SEO Optimised Themes for WordPress – Are Premium Themes Better?

I saw a question today where someone asked if paying for a premium WordPress theme would improve the level of traffic to their website.

The answer is ‘No’.

There is absolutely no correlation between paying for a theme and the impact it has on the level of SEO optimisation of your website.

The theme you are using on your WordPress site has one of the biggest impacts on the speed at which your pages load, and the ease with which the search engines can crawl your site.

And this is defined by how well the code has been written, not by whether or not you paid for the theme.

A popular website for premium WordPress themes, meaning themes that you pay for and that are not available in the WordPress repository, is ThemeForest.

Unfortunately, many of the themes on ThemeForest attempt to add every kind of functionality a website owner could possibly want – whether or not they actually want it.

For example, some time ago I was helping a customer with the theme on her website that she had bought from ThemeForest.

This theme had Woo Commerce installed by default, but she had no shop on her site and no intention of getting one.

However, deactivating the Woo Commerce plugin that had been installed by the theme when it was activated, caused the layout of non-shop pages to be changed. The only way to keep the layout she wanted (the theme default layout) was to leave Woo Commerce active.

That was an appalling bit of coding..!

And, with Woo Commerce being a heavy and complex plugin, that meant she was forced to have a whole lot of code on her site that was not being used – code bloat, which slows down the speed at which your pages load and degrades the level of SEO optimisation.

So the ‘Premium’ theme, for which she had paid, made the level of SEO worse.

I explained how your theme affects the SEO effectiveness of your website – either positively or negatively, it’s worth a read.

But it is the quality of the coding that has the impact, not whether or not you paid for the theme.


Martin Malden

Martin Malden
Owner – WealthyDragon

Website owner: Martin has been working online since 2006 and focuses on two areas: 1) affiliate marketing and 2) designing and building websites based on WordPress. He has his own WordPress agency, and serves clients in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK.

What do you think?

2 comments… add one
  • Matt Lin Jun 8, 2020 @ 10:50

    Hi Martin,

    Thanks for letting us know that paying for a WordPress theme might not help our SEO performance – in fact could make it worse. Before we purchase the theme, do you have your tips to examine how good was the theme’s coding? It might help us avoid this issue.


    • Martin Malden Jun 9, 2020 @ 10:39

      Hi Matt,

      I don’t suggest people who are buying themes try to examine the coding – if they knew enough about coding a theme they probably would not be buying one 😀

      My suggestion always is to start with a theme that is plain and simple – no added features such as sliders, shops or any other ‘built in’ functionality. Then you can add the functionality you need, and only what you need, through the careful selection of plugins.

      For SEO purposes you can use either the Yoast plugin, which is over-complicated in my view, or the All-in-one-SEO plugin.

      You can always test a range of different themes before deciding on the one you want by activating them and then doing a speed test on your site.



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