Comment on Stallion SEO Super Comments WordPress SEO Plugin by WordPress SEO Theme Author.
Standard WordPress themes Gravatar code are standard image code with a blank alt text attribute. Images with this format used by all WordPress themes I’ve seen except Stallion have SEO value when used correctly, in particular the alt text is important as are the images file names.
The best code would be filename “keyword-phrase.jpg” and alt=”Keyword Phrase”.
With the standard Gravatar image code the filenames are awful and the alt text is non-existent (blank alt attributes) and the Gravatar images are hosted off site which are all potential SEO negatives.
The above information is SEO fact, below is SEO theory.
I don’t have SEO test data on this, but it seems commonsense SEO having dozens of images linked off site with no alt text and awful filenames is at best SEO neutral and more likely SEO negative.
I work on the belief all SEO factors have a finite value (lets call it SEO points) shared over elements that use that SEO factor. I assume the SEO value of having images on a page is shared over all the images that are readable by search engines. If there’s 100 SEO points (arbitrary figure) available for all image filenames and a page has 10 images, each image would ‘use’ 10 SEO points, if there’s 100 images each would ‘use’ 1 SEO point.
Simple SEO concept to work with.
If you have a page with 10 images within the post and a further 90 Gravatar images, you can see theoretically 90% of your image filename SEO points are wasted on Gravatar images.
It’s SEO fact images that are served via CSS as background images are SEO neutral (no value eitherway, won’t ‘use’ our SEO points), which is why I added the custom Gravatar code to Stallion, the output of which is.
background: url("http://0.gravatar.com/avatar/2949679560e858721221c9e0f215f991?s=60&d=identicon&r=G") repeat scroll 0% 0% transparent;"
This Gravatar image output is definitely SEO neutral, the default Gravatar output is probably SEO damaging. I personally wouldn’t add hundreds of Gravatar images with standard image code if I could avoid it. I like the idea of the Gravatar Hovercards so plan to see if I can adapt a Gravatar plugin to use the background Gravatar images.
I’m currently turning Stallion into a framework theme so child themes will work with Stallion. Child themes are a really cool concept, rather than editing the main theme files you create a folder like /stallion-seo-theme-child/ reference the folder to the Stallion theme and add to that folder the files you’ve edited.
I’m finding it a royal pain updating some of my sites when I update Stallion because I tend to have custom template files and images so can’t use the built in WordPress theme updater (it deletes the current themes folder) as I’d loose the customizations (have to reupload via FTP, so might as well use FTP to update everything). When Stallion is a framework theme all my customizations will go into a child theme folder and updates will all be via the theme updater saving a lot of hassle using FTP. Will also open the possibility of other theme developers creating and selling Stallion child themes.
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