Does changing your WordPress theme have an affect on your SEO?

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Hi Guys,

I'm currently looking to increase my conversion rate with a huge overhaul of my affiliate site.

Before I do this, I just wanted to know the impact of doing so.

Things that are remaning the same will be:

- URL Structure
- Content

I'm looking to use Divi, as I like the ability of being able to use the page builder inside posts.

Let me your guys thoughts!
 
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Yes, changing the HTML, the CSS, the JS, and everything else can have an effect on your rankings. Google will have to take the time to re-render your pages, re-read your pages, understand the new HTML structure, and then comprehend the content itself. It should notice that the content hasn't changed, but I would still expect to see a shake-up that could last up to 3 months.
 
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of course it will have an effect for reasons already stated, but if you're migrating to a lighter weight theme, it's a positive afaic.
 
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Change Busolightning3.1 to Thrive Theme, Adsense RPM increase 30+
 
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Would recommend also paying attention to how mobile friendly the Wordpress theme is. Being SEO friendly on desktop isn't enough these days.
 
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Change Busolightning3.1 to Thrive Theme, Adsense RPM increase 30+
was considering Thrive Theme for a project, do you need to keep paying the continuous subscription to use it? or can i just pay for 1 month, cancel, and get it? how do you like it?
 
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@pluto
Thrive Theme free for me, actually, I never spent 1 cent on Wordpress themes and plugins
 

NicheMaker

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Absolutely it can have an impact. I have had sites jump from page 2 to top 3 just from a change in theme. Especially if the page speed vastly improves.
 
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Theme change can make a massive difference. And not always positive. New theme might change your link structure, it might change your keyword densities, it might keyword stuff or completely break your site design. Not to mention the user experience and thus conversion rate. Most viable approach would be to pick the best possible theme and stick with that one.

Once the site starts to make you money, any significant changes to theme or site may lead to a catastrophe, so if you really need to change something, do it in the first few weeks or months of the website. That doesn't only apply to the design of the website, but to SEO as well. For example massive 301 redirects etc.
 
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Absolutely, changing your theme can have a major impact on your rankings - in either direction. So many variables can be affected by the design your theme provides. If your current site has significant earnings, I would be extra thoughtful before changing the theme. If current earnings are not significant, I'd be more aggressive.
 
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I work with WP almost exclusively (we are the makers of The SEO Framework) and I have seen & experienced so many tragic stories concerning themes. Even when the webmaster did everything right — kept site structure, correct 301s, no 404, faster theme or even investing in a better new hosting. If you already rank, swapping themes a huge risk that I would not recommend undertaking. It shouldn't be this way, but it is.

However, if your website is in meh position, why not. Future of WP is themeless, it is going to be mostly Gutenberg blocks. The 2 prominent and free themes you can try and are updated a lot are "2020" from WP, and "Go" from GoDaddy.

I wouldn't call them "Adsense" ready, though.
 

mikey3times

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Yeah, this scares the crap out of me. I’m about to update a theme that I’ve been using since 2012. I need to update it because it is so outdated.

I’m keeping everything the same from a design and structure perspective, but I can’t help but worry about tanking the site with the updated code. I know so much more now than I did then so I see it as a long term upgrade. It is much faster, too.

The biggest thing I am doing is keeping a copy of everything so I can switch back if everything goes to hell. It will take me an hour (at most) to put it back.
 

Ryuzaki

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There may be some fluctuation, but you can minimize the damage by only doing one "thing" at a time:
  • Migration to new domain
  • Changing theme
  • Any URL path restructuring with 301's
If you're planning on doing all three of those, do them one at a time. It may take half a year but you'll confuse Google a lot less and reduce the amount of time it takes them to understand it's the same content.

As far as only changing themes, for the most part the only thing changing is the header, footer, and sidebar. Nearly everything about the main content will stay the same since you're using a CMS. Take Wordpress for example. The classic editor, Gutenberg, or something like Thrive or Elementor isn't going to change the HTML around your content. And as long as that's the same, you'll have minimal problems (hopefully).

Google understands the difference between boiler plate, templated content like navigational areas (header, footer) and supplemental areas (sidebars) compared to the main content area. Disrupt the main content area as little as possible to mitigate risk as much as possible.
 
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Thanks for sharing "Go". I have been looking for a "Gutenberg first theme" and will test this.

My process for testing new themes is to make a quick clone using Local by Flywheel. I can then run on-page tests on the new structure before committing to production.

I work with WP almost exclusively (we are the makers of The SEO Framework) and I have seen & experienced so many tragic stories concerning themes. Even when the webmaster did everything right — kept site structure, correct 301s, no 404, faster theme or even investing in a better new hosting. If you already rank, swapping themes a huge risk that I would not recommend undertaking. It shouldn't be this way, but it is.

However, if your website is in meh position, why not. Future of WP is themeless, it is going to be mostly Gutenberg blocks. The 2 prominent and free themes you can try and are updated a lot are "2020" from WP, and "Go" from GoDaddy.

I wouldn't call them "Adsense" ready, though.
 

BCN

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Yes it definitely has a huge impact, as it changes:
- Content
- Page Speed
- Interlinking

Some themes are also not marked up 'correct', i.e. h tags are used in menus and other 'out of content' places, where a span would be better (it's just styling, not related to the document markup necessarily).