Choosing a theme for your WordPress website is a tough task. The theme should be user-friendly and enhance the design of your website. Imagine you are running a clothing line business, and your website theme gives emphasis to text rather than images and where the colours are all dull and black. Won’t it put off your potential customers as opposed to a lively and colourful theme that would instead encourage visitors to explore more and eventually purchase a product?
However, amidst choosing the theme and customizing the design, one thing that is usually overlooked is the SEO aspect. As a WordPress website owner, it is crucial that you make sure your theme is SEO optimized. This not only helps your website to rank higher on search engines but also enables you to attract more traffic.
In this article, we will be covering WordPress and SEO, as well as, the importance of an SEO friendly WordPress theme for your WordPress website.
So first off, let us see how WordPress websites help you with your SEO efforts
WordPress is an easy to use platform that has a number of built-in features that help improve the SEO of your website. Some of these features are the various URL structures available that help in improving your search engine ranking along with categories, tags, plugins etc. Also, WordPress releases regular updates for fixing bugs in the code making your websites faster and more efficient. This impacts your website and it’s search engine rankings.
Having covered some of the features of WordPress let us now move to the look and feel of a WordPress website. WordPress has default themes, as well as, customized themes. The idea of a theme is to present your website to the visitor in a manner that makes it look appealing, and at the same time, it reflects the heart and soul of your business. In one of our earlier posts, we talked about the 6 things to look for in a WordPress theme, and one of the features covered was SEO.
To help with this there are a plethora of SEO friendly WordPress themes. But how do you figure out which is the best amongst them all?
Let us take a look at the 5 key things you need to keep in mind when deciding on an SEO optimised WordPress theme.
- Responsiveness and Mobile-First Design
Nowadays most users browse websites not only via desktops and laptops but also, via mobile phones and tablets. This makes it imperative for the website to be responsive. That basically means that the layout adjusts itself depending on the medium it is viewed on. If your website isn’t responsive, chances are many of your customers might abandon it owing to the fact it might be difficult to navigate. A theme plays an important role when it comes to the responsiveness of the website. Choosing a non-responsive theme can hamper not only your customer prospects but even your SEO. When users stay on your site for a good duration, it enhances your website’s SEO. Also, with the rollout of Google’s Mobile-First Indexing algorithm, it is important that your theme is compatible with mobile devices. Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly rank lower than the mobile-friendly websites, eventually impacting your SEO on Google search engine.
- Cross-Browser compatibility
Just like your theme must be responsive and mobile-friendly, it is equally important that it be compatible with various browsers. Cross-browser compatibility is important because users not only view your website on different mediums but also on different browsers, and each browser interprets the code in a different way.If a particular browser doesn’t support your website then even if it is responsive it might not display properly. This might lead to visitors abandoning the website within a few seconds leading to an increased bounce rate which eventually would affect your SEO. An SEO friendly WordPress theme is compatible with the top browsers like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari.
- Compatible with various SEO plugins
Compatibility of an SEO friendly theme with the elements on your WordPress website is important. One of these elements is plugins. Most websites make use of various plugins and they are an inseparable part of a WordPress website just like the theme.Now imagine, a scenario where two integral parts are not compatible with each other. It will give rise to a host of issues, and the SEO capabilities won’t be utilised in its entire capacity. To overcome this issue, make sure that the theme you install is not only SEO friendly but also, compatible with the plugins you have or need. If the theme is truly SEO optimised, then it won’t override the SEO actions taken by the WordPress SEO plugin.
- Load Speed of the theme
If your theme is too bulky with lots of elements, it will take time to load. A slower loading theme would, in turn, slow the load speed of the website with some or most of the elements not loading. In fact, according to a study, if you have a mobile website and it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, then 53% of the users are likely to abandon your site.Most SEO friendly WordPress themes take care that the theme isn’t too bulky. However, as a good practice, you too should check whether the theme is heavy or light-weight. Another important aspect that affects the load speed of the theme is the type of hosting you choose. Even if you have the most optimised themes and plugins, it will not help if your hosting service is slow and laggy. We recommend WordPress Hosting as the best option for hosting your WordPress powered websites. WordPress Hosting coupled with an SEO optimized WordPress theme is sure to improve the loading speed of your website.
- Includes Schema.org Markup
Themes that make use of scheme.org markup tend to enhance the quality of the website from an SEO point of view. With this documentation, the search engine is better able to understand the website content by better classification in their listing.One of the key things it can help with is increasing the number of visitors on your website through search engine results. Here is one example where scheme.org markup makes it possible for the right rich snippets to pop in. All the user typed was ‘Justin Timberlake tour’ in their Google Search, and the Ticketmaster website displayed a list of events within the search results itself. Here are some examples where scheme.org is implemented.
On a closing note, make sure that you choose the right theme for your WordPress website as it will help you present your website better. Hope this post helped you figure out the things to look for in an SEO friendly theme. As a quick reference, here are some of the best SEO friendly WordPress themes you can check out for your website.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to post them in the comments box below!