Google referencing, you know? Do you dream of free referencing? How to put your site first on Google? Refer your site in 1st position? All of these questions keep you up at night, right?!
I’m going, to be frank right away, just to break the ice at the start… stop dreaming! And do you know why? Because you are doing everything wrong! How do I know?! Because we all made the same mistakes!
I started on the web in 1999. Let me tell you that at that time putting a site first on Google was easy. The stuffing was a bit like my second job.
The years 2000-2010, on Google, were the frisky years! More positions on Google, which in the meantime had become the number 1 search engine. Everyone was thrilled! We put a site first on Google with such ease that we did not yet realize what was waiting for us!
The content, the internal linking,… we were already talking about it! But everyone did not care royally! As long as it is “ranked”, why bother laying undrinkable cobblestones! Backlinks (dirty), keyword stuffing, content duplication, piglet redirection, and everyone was happy! What more?
To make it short, in 2012, I almost stopped everything! Google Panda came along, screwed up years of work, made dozens of unhappy customers, and my phone wouldn’t stop ringing for 2 weeks. I lost time and money… but I still kept my underpants :). All this to tell you, that bullshit, errors, and other monumental blunders, I know, so you do nothing more than everything that has already been done. If you are also reading articles from 2004, then there is nothing more I can do for you 🙂
That was for the record, now let’s move on to the things that interest you.
Google SEO: How to put your site first?
With all that, Penguin, Panda, and other phantom penalties, how do you manage to put your site first on Google? We’re going to have to give ourselves a big kick in the c… and start working hard. The hard? Reality dear readers! This sad and harsh reality is that in life we have nothing for nothing. We’re going to stick our fingers out and move on.
Step 1: Audit their website
(The order of the steps is not fixed, you can very well start at the end if you like! You are grown-ups, huh, you should get by!)
We attack directly by what hurts: the content of your website and therefore a proper SEO audit. Your site does not appear in the first results in search engines? We are talking about the top 10. The rest is rubbish! You have to ask yourself the right question: Is my site well-optimized? That is to say when a robot from Google visits you, does it understand the theme of your site? You will answer yes, of course! Believe that Googlebot is just a machine and until proven otherwise, it does not understand what it reads. She makes associations of ideas and words, depending on what she has in her database. Suddenly it’s less fun! If you want a good google SEO, it’s at this price.
So we forget:
- lame metaphors,
- inappropriate words,
- multiple meanings,
- crazy ideas,
- approximate lexical fields,
- and… we go back to the base!
A web page is calibrated for one or more keywords! (I know, this is debatable)
I see you coming: We immediately forget the repetition of keywords, density, etc… Since we can no longer play this little game (though!), we will follow simple rules.
1/ Choice of keywords
Choosing a keyword that matches the theme of your page is essential in natural referencing. You are spoiled for choice to find it: Google, Ubersuggest, Keywordtool.io, Secockpit … They all do more or less the same thing. The advantage of using the Google keyword generator: it is free (provided you have a Google account) and it allows you to select sorting criteria to have a precise list of keywords.
Ubersuggest and keywordtool.io are also free tools that give you a list of suggested searches (long tail keywords) from Google based on a keyword!
Secockpit is paying, it brings together the functionalities of the first 3 but its big advantage remains that the tool analyzes in a few seconds the possibility of positioning a keyword according to the competition (incoming links, CF, TF, Pagerank, title, etc…).
You have found your keyword, that’s good! Now, we will find friends for him: synonyms, parents, children, etc.
Visit this site: 1. fr. Enter your keyword. In a few seconds, appear words relating to the lexical field of yours. Retrieve them in an Excel sheet or in a text file. Clean your file, you may find words that disagree with your keyword phrase. Once this step has been completed, you will obtain a list of words from the lexical field of your keyword. It is essential today to put a site first on Google, to have interesting content, certainly, but also relevant and which meets certain criteria despite everything.
All you have to do is do the same for all your pages. If you have ten, it’s fast, if not… you have a job! You can automate the search but you will need development knowledge or an assistant. For the first time, do it by hand, it’s longer… but it’s better 🙂
2/ Writing content for a website
You have your lists of keywords with their synonyms and their lexical fields for your google referencing. First of all, forget about them! Why? You are primarily addressing readers, not machines. Your primary goal is to provide relevant information. The contest of who has the biggest does not interest us… for the moment!
When writing content, put yourself in your reader’s shoes:
- What is he looking for?
- Why would he read my page?
- What would make him prefer to read me?
- Is there time to read?
- How old is he?
- What is his job?
These are called personas. We create from scratch typical readers (see here) to whom we assign criteria (professions, age, habits, hobbies, etc.) to refine our target. You define your personas according to your customers, your friends, and the people you want to reach. On departure, take a brief tour of the owner. A few elements of the biography will suffice to give you a more precise idea. You will then refine based on feedback and your experience.
This way of proceeding can be confusing at first because it is not natural for everyone. Everyone thinks they know what visitors are looking for on their site. You will then realize very quickly that your target absolutely does not use your language, that they do not necessarily know your technical jargon, and that they use simpler words to express an idea.
Your personas are defined, and you can now get down to writing your content and addressing them. You’ll have a clearer view and know which angle to use when talking to them.
I repeat, during this step, you forget your lists of keywords and focus on the essentials, your readers!
3/ The placement of keywords in a site
You are there, your texts are ready. It is from there that we will place our keywords on the pages of our site. We don’t have a heavy hand! We do things smartly!
The most important in a web page (and for SEO sites) is the title tag, the title of the page (even if some claim the opposite). It is this tag that appears in blue in Google results when you do a search. Therefore, it is given great importance. We will place it inside the main keyword of the page. We try to place it at the beginning of the tag because the number of characters and pixels is taken into account. Too many characters will make your page title exceed in width (in pixels) and it will be truncated therefore its impact will be less important. Because yes, the impact of the title tag is around 50% (to be debated, but I maintain :)). That is to say, that to put your site first on Google, half of your positioning resides (practically) in this single tag. The weight of the title tag is significant in the ranking of sites on Google.
Then, how to integrate the keywords into the pages of the site? The typical diagram of a web page responds to a simple logic: Title, subtitles, paragraphs, important words in bold, internal linking, external links, bulleted lists, etc.
Google reads a page from top to bottom and left to right. Based on this premise, the most strategic keywords must be placed at the top of the page. While avoiding making your text look like a shapeless and incomprehensible mush.
How to place keywords on a page?
- Title tag: Main keyword + site name or your brand
- H1: Important secondary keyword (title tag dispute) + lexical field and synonyms
- 1st paragraph: Main keyword in (in the first 4-5 lines)
- H2: Secondary keyword (synonym)
- 2°, 3°, 4°, etc… paragraphs: synonyms and lexical field + repetition of the main keyword (ideally every 150 words or so) – use formatting: bold and italic
- H3, H4, H5, and H6: No keyword, generic subtitles
- Do not make external links on the main keyword of the page (you want to place yourself on it, avoid favoring competitors)
- Make relevant external links to sources with similar themes.
- Make internal links between your pages that talk about a common subject. The internal mesh and one of the strengths of referencing.
NOTE: Do not blindly trust my advice! I’ll give you a typical diagram. You have to know how to interpret it. In absolute terms, don’t rely solely on what you read on the internet. Here or somewhere else. Nothing will ever replace experience. Learn to think for yourself, do not follow all the information you receive to the letter, deduce, try, fail and start again. That’s how we learn.
4/ What is the ideal length of a web page?
There are not any. Let’s be honest: Fancy reading a three-foot-long tirade for an answer that can be done in 3 lines? Nope ?! Neither do I. Nobody wants to hit the Larousse or waste their time reading articles by pseudo-authors who talk about it. Size doesn’t matter (some people are very happy about it :)). But then how to reference a site?
However, we can note a correlation between the fact that the longer a text, the better it is classified. So, to put your site first on Google with a natural SEO referencing, you have to write texts of 2000 words to have more chances?
Yes: The longer (well constructed) and more relevant (not just a spread of content to please the search engines) a text is, the better it will rank on Google. Why? The lexical field plays a determining role in the understanding of the page by Google. The longer a text is, the more this lexical field is used. The more secondary expressions you have, the more chances you have of putting your site first. CQFD. A text of 500 words will contain fewer long-tail keywords and expressions (request of 4 keywords or more) than one of 2000.
No: The notoriety, seniority, popularity, and number of backlinks of a site are also determining elements in the positioning of a site on Google. A “trusted” site (more important in your theme) will always have more weight and strength than yours. Even if this site publishes 300-word articles every day, it will always be advantaged. That doesn’t mean you can never outgrow it. It simply means that beyond all that can be read, you have to know how to make sense of things. Other criteria are taken into account in the ranking of sites. And the backlinks criterion remains the SEO criterion, which alone makes the difference.
The structure of your website
How many of you use WordPress? Or another type of CMS? There are many of you, aren’t there? How many of you have actually delved into the source code of your site? Not just an overview to check if the analytics tag was well integrated! Suddenly there are fewer of you!
The advantage of WordPress is that you have almost nothing to do. You hardly even need to hire a web designer or web designer anymore. You buy a theme, upload it and you’re done. AS AN APART: This is not without consequence, since the first pécore in the area quickly takes himself for a design cador by proceeding in this way, but that’s another debate.
It is not uncommon to see devastated clients arrive at an agency, because their site, as beautiful as it is, does not rank at all, even though they were told the opposite. WordPress is however SEO oriented, isn’t it?! Must see what you also call SEO (google referencing for friends).
WordPress is a CMS stuffed with quality and what makes it its main flaw! It’s a gas plant. Everyone goes with their little plugin to do this or that and the machine gets bogged down. Then we pass a shot of WP Rocket and we think we’re done.
1/ The perfect architecture of a web page
We forget everything and start over. Google loves HTML. Google loves content. Google is big laziness who likes to be chewed on the job. You too are a little lazy. But we all are a bit. A classic page is content and HTML, period. Only what is between the <body> tags is of interest. But not at all. Header, sidebar, footer, etc… have no interest for Google. Even if he knows very well how to tell the difference between all these elements, the more you have a clean code, and a simple site structure, the more chances you will have on your side.
As a result, we remove the HTML tags that are used for SEO and that is outside the body of the text. No <h2>, <h3> or <hn> tag in sidebar, footer or header. Relevant content MUST BE in the body text and NOWHERE else.
2/ Accessibility of the website
We always attribute little importance to the accessibility of a web page. For lack of time, necessity, or forgetfulness, most of the time. The structure of a site is not just a server. <meta> tags, <noscript> tags, file sources, calls to external files (js, CSS, etc.), consistency of links and their descriptions. Small details which put end to end represent a great source of work and can make the difference between 2 similar sites. I quickly skim over this part otherwise we will spend ages there and it will only speak to developers anyway :).
3/ Improved web page display speed
GG’s friend is a little clever. Things being what they are, the capacity of data centers is not infinite. As a result, Google is kindly harassing us to improve the display speed of our web pages. Improving the speed of a site improves usability and frankly reduces the bounce rate. Easier said than done and what’s more, this story quickly costs an arm and a leg. Despite everything, a few simple recommendations can give your site a good boost.
Go here or there, enter your domain name and take the test. Ouch! It stings the eyes, huh?!
In general, if your site is hosted on a shared server, you can’t do everything you want. However, you can intervene on the .htaccess file and send it directives to improve the performance of your site.
By shifting the appearance of your scripts and CSS calls in your source code, which sometimes block the display of web pages, you will gain a few precious milliseconds.
Another factor that disrupts the speed of a site is the weight of the images. The visuals are nice, they help with SEO but it quickly weighs on your optimization if they are poorly configured. So we will prefer .jpg or .png type formats and we forget the rest. Remember that not everyone has fiber, so you have to find a good ratio to compress your images correctly. If you’re on WordPress, here’s a quick way to do it.
A second problem concerning the images, but this time coming from the .css directly. Very often, and I include myself in the lot, we forget to make CSS sprites. A method that consists of gathering all the images into one and then arranging them on its site via the CSS, providing it with the precise coordinates of the element to be displayed. Rather than having several small scattered images to look for, a single visual saves a lot of time and therefore improves the display speed of your site.
To go further, you have articles here and there, which perfectly summarize the optimization possibilities (Gzip compression, mod deflate, etc.) of your web pages to improve the loading time of your website.
4/ Internal networking
This is the trickiest part but also the most useful to put a site first and succeed in its google referencing. The internal mesh is the only lever that you completely master and that can give you incredible results if you know how to use it correctly.
How to define the internal mesh? It is the fact of creating links between your pages of the same theme to give them more weight. Preferably on anchors with the keywords that interest you. Until proven otherwise, no penalty has ever been applied to a site that made internal links with optimized anchors. Unlike inbound links.
For your internal linking to work, it is imperative that you only link articles that have a common theme. Basically, no need to make links between an article that talks about cooking and another that talks about motorcycles. It wouldn’t matter.
If you use WordPress, you have noticed that this cm is a big nag. It sends links in all directions. And that is absolutely not what we are looking for. Say what you want and I come back to that again, but nothing better than doing everything by hand. Obviously, I understand certain production requirements, and the use of a CMS is not prohibited. Except that you will have to put your hands in it!
An alternative to what I am going to explain to you can be found here. Another tutorial also allows you to do what I’m going to talk about.
You have your site and your content, and you have optimized the structure of your pages with small onions, you must now put in place a way to make Google understand that:
- You are the best in your niche
- You must be number one on your keyword.
One way to achieve this is to use the semantic cocoon system. Basically, (be careful, I’m simplifying) this consists of creating silos within which you will have your web pages (parent pages, child pages, etc.). Each silo is independent and has its own theme. This helps compartmentalize information and distribute the juice to all items in the silo. It also allows you to prioritize links and give Google a set of content ready to rank. The goal is to push the main page (on a given keyword) through the pages that link to it within the same silo.
It is a story of logic and tree structure, it is for this reason that it is necessary to be very ordered and to lay flat the plan of its site. With a mind mapping tool (this one or this one ), you will organize the distribution of your pages within your silos to have the clearest possible view of the final tree structure of your site.
An important point all the same. The semantic cocoon is a technique that requires a lot of content. It is not uncommon to encounter cocoons of several hundred pages. This, therefore, requires time and resources. Your site may rank quickly with only half the content you wanted to write. Sometimes it will take more.
Thanks to this strategy you will manage, in the medium term, to put a site first on very competitive keywords, by simply acting on the internal mesh.
Step 2: Backlinks or the art of creating juice!
We have seen all the on-site and on-page SEO optimization steps that we could do to rank a site first on Google. Now we’re going to get down to business and we’re going to find the Holy Grail. In SEO, it’s the backlink. The incoming link of death that kills. The one that will catapult your site into the top 3 of Google. The one who will knock out the competition and make you look like the Messiah. Ok, I’m getting a little carried away :).
Find the good spots
1/ Dofollow links
The kiff is the do-follow backlink with an optimized anchor. If in addition, the page on which it is located has a good Trust Flow, it is the guaranteed jackpot! Except there is a but. Google gave us Penguin, which attacks overly optimized anchors. As a result, we end up with deoptimized links. The backlink is the basis of Google. And also a website. So how? Is there still a way to slip through the cracks?
Before chasing the link, it is good to make an inventory of those you already have. A little everything about Ahrefs or Majestic SEO will allow you to analyze the efforts to be made. Don’t forget to do the same with all your direct competitors on the keywords you are targeting. You will find the pages and sites that send them links. As long as you do, you might as well put a link where the others have done it, right?!
Now it’s about getting the authority backlink. There are several solutions for this:
- Buy Live Links
- Buy links through a platform (RocketsLinks)
- Create links from your network
- ask friends
- Go to Fiverr
- Doing Black Hat
- scratch your head
- do link baiting
- Use guest blogging
Buy live links, and negotiate with the site owner. It’s easy and fast. Of course, this technique can be compared to paid referencing. Nothing says that you will get what you want, but if the competition is not frontal, you could make a privileged partner of it. The cost will also be much lower. You will thus easily negotiate an optimized anchor within editorial content. You have everything to gain. The disadvantage is that you will have to hit the SERPS one by one, send an email, wait for a response, negotiate, etc. It takes time. As always, effort must be correlated with profit. If the game is worth the candle, go for it.
Buy links from a platform. Nothing’s easier. You create an account, your search for the perfect spot and you propose. Is this internet referencing method dangerous? The danger lies in the footprint. If the links inserted are of the “powered by…” type, flee. The other problem is that these platforms often favor nofollow links (not all), which from a pure ranking point of view, is not great. This obviously dilutes the signal and sometimes a good nofollow link (clicked at least) can make the difference. But overall, it’s not ideal.
Create links from your own network. You completely control the target, the theme, the anchor of the link, and its content. It’s the perfect blueprint. It’s a huge advantage to have your own network of sites. Of course, we will make sure to vary the themes, the types of sites, and the outgoing links. It also requires a lot of time and work (optimization, content, SEO). For a network to work, it must be relevant and undetectable. The sites in question should not send too strong a signal to the same membership, otherwise, it is called a link farm (not good!).
Call a friend. How to put your site first without a backlink is impossible. You can’t buy links (no money or funky :)) and you don’t have a network (makes you wonder what you do with your days :). You only have one solution left: call a friend. Easy and fast. You connect on Twitter, Facebook, or others and contact your friends (if you have any,… otherwise I can’t do anything for you). You should easily get a few clean links, as you want, without too much effort and in general (if your friends work in SEO, partners or suppliers, etc.) on well-trusted sites. It will probably cost you a backlink (starving this SEO) or a beer. Nothing terrible 🙂
Buy backlinks on Fiverr. Good or bad idea? Hard to say. I used web referencing services (and I know SEO agencies that do it) on this kind of site and I was either happy or… not happy! It all depends on what you are actually targeting as a keyword. Take a moderately competitive keyword and it should do the trick. A more difficult keyword, I have my doubts. Despite everything, having seen the pedigree of some and discussed with others, the providers of these sites are not (all) scammers. Some are really good, some really bad. At $5 per benefit, you will tell me, we are not risking much! In fact, yes! If the work is badly done and dirty, if the links point to your site, it may penalize it badly. I rather recommend using this technique on “buffer” sites. The kind you create your network, the sites in question are fuses. If they jump, your main site is safe and you don’t risk your life (or house) and divorce :).
Doing Black Hat. What do you mean, it doesn’t work anymore! If so, it works. But it’s risky, that’s for sure. So I wouldn’t talk about it. No no no. If you feel like it, read this article or go to this site.
Rack your brains a bit. The first instinct of any good SEO or any good SEO agency is to try to place a link wherever he (or she) goes. You do not see ?! Really? Do you have social media profiles? Link to your site. You have Google Maps. Make a business listing and link to your site. Same on Apple Maps. Blog comments, but that’s of course! Find blogs thematically close to your site and comment on them.
Do not hesitate to create profiles on Folkd, Hubpages, Squidoo, and Reddit. Ok, it’s in English. But a link is a link, no matter the language. If you are active on a forum, leave the URL of your site in your signature. You read newspapers online. You need to create a profile and there is always an insert with your bio to fill out. Often in this bio, you can leave a link: do it. Same for all other editorial sites or newspapers. You can also use footprints to identify sites you can link to.
Link baiting. Barbaric term. This means that you are made links spontaneously, without having to look for them. Yeah! There’s an eel. The other side of the coin is that to take full advantage of this technique, you will have to create content by any:
- Epic genre content,
- basically that it is out of the ordinary,
- you need to get noticed.
Obviously, everything has already been written, and it is difficult to always find better things to say. This is where you are mistaken.
Go to Buzzsumo and enter your keyword. A list of the most shared articles appears. Take the time to read the articles. Find the one missing something:
- a point of view,
- a different angle of attack,
- or that you think is incomplete.
Then go to your blog, write an article that you would like to read and that answers all the issues. Return to the report that marked you, contact the author (polish his pumps, bloggers love to have ointment applied to them), tell him that you wrote a post that complements his, and direct him to your item. Neither one nor two, our nice blogger will be happy to share it with these readers. And hop, a backlink (I embellish a little :))
You understood the technique. To take full advantage of linkbait, you must force yourself to be talked about. Don’t always look for an anchored link. A good dofollow link is already very good.
Guest blogging. I will not dwell on the subject. I knew an SEO agency that did just that. It’s about writing content on other sites, whose traffic is higher than yours. This professional SEO solution is also part of a notoriety strategy since you directly benefit from the popularity of the site on which you are writing. By publishing (significantly) good articles on third-party sites, you also get a backlink. A link on a large site, even deoptimized, remains a (very) powerful link.
Here, here we come to the end. I think I have made the rounds of all the means that are possible for you to undertake to put a site first on Google. I could also have talked about .htaccess, the robots file, SSL, local SEO (a guide should be coming soon), sitemap, or how to get traffic. I could also have talked to you in more detail about the sitemap, which some consider to be a has-been. I could have told you about many other things. I will discuss these elements in more detail in a future article, which I will try to synthesize better this time 🙂
If you have any questions, leave me a comment (if I have the time… and the desire :), I will answer them).