SEO encoding: a key element in optimising your website

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SEO encoding

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a technique aimed at improving the visibility of a website in the search results of search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo.

To do this, it is essential to take several factors into account, and encoding is one of them.

In this article, we'll explain 10 essential points about encoding in SEO and how it impacts your site's search engine ranking.


1. Understanding characters and their encoding

On the Internet, characters are represented by numerical codes, which enable browsers and search engines to interpret them correctly. Encoding determines how these codes are assigned and converted when the content of a web page is displayed. The most commonly used encoding systems are ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) and UTF-8 (Unicode Transformation Format - 8 bits).


ASCII is an encoding system that uses numeric codes to represent only Latin characters (letters A to Z, numbers, punctuation). It does not support other alphabets or special symbols.


UTF-8 is a universal encoding system, based on the Unicode standard, which supports all existing characters and symbols, including non-Latin alphabets (Greek, Russian, Arabic, etc.), diacritical marks, accented capital letters and special characters used in certain languages.

2. The importance of encoding for referencing

Encoding has a direct impact on a site's SEO, as it influences the way search engines understand and analyse its content. Incorrect encoding can lead to display errors or to content not being understood by search engines. indexing robots.

A good choice of encoding allows :

  • Better indexing of pages by search engines
  • Correct use of special characters or accents
  • Better compatibility with different browsers and media (computer, mobile, tablet)

3. Choosing the right encoding for your site

The choice of encoding depends mainly on the language used on your site and the target audience. If your site is in French or uses several languages, it is recommended that you use UTF-8 encoding, which guarantees better support for specific characters and avoids display or indexing problems. You should also check that your web host supports this encoding.

4. Configuring encoding for your site

To specify the encoding used on your site, you need to indicate this in the "meta" tag on each page:


This tag should be placed in the "head" section of your pages, so that browsers and indexing robots can take it into account as soon as they start loading.

5. Managing special characters in URLs

Special characters or accents in your article titles can cause problems when they are transformed into URL. Some search engines do not recognise these characters and this can have a negative impact on your search engine ranking. It is therefore preferable to replace them with their equivalent without accent or symbol, or even convert accented letters to lower case (for example, "Elephant" becomes "elephant").

6. Using HTML entities for special characters

If you absolutely must use special characters in your content, remember to encode them in the form of entities HTML. For example, the character " " (") can be replaced by its HTML code :


This enables search engines to understand these characters correctly and avoid misinterpretation.

7. Encoding image links and alt tags

Links, especially those containing special characters or accents, must also be correctly encoded to avoid any indexing errors. Similarly, remember to encode image alt tags correctly, so that search engines can take them into account when indexing.

8. Validate the encoding with Google Search Console

To ensure that your encoding is correct and taken into account by Google, we recommend that you use the Google tool Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). In particular, it can be used to check whether your site is experiencing indexing problems linked to encoding, and to make any necessary corrections.

9. Check the compatibility of your encoding on different browsers

Don't forget to test the display of your site on different browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.) to ensure that your choice of encoding is compatible with all media and doesn't generate errors or display problems. You can use online tools such as BrowserStack to carry out these tests quickly and easily.

10. Optimising encoding for SEO: a few more tips

Finally, here are a few best practices to adopt in order to optimise your site's encoding for search engine optimisation:

  • Always use HTML entities for special characters
  • Prefer lower-case letters without accents in URLs and "alt" tags for images
  • Make sure your web host supports UTF-8 encoding
  • Check your site's indexing regularly with Google Search Console
  • Test the compatibility of your encoding on different browsers and media

By following these tips, you can improve your site's ranking in search results and attract qualified traffic.

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