How to improve the natural referencing of your WordPress site?

Published on 08/11/2019 | 4 comments

3,483 words


Today, we won't be talking about Divi exclusively, but rather about SEO or natural referencing of your WordPress site in general.

On DiviTricks, you can usually find tutorials to help you improve the design of your Divi site, but it would be a shame to put up a "hot" site if no one visits it, right?

So if you're just starting out in web design, it's important to look at SEO.

I propose to democratize the fundamentals of SEO so that a beginner can easily implement optimizations that will bear fruit.

Most experts agree that there are 3 pillars on which a good SEO strategy is based, in other words, a site optimised for natural referencing is based on :

  1. A good structure
  2. Good content
  3. A good netlinking strategy

By the way, it is often referred to as the "SEO pyramid", which I have pictured here:

pyramide SEO
The SEO pyramid - the 3 fundamentals

Announcement: this article contains affiliate links that you will easily recognise. The classic links are in purple and sponsored links are in pink.

Let's take a closer look:

1 - The structure of the site

The structure of the site is the base of this pyramid. We could compare it to the foundations of a house.

If you build a very nice house but the foundations are not solid, sooner or later you will have problems and this will lead to major work.

In the web, it's the same.

If the site is created in the wrong way, it could be a hindrance to its good referencing.

What is meant by "bad manners", or rather, what should be done to make your site's structure suitable and optimised?

la structure d'un site
The structure of the site is the basis of the SEO fundamentals

Finally, the site structure is the most technical part of your SEO strategy.

The picture above is not exhaustive but already identifies several points you should focus on:

1.1 - WordPress settings

This is the basics, it's what you're supposed to do right after installing WordPress on your remote server (host) or local server.

From the Settings tab of WordPress, you will discover several options, some of which are important. I am thinking in particular of the structure of your permalinks.

By default, WordPress offers a "Date and Title structure, whereas a "Title of the publication is certainly more optimal.

les permaliens impactent le référencement naturel

However, if your site has been online for a while, it is not recommended to change this structure as it could have a devastating effect on your SEO (many URL redirects would have to be set up).

This is why it is recommended to make these settings at the very beginning of the creation of your site.

And don't forget that your WordPress site should be installed on a secure URL (HTTPS).

1.2 - Using an SEO plug-in

In the image you see "Yoast settings". Indeed, this SEO plug-in is the most famous and the most used. However, a French competitor is also very effective in optimising the natural referencing of your site: SEOPress.

These plug-ins allow you to correct certain behaviours of the WordPress CMS that are not optimal for SEO.

Using the settings options in Yoast or SEOPress, you can remove certain WordPress archive pages that have this annoying tendency to create duplicate content internally.

But that's not all! Thanks to these plug-ins, you can easily optimise the Meta Title tags (SEO title) and the Meta Description tags (SEO description) which are decisive for the SEO of your pages and articles.

Finally, these extensions offer many other settings options that, depending on your choices, can further optimise the SEO of your site.

They also allow you to exclude certain pages from indexing, which can be an advantage depending on the nature of the page (legal pages, privacy policy pages, shopping cart page, terms and conditions page, etc.).

Therefore, it is strongly recommended to use this kind of extension rather than the native SEO options of the Divi theme.

1.3 - Code quality

When using WordPress, you choose a theme that will define the overall design of the site. Unfortunately, not all themes are equal when it comes to code quality!

Some themes are coded to offer options and designs without considering the impact on SEO.

And we know: a developer is not a referrer. So you have to be careful when you choose a WordPress theme even if the marketing department sells it as SEO-Friendly.

Fortunately, the Divi theme does not have any real code issues that could hinder the natural referencing of your site, however, I invite you to consult these 8 tips to help you optimise Divi for SEO even better.

1.4 - Optimising robot.txt and .htaccess files

It is true that this part is rather technical. In the .htaccess and robot.txt files you can write lines of code to issue certain rules that would improve SEO.

However, this part is reserved for developers or people who are rather comfortable with the way WordPress works. I myself rarely dare to venture into these areas.

1.5 - The relevance of the internal structure

When we talk about the structure of the site, we are also talking about the internal structure:

  • Parent/child pages: this must be a conscious decision as the structure of the URL will be affected.
  • Categories / tags: have you made the right choices? Is the classification of your blog posts relevant and ergonomic?
  • The depth of the pages: are some pages too deep (do you have to click 3 or 4 times to reach them)?
  • The main menu of your site (navigation): is it relevant and ergonomic for your users?
  • Use of silos: have you optimised your internal structure to build silos? This classification of your content by theme, more or less hermetic, can improve the SEO of a site in certain cases.
  • etc.

1.6 - The internal network

Although this technique could have been classified in the "links" part of the SEO pyramid, internal linking improves the structure of the site.

As a reminder, internal linking is the creation of links within your content that point to other pages or articles on your site.

This technique is easy to implement and gives good results.

Moreover, the silo structures are based on the internal networking of the site. The main idea is to optimise the links between articles/pages of the same theme (topic).

So don't hesitate to improve the links between your pages and articles. Don't forget to edit your old articles to insert links to your new ones. We don't often take the time to do this and yet it is essential!

2 - The contents of the site

In addition to the technical part, which allows you to set up a good site structure, another factor is just as important to position yourself well in the search results: the site content.

We can't repeat it enough: publish good content and your SEO strategy is halfway to success!

le contenu SEO
Quality content is another pillar of SEO

As you probably know, Google favours quality content. When it proposes a page or an article on its results, it must be able to be "proud" of it.

Would you recommend a bad plumber or electrician to a friend? I certainly would not! Well, neither would Google!

When Google indexes your content, it "reads" your texts (the robots scan the source code of your pages and articles) and determines whether they are of good quality thanks to numerous criteria. Then it defines a position for your result.

These quality criteria include

2.1 - Unique content

Your texts must be original and unique in every sense of the word.

Obviously, you should not copy and paste texts you have found on another site. Even if you change a few words or sentences, it will be quickly spotted and you could be punished.

In addition to plagiarism, you must be careful with Duplicate Content within your site (duplicated content within your site).

It is only by knowing the how WordPress works that we understand that the CMS duplicates our content natively. This can be avoided to a large extent with extensions such as Yoast or SEOPress but also by coding certain files within a child theme.

For example, if you are the only author of your site, the author archive page will be a complete copy of your blog page. Since these two pages offer the same content on two different URLs, this is called Duplicate Content.

Please make sure that you correct this kind of mistake as soon as possible.

2.2 - Keywords and semantics

You cannot write for the web as you would for the print media. It is essential to optimise your texts and content for a targeted query.

This is achieved through the strategic choice of keywords and the use of extended semantics.

How can Google suggest your page or article on a query entered by the Internet user if its content is not optimised in this sense?

2.3 - Rich, high-quality content

Your content must meet a precise need and must cover the whole issue. If you only offer useless and uninteresting information, the user will leave immediately, which will increase your bounce rate and decrease the average time spent on your site.

These indicators speak for themselves...

So make sure you write useful and rich texts that send good signals to Google. Of course, rich content is much longer (in terms of number of words) than poor content, which is another quality criterion to take care of.

2.4 - Structured content

It's not a question of thinking "I'll publish a 5000 word article and I'll please Google"... No!

In addition to the above, your content must be structured, readable and digestible for your readers:

  • Split your texts into paragraphs + subheadings (H2, H3, H4 etc.)
  • Use bulleted or numbered lists
  • Use bold and italics to support certain ideas and key words.
  • Keep your sentences and chapters short.
  • etc.

In short, all this will help the reader to stay on task and allow Google's robots to better understand your content.

2.5 - Frequency of publication

This is a painful topic... The frequency of publication certainly plays a role in Google's algorithm.

Even if nothing is proven, we notice that the more we publish, the more traffic we get. It's a kind of virtuous circle.

To be on the safe side, it is recommended that you publish regularly: weekly ideally or monthly if you can't do otherwise.

That's why the question of having a blog as part of your storefront or e-commerce site is becoming obvious to most commercial businesses that have gone digital. I don't know of any major brand that doesn't have a blog or a very active news feed.

How can you gain new keywords without publishing regular blog posts? WordPress is the ideal solution for creating a showcase or e-commerce site with a blog section.

However, keeping a blog requires a lot of time, personal investment and knowledge. That's why the market for web writing is booming: web writer, SEO writer, storyteller etc.

2.6 - Many other criteria...

All the points listed so far are already a good starting point for optimising your content to improve your SEO.

Many other criteria can be taken into account, such as: images used, alternative text, external links, anchors, comments from your readers etc.

3 - The link strategy

WordPress powers more than 34% of the world's websites.

Imagine that a small percentage of these users are perfectly optimising the structure AND content of their site. Imagine that, like you, they have a website with a healthy structure, they regularly publish quality content and all the lights are green. How will Google be able to decide between them? How will Google choose between two publications of equal quality?

The first page of Google offers only ten or so results and positions are "expensive". It is precisely thanks to the 3rd pillar of this SEO pyramid - links - that you will manage to gain positions over your competitors!

liens et les backlinks pour référencement naturel
Backlinks are the 3rd pillar of the SEO pyramid

When we talk about links, we are talking more precisely about backlinks: these are links from external sites that point to your site.

The big concern with backlinks is that they are difficult to control, unlike all the other types of optimisation we have just seen (structure, internal linking, content quality etc.).

A good SEO strategy goes hand in hand with a good netlinking strategy (= means used to obtain backlinks).

Unfortunately, this part of the optimization is not simple and is often left to SEO pros. However, here is what you need to know:

  • A site's backlinks allow Google to measure its popularity: the more links a site has, the more it is considered an "authority site".
  • The origin and anchors of your backlinks must be diversified: if all your links come from the same CMS, if all your links have the same anchor (= word under which your link is "hidden"), if all your links are "follow"... In short, if your backlinks are not diversified, Google could find this suspicious.
  • The theme of your backlinks: if a make-up advice site links to a plumber's site, this backlink will be considered null and void, and could even be detrimental. For a better SEO impact, the links pointing to your site should come from sites with the same theme as yours.
  • Backlinks all over the place: even if the home page of your site is the one that should get the majority of your backlinks, it can be an advantage to get links that point to other pages (or articles) on your site.
  • Prefer quality to quantity: it is better to get a few backlinks from "authority sites" rather than hundreds from "small sites" that are still not very popular in the eyes of Google. The quality of your backlinks has an important role in a netlinking strategy.

Even if these last 5 points are very important to measure the popularity of your site and improve its natural referencing, the real question is : how can we get backlinks?

It is not easy, I grant you, but nothing is impossible!

There are several known ways to do this and I suggest you discover them in order of effectiveness:

3.1 - Buying links

This is the easiest way to get backlinks without getting too tired: buy backlinks from publishers.

In the web world, this link-buying strategy is well known and widely used by SEOs. However, if you are just starting out, you may not be aware that there are platforms for linking "advertiser sites" and "publisher sites".

Of course, this strategy must be used intelligently to achieve natural netlinking in the eyes of Google. There are many platforms of this kind in France but the most qualitative is certainly that of CréaNico: SEMJuice.

This platform allows you to register as a publisher site (partner site that will receive the backlink) or advertiser site (the one that needs backlinks). Or even both!

So, if your site has no backlinks, you could start an effective linking strategy by creating netlinking campaigns.

To better understand how this works, I invite you to read this detailed review.

3.2 - Publishing guest articles

This is a fairly well-known and effective way to get a "follow" backlink. You can contact bloggers in your field and offer to write a quality article to publish on their blog.

It is not a question of publishing a promotional article extolling the virtues of your products or services, but rather an "advice" article that would give added value to the blog that will publish it.

Of course, you should not forget to introduce yourself and link to your site at this point.

It's a win-win solution because you get a backlink for free and the blogger gets a quality article that he didn't write.

3.3 - Active participation in an event

If you are involved in a regional or national event - for example, if you are a speaker, a sponsor or even an organiser - it is very likely that the event will use the web to promote itself.

There is then a good chance that the event site will link to your site. These baklinks are usually 'follow'.

3.4 - Publishing authoritative articles

Here's another solution that might ( but can't) earn you some backlinks: write a "crazy article" on a topic of interest and hope that this article is cited by other bloggers or publishers.

It won't cost you any money but it will take a lot of time to write and you are not sure to get backlinks, unlike buying links or publishing guest articles.

3.5 - Publication of review articles

A review article is an article that gives an opinion on a product or service: it can be a tutorial, a test, etc.

If your article is of high quality, there is a chance that it will be noticed by the brand or company in question, which may link back to the publication.

This option will not cost you anything but it does not work every time.

3.6 - Post comments on blogs on your topic

This is not the best way to get backlinks because the links you post in the blog comment form are not of very good quality.

Let's say that in 99% of the cases, these backlinks are "nofollow". This means that Google does not follow them.

However, nofollow links are counted within Google Search Console and help create a "healthy link profile".

3.7 - Other opportunities to get backlinks

We have just seen the 6 best ways to get backlinks but they are not the only ones. There are other more or less valid ways:

  • Sponsored articles: paid articles promoting your company.
  • PBN: Private Blog Network or site networks allow you to create links but beware, it's rather borderline.
  • Social networks: articles shared on social networks are not taken into account by Google (nofollow links) but can improve your reputation and site traffic.

Don't delay! Discover the Divi theme here !

4 - All facets of natural referencing

I like to imagine that the famous SEO pyramid is not alone.

Google has gradually developed its algorithm, which is becoming more refined by the day, and with each change, new quality criteria are integrated.

It is certainly a mammoth task comparable to the construction of the pyramids in Cairo...

référencement naturel : les pyramides seo
What if there were 3 SEO pyramids?

I think then that beyond the optimisation of structure, content and links, other criteria are very important:

  • The security of your WordPress site: don't neglect this aspect because a hacked site will no longer be proposed by Google and all the work done until then will be lost. That would be such a shame!
  • The performance : improve the performance of a site is certainly appreciated by the visitor. This is a major comfort today. Of course, Google prefers to offer high-performance sites in its search results.
  • Accessibility: is your site optimised for all visitors? Even for the hearing impaired, the visually impaired, etc.? The accessibility of a site is a quality criterion. This is often done through the coding of the theme, but can be improved in other ways such as the transcription or subtitling of your videos, the size of the font, the colours used, the contrasts, etc.

Finally, the 3rd grey pyramid shown in my image could well be the future of what search engines expect from a quality site. I'm thinking in particular of artificial intelligence and the other innovations that technology has in store for us...

Need more resources for Divi? Check out the other articles in this section!

Fondamentaux SEO WordPress
améliorer SEO WordPress
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4 Commentaires

  1. Michael

    Merci Lycia et bravo pour cet article très détaillé !!
    As-tu de nouveaux tips pour améliorer les temps de chargement sur Divi en particulier ??
    Merci par avance !!
    Bises et bonne continuation à toi !!

  2. David C.

    Salut Lycia,

    Superbe article qui diffère de ceux de Divi.

    Pour la parti « contenu unique », quelle est la meilleure solution en référencement naturel pour une citation (exemple Wikipedia) ? Y a-t-il une balise html ou autre ?

    Autre point SEO, les div en display none sont-ils vu par les robots Google ?

  3. Lycia Diaz

    Salut David !
    Oui, tu as le droit de faire une citation. Si elle est vraiment longue, je pense qu’il vaut mieux mettre un lien vers la source. Sinon, le « blocquote » (balise citation) est certainement fait pour ça ?…
    Et oui, les display:none sont lus par les robots. Il ne faut pas en abuser, je suppose, et ne pas cacher trop de choses. Par contre le texte blanc écrit sur un fond blanc ou noir sur un fond noir, comme on le faisait dans les années 90 (LOL) est vraiment à proscrire.
    Au plaisir de te lire 😉

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