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Natural Referencing Through Google Documentation

Need to identify a technical or editorial obstacle for the natural referencing of your site? What if you considered using each of the criteria to redefine your priorities? I propose through this post to take up the recommendations that Google gives us to locate the progress of your SEO project.

Natural referencing is considered, rightly, as obscure for neophytes. The recommendations and advice that can be read on the web continue to multiply, contradict each other or maintain myths about SEO. However, many tools and a vital official Google “encyclopedia” exist. Indeed, the American search engine transmits several recommendations for natural referencing through its means dedicated to web admins.

The perfect example corresponds to the “SEO for mobile sites” documentation that Google was able to provide before its “Mobile” update of April 2022 When referring to the work of natural referencing without going into the specific cases that may be the Mobile aspect or the international parameters

This document, which dates from 2021, informs web admins about the best practices to follow for a large part of the SEO criteria taken into account by the engine. Despite this document’s few years of existence, the recommendations remain relevant today. I will nevertheless give some limits to the paper at the end of the article.

The Basics Of Optimization

The Title and Meta-description tags are presented in this part, which follows the introduction to natural referencing. Of course, these tags remain relatively basic criteria for improving a site’s SEO, but most websites do not have optimal settings for these tags. Emphasis is placed on the uniqueness of tags on pages. It is essential to respect their primary usefulness, namely to introduce and present the page to an Internet user from the search engine.

It seems obvious, but Google does not advise us on the best keywords for each tag. On the other hand, the beacons’ form and function are well described. THEREFORE, the SEO work for these tags boils down to respecting Google’s recommendations and determining the best keywords to present on each page of your site. The relevance of the keywords chosen with the page must be favored over search volume.

Improve The Structure Of A Site

The chapter on the structure addresses the questions of construction of the URLs or the tree structure of the site but also the problem of exploring the area. At the URL level, Google reminds us that this element is presented from the results pages in the same way as the Title and Meta-description tags. Therefore, the URL’s simplicity and the presence of relevant keywords provide better visibility of the page’s content to the Internet user.

As a best practice, permanent redirects (301) are presented to us to combat the problems of multiple versions of the same content internally. Please note that you will find the details of the operations recommended on the documents in the appendices given in the form of links at the bottom of the page.

Optimize Content

After the structure, the document addresses a primary subject at the heart of the issues of natural referencing: the content. The first sentence of this chapter alone sums up Google’s thinking on this subject. If there are several possible optimizations in terms of content to improve your natural referencing, the first element to consider is usefulness and attractiveness. 

The more your content is liked, the more it will be shared, and the more it will be read and searched for, the more Google will consider it relevant. Several good practices to apply are also mentioned in this chapter, such as optimizing links and images with complete tags and solutions to help SEO. Header tags (H1, H2, etc.) are also essential to this chapter. Without mentioning their benefit for natural referencing, Google indirectly admits that they are beneficial for structuring and reading your content.

Working With Robots

If Google’s advice on natural referencing mentioned above is perfectly followed, all the work done can be useless without perfect cooperation with search engine robots. For this, the robots.txt file is used to indicate to the bots which content is accessible. Google’s recommendations on this subject are clear: exclude ranges without added value (search page, etc.) and, above all, do not reference pages with identical or highly similar content. The last part of this chapter extensively discusses the “real” element of links and its “nofollow” parameter.

Optimize For Mobile

In 2011, mobile was already seen as a priority for Google. The guide thus offers a series of best practices for redirecting Mobile Internet users and Google Bots-Mobile to the mobile versions of websites. Due to the age of this guide, the Responsive design aspect is not mainly addressed. This is perhaps the most outdated chapter of this guide due to the rapid evolution of the mobile world.

Promote A Site And Analyze Data

Finally, the last part of this document discusses the net linking of your site and presents the various tools used by Google to help you reference your site and collect and analyze a certain amount of data. Here, the exciting point corresponds to Google’s recommendation for its webmaster support tools, renamed “Search Console”. Indeed, for net linking, when we know the penalties and the control that Google operates at this level, I find the recommendations fair but challenging to interpret. What is the limit between the “natural development of notoriety” and the “abusive development of net linking”? This concept is absent from the documentation, which does not facilitate understanding what Google expects regarding a site’s notoriety.

Read Between The Lines

Given the origin of the document as well as its date of publication, a large number of elements need to be reprocessed. Indeed, if Google provides good practices for most of the essential criteria in SEO through its starter guide, this is not a “turnkey” solution. To obtain the best positions on the search engine, it is more a question of dealing with the information that Google gives and does not provide! Nothing beats experimentation and experience in interpreting trends in results in the SERPs or engine moves.

And it is the singularity specific to natural referencing that is highlighted through this subject. On the one hand, Google offers web admins well-developed documentation in the various parts of SEO (with its share of tools). On the other hand, a gray area obscures the engine’s operation, particularly regarding the content of algorithm updates. Additionally, sometimes considerate communication with web admins (Google Mobile SEO – April 2022) is occasionally non-existent.

ALSO READ: Why Is A Responsive Design Essential For The Digital Experience?

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