The first step when setting up a blog, website or online shop is choosing a theme. It has to look awesome and this is what we usually focus on first. Although WordPress has a huge library of themes, often the choices here are the wrong ones, which can hurt a start-up online business.

Most beginners end their search by choosing a theme that only looks great, not realizing that the theme, in addition to giving a lot of possibilities in the field of visual creations, should also be well optimized for SEO. Believe that many themes in the repository, as well as many paid themes do not meet this condition. Authors rely on unaware users, who are fascinated by the look and on this basis make their choices and purchases.

Why the theme is an important part of SEO

WordPress themes play no small role in the SEO success of the site you run. It's not about direct influence, e.g. installing X themes guarantees positions in TOP10. No, it doesn't work that way 🙂 .

If you follow closely the changes that are taking place in Google's ranking signals, you may have noticed that usability and comfort (UX) signals are gaining more and more weight in overall SEO signals. But what does theme have to do with the UX of a page?

WordPress themes affect UX signals such as responsiveness, fast loading, optimized interface and many other factors that will soon be part of an upcoming Google update Core Web Vitals.

Here are some issues you should focus on when choosing a theme for your website, blog or online shop.

The theme should be well coded

As you know, themes that look amazing are actually strings of code - bushes as some of my clients say ;). There can be thousands of lines of code to make a theme a reality that you and your audience can enjoy.

Only a well-coded theme will be SEO friendly, secure and fast. But as a novice website developer who doesn't know coding languages, it will be difficult for you to look at the code of any theme and get an idea of its quality. Does that mean you are powerless? It doesn't.

A good rule of thumb is to check if the theme is popular, if it offers frequent updates, and to look at the development company to see if there are experienced developers behind it. Also take some time to read reviews of a theme that is in your area of interest.

Speed

How long do you wait for the page to load? 4 or 5 seconds? Maybe more? Research has shown that 40% visitors abandon a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Every moment after 3 seconds is detrimental to UX, and the chances of users abandoning the page are high.

Themes are one of the most common causes of slow page load times. Slow themes may look cool when they load, but in most cases, a visitor to such a site may not make it. Impatient, they will move on to your competitors without allowing your site to showcase all its strengths.

You can use GTMetrix or PageSpeed Insights to see how well your current theme is performing and diagnose issues causing slow loading times.

Regular updates

Most popular WordPress themes receive frequent updates, sometimes even once every week or two, to improve their features and patch any bugs. Finding a theme that offers regular updates is a must if you want a safe and secure site.

Compatibility of SEO plug-ins

Since you're reading an SEO related article, I'm sure you have an SEO plugin installed on your blog, website or shop. Did you know that not all plugins are compatible with every WordPress theme? And that some themes may have their own SEO tools built in?

While this may seem tempting, the built-in SEO options can often cause conflicts with other SEO plugins you ultimately choose.

Theme developers are often great at building or designing themes, but that doesn't mean they understand SEO. In contrast, the Yoast team or Rank Math specialises in SEO and is constantly up to date with the latest guidelines. By using their plugins (one of them) you can be sure you have the best SEO settings for your site.

Summary

A theme that is well optimized for SEO is not a theme that guarantees you better rankings, it is a theme that increases the chance of better results in SERPs thanks to the features mentioned above. How you use this chance will affect the further development of your online business.

You can find themes that meet these criteria in our recommended themes article free WordPress themes. Have a look at it, because every theme listed in it is a piece of work.

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See also

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