1. A set of constraints to take into account in the creative work, to optimize SEO
1.1. What is SEO Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to all the techniques that make it possible to better reference a site or an application in the search engines. Generally, the optimization work essentially concerns the referencing of websites for the main search engine, namely Google. Concretely, Google has built a set of very complex and constantly evolving algorithms to offer the most relevant and qualitative content to the requests of its users. It is therefore an indexing work that the Google robot does, to display ordered results in front of queries made up of keywords. The result for website publishers is measured by natural traffic, therefore the number of daily visits.
1.2. SEO: a set of technical and editorial constraints
Since the Google robot is not a human, the work of evaluating the quality and relevance of web content is carried out by algorithms on the basis of factual and measurable information. Of course, the algorithms are kept secret, but Google communicates on the criteria it takes into account and on its regular updates.
To be well referenced, it is therefore a question of knowing these evaluation criteria and taking them into account: this is why, creating web content is not only a creative work, but a creative work under constraints.
The first set of constraints concerns the technical aspects of websites.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of criteria taken into account:
- mobile optimization
- present of a sitemap
- loading speed, speed of execution of the site
- site security (SSL certificates)
- image optimization
- canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content
The vast majority of criteria have little or no impact on creation, and are the responsibility of developers.
On the other hand, the creation must take into account two decisive aspects:
- the site must be fully responsive or mobile-friendly
- the speed of the site which must be as fast as possible, which generally leads to arbitrations:
- the use of heavy images and content should be limited (videos should be hosted on third-party platforms if possible)
- propose, where appropriate, a “progressive loading” of content (“lazy loading”)
The second set of constraints concerns the writing of content.
To be well referenced, an article must meet fairly specific conditions, in particular:
- presence of keywords in the title, in the introduction
- title length (not too long, 78 characters being the recommended maximum)
- text length: the article must be sufficiently rich, and even if there are no rules, most analyzes show that the best referenced articles have around 2000 words
- keyword density: the specialized solution Yoast estimates that the ideal density is between 0.5 and 2.5%
- presence of internal links
- structure of intertitles (use of h1, h2 tags, etc.) and use of keywords in intertitles
- Presence of images (with alternative descriptions in alt tags)
This list is not exhaustive but it gives a rather clear idea of what Google expects from an article: rather rich, focused on its subject, structured and complete.
1.3. What is the impact of these SEO constraints on creative work?
As we have seen, technical constraints have little impact on content creation.
On the other hand, editorial constraints have a strong direct impact on the way of designing the content of a site, and in particular its editorial pages.
In fact, we can see the positive side of these constraints: they provide a framework for creative work.
In general, the structure of a site is guided by SEO needs: tree structure, hierarchy of content, use of objects with structured data that can be interpreted by Google, insertion of texts, etc.
More specifically, SEO guides the production of editorial content. The content must be structured, organized with parts and sub-parts in order to show titles. The need to create content with a high density of keywords leads to work on the lexicon and the search for a vocabulary that is both precise and rich. Finally, the addition of audiovisual content being an asset for SEO, it also encourages creativity, at least in the search for visuals to illustrate the point. Google also provides results for image searches, visual content can also contribute to the good natural referencing of the site.
However, producing content by the kilometer with a list of keywords makes no sense. Such content would be poor, without interest, and although it could generate traffic, it would create frustration for Internet users, and would serve the publisher by discrediting it. Despite the constraints, the content written must go deeper into the subject, show expertise, provide information and analysis that bring value to readers. The writing must be neat, and even if possible original, because this will generate more engagement on the part of readers, and therefore a better performance in search.
Finally, the production of content for the Internet is a form of literary art under constraint!
Example of written content, and integrating rich content (in this case Google Maps):