Do you have a great internet presence, but not enough visitors? This could be because your website doesn't make it into the top positions on the search engine results pages. You can solve this problem with search engine optimization, also known as SEO. In this article you will learn what it means, which measures are involved and how to proceed step by step.
Search engine optimization: the 5 most important questions at a glance
SEO is a complex subject. The following questions first give you a brief overview of the most important aspects of search engine optimization:
What is SEO?
SEO is the abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization, which translates as search engine optimization. The aim of this is to position websites at the top of the search engine results pages for matching queries.
Why is SEO important?
Search engines generate a lot of traffic that companies depend on. Most users find the offers they are looking for in this way.
How does SEO work?
Search engine optimization is a combination of several measures from the areas of technology, content and backlinks.
What does SEO cost?
If you hire service providers, plan one-off start-up costs from 1,500 € and ongoing monthly costs from around 500 € for SEO.
How fast does SEO work?
Search engine optimization works in the long term. It can take three to twelve months before success occurs.
You don't want to carry out the search engine optimization yourself, but delegate it to an agency? Nevertheless, find out more about the topic so that you can better understand the service providers and communicate with you smoothly.
SEO: definition & why search engine optimization is so important
The aim of search engine optimization (SEO) is a good ranking of websites. If someone is looking for exactly what can be found on a page, then this should be displayed high on the first search results page. The search engine operators, above all Google, want to offer the best possible search experience. The search results should match the search intentions of the users as closely as possible.
Google positions the search results using a complex algorithm that takes over 200 factors into account. These are constantly being developed and not published. However, empirical values show what Google attaches importance to, and this is where search engine optimization comes into play. In addition to SEA (Search Engine Advertising), which is based on paid ads in the search results, SEO is part of SEM (Search Engine Marketing).
Search engine optimization Bangalore is part of online marketing and is important for many companies. Because site operators are dependent on sufficient visitors (traffic). Since most internet users use search engines, they can generate huge amounts of traffic. Search results positions that can be found high up on the first search results page are desirable for your own company because very few users even click on the second page.
The areas of search engine optimization: technology, content, and backlinks
The Google algorithm is extremely complex. However, there are essentially three areas that are included and on which search engine optimization focuses:
Technology and content can completely influence website operators in local search engine optimization. Corresponding measures are called on-page SEO . External websites also come into play with backlinks, which is why one speaks of offpage optimization .
Technology - measures to optimize the site
One of the technical measures is to make it easier for Google to index the website , i.e. to read and analyze the content. On the other hand, increasing user-friendliness falls into this area, as this is an important aspect of search engine optimization.
Indexability of the website
When you put a new website online, Google does not automatically find it immediately. You either have to register it for indexing via the Google Search Console or a link must lead to your page from an existing website known to the search engines (indexed). Then the search engine will find your page while crawling.
In order for Google to be able to evaluate (index) your website correctly, a number of requirements must be observed . This includes:
- Error-free HTML
- No security issues (e.g. malware)
- Clear page structure with clear navigation including correct internal links
- No violation of the guidelines of the search engines (especially manipulative SEO measures)
If your website contains sub-pages that should not appear in the search results, you can prevent these individual pages from being indexed. This works either by inserting the noindex meta tag or a corresponding X-Robots-Tag header.
No duplication of content - technical optimization
If the contents of different pages match, this is called duplicate content. This has a negative effect on the ranking, as Google wants to avoid displaying identical results from different sources on the search results pages. Duplicate content can arise, on the one hand, from the fact that texts from other sites are deliberately copied or accidentally formulated to match.
Much more often, however, the causes of duplicate content are in the technical area. Among other things, the following sources of error are known:
- The website is accessible via URLs with and without www. reachable.
- An encrypted https and an identical unencrypted http variant exist in parallel.
- Upper and lower case in the URL lead to the same search result.
- The page is available with and without a trailing slash (slash at the end of the URL).
- Different pages contain the same content (e.g. in the blog and as news).
- Content is offered in a different format, e.g. B. as a PDF file for download.
There are usually good reasons why the same content can be accessed via different URLs. That doesn't have to be a problem either, because you can solve this problem with the canonical tag in the source code of the page or a 301 redirect in the configuration of the web server. The canonical tag tells the search engine which version of the page should be indexed. The reference 301-redirect permanently redirects a page to another URL.
SSL encryption - indispensable for search engine optimization
The security of data transmission stands for user-friendliness, which is why SSL encryption is now the standard. As early as 2014, Google confirmed that it also influences the ranking. In addition, some browsers display a warning when accessing pages without encryption, which unsettles many users. If you still operate an unencrypted http page, a switch to https is strongly recommended, not only for search engine optimization.
SSL certificates are issued by approved certification authorities for a limited period of time and are sold through various providers. With DV, OV and EV there are three different security levels. There are also certificates for single and multi-domains. Many Web hosting offers already include SSL encryption.
If you want to install an SSL certificate yourself, proceed as follows:
- Install the SSL certificate on the server.
- Select which pages or domains should be protected.
- Test the encryption with an appropriate tool and across multiple servers.
- Set up a 301 redirect from the http to the https version.
- Make sure that canonical tags point to the https version.
- Adjust internal links so that they lead to the https page.
- As far as possible, have backlinks from external sites adjusted accordingly.
- Create the https version of your website in the Google Search Console.
Website title & meta description
The title tag and the meta description together form the snippet that is displayed on the search results page. How informative and clear this is presented has a great influence on how often users click on it and how satisfied they are with the search result. The optimization of the snippet is therefore an important SEO measure.
The title tag can be seen as a link marked in blue on the search results page. It should not be longer than 65 characters and should start with the keyword if possible . A natural structure and the information content for the user are also important. The quality of the website title can affect ranking on Google.
The meta description is on the search results page as descriptive text under the title. Your quality influences the click rate and thus also the success potential of your Internet presence. Make sure that the meta description accurately informs the user about the content of the page and encourages them to click. Their ideal length is between 130 and 160 characters .
In contrast to backlinks that refer to your own web presence from other websites, internal linking is about references to other pages of your own online presence. You are completely in control of the structure. A meaningful and appropriate internal linking increases the added value of your content for the visitors and is therefore also an aspect of search engine optimization.
If possible, include the keyword of the linked page in the anchor text, but do not use it too often
- Pay attention to the correct link target
- Important subpages should be linked internally more often than less important pages
- Optimization of the loading time
The loading time of a website is an important factor in user-friendliness. Above all, the increasing importance of mobile devices for Internet use has contributed to the fact that search engines regard a short loading time as a positive ranking signal. There are various tools with which you can analyze and optimize the loading time of your page. One of them is Google's free PageSpeed tool .
Regardless of this, the following measures are suitable for shortening the loading time in terms of technical search engine optimization :
- Keep file quantities and sizes low
- Compress images
- Remove unnecessary comments, spaces and unnecessary tags from the source code
- Use server caching (caching of frequently requested elements on the server)
- Activate browser caching (caching of individual content from the web browser)
- Apply GZIP compression
- Logical and clear content structure
Visitors should be able to orient themselves intuitively on your website. For this it is important that you can grasp the structure quickly. Flat hierarchies in which each content can be accessed with no more than four clicks are advantageous .
The logical content structure is an important aspect of user-friendliness and therefore important for search engine optimization. Pay attention to the following details:
Clear navigation at the top or left
Clear navigation at the top or left
- Breadcrumb navigation in the upper area of every website (shows the current path)
- Links to important content in the footer (imprint, terms and conditions , etc.)
- Linking of the logo to the homepage in the top left corner of each subpage
- Talking URLs
Also, check that your URLs meet SEO requirements. Not only for better user orientation, but also for search engine optimization, it is advisable to use so-called speaking URLs for every website . These have the following properties:
Readable words that provide information about the content and path of the page (use keywords)
- Not too long
- Lowercase letters only
- No special characters and umlauts
- Minus sign between each term
An SEO-friendly, speaking URL would be e.g. E.g .: moebel-neudorf.de/kueche/kuechen-kleinmoebel.html.
In addition to a domain name that matches the content of the website and speaking URLs, the top-level domain is also not entirely unimportant. Well-known endings such as .de or .com arouse more trust than less familiar ones and are clicked more often.
HTML for headings
A correct and logical heading structure is not only important for the comprehensibility of the content, but also enables Google to evaluate your online presence more accurately. This has a positive effect on the ranking. Therefore, as a search engine optimization measure, mark all headings with the corresponding HTML tags, whereby a gradation from h1 to h6 is theoretically possible. However, it is advisable to limit yourself to the levels up to h4.
Use the h1 heading only once on a page. It should contain the keyword for which the corresponding subpage is optimized and not match any of the other headings. Use the other headings to structure the text logically. Put yourself in the shoes of your visitors, who first orient themselves using the headings.
If possible, use secondary keywords in the subheadings for search engine optimization. In addition, make sure that the wording is concise and understandable.
Search engine optimization with images
Pictures loosen up texts and illustrate the content. Many users capture images faster than text and are more likely to feel addressed by them. This is why Google image search is also very popular.
In order to get your website among the first search results, you should extend search engine optimization to your images as well. This includes the following measures:
- Select an image that is thematically appropriate to the surrounding text.
- Image files with a small size are favorable, but this must not be at the expense of the image quality.
- The file name should describe the image realistically and include a keyword.
- Both the title tag (appears when you touch the mouse pointer), the alt tag (alternative text) and the caption should be worded correctly and contain the keyword.
SEO with rich snippets
Rich snippets are organic search results that contain additional information. Google shows these extensions if the algorithm rates them as particularly interesting for the searcher. They do not influence the ranking, but can generate higher traffic. Therefore, corresponding measures can also be attributed to search engine optimization.
Typical examples are the star ratings in the search results or event information . With the additional information, rich snippets attract the attention of users and motivate them to click.
If you are interested in search engines enriching your snippets with additional information, you have to use structured data in the HTML code. You can find the standards for this at schema.org. However, you have no right to demand that the information be displayed. The search engine always decides that itself, depending on the search queries.
Featured snippets for search engine optimization
Featured snippets are short, concise information that users often search for and that Google itself compiles from the offers on the web. These are still displayed above the organic search results, even if the original page ranks lower. Typical examples are the answers to W-questions that Google often outputs in line with the search.
Even if the ranking of your website is not directly influenced by this, it is very advantageous if featured snippets are created from your content, because the traffic potential is high . You can influence this by formulating frequently asked W-questions on your website and answering them concisely. However, there is no guarantee that Google will create featured snippets from them.
Content - the most important factor for a good ranking
Even with the technical SEO measures described so far, you will not achieve much if your website does not offer good content. Google can now see very well which content is high quality and offers users added value in connection with their search query. In the following, you will learn how to plan your content strategy and what is important when creating it with regard to search engine optimization.
High quality and unique content
Google always strives to return the best results for users' searches. The competition on the Internet is great and the competition is correspondingly strong. That is why it is important for search engine optimization to create not only high quality, but also unique content .
The fact that duplicate content in the sense of copied content is a taboo has already been explained above. In terms of content, a website should always offer something new compared to the competition. Of course, you can take up topics for which information is already available on the Internet. However, it makes sense to include new aspects that have not yet been dealt with in this way on the competing sites.
The most important thing in any case is the added value for the user . It is advisable to limit oneself to one topic and to deal with it as comprehensively and in detail as possible. This requires good planning for a new website, in which you proceed as follows:
Formulation of your own goals (sales, brand strengthening, income through affiliate marketing )
- Definition of the topic (e.g. health, finance, travel)
- Identification of user maintenance
- Subject and keyword research
- Building a thematic structure
- Time and personnel planning for content creation
The topicality of the content also plays a role in search engine optimization. Therefore, publish new content regularly. The topics should also be treated as comprehensively as possible. For example, you should plan more than 1,000 words for advice texts. However, the scope also depends on the topic and the target group.
Identify and meet user expectations
In order for it to be among the first hits on the search results page, your content must solve the user's problem in the best possible way. Therefore, analyze which search intentions - i.e. search intentions - are typical for your target group. There are the following options for this:
- Intentional purchase of a product or service
- Information on a specific topic
- Download files or other transactions
- Search for local offers
- Calling up a known website without having to enter the URL
Also align the type of content with these expectations. Think about whether the users want to read a detailed text, watch a video or use a comparison calculator, for example.
One keyword for each page
Keyword research is the basis of any search engine optimization. This tells you what users are looking for frequently and can align the content of your pages with them. There are various tools for this analysis, e. B. the free Google Keyword Planner.
It is advisable to optimize every single subpage of your web presence for a different keyword . Include the corresponding word in the main heading and also in the text with a frequency of 1 to 2 percent. But also use some other contextual keywords to help Google better assess the website's content.
WDF * IDF analysis
You can carry out keyword research in a particularly professional manner with a WDF * IDF analysis. In this way you not only determine several subject-relevant keywords, but also their optimal distribution in the text and the weighting of the individual terms. This form of optimization is more complex than just focusing on keyword density.
There are tools for the WDF * IDF analysis. Based on the main keyword, they analyze the pages with the best ranking for this term. The result is secondary keywords , which are often used in the context of the main keyword, and their frequency distribution. The closer your text comes to this ideal state, the greater the chances of a good ranking.
A WDF * IDF analysis thus also offers clues for the thematic orientation of the text. Because the keywords relate to information that users expect.
Clear text structure
Whether visitors to your website are concerned with your posts or immediately click away again depends on the first impression of your website. Reduce the bounce rate by optically designing the text so that it invites you to read. Divide it into clear paragraphs, as large blocks of text are off-putting to many users .