Yoast. WooThemes made this move a couple years ago and it’s allowed them to focus on what they do best: building themes and plugins. I think it’s well-beyond time for StudioPress to do the same thing.

So what about you? Are you currently using the Genesis SEO settings? Have you been happy with the results? How do you think they stack up against plugins like WordPress SEO? Do you think they should stay in the framework? Let me know in the comments and let’s get a real discussion going about this!

Photo Credit: mr rudeforth

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66 Comments

  1. Bearded One

    Yoast SEO used to be the most amazing plugin, but as of today, I’ve decided to not install it again.

    I don’t know what the hell that dude was thinking when he made all the changes to a plugin that worked fine.

    Even with the SO Hide SEO Bloat plugin installed, it still is cumbersome to use the latest variant of Yoast SEO.

    I’m going Genesis from now on.

    1. Rob Neu

      There have been quite a few really REALLY annoying changes to Yoast since this article was written. I even contributed to a fork of Yoast for a little while, but the original author gave up on the idea due to lack of community support on the project. I was basically the only one contributing any code and WordPress SEO is a pretty massive plugin. :

      I haven’t had a chance to fully review it, but there is another SEO plugin called SEO Framework that would be worth checking out before you abandon things and go back to the built-in Genesis settings.

      The team over at Roots recently switched from Yoast over to SEO Framework and they seem happy with the results so far.

      I don’t have any properties that I’m willing to risk the change on right now to test a switch, but at some point I’d like to do some kind of actual evaluation of what a switch-over might look like.

      1. Bill Hibbler

        I added SEO Framework and when I activated the plugin, it took my entire site down. Just clicking the activate button was all it took.

        Fatal error: func_get_args(): Can’t be used as a function parameter in /homepages/21/d638980155/htdocs/BillHibbler/wp-content/plugins/autodescription/inc/classes/query.class.php on line 1200

  2. Rama

    Sorry to disagree with the above mentioned points ( not affiliated with genesis by any means) as I managed to customise my websites to meet every single requirement. Been heavy user of genesis frame work for years now and my sites ( with ~ 90,000 to 170,000 sessions / month) are absolutely doing good.

    I believe it all comes down to how well you customise the product to suit your needs as there is no such as thins as off the shelf.

  3. Amanda Rush

    Thanks for writing this post Rob. I use Genesis almost exclusively for my sites, for both practical and political reasons, but if I had to criticize it, I would do so over the SEO settings. I’m really strict about that whole “keep functionality and display on their own sides of the fence” thing, and I think Genesis SEO settings violate that rule.

  4. MaAnna Stephenson

    I’m a little confused here. I found this post because Hesham Zebida referenced it in a post about his new plugin to remove Genesis schema markup.

    There are two levels of SEO in Genesis. One deals with the schema markup that used to start at the very top to tell search engines whether it was a post or page. Since version 2.2.6, it now starts with creativework.

    The other level is on-page SEO and modifying certain parts for SERPs. That’s also most of what the Yoast SEO plugin does, plus OG and Twitter tags and XML sitemap.

    Yoast SEO and other plugins don’t provide the top level schema markup needed for the hierarchy of any other customized schema markup manually placed on the page.

    So, why are you referring to the schema in the theme as the same thing that Yoast does? When you activate Yoast SEO, those parts of Genesis SEO back out gracefully anyway.

    1. Rob Neu

      Hey MaAnna,

      I’m sorry you found the post confusing, it definitely wasn’t intended to be. I wrote this specifically about the Genesis SEO settings and it really has nothing to do with the structured data markup built into Genesis.

      Personally, I think the default schema.org data in Genesis has little to no impact on search rankings and could also be safely removed on most websites, but that’s not what this post was about.

      The only thing I’ve addressed here is that the SEO settings in Genesis are antiquated and don’t really belong in a theme framework. In my opinion, that data is much better off in a plugin and Yoast SEO is one of the better options for that.

      I hope that clears things up! 🙂

      1. MaAnna Stephenson

        Thanks Rob. I agree with you about plugins doing a better job with that part of the on-page SEO functions. But would like to see any data backed research on the schema markup not being that big a deal in the rankings or with what Google indexes. From what I’ve seen, Google goobles that stuff like candy.

  5. Matt Whiteley

    Solid article and great points. I develop 90+% of my sites on the Genesis framework and although the SEO is reasonable, I find myself defaulting to Yoast SEO as it is certainly a more robust and stable option.

    Your point about CPTs & Taxonomies is right on the mark and one of the biggest factors on why I use Yoast over the generic Genesis SEO.

  6. Tina Willis

    Hello. Great article. Do you have any thoughts on Karma theme? Also, does Genesis *require* custom code to look decent? That’s probably a deal breaker for me bc I don’t want to run to a developer every time I want to make a simple change. I like having control and changing settings myself. But still wondering if Genesis can be manipulated without a developer?

    Also, do you recommend switching to Genesis (obviously while using Yoast, which I’m using now)? I’ve always dreaded the short codes and theme configurations for any theme switch.

  7. Garen

    Hey Rob,

    This is some evergreen content you’ve written. I really had my doubts about Genesis and their SEO settings. I have a website that that has two different sections. There are two different WordPress installs and one of them shows up better in Google than the other.

    The one that is not using Genesis SEO settings is using All In One SEO Pack. I am going to be switching to All In One SEO Pack for the one using Genesis SEO.

    I should be able to report back to you within 2-3 weeks and see if there are any noticeable changes. It would make perfect sense that there would be lots of errors which Google wouldn’t take lightly.

    Have you seen any similar case studies with Genesis SEO? I would be willing to contribute to the cause if you wanted me to.

  8. Sadek

    There are always other ways to handle downsides of Genesis, and compared to it’s upside it’s a no-brainer not to use Genesis.
    I do use Genesis on sites which suits it, it doesn’t mean I do not use any other theme.
    Use Genesis if it suit your needs, that’s all.

  9. Erik Emanuelli

    Hi Ryan,
    I started using Genesis Framework since the beginning of my blogging journey, more than 5 years ago.
    I like the flexibility and customization settings available.
    I’ve a few different child themes, installed on my sites.

    I’m using a SEO plugin to manage the on-page settings.

    I’m a big fan of Studiopress!
    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Jacob Jones

    Thanks for the useful information. I was surprised to hear that Genesis SEO is not as good as Yoast SEO because the reason I moved to Genesis FW was that I heard it’s the best SEO theme. My question is, if I’m going to use Yoast SEO, is there any advantage in staying with Genesis from an SEO standpoint? Otherwise, I might return to my old theme which was prettier.

      1. amy

        I looked at seo-data-transporter, and Yoast is not in their list of supported plugins? Do you know of any others that support both genesis and Yoast?

      2. Ryan Sullivan

        Hey Amy, I think that’s just an issue with the plugin description. Yoast SEO used to be called WordPress SEO, but SEO Data Transporter hasn’t updated their description. We’ve used this plugin with Yoast with no issues!

  11. Oscar Nava

    Hi
    I have no technical skills but I was reading a lot how the WP Theme affect your SEO. I was thinking to move my site to Genesis but if I yoast plugin, can I use any theme or there is some good options you recommend.
    Thank you.

    1. Ryan Sullivan

      Hey Oscar, WordPress SEO by Yoast should work with most WordPress themes for sure. I don’t want to say “all” because there are always exceptions but for the most part it shouldn’t be a problem. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Jay Myers

    Great stuff and comments – a real “evergreen” post it appears.

    I found this article because I am just switching to Genesis and I too noticed these SEO settings seemed a bit archaic. Same type of stuff I was using on Thesis more than 5 years ago. But my question is this…

    If just starting a new site and already convinced I am using Yoast from the start what settings in Gensesis should I disable, ignore or put a check mark on to basically remove Genesis from doing any SEO or causing bloat in the code or interfering with Yoast?

    1. Ryan Sullivan

      Great question, Jay. By activating the Yoast plugin, you actually disable the Genesis settings entirely. So as long as the Yoast plugin is active you’ve got nothing to worry about! Hope that helps!

      1. Neil Huggan

        Ryan,

        Thank you for clarifying. As far as seo is concerned, I definitely believe in the necessary rel=”next” and rel=”prev” links. I’m working on growing my organic seo with my Genesis theme and elevn40 pro child theme with Yoast seo.
        ]
        You you suggest using “you may also like” plugins as a substitute for next and prev links? If not, do I just need to code it in each post I have?

      2. Ryan Sullivan

        Hey Neil, thanks for stopping by! The Previous and Next buttons in the Genesis theme should be using the proper rel tags. If not, you may need to upgrade to the latest version of the theme. I’d check with StudioPress’ support on that.

        As for related posts, this plugin is the one we use on our site and it works really well: https://www.relatedpostsforwp.com/

  13. Fajar

    Genesis & Yoast SEO is better Improved for SEO. but, I’ve tired for that. I was wrote articles then I’ll setting SEO Offpage on meta description, keyword, tags, and much more. I want to using genesis seo built in the theme. how to import SEO setting by Yoast to Genesis SEO?

  14. Gary Jones

    It’s now over a year since this article was first written. Genesis released 2.1, 2.1.1 and 2.1.2, and nothing related to SEO (other than fixing a bug in the title element) was changed in those releases. In the meantime, SEO has moved on and SEO plugins have adapted and got better.

    I’m a contributor to Genesis core, but I’ve been using WPSEO instead of Genesis SEO for several years now, and there’s no way I’d switch back.

  15. Giovanni Sacheli

    Hi Robert, I found this article looking for a good solution about the Canonical Paginated Archives in Genesis – that points canonical to the first page. It really sucks, if I de-select that option Genesis SEO places a noindex tag to all paginated archives.
    I don’t understand why StudioPress doesn’t update that line of code…

    I always used the Genesis SEO because it is light, very light compared to Yoast and it has all I need. BTW you are right, if this wouldn’t be fixed soon I will move to Yoast. Do you know a way to fix that canonical problem?

  16. Titanium Creative

    Thanks for this write up. I have been building off the Genesis framework using custom child themes for quite some time and have used a few different SEO options. Because of the attention I need to give to other aspects of the code an construction, I have leaned heavily o the built in SEO options.

    I have been looking into whether or not to go with Yoast or a similar plugin and your article has convinced me to install Yoast on one of my site so I can orient myself to it.

    I’m not so sure the built in SEO should be deprecated and wish you would offer the suggestions for improvement you mentioned. It has been very useful to me until now and I am glad to see I will be able to import my settings to Yoast. As it was mentioned, when Yoast is installed, the Genesis SEO will simply step out of the way. Seems like a good thing for them to keep for others who may have to take things one step at a time or who have so many other steps going on, Yoast may have to be a second tier effort.

    Thanks to both Yoast and to StudioPress for great functionality and great information.

  17. jeffg88

    The fact that Genesis utilizes the meta keywords tag (which hasnt been used by engines in over 7 years) shows just how lousy and outdated the Genesis SEO features are.

    1. KEK

      The fact u think Google is all search engines is extremely worrisome. Bing still values keywords in their algorithms.

  18. Abdul Muiz

    I am using Divi by Elegant Themes along with SEO by Yoast. Can this combination produce maximum results?

    1. WP Site Care

      I’m not entirely sure how Divi handles the Yoast plugin, but I do know that there are several markup issues that Google doesn’t love within the Divi theme, mainly because of how Shortcodes are used. To ensure SEO best practice are being used I’d probably look an alternative theme.

  19. Faiek Galant

    Great Article , thanks. Answered all mt questions and learned some new things. I have a problem with setting up a preferred URL on toolmasters , it says I need to verify it but I don’t see any verification process ? Note that I have not installed Yoast yet and are running on the native Genesis SEO at this moment , I think I will install Yoast and then set my canonical URL and then try it again on toolmasters. Thanks Again !!

    1. Gary Jones

      It would be possible to hide the Genesis SEO features for new installs of Genesis, and let existing installs continue using it.

  20. New2WP

    Hello, very helpful article. Would it be sufficient if I only use Yoast SEO plug in without using Genesis? I am thinking of using Avada theme and add the Yoast SEO plug in, would that be good enough or you think the absolute best approach is still to use both Yoast and Genesis together ? Thanks in advance.

    1. Robert Neu

      I’m glad you found it useful! While I’m not personally a fan of Avada, using it in conjunction with the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin should work. I don’t have enough experience to say whether or not Avada’s theme code conforms to SEO best practices, but in general, most themes do not.

      I can also tell you that the number of support requests does seem to be higher among our customers who use Avada, so take that as you will. If SEO is high on your list of priorities, my personal recommendation would be for you to use Genesis, or (shameless plug) one of our Flagship – http://flagshipwp.com themes once we launch next month.

  21. SIMONEmadeit .

    Hi. I use Genesis and have been thinking of using the Yoast plugin to improve SEO. My problem is that when the plugin is installed, all my previous Genesis SEO info disappears. Is there a way to transfer it over to the plugin rather than have to go back and complete redo each post/page? thanks!

  22. Basalath Fazal

    Hi Rob,
    I am a novice in SEO.
    My website is currently built on U-Design theme. I am using Yoast plugin to optimize the website. Would you recommend me to migrate to a StudioPress theme to take advantage of the Genesis Platform and then optimize my website using Yoast plugin?

    1. Robert Neu

      Hey Basalath,

      I definitely think you’d be better off using Genesis and Yoast than your current theme. From a technical SEO standpoint, Genesis is about as good as you can get from an off-the-shelf theme. The markup is semantic, they’ve paid attention to on-page SEO best practices, and baked-in schema.org markup correctly. Not many other themes out there can say that.

      Genesis has very high code quality and you’ll be loading fewer scripts on the front end. This will improve your page load and help your overall SEO score. In the short term, these things might not make a huge difference, but over time you’ll be in a better position. SEO is (usually) more of a marathon than a sprint, so you need to make sure you’ve got good running shoes. 😉

  23. Jackie D'Elia

    Hi Rob – This was actually a topic I’ve been thinking about. We’re faced with so many options that our first impulse is to use what’s included with the theme. Installing WordPress SEO by Yoast – is it necessary to remove Genesis SEO? and if so how do you that?

    1. WP Site Care

      Hey Jackie, Ryan here. It’s definitely not necessary to remove Genesis SEO if you install the Yoast plugin. The good thing is that Genesis has written a condition into their code, that turns off their SEO module if you install and activate the WordPress SEO plugin. If you have the Yoast plugin active, you shouldn’t even see the Genesis SEO settings. Let us know if you have any other questions at all!

  24. Walter

    It is recomendable to use Drag and Drop themes like Divi from ET since you don’t think SEO belongs to a theme?

    1. Robert Neu

      Hi Walter! Personally, I don’t recommend that people use Divi, mainly for reasons unrelated to SEO, although it does load a lot of scripts and styles which can hurt your page speed score. The primary issue that I have with Divi is theme lock-in.

      Divi’s page builder uses a system of shortcodes that get left behind after you switch themes. This means all of your site’s content will be mixed together with an unintelligible mash-up of shortcodes. For more information on the issue of shortcodes in themes, check out this post by Justin Tadlock: http://justintadlock.com/archives/2011/05/02/dealing-with-shortcode-madness

      If you’re concerned about SEO, you can still safely use any of the Genesis child themes and just avoid using the built-in SEO settings. Instead of using the built-in settings, use WordPress SEO by Yoast to handle all of your SEO functionality and everything should function normally.

      1. Regev Elya

        So happy I stumbled on this post, looks like you know what your’e talking about. Perhaps you can help out.

        Well, I’ve been rubbing my head for two weeks trying to decide whether to move my sites (that generate my whole income and rely a lot on organic traffic) from good ol’ Catalyst to Genesis or Divi.

        I got two blogs that brings HUGE amount of long tails and I funnel the traffic inside the site to pages where i sell my books, services and offline-courses and seminars that I’m doing.

        Problem? (not really a problem but –) I wish I could create those slick, beauuuuuuutiful Divi landing pages (I already used it on my cousin’s site, relies solely on Adwords so SEO is less of an issue), but I REALLY can’t create them out of pure CSS/php/whatever. This drag-and-drop module system is phenomenal for that.

        But if Divi is rubbish from an SEO standpoint and loads a lot of unnecessary burden, I don’t see a point for having their code behind the hundred posts on the site, only for a few sales pages.

        I loved Genesis when I had it back in the day. Clean and the hook system is phenomenal for putting in Optin forms, product ads, etc, great for split testing too. This ‘lock-in’ issue is also something to consider, tho if I move to Divi I doubt I’ll be moving in the next few years.

        I guess if Nick Roach and his ET crew would put the Divi mechanism into an external plugin – that would be terrific and worth every single penny for it. The current ET Page Buidler seems shitty compared to Divi’s builder.

        So I guess it all comes down to SEO.

        Would you trust Divi (over Genesis, remind you) to be the power-engine of your main income-generating sites that rely mostly on organic traffic? Do you think the differences between them are noticeable? I’ll be installing Yoast in either one so i’m not talking about SEO features, only about the code behind.

      2. Joey Barker

        He doesn’t know what he’s talking about…anyone who reco’s Yoast is either a newb, an affiliate skirt or both of the two combined…

      3. Robert Neu

        Regev,

        Sorry for the delay getting back to you on this. What you’re describing is a pretty common situation for a lot of people and why I think Divi and other similar themes have become so popular recently. The user experience of the page builder is quite nice, but the way it works is not so good.

        In the scenario you described with the first site, an AdWords site with no real purpose other than PPC, I think Divi is a great option for someone who can’t code. Any site that needs to be made quickly and inexpensively by someone who can’t code can be done with a tool like Divi. There are also some other options out there that may ore may not be better depending on the situation. The two that come to mind are:

        https://thethemefoundry.com/wordpress-themes/make/
        http://siteorigin.com/page-builder/

        The second is a plugin and actually can be used with Genesis, although I’ve had mixed results testing it.

        If you’re working on a site that is meant to be around for a while, needs to perform well in organic search, and could be a major part of your business on the web, I’d personally recommend that you avoid these types of solutions and go with something more solid like Genesis and custom code.

        There are lots of developers out there who can build things for you at a reasonable price. We even do some of that here at WP Site care. In the future, I think we’ll see a more polished version of the page builder that both works well from a user standpoint and is built to perform well on the code side.

        Until that happens, I think your best bet for a “money site” is going to be a proven framework and a trusted developer. Obviously in the end the choice is up to you, but if I were in your position that’s what I would do.

      4. Regev Elya

        thanks a lot bud. how reasonable is the price for the custom coded pages you’re talking about?

      5. Robert Neu

        If you drop us a note about what you’re looking for, we’d be happy to give you a quote. If it falls outside of what we can provide, there are also a number of other developers we could recommend you to.

        We’re Here to Help

  25. Nathan Rice

    I certainly appreciate the kind words about Genesis, and I’m always glad to see Genesis users/fans give us helpful feedback so we can make the framework even better. Let’s face it, no other theme has the community that Genesis does … you guys always impress me.

    So, let me address a couple of things that you brought up.

    Genesis is, always has been, and always will be a less power “SEO tool” than a dedicated SEO plugin. People seem to think this should surprise us … but we already know 🙂 We did that intentionally. It was never meant to be the FINAL solution for anyone wanting to do SEO.

    But let’s make a distinction between “Genesis doesn’t do that as well as WordPress SEO” and “Genesis SEO is doing something wrong”. We can handle not being the BEST SEO solution. But we consider an SEO bug just like any other bug in our code. As a matter of fact, there have been entire Genesis maintenance releases dedicated to solving a problem with the way our SEO works.

    If there’s something wrong with the SEO logic in Genesis, let us know. We’re agile 🙂

    As for the idea that Genesis SEO doesn’t support custom post types, I typed “genesis seo custom post type” into Google and this was the second result. Anything you can do with a post or page, you can do with a CPT with Genesis.

    Finally, I’ve heard it tossed around that we can simply “choose” to remove Genesis SEO from our core codebase. That’s simply not true. I feel like anyone who says this really doesn’t understand how many Genesis users are out there. Hint: it’s a lot.

    We simply will not pull out a useful and critical (for people who are currently using it) feature of Genesis to comply with a conceptual ideal (“SEO shouldn’t be in ANY theme!!!!”). If we were having this conversation in early 2010, things might be different.

    But at this point, we have to keep providing solid basics while at the same time continuing to recommend that people use SEO plugins if they need more than Genesis provides. Which is why, since nearly the beginning, Genesis SEO simply disables itself if it detects an SEO plugin.

    We think that approach works best for everyone.

    1. Robert Neu

      Thanks for this comprehensive response Nathan. I considered submitting some information about how the SEO settings could be improved, but because I think the best thing to do would be to deprecate them, I decided not to. I don’t really see the point in contributing to something that I feel shouldn’t continue to exist.

      The problem with CPTs and custom taxonomies isn’t so much that there’s no way to add support for them, but that the amount of control you have over them at a global level is limited. It’s also an issue that anyone who doesn’t understand PHP wouldn’t be able to add support for their custom content at all, whereas with Yoast they can control everything directly from the admin dashboard.

      As for the issue of not being able to remove features, obviously straight up ripping things out with no warning would be crazy and I don’t think anyone is suggesting that… I know I’m not. I just don’t understand the argument against deprecating the feature and gradually phasing it out. Other things in Genesis have gone the way of the dodo and the framework is better off for it.

      In any event, I know at the end of the day you and the rest of the StudioPress crew will do what you think is best and I’m perfectly fine with that. I just felt the conversation around this issue was worth having and I hope some of my fellow Genesis users get something useful out of it.

    2. Jason

      Nathan,

      Great stuff here. However, when I install Yoast Premium, Genesis doesn’t remove its SEO section on pages / posts.

      How can I resolve this?

      Full disclosure, I’m the Marketing Director at a digital agency.

      Thanks!

      1. Ryan Sullivan

        Hey Jason,

        It’s tough to say cause the Genesis settings should definitely go away. I’d check to make sure you’re running the latest versions of Genesis and Yoast SEO to see if that solves it for you. If you run into any issues let us know.

  26. Chris Langille

    Couldn’t agree more that SEO options shouldn’t be in any theme or framework—period. Leave it up to a plugin so you can take it with you when you change themes. Thesis does the same thing, although in 2.2, they will make it fully compatible with WordPress SEO which in my mind is huge.

    I think WordPress should go as far as to make it a requirement in their theme review process to not include any kind of SEO functionality natively. Furthermore, I think like Akismet, WordPress SEO should be included in the WordPress core download.

    All that said, I’m sure Studiopress has thought about removing it too. I could definitely see them doing that in a future release, especially when a shop as big as Woo does it.

    1. Robert Neu

      Ha! Glad to hear I’m not the only one out there. Wait… I think I just called myself a Genesis fan girl. :

    1. Robert Neu

      Thanks Jon! I’m not sure if this article will actually change anything about Genesis, but if nothing else I hope it gets the point across that you should use a plugin for your SEO data.

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