Basic recommendations in SEO
Referencing or SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the optimization of your website and its webpages on search engines to attract more visitors as possible. Maybe I will surprise some of you, but the visitor don’t come from himself on your website, either he is redirect via another link, either he finds you by searching for an expression on Google.
My theory: having a well referenced website is like to be a good student, you listen what teachers say (Google, Matt Cutts, O Duffez, Willy Portier and co) and you put into practice.
Advices in SEO
Here is a series of basic recommendations for every webmaster who wants to increase their traffic or professionals who wants to have more visibility.
In order to get quality reference to your website, you have to spend time on making good content, a lot of them, that is to say, a big number of webpages talking about the content from your website on a regular basis (ideally everyday). Before talking about quality, make sure you have quantity.
The number of webpages influence the Trust Rank (the reputation of the website), reinforced by the backlinks and update the website.
2. Get Backlinks
After writing content, you need backlinks, links. They could be internal or external but the more you have backlinks on a webpage, the more appearance it can get on the search engines. It’s the essence of referencing I could say. Thus, you have to go for the research of links, interventions on other websites, comments, registration on lists, make content with quality or unusual which will bring about buzz and backlinks and will promote partnerships.
3. The lexical field
When you decide to create a page for a certain keyword, it’s important for you to be careful of the lexical field, put the keywords in the title, in the URL, in the description of the webpage. Then, you have to make a long article, really entire with keywords in bold, in italic, underline, with title H1 H2 and ideally H3. You show to Google that you are a good student and that we know how to make good writing. Like that when the robot comes and look into your webpage, it will understand easily what you are talking about.
The ideal is to have (I think) benchmark external links, preferably which direct to trust websites, government, Wikipedia or the website reputed in the domain.
4. The Trust Rank or the reputation
You have your reputation, well, know that your Google reputation is named the Trust Rank. Each website is estimated by Google. Nobody knows very well how his website is taken into account but here are some indications to put you on the path.
The Page Rank: the evaluation of a website will be marked from 0 to 10. It’s archaic, controversial, not update but it remains to be a solution.
Lexical field: each website has an own lexical field and Google estimates that each website is like an expert in its domain. If a website speaks about its domain, its specialty, it should be “more credible” than if it talks about other subjects.
Example: I talk about Marketing in China I’m credible… I talk about French cuisine I will be less credible. That is why when you enter marketing chine on Google, you will see links of websites to say that Google likes me. Yes I know I’m a good student.
The history: The more a website is old, the more it is “seen well by Google”.
The number of pages: we get to the point number 1… the more a website is “big”, the more Google likes.
The number of backlinks (links): we get to the point number 2… the more a website had backlinks, the more there are webpages which talk about a website, the more these website has a strong Trustrank, the more Google thinks that the website is “really good”.
On Yahoo backlinks or the Google links function, you could know how many links do you have.
There are less and less links, it’s less and less relevant! Thus, the number of Tweets for example influence on the referencing. That was proved because they are Dofollow links and the Google results take sometimes into account a retweet article.
In addition, if an article is retweet several times, there is a good probability that it will be considered of better quality than the others.
I extrapolate for Facebook but I’m sure that Google will want to take into account the Likes of Facebook.
=> People like, share, so it’s good!
LinkedIN, Viadeo: After some tests, there is not a big influence on these website concerning SEO， a kind of SEM. It’s strange because LinkedIN and Viadeo are serious websites where people show their best face (professional) and thus play their credibility by posting article or making a link.
Social networks are the future of SEO… it’s obvious!
And I don’t even talk about Chinese social networks which are in majority in dofollow.
5. A content with quality
In fact, quality means everything and nothing in the same time! Everybody is convinced that produce quality article… so what is it?
French language level? No, search engines are robots and can’t see the difference… in addition, repetitions help to be well placed on the word.
For example, I’m not sure that Google matchs the Middle Kingdom with China.
The originality of what you are writing? A little bit yes, the content should not be pasted but we can by rephrasing an article get to the original.
The relevance of what you say (I heard it)? No, a robot can’t judge that, even for a human it’s subjective.
In fact, quality for a search engine is the number of words, the coherence of the lexical field and especially the number of backlinks and tweets that you have for the article.
In theory, the better quality of an article is, the more it will be quoted by other websites like a source of reference.
Create a buzz or detect it will allow you to get several backlinks, make a big polemic too… but is it the real quality of content? Well, not every time, but it’s another subject!
Remember with the advice number 2, you can influence by yourself the quality of your pages.
Thus, the definition the best accurate of “quality in SEO“, is to get quality backlinks naturally!
6. The keywords strategy
Strategy is a big word, you have to decide on which keyword you want to position. For that, you have to choose keywords with huge traffic but not so competitive to have a chance to be in the Top position.
I invite you to read again the article on competitive keywords.
To help you, tools exist like Google Keywords or Google Trends.
I target “marketing Chine” for example because it’s an achievable one, but the keyword China is inaccessible (I work on it more for the achievement than for the results… 😉
7. The internal networking
Make internal links in articles allow guiding the Internet user to other webpages. Try to spin a clever web resuming the articles on the same theme. Search engines estimate that if webmasters highlight a webpage it’s because there is a reason: it’s the best one (from there, there is nothing shocking).
The Site Map… indicate to Google how your website is organized.
Similar articles where we invite the reader to go somewhere like in the right corner of my blog for example, help the Internet users to change the webpage but indicate to Google that my website contains several articles on the same topic.
Tags have this function “guide search engines on articles with the same thematic”.
The principle of the pyramid… (home concept) For me, SEO is like a pyramid. We have to put a flagship article on the top but we don’t have to forget to put quality articles which speak about this flagship article and in other buffer webpages which support the buffer webpages.
This is not manipulation, we just want to indicate to the search engine what is our flagship article, the one the Internet users should read first.
For example, I target a big keyword like “China”. I put “support” webpages, data in China, China.
And all these webpages are linked and indicate the top of my pyramid, my homepage on the keyword “China“.
8. A good website (without mistakes)
Yes, it’s logical, a website under repair, or a website with dead links, the search engines doesn’t like that, Google will get lost and give you a bad mark.
In practice, you have to test the links (nobody is shielded from a mistake). External links should be quality links that is to say no incoherent links concerning sex, viagra, casinos and everything forbidden under 18 years old (except if your website is talking about that).
A fast website allows you to earn points… Besides, I have work to do with mine.
Google likes frequent updates. He don’t like static website very much, like the Internet users besides.
The update of the homepage influences the Trust Rank. Update gives you good points. That’s why homepages, or category webpages regularly update are better referenced.
Update webpages: For example, talking about “Chinese population”, it’s necessary to have an old webpage but updated during the census of 2010: this is the webpage with the new figures Chinese Population.
I try to be careful with that for the Internet users besides, because I don’t like looking for old results, webpages from 2005 on economical figures when I made some researches.
Google loves novelty but not so much… you don’t have to change your lexical field everyday or it will be lost.
10. Cheating is not good
Google likes good students, but like every teacher he is obligated to make rankings. The SEO world is divided between good and evil. Good student which are nice and don’t cheat.
The bad cheaters, the Black SEO… they enjoyed finding every flaw of the search engines and make use of it for their clients. Generally, they have good results very quickly.
What are they doing? Their demonic inventions are varied:
- They create content farms in order to steal the content of websites (See point number 1).
- They create spamming robots which spam blogs and websites to get links (See point number 2).
- They steal contents then make robots which modify the capitals, the text in bold… to avoid duplicate content, they also make internal links or links which redirect to their clients.
- They hack some websites and put some links.
- They create external websites and sell the links to their clients (it’s very bad).
- They discredit websites of the competitors.
- They create methods to get links, like lists and make them referenced on keywords such as “free list” while they are charged.
- They create webpage with illogical content only to be put on the top.
This is like at school, cheaters have better results than the others… until the moment that they get caught.
That are generally the best SEO people, for me the best SEO is the one who gets the best result with a minimum of time, like cheaters at school.
Cheating is bad but sometimes it works! After, for a long period, you have to avoid it if you don’t want to be blacklisted.
To conclude, a small parenthesis on SEO
It is an inaccurate science and changes all the time.
Because nobody knows really the truth (the formula of Google, Yahoo, Bing or Baidu…) but a lot of people are extrapoling.
The truth on SEO nobody has it!
Each person has his own recipe: I just give you mine, it’s not the one of an expert but the one of a blogger which use the recommendations of others and sometimes makes some little tests.
Why a science which changes?
Because Google formula and the formula of its competitors is evolving continuously and what was true before is not necessarily true today. The arrival of Panda for example which will change a lot of bad practices of cheaters some SEO people.
That was basic recommendations in SEO for beginners, if you want to add yours, do not hesitate to intervene.