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How Much Do Themes Effect SEO?

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by hellohellosharp, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. hellohellosharp

    hellohellosharp Power Member

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    I am using Elegant Themes on about 20 blogs (Autoblogs). They look nice and everything, but they are starting to really slow me websites down (I'm on shared hosting). I have heard that slow response time kills your SEO.

    So do themes really help SEO? I don't care about the effect on the visitor (just part of my marketing strategy, the visitor doesn't need to see the page). I only have those themes setup because it seems like Google would look at them highly...

    I have heard both sides. Some people say changing a theme has massive effect on your SERPS. Others say Google really can't even tell, it just cares about the content.

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. m.rvs2141

    m.rvs2141 Power Member

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    I am with 2nd guys,content is important, on my expirience themes doesnt efect SERPS
     
  3. hellohellosharp

    hellohellosharp Power Member

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    Thanks for the input:cool:

    Anyone else?
     
  4. Gold Mike

    Gold Mike Registered Member

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    Badly coded themes and/or plugins can slow page loading time, which in turn may affect SERPS. You can install a caching plugin to compensate though.
     
  5. Autumn

    Autumn Elite Member

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    It absolutely makes a difference for SEO, for several reasons:

    1) As mentioned, a badly coded theme will slow your response times and page load speeds definitely affect serp placement.

    2) Different themes use different html markup around different parts of the page eg. use of h1 vs h2 vs h3 tags around blog title and post titles, use of custom css spans or divs vs the use of semantic html markup (eg bold or paragraph tags) etc. Your choice of tags has a big impact on your on page SEO.

    3) Some themes have differing levels of dupe content. Dupe content is always an issue with WP, and themes vary in the way they handle archive and category pages, use of full posts vs excerpts etc.

    4) Some themes don't actually validate which can lead to unexpected consequences in the serps.

    All your theme problems can be remedied by carefully editing your theme files but it can be a time consuming and irritatingly tricky process to get it right.
     
  6. healzer

    healzer Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I think themes can effect SERPS, some CTR themes are not liked by google from what I see/read.
     
  7. disaffected

    disaffected Junior Member

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    So G uses validation as part of SERP when G dot com doesn't even validate? The audacity.
     
  8. Autumn

    Autumn Elite Member

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    They don't officially use validation as a ranking criteria but I have seen first hand evidence from my own silly mistakes that there are certain html errors (especially improperly closed tags) that will render OK in a modern browser but which will stop your page from getting indexed properly. G will index your url (ie. just the url shows up when you search for it), but no cached version, no rankings and most importantly no traffic.

    Lesson: make sure your pages validate!
     
  9. automan

    automan Newbie

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    The theme does affect SERPS, but the SEO plugins you have installed probably do more to help you out.

    An example would be a 2 themes with a slider. One has the ability to add a description and title to each slider, while the other theme just has the image sliding by. The slider with the titles and description allow more content and keywords to be used.

    If most the seo is done in plugins, the optimization usually stays basically the same with each subsequent theme change.

    As others have said, loading speed does affect SERPS. Make sure your template is quick and cached as well.
     
  10. RealEcon

    RealEcon Regular Member

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    I use elegant themes also and they are monsters, but with the right SEO and plugins they rank fine.
     
  11. becauseimhot

    becauseimhot Junior Member

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    Since Panda, Google will look at the navigability of your website, the quality of content, number of ads and placement of ads. Therefore, find a theme that is easy to navigate with category links that are clearly visable and where ads are not where your main content should be.
     
  12. kazhkaz

    kazhkaz Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I can tell from my personal experience that themes do influence SERP's. I have a website that was on second page but after changing theme and without doing anything more site jumped to 6th position on the first page.
     
  13. elitemarketer

    elitemarketer Junior Member

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    I use ET or themes similar to ET for the majority of my sites because they just look so good. They have no problem ranking #1 for multiple keywords. Quality backlinks trump all.
     
  14. Saarteyan

    Saarteyan BANNED BANNED

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    Content is more important first, next is theme..But theme is also a must need for SEO...
     
  15. pcliff

    pcliff Newbie

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    This is a topic I've been struggling with for over a year. I think the theme can play a big role in whether or not your on page 2 or page 1. For example, I have a domain that is over 10 years old with an exact match for my keyword. I setup a blog with an exact keyword match with "blog" at the end of the domain. The domain is less than six months old with very little content, and no plugins. I used a different theme on this blog and did no SEO. The search volume for the term is only about 1,000 per month with over 5m competition. The blog is currently outranking the main site on page 1. Has anybody else experienced this?
     
  16. jerzydawg

    jerzydawg Supreme Member

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    This is perfectly normal and It might take some time for Google to readjust your position. It's the same thing with building backlinks. Whether you add backlinks or get some removed, your rank is affected.
     
  17. DamageX

    DamageX Elite Member

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    Someone should round up all the designers and shoot them. Most can't code worth shit and have even less idea about actual usability. All they do is create pretty shit, which Google doesn't give a flying fuck about. In fact, neither do users. A fancy design may look all nice at first, but if someone wants to come back to a site that takes ages to load, then your fancy design suddenly becomes a burden.
     
  18. madoctopus

    madoctopus Supreme Member

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    simple example:

    Theme with tag pages indexed, lots of tags, one or very few posts listed on each tag page.

    Made tag pages noindex.

    Traffic increased by 300%.

    simple example 2:

    Regular theme advertised as "seo optimized". Modified it myself by hand. Traffic increase 40%. Was already having tag pages noindex.

    Both sites had good links and good trust rank. For a site with shitty links and trust rank obviously you won't see any improvement.

    Most important thing in a theme however is not having tag pages noindexed or other stuff like H1 titles instead of usual H2, etc. Most important is the internal link architecture. In the case of a normal blog like most of people have it is SHIT.
     
  19. Michallo

    Michallo Newbie

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    Let me come back to this thread. I currently have a problem ranking a new Wordpress site that runs on Graphene. It's a great-looking theme, but I begin to suspect it's hurting my SEO.

    I started several blogs at the same time and they are all ranking very well for their target keywords with varying levels of competition. Google was very fast to pick them all up and push to the top positions. I don't think there is too much difference in the level of competition between them. I've also used a similar (and quite aggressive) backlinking strategy. The Graphene blog has a large number of very powerful links with a pretty diverse set of keywords, not just the exact match.

    And yet, it's lingering on the second page of SERPs and I'm kind of getting tired of building more links. I reversed the page one competition and some sites have barely 1/10th of my backlinks, horrible quality, nothing but lousy directories.

    I use all in one seo pack but can see in SERPs that Google hasn't picked up titles and description for some pages.

    With this much I know, do you think I'm right to suspect that it's the theme and stuff. What else could it be?

    I'd appreciate any feedback.