WHAT IS SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) means in French: « Optimisation pour les moteurs de recherche». This term defines all the techniques implemented to improve the position of a website on the results pages of search engines (SERP). It is also called natural referencing. The objective of an SEO expert is to improve the visibility of the websites he takes care of by making them gain positions on search engines (Google, but also Yahoo! Bing, etc.).
The goal is to bring together Internet users interested in products/services or informative content. We say that a site is well optimized or referenced if it is in the first positions of a search engine on the desired queries.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CRITERIA IN SEO?
In France and generally in the world, the most visited sites by Internet users are those that appear on the very first page of results (among the first 10). Of these top 10 results, the first 3 sites are the most visited.
According to studies, the figures concerning the percentage of clicks on Google search results according to their position on the SERP are as follows
- 1st position: 33% of clicks on the computer
- 2nd position: 15.6% of clicks on the computer and the same on mobile
- 3rd position: 10% of clicks on the computer and same on mobile
The first 3 results represent almost 60% of clicks on search engines. Hence the importance of being well placed in the natural results. Google rates websites by the degree of relevance. The higher the scores, the more visible they are and the closer they are to the 1st page. To be relevant to the search engine, several criteria are taken into account.
ON-PAGE OPTIMIZATION: TEXTUAL CONTENT OF THE SITE’S PAGES
On-page or on-site optimization is the set of techniques aimed at improving the quality of the content of a site/web page. Several elements are to be perfected from your keyword strategy:
- Title tag
- Meta tags (Meta description, robots, keywords)
- Semantic tagging (H1-H6)
- Page content (Body)
Internal linking (internal links)
OFF-PAGE OPTIMIZATION: EXTERNAL LINKS (NET LINKING)
On the other hand, the off-site part represents everything related to the environment of a site, and therefore the links that redirect to a page of it. It is about :
- Origin of external links (backlinks from quality sites will be more
relevant for Google)
- Link anchor (a term used to redirect to your site)
The quantity of links is also a factor, but it is much more important to focus on the quality of links than on their quantity.
USER EXPERIENCE (UX)
This part is the last to be taken into account by Google. However, for years, we have seen that this point is large to be taken seriously if we want to ensure places in the first search results. We can distinguish several important criteria for SEO:
- Site ergonomics: appearance and quality
- Bounce rate
- Conversion rate
- User experience
The following elements, if well worked, are likely to make you gain many places in the results and make you much more visible. Conversely, putting aside the user experience aspect would be a serious mistake. You risk being penalized by the search engines, and that is more and more because they will continue to increase their standards in this area. Do not neglect them!
Now let’s talk about the technical elements related to the infrastructure of the site (HTML code, crawl, domain name …). These are all elements that affect the user experience (UX). These factors are also essential, especially to reduce the bounce rate or to improve the conversion rate of a site.
- Page weight and loading speed (very important)
- Appearance and quality of the site
- Architecture and tree structure
These different points are essential to treat, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Natural referencing requires a multitude of actions and a regularity of acts. These are all operations that will improve the image of your site for
Google or for a search engine. In any case, natural referencing takes time.
HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR NATURAL REFERENCING IN 2021
Search engine optimization is a sector in constant evolution, which requires a permanent watch to be aware of the latest news and criteria to apply. Here are some points that you should integrate into your digital strategy or monitor in the coming months.
1. Mobile First: For several years now, the number of searches on mobile devices has exceeded that of desktop searches. That’s why Google and other search engines are adapting and tend to favor the so-called “responsive” sites in their SEO algorithms.
2. Switching to HTTPS: Google has already officially announced it. The hunt for non-HTTPS sites (especially e-commerce) is on. They are and will be banned from the first search results. It is, therefore, better to take the lead and migrate to HTTPS as soon as possible.
3. Local referencing: More and more, local geolocalized results are appearing in SERP.
4. Voice search: “Ok Google!” This phrase shows the full extent of what voice search is today. In terms of SEO too, practices are changing rapidly in this direction. Searches are becoming more and more natural. The focus is less and less on keywords and more and more on the semantic aspect and on questions in the form of whole sentences.
5. Video SEO: Social networks, streaming platforms, live, … We see it every day, visual content is much more represented and impactful in our current information system. This is why producing, optimizing, and integrating videos in your content can only be beneficial for you.
6. SXO: After SEO, it’s time for SXO. This is the term already used by some SEO experts who see SEO as an aging term that will no longer be used in a few years. For them, the number 1 criterion will soon be the user experience (UX). Hence the term SXO (Search eXperience Optimization).
SERP: WHAT CRITERIA SHOULD BE RETAINED IN SEO?
SERPs analyze sites with algorithms that list several hundred different criteria. These criteria vary from year to year and these algorithms are becoming more and more precise and sophisticated. They filter the sites according to their nature and the type of requests they answer. Thus, there are filters corresponding to a geo-localized, image, current, musical, etc. query. In order to better respond to these thematic criteria, SEO is also declined in local SEO, video SEO, image SEO, news SEO, etc.
Sites that are naturally present on the SERPs results are visible thanks to their reputation, their careful work, and their popularity. They are not the result of payment to Google or other SERPs unlike paid search (SEA Search Engine Advertising). SEO is a long and tedious work while SEA is fast but temporary. An advertising campaign composed of SEA and SEO is called SEM (Search Engine Marketing). We obtain the following equation: SEO + SEA = SEM
HOW TO APPLY THE BEST PRACTICES IN NATURAL REFERENCING?
Ideally, an SEO strategy should be incorporated into each site creation so that it can be directly designed according to the criteria of SERPs. If this is not the case, an SEO audit is necessary in order to take stock of what has been implemented previously before resorting to modifications/optimizations.
SEO jobs must therefore be creative, versatile, and innovative. Good ideas” and tests before implementing new strategies are essential to keep websites in place or to make them gain new ones in the long run.
In conclusion, mastering the tools of natural referencing requires both technical and marketing knowledge. It is essential for a professional to be informed of the evolutions and trends of the web in order to react in case of a change or
of a new algorithm. Anyway, the qualifications and motivations of SEO must remain the same.