Changing the theme of a website can indeed have an impact on its overall ranking. This impact is a result of various factors associated with the new theme, including its technical structure, speed, and the user experience it provides. In this article, we’ll explore the different aspects of how changing a website’s theme can affect its search engine ranking.
Why the theme change affects Rankings?
2. HTML – Text – Ratio: The HTML – Text – Ratio is a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. It measures the ratio of text to HTML code on a webpage. Themes often vary in terms of this ratio. Some themes may include more extraneous code or elements, which can reduce the text-to-HTML ratio. Themes that maintain a higher ratio of meaningful text content can have an advantage in terms of SEO.
3. W3C Validation: Valid HTML is important for search engine ranking. Themes with numerous HTML errors may have a negative impact on SEO. It’s essential to ensure that the new theme’s HTML files are W3C validated to maintain or improve rankings.
4. Structured Data: Themes like Genesis or GeneratePress may include structured data, which can enhance a website’s search engine ranking. Structured data provides search engines with additional context about your content. If the new theme doesn’t include structured data, it may result in a loss of this ranking advantage.
5. Site Speed: The speed of a website is a critical ranking factor. Different themes may have varying speeds based on their functions and plugin dependencies. Themes optimized for speed and performance can positively influence rankings, while slower themes can have a detrimental effect.
6. Above-Fold Space and User Experience: The space and structure of the first fold of a website are crucial for user experience and can indirectly impact SEO. Themes that occupy too much space in the first fold may frustrate users and negatively affect bounce rates, which can, in turn, affect rankings.
7. Lazy Loading and Core Web Vitals: Themes and plugins may implement lazy loading of images. However, the way lazy loading is implemented can influence rankings. If blank images are loaded first, causing layout shifts (CLS) due to size differences with the main images, it can lead to a poor user experience. Google’s Core Web Vitals now consider CLS as an important metric, and poor performance in this area can affect rankings.
In summary, when changing a website’s theme, you should be aware of the potential SEO implications. While a theme change can have both positive and negative effects, two critical points to remember are:
1. Permalink Structure: The permalink structure of your website’s pages should not be altered during the theme change. Changing permalinks can lead to broken links and negatively impact SEO.
2. Monitoring and Testing: It’s crucial to monitor your website’s performance and rankings before and after the theme change. This allows you to identify any issues and make necessary adjustments to mitigate potential ranking drops.
Ultimately, the impact of changing a theme on your website’s ranking will depend on various factors, including the specific themes involved and how well the new theme is optimized for SEO. Careful planning, thorough testing, and adherence to best practices are key to ensuring that your website maintains or improves its ranking after a theme change.