Do you like SEO? We sure do, so we have updated the community theme. We have focused on making it more html 5 compliant and used more html5 and semantic data best practices with it. The standard version of the theme was not bad, but it was dated. So we went through and updated the theme and modernized it.
The HTML5 structure of the theme was ok, not good, but ok. So we went through and fixed the structure to be more compliant with HTML5 standards. In doing this we have made a lot of changes that should translate into better SEO as well. Some of the blocks on the pages are now set so they are not heavily relied on, while more emphasis has been given to other elements. We have also made sure to mark up the elements on the pages that are common, like the footers, the headers, the navigation blocks, and others to not take away from the main purpose of the pages. Now the theme should be 100% HTML complaint in so far as what browsers support.
This is something that likely a lot of people have never heard of. Its something that is not commonly used in themes, but the people that know me know I love performance. So that is why I have included it. What SRCSET does is pretty cool, it lets browser pick the best image size to load out of a grouping of images. It might sound mundane, but think about this logic. If a user is on mobile and all of the images on a normal page are 300x 300, but their device has to shrink them to be displayed, with SRCSET the browser will just grab smaller images that have been defined. This means your site will load faster on mobile or smaller devices. SRCSET is something that is gaining a lot of traction and most browsers support it, there was really no reason not to make this change.
Adding Alt and Title tags
We also went through the theme and made sure that every alt and title tag was filled in. These are good for SEO and screen readers at the same time, so we wanted to make sure we had these done.
We also moved some of the default module templates over to the theme. We moved the blog and a few other module templates over to the theme, while at the same time we update a few templates too. One of the big ones being the block social, we added support for a lot more networks, such as VK, medium, Yelp, Amazon, Tumblr, and more. When moving the block social we also added click even tracking too, so it will log in your Google Analytics when people click those links.
In Google Chome 60 Lighthouse will be part of the standard developer tools, so it is kind of important. We have made accessibility changes to the theme that were pointed out by Lighthouse. These changes will help users that use high contrast monitors or screen readers view sites. Overall this is a great change to help our friends that might have disabilities.
Installing the new template
Installing the new template is pretty simple. All you have to do is download the template, then ftp the template to your template directory. In all of the changes that we made, we were sure not to affect the look and the feel of the template. So everything will act as normal, just the underlying code will be different.