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For several years, Google has been the most used search engine in the world: Internet users make more than 63,000 search queries every second. In France, it accounts for more than 90% of the market share. (Very) far behind are Bing, Yahoo and Co. In other words, if you want to give your website good visibility, it is essential to follow the Mountain View giant’s SEO rules.
To rank websites, Google uses not one, but many algorithms that are updated regularly. The position of your website depends entirely on these programs designed to improve the relevance of search results. The first link that appears on the results page has a click through rate (or CTR, e.g click rate) – the ratio between the number of clicks on a link and the number of times it is viewed – about 31.7%. On the other hand, a second page link drops the CTR to 0.78%. Good natural referencing is therefore essential if you want to generate traffic to your website.
How do you optimize your website? By applying basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) rules to allow Google’s indexing robots to interpret the website’s content in the best possible way. For starters, it should be relevant and of high quality. Note that the websites that gained the most visibility in 2021 are the Larousse and Le Petit Robert dictionaries. And not without reason: the content of these pages is particularly rich and meets a real need (here the search for definitions). These are the first criteria that must be met in order to “tempt” Google bots.
A set of algorithms for screening your web pages
Content relevance has become even more important since August 1, 2018, when Google launched a new version of its core update algorithm called “Medic”. Since this change, the “EAT” (Expertise, Authority, Trust) criteria have become very important, especially for health-related websites and more generally for “Your Money Your Life” (YMYL) type content – related to health, finance or Security, and which can therefore have a significant impact on the Internet user who consults them.
The Panda algorithm, in use since 2011, is responsible for evaluating the quality of a page based on its content, but also on the behavior of Internet users towards this page (especially when they quickly exit the page to return to the results page, which means that the content was not satisfactory). Another algorithm favors newer content, another is responsible for removing from the results any page that contains a link to an illegal download, etc.
The Colibri algorithm, which has been active since 2013, must also be taken into account, the aim of which is to provide the most relevant results for complex queries. Specifically, synonymous analogies and semantic analysis are used to understand the hidden intent behind a query. In other words, it is able to interpret a keyword or a set of keywords into a specific question. Therefore, it is important to work on the semantics of your content by enriching your keywords with “satellite” terms (to form key phrases, following the “long tail” principle).
Also of note is the recent implementation of Passage Ranking, which provides the ability to index a specific passage of a page rather than the page as a whole. This indexing option identifies paragraphs that respond to specific queries. Well thought out titles as well as secondary keywords will make the most of this algorithm.
“User-friendly” and “mobile-first” pages are among the 2022 SEO trends
As I’m sure you understood, quality content on a well-structured page (title, subtitle and paragraphs) – including correctly filled tags and relevant internal and external links – can put opportunities on your page.
Keywords should be used in titles and especially at the beginning of the text. They must be carefully selected to meet the needs of Internet users during their research. Specifically, your website needs to provide answers to common questions about your content… and Google needs to know it! Note that while 300 words is the absolute minimum for content, the trend is towards long content: Pages with more than 2000 or even 3000 words will rank better because they are more likely to meet the EAT criteria than Google.
Note that form is just as important as substance. Responsive design is indispensable today: “Mobile-First” indexing evaluates pages from their mobile version – therefore incompatible pages are penalized in terms of positioning. The page loading speed is also an important criterion for good referencing (note the size and resolution of the images used!), as well as interactivity and visual stability – three parameters that Google summarizes under the terms Core Web Vitals.
Google recommends a loading time of less than 2.5 seconds. interactivity or First entrance delay (FID) refers to the time it takes for a user to interact with the page after it has been fully viewed. According to Google, this FID must be less than 100 milliseconds (which is very, very fast); Menus, buttons, links, search or form fields must literally “pop” the user’s eyes. Finally, the visual stability of a page refers to the stability of the various elements that make up it while it is being viewed. Nothing is more annoying than clicking a button or hypertext link that turns into an ad in the next second (Google bots don’t like that either).
Also, be careful not to abuse SEO techniques too much (e.g. by having lots of artificial links pointing to the site): the Penguin algorithm will continue to monitor granularity and penalize any “over-optimized” sites. Similarly, another algorithm is responsible for penalizing excessive advertising. Does this army of algorithms scare you? However, do not lose heart! If you follow SEO rules to the letter, you will no doubt be rewarded. But it will take patience: it usually takes several months before you can reap the benefits of natural referencing.