What to Look for in a SEO-Friendly WordPress Theme
Building your website and optimizing it for performance is a time-intensive process. Spending a seemingly countless number of hours perfecting its design, optimizing its navigational and technical elements, and creating captivating content to place on it should provide benefits – and often does.
However, all too many websites end up shooting themselves in the foot by choosing a poor design. There are many types of design problems, but themes that fail to deliver in the area of SEO can be functionally damaging to a brand’s visibility and influence.
For those using WordPress, you’ll want to continue reading to discover what you should look for in a SEO-friendly website theme.
Mobile Responsive Design
First and foremost, it’s important to understand the aggregate of search engine traffic. At this point, a majority of search engine traffic comes via mobile devices: these devices are varied based on resolution, functionality and browser, meaning your website need to be able to serve a wide variety of mobile devices.
Mobile responsive design in a WordPress theme makes it possible to serve a SEO-friendly and user-friendly version to every visitor regardless of device. By pinging users with a format that best fits their device and browser, you’re sure to minimize bounce rates and improve user experience. Given that search engines highly prioritize mobile usability in their SEO algorithms, themes that fail to deliver this function are essentially penalized and lose visibility.
Fast Loading Times
The speed of a page loading has multiple effects on both search engine perception and user experience. In many ways, page loading speeds are inherently tied to the aforementioned mobile user experience: given many mobile users have slower connections than desktop users, the longer it takes for a page to load, the more likely it is that users will simply look elsewhere. People want quick and easy access to information, entertainment, services and products.
Not all WordPress themes are equal in this regard. Some may look stylish but are otherwise cluttered with inefficient code and add-ons that make the loading process tenuous. Others are optimized for speed and use minimal elements to ensure this. Before committing to any one WordPress theme, be sure that you evaluate the speed at which it loads. You’ll undoubtedly encounter some themes that take longer than others to load on your pages; avoiding these is key to maximize SEO-friendliness.
Optimized Code with SEO Integration
Over time, coding procedures and standards evolve. Themes developed five years ago likely aren’t taking advantage of recent developments that improve the efficiency and format of design and functionality. As such, it is generally recommended to utilize newer WordPress themes – or at minimum, themes that have been revamped substantially in recent months to account for this dynamic.
Likewise, some WordPress themes are flashy but lack inherent SEO integration. Other themes offer seamless integration with popular SEO plug-ins, up-to-date markup procedures and/or elements that make customizing both pages and posts for search engines more effective. Many recommend searching for WordPress themes that are optimized for SEO specifically to ensure this element is present in the design.
Ultimately, it’s important to know the differences that can exist between various WordPress themes. Not all are optimal for SEO: you want to consider how quickly each page loads with a given theme, how optimized it is for responsive design and how clean and up-to-date the code is before committing to a specific option. These concerns are essential if your goal is to be pinging users in search results with optimal efficiency.