Today, anyone can build a website in minutes by using WordPress, the most popular CMS that needs no coding. But, if you want to use the website for business by implementing SEO, it is better to seek professional guidance to maximize the advantages that the CMS provides for gaining an edge in marketing. This is especially important for new businesses and brands that must rely on the expert guidance of a branding company to establish the brand first and then move towards building brand equity.
It is also not difficult to customize WordPress websites by using the vast inventory of WordPress themes that support all kinds of businesses. A variety of WordPress themes are available that suit some business, and this has contributed to the popularity of the CMS. But the real challenge is to select a theme that provides all-round support to the SEO efforts because there are instances when the poor design of themes has cost marketers dearly by affecting the search rankings negatively and damaging the SEO prospects.
WordPress themes are much more than fanciful visuals, and you must look beyond aesthetics to ascertain their functional value in meeting your SEO goals. Although most WordPress themes are SEO friendly, it would be wrong to assume that it supports all kinds of SEO functionalities. SEO friendly themes only help to make a beginning with some basic functions that you must upgrade by using plugins to perform the desired SEO functions. It means that WordPress themes can affect SEO performance, and you must look into the technical aspects under the theme to decide how useful it would be for your SEO purpose.
Themes affect website performance
When you look under the skin of WordPress themes, you will discover that the performance of websites differs according to the themes. This happens because the themes are the exterior of the website structure and the technicalities that underline the theme influence how the website will perform. Even if the theme looks beautiful and relevant to the business, it is important to ascertain that it allows the website to perform at peak efficiency. Since the website structure and design can affect the website speed, you must be cautious in selecting themes to ensure that it is not detrimental for SEO performance.
Poor design disengages users
Engagement is a very important factor for marketers to judge a website’s worth because the more time users spend on the site, better are the chances of improving ranking. The website design plays a vital role in imparting attractive looks that creates the initial attraction, and if the web design is poor, it will simply drive away viewers. If the website design is too much cramped and overloaded with advertisements, it can turn away viewers. Even if you prefer the flat design, think if your audience would like the same because sometimes such design creates confusion during website usage as viewers are unable to make out the next step to take. If users turn away from the website, it sends negative signals to search engines that can lower rankings. Every design element must help in intuitive browsing that generates more interest in the website and prolongs engagement.
Slow speed can kill websites
Website speed is a ranking factor even though it is not clear it is a part of Google’s search algorithm. Users too like speedy websites and would desert websites that take longer time to load or open pages, never to return. The website design contributes to the website speed because if the design is too heavy, it slows down the speed. If images take longer time to load, it makes the website sluggish. Ideally, a website should open in 2 seconds of clicking on the link, and the website theme should ensure that the speed remains closest to the expectation. Almost 50% of users will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to open.
Poor website structure confuses search engines
You must look beyond the appearance of the WordPress theme to understand how well the underlying structure supports the features and functionalities. The code used for website creation must have a good structure so that it is conducive for search engines to interact with the website. If the code creation is incorrect, it can confuse search engines as it would find it difficult to make out what the website is all about. There must be a balance in the website structure so that the design elements that create a splendid design and those that ensure high performance are blended in the right proportions.
Elements that contribute to SEO friendly WordPress Theme
The primary objective of WordPress themes is to address the aesthetics of the website and the SEO friendly features that accompany it, is like a by-product. Knowing which elements to consider when judging the SEO friendliness of websites should help to select a theme that is attractive and performs well.
People do not like slow loading websites that happen from a poorly designed theme even though issues with hosting services and server speed can also affect speed. Check if the upper part of the website known as fold opens first because if the elements at the bottom start loading first, it takes a longer time for the page to load.
Images and responsive design
Ensure that the theme you choose uses a responsive design that enables its display on mobile devices with the same ease as on desktops and laptops. This is extremely important because mobile friendliness is now a ranking factor for Google. Images are good, but it must not hinder the website speed. Using optimized images helps to maintain the website speed.
The HTML is at the core of the SEO friendliness of WordPress themes as it dictates what search engines see. Themes must make it easy for search engines to figure out the website content. By using HTML5 tags wisely, it is easier to highlight the parts of the content in the order of its importance.
Now that you know what to look for in WordPress themes, you can be more confident about its SEO friendliness.