What is seo and how it works?

Monday, August 29, 2022
author picture Jimmy R. Bélanger
Original content created by news.limited staff

How to optimize your website for search engines?

Your website is important to you, you want to be well positioned naturally on the different search engines? Getting a TOP 3 on google with different award winning keywords in 2022 is becoming extremely difficult, the competition is fierce and the number of competitors continues to increase. The search engine optimization is a combination of several techniques that consists of improving your positioning on the different search engines called natural. Google's goal is to redirect you to the best content that will best meet your needs. Although SEO is not an exact science and the final results will remain the decision of the search engine, you can improve your chances of being well positioned. I had the chance to follow the free SEO training available in the Google Digital Workshop and to put my knowledge into practice on different web projects over the last year and to acquire some expertise. Being extreme in everything I do, I have tried different techniques that seem to have been taken into consideration by the search engines and other techniques have totally destroyed one of my projects. The purpose of my article is to give you the right guidelines to improve your natural ranking without having to start from scratch.

Before SEO, let's evaluate your current mindset. 🧠

Doing something great requires a lot of effort, you will have to work for hours, weeks and months without any income, are you going to be able to stay the course? Learning to enjoy the process of creating a web site is an important step in giving you the will to continue. Love what you do is essential for your personal motivation and the product you will offer will be of better quality, don't be average, nothing average can perform on the internet nowadays, you will do all the SEO techniques that exist to go faster and want to make money you will unfortunately fail. Don't see your project as a whole, break it down into parts and give yourself personal mini objectives to accomplish every day. You will have to put the visitor first to give him a quality and exclusive content, a user-friendly interface, an outstanding experience to distinguish yourself from your competitor. Make original content, stand out with your writing style, add images, videos, be creative, make the experience as user-friendly as possible. This is a chance for you to learn and grow, despite all the obstacles that creating a website brings it remains one of the most beautiful jobs in the world.

Choose a domain name that suits your idea.

The first SEO decision you will have to make is to buy a domain name that will represent the idea of your future project and its extension. It is easier for a search engine to rank you better if you target the right keyword you want to appear on. It is possible to use the name of your company as a domain but you will have to make extra efforts in your content to indicate the idea behind this name. For international projects that target the global market, go for generic domain names such as com, net and org. All three domains will allow your visitors to find you in many ways and eliminate the possibility of other websites being created on this extension. Make sure if you buy multiple names that you redirect them all to the main domain you want to use. Having multiple domains with the same content is against search engine rules and will cause you more problems in the future if they all get listed. For people who want to target a specific country go with the country specific extension this will allow the search engine to better understand your customer base and they have the ability to prioritize visitors from that country for you. Be careful with the domains with an extension linked to a country, in general this domain is available under some conditions and it may be reserved for the resident of this country, if you buy this type of extension be sure to have a person on site and a physical address and not a simple mailbox redirection, at the risk that one day the association linked to this domain name contact you and decide to remove your domain name for non-compliance with the conditions. While keeping the main objective of having a name that summarizes well the domain in which you want to progress, check the names that are about to expire and their quality of referencing will give you the advantage of being already recognized by search engines and have some notoriety. There are several ways to check if a domain name is about to expire, go directly to the website Domaintools and check the expiration date, 30 days after this period, the domain name will be back on the market. Some free websites like Expired Domains will give you a list of domains that are about to expire as well as a lot of practical information about them. You can buy your domain name from any good provider, but go for the simplest and get it at a reasonable price directly from Google Domains if you can. Your area of expertise may already be in use, so it's better to get another extension than to add unnecessary hyphens or extra letters to the domain name that can make it harder for your visitors to find you and harder for search engines to understand your domain name.

It is important to choose a quality web hosting in order to avoid service interruptions and a random decrease of the display speed. Google and other search engines constantly check the availability of your website and they will not accept to give good position on important keywords if your web hosting is unstable. The most renowned data centers have facilities that are not available to the individual in terms of connection speed and physical installation. When you want to choose a web host, you should take a hosting in the main country you want to progress in order to have an IP address located there, the search engines take into account the main country where the server is located, check how long it has been operating and rely on people to evaluate their quality of service, it would be good to do a test email to the chosen host to see how quickly they respond to your questions. The site Hostadvice.com references thousands of web hosts, it gives you promo codes and users give feedbacks of their experience. To take advantage of some SEO benefits, find a web host that uses the Cpanel client control panel, this will allow you to activate cloudflare and verify that the host has activated the NGINX caching function which will allow you to greatly increase the performance of the display to your future visitors. Keep in mind that you are in a competition against other websites and that in today's world people are in a hurry and that a single second of extra display can make you lose visitors and visibility. Another very important point is to never buy your domain name from the host itself, domain names need to be unlocked when transferred and you will need an authorization key, if the host disappears you risk losing your domain name and be forget to start your SEO strategy. Depending on your level of knowledge in web hosting you will have to go for a shared web hosting or a dedicated server.

Shared hosting consists in hosting several clients on the same server. The main advantage is that the costs are minimal, about 3.5$ per month and that you will not have the need to install all the software necessary for the proper functioning of the hosting itself. This method does carry some risk for your SEO. The other clients on the server can impact the availability of the server and you will be at the mercy of the host and its response time to a failure. The other very important point is that by default web hosts share all the clients on the server with the same IP address, so depending on the web activity of other clients the IP address could become blacklisted and google is able to determine how many clients are located on the same address, although this should not harm your SEO it is better to have a unique IP address. When your website starts to have visitors and it will require a lot of physical resources to the server the host may either limit the performance of your website or simply cut it off for abuse of service, consider the profitability of your site and move to a dedicated server manager if you do not have the knowledge to manage your own server.

Dedicated servers, the Cadillac of SEO.

To avoid all the SEO problems related to shared web hosting you should opt for a dedicated server. It goes without saying that the price is much higher and if you have to install the right software to be hosted on it yourself it can become complex. There are small companies that can manage your servers for you but you need to find the right partner. You want to be sure to have a quality dedicated server at a reasonable price go to ovh, don't forget to choose a server located in the desired country to increase its display speed for your visitors and buy a license to activate CPanel. CPanel is the key to facilitate the management of your server and give you the right SEO tools to optimize the speed of your website. You will have a unique IP address and peace of mind. Unfortunately don't count on OVH customer service to help you solve a software failure. They are very proactive when it comes to replacing a physical part of the server but the response time and quality of their response for a software failure is practically zero. An advice do not forget to make daily backups of your website and to take a copy of your website. A backup costs nothing and could save your life if you need to move your infrastructure quickly.

Cloudflare: The Swiss army knife of SEO.

Cloudflare is a complete DNS management service that is a must if you want to improve the display performance of your website as well as make your life easier with some SEO details, it is used by more than 4 million websites around the world. There are two ways to activate cloudflare, the simplest is to activate it in your CPanel control panel, this option will allow you to enjoy its basic benefits. To go further and enjoy all the benefits of cloudflare it is preferable to register on their website, add the desired domain name and use directly the DNS cloudflare. Cloudflare has the ability to redirect your visitors to the nearest mirror dns so that they enjoy a faster display, the speed of display is a crucial point not to neglect for your adoption by various search engines. You will be able to manage your dns quickly in case of failure and activate a lot of optimization options that will make a real difference for your visitors. The free mode will allow you to see your statistics in real time, optimization of HTTP communication protocols, HTTP to HTTPS redirection, non-www to www redirection, the famous Rocket Loader which allows you to improve the performance of your javascripts, automatically minimized your script, css and html and it allows in case of web attack to activate a protection mode. There are paid packages that will give you even more options such as image resizing, Tcp Turbo, HTTP/2 prioritization and Cloudflare plugins dedicated to optimizing the performance of your WordPress site. Take the free option and do your own testing you will be greatly surprised with the results. Always keep in mind that you can improve the performance of your website but if the quality of your content is unsatisfactory the SEO impact will be minimal. Cloudflare is constantly improving and a free beta function has just appeared, it is Index Now. I tested this option and it is well taken into account by the search engine bing but it also works for Yandex and DuckDuckGo. It makes a direct link between cloudflare and the different search engines to improve the speed of indexing of your different web pages. It is possible to see the results of index Now directly in the control panel for bing webmaster.

Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals 😀

There is already a multitude of websites on the web that talk about SEO basics related to programming. All that surrounds meta tags, H1-H5, bold content and keywords. Some of the information is good and some is contradictory, in order to have the exact time on the right methods why not do the free training offered directly by google in the Google Digital Workshop. This basic training can be completed in just a few days, it is available in several languages, created by University of California, Davis and powered by Coursera, you will not have better training and accurate information on SEO to date. Whether you have qualifications or not in the field of SEO it is simple, based on the video approach it is interactive and motivating, you will have mini-quizzes to answer at each step and to finish the training, you will have a final exam that will allow you to acquire a certificate in the field of SEO. Print this one and hang it on your wall to show to your friends or simply include it in your resume for your next job. For those who prefer a summary course of the fundamentals of the basic SEO rules here they are :

The originality of your content will be your strength.

This is the task that will take you the most time but it will bring you the most personal satisfaction. You want to sell a product, a service or simply write articles to help people, be original, make your readers feel WoW, make them want to come back to your website and share ingenious solutions to solve their problem. Everyone has different ways of thinking and acting, with your new ideas you will bring a new wind of freshness, the search engines have the ability to see the content that has been copied and this will hurt your positioning, do you really want to be positioned thanks to the content of others? As you can see, sometimes the images and videos I use for my articles are my creations and sometimes I use other sources on the internet. When you use content from elsewhere take the time to name your sources and offer them a referral link in exchange named backlinks, in general people will accept to share their work with you because backlinks are an important point to increase their position in search engines.

The ergonomics of your website adapted for today.

Your website can't rank well if it can't be read effectively by the different devices that exist. Whether your visitor is using a computer, tablet or cell phone, each screen resolution needs to be considered. Keep in mind that technology continues to evolve as well as resolutions, slowly people will move to 2K (2048X1080) and then 4K (3840x2160). For those who use CMS, they were created to make your life easier and at the same time they need to work on all existing devices. The best way to confirm that everything is in order with your project is to open the developer tool on Google Chrome or Internet Edge by right-clicking on the desired page and selecting inspect. Responsinator allows you to test any type of tablet or mobile resolution simultaneously. It is important to note that more than 50% of current visitors use their cell phones.

SEO your local business in a determined area.

What we learn in the Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals is to use the tool to add your company to Google, this is very practical and improves your referencing in search engines. Enter your business address properly, add photos and a description of your product and service. All the people who live in the same area as your business and are looking for a service in your field of expertise will come across you and your competitors. The image above illustrates a search I did for a hair salon located in the New York area. Most people who search for a service use google and then check the reviews related to that business, a practical tip every time you give a good service to a customer ask them to add a review, the more good reviews will be associated with your business the higher your position in the list and at the same time you will reach more customers. This google service is free so why not take advantage of it.

How well managed typography relates to SEO.

The typography related to SEO includes all the texts that you will write by yourself on the page in question and that will then be analyzed by search engines to position you. It is important to know that each web page is considered different, so it is possible to have several writing topics on different pages of your site. When you are going to write your article or describe your product it is interesting to understand what people are looking for. There are several types of writing and several synonyms to describe the same thing. Without being a language expert you can use some tools to determine if certain keywords will allow you to reach more people. Google Trends allows you to better determine which keyword will be the best adapted to your text depending on the language and the country of residence of your visitor. To give you a simple example, I compared the keyword Mini Pig versus Teacup Pig in the United States to use the most popular term to reach the most people. Using the right keywords will help you find the right target audience. Comparing terms that have the same meaning, it would have been a bad idea to use only the word pig for an article that talks about mini pigs, the target audience would not be reached and visitors will close the page immediately which will create a high bounce rate. When writing your texts, use the bold fonts, these are taken into consideration by the search engines and your visitors will stay hooked on the important elements.

Create great meta tags with effective SEO tools.

For those who are not programmers and use a CMS like WordPress, go to a specialized plugin like Rank Math SEO to automatically generate your meta tags. The main meta tags are displayed by search engines, there is now a full range of meta tags that allow you to better display your website when it is shared on social media like twitter and Facebook. You must know that there are length limits to the title and descriptions and these are specific to each of them, if you exceed the limit, the search engine will not display the entirety of it, in general we talk about 65 characters for the title and 150 characters for the description but it is better to evaluate the maximum length each time you make a page with the Seobility Free Tool. This tool is great, it allows you to evaluate your web page regarding meta tags but also writing tags such as H1-H5, the text of your page, the speed of your website and different parameters that will provide you valuable information to improve your SEO. Here is an example of meta tags that we use, you can modify them as you wish to adapt them to your website. I modified the length of the contents so that it is more easily readable. Do not forget the meta tags located at the beginning of your web page between the head tags.

Understand the priority order of the H1 to H6 tags.

The H1 represents your main topic as a whole, it must attract the visitor's interest. The higher you go to the h tags, these will represent the strong points of your topics but in a more specialized way. In the past the SEO custom was to limit the Htag to one copy each, now this is no longer the case. Go with your big gut, the H1 represents your topic and should stand alone, you can subdivide the same topic into several H2 and then subdivide the already divided topic into several parts H3, H4, H5, H6. Generally we use a larger size of writing in chronological order. It is interesting to create a link between the table of contents and Htags in order to allow your visitors to select directly the desired part. At the same time, search engines are able to better understand your content and even to reference specific sections. The following example only includes the logical hierarchy of Htags, of course you have to add content between each Htags to better elaborate your topic.

Integration of your images with SEO flavor.

In the Google training, we are told that Google is unable to determine the content of an image and that we must describe it using the ALT tag. Adding a clear name to your file can help search engines to find it. It is possible since a few years to put a LAZY mode to the image loading which allows the browser to load it in memory only when necessary which has the impact of improving the loading of your website. The vanilla-lazyload allows to take care of the good format of image as well as the good resolution when you give him several versions of the same image. There are several LAZY scripts available on the internet for free but it is better to use this version because it does not require the addition of the JQuery module, so it is lighter which makes it more efficient. To maximize your SEO approach with images, it would be good to provide four versions of the same image, one low resolution and one high resolution with a traditional format such as JPG, JPEG and two other images in the same optics in WEBP optimized format. You will be sure that your visitor will have the most optimized image for his needs depending on the type of device and browser he will use. I would like to show you an example of code to properly implement this method, it is possible to use it with a simple format and add other formats later.

As you can see, there is an example that only adds the ALT tag to the image. The second version requires you to add the javascript to your page. Once added this script you to use the PICTURE tag and put inside the SOURCES you want. I use two traditional formats one of the images will be displayed on browsers with a resolution of less than 800px with an image so the dimension on the width is 640px, the other image will be displayed on browsers of more than 801px with an image width resolution of 1200w. With the small version you will cover most of the mobiles, the bigger version must have a better resolution because this one will also be used in users who have a HD resolution. I repeated the same experience with the WEBP image format. There is another reason to use a resolution of 1200w for the large formats, when working with the AMP page format it requires a minimum image length of 1200w so that you can use it in your SCHEMAS. Once you have determined your image dimensions you must enter the smallest default size in the IMG SRC section and the highest resolution in the DATA-SRC tag.

The backlinks are links to your web pages that will be implemented by other websites. As you will have seen in the example, the backlink is a simple A HREF that has for destinations the precise page that you want to make known to your visitors, it must be inked with the keyword or expression that you want a better position. Having quality content will encourage your visitors and other webmasters to share your site and at the same time it will automatically create backlinks. A rel="nofollow" variant can be added to a referrer link which has the effect of canceling the points associated with it lives to search engines, this variant was added to discourage people from using self-promotion tools that are dedicated to automatically create backlinks in the comment section of other websites. The practice is that the more the website that refers you to itself has a good SEO ranking that will improve the value of your backlink. So how to make backlinks the right way in order to really increase your google rank without being penalized by search engines. The most effective way but which takes some time is to contact other webmasters who have the same interest as you and offer them an exchange of backlinks that could enhance your article and their article. It is important not to lose the essence of your text and if you talk about cooking find other websites that have added value in your field, do not add references that do not deal with the same subject. That's why you absolutely need high quality content to attract the interest of other webmasters so that they accept a link exchange. Google is really sensitive to backlinks and this will have a real impact on your SEO position. I understand that this method is long and tedious but over time it will snowball and help you get better natural rankings. A word of advice: don't use any other self-promotion to create backlinks because one day it is possible that your website will be identified by Google and that a manual action will be assigned to it.

GSC : What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a professional tool that was created by Google in order to follow the evolution of your website through the search engine. The registration of your website is free, you will have an overview of the statics, a daily visualization of the performance of it, which keyword or expression was used by your visitors, your number of display per keyword. You will be able to see the display experience of your visitors according to the device used and identify which page needs improvement. You will be able to see the list of backlinks that have been taken into consideration by Google. By default many SEO options are hidden if they don't apply to your website. Once you have undertaken SEO improvements such as AMP pages and schema, new options will be available so you can improve it. GSC is an essential tool if you want to get started in the world of SEO in order to rank well on Google.

Google manual actions: Worst-case SEO scenarios.

When the manual action is related to your SEO feature, it is a manual action that a Google employee is taking towards your website. When this happens you will get a message in the Manual Action section of your Google Search Console. This situation is a real disaster and it happens when you have not followed the ethical rules regarding your content or you have tried to manipulate the search engines. Copied content, automatically generated content by an AI or an attempt to self-promote increased backlinks from your website in an illegal way will result in a severe penalty from Google. They will inform you of the steps to take in order to fix the problem but the penalty is already applied, you can easily lose 95% of your traffic in one day. Your domain name will be targeted and this could put your project in jeopardy. You may have to delete the part of your website that does not respect Google's terms of use. Don't make the same mistake I did and risk waking up one morning and having to throw away months of work, don't try to manipulate the search engines.

SPYFU : The professional SEO tool at discount price.

There are a lot of SEO tools available on the market, it is important to understand that these professional tools try to guess the difficulty of the keywords and your positioning, they don't have the exact answer to your questions but they are a good indicator on the SEO trend to take. Whatever your professional SEO tools are they usually give the same service with a different interface, what varies a lot is their price and unfortunately most of them have very high prices and are not accessible to all those who have a limited budget to enter the world of SEO. SPYFU is a complete SEO service that offers you the possibility to have valuable information about your website for free. Position of your website on google, keyword research by country, search for popular questions and CPC purchases made by different websites. The only negative point about SKYFU is the inability to provide you with an exact list of backlinks to your website, so you can make up for this lack by signing up for free at ahref. To benefit from a special promotion with SPYFU, you must create a FREE account and after a few days a subscription proposal at a promotional price will be offered to you. You will have access to all the information and you will be able to go further in your SEO research and test this great product for one month for only $9.99. Thereafter it will be a billing of $39.99, it is a very reasonable price. I have had the chance to test several tools and honestly SPYFU will give you similar information without breaking the bank.

Here are the methods to use unpublished to date in order to increase your SEO performance legally that are little known to the general public. The accumulation of this technique will give you a considerable advantage over your competitors and allow you to appear quickly on different keywords under certain conditions. There is no magic wand and it will still require some effort on your part, some important points that I will share with you must be well detailed to understand the concept. Don't forget that time is an essential variable in SEO and that before getting a reasonable position for highly competitive keywords you should count on several months.

Your content should be between 5000-10000 words.

It is better to have one writing topic and subdivide it into several sections in order to have an amount of words that varies between 5000 and 10000 instead of having 10 articles of 1000 words. While keeping a writing style for your reader, you will naturally write the same keyword repeatedly, you will add a lot of media as well as internal and external referral links, all these details combined will give you a better chance to be referenced. Google has the ability to determine how long a visitor stayed on your page, the longer the better for your statistics and your ranking. Don't forget that other webmasters are creating backlinks to this page, it is better to have several backlinks for the same page than few backlinks for several pages.

Translate your website into several languages.

We often talk about how difficult it is to get good rankings on keywords that are overexploited. Other languages are an important point to consider and can bring you quality traffic in a short period of time as these seem to have been neglected by many content creators. For those who can afford it, it is better to have a translator but this process can be long and expensive. Be careful when translating certain pages of your website if the quality is insufficient or incomprehensible you may be penalized by google. For those who would like to translate their website while maintaining a certain quality of writing you should look at DeepL which is by far the best translator available on the market. DeepL even offers an API to automate the translation process and you can even have it handle HTML tags.

Add AMP programming to your website.

AMP pages are a copy of your traditional web page that are optimized for cell phones, they are better understood by search engines and tend to be referenced faster on Google. When your AMP page will be created a new section will be available in your Google Search Console to see your static. There is a lot of documentation on the official AMP website, for those who use CMS can easily activate it with a simple plugin. For programmers you will have to modify your javascripts and your html code. Add some scripts dedicated to the AMP mode and add a link tag amphtml on your traditional page that refers to the url of your AMP version. You can test your AMP pages in real time on the AMP tester to confirm their validity. AMP technology is constantly evolving and you should be able to make a near exact copy of your site so that it is available for both mobile and desktop users. You can double your SEO traffic if you adhere to this technique. We use this method on all our pages, you can access it by adding a -amp to the url of the current page. To use this method you need to add a redirect in the Htaccess file that redirects visitors to a PHP file referring to your AMP programming.

Add the most performings SEO Schema.

Schema are programming codes similar to javascript that you can add to your website in order to better detail the content of the current page to the search engine. It is possible to have the list of all the Schema available on Schema.org. There are several methods to implement Schema but the recommended programming method is JSON-LD. The implementation of Schema in your code will depend on the content of your page itself. Some full SEO plugins offer the possibility to add Schema if you use a CMS such as Wordpress. For programmers you can generate them from your PHP code. For those who have articles and want to inform Google, you can specify the name of the article, the author, the content and even the elements that can be searched by a Google user when he uses the voice option on his phone. We will provide you with two distinct examples of Schema, one represents the full integration of your article and the other represents the implementation of a video. You can add the Schema in your META tag and test the validity of it with the Schema Markup Testing Tool from Google.

For those who want to add a video to your website, here is the Schema implementation code to improve the SEO perception of it.