Multilingual SEO and WordPress

Change the WordPress site multilingual is a major challenge for many web sites. Many articles have been written on the various possible methods to do so. Unfortunately, the multilingual can have many pitfalls, including that of not being indexed in all languages.

The purpose of this article is understand how the multilingual SEO and be able to choose a WordPress multilingual solution consistent with recommendations from Google

seo multilingue WordPress image

multilingual SEO. Good Google practices

Google has published a guide on how best to achieve a multilingual site. This guide is also intended for all websites, not just in WordPress

The following preamble in the two important rules for your site to be indexed correctly in all languages.

rule # 1: A different URL by language

You must separate the different versions of your page. For example:

  • returns a page in English

  • returns a page in french

Do not use a cookie or session variables to select the language

to separate the different versions of your pages, you have several choices of structures.

  1. Sub domain

  2. Sous directory

  3. Domaine dedicated

A not do : If the IP comes from France, so http: // displays the page in french, otherwise displays the page in English.

  • because this would prevent Google from indexing the page French, Google from the United States, it would never see the French page.

instead, choose the solutions 1 or 2. Option 3 is more expensive to set up and you may be blocked because some areas are already taken or require special conditions of access

Rule # 2. Prevent Google different versions

once you have your different pages in each language, must prevent Google for it goes well on every page. For this, two possibilities:

  1. The tag hreflang Add the following tag in your party to indicate that there is a page in . Spanish
  2. the sitemap : instead of using hreflang tags, you can specify this information in the sitemap of your site

  3. That’s it! By following these two points, you will already have an own multilingual site and it will be properly indexed by Google in all languages.

    And for WordPress then?

    Reassure -you! You will not have yourself to apply the rules set out in Part 1. In WordPress, you’ll use a plugin that can handle these issues for you.

    Now that we know how Google works, let to explore different options for multilingual WordPress and judge whether they follow good SEO practices.

    the purpose of this part is not to detail the operation of plugins (this was already done and there are many tutorials here or elsewhere) but rather to determine whether or not the plugin follows the best practices of Google in terms of SEO.

    as a reminder, you can consult our ultimate guide to SEO by Yoast .


    the multisite solution is to completely separate sites, for example on subdomains or subdirectories. This solution meets the best practices of Google and will be fully compatible in multilingual SEO.

    For more on the advantages / disadvantages of multisite, I recommend reading

    Plugins JavaScript

    Many multilingual plugins are based on dynamic translation of the page: A JavaScript script scans the content of the site is an external call (Google Translate for example) and alter the original content by putting content translated.

    Unfortunately this process does not change the URL and the page is not reloaded.

    is therefore clear that these solutions are not compatible with the multilingual SEO. Your site will not be indexed in multilingual.

    Plugins “source code”

    The plugins “source code”, like Weglot, WPML Polylang or create separate URLs for each page and return a clean source code in the right language.

    in addition, these extensions manage hreflang tags to tell Google the presence of translated pages. These solutions are perfectly compatible with the multilingual SEO.

    List of compatible multilingual plugins SEO

    In the jungle multilingual plugins, it’s sometimes difficult to know the functioning the latter by just reading the description and sometimes you could end up facing an unpleasant surprise: not to see her site indexed in other languages ​​

    so we shelled some multilingual plugins to understand the operation and whether they followed the SEO practices recommended by Google.

    If you want to know if another plugin is compatible multilingual SEO, do not hesitate to ask us for comment, we will add it to the list.

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