Does Changing WordPress Theme Affect SEO & Traffic?

By Faruque Ahamed Mollick

Lots of bloggers are eager to know that if changing the current WordPress theme affect the SEO and the blog traffic or not. If a blogger just started a new blog with WordPress then most probably he/she can move later to a new theme. But many time it can be found that the blogger is afraid of that changing theme may hurt the SEO of the blog and it may be the reason of losing traffic.

Here I have got this from blogger on ThemeForest forum –

“I have a WP website and my alexa rank is around 300k now and getting a good ranking in the search engines and I wanna change the theme but I am afraid that it will cause any problems with the indexing or ranking or messing up the content of my website or any other problems like I won’t be able to go back again to the old theme”

Surely, he is afraid a lot about changing the theme of his blog. You can realize how serious is he. Well, if someone comes to me with the question if changing the theme will affect or harm his blog then it is obviously very natural and valid question.

I have seen lots of bloggers also want to know that. So in this post, I am going to give you the answer and try to solve it with all the angels. As SEO directly related to the search traffic, so it also the overall traffic of a blog or website.

Here you should know about two things.

First, if your WordPress theme has the built in SEO options and you are using it, then most likely changing the theme may harm or affect on SEO of your blog.

Second, if you are using an SEO plugin to handle the SEO of your website or blog then changing theme will more likely have no effect or very little effect on your SEO.

So does changing WordPress theme affect your blog SEO?

At first, I want to tell you that there are some WordPress themes available like Genesis and Thesis which has in built SEO in the theme itself. There are also some SEO plugins available like Yoast SEO WordPress plugin and All in One SEO Pack WordPress Plugin.

Suppose your theme is configured properly with all the required SEO configuration like meta description, title, canonical link etc. In this case, if you change your theme with another theme which is not configured with SEO, then it will be harmful to your blog. For this reason, I always suggest you not to use a theme with SEO configured.

I always encourage bloggers to use an SEO plugin instead of using an SEO configured WordPress theme. I suggest you use one of the most popular free Yoast SEO plugin. Using an SEO plugin, you will not lose the main SEO configuration of your site.

But one thing you should take care for. Sometimes it can be found that after changing your old theme, the new theme does not have proper heading tag like <h1>, <h2>, <h3> etc or it may be different than your old theme. For example, if the post title in your old theme is inside <h1> tag, the new theme may contain the title inside <h2> tag. Even though you use a plugin for SEO on your WordPress site, the new theme may have the different order of using heading tags.

So before you change your theme it is better to check if the new theme has optimized for SEO properly. Also, you can hire a professional WordPress theme developer who will develop your new WordPress theme for you. Although changing theme almost has no effect or very little effect on SEO, you should choose a properly optimized WordPress theme for your blog.


I hope you have learned something new from this blog as a blogger you see this article helpful.