In mid-2020, Google announced the creation of its Core Vitals initiative. The goal of Core Vitals is to help websites optimize the user experience (UX). Using Google’s reporting, business owners, developers, and content managers can use metrics to assess the UX on their websites and identify areas needing improvement.
Google uses Core Vitals to determine a website’s ranking. Thus choosing a WordPress theme that optimizes Google’s Core Vitals criteria is critical to performing well in Google rankings. We’ve evaluated the best WordPress themes for Google Core Vitals to help you choose the best option for your website. Let’s get started!
What are the Best WordPress Themes for Google Core Vitals?
If you want to optimize your website’s performance on Google Core Vitals, these WordPress themes are an excellent place to start.
Here are our top choices for the best WordPress themes for Google Core Vitals:
- Twenty Twenty
- Hello Elementor
Google uses the following metrics to determine the UX.:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): is how quickly the webpage loads. To perform high on this metric, LCP should happen in 2.5 seconds of when the page begins to load
- First Input Delay (FID): the time from the user’s initial interaction with a website to when the browser responds to the exchange. Shouldn’t be over 100 milliseconds
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): is a website’s visual stability. For a good UX, websites need to sustain a CLS of less than .01
The themes that made our list are among the fastest full-featured WordPress themes available. The fastest among them is open to interpretation; some barebones themes will perform faster on objective speed tests using Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, and GTMetrix.
The themes we chose for this list will ensure your visitors have a positive UX. These themes will also help you maximize your Google Core VItals metrics, ensuring your website has the best chance at ranking high in Google search results.
Best WordPress Theme for Google Core Vitals Review
Now that you understand the criteria that make up Google Core Vitals let’s take a closer look at the WordPress themes that made our list.
If your focus is improving your website’s performance while maintaining the ability to customize and control your page, GeneratePress is worth checking out. GeneratePress comes in free and premium versions and is arguably one of the fastest WordPress themes available.
It is an elegant and lightweight WordPress theme. GeneratePress’s founder and lead developer, Tom Usborne, created speedtest.generatepress.com/ to test the basic GeneratePress theme’s speed. The results speak for themselves.
Generate Press has a lot to offer in addition to speed; it’s also a great WordPress theme. GeneratePress is a versatile and fully customizable theme making it adaptable to most businesses. The theme boasts over one thousand 5-star ratings on wordpress.org.
Although GeneratePess has a free option, its best features are available only with the premium version. By now, you know that GeneratePress is all about speed and streamlining the UX. One of its main features is its lightweight and fast. It comes with 14 modules that allow you to make the most of the theme. What’s nice is that you can disable any that you don’t need.
The theme is built on the lightweight but powerful Flexbox Grid, which looks great across devices. The schema is built-in, ensuring improved search engine result pages. The WordPress Customizer works superbly with all theme customization options found in one place, making learning how to customize the theme straightforward.
GeneratePress works with the most popular WordPress plugins, including Jetpack, Yoast SEO, Akismet, Wordfence Security, BuddyPress, and many more. There’s a lot for developers to like with many hooks and filters. Developers can use these features without altering the theme files that reset when the theme updates.
- Fastest WordPress theme
- Easily customizable, knowledge of coding not required
- Excellent performance when all modules are active
- Developer friendly
- Affordable pricing
- Free version has limited features
- No option to buy a lifetime plan
Our Choice – The Best Theme for Core Vitals
One of the most popular WordPress themes, Astra, also has a good reputation for quickly loading web pages. Astra’s goal is to have a premade website ready to go as soon as you install it on your WordPress site. It is a multipurpose theme that is customizable to meet just about any niche.
You can further customize Astra by pairing it with WordPress page builder plugins, which is a popular way to use this theme. In addition to all the customization options, Astra is known for its outstanding performance. Astra’s GTMetrix score is 100/100, and its Google Insights Page (mobile only) score for mobile was a highly respectable 99/100.
Astra has a free basic version and a pro version. It packs excellent features, including developer tools, ease of use, and solid coding, into an attractive WordPress package. Astra has over 4500 5-star ratings on wordpress.org.
Astra’s most prominent feature is its quick load times, with Astra claiming a load time of 1.1 seconds the generic “hello world” post using their theme. Astra doesn’t use JQuery, which is one reason it loads faster than other WordPress themes. According to WP Rocket’s speed test, Astra comes in right after GeneratePress with a speed of 1.599 seconds.
Coding is the backbone of any theme, and Astra is a well-coded theme. However, Astra has a page builder, so you don’t need to know coding to use this theme. Astra uses Underscore’s starter theme. Underscore is the basis for recent default WordPress themes. Thus, Astra’s theme is clean and logical.
Astra supports schema markup to benefit your website’s SEO and has many theme hooks for developers to add content. If you don’t want to build your website from scratch, Astra stands out for the number of pre-built templates it offers. From Gutenberg and Brizy to Elementor and Beaver Builder, there are many page builders to choose from.
- Lots of customization options
- User-friendly and easy to configure
- Fast loading speed
- Offers many pre-built templates
- Developer friendly
- Best features only available with Pro version
- A bit expensive
- No support forum
ThemeIsle, the company behind Neve, is known for creating fast and flexible themes and plugins. Neve is a multipurpose theme with a highly customizable layout. It’s also the fastest of Themselse’s themes. Neve works well with large and small websites. This theme is user-friendly and compatible with all of the popular page builders.
Neve performed well on GTMetrix speed tests with a score of 99/100 on Google Insights Page (mobile only); it scored 100/100, making it an excellent option for improving your website’s speed. Neve is a multipurpose WordPress that will work well with just about any website.
The website’s setup is easy; you can have a basic webpage up and running in minutes thanks to Neve’s many starter sites. You don’t need to know how to code to use this theme. Neve has close to 500 5-star ratings on wordpress.org.
If you want to improve your website’s mobile speeds, Neve is worth a look. The Neve theme focuses on faster and more robust loading experiences on mobiles and tablets. The theme also is fully responsive, adjusting to the screen size of any mobile device.
Neve supports all of the major page builders and comes with built-in SEO to improve indexing and ranking. If you’re setting up an online store, Neve works seamlessly with Booster for WooCommerce to ensure your business has every opportunity to succeed.
Nerve offers many options for customizing the layout of your website, including efficiently designed headers and footers. Three are also various hook locations that allow custom code to create innovative and professional designs.
- Outstanding onboarding process
- Focus on mobile optimization
- Translation ready, great for non-English speaking countries
- Lean core theme
- Many customization options
- Limited options with the free version
- Homogenous starter sites
Twenty twenty is WordPress’s default theme that gets a new updated release annually. This theme comes installed on every WordPress build; you can also install past versions of the theme, such as Twenty Nineteen.
Twenty Twenty is a Gutenberg ready theme and integrates well with the Gutenberg page builder. Gutenberg is a block editor, and Twenty Twenty allows users to take full advantage of its flexibility.
Besides being a great theme, Twenty Twenty’s performance metrics are impressive. WordPress’s default theme consistently performs as one of the fastest WordPress theme options. Twenty Twenty has stable code and a slim file structure, which enhances its performance. Its GTMetrix score is 100/100, and its mobile Google Insights Page score is 99/100.
All versions of the Twenty Twenty theme, past and present, are free to use. Twenty Twenty doesn’t have as many ratings as other themes, but those that exist are overwhelmingly positive. Twenty Twenty has a lot of notable features.
Since it’s updated yearly to match WordPress’s current version, many say it integrates perfectly with WordPress. As mentioned above, Twenty Twenty is one of the fastest WordPress themes. One reason is its file sizes, and requests are regularly very low. Being made for WordPress reduces the speed and conflict issues found with many third-party themes.
There are countless customization options for Twenty Twenty, and it comes with various tools such as editor styles, colors, fonts, and infinite scrolling. The theme also adapts brilliantly to mobile devices and offers lots of user-friendly tools adaptable to all devices.
- Landing pages are easy to make
- Outstanding performance with mobile devices
- Integrates almost perfectly with WordPress
- Great block editing
- Lightweight with fast loading speeds
- Simplistic, barebones look
- Variable fonts can be slow
A ThemeGrill creation, Zakra, is a lightweight multipurpose theme that has something to offer everyone. Zakra’s speedy interface stands out, scoring 99/100 on the GTMetrix speed test and 98/100 on Google Insights mobile page score. These scores match the speeds of the industry’s top performers.
Zakra offers both free and premium versions of its theme. Unlike most themes, Zakra free version comes with impressive features. However, the premium version is where Zakra truly shines with excellent WooCommerce tools, blogging options, and advanced headers.
If you have an online store, Zakra is worth considering because it is especially suited to online businesses. With its speed optimization, you’ll maximize your opportunities for conversions. Being AP ready and fully responsive, Zakra looks great across all devices.
There are many demos for this theme, including many eCommerce starter sites. Zakra integrates seamlessly with Elementor giving you many customization options. Zakra’s optimization tools make it a pleasure to use. Zakra has over three hundred 5-star reviews on wordpress.org.
- SEO friendly
- Lightweight with a clean user interface
- Great for small businesses
- Compatible with Gutenberg and a few other page builders
- Highly flexible sidebars
- Fewer options than GeneratePress on what you can disable on a post or page
- Some users report difficulty loading the theme on mobile devices
“The fastest SEO WordPress theme available” is how Schema advertises itself. It is a clean and lightweight theme with a professional design. This theme is known for its quick loading speeds and was designed with bloggers and entrepreneurs in mind.
Schema comes with a responsive, highly customizable design. While it’s not as fast as GeneratePress, Schema still posts some impressive speeds. On the GTMetrix speed test, Schema posts a speed of 93/100 and gets the same 93/100 on Google Insights mobile page score.
While it’s not the fastest theme, it’s not bad. Plus, it comes with all the tools you need to build and run an impressive website or blog.
Schema is a premium website theme; there’s also a free version called Schema Lite. Schema’s fully responsive design ensures it looks great on mobile devices as well as PCs. The theme features a custom options panel, post widgets, shortcodes, and pixel perfect design.
In line with its focus on SEO optimization, it includes rich snippets that help search engines find your sight resulting in higher search engine rankings. The theme manages ads efficiently, coming with an ad management panel that allows you to manage your website’s ads easily. The theme’s code is secure and lightweight, and it supports custom CSS.
If you need to build a multilingual website, Schema is translation ready. You can also choose from hundreds of Google fonts for your website. It also has social media sharing functionality. As if that weren’t enough, outstanding support is available from its support forum.
- Rich snippets
- Clean Code
- High-quality support
- Leader in SEO WordPress themes
- Very user-friendly
- A very text-heavy theme
- Doesn’t work well if you want to build a visually appealing site
OceanWP is an easily customizable and fast WordPress theme. It’s a free multipurpose theme that gives you a lot of control over your website using the real-time WordPress customizer. While the core OceanWP theme is free, it also offers many free and premium extensions that add functionality.
OceanWP stands out for being user-friendly, allowing you to import ready-made demo sites using their free import extension. With the free version, you get seven free extensions, and you have the option of adding 11 more premium extensions to customize the theme further.
This theme is a hit with users because it’s easy to use and intuitive, giving users the power to customize the theme to their needs—oceanWP scores 98/100 on the GTMetrix speed test and 86/100 on the Google Insights mobile page score.
One of OceanWP’s best features is its WordPress customizer settings. Even with only a few extensions installed, the user has a long list of options to choose from. This is more than what you’ll find on the average WordPress theme. The theme also comes with many unique and attractive demos for designing your site.
The theme is fully responsive and arguably looks better on smaller devices but performs well across the board—the built-in SEO to help your page’s indexing and search rankings. The theme also supports WooCommece, which is a must if you’re setting up an online store. WooCommerce features include quick view, native cart popup, and a floating cart bar.
OceanWP also works well with most popular page builders such as King Composer, Beaver Builder, and Elementor. It supports social media integration, popup notices and has a full-screen scrolling tool. The theme also has one-click ready to use templates.
- Easy onboarding process has you up and running in no time
- Lightweight theme with fast page loading times
- Large selection of quality demos
- Offers a large number of free and premium extensions
- Developer friendly with SEO integration
- The customizers options can be overwhelming
- Not compatible with speed optimization plugins
Hello is a lightweight and barebones WordPress theme designed to work with the Elementor page builder plugin. Unlike the other themes we’ve reviewed, Hello won’t look like a real webpage until you start using the Elementor plugin.
Being so stripped down of features and its styling makes Elementor one of the lightest themes available. With Hello, you’re responsible for building everything from scratch. If you want full control over your website, Hello is worth a look. Hello is a free starter theme that works with either Elementor or Elementor Pro page builders.
If you’re not familiar with Elementor, it’s a drag and drop WordPress page builder that is easy to use and requires no coding knowledge. Hello scores a 99/100 on the GTMetrix speed test and 100/100 on the Google Insights mobile page score.
One of the best things about Hello is it’s free and one of the fastest WordPress themes available. You don’t have to worry about bloat or excess code when using Hello because none of that is preloaded on this theme. Developers will appreciate the hooks available to expand the theme.
Hello integrates perfectly with the Elementor page builder allowing you to make any type of website you need. The theme’s base design and files are minimalistic, which contributes to the theme’s speed. The interface is uncluttered and user-friendly.
Many page builder elements come included with Hello, such as portfolios, Google Maps, video, heading, spacers, posts, and much more. The theme is fully responsive and looks great across devices. If you have questions, Hello has a strong support system with many articles online.
- One of the fastest WordPress themes
- Seamless integration with Elementor page builder
- Great for building fast landing pages
- The theme is 100% free
- No bloat or excess code
- Basic styling options
- You have to start from scratch to build a website
If we haven’t answered all of your questions above, maybe you can find what you’re looking for in this list of frequently asked questions.
- How can I improve my core web vitals?
One of the best things you can do is optimize your website’s images. Images on your site are most likely the website’s LCP. If you optimize your images, you’ll be one step closer to improving your core web vitals.
- What is page experience?
The series of signals that indicate the user’s perceived experience while visiting a page, apart from the web page’s quality and content.
- How do I check my website’s Google Core Vitals performance?
You can use the following tools:
Performing well on Google Core Vitals is essential to search engine indexing and ranking. Google introduced Core Vitals to help websites optimize the UX. Choosing the right WordPress theme will help you improve your website’s Google Core Vitals performance. To optimize your website, be sure to select a theme that is clean, lightweight, and above all, fast.
All of the WordPress themes that made our list perform admirably; however, GeneratePress stands out in a crowded field. Before choosing a theme, be sure it matches your business goals. Selecting one of the themes on our list will put your website on the path to performing well on Google Core Vitals.