February 19, 2021 Last updated February 19th, 2021 1,348 Reads share

6 Factors to Consider When Looking for an SEO Optimized WordPress Theme

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Most people feel overwhelmed when trying to choose a theme for their WordPress website. There are several factors that they must consider to choose an ideal theme, but somehow they end up prioritizing the visual aesthetics over all others.

We understand that style, user experience, and functionality are necessary aspects to popularise a website. But in our opinion, SEO is probably the most crucial determinant of any website’s success. Therefore, you should always look for an SEO-optimized theme for their WordPress website. That way, you can ensure that your website ranks higher on search engines and attract more traffic to your website.

WordPress is one of the most popular web designing platforms due to several reasons. When you choose an SEO-friendly theme for your WordPress website, you can leverage the benefits further. These are six factors to consider while looking for SEO-optimized WP themes.

Loading Speed

One of the reasons behind WordPress’s popularity is the clean codes that enable the website to load faster. Loading speed is one of the prime parameters of SEO optimization for any website. Therefore when you choose a theme for your WordPress site, make sure you look for a responsive one.

A responsive code structure allows the website to open equally fast on all devices. Instead of using static measurements, these themes use dynamic ones like percentage or em units, which enable them to function similarly on any device. Therefore, a visitor will have the same positive experience with a responsive theme irrespective of the device they use to access your website.

WordPress themes that use other forms of measurements in their code structure might present usability problems for smaller devices like smartphones. For example, they might try to display a very large image or text that needs horizontal scrolling. It could make them non-responsive and could affect your ranking negatively.

Google also looks for mobile-friendliness as a ranking criterion to display websites on smartphone searches. Since more than 55% of the American population use their smartphones for search engines, a responsive theme can help you outrank the non-responsive ones.

Lack of Outbound Links

Do not use any theme that has one or more outbound links that cannot be removed. When looking at WordPress themes, try to notice any links embedded on the web page footers. Sometimes theme developers embed outbound links in the footer section to promote their website designing services.

Some developers also sell the footer link placement of their themes to other businesses. Avoid using any WordPress theme that contains a link in the footer section that you cannot remove easily.

Embedded outbound links will appear on all of your webpages and posts, which means they will steal from your website link equity. These links will siphon off your website’s ranking power, which will affect your SEO efforts since Google will count them as part of the backlinks scheme.

Cross-Browser Compatibility

You can boost your SEO efforts by choosing a WordPress theme that offers cross-browser compatibility. Google Chrome accounts for almost 60% of the entire world’s browser market. However, the rest 40% could be using a web browser like Firefox, Edge, Opera, or any other to access your website.

So you could hurt your search engine ranking if you use a WordPress theme that does not offer cross-browser compatibility. Moreover, you could be losing out on a lot of potential customers if they cannot access your website properly.

There are several tools available that can help you test a WordPress theme for cross-browser compatibility.  Some of them also allow you to test premium themes to check their compatibility before paying for them.

SEO Plug-in Support

WordPress has many effective SEO plug-ins like Yoast that you can take advantage of to increase your website ranking. They allow you to add features to your website, which boosts your website’s SEO. While these SEO plug-ins are quite efficient and popular, they are not compatible with all WordPress themes. Even though it is not a common problem, you should still check them out before deciding to use one.

Malware Free

Search engines would not rank your website higher if you are using a malware-ridden theme. Your website could also get de-indexed if the WordPress theme contains malware.

Free themes might be stealing your website data or creating unwanted pop-up ads for your visitors. Treacherous developers can hide malware in the theme code that cannot be detected easily. Thankfully, you can use one of the malware scanning plug-ins on WordPress to scan a theme before using it.

Frequency of Developer Updates

Developer updates for WordPress themes are essential for several reasons. Firstly, these updates ensure continued compatibility with the latest version of the WordPress platform and other plug-ins.

Secondly, updates are also necessary to eliminate security vulnerabilities that can leave you exposed to cyber-attacks. So if a WordPress theme does not get updated regularly by its developer, it is better to look for another one.

A WordPress theme can play a significant role in boosting or hurting your website’s SEO. If you use the wrong one, it could prevent your website from ranking higher and attract lesser website traffic. However, choosing an SEO-optimized WordPress theme will enable your website to climb up faster on search engine result pages and generate more traffic.

WordPress website on a computer screen -DepositPhotos

Roger Dutta

Roger Dutta

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