The web has become hugely complex since its beginnings and it represents a challenge for businesses to overcome to grow brand awareness and get themselves at the top of search engine rankings. The situation has spawned 2 new sectors, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and SEA (Search Engine Advertising).
A survey carried out by Slingshot SEO shows that very few people go beyond the first page of their search results and so any company that takes itself seriously has to get onto that first page and for that they use keywords relating to their business, and this is what we call referencing.

The start of SEO and organic referencing

Search engines often have specific criteria for determining search rankings. Up to 1998, the first search engines, such as Yahoo and Altavista, based their rankings on the number of keywords on the websites. This meant Webmasters would stuff the keywords (hence the phrase keyword stuffing) onto their pages, which tended to produce content which often had very little sense.
Order has now been brought to the search engines, in the form of organic referencing, what this means is that search engines also look for the number of links to your website from other relevant and authoritative websites. Compliance with coding standards, website structure, updating frequency and mentions on social networks are also factored into search engine rankings. Companies who want to set up an SEO strategy therefore have to tie them in with search engine algorithms if they want to get them up to the top of the organic search rankings.

Another form of referencing

You can also pay to help your referencing, which involves purchasing sponsored links sold by the search engines. These links feature above organic links in search engine results and provide the basis for an SEA strategy. It’s perfectly possible to have a referencing strategy founded solely on purchasing these links, but businesses are usually advised to do this only as an addition to an organic referencing optimisation strategy.


Sources :

Publicitor – 8ème édition