Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the search results, or the higher it "ranks," the more searchers will visit that site.
The site optimizer tool of TOWeb
The site optimizer of TOWeb is accessible from the link "Website Optimizer" located in the "Publish" screen. An orange pellet is displayed aside this link to alert you about possible optimization for your site when it is the case. By default none of the base sites originally created by TOWeb are optimized as these are only starting examples and it is up to you to customize all their content with your own texts and images.
TOWeb analysis and detects multiple points of possible improvements for better ranking of your site by search engines such as Google. The test results vary with the content of your website, so it is important to regularly look at the results and guidance displayed by this optimizer each time before you publish/update your site. Each point analyzed by TOWeb can be reported:
- in green to indicate that all optimization criteria are satisfied,
- in red to alert you about possible optimizations of great importance,
- in orange to alert you of optional optimizations (but to consider as they are generally recommended to improve your SEO and/or the popularity of your site).
When optimizations are possible then you can click on their name for a detailed list of the changes you need to apply and/or to see the different tips and advice identified by TOWeb. You may also save the results of the optimizer report into a file, for example if you need to study it outside of TOWeb or if want to print it.
Finally out of all points and technical advice reported by the website optimizer of TOWeb, it is also very important to pay particular care not only to the structure and navigation of your site but also to all your texts by reading all the other tips of the located below on this page.
How will Internet visitors find your website ?
Most of your visitors will find your website using Internet search engines such as Google. To comply and authorize this, follow this 3 steps procedure :
- for each topics of your website (and especially your home page) verify and update their general information. You can do this from the "Search Engine Optimization" area located in your "Topic Settings" :
- title : choose the right words for your page title. This is the most important information search engines will use to locate your website. To determine the appropriate title, imagine which words your visitors would enter in a search engines to get to your website
- description : make few sentences that present and best summarize all the content of your web page (or website if it's your home page)
- enable search engines : just leave the option unchecked to authorized search engines on your web pages
- give a name for each of your web pages. Your home page will automatically be and stay with the filename "index.html" (or "index.php") but for all other pages you may want to give as page file name that will be fixed and final for all your URLs
- very all your texts and paragraph titles. These are scanned, extracted and analyzed by search engined robots that try to understand the meaning to categorize and organize all these in there database. The choice of your texts and sentences is therefore very important
- add a title on each images if you want them to be best indexed by image search engines such as Google Images
- now your website is ready and available, you can submit your website to GOOGLE
Your website is still not visible in GoogleYour website will be automatically referenced in search engine databases but this may take times. To improve ranking and position in their search results. To do that here are some advice to consider :
- the content of your web pages : the information and text content of your website is essential. It must be useful for your visitors and should contain the important words or sentences your visitors are looking for. If you use a word very often and place it in your topic's tile, this word will become an important one on your website.
- External links : if many websites contain a link your website, this generally means that your content is interesting or in relation with these websites. The more links you will have on the internet the more important your website will be so you might consider the exchange of links or banners with websites similar to yours.
- regular updates : in order to make people come and visit your website often, it's important to update it periodically and add new useful information. Search engines take in accounts such aspects so it's important to maintain your website up-to-date and alive.
- try not to rename or deleted the web page names (URL) of your website as they have been bookmarked by user and stored by search engines. If possible keep our old web page by just removing their content and providing link to the new page(s)
- the page title should summarize all the content of your topic. It should not be a sequence of keywords but a sentence (with or without any verbs). You should carefully choose the word you use for it as it must stay as short as possible. In fact your title is longer that 60 characters the rest would generally be ignored by search engines.
- the page description generally contains one or two sentence to present the content of your topic. This text is also the one commonly displayed below a found link on the list of search results. For best SEO in search engines it is advisable to put a Meta <description> tant does not exceed 268 characters (maximum 330 characters possible). It is important for both Meta Title & description summarizing a topic to be as clear and concise as possible and stay within those limits. If this is not the TOWeb case will show in red the field name to indicate that.
- Install an SSL certificate to secure your site by HTTPS.
Eventually be patient ! Your website is not likely to become famous on the internet in just few days. This may take weeks, months and even years before your website to appear on the top of search engine results.
Google and other search engines place a lot of importance on content. Textual content is based on the importance of the words and phrases you have chosen to build it. These most important words in your content are called keywords, the very ones that people will type when they search on Google to find you.
Warning: the keywords are no longer related to the HTML tag which may contain keywords but no longer used by search engines like Google.
A keyword is a word that must be searched by users and must match the subject of your site/page.
There are different types of keywords to avoid or prioritize as needed:
- The "competitive" keywords are the most coveted. The more people who want to position themselves on the same keyword, the higher the places on the first pages of results will be difficult.
- The "parasitized" keywords are words whose results may vary when a word can have several possible meanings / interpretations and thus result in a search that is not relevant to the user.
- The "rare" keywords are key phrases that may be relevant, highly technical, little known or not often used. The traffic will not be important but you will have the advantage of only very few competitors and so to reach the desired target and/or be among the top results in the search engines on these words.
Each keyword has a specific role and needs to be carefully selected because it has a direct impact on your SEO. A few tips :
- Do not abuse redundancy of a keyword but find synonyms and vary expressions.
- Think "key phrase" rather than a single keyword because the search requests of Internet users generally count several words or expressions.
- Choose keywords that best fit your target.
- The title of your page should include the main keyword at the beginning of the sentence and be catchy.
- The first paragraph has an important role, supposed to summarize the main information of your page. It's a good idea to use your main keyword at the beginning of this paragraph and add some key phrases about the topic of your page.
- Create links to keywords that link to other pages on your site. The internal mesh of your site is important, it should not be neglected.
- Put some keywords in bold but in moderation.
- Übersuggest is a free keyword generator that lists keyword suggestions based on your search and the selected language.
- Google AdWords, primarily intended for Google AdWords users, this tool can also be used for natural referencing by the suggestions of keywords it offers, their search volume and the degree of competition based on typed queries by the internet users.
Search Engine Advertising (SEA)
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is essential, it requires work and patience but does not require any cost. Depending on your budget, an additional strategy can also be considered: SEA (Search Engine Advertising) paid search to position your site among the top results of search engines with sponsored links.
The SEA consists of the auctioning of keywords on one or more broadcast networks such as:
- Google AdWords
- Microsoft AdCenter
- Sponsored Links
When a user searches for keywords that the advertiser buys, the ad is displayed in designated boxes. The advertiser does not pay the display of his advertisement but only the possible click of the user on the link (CPC, "Cost per Click").
Dead links are links pointing to web pages that do not exist (or no longer exist), making them impossible to open by both internet users and search engines. Dead links can be either internal to the pages of your site, or outgoing (pointing to other sites than yours) or inbound (other sites than yours havinkg links to pages that no longer exist on your website). Dead links can hurt not only your SEO but also your visitors when they return to visit your site from the favorites they saved on their browser.
Internal dead links: TOWeb automatically regenerates your site as well as its internal links therefore none of your pages can contain any internal dead link between them.
Outbound dead links: TOWeb's built-in site optimizer allows you to automatically analyze all external links used in your site's pages and report all those who have died. Depending on the quality of the sites you point to and the number of external links you use, it will be necessary to check regularly enough to make the necessary changes.
Inbound dead links: they can occur in the following 2 situations:
- when permanently deleting a page from your site
- when changing the file name of a page on your site
Once a page of your site has been published (and is therefore known to Google or internet visitors), it should normally never be deleted because it will still be referenced for several days/weeks in the Google database and therfore will continue to be displayed by the Google seach results, which will lead to dead link errors. And it will also be the same for users who have added your page to their favorites.
Instead of deleting a page, it's best to only delete all of its content in order to let people know why it's being removed and place a link to a new page. And if your page no longer has any interest, activate the TOWeb option to disable search engine indexing for it.
As for the name change of a page, it also comes down to the same consequences that a deletion may as it will no longer exist under the name known by Google and your visitors. If you need to change the file name of a page on your site then you will need to use a redirection rule in your site's .htaccess file to specify what was its old file name and what its new name is now. For example, if you have a page named "page.html" that you now want to rename to "infos.html" then you will need to add the following permant forwarding in the .htaccess file of your site:
RedirectPermanent /page.html https://www.mysite.com/infos.html
We also recommend that you activate the custom error pages in order to have a 404 error handling on your site.
Using Google services in your website
In addition to submit your site to the Google search engine, Google offers free services handled and assisted by TOWeb. To configure them in TOWeb you first need to open a Google account. These TOWeb options are available in the "Settings > Google Services" screen and they include:
Google provides an invisible tag you can place in your site to confirm that you are the owner. Log in to Google webmaster tools with your Google account to choose a verification method and select it thereafter in TOWeb. The simplest method that we recommend is to select the Add a meta tag verification and copy/paste the line of code that provided by Google. This code line should be like this one:
A TOWeb Studio edition allows you, if you wish, not to generate the tag "meta generator" in your site by selecting the choice "None" for "Meta generator" option located in TOWeb screen "File > Your website". But unless you are a web developer with very specific needs, we advise you to keep the generator meta tag to your site not only because this information is not visible to internet users visiting your site but also because :
- this meta generator tag is used to facilitate technical assistance in case of problems on your website. If you remove it and contact the technical support Lauyan then, depending on the problems that you may encounter, this may delay the research and analysis of all possible causes and therefore postpone the problem resolution time. A republish of your site after reactivating the "meta generator" tag of TOWeb may also be requested by our technical support until the resolution of your problem is completed
- the presence of the TOWeb meta generator tag in your site can also improve your SEO. In fact some search engines such as Google are fully aware of the different structures and mechanisms used by major websites generators, this to better reference all text and other elements located inside your site, so they can make the most judicious and appropriate predictions on the role, relation, meaning of all your site content; as many points which will not be processed if this information generator is removed from your website.
Google Universal Analytics
This service from Google tells you how visitors arrived on your site how they explored and what you can do to improve the comfort of use. To integrate this service automatically to all pages of your website, simply connect to your Google account to know the code of your site and enter it in TOWeb. This code is of the form:
UA-xxxxxx (eg UA-207352-3).
The IP Anonymization of Google Analytics (also called IP masking) helps you to strengthen your own privacy policies as well as support the recommendations from local data protection authorities in some countries which may prevent the storage of full IP address information. If you use Google Anaytics on your site and want to activate the IP masking you only need to check this option located in TOWeb step “Options > Google Services”.
For more information see the help page of Google Universal Analytics.
A sitemap file is a file used by search engines such as Google to obtain more information on your website. Your sitemap file is automatically created, updated and published by TOWeb on your web space based on changes that you make especially for example when you add a new topic to your site. It is not necessary to create it yourself or use any other generator. From the setting of each topic, you can specify the level of each item a page priority between 0 (minimum) & 10 (maximum) and frequency of its updates. The sitemap file created by TOWeb is published inside the root directory of your web space and its filename is "sitemap.xml".
From version 8 you also benefit from the following functions:
- after each successful publication of your site, TOWeb allows you to send the new sitemap of your site directly to the search engines of Google and Bing/Yahoo so that they can immediately take into account your latest changes
- you have the possibility to generate the information of the images of your site in your file sitemap.xml or in a separate file images.xml for a better SEO on Google Images.
Note: If you use an external tool to manage the sitemap files of your site and/or if you want to manually update and publish them yourself outside TOWeb, you will need to disable the Sitemap option in TOWeb. By doing so, the site optimizer of TOWeb will systematically show a "Sitemap" warning to remind you to check that your sitemap files are up to date on the other tools you use for them.
Optimizations for smartphones and tablets
With TOWeb, some information and rules for smartphones can be added to your site in order to have it better displayed depending on the content of your pages and/or what you want.
Google Maps API
Since June 22nd, 2016, the usage of the Google Maps APIs requires a key. If you have not any yet for your domain or site you can get your API Key from Google. Keep in mind that each free API key comes with a 25,000 map loads per day limit so, for very large websites with numerous visitors, you could possibly need a Premium Plan license from Google. For more information and conditions of use, please refer to Google. Once you have your API key :
- if you are using a TOWeb version greater than 6.13 then you just need to copy/paste your API key in TOWeb step "Options > Google Services > Google Maps". For more information on how to add Google Maps to your website please see the Google Maps object.
- if you are using TOWeb V5 or older then you will need to follow Google instructions and copy/paste your code using the TOWeb script fields.
See also the following pages:
- Navigation and structure of your website as internal links in your site but also external links to other sites are very important not only for your visitors but also Internet search engines
- Custom error pages and files "robots.txt", ".htaccess" and "sitemap.xml" to handle all the errors and rules of your website.