SEO (search engine optimization) is a crucial factor in the prosperity of any website. With the first page of search engine results accounting for 67.7% of all clicks, you’ll want to rank as high as possible on popular search engines to attract new traffic.
But unfortunately, as many as 91% of web pages don’t benefit from organic Google traffic because they don’t fulfill some of the engine’s SEO criteria. To achieve SEO success, your WordPress site has to comply with Google’s algorithm. Luckily, by using WordPress.com, you’ve already covered many of your bases when it comes to SEO.
However, certain WordPress themes are better for SEO than others. So, in this article, we’re exploring some of the best WordPress themes for SEO. By the end of this review, you should be better positioned to lay the best possible foundations for your website.
What to Look for in an SEO-Optimized WordPress Theme
What should you expect from SEO-friendly WordPress themes? How do these templates help you rank higher? In response to these questions, here are a few things to look out for when analyzing a potential WordPress theme for SEO optimization:
Fast Loading Times
Google prioritizes user experience over everything, and they appreciate that web visitors hate waiting for sites to load. In fact, 40% of people abandon websites that take longer than three seconds to load. This is why performance is one of the “web vitals” Google places lots of importance on. Consequently, search engines often bump down slow-loading websites to avoid user frustration.
Luckily, WordPress.com websites all benefit from powerful CDNs (content delivery networks) for faster page speeds. On top of that, it’s worth picking a template boasting lightweight, clean code because this goes a long way to speeding up your page load time.
Search engines understand the importance of mobile devices for browsing the web. As of 2020, 50.88% of all traffic comes from mobile. In response to mobile’s increasing prestige, Google’s SEO algorithm now prioritizes mobile-friendly websites. By this, we mean all content needs to be responsive and load quickly on mobile. Fortunately, all WordPress.com themes are optimized for mobile. However, if you select a theme from a 3rd-party marketplace, it might be wise to double-check that the developer has made this a priority.
A Good User Experience (UX)
The user experience is influenced by many factors, like readability, easy navigation, site layout, font sizes, and more. All WordPress.com themes are user-friendly straight out of the box.
Once again, you can rest easy – WordPress.com comes with a free SSL certificate. Not having this flags your site as not-secure, which Google doesn’t appreciate, so it’s good to know that WordPress.com has you covered here! Even more important, WordPress.com themes have been checked to ensure their code is secure.
Compatibility with Leading SEO Plugins
Make sure your chosen theme can integrate with leading SEO plugins, like Yoast SEO. Often, these provide actionable insights on improving your SEO and keyword research.
A Crawlable Site
Although not specifically something to look out for in a potential template, it’s worth noting that Google assesses sites for ‘crawlability.’ Luckily, all WordPress.com sites auto-generate XML sitemaps that search engines can quickly check. Doing this manually is very complicated, but if you’re using WordPress, you don’t have to worry about this at
Best SEO WordPress themes
Now that we’ve covered the basics. Let’s take a look at our favorite WordPress themes for SEO:
Olsen is a popular WordPress theme for bloggers and digital marketing. It presents a clean layout and unobtrusive color palette that enables your content to shine. Its minimalism works nicely for fashion blogging and photographers who want their images to pop. It’s also a lightweight theme boasting fast loading speeds, and its straightforward layout promotes readability and a good user experience.
Other notable functionality includes:
- A featured content slider
- Featured images on the homepage
- Custom styling for the Instagram widget in the footer area
2. Dyad 2
Dyad 2 is, as you might guess, the new and improved version of the Dyad theme. It features text and images in equal balance, allowing you to dynamically size images and text fields depending on the user’s screen size.
Dyad 2 is a flexible, multi-purpose theme suited to restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops that want to showcase their colorful menu items. It also works well for food bloggers, small businesses, and startups where vibrant photos are essential.
This theme’s content blocks’ responsiveness makes for an excellent user experience no matter the device type.
As well as everything already mentioned, its core features include:
- A featured post slider on the homepage
- Static front page header images, which load faster.
- A social links menu including icons for a vast range of social media platforms for easy interlinking
- A dynamic widget area in your website’s footer that can display up to four columns
- HTML elements
- Parent pages
Libretto is a classic one-column theme, and therefore very responsive. It comes with graceful typographic details, making it perfect for showing off long-form writing interspersed with quotes and images.
Review sites, news, and creative writing blogs will find this theme matches their needs nicely. In terms of features, Libretto comes with:
- Your own site logo
- Style choices for drop-cap paragraphs and pull quotes
- A widget area in the footer, with an adaptable layout for any quantity of columns
- A customizable header and featured image
- A social links menu
Aquene is a super lightweight and stylish theme ideal for online magazines, personal blogs, and newspapers. It comes with a modern and easily customizable layout.
Aquene comes with:
- A flexible blog layout that you can change in seconds! You can tweak the sidebar’s location, and blog posts automatically adjust according to widgets in the same columns.
- Featured content: You can display two primary posts alongside the title and three secondary posts as round thumbnails.
- There are six free featured color palettes to choose from
- A sticky header for easy website navigation
- A responsive layout
As its name suggests, Textbook is a theme designed for schools, colleges, and nonprofits. You can organize information in a readable and stylish way to look good on any device.
Textbook’s core features include:
- A custom menu in the header that can be fully configured with menu item descriptions
- A social links menu
- Widget areas in the sidebar and footer
- A custom site logo
- A featured content section
- Date formatting, set by default when you activate the theme.
- Six built-in color themes to choose from
Aperitive is a sleek, beautiful theme for restaurants and food blogs. It’s elegant and classy, perfect for that fine-dining look. A simple two-column layout is combined with elegant typography to make a knock-out first impression.
- A two-column layout
- Food menus – excellent for listing menu items and showcasing ingredients and other details
- A slide-out widget area
- Tasteful blog layouts with clean designs
- Beautiful two-column blog post designs with a featured image next to the article
- You can create a portfolio complete with a grid template, making it a fabulous choice for freelancers
- Responsive design
Gema is excellent for galleries, fashion, travel blogs, and online newspapers and magazines. Gema displays your content in a modern grid, displaying either a featured image with a title or an excerpt from the post text.
The layouts are bold and adaptable and come with daring designs with a fresh new take on composition.
Some of Gema’s most noteworthy features include:
- Its mobile-readiness: it’s fully responsive on all devices
- Social icons for easy social sharing
- Easy customization options – especially custom colors and free palettes
Luxury was created to showcase elegant high-end products. It’s perfect for the fashion and wedding industry but also fantastic for travel blogs. Presentation is a priority with this theme, focusing on typography and content layout so that your website looks great on any screen.
Luxury’s core features include:
- A centered menu and logo for an elegant style
- Portfolio templates with a choice of 1, 2, 3, or 4 column layouts
- Custom post types are included
- There are multiple page templates
- A footer widget area
Maywood is a clean, modern, and elegant theme ideal for fine dining establishments and coffee shops. You can display food and drink options and pricing beautifully. The layout features full-width imagery that lets your food photography shine. The template also comes with clear step-by-step instructions to make setup easier. Of course, it’s also fully responsive, so visitors can make full use of your website no matter their preferred device.
Twenty Twenty-One is a blank canvas so you can imprint your ideas as you see fit. It comes with new block patterns that allow you to create beautiful layouts in seconds. Soft colors and a timeless design ensure your content does the talking.
This template’s core features include:
- Several stunning block patterns. You can customize these with copy, images, and colors to reflect your brand.
- Custom background colors with soft pastel palettes that conform to AAA contrast standards for better useability. The theme automatically chooses accessible colors for you.
- It supports dark mode, which you can toggle on and off to quickly test what style suits you.