“How to be first on Google” is my SEO guide for search engine rankings. Here you will find all the SEO tricks and techniques to improve your ranking on Google!
Being first on Google: why is it important?
Being on the first page of Google is essential for the success of a site: as revealed by a study by the highly influential Moz portal, 71.33% of clicks are made on the results of the first page. The second and third pages collect only 5.59% of clicks.
On the first page of Google, in particular, the first 5 results collect 67.60% of clicks and the results from sixth to tenth position collect only 3.73%.
Obviously, if we always talk about Google and not the other search engines, there is a reason: Big G, alone, directs over 90% of world web traffic! Nice numbers, nothing to say… 🙂
What is SEO and why you can’t do without it
SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization, or optimization for search engines. It includes all those techniques to make your content more appealing to Google and “partners” and improve the visibility of your site.
SEO optimization techniques are divided into two broad categories: on site SEO techniques and off site SEO techniques. The former include: the optimization of the HTML code, URLs, title, description, texts, images, multimedia content, links, creation of the sitemap.
Off-site SEO, on the other hand, aims at promoting the site and its contents through link earning and link building activities.
Enter the site in search engines
The indexing of websites is an automatic procedure. As soon as your site is created, search engines automatically detect it. The process isn’t instant – it can take hours or days. To shorten the time, there are procedures for submitting a site to search engines.
How to make your site appear on Google? You can use the page for adding and removing URLs. Reporting the site is simple: just enter the complete URL (including, that is, the http: // or https: // prefix). You can also add comments or keywords to “explain” the page content.
How to submit a site to Bing? The procedure is just as simple: just go to the Submit your site to Bing page, enter the url and you’re done!
In general, to promote indexing on search engines, it is advisable to create a sitemap, a site map. It is a document that describes the structure of a website. If you are an expert, you can create it by hand, use an online service like Xml Sitemap Generator or, if your site was created with WordPress, use a plugin.
On-site SEO tricks and techniques
Optimization of the structure
How to rank on Google? The starting point can only be the organization of the site’s contents in a coherent, clear structure that is easy for the user to navigate. The ideal structure, in this sense, is the so-called “silo structure”. It is a division of contents similar to that of a book: the information is divided into main semantic areas similar to the chapters of a book and further divided into smaller containers (to continue the metaphor of the book, paragraphs and subsections).
The choice of keywords
Do you know what the first SEO commandment is?
Treat every single piece of content as the answer to a specific need.
What does it mean? It means specializing, identifying your niche and occupying it. Search engines are seething with content: soaring is a matter of competence and specificity. Each content on your site must answer a query, or a “question” from users.
This is where keywords come into play. Keywords are those expressions that identify activities, sectors, objects, etc. for which you want to place a site on search engines. It is important to create the contents of a web page starting from a main keyword, exploring all the possible branches that make up a coherent semantic area. For example, for this article I worked on “how to be first on Google” (a keyphrase, rather than a keyword), developing all the concepts associated with the ranking theme in an attempt to intercept other important keywords (eg. “Google seo “).
Therefore, once the main topic of a page has been established, here are the criteria you need to consider when choosing keywords:
- The volume of traffic, or the average of monthly searches for that keyword
- Competition or competition, i.e. how many websites have already been indexed for that word. It is an important parameter, because it can affect the ease / difficulty of positioning (therefore on time and costs);
- Research intentions. The more specific the keyword is, the more likely it is that the purpose of that search is an action that is relevant to us, that is, a conversion (purchase, registration, etc.). For example, if I am looking for “wedding photographer in Milan”, it is very likely that I am looking for a professional who can take photos for my wedding. If I’m looking for “wedding photos”, maybe I just want to admire some nice shots!
The URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a sequence of characters that locates a resource (page, document, image, etc.) on the internet. The address of a page is an important element in SEO optimization!
The ideal is to create talking addresses, that is, discursive URLs that summarize the content of the page through keywords.
In general, the correct structure of an SEO friendly url is your sitename / keyword. Normally, conjunctions and prepositions, i.e. stop words, should not appear in urls. However, I advise you to evaluate case by case: sometimes deleting a stop word can make the url less readable and alter its meaning; others, the presence or absence of stop words may lead to variations in search volumes and therefore a url with stop words may be appropriate.
By title we mean the <title> tag, which is the title of the page displayed in the Google SERP (SERP: Search Engine Result Page, the search results page).
“SEO is 50% in the title,” goes the old adage. The ideal scheme is:
“Keyword – Keyword # 2… | Site Name “
For example, this page is titled “First on Google: The Complete SEO Guide! | Sameh Gamal ”.
It is very important that the title starts with the keyword / keyphrase for which you want to improve the ranking.
How long should the title be? The minimum recommended title length is 35 characters; the maximum recommended length is 65 characters. Google recommends 55-60 characters (roughly 8/10 words or 512 pixels). Keep this in mind because if you exceed the maximum length, Google will cut the excess characters in the SERP, showing the truncated result.
A consideration on keywords and titles. If you focus on a keyword without stop words (eg “search engine positioning”), consistency would like this to appear also in the title. This choice may not be the best of style: after all, we are human beings and not robots, we use conjunctions! Considering that the titles are the first thing the user reads in the SERP, it is better to find a compromise between the need for a precise correspondence between keyword and title and the need for captivating and readable texts.
Remember that Google is not “stupid”, it does not think mechanically: if you have done a good SEO job, by setting the title with the stop words you will also appear in the SERP for the keyphrase that does not contain them (and vice versa). In this regard, we are talking about LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing): positioning is linked not only to a direct correspondence of terms between the query and the main keyword but to the use of synonyms that allow Google to better understand what the page is about. For this reason, therefore, it is also possible to position oneself for keywords related to the main keyword.
Meta description optimization
The meta description is that portion of text (snippet) that appears in the SERP under the title and the url. It provides the user with a description of the content of a page and therefore should be thought of as a sort of quick and concise advertisement, such as to capture the attention of the reader.
Here is what the source code looks like:
<meta name = ”description” content = ”This is an example of a meta description. With this text you can explain to users what your site is about and convince them to consult it. ”/>
To write the meta description, think of a short sentence (150-160 characters) but effective. Don’t focus exclusively on keywords: Yoast, one of the most famous SEO experts, on his blog points out that many search engines (including Google) do not use the meta description in the ranking algorithm. The benefit is there, but it is above all indirect: Google uses the Click Through Rate (CTR) as an indicator that your site is performing well. In other words: the more people click on your page, driven by the title and meta description, the more it can increase its ranking on Google.
However, it is important to optimize the meta description with keywords. Pay attention: when you search for a certain keyword, if it also appears in the meta description, it is highlighted in bold. Although it is no longer a ranking factor, matching with search keywords is important, because it accurately identifies the topic of the page, makes it clearer and therefore pushes users to click on the result.
A very useful tool for (among other things) optimizing meta descriptions is the Google Webmaster Tool. Sign up now and explore its features!
Text optimization is a very important practice to improve the positioning of a page on Google.
But what does it mean to optimize a text? What is SEO writing (or even SEO copywriting)? A decisive role is played – as always – by keywords. Here are some basic rules:
- Immediately enter the keywords for which you intend to position yourself. In this way, both the reader and the search engines are given clearer evidence of which topic the article is about.
- Use bold. Using the <strong> tag to put the keyword in bold means letting Google understand that it is a relevant expression. But be careful not to overdo it: use bold to highlight not only the keyword, but also the concepts connected to it, which may be interesting for the reader or extend the semantics (the area of meaning) of the post.
- Use heading tags. They are the tags ranging from <h1> to <h6>, i.e. the titles. From an SEO point of view, those from <h1> to <h3> are relevant: I recommend that you use them to highlight the topics that the page talks about, inserting the keywords. A clarification regarding <h1>: HTML5 (the new version of the website creation language) allows you to use multiple h1 tags within a page. However, for a matter of greater clarity in the organization of the contents, it is preferable to use only one h1.
- Don’t give too much weight to the keyword frequency, that is the frequency with which a keyword repeats itself in a text. There is no precise numerical value to be respected: it is good that a keyword has a certain recurrence on the page, but you must not overdo it and run into keyword stuffing (an over-presence of keywords that can be penalizing).
Well yes: if you want to be first on Google, you must also manage the links correctly.
The links are divided into two categories:
- Internal links: those that refer to internal site content
- External links: links to resources present off your site or links to your site by others
The presence of internal links (inbound links) in a page / article generates cross-linking: an example is represented by the pages of Wikipedia, usually full of references to other contents of the portal.
Internal links are very important: they increase the navigability of the site, establish a hierarchy of contents and contribute to spreading the “link juice”. Link juice refers to the strength a page has to convey authority to another page.
An example of an optimized internal link:
<a href=”https://www.seoconsultant-dubai.ae”> SEO Expert Dubai </a>
The text enclosed by the <a> tag is called anchor text and must contain a keyword relevant to the link in question. Warning: it is not necessary that the url of the landing page and the anchor text have the same, identical keyword. As always, relevance is important. To give an example: the link to a page on home remedies for caries cannot have as anchor text “how to cure tartar”.
The HTML structure of external links (or outbound links) is the same. Inserting an external link in your article is important to complete the user’s reading experience and, if relevant to the content you have created, it will also reward you in the indexing phase.
In addition to enriching the text and making reading more enjoyable, images are useful for improving the visibility of your site. Here are some tips for optimizing images for SEO!
- Don’t upload files that are too large, as this may slow down your site. The loading time of the pages is a ranking factor and, at the same time, a useful element to ensure a good browsing experience for the user. (Do you want to check the loading time of your site? Take a look at Pingdom Website Speed Test!)
- Give the files a “talking” name. For the name of the image file to be optimized, the same rule applies as for the url: choose a “talking” file name, which describes the content of the image, perhaps also entering one of the keywords for which you want to position yourself. For example, the featured image of this article is named first-on-google.jpg.
- Enter a title. When you insert an image on a page or an article, it may be useful to optimize the title attribute of the image. The title of an image is the phrase that appears when you hover over it (tooltip), and is useful information for search engines.
- Enter a caption. It is additional, and very important, information that you are giving to Google about the content of your page and the nature of that image.
- Enter the Alternate Text. The alternative text or alt attribute is what “tells” the image to Google (and other search engines), and is one of the parameters on the basis of which images are classified on Google Images. It is also the text that appears on the page when, for some reason, the image cannot be loaded. Finally, it is very useful for facilitating the understanding of the image for people with vision problems, who use talking browsers that “read” the alt attribute.
The images on your site, as well as enriching content that is pleasant to read and contribute to the ranking of your pages, will be indexed on Google Images precisely by virtue of the attributes of the img tag. If you want to know more, read what a Google engineer says about it!
One more small warning: avoid overloading the titles, captions and alt text of an image with the keywords you want to be visible for. It doesn’t help you – in fact, it can penalize you. Try to be as descriptive of the photo as possible and, if necessary, enter a keyword!
Optimization of multimedia contents
In addition to images, it is a good idea to optimize multimedia content as well. Take care of the names of the individual files and the title as described above and do not forget the anchor text, the anchor text, used to create the link to the multimedia resource: make sure that, inside it, there is the keyword / keyphrase, but that it is also discursive and relevant to the rest of the content.
HTTPS: Safe Browsing
Not everyone knows this, but for about three years, https has also been an increasingly important ranking factor. What is https? It is the acronym for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, which is a system of rules (protocol) for secure communication between two computers on the network. Basically, it’s that green lock you see at the top, in the address bar of your browser, when you browse my site!
How to get it? Just buy an SSL certificate (you can contact your hosting provider) or activate a free one (e.g. with OpenSSL) and then migrate your site from http to https. Since 2014, having enabled browsing in safe mode is a positioning factor. If you haven’t done so yet, I advise you to hurry up!