You have a new website you’ve spent a lot of time creating. For its design, you’ve chosen to use a WordPress theme. Now that you’ve moved on to marketing, you hear a lot about SEO.
Somewhere along the way, you may have heard that the theme you’ve chosen will affect how you rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Now you find yourself wondering if there’s any truth to this. You may even be afraid to work on your site’s design anymore now that you’ve launched it.
There are some things you should take into consideration here. Changing your theme can have both a negative and a positive impact on your business. Take a moment to assess the situation.
Factors Your WordPress Theme May Affect
While you may think that your WordPress theme is simply a way to change how your website looks, it can also change many essential background details that’ll affect your SEO. You should take a look at what these factors are before deciding to change your theme. They include:
- Your theme dictates your page load speed. If your new theme requires more plugins and customizations, they’ll slow your site down.
- You can think of your theme as your website design. Make sure you choose one that provides visitors with an enjoyable experience. This factor plays a critical role in your conversion rates and SEO.
- Themes also impact how Google views your site since different themes contain or edit additional metadata (e.g., page title, meta description), which Google uses to understand your page better. Many of these aren’t even considered by Google, but you could lose your ranking in the SERPs when you change others.
- Structured data, also known as schema, is a type of metadata used by search engines to better understand a page’s contents. They also use this markup to display features from your content in the SERPs. Make sure your theme marks each with the proper schema, as this is a vital piece of the search engine puzzle.
- Watch your website’s search functionality. Before implementing your new theme, you need to take the time to make sure everything (e.g., your site’s search bar) works.
- Choose a single-purpose theme, especially if your site has a specific use case (e.g., it’s a blog that doesn’t sell products). Multi-purpose themes have extended functionalities that may slow your page speed down.
Helpful Tips for Changing Themes
Before committing to a significant change in your WordPress theme, you’ll want to take steps to ensure a smooth transition, so you don’t hurt your SEO. This type of planning is essential. These steps include:
- Make sure that you’re improving your SEO performance.
- Choose a WordPress theme that offers a lot of features and is also well-optimized. Doing so will save you from installing lots of plugins that’ll slow down your site.
- You don’t want to change themes too frequently. These changes will impact how Google indexes you and may negatively impact users’ enjoyment of your site, hurting your reputation with Google.
- Take the time to remap your URLs carefully. Make sure you don’t accidentally overlook something. The simple solution is to pick up a WordPress plugin that’ll redirect users who land on a 404 page.
- Pay attention to Google search console data, especially the “Coverage” and “Crawl Stats” tabs. This invaluable source will show you precisely how Google views your website.
- Crawl your website before and after making any changes. Take careful note of any existing errors both before and after you’ve made the changes.
Deciding Whether to Update Your WordPress Theme
Now is the time to make an informed decision regarding your website. You already know what considerations you must ponder. Take some time to do so.
In the end, if you find that you need to change your WordPress theme, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. However, you should have a professional help you with this task.
At Local SEO Tampa Company in Tampa, FL, we’ve helped many customers throughout the years. We’ve updated and upgraded their WordPress sites without seeing these sites undergo a rapid decrease in their search engine standings. If you think that you’re ready to change your website’s theme, contact us today.