It has long been theorised that a great way to kill your site’s SEO credibility is to use a popular WordPress theme; the more popular and widely used a WordPress theme is, the lower its SEO value.
This is an assumption that appears to be based on Google’s preference for uniqueness, suggesting that the widespread use of a ‘generic’ theme could harm its SEO reputation.
It turns out this isn’t the case, John Mueller of Google was quizzed on the issue this week, subsequently confirming that SEO value is not in any way affected by the popularity of the theme.
A question asked by one concerned SEO on Twitter reads as follows:
“Some SEOs are of the view that using WordPress themes that have been used on many sites, has a negative impact on rankings since doing so will increase the similarity between that website and the others. Is this true?”
To which, Mr Mueller laid out in the clearest possible terms that this theorised negative impact does not exist.
“Popularity of a theme has no effect on SEO at all,” he said, but suggesting to the user in question “If you hear such generalizations, ask them “why”.”
This is sound advice and welcome reassurance for anyone who may have been worried that the popularity of their WordPress theme could be working against them.
Mr Mueller’s comments follow a similar Q&A that took place on Twitter a while back, during which he confirmed that WordPress theme choice is indeed a ranking factor, but only in the sense that some themes are simply better than others in terms of performance, navigation, accessibility and user friendliness.
Hence why it stands to reason that the better the WordPress theme you choose, the more likely you are to find yourself in Google’s good books!