There is a considerable correlation between website optimization and improving the quality of your website (page SEO). Your natural positioning on search engines also depends on what others think of you (external SEO or outside your website). Today, we look together at 11 elements to optimize if you want to improve your natural positioning on search engines. We will give practical examples and some reference tools that can help you.
What is optimization for better positioning of your site (SEO)?
In general, search engine optimization (SEO) is any technique used to improve the natural visibility of one’s site on search engines. When we allude to natural visibility, we sometimes talk about two parameters. To know :
- It is the Optimization of your website pages (On-page SEO). It will consist of applying a set of web development and marketing techniques to make your site better than competitors.
- It is also External optimization (Off-page SEO). It consists, among other things, of displaying your site on local business directories getting customers or other companies to talk about your site. Or be present online.
On-page optimization is occasionally straightforward. Indeed, if you take the time to follow the suggestions and recommendations, you will be able to improve your site. On the other hand, external optimization is a recurring job that requires a certain level of trust from customers and visitors.
Optimization of the site’s pages (On-page SEO).
To optimize the pages or the quality of your website, you must take the time to adapt good practices during development. Combined with best practices, you should consider the recommendations of search engines such as Google.
When we talk about good practices, we refer in particular to:
- The performance of your website
- The adaptability of your site to all types of screens
- The security of your website
- The relevance of your content.
There are several search engine recommendations aside from best practices. We can cite among others:
- Create a website plan
- Configure a robots file
- submit your site to Google Search Console
- Configure error pages and make good redirects
We will go into more depth on page and site optimization further down in this article.
External optimization (Off-page SEO)
To do external optimization, you must work on the relevance of your content and the relationship with customers or visitors. Indeed, it consists of encouraging people to talk about you positively. According to the logic of search engines, if the world is talking about you, it means that you have something good to offer. There are several ways to achieve this:
- Submit your website to online directories. Directories are a great way to increase your online visibility. The more you are visible in the directories, the more chance you have of increasing your online positioning.
- Ask the opinion of customers or visitors. When you provide a service to customers, you can, for example, ask them for their opinion on your products or services. Positive reviews will encourage other people to contact you. On the other hand, search engines will want to refer you more visitors.
- Make guest posts. Posting on external websites as a guest can help you gain some credibility.
- Be present on social media. Your presence on search engines and your popularity rating can also improve your visibility rate.
All the work around external optimization is to increase your trust rating with the search engine. This popularity rating may be characterized by what we call the authority of your domain name. A higher domain name has more authority than domain names with a lower rating. A company with a rating higher than yours would quickly increase your authority compared to a company with a lower ranking.
Why improve your site for search engines
Natural optimization for your site’s positioning on search engines offers several advantages. Below are some benefits of SEO.
Improving the user experience
All website optimization rules aim to improve the quality of your website; and, therefore, user experience. So if you take the time to improve your site, you will see a marked difference in your stats and the time customers spend on your site. SEO rules such as:
- The responsiveness of your website.
- Reducing page load times
- Strengthening the security of its site
- Testing the site on different browsers
Are SEO rules that can impact user experience quite quickly.
Increased chances of making more sales
When you improve your website for a better customer experience, we increase the chances of making more sales. Indeed, the more customers want to stay on your site, the more they could buy. On the other hand, in most cases, visitors who come to your website naturally are more or less interested in your content. For example, you could use tools such as:
- Google Search Console to constantly submit your XML sitemap to increase the number of indexed pages
- Keywords recorded through Google Analytics to optimize your content regularly.
Become a leader in your sector
One of the rules of SEO is to improve its content to better position itself against the competitor. If your content is much more relevant than the competitors, you will have a better chance of being at the top of the page and, therefore, a reference.
Grow your brand online
Through search engine optimization, you can grow your brand online. Indeed, your content and appearing quickly at the top of the page conveys a positive image of your company.
How to optimize the positioning of your website (On-page SEO)?
There are several parameters to improve for website optimization. Here we will list eleven that can help you. At the same time, we will give you some tips for applying them to your website.
1 – Add text in the Title Tag
The title tag is one of the most important in search engine optimization. Indeed, net robots generally use it to display your page’s titles on the web. The content of this tag appears at the top of the browser when your pages are accessed. If you do a Google search, you will see results with at least three parameters. Among these parameters, you have the information taken from the title tag (if available on the site).
How to add the information in the title tag?
Adding information in the title tag will consist of modifying the header of the code there on your pages. If you have access to the source code, you can easily replace the text in the tag< title></ title> . The procedure is highly dependent on the solution you are using.
- Open the HTML document corresponding to the page and modify the site header on an HTML site.
- With content managers (example: Magento, Drupal, Joomla), you must locate the section corresponding to the given meta.
- For custom dynamic solutions, you always have the option of creating rules that show you personalized data.
Recommendations for Title Tag Optimization
To better optimize your title tag, you can follow the following recommendations:
- Write text between 50 and 70 characters. If you put more characters, search engines such as Google will show you the first 50 to 70.
- Make sure to include the main keyword of the page in the title. If you are a restaurant and have created a page talking about sandwiches, you can, for example, include the word sandwich in the title.
- Several experts such as MOZ recommended a title pattern: “Primary keyword — Secondary keyword | Company name.”
As an example, suppose you are an auto repair shop offering wheel change called Garage Expert Inc. An example of a title might be “Car Garage — Changing Wheels | Garage Expert Inc”. In the code, we will have the following form:
<head> <title>Garage automobile — Changement de roues | Garage Expert Inc</title> </head>
2 – Optimize the meta description
Write meta descriptions for your pages. It’s like a summary of your page. For example, most of the time, search engines use your meta title and meta description information to redirect a visitor to your website. However, you need to make sure that your information about your meta title, meta description, and content are linked. Otherwise, the search engines will end up penalizing your website. Meta descriptions contain between 70 and 160 characters (spaces included).
<meta name="description" content="">
Like the title tag, the meta description is in the site header. It represents the summary of the page. It is because search engines generally use it to display a summary of your page. When you search on Google, you will sometimes see the latter just after the title. So, if you want to improve your online presence, you need to optimize the meta description tag.
How to add the information in the meta description tag
The approach is similar to the title tag. You have several options, which may depend on your technology.
- Open the HTML document corresponding to the page and modify the site header on an HTML site. You are forced to replace/add the content in the tag
- With content managers (example: Magento, Drupal, Joomla), you must locate the section corresponding to the given meta. Add text in the meta description form.
- For custom dynamic solutions, you always have the option of creating rules that show you personalized data.
Recommendations for optimizing the meta description tag
The meta description is usually the summary of the page. For better optimization, you should:
- You can be reassured to have text below 170 characters
- Include the main keyword in its description
- be precise in its description
Using the example above, an example description could be:
<meta name="description" content="Garage automobile basé à Montréal spécialisé en Changement de roues. Contactez Garage Expert Inc pour une consultation gratuite">
3 – Make your URL clean and easy to read
The format of your URL link can impact the natural positioning of your site on search engines. Indeed, well-structured URLs have a lot more clicks and visibility. So, if you have a dynamic website (or multiple pages that are constantly changing), improving your links is a huge benefit. There are several approaches to making a URL clean among which we have:
- The .htaccess file as supported by your server.
- The options of your application (example CMS or Framework)
- Extensions or applications that you can install on your site.
Below is an example of a URL with parameter:
The link Below can be structured as follows:
Why have a well-structured hyperlink
Well-structured links offer several advantages, namely:
- They are easy to remember – The example below would make it much easier for a person to remember Montreal/restaurant than its equivalence with the parameters.
- A well-structured link is much more secure. It is because links with question marks have parameters that can be used to attack your site. For example, page = Montreal, let know that the variable is page.
- Search engines can easily rank your content when the link is easy to read.
To further facilitate the indexing of your pages by search engines, you can follow the recommendations below:
- Please include the keyword in your URL. This will help search engines to classify your content.
- Avoid a too long link. It’s easier to remember when it’s short.
- Be sure not to include special characters
Optimized URL Example: Assuming you have a restaurant offering pizza, a link for your page talking about pizza might be
4 – Give a title/min-description to your images with the ALT tag
The alternative attribute is an HTML element used to specify the alternative text displayed when the image is not loading. Additionally, visually impaired users using screen readers will be able to understand the subject of the photo from the alternate description.
<img src="" alt="">
The Alt tag allows text to be displayed if, for some reason, the visitor is unable to see the image. Therefore, it is essential to offer a description illustrating the image. If you have an image that illustrates a car, giving the name motorcycle could be confusing.
Example of using the Alt tag:
<img src="https://www.prositeweb.ca/en/services/ecommerce/shopify.jpg" alt="Shopify development">
Recommendations for using the ALT tag
Here are some recommendations that can help you better optimize your ALT tag:
- Add descriptive content.
- Make sure that your page’s keyword appears at least once in one of the alternative texts
5 – Use at most one h1 in your page
H title tags are HTML elements such as h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6. When you use h title tags, they appear on the web page as titles or subtitles. Usually, search engines will use the h1 for search results if the page lacks a meta title tag. Use your keywords in the headings, then ensure the first level (H1) includes your most important keywords. Never duplicate the content of your title tag in your header tag. In case it is crucial to ensure that every page has an H1 tag, never include more than one per page. Instead, use multiple H2 – H6 tags.
The h1 tag is used for the most important title of your page. Search engines use it as an alternative if the Title tag does not exist on the page.
Recommendations for using the h1 tag
- Include h1 only once on the site.
- Make sure that its content contains the keyword of the page
- Avoid a too long title.
How to use
Suppose your page is about website development, and your main keyword is WordPress Website. An example of an h1 title might be:
<h1>Expert en création de site web WordPress à Montreal</h1>
6. Create a sitemap for your website
The sitemap is an XML file that contains an enriched list of URLs. It provides the search engine with information about the nature of a site’s internal URLs. This article aims to provide you with helpful information regarding the sitemap and how you can use it to improve your SEO.
What form is this file in?
Literally, the XML map is a file that lists the addresses of all the pages on your site. It is a very structured file and is generated automatically by specific software. A good structure of your XML file is essential as it allows you to better index your website. The website map is usually accompanied by the robot.txt file, which defines the rules for what is allowed or not.
Why is a sitemap useful for website optimization?
It is very useful for search robots, useful for improving your natural referencing.
What web tool would this file be useful for?
The sitemap is useful for SEO because it allows search engines to easily and efficiently trace/find the pages of your website. The XML file usually contains a list of pages from your website that you have chosen to show to other search engines. This is because search sites use your plan to index the pages available on your website. The structure of your website also contains information on each page. This speeds up the process of indexing your pages. Your site’s XML file is a very essential tool, but not necessary for SEO.
How does the XML file promote SEO?
To improve your positioning on engines like Google … it is very useful to create its XML file. Below are some advantages:
- Gives search engines priority over pages, and therefore robots.
- Provides information from Google Webmaster Central.
- Helps get your pages indexed.
- Attracts attention when the right words are searched for
How to generate and install your XML sitemap?
There are several online tools available to generate the sitemap XML file. One of the known software is https://pro-sitemaps.com/ which allows you to generate a structured plan and also informs you of files not found on your site (Error 404). On the other hand, you can program your XML file yourself. Indeed, if you have in mind the list of all web pages, you can use the structure of our website to generate your own file. See the link https://www.prositeweb.ca/en/sitemap.xml
You can, for example, use your text editor and the code above to list all your URLs. Once this is done, you will only have to save it in an XML format.
If you use extensions like Yoast, you don’t have to create a sitemap. Yoast generates a sitemap that you can submit to search engines.
7. Include a robots.txt file in your root directory
A robots.txt file helps control what kind of robots can crawl your website. Using the robots.txt file is essential to block spammers who might want to scan your website for emails or other relevant information. Thanks to the robots.txt file, you can, for example, define:
- What type of file to explore
- The folders you allow access to net robots.
- What kind of robots are not allowed to access your website.
How to create the robots.txt file
To create the robots.txt file, you have two options:
- Create yourself (with minimal knowledge of what you need to include)
- Use online solutions.
To create it yourself, you simply need to create a file on your computer with the txt extension. Next, you need to place the file in the main directory of your website. If, on the other hand, you want to use the tools available online, we recommend ryte.com. It’s easy to understand and use. You will simply have to fill out the form and generate your file.
8. Find and replace broken links (404). Create a redirect.
Broken links (404) can affect your visibility and user experience on your website. It is therefore essential to take the time to find and replace the links that refer to the error page.
To find broken links on your website, you can use https://pro-sitemaps.com/ which will provide you with a sitemap with the list of all broken links on your website. You can then browse the list and make adjustments on your website.
In order to inform search engines or avoid losing your visitors, you should create a 301 or 302 redirect to push visitors to the new page.
In marketing or web development jargon,
- The 301 code corresponds to a permanent redirect — It is a way of informing search engines that the page no longer exists and is permanently transferred to the new page.
- The 302 code – corresponds to a temporary redirect — With the 302 code, you inform search engines that you have temporarily redirected the page.
Fixing links that no longer exist is therefore essential for website optimization.
9. Identify your performance issues and fix them
The performance of your website affects the load time and therefore increases the bounce rate. In reality, with a high number of websites out there these days, people are losing patience with a slow site more and more. This is the reason why you need to invest a little bit of effort to improve your website load time.
Loading time plays an essential role in conversion and search engine positioning. Indeed, with billions of websites on the Internet and a huge number of people offering the same services, people no longer have time to wait. If your site takes too long to display, they will go to the competitor.
We recommend this article which explains how to optimize your website .
Optimizing your website in terms of performance will consist, among other things, of:
- Opt for a high-performance host
- Minimize the weight of the resources present in your web pages
- Install and properly configure a caching module
- Use a performance analysis tool
- Monitor performance
10. Improve your website’s responsiveness
As you probably already know, the use of mobile devices and tablets has reached 70% of all Internet users. In other words, a website that is not responsive loses more than 70% of its potential customers. To improve the responsiveness of your website, I will recommend primer , which is a powerful HTML CSS then js framework for mobile site. With this frame, you don’t need to build many websites for every size screen. If you use it correctly, your website will automatically resize depending on the device your visitor is using.
11. Secure your site with an SSL certificate
Using an SSL certificate has multiple advantages. First of all, it will increase your search engine rankings. Second, it reassures your customers that you care about their data. Finally, you protect your data from attackers. The cost of an SSL certificate is not that expensive. For starters, you can get one for under $ 20.
Some solutions used for website optimization
The positioning of your site on search engines depend on several parameters, including SEO. In the event that you take the time to work on the quality of your site, you will see results in the medium or long term. To allow you to automate the SEO process, we offer you our free tool. We are also working on updating this article to give you more items that can help you. To stay connected, you can subscribe to our newsletter or simply follow us on social media.