Table of Contents
According to StatCounter, Google is the undisputed leader among search engines, with a 91% market share. This gives it the power to impose its natural referencing (SEO) criteria on all websites that want to be visible on the web.
But Google continues to evolve its algorithms and requirements, which requires webmasters to constantly train themselves in the new SEO rules.
This is why this guide/checklist to SEO in 2024 was designed. It presents all the essential notions of SEO, the steps to follow to carry out an SEO audit, the content strategies to adopt but also the on-page and off-page SEO optimization techniques.
As a bonus, it provides crucial information on local and technical SEO and tips for taking advanced SEO to the next level. Beginner or experienced, this article is intended for anyone who wants to improve their positioning on Google and attract more qualified visitors to their website.
SEO, a pillar of inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is a technique that consists of attracting prospects not through intrusiveness but by directly targeting the prospect likely to be interested in the service/product offered.
Today, this concept has become inseparable from SEO because doing inbound marketing requires the application of certain SEO codes. But, before looking at the need for SEO in inbound marketing, you need to understand the advantages of this marketing strategy.
The advantages of inbound marketing
The main strategy of inbound marketing is based on the creation and distribution of quality content aimed at its target audience. Inbound marketing has many advantages for acquiring qualified leads. We notice :
- The increase in qualified organic traffic on its site: Most visitors come to the site because the content created beforehand attracted them.
- Improving the conversion rate: Since the traffic is of good quality, it is easier to significantly increase your conversion rate and therefore your turnover.
- Reduction of acquisition costs: Outbound marketing is based on the use of paid traffic to redirect the prospect to their site while inbound marketing uses organic, free traffic;
- Customer loyalty: Using inbound marketing means producing quality content. This content shares a value that the target audience is looking for. This is therefore more likely to be retained through a subscription to a newsletter, for example.
However, to make these benefits tangible, you must integrate SEO as a cornerstone of your marketing strategy.
The involvement of SEO in inbound marketing
Supported by natural referencing or SEO, inbound marketing will make it possible to optimize each stage of the customer journey from their search in one of the many search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) to the conversion. Thus, SEO will be useful when:
- Customer attraction: Thanks to SEO, it is possible to increase the visibility of your article in search results with a targeted audience. The goal is to maximize the number of visits to this article.
- Customer conversion: Judicious use of natural referencing makes it possible to create content optimized for keywords with transactional or commercial intent to encourage the customer to take action.
- Customer loyalty: Natural referencing allows you to segment your audience by offering relevant content for each of these segments to provide a personalized experience to each visitor to the site.
- The recommendation: Integrating SEO into your inbound marketing strategy can help your article go viral through the production of so-called “evergreen” content. The reader will more easily share content that he knows will not perish over time.
Although SEO is almost essential for putting the inbound marketing method into practice, it is essential to adopt good practices to guarantee correct results.
Market research is the first step toward successful SEO optimization. Indeed, it is essential to define your audience to produce content that meets their interests, needs, and research. To complete this task, you must follow 4 steps.
The audience to target
This point concerns all people likely to be interested in the theme of its website. The best way to define the target audience is to develop a buyer persona.
A buyer persona represents the different criteria of the ideal customer. These criteria are:
- Name, gender, age, level of education, profession, income, family situation, etc.
- Motivations, obstacles, problems, needs, expectations, objectives, etc.
- Communication channels, influences, consumption habits, sources of information, etc.
Clearly defining each of these points allows you to establish the buyer persona that best suits the orientation of your website. Following this, it is possible to adapt your content according to your ideal client.
The market to target
It is essential to know your target market to better position yourself there, stand out, and adapt to it. To achieve this, several parameters must be studied. We notice:
- Requirement: This represents the nature and volume of searches carried out in search engines regarding its field of activity.
- Competition: This parameter concerns websites that address the same theme as its website. These sites compete for keywords to always position themselves higher in search results.
- Opportunities: Identify trends, innovations, and events related to your niche and represent potential sources of traffic.
Constant analysis of your target market allows you to adapt your strategy, stay up to date, and position yourself in the long term as an authority.
Keyword research comes after defining the market to target. It allows you to precisely define all the keywords to use for your content and your website.
Since these keywords represent queries made by users, it is important to follow certain steps to succeed in your keyword research. Thus, it will be necessary:
- Identify relevant keywords: Here, you can draw inspiration from sources like your competitors or your website. More efficiently, we can use tools dedicated to this task.
- Group keywords by creating clusters, categories, and subcategories according to the different subjects covered by your site;
- Classify keywords according to their difficulty, search volume, and search intent associated with these keywords;
- Select the keywords that are best suited to your content and your website, taking into account your objectives, strategy, budget, etc.
In short, keyword research is essential both for establishing a guideline and for creating SEO-optimized content.
Search intent is defined as the objective that a user pursues when performing a search in a search engine. It helps to know the search intent behind a keyword.
This makes it possible to guide the creation of content to make it attractive to search engines and its audience. There are 4 different search intentions. We note:
- Informational intention: Here, the user seeks information about a topic, problem, or question.
- Navigational intent: In this case, the user is trying to access a site whose name or link they know.
- Commercial intent: The user here seeks to compare offers, products, services, and prices before making a purchasing decision.
- Transactional intention: As for this intention, it implies that the user is seeking to take an action such as purchasing a product, subscribing to a newsletter, or reserving a service.
Ultimately, defining the search intent allows you to modulate the tone, structure, format, and content of your article to satisfy the user’s curiosity and then convert it.
Use keyword research tools
To save time and efficiency on keyword research, it is recommended to use dedicated tools. Available in the form of websites or software, these tools find and analyze the most searched terms on search engines.
They are essential for keyword research as they provide precise data on:
- Search volume: It is possible to know precisely the number of times a keyword is searched over a specific period.
- The difficulty of the keyword: Often expressed as a percentage, it represents the level of competition to position yourself high in the search results for this keyword.
- The relevance of the keyword: This metric makes it possible to check the adequacy between the content of a web page and a keyword;
- Associated Keywords: Keyword research tools also offer keywords similar to a keyword;
- Frequently asked questions: Knowing the questions users ask about a keyword allows you to produce content to answer their questions.
In Pakistan, there are many SEO tools to carry out your keyword research. Exhaustively, we note:
- Google Keyword Planner: Google provides its users with a free tool to find keywords based, on a term, a URL, or a category. For this purpose, it provides search volume, keyword difficulty, and cost per click.
- SEMrush: This paid tool is today one of the most used for market research. In addition to offering the same things as Google Keyword Planner, it provides frequently asked questions and search intent. Additionally, it also helps to analyze the competition.
- Ubersuggest: This tool is a cheaper alternative to Semrush. It offers the same options as the latter but with less precision. Its design is also more refined. It is best suited for SEO beginners.
The SEO audit is a complete review of a website. It allows you to highlight the strong points and weak points of your site. On this basis, you can improve the positive aspects and repair the negative aspects of your website to optimize its SEO.
Why carry out an SEO audit of your website?
The SEO audit of your site must be carried out regularly because it is essential to optimize your SEO consistently and sustainably. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out an SEO audit because it allows:
- Identification and correction of technical errors
- Analyzing and improving aspects that influence the security, performance, and user experience of the site
- Control and optimization of the quality, originality, and relevance of the content of the site
- Measuring and increasing the popularity and awareness of the website.
Since SEO is constantly evolving, an SEO audit is the only way to keep your site up to date from the point of view of search engines and users.
The main elements to check and optimize during an SEO audit
To successfully carry out the SEO audit of your site, you must check several elements. The state of each of its elements gives an idea of the overall health of the site as well as the actions to be taken to improve or optimize its website.
For the pages of a website to be visible in a search engine, the latter must index these pages. Indexing thus refers to the process by which a search engine discovers, analyzes, and stores web pages in its database.
To ensure the effective indexing of your site, you must:
- Use Google Search Console to ensure that all pages on your site are crawled and indexed by Google
- Check and fix 404 errors: The 404 error indicates that the requested page does not exist. This error can harm SEO as well as user experience
- Check redirects: They allow the user and the indexing robot to be sent to another page. It is recommended to use a 301 redirect since it indicates a permanent change of URL, which is not the case with the 302 redirect
- Check robots meta tags: They make it possible to regulate the access of indexing robots to certain pages of the site. The “noindex” tag prevents a page from being indexed. You must therefore ensure that it is not present on a page unless this is voluntary
- Check the sitemap.xml: This file lists all the pages on a site. You must submit it in Google Search Console. Some extensions help you create the sitemap.xml file. This is the case for All In One SEO, Yoast, or Rank Math.
The indexing of the site is the first element to check when auditing your site since the non-indexing of a page renders any SEO optimization invalid. The page is invisible in search engines until it is indexed.
Once the indexing of the pages is confirmed, you must now look at the performance of your pages. The performance here refers to the speed and fluidity with which the site loads. Google pays special attention to this and it improves the user experience.
Verifying the performance of your site involves:
- Measuring loading speed: It is recommended to aim for less than 3 seconds for your site to fully load. Tools like PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, or Pingdom allow you to measure the loading speed of a website.
- Image optimization: Apart from videos, these are the heaviest elements of a site. It is therefore necessary to reduce their size as much as possible to increase the overall performance of the site. Tools like Tinywow, TinyPNG, or Squoosh help reduce image size.
- Measuring server response time: If the response time is greater than 200ms, the site is considered delayed. In this context, tools like Pingdom, StatusCake, or Uptime Robot make it possible to monitor this time and detect possible breakdowns.
- Source code optimization: Reducing and simplifying a site’s source code helps it load faster. This involves removing unnecessary elements, minifying the code, using CSS style sheets, etc.
Remember that the more efficient a site is, the better it will be to retain users on its site for as long as possible.
Security is essential for SEO because it gives users and search engines confidence. It prevents data leaks, phishing, and other attacks. To ensure the security of your site, you must:
- Make sure the site uses the HTTPS protocol: This protocol ensures that the data exchanged between the site and the browser is encrypted and authenticated. This is one of the first SEO criteria for Google.
- Scan the site to make sure it is not infected with viruses: A site infested with malware will be systematically penalized by search engines. Tools like VirusTotal, Quterra and Sucuri
- Confirm that the site complies with GDPR standards: These European standards require sites to ensure user consent before collecting their data.
Finally, an unsecured site is directly categorized as dangerous by Google and this detail is reported to users. In 80% of cases, they will not consult unsecured sites.
Before being the best way to retain users’ attention, user experience is essential for SEO. Reviewing the user experience means doing:
- Evaluation of navigation comfort: This setting represents how easy it is for users to navigate the site. Navigation must be intuitive, ergonomic, and easy to understand.
- Design evaluation: This is the visual and aesthetic aspect of the site. It must adopt harmonious colors and fonts and be consistent with its brand image.
- Ergonomics assessment: This point concerns how users interact with the site. To maximize interactions between the user and the site, you must work on the ergonomics of your site while respecting web standards and conventions;
- Mobile responsiveness assessment: The way your site adapts to all mobile devices significantly improves your site’s SEO. A seasoned developer will know how to make your site responsive on any platform.
Generally speaking, incredible user experience rhymes with enormous retention time. And, this provides a boost to the visibility of the site.
Producing quality content is fundamental to SEO optimization. But to produce content that satisfies Google and its users, several factors must be ensured. Thus, we must:
- Produce content that meets EAT standards: In addition to producing content that provides qualitative added value, it must also respect the Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness standards. Compliance with these standards increases the authority of your site.
- Produce content that is aligned with keywords, search intent, and reader expectations: To do this, you must clearly define a writing brief in advance which provides everything you need to know to create content that Google and users like.
- Produce original content: Search engines place great importance on the originality of content. Therefore, you will need to avoid plagiarizing the content of other sites to avoid the visibility of your impacted site.
- Produce readable content: The more time a user spends on a site, the better it will be for their SEO. Therefore, each article posted on this site must have a hierarchical structure in titles and subtitles. Clear, precise, and engaging language is also required.
Remember that the originality and uniqueness of the content are essential to retain the attention and generate reader engagement.
The popularity of a website is a reflection of its authority and the trust its users have in it. It is therefore not surprising that Google highlights the most famous sites. Therefore, an SEO audit is incomplete if this indicator is not taken into account.
First, you need to control the amount of links that come from other websites to the site. For Google, if several sites mention your site in their content, this means that this site is an authority. He will therefore have an easier time putting it forward. This is the principle of backlinks.
Then, you have to follow the traffic curve. It indicates the number of times the site has been visited and which keyword led to this or that visit. Google Analytics allows you to know precisely the origin, volume, behavior, and conversion of users.
Finally, you need to make sure you have your social networks linked to the site. In addition to bringing traffic to the site, they increase its popularity.
How to succeed and optimize your content strategy?
Content creation is the foundation on which SEO is based. Content unites and builds user loyalty and allows Google to better position its site in search results. It is therefore necessary to have a content strategy and to stick to it to maximize your chances of growing your site.
Define your goals
Any strategy begins by defining its objectives. Content creation is no exception to this rule. Here it concerns what we expect from its content. This may involve increasing visibility, recovering leads, retaining customers or just selling a product.
First of all, you must use the personas previously created as part of market research. Knowing the problems, needs, and motivations of your ideal customer helps you define precisely what direction your content strategy will take.
Then comes the turn of the value proposition. What differentiates my content from that of the competition? Why read your content and not that of your competitors? Answering these questions will highlight the added value that the content created will bring.
Finally, we end up defining the tone of voice. This concerns the way in which you communicate with your audience. It must reflect the values and brand image of its site. The choices of tone are numerous. They range from humorous to serious to informal.
Create an editorial calendar
Consistency is the key to success. Therefore, planning the production and distribution of content is essential for the success of your content strategy. Organizing and assigning tasks, deadlines and resources helps you move forward faster in content production.
Thus, creating an editorial calendar will:
- Managing its content: No more forgetting problems, broadcast delays and duplicates
- Adapting its content to events and market trends
- Content optimization: An editorial calendar helps you know which topic works best. Based on this, it is possible to make adjustments to increase its impact.
Create quality content
The most sensitive step in a content strategy is the creation of said content. Creating SEO-optimized content that provides added value and generates interest is essential to a successful strategy.
First, you need to start by doing in-depth research on the subject. Authority sites on the topic of your subject are useful for obtaining true information. Citing your sources and adding statistics to your content are all ways to increase your credibility and authority.
Next, you have to structure your content. With this in mind, it is possible to:
- Use titles and subtitles ranging from H1 to H6 to prioritize your content
- Insert bulleted lists to detail technical information
- Add tables to aggregate information of the same nature
Subsequently, it will be necessary to follow the tone defined in the objectives and respect the rules of spelling, grammar, conjugation, and punctuation. Clear, precise, and error-free content will always be more engaging than content full of errors.
Additionally, adding visual elements like images, videos, or GIFs helps retain the reader’s attention. A picture is worth 1000 words. This advice is extremely important when creating content.
Finally, content creation is not just about writing an article. There are many ways to produce quality content.
Writing a blog post is the easiest way to create content. Almost all websites produce blog posts. An article serves to:
- Attract qualified traffic to your site
- Bring added value to your site
- Create and maintain an audience
- Generate transactional actions
However, this is not the only type of content that induces the aforementioned benefits.
Link assets or linkable assets are a type of content whose goal is to naturally attract links from other sites. A linkable asset comes in the form of a case study, videos, podcasts, or just an infographic. Thanks to linkable assets, you can:
- Increase the authority and popularity of your site
- Strengthen the credibility of your site
- Create virality
The purpose of surveys is to collect data on your audience. This data is used to improve its content overall. The survey is a very effective type of content for optimizing your SEO since:
- It allows you to know your audience in depth
- It allows you to create personalized content for the audience subject to the survey
- It allows you to create unique content based on unique data
Interactive content is the last type of content most likely to interest your audience. It refers to any content that offers users the opportunity to react, participate, or express themselves. To retain your audience, interactive content is the simplest way.
In addition to attracting attention and improving the user experience, it generates conversions thanks to the value provided and the emotions aroused among its audience.
Deliver content to appropriate channels
Once the content has been created, it must be distributed on the appropriate platforms. These platforms are mainly websites, social networks, email, or podcasts.
By diversifying the distribution platforms, we maximize our chances of reaching a large and diverse audience. Thus, the chances of generating traffic and engagement increase. However, you must adapt your content to the distribution platforms to meet their codes.
Also, consistency is key. You must adopt regularity and a correct frequency of publications to engage and retain your audience over time.
Measuring content effectiveness
The final step of a good content strategy is evaluating the effectiveness of the content distributed. For this, it is more appropriate to use Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. In this scenario, the KPIs are traffic, conversion, and engagement.
Thanks to tools such as Google Search Console or Google Analytics, it is possible to monitor these three KPIs globally or in detail. This makes it easier to take steps to increase your growth curve.
Finally, based on the KPIs, you must set results to be achieved over a certain period and then compare the results obtained with the desired results. This is the most effective way to optimize your results day by day.
Improving on-page SEO
On-page SEO is the set of techniques whose objective is to optimize the internal elements of a web page. These elements are links, images, tags, textual content, etc.
Improving these small elements allows you to increase the ranking of your site in search results because:
- Google knows the topic, purpose, and value provided by your content
- Users understand your content more easily
Essential SEO tags
Within the HTML code of a web page, we integrate tags that improve its SEO. There are 3 different types of SEO tags:
- The <title>: This tag indicates the name of the page. Indexing robots use this to know what topic the page is about. Thus, the title of an article must be clear, and precise and include relevant keywords to make the task easier for these robots
- The <meta description>: This tag gives a summary of the page. It appears in search results and serves as a hook for users. Thus, it must be informative and concise. Indeed, a Meta Description must be between 140 and 160 characters, including spaces
- Headings H1 to H6 correspond to tags <h1> to <h6>: They allow you to structure and prioritize content. The H1 title corresponds to the <title> tag. Like the <title> tag, all titles must be short, precise, and contain relevant keywords.
Finally, the URL is also decisive in the SEO of a web page. It appears in search results. Therefore, it must also be short and precise. Ideally, the URL should contain the same words as the title.
Content at the service of SEO strategy
Content represents all the textual, audio, and video elements contained on a page or the entire website. Almost an entire SEO strategy is based on the quality of content. Thus, content must:
- Meet a clear, precise, and well-defined need
- Position yourself on the best keywords relating to the theme of the site
- Generate engagement with affected users
However, content alone is not enough to position yourself as an authority in your field or just gain popularity.
Links to other sites
Links or URLs refer to other internal or external web pages. However, whether a link is internal or external, it can come in two forms:
- Inbound links: Also called backlinks, these links come from other websites, often those of authority, which point to your web page. These links help increase the notoriety and popularity of its website.
- Outgoing links: These links complete and enrich the content of its web page. They send to external sources. They serve to reinforce the reliability and credibility of its site.
To successfully carry out on-page SEO optimization, you must also optimize the images to make them lighter. The goal is to make pages load faster and increase the overall performance score of the site.
First, to properly optimize your images, you must choose suitable image formats. These formats can be JPEG, PNG, or WebP. Then, you must reduce the size of these images without impacting their quality. There are tools like TinyPNG that are well suited for this task.
Finally, you need names, alt texts, and captions for each image to help Google know what these images are about. It will thus be better able to suggest content to the indicated audience.
New SEO concepts and factors
SEO is constantly evolving. Thus, new concepts emerge every year. These notions and factors help to comply with the new requirements of search engines.
The first notion is that of EAT or Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness is a notion introduced by Google to measure the reliability and expertise of a website. Google highlights websites that cite their sources and produce specialized content.
The second concept is Core Web Vitals. It is a set of factors that Google takes into consideration to evaluate the interactivity, performance, and stability of a website. Thus, the Core Web Vitals is based on 3 concepts:
- The Cumulative Layout Shift: The CLS measures the visual stability of the site when it loads
- The Largest Contentful Paint: It measures the loading time of the largest element on a web page
- The First Input Delay: This indicator measures the response time of a site during a user’s first visit
The connection of all these indicators is the guarantee for Google that a website offers the best possible user experience.
Search Experience Optimization
Generally, a well-optimized SEO site is poorly optimized for user experience. One of the reasons is that the keywords to be integrated into the content to optimize it end up making the content lose its meaning and coherence. This is the problem that SxO attempts to solve.
It aims to reconcile SEO with user experience by offering pages that meet user expectations as a priority before Google’s criteria. To do this, SxO focuses on:
- The creation of relevant and oriented content mainly to respond to the user without forcing SEO optimization. SxO optimization seeks to avoid SEO over-optimization of content
- Maximum optimization of Core Web Vitals. The goal is to minimize the loading time of a website, optimize the user experience, and improve the security of the site
- Improving the visual appearance and navigation within the site. To do this, it is necessary to resort to the use of buttons, menus, anchors, search options, etc. to make the movement of users on the site smooth;
- Implementing strategies to generate engagement. Thus, an SxO-optimized site will frequently use linkable assets, surveys, or interactive content.
In short, integrating SxO optimization into your inbound marketing strategy allows you to create sites that offer the best possible user experience. This maneuver, more human than SEO, allows you to create better quality traffic, and retain and convert your audience.
Improving popularity (netlinking)
In Pakistan, link mesh, netlinking is the practice of obtaining backlinks or inbound links from other websites. Backlinks are essential for an effective SEO strategy because they increase the authority of a site.
Google systematically highlights sites that have a diverse, coherent and relevant link profile. And by ricochet effect, it strengthens the authority and credibility of these sites by positioning them better in search results.
To obtain backlinks from other sites, you can proceed in three ways. Here are these 3 techniques in order of ease:
- Guest blogging: This technique of creating inbound links consists of writing articles on partner sites or sites that deal with your theme and placing backlinks to your site. This is by far the simplest technique for getting backlinks.
The query “your keyword” + “write for us” or “your keyword” + “guest post” allows you to find sites that accept guest blogging. However, it happens that some sites ask for remuneration to post articles with backlinks.
- The broken link building: This technique consists of finding sites that have broken links and offering to replace these links with articles with backlinks to their site. There are many techniques for finding sites on your subject with broken links.
The queries “your keyword” + inurl:resources or “your keyword” + intitle:links return resource pages that have a lot of links. Additionally, the Broken Link Checker Chrome extension allows you to detect broken links on a web page in one click.
- The last method to get backlinks and the most natural is link baiting. It consists of creating excellent quality, engaging content that provides strong added value. Thus, this site will naturally attract links from other sites.
The authority of a site
The authority of a website is the main criterion that encourages Google to present its site in priority over content of better quality than its own. For example, on queries for the definition of a word, the Larousse site will tend to appear first compared to other sites that do the same thing.
Authority is the key to getting on and staying on the first page of a search. With this in mind, 3 indicators serve as a reference to measure the authority of a site:
- PageRank: It is an algorithm designed by Google to rank each web page on a scale of 0 to 10 the quality of the backlinks of that site. The closer the rating is to 10, the more well this page is positioned by Google;
- The Trust Flow: The TF is an indicator designed by Majestic to evaluate the relevance and quality of incoming links to a site on a score of 0 to 100. The greater the Trust Flow, the better the page will be positioned;
- The Domain Authority: Developed by Moz, Domain Authority is an indicator that evaluates domain names on a scale of 0 to 100 based on the number and quality of backlinks pointing to it. The closer the score is to 100, the more the site is considered an authority in this area.
Avoid Google penalties linked to netlinking
Abuse of anything is harmful and Google is merciless towards sites that abuse netlinking. Indeed, these abuses aim to manipulate the relevance and ranking of web pages by forcing the referencing of poor-quality articles.
Therefore, to avoid penalties linked to netlinking, you must avoid:
- Article and backlink spam: This practice consists of the abusive creation and distribution of content and the abuse of guest blogging. The goal here is to reference as much content as possible without worrying about its quality and that of the backlinks.
- Artificial links: This practice is used to simulate the creation of backlinks to increase the authority of a website in the short term without worrying about their relevance. This is the case for purchased or exchanged links, links in directories, or links in comments;
- Hidden links: Techniques like invisible text help hide links from users and web crawlers. Generally, these links lead nowhere and Google can still reference them without providing any added value.
Best practices for local natural referencing
Local SEO brings together all the practices that allow your website to be referenced on local queries, those linked to a location. For example, the query “SEO Agency Lahore” is considered a local query.
Local natural referencing is relevant for businesses that target a specific geographic area. Indeed, it allows them to attract potential customers by positioning themselves on local keywords. In addition, it is a good way to stand out from the competition which focuses on external markets.
In addition, local SEO helps strengthen your notoriety and credibility thanks to customer reviews and local citations. However, to optimize your local SEO, you must follow certain steps.
Create your Google My Business listing
Thanks to Google My Business, any business can record its company data sheet, address, contacts, hours, and customer reviews. It’s a free service from Google that helps list businesses locally based on the information provided.
Creating your Google My Business listing is the first step to local natural referencing. Indeed, a well-optimized Google My Business listing improves the visibility of the linked site and user interactions with the business.
To create a Google My Business listing, you must:
- Choose the “For my business” option when creating a Gmail account
- Register on Google My Business by having your account validated by Google
- Provide all the information requested by Google such as name, sector of activity, telephone number, address, etc
- Provide additional information such as schedules, websites, photos, videos, and services.
In short, a My Google Business listing must contain all the relevant information about your business and must contain the link to your website. Thus, Google can link the website and its profile.
Use local keywords
Once the My Google Business listing has been created, it now needs to be optimized using local keywords. Local keywords are queries that users enter into the search bar to find a service, product, or business in a specific geographic area.
These local keywords allow you to position yourself on three types of queries:
- Local queries: They tend to become the most searches carried out on mobile
- Voice queries: They are becoming more and more popular thanks to the introduction of voice assistants
- Long tail queries: They express a stronger intention and, therefore less competitive.
To find suitable local keywords, tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush allow you to target keywords according to a precise location, their language, and even the device used.
Then, these keywords must be integrated into the SEO tags consistently as well as the content while avoiding over-optimization.
Finally, these keywords can be integrated into its structured data using HTML tags, JSON-LD or microformats to better describe the content to Google robots. The properties to use can be “postalCode”, “address” or “geo”.
Get local citations
Local citations represent mentions of a business’s name, phone number, or address on social media, local media or other websites. These citations generally allow you to obtain quality backlinks from authority sites.
They reinforce the credibility and reliability of a company because if it receives citations from authority sites, it means that this site is just as credible as the authority site. In addition, they improve the positioning and visibility of a site because it complies with the EAT standard.
To obtain local citations, you must choose source sites based on:
- Their theme: It must be related to the theme of its site/company to create coherence and relevance between sites
- Their diversity: Local citations should come from different regions, different fields, and different media to create variety between sites
- Their reputation: The sites from which the local citations come must have an almost impeccable appearance to reinforce the credibility of the sites included in the operation.
Collect customer reviews
Social proof is the best advertising. The simplest way to convert your audience is to show them the quality of your service through satisfied users. Customer reviews are therefore one of the foundations of local natural referencing.
The best way to collect customer reviews is to explicitly ask them once their curiosity is satisfied. Thus, we can opt for a Call To Action which invites them to act such as giving an opinion on the service, the website, or the company.
Adapt your website to mobile
Most searches on Google are done via mobile. Thus, a website poorly adapted to mobile format will spoil the user experience. As a result, users spend little time on the site and this harms local SEO.
There are several tips for adapting your website to mobile:
- Responsive design, amp, and lazy loading: These 3 practices improve the performance and loading speed of the site because they speed up the server response time and reduce the weight of the page size
- Finger-friendly, scroll-friendly, and mobile-first: These 3 techniques make it possible to create an interface adapted to the user’s tactile gestures as well as the size and resolution of the screen;
- Geo-fencing, click-to-map, and click-to-call: These 3 features simplify user location, contact, and conversion.
Optimize technical SEO
Technical SEO brings together all the practices that make it possible to optimize the technical aspect of a website. This includes site code, page indexing, loading speed, etc.
Improved loading speed
The shorter the loading time of a site, the better this site complies with the Google Core Web Vitals standard. It is therefore essential to improve the loading speed of your site.
Apart from standard techniques such as image compression or lazy loading, the best technique remains that of caching.
The server cache, browser cache, and CDN cache allow this data to be temporarily stored on the site’s server or a content distribution network. This technique speeds up page loading time and server response time.
Blocking unwanted explorations
Indexing robots go through all the pages and files on a site to index them if necessary. This includes sensitive or protected files. Thus, blocking unwanted explorations makes it possible to strengthen the security of your site and direct indexing robots toward pages of interest.
Additionally, this has a positive effect on server response time. This is because web crawlers consume bandwidth and memory. Therefore, preventing them from having access to certain pages that are already indexed or unnecessary improves technical SEO.
To block unwanted crawling, you can integrate the HTML meta robots tag with the “noindex” property to prevent the indexing of a page, “nofollow” to prevent robots from following the links on the page, and the property “no archive” to indicate not to display the cached version of a page.
In addition, you can modify the content of the robots.txt file which contains instructions for indexing robots. You can modify the Allow/Disallow function which tells the robots whether or not they can crawl a page, a file, or a directory.
Then, you can add the sitemap.xml file which indicates the entire tree structure of the site to facilitate the indexing of the pages included there.
Finally, the last option to block the crawling of certain elements of a site is to make changes to the .htaccess file. This file contains instructions for the web server. This is the case of RewriteRule which allows you to create redirections or Password which allows you to block a page or the site with a password.
The essential tools
To optimize the technical referencing of a website, you must address the performance and speed of the site, the structure and code of the site, indexing, and visibility.
First, for site performance and speed, GTmetrix, Google PageSpeed Insights, or Pingdom can measure the loading speed, weight, and size of pages. In addition, these tools offer solutions to improve them.
Second, for site structure and code, W3C Validator or Screaming Frog will do the trick. These tools analyze, crawl, and verify all the code on the site and detect all errors and anomalies.
Lately, for indexing and visibility, SEMrush, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console will be your allies of choice. They allow you to monitor the referencing and visibility of a page or website over time using indicators such as traffic or conversion.
Techniques to use for advanced SEO
Advanced SEO uses new notions and concepts, little used and adapted to specific situations and objectives. Well-implemented, advanced SEO allows you to stand out from the competition and attract the good eye of the Google algorithm.
Structured data markup
Schema markup is a technique that consists of using HTML tags, microformats, or JSON-LD to describe its content to Google to make it easier for search engines and users to understand.
Structured data markup optimizes indexing and understanding of the site thanks to the properties or values used. These give precise instructions to Google and users about the content of a site, page, image, or video.
Schema markup allows you to position yourself on specific queries such as recipes or events and to appear in enriched search results such as optimized snippets or carousels.
Finally, this technique is useful for increasing your conversion rate thanks to the integration of features such as purchase, reservation, or call buttons.
AI and data science
Artificial intelligence and data science fit very well into the larger world of SEO. Indeed, thanks to the collection and processing of data collected on its site, the interweaving of these two notions makes it possible to create systems capable of learning, studying, and deciding.
The main advantages of these systems are:
- Improving site performance and security: Thanks to machine learning and deep learning, it is possible to optimize and better secure your site by gradually and automatically fixing each small flaw.
- Improving the user experience: Thanks to sentiment analysis and image recognition, it is possible to identify and analyze users’ emotions and habits to offer them personalized and ever more unique content;
- Improving site indexing: Web mining and web scraping make it possible to collect data relating to the referencing and indexing of web pages. Thus, it is easier to implement ethical techniques to accelerate the indexing of your web pages.
If on paper, AI and data science are an asset for SEO, they require the intervention of qualified developers to set up the appropriate systems and maintain them.
Adapt your SEO to the international context
SEO rules are not fixed and vary from one country to another. Therefore, you need to adapt your SEO if you are looking to target internationally. If the rules are not fixed, there are several possible guidelines:
- Target your audience according to the country by purchasing domain names specific to the target country such as .pk, .co, .in, or .de;
- Target your audience according to language by creating subdomains of your domain for each targeted language such as pk.site.com or by creating a directory on your site for the chosen language such as site.com/pk;
- Integrate hreflang tags into your site to indicate to search engines the language of a page or website. This speeds up page indexing but these tags must be placed in the HTML code of each page, in the sitemap, and the server’s HTTP headers.
- Graceful degradation, dynamic rendering, and progressive enhancement make it possible to offer a lighter version of the site to indexing robots. They therefore have an easier time crawling and indexing the pages of the site;
Let’s remember that SEO is an exciting field, but also complex and changing. You must therefore stay informed of the latest news and trends, and regularly test the overall performance of your site. The key is perseverance and following a clear marketing strategy.
Finally, it is important to specify that this natural referencing guide serves as a guideline to achieve its objectives. Using the services of an SEO expert can be a wise choice to save time and avoid making mistakes as much as possible.
Now if you need SEO service for your business, don’t hesitate to Contact Us.