Most WordPress themes suck. Here’s how to pick an SEO Friendly theme for your ecommerce website.

seo friendly wordpress themes
picking a theme for your ecommerce website

Many parts need to come together to make an ecommerce website get found by your customers. One of the biggest problems we see with ecommerce websites may shock you.

Quite often we find that the WordPress theme used to make your ecommerce store look nice is holding your business back.  

WordPress/Woocommerce themes can be found online for free or you can purchase them for less than $100. These themes look great and often they sell millions of times to other ecommerce store owners.

One of the main problems with using a theme is that they can suck for SEO. Even the best selling themes can be terrible for SEO. So here are some of the things you should look out for when picking a theme for your Woocommerce website.

When purchasing a theme check out its page speed first.

When you are ready to purchase a theme for your website check out its page speed with Google’s page speed insights.

increasing your page speed insights score

As you can see from our site above, no website is perfect and ours could certainly be improved upon. With that said, ours is a lot better than the most common Woocommerce themes on the market.

page speed insights low score

With all of the above said, page speed isn’t the worst problem that we come across when we audit potential clients websites. But if you do use a theme and haven’t had your website custom coded you are going to be at a disadvantage.

Ecommerce pre-built themes are full of bloat

bloated page

Ecommerce pre-built themes are made so the author can make the most amount of money out of their templates. To achieve this a theme often has code under the surface that you will never need.

Bloated code makes the file sizes of your HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript much larger than they need to be and as a result, your website is slower than it should be.

If you are going to use a theme for your ecommerce store then you should look for one that has been designed for a single purpose. It may not look as pretty as some of the best selling themes and you may be limited in flexibility but at least you won’t have 10 lines of code to set the title of a page.

Prebuilt ecommerce themes often rely on the developer’s plugins too which can once again bloat your code and slow down your website

If custom building your website isn’t within your companies budget, our advice would be to hire a developer to look over a few themes of your choice to see if any of them are SEO friendly.

Most ecommerce themes have terrible on-page SEO.

On-page SEO is the practice of optimising your page so that the search engines know exactly what that page is about. For your ecommerce website, this could be a product or category page.

Let’s roll with a category page in this example. If you had an ecommerce website that sold “luxury leather bags”, that page on your website should be optimised for the keywords related to those terms that you think you can rank for.

Google and the other search engines determine what a page is about by not only the content on that page but how the data is structured within that page.

In the above example, we would use an H1 tag with the keywords “Luxury Leather bags” and then use variations such as “Women’s luxury brown leather bags” or “Luxury tote bags” in the H2 and H3 tags on the page.

Here’s where tonnes of themes mess up.

We have seen developers create themes that the H1 title on the page is linked to the logo. So for every page of the website Google and the other search engines are seeing the same H1 title on every page. This is not good!

In other themes, we have seen the opposite where every title is an H1 and so on. This is equally as bad as it doesn’t tell the search engines what your page is about.  

Ignore the top 10 lists for ecommerce theme recommendations

Before writing this article, we researched what other websites were recommending for themes to use for ecommerce websites and we saw the same themes being recommended on each page.

We then realised that the themes being recommended were part of affiliate programs meaning that if you purchased any of the themes recommended then the website author would get a commission.

With that in mind, we knew that these theme recommendations weren’t based on which themes were better for SEO but which ones paid out the best commissions.

We would recommend that you ignore these lists and do your research. 

How to pick an SEO friendly theme for your ecommerce website

ecommerce product page seo

Now we know some of the problems you get with pre-built website themes here is a quick checklist so you know what you need to look out for when picking a theme for your ecommerce website.

  • Your theme should be fast. You can check the page speed of a theme on the Google page speed insights website. You can also use websites such as pingdom.com to measure the speed it takes your website to load.
  • Your website should have the right tags on page. If you aren’t technical hire a developer with SEO experience to help you. You can use a website such as Upwork.com to find a developer.
  • The theme shouldn’t rely on complex plugins to work. When buying a theme the theme developer will list what plugins are needed for the theme to work. The fewer plugins the better.
  • Your theme shouldn’t contain bloated code. Once again hire a developer to look through the code to see if there is any bloat in there. If there is move on to a new theme.

Why getting the right theme is important for your ecommerce website.

In the world of ecommerce, you could be competing with local stores down the road or household brands such as Amazon, Disney and so on. Your industry is going to be competitive so any advantage you can get is going to help you.  

When we provide ecommerce SEO services to our clients one of the first things we check is to see if the client’s website has any problems that could stop them from ranking. By selecting a theme that is SEO friendly it gives you a good foundation for your marketing strategy going forward.

If you would like to see what our SEO agency can do for your business please get in touch and we can provide you with a free video audit showing some of the things that can be done to improve your ecommerce stores online traffic and sales.

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