SEO Effects of Changing a WordPress Theme

Changing a WordPress theme is a common and usual thing. If you use a free WordPress theme, then changing your theme is something you will most likely do quite often.

Also read:

Best Comment Plugin for WordPress Websites

6 steps to clean and harden your Wordpress website Security with the Free Sucuri plugin

27 Free WordPress SEO Plugins that Will Improve Your Website Search Engine Rank

How A Plugin Installation Can Crash Your Wordpress Website

Website managers are concerned about the effects of changing and will often ask two questions:

The answer will be dependent on the situation. But we will attempt an answer from a more general perspective with regards to WordPress, SEO, and traffic.

Before we proceed, you need to understand some fundamental underpinnings:

Many WordPress themes come with built-in SEO options, and if you are using the theme's SEO feature, chances are high that your blog's SEO will be affected.
If you are using an SEO WordPress plugin to handle your blog's SEO, you are more likely to retain your overall SEO, but only if your new WordPress theme is SEO optimized.

ou will also want to read:

WordPress Plugins You Can't Do Without

WordPress Performance: How to Find a Slow Plugin

WordPress Maintenance Tasks You Need to Perform Regularly

Useful Tips and Tricks for WordPress Search Engine Optimization

Best Google Analytic Plugin for WordPress

A Guide on How to Reduce the Downtime on a WordPress Website

9 Common Problems of a WordPress Websit

How do You Manage Your SEO - Using The WordPress Theme or SEO Plugin?

Some WordPress themes can effectively handle your search engine optimization requirements.

The benefit of this is that you are not running an additional plugin which reduces your security risks. However, if are in the habit of changing their WordPress themes very often, it will be a good idea to let a WordPress plugin handle your blog’s SEO.

Using the default WordPress SEO functionality is good, however, using a plugin is better. You will better appreciate the power of an SEO plugin only after you use one and experience how it enhances your site's visibility in search engines.

The Free WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin is highly recommended for this purpose. This plugin is one of the best free plugins for WordPress you will find. It will let you handle your complete blog's on-site and on-page SEO. Shifting your SEO settings from your theme to this plugin is not a technically difficult thing to do and requires only to follow the steps and save the new settings.

Also read:

Recommended Tips to Keep in Mind When Using WordPress Plugins

Recommended Caching Plugins for Your WordPress Website

How to Get Best Speed Performance with WordPress

How to Fix The WordPress White Screen of Death

How to Find and Clean Backdoors in a Hacked WordPress Site

Before You Install a WordPress Plugin, Ask These Questions

7 Steps to Reduce the Disc Space Used by Your WordPress Website

However, changing a WordPress theme could create some issues and we will have to look at them in some slight detail.

Heading tag changes: This change can affect the header tags such as H2 tags for post titles, or the hyperlinking of page titles.

This will have some effect on your overall search engine ranking. You must have heard that Genesis & Thesis are two of the top SEO optimized WordPress themes. This is because their codes are clean, they use proper heading tags, and they take care of all small requirements for an SEO optimized theme.

When you are making a shift from a good theme to another good theme, you have less to worry about. But, when you make the shift to a brand new WordPress theme, chances are high that they are not as SEO optimized as the previous one. It could affect your rankings.

Changing themes will lead to loss of theme custom settings. When you make a theme change, it certainly affect your old custom settings.

When you change your old WordPress theme for a new one, you might end up losing theme-specific features. Either your new theme should offer such features, or you need to hire a WordPress developer to do the customizations for you. Moreover, all the themes are coded in certain ways and you will loose the theme specifics and customizations of your old theme

More specifically:

  • Some themes will load the content part first and then the sidebar.
  • Some themes load everything at once (which increases loading time).

Today, we know that the loading time of you're a website impacts search engine ranking, you can clearly determine if your ranking will be better or worse based on how much faster or slower your blog is loading.

Change WordPress Theme Without Losing Search Engine Ranking

This is achievable when the site SEO is managed with the use of a plugin. Please note that if you are changing your theme framework (Thesis to Genesis or anywhere else), you should first take a complete backup of your blog database and theme.

This is important so that if anything goes wrong, you can roll back to the point when your site worked well without issues.
Remember to migrate all SEO data to a plugin. WordPress SEO by Yoast, offers this feature internally, and you can quickly import all SEO data to the Yoast plugin. After this step, you can change your theme to any other theme without any effect on SEO.

Chosing Your SEO Friendly Theme

There are amazingly beautiful WordPress Premium themes out there. While they may look great and aesthetically pleasant in design, many of them lack basic SEO features. Pick a theme which is SEO friendly and has codes that are bug free.

Once you have shifted your WordPress theme, you can use tools like SEMRUSH or SEO spider to crawl your blog and see if there are any errors these crawlers can detect. If yes, then proceed tp make the necessary changes to your new theme or change your theme again and choose a more SEO friendly theme.

It\s a fact that when you change your theme, the crawling of your site might be affected. So a little change in ranking and traffic is usually obvious in most cases, though you can always fix any SEO issues with a proper site SEO audit. You will notice a slight drop in ranking withing the first three days, that should not make you panic. But after that, you will begin to experience a gain in ranking if you have configured your SEO settings better than the way they were before.

It is better that you to stick to one theme for a long time, as changing your theme regularly will affect the overall branding of your site. Moreover, most of the time you will not be able to immediately spot SEO changes which happened due to the theme change, so it may take some time to see any difference.

Also, when you are shopping for a new theme for your blog, make sure your new theme is validated by the W3C markup service.

Also read:

How Not to Hurt Your Visitors When Using the WordPress Maintenance Mode

Common Problems with WordPress Websites and How to Fix Them

Best Slider Plugins for WordPress Websites

Best Rated Anti-Spam Plugins for WordPress Websites

Best Plugins for Faster Loading WordPress Websites

Other Considerations

Ensure that your chosen theme is compatible with the most recent version of WordPress.

Check the mobile friendliness to be sure you will not have to adjust the screen of mobile devices to be able to view parts of your website.

Test the CSS to ensure there are no errors that will affect your ranking. This is usually a function of those who coded the theme.

Remember, there lots of plugins that can help the performance of your WordPress website but do not forget to check the plugin reviews before you choose them. It will help protect you from security breaches to check up reviews before you decide on any plugin.

Let us hear from you, other considerations that are good when changing your WordPress theme.

Comments (1)

  • NatalieMia

    Advanced yoast features aren’t worth the price. INK for ALL gives me tons more SEO help for free

    December 05, 2019 at 09:55 AM

Leave a comment

Powered by Simple Blog