Academy

2020 Search Engine Optimization Guide

Complete SEO guide to increase your positioning on Google without having to program.

Creating or redesigning a website for your business is good, but if you don’t complement these efforts with search engine optimization (SEO), your investment will go to waste. A beautiful website without visitors is like a business without customers...


Several firms are intimidated by the amount of information available online regarding SEO and unfortunately, most of the time, if they do not have the help of a consultant or an SEO expert, they abandon this aspect of their business, which is a big mistake!


To better understand, read: How much does a website cost


Let's take a look at some basic solutions to get your website’s SEO up and running smoothly and to increase traffic. With our SEO guide, you will be able to increase the position of your site in Google's search results.


Throughout this blog, I will talk about Keyword (s). It's important to understand what a keyword is.


Keyword Definition: A keyword is a word that describes the content of your page. This is the word that people search on the internet. A keyword can consist of several words like "Beef Bourguignon Recipe" or a single word like "Potato". This is the search term that you will want to rank with for a certain page of your site.



1. Basics of SEO

I like to explain that SEO consists of a set of three distinct parts:


 Technical SEO


Technical SEO can be defined as the study and improvement of the structure of your website. What we are talking about here are the mechanics of the domain (structured data). Can Google or Bing read your site, analyze each page and present it to users? Technical SEO is like the engine of your car. The motor won’t dictate who will win the race but with engine failures, you will not go far...



Tip 💡:


  • You need to make sure that your site is accessible to Google and that the search engine indexes the majority of your pages. To verify if Google indexed your site, type the following text in your search bar and do the following search:


site:domainname.com


Google will clearly tell you what pages are indexed for your domain. We see that for ProStar SEO, Google has indexed 20 pages.



In order to discover the technical errors that are on your site, we offer you a free technical audit on our homepage. It will only take you 30 seconds to get an overview of the health of your domain.



 On-page SEO

On-page SEO is defined by the optimization of each page of your site in order to improve its ranking and generate relevant traffic from Google. On-page refers to both the content and the HTML source code of a page. (Don’t be afraid, we won’t fall into the complexity of programming a site)



To know 📒:


Google does not look at your website as a whole, it looks at the pages that are classified in its index, each page is a separate item that must aim for a particular purpose. Don’t think of it in terms of your website as a whole, but rather in terms of each individual web page.


Some of the most important SEO elements take place on your site. You probably hear a lot about the building links (backlinks), but know that if this strategy is not complemented by a good optimization of your website, your site has no chance of occupying the first places for competitive keywords in the search results.


Here is a list of the basic elements of on-page SEO to place on each of the main pages of your website, including and especially on the homepage:


The Title Tag (or meta tag)


The Title Tag is the title of a page that appears in blue when searching on Google.

The title tags on the pages of your website indicate to the search engines the content of each page. This is one of the most important elements of SEO.


For ProStarSEO.com, the Title Tag looks like this:



If we take this example, Google's robots will detect that this page is an Agency that offers SEO services in Quebec.


The title tag must contain a maximum of 70 characters and should generally include the name of your company and the most important keyword for your page.


Tip 💡:


  • This blog gives you strategies to improve your SEO, but don’t forget the human aspect in all of this. If the ProStarSEO title tag has a number (# 1) in its text, it’s because the use of numbers or parenthesis increases the click rate by 20% — our eyes cling to it amongst a jungle of letters.The Meta-Description






The meta-description on the pages of your website provide additional information to Google's search engines. It gives them a more detailed overview of your page. The meta description is the black text that appears just below the title tag. Our tests seem to indicate that the meta-description has no impact on SEO.


Make sure to write your meta-description so that your potential customers can understand the nature of your page and be sure to include the main keywords of the page in your meta-description as it will appear in the search results.



Do you use WordPress?


If you use WordPress for your domain, it will make your job easier. Indeed, it is easy to add title tags and meta-descriptions to your pages using free plug-ins such as SEO by Yoast.


The headers tags of your pages


Headers, often in bold, are another important element for Google. The first header tag, in particular, the one we called H1 (Header 1), must contain the primary keyword of the page. It can be exactly like the title tag or get closer to it in its content. This is an important element for Google because it will verify that what you promote in your Title tag is the same as what you offer on your site (H1).


Tip 💡: 

  • If you don’t know how to read your website’s code but would like to know the title tags and other SEO information quickly, install the SEO Minion extension on your Chrome browser, two clicks and you will have access to a lot of relevant information. 


The URL of the page


If we simplify, Google bots start indexing your site by reading the URL of the page, then they study the title tag and the titles of the page, especially the H1. Whenever possible, it is recommended to have your main keyword in the URL of the page. Of course, it is not always possible for the homepage. For example, MiumMium.com, a website of personal chefs, only has the name of the firm in its URL:



However, the important pages (Money pages), found in Google searches, include the keyword "home chef + city name" in their URLs, this is a proven and effective technique to increase your SEO, especially if you offer your services in several cities.



Additional elements of on-site SEO


The title tag, H1, and the URL are the basic elements of effective SEO (ranking factors). However, there are other components to consider when writing a website. Be sure to incorporate the following points into the content of your site's pages in order to optimize the search as much as possible:


  • Internal Links — The creation of links is not restricted to external sites that provide links to your website ("backlinks"). You can help search engines find out more about your website by creating internal links in your content, which lead to other pages of your site. As an example, in this article, you will find internal links linked to other pages of our SEO agency.


  • Header Tags — This article uses three levels of HTML header tags that organize content into different sections and allow search engines to learn more about the content of each section. <H1> </ H1> tags surround the main title of your page. Make sure you have only one H1 per page otherwise you can be penalized by Google. The <H2> </ H2> and <H3> </ H3> tags surround the subtitles on the page - you can use these tags multiple times on the same page. The use of header tags makes it easier for users to read and offers more information about your content to search engines.


  • Image Name and ALT Tag — If you use images on your website, be sure to name them and use text that contains good keywords for your images and alt tags. The name must of course also describe the content of the image. Google will use it to describe the site to the visually impaired. This tip will allow you to appear in the image search results based on the keywords used.


  • Bold Text — Bolding a small section of text to catch users' attention helps search engines to distinguish certain important pieces of content and keywords on your page. Don’t go crazy with this element.



Warning Danger 🚨:


  • Make sure you don’t overuse these SEO elements on your website. For example, you might be tempted to put a lot of keywords on your pages, but that's not the goal.


Google penalizes websites that contain too many keywords on one page (this is called an overoptimization penalty!). That's why when it comes to optimizing keywords, you should keep it simple.


  • If you don’t know which keywords you should optimize, try entering some preliminary ideas in Google AdWords’ Keyword Tool for suggestions.



To know 📒:


Aim for one keyword (and its close synonyms) per page, don’t try to make a single page appear in the search results for a series of services or products. Your texts are interpreted by a machine, keep your approach simple. Make one page per service and per product. 


2. Content Creation


Content creation is an essential part of your online marketing strategy because it attracts visitors and search engines to your website. The more content you have, the more users will browse your website and the more search engines will be able to index the different pages of your site.


The secret to appealing to search engines and visitors is to create quality content. This content can take many forms such as:


  • Blog posts


  • Industry Articles


  • Tutorials and guides


  • Infographics


  • Videos


  • Podcasts


Creating content for your website can represent an investment in time or money, but you can be sure that it will be worth it. If you create quality content, you'll go up in Google's ranking and visitors who love your content will share it on social media, which will increase the traffic to your website. More traffic = Better positioning, it’s a virtuous circle!



3. Off-site Optimization (Link Building)


The pet peeve of many is the creation of external links. This is one of the most debated SEO strategies. Why do you want to have external sites that point to yours? Because for Google, the more others talk about you, the more you are a leader in your field.


The goal of the strategy is to have other companies add links to your site on their own website (backlinks).


In SEO, the more backlinks you have, the more likely you are to be ranked high in Google's index.


Getting links with keyword anchor text will help you rank specifically on related keywords. For example, having text like this in an external blog: In order to increase your SEO, you should do business with an SEO agency.


All external links are not created equal, you must search for sites that mention your website ‘’normally’’. If you’re a dentist from Montreal and you receive hundreds of external links from India, it is very likely that, in the best of cases, Google will ignore them. It sometimes even happens that Google decides to deindex your site, which means that no one will be able to find your domain online ... trust me, you do not want that!


The majority of websites are struggling to generate enough organic links to improve their position in Google's search results, that’s why link building is such a popular strategy. In order to create quality links, you can use the following techniques:


  • Send blog submissions to popular sites in your area. Normally, you write a quality blog and instead of publishing it on your own site, you publish it on an external site. This will give you a link to your website. 


  • Ask your customers if they would like to mention your services on their pages.


  • Create local search profiles and social network profiles. These links are not always taken into account in search rankings, but they can attract clicks and increase the traffic on your website.


  • Submit your website to different directories such as yellow pages or invest in press releases. Be sure to avoid poor quality directories that are not related to your industry.


  • Create quality content worthy of a link.


  • Personally, we acquired quality backlinks on MiumMium.com when launching the company by communicating with newspapers, radio, television and several news websites. This allowed us to acquire links from 98.5 FM Montreal (Paul Arcand), Ici Radio Canada, Radio Canada Telévision, The Journal of Montreal, The Huffington Post, and many others. It’s the quality of these external links that has allowed us to climb to the top of the pages of Google’s search results.


4. Finally, follow your SEO progress at every step of the way!


SEO is a science that is constantly evolving and where competition for the first place is fierce. That's why you need to make sure you keep track of your position by frequently monitoring your results. Here are our favorite tools:


  • SEMrush - SEMrush is a powerful all-in-one SEO platform. It's an SEO tool that allows you to create SEO audits, search for keywords, track the keyword strategy used by your competitors, search for backlinking opportunities, and more. It’s a tool that is used by companies of all sizes.


  • Page Optimizer Pro - POP is a tool created by Kyle Roof of High Voltage SEO that is very useful for on-page optimization (also called on-page SEO). If you want to outperform your competitors in search results, this tool will tell you to what extent your web content is optimized and explain the steps you need to take to improve the optimization of your web pages. The theory behind POP is very simple, Google gives us the sites it prefers in its ranking so it’s only a matter of adapting your website to the sites of the top rankers.


  • Google Search Console - Google Search Console is a must for owners of blogs and websites. It’s a free and essential SEO tool, as it helps to better understand how Google perceives websites and blogs. It offers several indispensable tools. For example, it allows for the creation of reports, the verification of your website, the indexing of your web pages, etc.


  • Google My Business - Creating a Google My Business profile is essential for local SEO. This online publishing tool is free and will allow you to appear in local search results for specific searches related to your products or services.


There’s a multitude of other quality SEO tools, but my team and I use these tools to reach the top rankings on the search engines.


By applying the techniques presented in this SEO guide, you will increase your position in Google's search results, which will result in more visitors and therefore more sales.


At ProstarSEO, We talk Google


Nous pratiquons le référencement scientifique, une approche qui permet d'obtenir des résultats rapidement et en toute transparence.