Does Changing WordPress Themes Affect Your SEO Rankings And Traffic?

Does Changing WordPress Themes Affect Your SEO Rankings And Traffic?

One of the best features of WordPress is the ability to quickly change themes and give a completely new look to your website. However, with this feature, there is also an important question to ask. Does changing WordPress themes affect your SEO rankings and traffic? When we consider the importance of search engine rankings and the amount of traffic your website receives, it is crucial not to rush any changes. To give you a short answer - yes. Each theme affects your website differently. However, there are a lot of factors to consider when talking about how WordPress themes affect your website. Let's dive a little deeper into this subject.

SEO basics to understand

Before we discuss changing your theme and the consequences that come with that, let's talk about the basics of search engine optimization. One thing to know is that any change you make to your website affects your SEO in a way. Google looks at your website as a whole, and everything needs to be in sync to get the best results.

When you start working on SEO, the first thing you learn is to always test everything. That's why you should not rush into making any changes without understanding the consequences.

How does changing WordPress themes affect your SEO rankings and traffic?

Some time ago, there was a discussion about whether Wix is a better solution than WordPress. WordPress won that battle, and one of the reasons was the versatility in the use of themes. With that in mind, let's understand how themes affect your SEO ranking. Here are a few things to have in mind:

• themes affect site loading speed;
• the overall design and user experience depend on the theme you pick;
• WordPress themes may change website's metadata;
• by changing the theme, the structure of your website also changes;
• be mindful of the Search functionality when changing a theme;
• different themes have different text formatting;

Let's talk a bit more about these critical changes.

The loading speed of your website

All WordPress themes run with the help of scripts and assets. The quality and the amount of the two are directly connected to the loading speed. Knowing that, when you change your theme, only two things can happen: your website will either speed up or slow down.

As soon as you change the theme, do a quick speed test to ensure your loading speed is good.

The importance of design and user experience

As a user visiting a website, you probably have your favorites. Let's look at YouTube, for example. It looks fantastic, and it is pretty easy to use. Imagine if YouTube radically changed overnight, introducing a more complex user experience.

Even though your website is probably not as popular as YouTube, you still need to be careful about the changes you make. If possible, do some testing with a placeholder URL and ask your clients if they like the new theme and if there are any things from the user experience side they would like to see.

WordPress uses metadata

One of the things people do not understand about WordPress SEO is that it heavily relies on metadata. While metadata does not directly affect your SEO and traffic, it is essential in the big picture. Because every WordPress theme is different, the new theme might accidentally overwrite the old metadata or remove it. Do a thorough check of the theme you are using to understand if it requires additional changes after the update.

Be mindful of the website structure

Every website has a data structure in the background. It is called a scheme. You can look at it as a blueprint of your website. This scheme connects all of the pages and ensures that the flow of information works as intended. Once you change the theme, this structure will most certainly change. For example, if you are running a blog, you might split your pages into different categories. If the new theme does not support that structure, all of your articles will mix.

Search functionality might also change

The Search function works differently on all websites. Some websites have a precise search option. Load your theme to a placeholder URL, upload some content, and test the Search function to see if it works as intended. This is a necessary test. You don't want to load a theme that will make it harder for your visitors to find what they want.

Experiment with text formatting

Another thing to have in mind is how text formatting changes. If you spent some time fine-tuning text formatting and getting the size, font, and color just right, this all may mess up. If you are running a website that relies on text, like a blog, this may create many problems. The good thing is that themes made for blogs usually have good text formatting. Nevertheless, it is crucial to test it first.

How not to make a mistake when changing a theme

The best thing you can do for your WordPress website is to get a custom theme built specifically for it. A unique theme is not that hard to make, and it allows a lot more flexibility. Besides getting exactly what your website needs, a custom-made theme also has different layouts. That way, you can even make layout changes from time to time without losing your SEO rating or traffic.

Know what your website needs before you change the theme

We have established that changing WordPress themes affects your SEO rankings and traffic. As a key takeaway, understand why you are making this change. You should only do this to add more functionality to your website and give it a better look. Before starting this project, be sure to speak with a professional about whether the new theme meets your website's requirements.

Meta description: Today, we talk about how changing WordPress themes affects your SEO rankings and traffic. Understand how themes work and avoid making mistakes.

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