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Optimize Me: 7 SEO WordPress Themes to Up Your Game

Whether you love it or hate it, SEO is necessary.

You need it to compete in today’s digital marketplace and stand out from the crowd.

It’s the best way to shine a spotlight on your website.

And it’s what drives your success online, from those first clicks to your website right through to those ultra-coveted conversions.

So, with SEO at the forefront of online marketing and WordPress still—by a long shot—the most popular and fastest-growing CMS in the world, it’s only natural that the two should work together in some way.

And lucky for you, they do—in the form of SEO-friendly WordPress themes!

This type of theme is designed to give you all the features and easy functionality that you love about WordPress while keeping SEO as the top-of-mind priority.

The following SEO-friendly themes come highly recommended, as they make it possible to not only play a great hand in the SEO game, but to actually take your online visibility to the next level.

When combined with a smart content strategy, you’ll start seeing improved rankings, more website traffic, and ultimately, a loyal and valuable following.

But first…

What Makes a WordPress Theme SEO-friendly?

Hundreds of thousands of WordPress themes will boast that they’re SEO-friendly, but it’s important to remember that just slapping that phrase on a theme title doesn’t necessarily make it so.

For a website to be properly optimized for search engines, it also needs to be optimized for users. Modern SEO is all about the user experience, and if your site is clunky, slow and difficult to navigate, then Google is going to realize that you’re not creating a good user experience and will penalize you by pushing you farther down in the search results.

What you need is a site that’s built and designed just as much (if not more) for humans as it is for search engines. Here’s what to look for:

  • Mobile responsive. Back in 2008, it was predicted that the number of people using mobile devices to browse the web would overtake the number of PC users within the next six years—by 2014.

It may have taken a little longer than expected, but in 2016, mobile and tablet internet use officially exceeded desktop use all around the world. What this means is if your website isn’t mobile responsive—that is, built for the optimal user experience on every device—then you’re going to quickly fall behind.

In fact, in Google’s massive push for mobile search, it now favors sites that are mobile responsive over those that aren’t.

  • Fast loading. Page load time plays a huge part in the overall user experience. The longer a page takes to load, the less time visitors will spend on your site and the more likely they are to get frustrated and leave. This will affect your bounce rate, traffic and even conversions.

To prevent this, your WordPress theme needs to be lightweight with clean, responsive code that’s secure and cross-browser compatible.

  • Allows for schema markups. Schema markup is an incredibly powerful SEO tool, used to make the content on your site more understandable to search engines, and in turn, more relevant and informative to users.

Put simply, it’s code that you put on your website to improve the experience for the user, allowing them to more easily get the information they need. If your theme doesn’t support the use of schema markups, it’s a big warning sign that it’s probably not quite as SEO-friendly as it advertises.

It lets you easily manage all those little SEO elements from page titles and meta descriptions to the generation of sitemaps, social media integration and more. So, if you want to be able to reap the rewards of increased search traffic to your website, you need to choose a theme that’s compatible with helpful SEO plugins like Yoast.

Now, this isn’t an exhaustive list. SEO is multifaceted, complex and the rules are always changing—but it’s not impossible to keep up.

At the very least, these seven WordPress themes will certainly make it easier!

7 SEO WordPress Themes to Up Your Game

1. Genesis


Even though Genesis is technically a WordPress framework with themes built on top, it’s more than deserving of a place on this list (and not just for the fact that it’s recommended by Google’s Matt Cutts and Yoast).

Genesis was built by StudioPress and the framework gives every theme that’s built on top of it clean, lightweight and reliable code.

Whether you use Genesis to build your own custom design theme or choose one of its child themes built by someone else, it’s a well-known foundation for SEO-friendly WordPress themes.

SEO-friendly Features

  • Mobile responsive
  • Lightweight
  • HTML5
  • Secure
  • Cross-browser compatible

Get the Genesis framework from StudioPress

2. Divi


Divi is a versatile theme that can also be used as a framework, making it popular with both beginners creating a custom website and more advanced designers looking to accelerate the development process.

The flagship theme from Elegant Themes, Divi is popular for its flexibility, ease of use and intuitive functionality. It includes a high-quality builder plugin and customizable content module blocks. Its powerful e-commerce compatibility makes it an especially great option for online stores.

SEO-friendly Features

  • Fast loading
  • Secure
  • Social media integration
  • Optimized code
  • User friendly

Get Divi from Elegant Themes

3. Thesis


Thesis (and the later Thesis 2.0) are WordPress frameworks known in particular for their focus on SEO and SEO-friendly features.

They have clean yet beautiful designs with a whole heap of customizable features through the easy-to-use visual template editor, making it simple for you to add and remove social sharing buttons, email sign-up templates and other features to and from your site.

SEO-friendly Features

  • Schema markup compatible
  • Google authorship
  • Fast loading
  • Responsive
  • Social media integration

Get Thesis from DIYthemes

4. eleven40 Pro


One of the most popular Genesis child themes, eleven40 Pro is slick, clean and lightweight which makes it a great SEO option for WordPress.

It was built by StudioPress specifically for the Genesis framework, which means you’ll need to download them both as a package—but you’ll be happy to know that you also get all the additional benefits of Genesis as well, including intelligent design, security and ongoing updates to keep your site running smoothly.

SEO-friendly Features

  • Mobile responsive
  • Secure
  • HTML5
  • Schema markup compatible
  • Clean code

Get eleven40 Pro on the Genesis framework from StudioPress

5. Schema


Schema’s edge is in its focus on winning at a few core SEO elements: site speed, rich snippets and quality code.

Developed by MyThemeShop, Schema has been proven to be one of the fastest WordPress themes available on the market, and its full support for rich snippets helps search engines more clearly identify what your content is about and how to categorize it.

It also comes with a built-in review system that lets you display your reviews and ratings in SERPs, to provide more valuable information to users.

SEO-friendly Features

  • Fast loading
  • Rich snippets
  • Clean code
  • Responsive
  • Integrates with plugins

Get Schema from MyThemeShop

6. Best


Best is another one of MyThemeShop’s lightweight and ultra-fast loading WordPress themes, built to help make your website as SEO-friendly as possible, as simply as possible.

Its design is clean, engaging and intuitive which improves bounce rate and time spent on site, and its fast load times translate to all devices including mobile.

Easy to use and navigate, Best is also optimized for improved click-through rates when integrated with Google AdSense.

SEO-friendly Features

  • Lightweight, reliable code
  • Fast loading
  • Social media integration
  • Cross-browser compatible
  • Responsive

Get Best from MyThemeShop

7. Beans


Beans is deserving of a special mention even if just for the fact that it’s open source and freely available.

Being a framework rather than a theme, you can download Beans at no cost to design your own site, or you can use one of the available child themes.

And for a free framework, the quality is exceptional! It’s intelligent and mobile responsive, automatically loading images at the resolution most appropriate to the device it’s being viewed on, and its lightweight code and caching ensures it always loads quickly.

SEO-friendly Features

  • Responsive design
  • Fast loading
  • Compatible with plugins
  • Lightweight
  • Semantic code

Get Beans

Our Final Words on SEO WorPress Themes

SEO isn’t going anywhere any time soon, so it makes sense to make the job as easy as possible for yourself with a WordPress theme that supports your SEO strategy instead of holding you back.

Just remember—while any of these themes will help to improve the SEO-friendliness of your site, it’s important not to go thinking that it’s an instant fix.

To reap the benefits of SEO, you need to do actually do SEO, these themes will simply put you in a position to get there easier.


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