Best practices to implement in terms of SEO referencing are numerous.
Optimizing your SEO requires rigorous and above all long-term work before you see results. Some rules are directly related to the configuration of your WordPress site or to those of the plugins set up on it to make it work.
A CMS, despite being very efficient, remains capricious and it is wise to find out about the right configuration methods before throwing yourself into the mouth of the wolf (here from Google, in this case).
To help you, we are going to give you 5 tips for optimize the SEO of a WordPress site.
1. Take care of your permalinks!
It's all in the title, right? It seems obvious and yet, it is not easy to do. To make a brief reminder, a permalink is the permanent and initial URL of an article or a page of your site. This URL is a very important parameter of your positioning on the SERPs.
In the default configuration, WordPress does things poorly. Indeed, it creates permalinks containing a question mark followed by an identification number (a sequence of numbers designating the article or the page). This configuration is not terrible in the eyes of our friend Google.
To change this, use readable permalinks. This URL typology uses keywords rather than "parameters" to refer to your pages. It's still easier to find!
To make this change, go to your WordPress dashboard. In the left column, click Settings and Permalinks.
6 choices of tree structure will be offered to you. You can, for example, choose the structure displaying the name of the article.
2. Install a plugin for your SEO
The WordPress CMS still does things well. To make our life easier, there are so-called plugins. These are content management system extensions that allow you to add new functionality to your website.
Since we are interested in SEO in this article, you guessed it, there are plugins to help you! The two most popular on the market are Yoast SEO et Rank Math SEO. They form a good compromise between simplicity of use and exhaustive functionality.
WordPress offers some more advanced plugins that exist in premium version. They are generally less exhaustive, but more precise on targeted SEO parameters. Knowing that an excessive number of plugins on your site can slow it down or slow down its display performance, we advise you to install a complete plugin like Rank Math or Yoast.
BEFORE ANYTHING, make sure you have completely completed the previous step. Basic WordPress permalinks can be a problem in configuring these plugins, so be careful, young padawan.
3. Add and take care of your meta tags
La Meta Description, What is that ? It is an HTML tag that gives a summary of the page content to the search engine that indexes your site. It plays a major role in SEO. It allows you to present the content of your page both to users and to small Google robots. Taking care of the meta descriptions of its pages allows you to obtain a better click rate as well as to satisfy the Google bots who hate seeing this field quickly.
Using Rank Math or Yoast (which you should already have installed if you follow the instructions), you can edit this field and customize it as you see fit. To be optimized, your Meta Description must contain between 275 and 300 characters and contain the keyword(s) present in your page.
4. Include breadcrumbs
No, we are not going to talk about Greek mythology in this paragraph, but rather an orientation guide on your WordPress site. In digital terms, the breadcrumb trail is a navigation aid that allows you to locate yourself on the website you are visiting.
Anyone who has never got lost on a site throws the first stone at me! At a time when you can go from rooster to donkey in two clicks, it is necessary to install a guide allowing the visitor to never get lost.
For this, it is necessary to install a fixed menu, in header and/or footer on each page of your site. Despite this, Google will not be able to accurately analyze which page/article is more important than another. To reinforce the weight of your pages and your articles, it can be interesting to use a navigation thread.
If you opted for Rank Math:
Go to the Rank Math tab of your WordPress dashboard. Click > General Settings then > Breadcrumbs. This is where you will activate and adjust the settings of the navigation thread according to your preferences. Once the breadcrumb trail is activated, retrieve the short code that will allow you to integrate the browser into your site.
Embed the PHP code into your theme by going to Appearance > Editor.
Place it at the very bottom of the header file “header.php” or at the very top of “page.php” or “single.php”.
If you are using a theme builder like Elementor, use the second short code presented.
Use a shortcode widget on your template page or section and simply drop the shortcode inside.
If you opted for Yoast:
The handling is essentially the same. Yoast SEO > General Settings > Breadcrumbs.
Activate the module and configure your preferences in the page that appears. All you have to do is modify your theme by inserting the code:
',' '); } ?>
And voila !
5. Create a sitemap
The term "Sitemap" can be literally translated into French as "Plan de site". It is a protocol intended to facilitate the indexing of your website on search engines. It comes in the form of an XML file and it sets up the general tree structure of your site. It prioritizes web pages and the information contained therein so that small search engine crawlers can quickly map your entire site and report it in their database.
Several plugins allow you to automatically create a sitemap. We have already named them above, we have Yoast SEO and Rank Math SEO to help you with this task.
If you opted for Rank Math:
Go to the extension's dashboard and then to the Configuration Assistant tab. Then go to the "Site Maps" tab.
On this page, all you have to do is activate the generation of the XML sitemap, then save and complete the general configuration if it has not already been done.
If you opted for Yoast SEO:
The handling is similar. Go to the Yoast menu then > General settings and finally > Features. As for Rank Math, it will be enough to activate the sitemap and save your configurations.
Once you have set up each of these parameters, your SEO referencing will only be better! You can continue this process by creating an internal network, creating a real semantic cocoon and taking care of your user experience by producing quality content.
Know that each manipulation facilitating the indexing work of small Google robots, allows you to appear at the top of search results and therefore to be more visible on the web.
It is therefore necessary to take care of every detail so as not to alienate the Californian giant. The optimizations of your natural referencing will not be seen immediately, so our last advice will be to be patient! Patience is the mother of safety and this is all the more valid in the world of SEO.
The steps to follow to improve the SEO of your website can be described in just 4 words: optimize, wait, analyze and start again.