If you want your site to rank in Google, you’re probably already focused on the big stuff. Keyword research, getting links…those are definitely important.
However, choosing an SEO friendly WordPress theme is an often-overlooked decision that plays a big role in making all the above-mentioned techniques successful.
With such a theme, you’ll have an even more SEO-optimized WordPress website from day one. This means that your website’s entire foundation will be optimized – and all you have to do is add the other tactics.
In this post, we will see some characteristics you should be looking for in an SEO optimized WordPress theme. We’ll then share five WordPress themes and tell you what makes each of them great for SEO.
In a hurry? Here are the top 17 SEO themes of 2020:
|Astra||Free / $59 yearly (Unlimited Sites)||10/10||Brainstorm Force|
|Schema||Free / $77 yearly (Unlimited Sites)||8/10||My Theme Shop|
|Genesis||$59.95 + Extra for Child Themes (Unlimited Sites)||9/10||Studio Press|
|Divi||$89 yearly||8/10||Elegant Themes|
|Hestia||Free / $69 yearly||7/10||ThemeIsle|
|Sydney||Free / $59 yearly||7/10||aThemes|
|MH Magazine||$49 yearly||8/10||MH Themes|
|GrowthPress||$79 Single Site (With 7 Days Free Trial)||8/10||ProteusThemes|
|Coni Pro||$39 yearly||7/10||Quema Labs|
|MyBlog||$77 yearly (Unlimited Sites)||8/10||My Theme Shop|
|Writer||$77 yearly (Unlimited Sites)||7/10||My Theme Shop|
|Extra||$89 yearly with Divi Bundle||8/10||Elegant Themes|
|NewsPaper||$77 yearly (Unlimited Sites)||7/10||My Theme Shop|
|Simple||Free / $49 yearly with Support||7/10||Nimbus Themes|
What Makes an SEO Friendly WordPress Theme?
Before we help you find the best SEO WordPress theme, it’s important to go over what it means for a theme to be SEO friendly.
Here’s what you should look for in a theme if you want your site to rank high in Google:
Schema markup is nothing but the behind-the-scenes code that provides in-depth information to Google and the other search engines. Essentially, it helps Google better understand your website, which can indirectly translate into improved rankings, presentation in Google’s search results and a higher CTR.
Page speed is a ranking factor in both Google’s mobile and desktop results, so you’ll definitely want a theme that will help your site load fast. Beyond the direct SEO benefits, this is also super important for user experience and correlates with lower bounce rates and higher time on site (which can, indirectly, also have a positive effect on SEO).
Optimized Header Tags
What is the first thing you scan across a newspaper? The headlines – right? Similarly, the header tags mark the headlines in your content and attract both readers and search engines to understand what the content is all about. These header tags include the H1, H2, H3, etc. on your website. A good theme will have these optimized right out of the box.
Beyond being helpful to human visitors, breadcrumbs help search engines understand your website structure and strengthen the internal linking too. With proper schema markup, breadcrumbs also enhance the way your website is displayed on the search engine results page. Here’s an example:
Mobile-friendly and Responsive Design
In 2018, Google officially made the move to mobile-first indexing, which means that Google now uses the mobile version of your website in its crawling, indexing, and ranking systems.
This is important because, while most people put a lot of emphasis on optimizing their websites for desktop, this is no longer the only thing that Google is looking at.
Because of that, a big part of being an SEO friendly WordPress theme means a high-quality, mobile-friendly responsive design.
AMP, short for Accelerated Mobile Pages, is a Google-backed project that aims to speed up the mobile web by using a special framework.
With an increase in the number of mobile users, Google is focusing on improving their experience while accessing the web. This means that it isn’t just important to have a website load faster on desktop – but it should be AMP ready too!
While there’s a lot that goes into AMP, one of the most important SEO considerations is that AMP pages get special recognition in Google’s search results.
Ability to Display Last Updated Dates
Google rewards recently updated content, so you’ll want to make sure Google can tell that you’re actively updating your content. A good theme will add schema markup for the last updated date, as well as give you an option to show the last updated date instead of the published date.
While helping search engines realize that you are updating content regularly, this also shows readers that they can find some fresh content on your website.
What’s the Best SEO WordPress Theme? 17 Great Options Compared
Now that you know what makes a WordPress theme SEO friendly, let’s dig into some of your best options.
Astra is an SEO friendly WordPress theme that comes in both a free version at WordPress.org, as well as a premium version that starts at $59.
All the settings of the theme are within the customizer itself and it works great with all major page builders. This itself makes it a great theme to work with!
Even with the free version at WordPress.org, you’ll get an SEO-optimized foundation that includes:
- Lightweight, fast performance – the Astra theme is under 50 KB, with no dependencies on jQuery
- Built-in schema markup – Astra automatically adds important schema markup, like including breadcrumbs and organization info.
- An optimized header tag structure – no need to tinker – Astra’s header structure is optimized right out of the box.
- Built-in AMP compatibility – if you use the official AMP plugin at WordPress.org, Astra will automatically add its style to give your site a cohesive look.
- Last updated functionality – Astra automatically adds schema for the last updated date, and it also makes it super easy to display the last updated date instead of the published date.
Beyond all that SEO functionality, Astra is also highly customizable, offers a bunch of free demo sites that you can import with a few clicks, and as mentioned above, it works great with WordPress page builder plugins.
Schema is a premium SEO friendly WordPress theme from MyThemeShop. While there is no free version, the price is quite affordable at just $35.
Schema comes with multiple preset layouts, including minimal and eCommerce looks. You also get a detailed theme options area that lets you customize it to your needs. However, Schema notably does not use the real-time WordPress Customizer, so you won’t be able to see the style changes you make in real-time.
On the SEO front, the name is a pretty good indicator of one part of what makes Schema an SEO theme. That is, the Schema theme automatically adds all the relevant schema markup for you.
Beyond that, it includes built-in breadcrumb support and is lightweight and quick-loading, which knocks out another two of what makes something the best SEO WordPress theme.
It’s also responsive and includes an optimized heading structure.
However, Schema lacks built-in AMP support, which means you’ll need to create your own custom AMP design. Beyond that, it lacks a built-in way to show the last updated date, which means you’ll need to dig into the code to make that change.
Genesis is a popular theme framework from StudioPress, a company acquired by WP Engine in October 2018.
Right off the bat, one unique thing about Genesis is that the core theme is not a standalone theme. That is, you’ll never just use the Genesis theme. Instead, you’ll use a Genesis child theme to control your site’s style, which can get a little pricey. Typically, for both the core Genesis framework and a child theme, you can expect to pay ~$130+.
However, for that price, you do get a solid SEO-optimized foundation.
Genesis offers clean, lightweight code that will have your site loading fast. It automatically adds basic schema markup, gives you control over the heading structure, and lets you add breadcrumbs with the check of a box.
This theme goes even further, with options to control SEO titles/descriptions and add noindex tags to certain content. However, you’re probably better off using a dedicated WordPress SEO plugin for this instead.
One thing to pay attention to is that there’s no single responsive design – it depends completely on your child theme. So that doesn’t mean it will be bad – but you’ll need to pay attention. Beyond that, Genesis includes AMP support via the official AMP plugin for WordPress, just like the Astra theme.
Finally, if you want to show the last modified date of a post, you can use the free (and official) Genesis Simple Edits plugin.
This gives you a ton of flexibility over how your website looks, though you will need to put in some elbow grease to make everything look the way you want.
There’s no free version of Divi. Instead, it’s only available as part of the $89 Elegant Themes membership.
Beyond its flexible looks and drag-and-drop page building, Divi offers a detailed SEO options area that lets you control custom SEO titles and descriptions. Though again, you might want to use an SEO plugin instead.
It’s also mobile-friendly by default, and the Divi Builder gives you lots of options for responsive design.
Divi lacks a lot of the smaller SEO benefits. That is, there’s no built-in breadcrumbs or schema markup. However, because of how large the Divi community is, you can usually find guides or add-ons to help you plug these holes.
For example, the Divi Breadcrumbs Module makes it easy to add breadcrumbs to any Divi design.
Hestia is a popular freemium WordPress theme that uses material design principles. So if you love material design, that’s one reason to consider Hestia.
The free version is available at WordPress.org, and the Hestia Pro theme will cost you $89.
So what makes Hestia an SEO theme?
Hestia is optimized for speed, it has the right heading structure out of the box, and the developer includes knowledge base instructions showing you how to add breadcrumbs.
It also looks great on mobile, which is important for Google’s mobile-first indexing.
However, for smaller things like styling its AMP layout or showing the last modified date, you might need to get your hands dirty in the source code.
Sydney is a popular freemium WordPress theme that lets you build all kinds of websites. So, if you are a developer or a freelancer, you might want to try Sydney too!
This is a responsive theme that helps build beautiful websites with attractive sliders and features that keep users engaged a little longer. This makes sure a website looks good on all devices and reduces the bounce rate. Google does consider this!
You can get the free version on the WordPress repository while Sydney Pro costs $59 per year when purchased through their website.
Apart from being mobile-friendly, it comes with social icons that let you add your social profile links on your website to let users follow you on other platforms too!
7. MH Magazine
MH Magazine is the theme to be when it comes to news and magazine type websites. If you’re a journalist, a business or political analyst, or just someone who wants an SEO optimized, fast, responsive, and straightforward theme, this is for you.
It features flexible layout options that give you full control over the layout of your content. It doesn’t matter if you write about lifestyle, health, politics, finance, science, or basically anything under the sun, this theme will help you get your content featured and noticed by anyone.
It’s also fully responsive. Bringing the attention to your content and your content only.
This theme is specially designed for SEO giving you a head-start on your search engine rankings. With a fully optimized code, you also get the speed that you need for a theme that’s primary focus is to deliver content.
Other wonderful features include:
- Features the FlexSlider 2 that’s fully optimized for touchscreens and mobile devices
- Supports Google Web Fonts
- Includes built-in custom widgets and fully supports other-builder widgets.
- Child Theme Ready
- Multi-Language Translation ready
- Cross-browser compatible
- Includes updates and other pro features with an extensive knowledgebase*
*Depending on your chosen Plan
MH Magazine is a clean, modern, and sleek theme for the bloggers and enthusiasts of today.
You can purchase this theme for $49 from their website.
8. SEO Crawler
SEO Crawler is your go-to digital marketing or agency theme. It’s fully responsive and built specifically optimized for SEO.
It offers several beautifully designed demos that you can choose from that you can easily import to your website with just one click– that’s right, one-click-demo import!
Whether you’re building a website for your business, your clients, or yourself, you’re sure to find a demo that would suit your needs.
It’s a fast-loading, customizable WordPress theme that’s fit for anyone wanting to kick start their company’s online presence.
Other features include:
- Custom in-house GoodLayers page builder that’s specifically built for the theme to help you build your website in minutes.
- Customizability options at your fingertips with unlimited layout options.
- 19 Full Header styles to choose from
- Mobile-first approach with responsive design elements
- Easy to navigate admin panel
- Ability to create unlimited sidebars
- Built-in Maintenance/Coming Soon features
- Revolution Slider included for free
- Google Web Font support with custom font support
- 14 Beautiful blog layouts to choose from
- 9 Portfolio layouts
- Incredibly dedicated support team with response times within 12-14 hours.
The perfect theme for the perfect agency. It doesn’t matter if you’re a startup, you’ll surely make your website look as professional as it can be with SEO in focus.
You can get this from Theme Forest for $59.
TheGem is The Gem to those of you who don’t wish to spend hours making and creating their own websites from scratch.
TheGem gives you over 400+ ready-to-use templates for any purpose that you deem necessary. There isn’t even a specific niche or demographic that you have to be in to be able to use this theme. It’s the be-all multi-purpose, template-full theme that will help you build any website in minutes!
But that’s not to say this theme isn’t fast, it’s blazing. Even with the advanced features, this theme still features great performance with an SEO optimized code ready for those search engines to go and crawl!
It’s also mobile-friendly, responsive, and best of all 100% Elementor and WP Bakery compatible so that you can build your website with ease.
Other features include:
- WooCommerce compatible with extended design and customizability features
- Full customizability with all of the templates and demo websites.
- Fully integrated with Slider Revolution and Layer Slider
- Fully compatible with popular and must-have plugins like Yoast, MailChimp, etc.
- Multi-language and RTL support
- Features their own custom blocks plugin that will help you build your website.
- Flexible header and footer designs
- Unlimited fonts and color options
- 2500+ customizable font icons
This theme also features a one-click demo import to fill your website with your desired demos and templates. And a whole lot more features.
It’s truly the Gem for any website owner.
You can get this from ThemeForest for $59.
GrowthPress is the ultimate WordPress theme for conversion optimization. With features like having a standalone sales page and widgets support, you’ll never see a more SEO and conversion-optimized theme than this.
GrowthPress boasts an impressive list of features to help you optimize and increase your sales.
From giving you the option to build a standalone sales or landing page free from navigation bars, to make it easier for your customers to reach and contact you at any time, this theme has all the marketing techniques wrapped up in its belt.
Right from the start, GrowthPress gives you all the strategies you need like the “Guarantee Widget”, the “Announcement Bar”, the “Testimonials Widget” and so much more.
Other incredible features include:
- Theme coded for speed and load time
- Pre-approved by Google’s mobile-friendliness tests, and is optimized for local SEO
- Responsive, and adapts to any layout or screen-size
- Cross-browser compatible
- Fully integrates with third-party plugins such as WooCommerce, Yoast, Slider Revolution, etc.
- Multi-language and RTL ready
- Supports one-click demo import
The best deal of all is that you can try the theme for free with their sandbox account for 7 days. Once you’re happy with your trial, you can purchase the theme starting at $79 for the personal theme.
11. Coni Pro
Coni Pro is a simple and straightforward clean corporate theme that is specially designed for SEO and speed.
It’s not a theme that’s complicated to use and manage. It offers a clean and responsive design with easy customization options and pixel perfect design.
You also get CSS animations support despite it being a relatively cheap theme. It’s not built on any particular page builder but dawns its own framework that’s clean, simple and updated with the latest versions of coding languages it’s built from.
With that said, this theme is also highly SEO optimized and mobile-friendly.
Other features include:
- 1 year of premium support and updates available
- 4 must-have corporate sections readily available
- Drag and drop interchangeable sections to choose from
- Offers multiple blog layouts
- Customizable footer widget area
- Extensive theme documentation available
The free version of the theme is available to download from their website, but the Pro version with all the amazing features is available for $39
MyBlog is for all the bloggers out there who don’t want to be constrained by certain platforms on the content and style of their website. Inspired by Medium.com, start your own professional blogging website with the MyBlog theme.
It’s a responsive and professionally designed theme that can give your blog a head-start with search engines; since it’s fully SEO friendly.
You also get 8 predefined layouts to choose from with widgets and sliders that come along with it.
This theme is also fully customizable with any layout you choose-from and is ready to give you your money’s worth being fully ad-sense compatible.
Other features include:
- Translation and RTL ready
- One-click demo import support
- Parallax scrolling support
- 2 article layout options
- 8 predefined demo layout options
- Multiple widget style options including:
- 2 share buttons styles
- Off canvass mobile menus
- Modern comment’s section
- Related articles
- Author box
- Supports different post formats with stunningly designed layout including:
All that on top of the usual features that a modern, fluid, SEO, and speed optimized theme should have.
The theme is available from MyThemeShop starting at $19 for 1 site all the way to $77 for unlimited sites.
Brando is a design-focused, clean, and polished theme for the modern professional. It’s simply one of the sleekest designs on the list and boasts impressive optimization for speed and SEO.
It’s a multi-purpose theme with design and aesthetics in mind, giving you that 21st century, design-centered, one-pager website experience. It has 12 ready to use unique demos, or “concepts” as they call it, that will give you an easy start to your website design.
Being a multipurpose theme, it’s perfect for just about anything. Whether you’re a marketing professional, own an agency, travel and tours company, a restaurant, you name it. This theme has a template for you.
Not only that, but this theme is also made specifically with SEO in mind since it offers its own “SEO Plugins Pack” that includes WP Bakery Builder, Contact Form 7, WPML, W3 Total Cache, Yoast and All In 1 SEO Pack.
Other unique features include:
- Built-in “Coming Soon” templates
- Creative Blog and Testimonials page layouts.
- Fully Responsive and Retina Ready
- 5 Navigation and Header Styles
- One-Click Demo Import
And the last one is especially helpful since the theme offers 100+ pre-built creative elements or blocks.
The theme is available for purchase from ThemeForest for $59.
The perfect theme for only the best authors and writers. The Writer theme is precisely designed for authors and writers in mind.
It’s perfectly designed to focus on the content and the author. Making your work the focus of the website and your visitors.
It’s also fully responsive and features 3 unique predefined layouts. Although this theme is made perfectly for authors, it’s also a multi-purpose theme that can suit almost any type of website and content.
It’s also perfectly suited for SEO optimization since the theme is carefully coded to be lightweight and minimalistic to appeal to search engines’ liking.
Other features of the Writer theme include:
- WooCommerce Compatibility
- Fully Responsive and Retina Ready
- Adsense optimized
- Off-Canvas Mobile Menu compatible
- Translation ready
Alongside these great features, you also get complete creative freedom with choosing an unlimited color and background options, along with wither customization features.
The theme is available to download from My Theme Shop for $35 for 1 site up to $77 for unlimited sites.
The Extra theme is the perfect magazine WordPress theme that’s also made with design and ease of use in mind. Powered by the Divi page builder, you basically have unlimited styling options to your heart’s desire.
Offering three stunningly designed magazine layout demos and over 800+ layouts with the Divi Builder, the theme is ready for your publishing hands to start cramming on those blogs posts and articles. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a giant media corporation or just your own humble blog, this theme will make you at par with the competition, maybe even a step up.
It’s fully responsive, eCommerce ready, customizable, and best of all, you get 24/7 premium support. The best combo for any aspiring blogger.
Other features include:
- Pre-made Posts and pages layouts
- WooCommerce ready and compatible with customization options
- Project Portfolios templates included
- A wide array of header options
- Advanced Mega Menus
- 2 Footer navigation
- Smooth scrolling
- Social Media integration
All that and more with this absolutely gorgeously designed theme that’s geared towards modern, simplistic, and aesthetically pleasing design.
The Extra theme is available for purchase on Elegant themes for $89 a year with Access to Divi, Extra, Bloom, and Monarch– their other themes and products bundled together.
NewsPaper is a clean and elegant WordPress theme for the modern journalist. Specifically geared towards news companies, agencies, and individuals, but is also perfect for simple blogs and even bigger media companies.
The theme takes inspiration from classic newspapers but brings the feels into the virtual world. The classic layout of the newspaper and modern news website right at the palm of your hands. And best of all, you can customize it to however you like.
It’s fully responsive, translation ready, and lightweight enough to be optimized fully for search engines. Google will never have a hard time crawling your website with this theme. Pair it with amazing content and you’re there. It’s also AdSense ready and optimized.
Other features of the NewsPaper theme include:
- Blog and News focused sections such as brands and popular categories sections
- WP Subscribe Pro and WP Review Pro compatible
- Offers the option for off-canvas mobile menu and mega menu
- Unlimited customization options with fonts and icons
- Social media integration
That is in addition to it’s lightweight and highly optimized code, makes it one of the best themes to use for both the aspiring and established blogger.
This theme is available for purchase from My Theme Shop for $35 for 1 site up to $77 for unlimited sites.
Simple is not just its name. The Simple theme is one of the most SEO optimized themes on the list due to its very minimalistic design. And best of all, it’s absolutely free.
The simple theme boasts mobile-friendly and versatile layouts making content consumption a breeze on any device that you can think of. Besides, when you’re overwhelmed with all of these options before you, the best thing to do is to take a breather and take it Simple.
The theme also comes with multiple banner and front-page layouts, although not as flashy as the others, it certainly helps readers focus on the content instead of the sparkles. It’s also why it’s that friendly to search engines.
Other features of the theme include:
- Tons of front-page layout options
- Fully responsive
- Includes parallax effect, featured pages, blog feed and more
- Easy to use settings and options panel
- Featured Posts and 2 Column blog layout options.
This theme can be downloaded from Nimbus themes for free. However, if you want to avail of the support options and other amazing features and products that they have, an annual membership would cost you $49 a year. Not to mention that includes theme updates and expert support.
Conclusion: What’s the Best SEO WordPress Theme?
If you’re looking for an option that ticks all the boxes, gives you flexibility, and won’t break the bank, consider the Astra theme.
It handles the big stuff – like performance optimization and responsive design, as well as smaller, yet still important, SEO considerations like schema markup, breadcrumbs, AMP support, and more.
What’s more? Astra is available for free at WordPress.org, whereas most of the other SEO friendly themes only come in premium versions.
If you’d like to get started, you can download the free version of Astra and start using it right away. Then, consider upgrading to Astra Pro for more styling options, tons of new layouts, better typography, and lots of other helpful features.