How to improve the natural referencing of your WordPress site?

Published on 08/11/2019 | 4 comments

Today, we will not talk about Divi exclusively but rather about SEO or natural referencing of your WordPress site in general.

On TipsDivi, you usually find tutorial articles to help you improve the design of your Divi site, but it would be a shame to put a "hot" site online if no one visits it, wouldn't it?

So if you are just starting out in website creation, it is important to consider the issue of natural referencing.

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 optimized for SEO is based on :

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

Moreover, we often talk about "SEO pyramid", which I have pictured here:

pyramide SEO
The SEO pyramid - the 3 fundamentals

Advertisement: This article contains affiliate links that you will easily recognize. The classic links are in purple and sponsored links are in pink.

Let's take a closer look at all this:

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 beautiful house but the foundations are not solid, sooner or later you will have problems and this will lead to major works.

On the web, it's the same.

If the site is created in the wrong way, it could be an obstacle to the good referencing of the latter.

What is meant by "wrong way", or rather, what would it take to make the structure of your site suitable and optimized?

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 above picture is not exhaustive but already lists several points on which you should focus:

1.1 - WordPress settings

This is the basis, this is what you are supposed to do right after installing WordPress on your remote server (host) or local server.

From the tab Adjustments 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 provides a structure "Date and Title" while a structure "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 modify this structure because it could have a devastating effect on your natural referencing (many URL redirections should be put in place).

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

Not to mention 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 most used. However, a French competitor is also very effective in optimizing the natural referencing of your site: SEOPress.

These plug-ins allow you to correct some WordPress CMS behaviors that are not optimal for SEO.

With the Yoast or SEOPress settings options, you can delete some WordPress archive pages that have this unfortunate tendency to create duplicate content internally.

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

Finally, these extensions offer many other adjustment options that, depending on your choices, can further optimize your site's SEO.

They also make it possible to exclude certain pages from indexation, which can be an advantage depending on the nature of the index (legal notice pages, privacy policy pages, shopping cart page, CGV page, etc.).

For this reason, it is strongly recommended to use this type of extension rather than the native SEO options of the Divi theme.

1.3 - The quality of the code

When using WordPress, we choose a theme that will define the overall design of the site. Unfortunately, not all themes are equal in terms of code quality!

Some themes are coded to provide options and designs without taking into account the impacts on SEO.

And we know it: a developer is not a referrer. Therefore, caution should be exercised when chooses a WordPress theme even if the marketing department sells it as SEO-Friendly.

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

1.4 - Optimization of robot.txt and.htaccess files

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

However, this part is reserved for developers or people who are quite comfortable with the workings of WordPress. I myself rarely dare to venture out on these fields.

1.5 - The relevance of the internal structure

When we talk about the structure of the site, we also and especially about the internal structure:

  • Parent / child page: this must be decided knowingly because the structure of the URL will be affected.
  • Categories / labels: 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 optimized 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 some cases.
  • etc.

1.6 - The internal mesh size

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

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

This technique is easy to implement and provides good results.

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

Feel free 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 it and yet it's essential!

2 - The contents of the site

Beyond the technical part of setting up a good site structure, another factor is just as important to position yourself in search results: the site's content.

We can never repeat it enough: publish good content and your SEO strategy is half won!

le contenu SEO
Content quality is another pillar of SEO

As you probably know, Google favours quality content. When he proposes a page or article on his results, he should be "proud" of it.

Would you recommend a bad plumber or electrician to a friend? Certainly not! Well, neither does Google!

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

Among these quality criteria, we can note:

2.1 - A unique content

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

Obviously, you will 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.

Beyond plagiarism, you must be careful with Duplicate Content within your site itself (content duplicated internally).

It is only by knowing the WordPress operation that we understand that the CMS duplicates our content in a native way. This can be avoided to a large extent with extensions such as Yoast or SEOPress but also by encoding some files within a children's theme.

For example, if you are the sole author of your site, the authors' archive page will be a full copy of your blog page. Since these two pages offer the same content on 2 different URLs, we talk about Duplicate Content.

Be sure to correct this type of error as soon as possible.

2.2 - Keywords and semantics

We cannot write for the web as we would for the print media. It is essential to optimize your texts and content for a targeted request.

This requires the strategic choice of keywords and the use of extended semantics.

How could Google offer your page or article on a request entered by the user if its content is not optimized in this way?

2.3 - Rich and high-quality content

Your content must meet a specific need and must go around the issue. If you only offer useless and interest-free information, the user will leave immediately, which will increase your rebound rate and reduce the average time spent on your site.

These indicators are very telling...

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

2.4 - Structured content

It's not about saying "I'm going to publish a 5000-word article and Google will like me"... No!

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

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

In short, all this will help the reader not to "pick up the phone" and will allow Google's robots to better understand your content.

2.5 - Frequency of publication

This is a painful subject... 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 increases. It's a kind of virtuous circle.

To put all the assets on your side, it is recommended to publish regularly: ideally weekly or monthly if you can't do otherwise.

This is why the question of keeping a blog within your showcase site or e-commerce site becomes obvious to most commercial companies that have digitized. I don't know of any major brand that doesn't have a very active blog or news feed.

How can I win new keywords without regularly publishing blog articles? WordPress is precisely the ideal solution to create a showcase site or e-commerce with a blog section.

However, blogging requires a lot of time, personal investment and knowledge. This is why the web writing market is booming: web editor, SEO editor, storyteller etc.

2.6 - Many other criteria...

All the points listed so far are already a good starting point to optimize your content in order to improve your SEO.

Many other criteria can be taken into account, such as: the images used, the 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 perfectly optimize 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 on green. How will Google be able to decide between them? How will Google be able to choose between two publications of equal quality?

The first page of Google offers only about ten results and the places are "expensive". It is precisely thanks to the 3rd pillar of this SEO pyramid - the links - that you will succeed in gaining positions against 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 problem with backlinks is that it is difficult to control them, unlike all the other types of optimizations we have just seen (structure, internal mesh, 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 optimization is not simple and is often entrusted to SEO professionals. However, here is what you need to know:

  • The backlinks of a site allow Google to measure its popularity: the more links the site has, the more it is considered to be 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 is "hidden" your link), 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, or even harmful. For a better SEO impact, the links that point to your site must come from sites with the same theme as yours.
  • Backlinks everywhere: 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) of your site.
  • Prefer quality to quantity: it is better to get a few backlinks from "authority sites" than hundreds from "small sites" that are still not very popular with Google. The quality of your backlinks has an important role to play 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 you get backlinks?

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

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

3.1 - The purchase of links

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

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

Of course, this strategy must be used intelligently to achieve a 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 host 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 link strategy by creating netlinking campaigns.

To better understand this particular way of working, I invite you to read this detailed review.

3.2 - The publication of guest articles

This is a fairly well known and rather effective way to obtain a backlink "follow". You can contact bloggers of your theme and suggest that they write a quality article to publish on their blog.

It is not a question of publishing a promotional article praising the merits 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 will not forget to introduce yourself and make a link to your site at that time.

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

3.3 - Active participation in an event

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

There is then a good chance that the event site will link to your site. These baklinks are generally "follow" (followed links).

3.4 - The publication of authority articles

Here is another solution that could (nothing is sure) win you a few backlinks: write a "crazy article" on a topic that interests you and hope that this article will be cited by other bloggers or site publishers.

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

3.5 - The publication of article-review

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, chances are it will be noticed by the brand or company in question that could make a feedback link to this publication.

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

3.6 - Post comments on blogs about your theme

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 cases, these backlinks are "nofollow". This means that Google does not follow them.

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

3.7 - Other opportunities to obtain backlinks

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

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

Don't delay any longer! Discover the Divi theme here !

4 - All aspects of natural referencing

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

Google has gradually developed its algorithm, it is getting finer every day and with each modification, new quality criteria are integrated.

It is certainly a titan's job comparable to that of building the pyramids of Cairo....

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

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

  • The security of your WordPress site: do not neglect this aspect because a hacked site will no longer be offered by Google and all the work done so far will be lost. That would be such a shame!
  • The performance: improve the performance of a site is certainly enjoyable for the visitor. It is an essential comfort today. Google obviously prefers to offer high-performance sites in its search results.
  • Accessibility: is your site optimized for all visitors? Even for the hearing impaired, the visually impaired etc.? The accessibility of a site is a quality criterion. This often involves encoding the theme but can be improved by other means such as transcribing or subtitling your videos, font size, colors used, contrasts etc.

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

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

Fondamentaux SEO WordPress
améliorer SEO WordPress
improve SEO WordPress

3,483 words


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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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