We use Yoast SEO on all our sites, to quickly and easily optimize for search engines. It lets us control the meta attributes that Google reads and add vital SEO information to all pages.
WPML and Yoast SEO teams work together to ensure complete compatibility, letting you optimize your multilingual sites in a simple way.
If you are new to SEO, you might be interested in our introduction article on multilingual SEO.
What you will need
- A recent version of WPML (version 3.3.7 or above), including the String Translation add-on.
- Yoast SEO (version 3.1.1 or above)
- Yoast SEO documentation has a detailed information on how to use the plugin and provides tips to help you achieve a high level of search engine optimization.
- The WPML Getting Started Guide will help you in setting up WPML in a few minutes. You’ll want to refer later to one of its subtopics, String Translation.
- Translating Global SEO Texts
- Translating Page SEO Attributes
- Translating your Sitemaps for SEO
Translating Global SEO Texts
Yoast SEO lets you enter texts that apply to the homepage and as templates for the entire site, from your WordPress dashboard navigate to SEO >> Titles and Metas >> Homepage tab, the following illustration shows how to set the title and description for your homepage (applicable when the site’s home is not a static page).
After you enter the title and meta description, navigate to WPML >> String Translation to translate them.
The String Translation screen includes all texts that don’t belong to a specific post or page. All of Yoast SEO admin texts are under the context ‘admin_texts_wpseo_titles‘. Check the illustration below.
Click on the ‘Translation‘ link next to the texts that you want to translate, enter the translation and mark ‘Translation is complete‘. Then, click Save.
You will find translatable strings for the rest of the SEO attribute templates, allowing you to optimize the title templates for each language.
Translation for Page SEO Attributes
Yoast SEO adds a meta box to the content editor. There, you can control the page title, meta description and focus keywords for each page separately.
Since WPML uses different pages for each language, they naturally receive their SEO attributes. Let’s create a page, optimize it for SEO and translate it.
As you can see, we’ve entered the SEO title, meta description,slug and focus keyword for this page. This is an English page, so we’ve entered the SEO attributes in English.
To translate this page, we click on the icon (add translation) icon in the language box.
The newly added Spanish translation has its own page. As a new page, it has its own title, content and custom fields. The SEO attributes as ‘just another set of custom fields’, as far as WPML is concerned.
As the Yoast SEO plugin is fully compatible with WPML and comes complete with a language configuration file, WPML knows how to handle the different SEO attributes (custom fields) when you translate content.
To save you work, WPML will automatically synchronize the ‘non text’ fields and let you translate the textual fields. Here is the content editor when we translate into Spanish:
The Spanish page lets us enter the SEO title, meta description,slug and focus keyword independently of the English content.
If you dig deeper, you will notice that the non-textual settings are synchronized between the translations.
This means that if you change these settings in the default language, they are immediately applied to all translations. You don’t need to bother going through various languages and make the same changes.
Translating your Sitemaps for SEO
A Sitemap is a an XML file that lists all the pages of your site for search engines like Google. The expected behaviour is to have a Sitemap for each domain, and this is exactly what will happen when using WPML ‘A different domain per language’ option located in WPML >> Languages together with WP SEO by Yoast. For example when you have en.mydomain.com for the English site’s versions and es.mydomain.com for the Spanish site’s version, you’ll end up with two different XML files for each language version listing the correct pages per language. You can find the default language sitemap, by going to ‘yourdomain/sitemap_index.xml’. For your secondary language you will go to ‘your-secondary-language-domain/sitemap_index.xml’.
Improving the ranking and having more visitors is one of the important goals for any website. Yoast SEO by Yoast is a great plugin to improve your site’s SEO, its integration with WPML will allow you to have your multilingual search engine optimized with ease.