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Google ranking – SEO: 8 basics to be #1

Disclaimer: SEO takes time, months or even years 🙃 So your efforts will pay off a little later after reading this article!

It’s possible to achieve a good Google ranking in a short space of time, but this would require total respect for the rules listed below, a person working almost full-time on it, and a bit of luck.

We’ve put together the basics of good Google search engine optimization for you. For the Marketers who read us, you’ve been dreaming of this summary list! For the business owners who read us, you’re going to want to bookmark this list ⭐

First of all, let’s define what Google SEO is and how it works. For those who already know, go 1 scroll further!

Also known as SEO*, Google search engine optimization is the logic used by Google’s robots to rank websites by search.

Every time you search on Google, you get a certain number of results. This results page is known as the SERP: Search Engine Results Page. Literally, the search engine results page.

In order to provide the best response to the search performed, Google launches its criteria algorithm to display the best website pages. And in a certain order.

First, you’ll find the best choice at that given moment. And last, a more distant result. There is a “last” result, but you never see it. Because with 130,000 billion pages indexed on Google, you can always try to reach it, but it can take a long time.

*SEO= Search Engine Optimization

Now that you understand the importance of following Google’s algorithm, here’s a list of best practices. These have a direct impact on your Google ranking.

1. Google's algorithm doesn't like the unknown, it needs to read your pages quickly

That’s why there are several technical rules to follow:

  1. Respect the one-page identity card:
    1. Always give an alternative text to your images/multimedia, called “ALT image”. Your website management tool will normally suggest this whenever you add images or videos.
    2. Write your meta descriptions well. We’re talking here about what’s displayed on Google when people see your site. Think of all the keywords your target might type. Like here: Méta description The title is in blue and below it the description is what we call the “meta description”.
    3. Make sure you have the right “hreflang” on your site. This is the code to indicate the language of your site. If your site is in French, then you should see “hreflang=FR”, the same for the English version of your site “hreflang=EN”. This allows Google to understand that your site is based on a specific language, and therefore localization. You can check this with your developer, or on your own using your CMS*.
  2. Giving context to each hyperlink Avoid putting the link behind the bold text here: “Click here to see all our blog posts” but directly on the whole text: “All our blog posts”, which is called a hyperlink. Just as you should avoid writing hyperlinks with just “Here” or “Click here”.
  3. Respect the hierarchy of your page titles For those who don’t yet know, every title and subtitle on a web page has its own code, such as “H1”, “H2”, “H3”, etc. These codes are invisible to the naked eye, but visible to Google. These codes are invisible to the naked eye, but visible to Google. They enable us to understand the order of a page, and the hierarchy of its content. So, the best thing to do is to have just one “H1” for the main title of your page. Then “H2” for each chapter, and “H3” for subheadings. And sometimes “H4” for important passages. Each time below each one.

H1

  • H2
    • H3
      • H4
  • H2
    • H3
  • xxx

*CMS = Content Management System = Content management system for your website, such as WordPress, WebFlow, PrestaShop, etc.

2. Google's algorithm highlights accessible sites

Unlike some mayors, Google prefers our websites to be accessible. The Google “Lighthouse” extension even rates this accessibility out of 100. But what does “accessibility” mean to Google?

“By making our applications accessible, we not only bring them within the reach of people with disabilities – around one billion people worldwide – but we also offer people without disabilities the opportunity to personalize their experience.” Google, 2022. Source

Not only for applications, but also for websites, Google’s algorithm tracks every detail that hinders good navigation, experience or possible personalization.

Examples:

  • Good contrast between the colors, so that they stand out,
  • If possible, a “color-blind” option,
  • Font size: not too large, not too small,
  • Multimedia size: large enough for everyone to see,
  • Sufficiently large buttons,
  • Extra navigation aids: arrows to go back to the top of the page, etc.
  • A mobile-friendly, fully responsive site,
  • etc.

Another extension exists: Accessibility Scanner

Read also:

Search engine optimization: which SEO tool to use?

3. Beyond pages, Google needs to understand your site's overall architecture

In order to rank your site for the right keywords, Google’s algorithm needs to be able to find and navigate your site easily. To achieve this, we recommend two things:

  1. Ensure good internal linking between your pages. We’re talking here about adding links from your pages to your own pages. For example, add the link to your page discussing “Your commitments” inside your “About us” page.
  2. Add a breadcrumb trail to your entire site. It helps Google robots understand the sequence and order of your pages.

These 2 tips have a direct impact on your SEO.

Read also:

What is internal linking? What is it really for?

4. Google doesn't want to disappoint its users

When we say that Google doesn’t want to disappoint its users, we’re talking about consistency between a search and its result. The result must be exactly what the user is looking for.

To make sure you appear at the right times, on the right searches, and keep Google happy, there are a few tricks up your sleeve.

  • Use the URL of your pages to insert specific keywords,
  • The same goes for your titles (you know those H1, H2 and H3 that Google loves),
  • But also your anchor texts. An anchor text is the text that appears when a link is referred to. Example: Are you lacking inspiration for your Linkedin B2B posts? We’ve used a different text to the real title of the article in question. This text is used to highlight other keywords and bring new ones to the page.

5. Google prefers images..

Basically, the more you visualize what you’re saying with photos, videos, diagrams or infographics, the more Google will be able to refine your referencing. But also your “ranking order” on search pages.

But Google prefers :

  • Unique photos, never before used on other sites,
  • But above all, the videos >>>>>>

With these two, you can be sure that your site will be taken into account by the algorithm.

6. ...and frequently updated

The more recent your website’s content, the more the algorithm will appreciate it. Recent content means that you’ve kept up to date with current trends, which is reassuring for Google.

Tips: update your blog articles at least once a year. Sometimes you’ll say they don’t need it, but rewriting a few paragraphs has a direct impact on your Google ranking.

7. Google wants to know if you are known to others..

When we talk about website authority, and therefore page authority, we’re talking about the weight they carry. What is that weight, you might ask? It’s the importance of your credibility in the eyes of others.

There are several things you need to take into account to increase your authority. And that includes having very good backlinks* pointing to your site, such as :

  • High-traffic sites (at least 5,000 visitors/month)
  • Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, any social networks you might have,
  • Google My Business: your company’s Google listing with reviews (very important, by the way!)

And to find out about your authority, and that of others, there’s an extension: MozBar (among others).

*Backlinks = external links to your site.

8. ...and you're fit

A site that ranks well on Google must also perform well. Even with 300 visitors.

Among the criteria most closely scrutinized by Google, we have :

  • The rate of return to the results page,
  • The slowness of your site: less than 5 seconds, or even 3 maximum!

Read also:

How can you optimize your bounce rate?

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