If you want to rank your WordPress website higher in the search results, you should always focus on choosing the right theme. But selecting the right theme is not at all an easy task as it involves several considerations. In this blog, we have mentioned the top factors that you should consider while choosing an SEO friendly WordPress theme.
A theme is an interchangeable collection of files that can effectively control the design and layout of a certain website. You will find the availability of more than 10,000 themes in WordPress. Out of which, some of these perform better for SEO than others. But, now the question arises is, what are the features which you need to look for while selecting an SEO-friendly theme for your website. Before we proceed, it is essential that you have a proper WordPress installation. Read our blog on WORDPRESS.COM VS. WORDPRESS.ORG to know which is better for you.
SEO-friendly themes are those that feature a responsive coding structure. So, this can easily adapt to various devices. The best part is that they are coded with dynamic measurements. As a result, both the function as well as look appears the same on almost all sorts of devices.
A responsive theme makes sure all the visitors coming to your website have a positive UX irrespective of the device being used. But, you may experience many usability-related issues with other themes. For instance, when viewed on a smartphone, a non-responsive theme may show very large images and text blocks that need horizontal scrolling. Google considers mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal for its mobile search results. So, the responsive websites will outrank the non-responsive ones in this aspect.
2. Cross-Browser Compatibility
Always while you choose a theme, you should go for one which comes with cross-browser compatibility. This is something that can help to rank your website. As of now, Chrome is considered to be the most popular web browser. But, this browser is used by 60% of the overall browser market. If we consider that more than 4 billion people consider making use of the internet, which means that about 1.6 billion people make use of a different browser. So, your website should be compatible with the other browsers as well.
Your website should not experience any compatibility issues with an alternative browser such as Opera, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Internet Explorer. But if it is not compatible, then search engines may push it lower in the search results. To check whether a theme offers cross-browser compatibility or not, you should focus on testing it by making use of an online viewing tool like Browserling. This particular tool allows you to view your website from the perspectives of diverse web browsers without even downloading or using them.
3. No Outbound Links
You should avoid making use of any theme which possesses one or more outbound links that are impossible to remove. While you search for a theme, you may see that the links are embedded in the footer. Some of the theme developers focus on adding links to the footer section of the website. In this way, they promote their design services. Whereas, the others sell these footer link placements to diverse businesses.
In case, a theme contains one or more outbound links that you cannot easily remove, then you should avoid using this. As they are embedded in the footer, the outbound links will appear on all pages and posts.
4. Malware Free
Search engines would not rank your website higher if you focus on using a malware-ridden theme. In that case, they may even de-index your website to effectively protect their users from infection. Some of the WordPress themes, especially the free ones, contain malware. They may steal the data of your website, create pop-up ads or act as a vector by spreading malware to the visitors coming to your website. So, you should never assume that a theme is free of malware just because it properly loads on your website. But, if you are making use of WordPress, then you should not worry as this CMS comes with a lot of malware-scanning plugins like Wordfence Security. This particular plugin allows you to scan your website as well as its theme for malware.
5. Efficient And Fast Loading
The theme of your website is considered to be its backbone. As a result, it tends to have a lot of impact on how quickly it loads for visitors. This is something that the search engines will evaluate at the time of ranking your website. When compared to the slow loading websites, fast loading ones are ranked higher by Bing and Google. This is specifically because they tend to create a positive experience for the users.
In case, your website loads slowly, then the visitors may leave your website before it loads. So, your website will not appear on the first page of the search results. The only way to know whether a particular theme is fast loading or not is by testing it on your website. After you have activated a new theme, you should focus on performing a speed test by making use of GTmetrix, PageSpeed Insights, or Pingdom. So, you don’t have to continue using the particular theme. After you have performed the speed test, you can consider changing your website back to its original theme or a different one. A speed test will let you know how long your website takes to load.
6. SEO Plugin Support
You can take advantage of an SEO plugin to boost the SEO score of your website. There is the availability of a lot of robust SEO plugins in WordPress such as All in One SEO Pack, Yoast SEO, and a lot more. They are called SEO plugins as they contribute to add features that can help websites to rank higher.
So, the above-discussed ones are considered to be some of the best ways which you can use while choosing an SEO-friendly WordPress theme. Your theme is something that will determine the SEO friendliness of your WordPress website. Also, you would not be able to rank higher by making use of the wrong theme. Therefore, to climb the search results, you should focus on an SEO-friendly theme.