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How Much Influence Do Website Themes Have on Search Engine Optimization?

How Much Influence Do Website Themes Have on SEO?
September 20, 2021

How Much Influence Do Website Themes Have on Search Engine Optimization?

Sep 20, 2021
Bela is a Digital Marketing Trainer at Digital Ready Academy.

After purchasing the domain and hosting, one of the first things I did was install the themes for my website. It was one of the most exciting experiences I'd ever had because it provided me with a plethora of colourful templates to choose from.

I had no idea it had an impact on SEO at the time, but as time went on, I learned more about designing, SEO, and the other components required to complete a full-fledged website.

It is sometimes necessary to switch themes in order to keep up with the latest trends, developments, or styles. In order to give your website a new look, you may be required to do so at times or at your own discretion.

Google had published a video hosted by John Muller explaining the effects of website themes on SEO, in which he mentions that there is much more to it than simply considering website themes as a splash of colour on top of a finished structure. These changes, however, are not always negative.

Let's look at how changing website themes affects SEO performance and how to do so safely.

Changing Themes that Affect SEO

While making changes to themes, you can make significant changes to your entire website. These modifications can have a huge impact on your SEO. Some of the most important things to keep in mind when changing your theme are:

1. Metadata

Metadata is generated by some themes for web pages that we are unaware of. As a result, when you switch themes, you lose these metadata.

You can overcome and maximise the metadata by installing a plugin. Even if you change themes, the data remains the same until the plugin is installed on your website. Yoast and Rank Math SEO are two highly recommended plugins that will keep your metadata intact even if you switch themes.

2. Changes in Format

When you change themes, the formatting of your posts changes. While some are minor, such as font types, others, such as changes in heading sizes, can have a negative impact on your SEO performance. Some of the theme changes may result in even more serious formatting issues, making your website pages difficult to read.

3. Page Loading Time

Some themes are difficult to load. Although the site looks great with some themes, it slows down page loading, which is a major SEO issue.

The SEO of your website improves when you use a smooth and elegant theme that loads quickly. As a result, when changing themes, you should keep page speed in mind.

4. User Experience

Whatever is said and done, one thing must be kept in mind: the user experience. A poor user experience lowers your SEO ranking, whereas a positive experience raises your ranking. No matter how trendy your website appears or how much useful content you provide, if users find it difficult to navigate through your website, they are likely to leave, which will harm your SEO ranking.

Google always keeps track of how long a user is stuck on a particular page. If your bounce rate is high, Google will assume that the information on your page is not what users are looking for, lowering your SEO ranking. As a result, choose a theme that displays your information in a user-friendly and easy-to-access manner.

How to Change Themes Without Harming SEO Rankings

There are certain steps you can take whenever you plan to change the theme to minimise the negative impact on your SEO and ensure only positive changes.

Test the New Theme

Whenever you change the theme, make sure to test it and see how it looks. Examine the changes that must have occurred in the headings and formatting. Check the page loading time as well, and invite others to try out the new theme and share their thoughts. It just so happens that others notice changes that we do not.

SEO-Friendly Theme

When choosing a theme, make sure to read the feedback on it. Examine what others have said and try to select those that mention positive changes to the website and SEO. Always keep in mind the factors that influence your SEO.

Plugins for Maintaining Structured Data

As previously stated, use one of the plug-ins to keep your current meta and structured data on your site. This way, when you switch themes, the important data for SEO remains in place. This will have the least impact on SEO rankings.

Final Thoughts

So, yes, changing website themes has an effect on SEO. However, changing themes can be a lot of fun and interesting because it gives new life to your website and can help your site in terms of SEO ranking. To be safe, always save an older version of your website so that if the new theme fails, you can revert to the previous version.

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