Definition, operation, pillars, important criteria, the role of AI (artificial intelligence)… discover all the secrets of SEO in this article! Like all stories, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or natural referencing in India begins with “once upon a time.” It is also punctuated by adventures, which all have an outcome, but unlike the tales of our childhood, we do not know the end since it has yet to take place.
Will it be endless? Or will she have her “happy ending”? No one knows today. On the other hand, we know its beginnings, role, operation, and levers, and the sensational arrival of artificial intelligence (AI) allows us to imagine its future evolutions. So let us tell you the story of SEO and reveal some of its secrets!
Table of Contents
The Role Of SEO In Search Engines
Once upon a time, there was SEO or natural referencing. Three letters in English that mean Search Engine Optimization, which can be translated into French as search engine optimization. Three letters, therefore, which in fact, designate a set of techniques intended to improve the positioning of a website in the search engine results pages (SERP). The history of SEO is thus intimately linked to that of search engines, mainly Google.
The objective of natural referencing is, therefore, to improve the visibility of a site in the SERPs and to generate targeted and qualified traffic on its pages. Ultimately, it can help a site – and, therefore, a company – obtain new prospects and customers, gain notoriety, and increase turnover. To achieve this, a site must be optimized by working on different criteria while respecting the rules laid down by the search engines.
A site is considered well-optimized when it appears on the first page of the SERPs. To date, and since the origins of natural referencing, 3 pillars are decisive for having good positioning in the SERPs:
- The technique
Similarly, although complementary, SEO should be distinct from SEA and SMO.
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What Is The Difference Between SEO, SEA, And SMO?
SEO, SEA, SMO… letters that are familiar to us as they punctuate our daily life at the agency and designate our divisions.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
The purpose of SEO is to improve the positioning of a site in the SERPs. As indicated above, it has 3 pillars – technique, semantics, and popularity – which must be optimized since the robots and algorithms of a search engine then analyze them. And the more they are optimized in compliance with good practices, the better a site is rated by robots and therefore positioned in the SERPs.
SEA (Search Engine Advertising)
SEA, or Search Engine Advertising (or advertising on search engines in French), is often called “paid referencing,” in opposition to natural referencing. It is therefore advertising on search engines (Google Ads, for example). It takes the form of ads (or sponsored links) at the top of the SERPs. Ads that are written from specific keywords and governed by an auction system.
SMO (Social Media Optimization)
The SMO, or Social Media Optimization (or optimization of social media in French), refers to the actions implemented to improve the presence and visibility of a company’s brand on the media and social networks. Media that can then drive qualified traffic to the website. It combines several techniques: SEO, viral marketing, content creation, and e-reputation management.
These 3 methods are, therefore, different and are not based on the same actions, but they are complementary since their objectives are similar. This is why we talk about the Search Engine Marketing or SEM (SEO + SEA + SMO) strategy, which aims to improve the visibility of a company or a brand on search engines. And among these 3 techniques, the oldest – the specialty of our agency when it was created and for several years – is SEO. Therefore, The time has come to resume its history, opening a new chapter.
The Pillars Of Natural Referencing
Since the beginning of its history, SEO has been based on 3 fundamental pillars, which must be at the heart of any strategy. These are technique, semantics, and popularity (or net linking). 3 basic elements must be worked together and optimized to better position a site in the SERPs.
When we talk about the technique of a site, it is about the levers allowing the analysis and indexing of the pages by the search engines’ robots and facilitating the navigation of the Net surfers. This is the first element analyzed by Google. This is why a site must be indexed to be referenced. Without indexing, it is invisible to Google and its robots.
Therefore, the technical optimization of a site involves taking care of its source code, which must be clean, paying attention to page loading time, tree structure, Hn tags, title and meta-description tags, redirections, the structure of URLs… Consequently, an SEO agency, such as Powertrafic, must identify and remedy the blocking or penalizing factors to optimize this technical aspect.
The semantic aspect of a site refers to the content on the pages. SEO must be unique, relevant, and of high quality. The ideal number of words depends on the page type (there must be more of them on a category page than on a product sheet, for example). But every content should always be personalized. Copying and pasting are to be banned because it penalizes the natural referencing of a site and is quickly identified by search engine robots. Similarly, good SEO content must meet two objectives:
- Have added value for readers;
- Inform search engines.
Therefore, it is necessary to work on keywords corresponding to the terms typed by Internet users in the engines and the products and services presented on a page. Thus, each page of a site must work on specific keywords. And quality should always come before quantity. Writing content of a certain length is necessary, but it must be informative and interesting for the Net surfers. Over-optimization is also to be avoided because it harms the natural referencing of a site. Therefore, one must be vigilant about the repetition and use of keywords in a text.
The 3rd pillar of natural referencing is popularity, also known as net linking. It is measured by the quality and quantity of links received by a site. In other words, the more numerous and qualitative they are, the better a site is positioned in the SERPs by the robots. In fact, for the engines, these links are considered recommendations from other sites…provided they are natural.
They must therefore come from sites with a similar theme and a good trust score with search engines. The optimization of the net linking of a site is also done in the long term. It is not a question of obtaining a high number of links in a few weeks – it is even counterproductive since it increases the risk of sanction by the search engines – but regularly,
In natural referencing, these 3 pillars are complementary. To improve the positioning of a site in the SERPs, they must be worked together and pay attention to all of them. This is why, at Power Trafic, optimizing a site’s technique, semantics, and net linking is at the heart of our work and the SEO strategies we offer our clients.
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What Are The Important Criteria In SEO?
The 3 pillars of natural referencing designate several elements, which can be grouped into three categories: On-page, Off-page, and user experience criteria. All of them occupy an important place in SEO since they determine the positioning of a site in the SERPs. Consequently, their optimization is essential and must comply with the rules laid down by the search engines.
On-Page (Or On-Site) Criteria
On-page optimization includes all the actions directly carried out on the site, both from a technical and semantic point of view. Are concerned :
- Textual content with semantic markup (Hn titles), title and meta-description tags, and keywords.
- Internal networking (links that allow you to go from one page to another on the same site).
- The technical aspects include the HTML code, the robots.txt and sitemap.xml files, the indexing of a site, and its accessibility.
Off-Page (Or Off-Site) Criteria
Unlike On-page natural referencing, Off-page SEO brings together actions outside the site related to its notoriety and e-reputation. Among these off-page criteria are:
- The domain authority of a site;
- The quality of its backlinks;
- Its popularity on social networks;
- Link anchors (the words used to redirect to a site).
User Experience (UX)
In addition to these On-page and Off-page criteria, another point deserves great attention in SEO: the user experience. Its consideration by search engines is more recent than the two previous criteria. But today, this aspect must imperatively be integrated into a natural referencing strategy because it has consequences on the positioning of a site in the SERPs. And this concerns several points:
- Page loading time;
- The ergonomics of the site (its appearance, design, and quality);
- The user journey;
- Architecture and tree structure.
Thus, in SEO, many elements must be worked on and optimized to improve the visibility of a site and appear in a good position in the SERPs. This is why we talk about long-term strategy because this work, this optimization takes time, and the results only appear for a few days. SEO, therefore, requires patience!
Tailor-Made SEO Training In Person Or Remotely
As previously indicated, optimizing a site for natural referencing requires working on its technique, semantics, and net linking. This is part of the expertise of our Powertafic agency that we offer to our customers. Thus, by entrusting us with the SEO optimization of a site, they benefit from our know-how, the advice of our experts, and a personalized strategy.
Likewise, we are committed to sharing our knowledge and expertise as an agency. This is why we organize SEO training in person (on our premises or in those of a company) or remotely. Operation of search engines, pillars of natural referencing, optimization of the structure of a site, indexing, Google penalties…The program is very comprehensive.
At the end of the training, each participant has the basics to develop a natural referencing strategy for their site. In addition, our agency is Qualiopi certified, which attests to the quality of our training. The program is also updated according to developments in search engines and new features. We are thinking, for example, of artificial intelligence (AI), which has been shaking up the world of natural referencing for several months.
How Is Artificial Intelligence Revolutionizing Natural Referencing?
SEO is constantly evolving. Recently, new technology has caused a stir: AI. Indeed, the question arises of its impact on natural referencing and, more generally, the digital world. Should it be integrated into an SEO strategy? Can we use conversational tools such as ChatGPT to write content? Is this artificial intelligence a help, or can it harm the referencing of a site? And above all, will it revolutionize SEO? The questions are many, and for the moment, we still need to have all the answers. On the other hand, we are sure of one point: we will have to learn to coexist on the web with AI.
AI, A New Chapter In The History Of Digital
Over the next few years, this technology will likely occupy more space in our daily lives, especially on the Internet. It offers new opportunities to many players in this field, including developing ever more powerful tools. Operating from sophisticated algorithms, AI today can perform tasks that require human intelligence. This is also what makes it so fascinating and disturbing because we can not help wondering if, one day, it will not replace us.
In SEO, AI is not the magic bullet. It is different from this technology that can optimize a site in a few clicks and position it at the top of the results in the pages of search engines. Nevertheless, it can play a role and complement the work and expertise of SEO agencies and experts. You must be vigilant, rely on good engine practices (Google in priority), and use them wisely.
Useful Technology, But To Be Taken With A Grain Of Salt
In natural referencing, artificial intelligence can be considered an aid, a tool to automate tedious tasks that take time and find inspiration. So don’t bet everything on it, especially since it is a recent technology that will be further developed. It may be increasingly integrated into SEO strategies but is used sparingly for now. Expertise and human intervention remain essential to optimize a site, and we can only be delighted!
How To Use AI In SEO?
Today, artificial intelligence is, above all, a tool in natural referencing. It can be used in several ways and in particular for:
- Find more relevant keywords and automate their research;
- Identify popular topics with Internet users to write content that meets their research intentions;
- Analyze competitors’ strategies;
- Generate content ideas.
On the other hand, it should differ from the work of an editor or a project manager. All content on a site must be personalized and written by humans (if this is not the case, Google robots will detect it and penalize the site). All optimizations put in place must be verified by a human being.
In addition, it is always necessary to respect the good practices enacted by search engines to improve the positioning of a site in the SERPs. And to date, only SEO experts can do it. The history of natural referencing is written day after day. It evolves, experiences changes, and is not immune to ups and downs. Predicting his future is difficult and would have little interest. Because, in the end, as in any good story.
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