The look of your site matters, not just for the people who see it, but to search engines too. Let’s look at 5, FREE WordPress themes that are great for SEO.
The reason I picked these 5 is because I’ve personally made websites with each of these and gotten sales out of (Organic rankings too of course!). I have a list of 5 sites I monitor and explain in this post and they all either use one of the above themes or have used it.
But admittedly, the truth is that these choices, aren’t all that special and I could literally point to countless other options you can choose from. In fact, if you have your own options that aren’t on this list, tell me which ones you like below!
But while, there’s nothing really special about these templates I gave you, I am suggesting you use them if you can’t afford paid ones.
- 1 There’s 3 components of a good WordPress template when it comes to SEO:
- 2 1) It has to absolutely be mobile friendly.
- 3 2) The simplicity of a WP theme matters.
- 4 3) The rest is up to the site owner, not the theme.
- 5 Back to the 5 themes and one last important point…
- 6 What happens if I switch/change my theme? Will it affect my SEO rankings?
There’s 3 components of a good WordPress template when it comes to SEO:
And these options have most of these components:
1) It has to absolutely be mobile friendly.
Considering more than HALF of all online searches in Google are now made through a smart phone or tablet, you need to make sure your site is optimized to show up perfectly on these devices. ALL 5 of these templates are mobile friendly.
In fact, if your site is not optimized for this, it can potentially rank well on laptops and computers, but not have the same ranking privileges on smartphones. That means you can potentially be missing out on getting two times as much traffic to your site. Mobile friendly themes ARE a ranking factor.
If you’re not using one of the options above, check to see if your site is mobile friendly here.
Believe me, if it’s not, it will show up in an ugly form to mobile users and that affects their experience on your site, which affects the SEO results too.
Don’t make this simple mistake.
2) The simplicity of a WP theme matters.
I did say the look of a website is important, but that statement may be misconstrued incorrectly. The truth is, a good looking site is a subjective thing…
- Some may consider that to mean a site has to look flashy and professional.
- Some may think completely differently.
But since we are relating this subject to organic rankings, the truth is, the more simple looking a website is with it’s template, the better it is for rankings and here’s why:
Great looking, professional websites that have a ton of images, flash programs playing and all of that stuff typically:
Take longer to load…
This is bad for rankings because a longer loading website means users get frustrated for it to show up and it may cause them to leave. And even if they do land on one of your pages, going to another means having to reload the site all over again.
The SPEED of the loading matters A LOT and you can actually test the loading speeds of your site here. Simple themes like the ones above load fast and get people to their desired content faster.
If you want more professional looking sites to load faster, you need to get yourself some outstanding hosting (free hosting won’t cut it and it may actually make it worse) and that will cost you a lot of money, which if you don’t have, stick to the simple ones I listed.
Like I said, their simplicity makes them load quickly and that impacts rankings positively, 100%.
Simple themes are easier to navigate on…
I will almost ALWAYS take a simple looking website over a flashy looking one and having made $100,000’s of truly simple looking sites which use the above templates and even plain HTML sites, I am telling you folks this:
Simplicity is a major factor for SEO.
One of the most important things on the site itself is content and getting people to read that content, without interruptions, without flashy pictures and other annoying things (which already affect SEO negatively).
The better you can get people to view and read your content, the better it is for rankings. Keeping people on your site is one of the major contributing factors to positive rankings and the simpler looking a website is, the more it’s owner can create content that is readable without interruptions.
For example, even though I am personally using a paid theme (not being hypocritical here, I still have sites with the above themes, I just like this one personally), it’s SIMPLE and it doesn’t load slowly.
3) The rest is up to the site owner, not the theme.
Once the template you chose for your WordPress site is selected, is mobile friendly and loads quickly, the next truly important thing, and what will take up most of your time is optimizing the site itself so that it ranks better.
Now with this part, people make the mistake of looking for special tools and programs that optimize their site for SEO and neglect that it’s actually the content they create which matters.
For example, I use very simple SEO tools on my site (and there are a few decent ones, which I’ll create a list on soon), but they are just one of the MANY pillars to making my site rank high and just focusing on that 1 pillar gives me absolutely no boost in rankings.
If you seek to make the third option work best for you, read this blog post on 3 trends you have to focus on to get high rankings and most of them really focus on the ability to make great content.
Now that content that you create can itself be optimized for better rankings using these 10 tips, which I implement in every single blog post I create, across every website I own.
Back to the 5 themes and one last important point…
What they will do for you is as I said earlier, that they’ll pretty much handle 2 out of the 3 necessary SEO components I listed. You can certainly elect to choose another template option (like I said, there’s MANY), but just make sure the option you select, whether free or paid has the 2 of the 3 factors (simple and loads quickly) handled.
Now if you are just starting with a website and would like to handle this stuff quickly, I suggest creating your WP site through this program, which will give you access to these themes AND will also have fast hosting alongside it which will help it load quickly.
Also, the following program includes training on SEO alongside these sites you get.
Now I won’t lie to you, there’s always the directly, WordPress.com approach where you can make a free blog, but it doesn’t include the training and great hosting the other option does.
The other is also free to try.
What happens if I switch/change my theme? Will it affect my SEO rankings?
It’s normal to want to test and switch the look of your site. If you have rankings on Google for good keywords and switch to another template, your rankings will very quickly go through a re-index and within a days or even days time go back to where they were.
Typically these switches should occur if the template you want to switch FROM has limitations and/or you want to do certain things on your site that your existing template doesn’t allow.
But for SEO like I said, it’s OK and you will get your rankings back quickly, so make the switch with confidence if you’re considering it.