Using WordPress with WPML can boost your site
When you use WordPress to build your site, a lot of the SEO work is already done for you. WordPress produces simple HTML, which Google easily understands. Furthermore, many themes come with fields for SEO. If your theme doesn’t include SEO, you can always use a plugin that will add that information to your pages.
Like many other optimisations, you often get the biggest benefits by doing the simplest things. Of course, there’s a realm of other activities that you can do to tweak and improve, but if you are just starting, you will discover that by adding the basic SEO information, you get the biggest jump in results.
We use and recommend an SEO plugin called WordPress SEO by Yoast. It’s simple to understand and use, does its job and works great with WPML for multilingual sites. It makes the basic features easy to access and also includes the more complex tools, for when you need them.
To learn how to translate everything that the WordPress SEO plugin creates, you should read our tutorial on using WordPress SEO with WPML.
WordPress SEO: Where to start
The WordPress SEO box starts with a preview of how your page will look in Google search results if it is showed there. Remember, the plugin cannot guarantee that your content will show up on Google, but it can help you achieve it yourself.
The next part is the focus keyword. This is where you can check if your target keywords appear in important parts of your page. If it says ‘yes’ for everything, you’re in excellent shape. Otherwise, you know where you need to edit.
Next come the parts that you actually control, so we’ll expand on them a bit more.
The SEO Title is, by far, the most valuable text in your page for SEO purposes. This is the title of the page, as visitors and search engines see it. We already talked before about good title tags. The WordPress SEO plugin lets you easily control page titles by entering them into that box, per page.
The Meta Description is what you suggest for search engines to show as the page summary, in search results. Keep in mind that it’s only a suggestion. In most cases, Google will accept your suggestion and display that sentence if Google thinks that it’s close to the content of the page.
If your page is about plastic coffee cups and the page title is about organic cat food, you can forget about Google ever displaying it. In fact, you can count on Google to disregard your entire page, or site, considering you to be a spammer.
Good meta description will provide a short and clear summary of the content of the page.
How to apply good SEO for multilingual Sites
Let’s start with what Google needs to understand:
- what your site is about
- the structure of your site
- what each page is about
- the language of every page in your site
- what is a translation of what
Since WPML keeps different languages in different pages, it makes it easy for Google to detect the language. You can help that too, by making sure that everything in your site is translated. This should include the theme and any texts that other plugins output.
Google likes to know how translations are linked together in your site and WPML provides this information.
Scroll down the page source and you will see something like:
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-ES" href="http://wpml.org/es/documentation-2/soporte/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="de-DE" href="http://wpml.org/de/documentation-3/support-2/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="fr-FR" href="http://wpml.org/fr/documentation-6/informations-pour-les-developpeurs/" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="pt-BR" href="http://wpml.org/pt-br/documentacao/informacoes-para-desenvolvedores/" />
These are the hreflang links that WPML generates (see the complete explanation of hreflang tags for multilingual sites) Your content has a lot of links going to different pages and off-site. This list of links tells Google what translations exist for any page. With that list, Google can distinguish between ‘regular’ links to other content and links to translation.
If you were Google, you should be very happy to receive this information. Now, you know how what’s a translation of what. When WPML outputs this information in a consistent manner for the entire site, Google has a complete picture of the entire structure of the site, languages included.
From this moment, Google doesn’t need to guess anything. It knows the language every page is written in, and how translations are connected together. Google will quickly understand that it’s looking at one website with translated content in several languages.
Providing translation will help you increase your reach internationally, ensuring your SEO is good will help to reach further!
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