Many people are unaware that changing WordPress theme affects the SEO of a website. The amazing SEO capabilities of the open source platform encourage many people to convert PSD to WordPress or shift from other formats. The CMS has made it infinitely easy for people even if they have limited technical knowledge, to build an interface. There are numerous pre-built themes that can be used to create a website quickly. Many users like to switch templates at regular intervals to change the look of their interface. However, this activity can have a significant impact on the search engine optimization of the website. Changing themes can affect an interface’s search results ranking due to the following reasons:
Users will lose access to the custom settings of the old template when they shift to a new one. It is not necessary that the current theme will have the same features as the old one. All the layouts are programmed differently which causes changes in their appearance and functionality. Even the manner in which the interface will load will be altered. For instance, in one template you will find the body loading before any other element. On the other hand, in another theme, the reverse might be happening. This can affect the experience of the website visitors which will reflect in the traffic.
The new layout might have a completely different order of HTML as compared to the previous one. Search engines read the code in a linear manner which can be entirely different from the way it is presented. The order in which content is to be displayed can be dictated by content boxes and tables. Let’s say a user moves from a layout with a right sidebar to one with a left sidebar. Now the search engine spiders will read the sidebar content before moving on to the main text material. This will definitely have an effect on the website’s search rankings. Make sure always that the HTML renders the main matter before any other location.
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The transition can cause the permalinks of the website to change. These are permanent URLs to all posts and pages of an interface. WordPress allows people to choose from a variety of structures. Once users save the settings, the URLs are fashioned accordingly. This helps in getting descriptive links which can be understood easily visitors as well as search engines. Other websites will use these URLs to link back to a particular interface. These links can get changed when the website is moved to another layout. It will result in visitors getting directed to wrong pages or encountering the “page not found” error. This can cause search engines to remove such pages from the relevant search results. Website owners must ensure that permalinks are the same or else set up proper redirects. This is a vital point which proves that changing WordPress theme affects SEO.
Themes can impact the manner in which pages load as well as the speed at which they render in browsers. A poorly-structured layout will cause the website to take longer while loading. It will also render a page in an unsuitable manner. A common deficiency in low-quality templates is that the content in the upper half is not loaded first. This forces people to think that either the interface is slow or the page is broken. Visitors abandon websites that take longer too render in favor of faster alternatives. It can lead to the interface being tagged as one with poor user experience. Search engines also keep a close watch on the loading speed as they use it for finalizing search positions. Always try to choose a template with a similar loading speed as the present theme. This will prevent any loss of traffic and maintain the user experience of the website.
A new layout will have a different navigation structure. For instance, the old template had the provision for inserting important navigational links in the footer. The new one does not have this feature forcing those links to be absent from the home page. This can severely impact the user experience of the interface. People can get confused and leave the website forcing the abandonment rate to rise. Visitors must be able to reach any location on a website in as few clicks as possible. A template that does not help in this aspect must never be used. Some people try to go for unconventional designs in order to create a distinct look for their interface. This can cause confusion among the target audience. There has to be a balance between visual appeal and user-friendliness in the design. A failure to achieve this harmony will cause the website to show a below-par performance and poor search ranks.
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It will now be clear to readers that changing WordPress theme affects SEO. Website owners must be careful while switching templates and select a design which provides a similar user experience as the existing layout.
Jacob Graves is a Sr. WordPress Developer at HireWPGeeks Ltd, a company that provides you WordPress programmers for hiring in a convenient manner. He is a passionate writer and loves to share WordPress and SEO related tutorials.
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