30 Days With Thesis: An SEO Case Study

thesis theme seoI integrated(*) the Thesis WordPress theme to this blog 30 days ago. Granted, 30 days isn’t a long time, but it’s long enough to begin to look at some data. In particular, I want to see if what the makers of Thesis claim is true – that inherently it will help SEO performance out-of-the-box.

* The theme is up-and-running, but obviously I haven’t done anything to customize the design. Work comes first, you understand.

Here’s what good old Google Analytics reports for thew 30 days since Thesis was integrated:

Basic Data:
Traffic: UP 39%
Pageviews: UP 40%
Pages per visit: UP 0.5%
Bounce Rate: DOWN 5%

It’s always nice to see traffic up. I’m not pleased about the bounce rate actually getting worse, but all of the other high-level numbers are going in the right direction. At first glance, bounce rate got worse most likely because I haven’t done anything to incorporate my brand into the blog and don’t have a really great call-to-action.

Let’s look a little deeper – into some SEO indicators to see if Thesis is actually delivering new traffic from the search engines:

Organic search traffic (all search engines): UP 7%
Google organic search traffic: UP 8%
organic search traffic: DOWN 15%
Bing organic search traffic: DOWN 26%

Pages per visit from organic traffic: DOWN 11%
Bounce rate for organic traffic: DOWN 13%

So…overall organic traffic is up, but it’s down on Yahoo! and Bing fairly significantly. And again, it looks like the engagement metrics have gone in the wrong direction. This data points to the fact that I need to do more to make this blog more sticky.

Here are a few qualifiers to go with the data:

  • The data compares the last 30 days to the previous 30 days
  • I try to blog once a week. In the first 30 days I posted 3 times. In the most recent 30 days I posted 5 times.
  • When I integrated Thesis, I stopped using “All In One SEO” and opted to use Thesis’ built in SEO tools.

After 30 days of having Thesis integrated it looks like traffic is a little better, but engagement is down. At this point, Thesis’ claim that it works well for SEO out-of-the-box appears to be true – it definitely didn’t hurt (which can happen when you change your internal SEO Structure like I did). My best guess for the downside is a lack of engagement. Readers are not feeling compelled to click on other posts and visit other pages once they finish reading the first post they read.

How do you interpret the numbers? Have you integrated Thesis on your blog? What happened to your traffic? Let’s discuss in the comment section below.

2 thoughts on “30 Days With Thesis: An SEO Case Study”

  1. Thanks for sharing this data. I have read about all the benefits of using Thesis and considered using it for one of my websites. I am now more encouraged to give it a shot.

    I am slightly leery about customizing the design since I am a novice at coding. Have you spent any time working with the “hooks”? If so, are they really as simple to you as Chris Pearson claims?

    I will let you know how my experience goes once I launch the site.

    • Erin-

      It’s definitely the simplest template I have used to date. It’s pretty easy to modify a lot of the style settings. That being said, it still takes a designer to get it to lok exactly how you want it to look – especially if you want a custom banner or style.

      Thanks for commenting!


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