What's the best site for SEO

10 practical SEO tips for your business

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with which you are prepared for 2019

On-page, off-page, rankings, crawlers, robots - so that even newcomers can find their way through the SEO jungle, we have put together this guide on SEO basics for your company: with ten tips that can be used immediately and without technical jargon.

SEO - what is it?

SEO stands for search engine optimization (Search Engine Optimization) and refers to an online marketing industry that deals with improving the organic (i.e. unpaid) rankings of websites in search engines - usually Google. This optimization is extremely important for commercial sites, because a better ranking online usually means more visitors to your website - and that is usually good for business.

To make it easier for you to get started and to fundamentally optimize your website, we will show you the following tried and tested basics that you can implement independently. We start with the general check-up of your site and point out some technical basics. After that, we'll give you some tips on how to structure your website, as well as creating a working set of keywords and good content so that your target audience can find what they're looking for. Then we focus on optimizing a small but very important element: the snippet that is displayed on the search results pages.

(You obviously liked ours so much that you clicked on it, didn't you?)

We conclude with some advice on links from other sites (Backlinks) and how to spot dodgy SEO offers.

# 1 Basic check-up

Ideally, first capture the current state of affairs. To do this, start with a site query for your domain by simply entering "www." When entering your URL in the Google search. replace with "site:":

You will be taken to a search results page (Search Engine Results Page, SERP), which reflects the approximate indexing status of your domain on Google. Feel free to click through a few pages. Do you notice something special? What do the titles and brief descriptions look like? Also take a look at the tabs "Images" and "News" and check what content Google has currently indexed.

It is also worth taking a look at Google Search Console (GSC, formerly Google Webmaster Tools). Be sure to create an account if you don't already have one! With this free tool, you can already learn a lot about the performance and appearance of your website in search results, including:

  • Under Search queries → search analysisthe search queries that brought users to your website
  • Under Crawling → crawling statisticsthe number of times the Googlebot has crawled ("crawled") your website
  • Under Crawling → crawling errorswhich urls on your page were not found or returned an error
  • Under Display in search → HTML improvementswhich titles and descriptions are duplicated or incorrect on your website

But be careful: The GSC only ever saves the data of the last 90 days (in the beta version that is now being rolled out, however, up to 16 months will be possible) and new data has a delay of three days. Keep this in mind as you make changes and give the tool some time.

# 2 Technical facility

There are a number of technical settings that improve the visit to your website for both users and search engines. In most cases, you don't have to be a programmer to implement them:

Loading time - faster is better

It starts with the loading time - an important optimization factor that many websites can still work on. Unlike in the days of the 28.8K modems, it is extremely important nowadays that a website builds up quickly and smoothly. Otherwise, there is a risk that users will jump back to the search results and simply go to the competition. Fortunately, Google itself provides a tool that analyzes the loading time performance of your website and provides specific suggestions for improvement: Google PageSpeed ​​Insights.

In terms of loading time, there are some typical construction sites that you can start working on right away:

  1. Upload images only in the size you need them. If you keep the file sizes small, this will have a positive effect on the loading time.
  2. If you want to include videos, ideally limit yourself to a single video with a running time that is not too long. Videos are very data-intensive because they are completely loaded when the page is opened.
  3. Be economical in using plug-ins or features on your website. They are helpful in most cases, but if you overdo them, it can significantly reduce the loading time of your website - especially if you, for example, place Google Maps in the footer of your website or install dozens of plug-ins on a WordPress system .
  4. Avoid unnecessary redirect chains on your website. You can use the free version of the Screaming Frog SEO Spider discover (with this you can check up to 500 URLs) and then have them fixed by your web agency.

A good loading time is always "as fast as possible", there is no blanket value. However, if your website takes 4-5 seconds or more to set up, you should definitely optimize the loading time.

 

HTTPS - a sure thing

An HTTPS connection is now not only standard, but according to Google even a correct (albeit very small) ranking factor. You can recognize this standard by the fact that the URL of your website begins with "https: //" in the search bar. In addition, as in the case of the Chrome browser, you will see the symbol of a green, closed padlock next to the address line.

The advantage: HTTPS-encrypted websites have to identify themselves before the actual exchange of data and then establish an encrypted connection between the server and your browser. It is not only safer, but also a little faster with the right settings. So if you are still using the old protocol, you should consider switching to HTTPS.

 

Are you still guessing or are you already capturing?

Are you still guessing or are you already capturing? If you want to get to know your visitors properly, you should definitely record their behavior on your website. We advise in this case Google Analytics. If you already have an account there and have integrated tracking on your website, you can access and analyze all kinds of usable data such as pages visited and length of stay.

The advantages of a well-established tracking system should not be underestimated. If you are not currently tracking user behavior on your site, you should urgently do so! In this case, however, be sure to inform your visitors in your data protection declaration that your behavior will be recorded. When setting up tracking on sites operated in Germany, you should also observe our information on the data protection-compliant use of Google Analytics.

# 3 indexability

In order for your website to be found more easily in Google, you should check whether the crawler can access your website at all. Because what he is not allowed to visit, he cannot index either. The robots.txt is responsible for this. This is a small (written) text file that the crawler reads out before your website is actually called up. Check whether you have a robots.txt and whether the crawler receives instructions from there. You can always find it at the following URL:

www.IhreDomain.de/robots.txt

A simple robots.txt could look like this:

"User-agent" defines which robots should be addressed - in this case the * stands for "all". The command "Disallow: / typo3 /" says that robots on your website are not allowed to crawl the login page of your TYPO3 CMS. The corresponding counterpart is the "Allow:" command. This enables you to release individual directories and / or file types again. Therefore, always check carefully in the robots.txt which directories and file types are excluded from crawling - and why.

In addition, an instruction can be given on the page itself not to index content. You can find this in the so-called Meta-Robots-Tag with the attribute "noindex":

You should therefore check for important pages whether they are excluded from indexing. The easiest way to do this is to use certain tools (such as the aforementioned Screaming Frog) or browser plug-ins (such as SeeRobots for the Chrome browser).

# 4 Click depth and information architecture

Having the right information is one thing. Helping the user to find them is another matter entirely. Above all, it is important to have an intuitive and flat information architecture, precise delimitation of topics (Siloing) and a well thought-out internal link. Or would you patiently click your way through a disorganized, convoluted website until you find the information you want?

As a rule of thumb it has therefore become established that a website should be a maximum of three levels deep. But of course all of this always depends on the complexity of your topic. Large online shops, for example, usually have more than three levels due to their wide and deep product ranges. Service providers and restaurants, on the other hand, often get by on two levels.

A good thematic structure is important. To do this, organize the content of your website in thematic blocks that are as different as possible from one another. Then collect all products or sub-pages that belong together in the corresponding topic (the "silos" shown above) and link them appropriately to one another. This makes navigation much easier for your users.

Speaking of "linking to each other": internal linking is an important SEO tool. On the one hand, you signal relevance for various sub-pages, on the other hand, you help the crawler to completely capture your website. In any case, make sure that you place the links in a thematically appropriate environment and that you do not link them arbitrarily.

# 5 User focus: The user is king

The user focus is one of the most important guarantees for a good ranking, because Google always wants to display the correct (relevant) results for every search query. This is why user signals are becoming more and more important for ranking. If your visitors are dissatisfied, this will sooner or later cost you valuable places. Therefore, always align all the content of your website with your target group and their needs.

It starts with the language: Formulate your content in such a way that even a layperson can understand it. Because even with more complex offers, it is often not specialists, but assistants and working students who make the first preselections for decision-makers. You shouldn't throw around technical jargon and complex presentations, but rather pick up your visitors skilfully. Use clear, precise and, above all, uniform language.

Mobile friendliness

It is also becoming increasingly important which device your target group visits your website on. Tablets and smartphones enable mobile access with very specific requirements for the website in terms of display and navigation. This adaptability is known as Responsive design.

Check whether your website is also suitable for mobile presentations. The easiest way to do this is of course to call them up with your smartphone. On the PC you can also push the browser window together or with the Chrome browser via Right click → Examine (or F12) the Web Developer Tools call. Via the small display symbol (also accessible viaCtrl + Shift + M) in the upper left corner you can then test different sizes.

If you discover problems with mobile navigation or functionality, take action. More and more people predominantly use the smartphone. Google has also already announced that sooner or later they will prefer websites that have a good mobile display.

# 6 Keywords: the right magic words

For which search terms would you like to be found? And which search terms does your target group use? A general distinction is made between such keywords shorttail-Keywords that only consist of a single search term, and longtail-Keywords that represent a longer or more detailed search query. Another factor is whether you are selling something on your website (so-called transactional Using keywords), or just providing information (and thus informational Serving keywords). All of this has an impact on the expected monthly search volume and competition.

With the practical function of using a phrase, a website or a category to search for new keywords, you can also identify other keywords for your search term and conveniently download them in an Excel file. But be careful - keyword tools do not know trademark law - for example, Google Ads also suggests brand terms of the competition - these should of course be left out. (See: Google Ads Competitive Keywords)

A basic set of keywords can be created by simply brainstorming. Write down all the terms and combinations of terms that you notice about your product - you are the expert! Mergewords helps you to create compound keywords. If you have a Google Ads account, you can find out whether the terms are searched for on Google with the KeywordPlanner. About the practical function Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category you can also identify other keywords for your search term and conveniently download them in an Excel file.

A different approach to research is necessary for YouTube, as you can look up in our guide to YouTube keyword analysis.

Free tools to enrich your keyword list, especially in the longtail area, are for example Hypersuggest and Answer the Public. Both also provide you with questions about the search term you entered, which you can easily use.

Allegedly, 15 percent of all search queries have never been entered before. The possibilities are almost endless!

After you have generated a list of keywords, you need to group them by topic, prioritize them and assign them to individual landing pages on your website. Your list is a living document and it can grow even in this context. The whole process is known as Keyword mapping. It is very important that a keyword is never assigned to multiple pages at the same time - otherwise the risk of increasing Keyword cannibalization: Then two or more pages of your website appear in the search results for a certain keyword. What at first sounds positive and like more attention is a clear sign from Google that it cannot decide which is the more relevant - and in case of doubt the ranking of both sides will drop.

Then enter the search terms in appropriate places in the content (e.g. in headings), but without overdoing it. Read the finished text out loud - this will prevent the content from sounding bumpy afterwards due to overly frequent keyword use. You may have to add new sections of meaning over time, which in turn is good for a holistic view of the topic.

# 7 fashionable term "holistic"

The term holistic is derived from the Greek holos for "whole" from. In concrete terms, this means: You must adequately exhaust a topic and deal with it in its entirety. Otherwise, the risk of falling victim to one sooner or later increases Google pandas to become. This part of the Google algorithm is aimed at websites with low quality and shallow texts.

Example: If you are designing a subpage on the topic of "T-shirts", do not just mention that it is a piece of clothing. You can also answer questions that interest your customers: e.g. about different fabrics, cuts, colors, sleeve lengths, different styles and different brands. Use size charts and suggestions for combining them with other items of clothing. Maybe ironing techniques or folding methods for crease-free storage are also interesting? You can already see where it's going.

Your keyword research should already have given you a good idea of ​​the scope of the topic. Now divide the text into meaningful sections, which you provide with an informative heading, and round it off with clear images. Tables, lists and info boxes may help to ensure that the content can be easily captured. You have already made the topic a whole lot more holistic and the page offers your visitors concrete added value.

# 8 Snippet optimization: design the title and description in an appealing way

The Snippet(Preview text) is displayed in the organic search results and advertises your website. It consists of a title (Title), the URL and two lines of descriptive text (Description) and should be carefully optimized.Basically, the following applies: Convince! - Don't make promises that you can't keep.

Both the title and description must represent the content of the landing page as precisely as possible. But you don't have unlimited space for this. Fortunately, there are various tools to test the length, for example the snippet optimizer on coseed.de.

What makes a good snippet?

The title is the most prominent part of the snippet. Integrate the main keyword of the subpage and use it, for example ...

...Numbers "Thermomix: 10 good reasons for the kitchen wonder"
...Ask "US Elections: The End of Democracy?"
... or prompts "Winter tires: order now and save!"

to motivate search engine users to click on the result. If possible, also place one fire-Suffix ("| mindshape") after the title, if there is enough space. That helps with branding.

Your URL should also reflect the content of the page. Put to it speaking urls a: "/ clothing/tshirts.html" is much more appealing and transparent than "/index.php?id=32".

Good descriptions provide the content and unique selling points in a few points (Unique Selling Propositions, USP) of your landing page. What can the user expect on the page and what are the advantages? At the end, always place a call to action such as "inform now!" or "learn more!" to lure users out of passivity.

But be careful - in some cases Google does not use the metadata you have stored to generate the snippet. This is a sign that they do not match the search query. In this case, check whether the snippet, the search intention of the users and the page content harmonize with one another and adjust them again if necessary.

# 9 backlinks

Right from the start, backlinks have been one of the most important factors for a good ranking on Google. The logic behind this was simple: A website is repeatedly linked to a certain term, so this website must contain very good or important information on the topic.

Today, so-called off-page optimization (in contrast to on-page optimization, which only takes place on your website) is much more complex. In addition to quantity, quality is playing an increasingly important role. A website that Google does not trust cannot trust another site via links. So stay away from dodgy link building offers. Google has put a strong focus on discovering inferior and artificially forced links. Nowadays, links that are quickly and cheaply bought or created are, in the best of cases, by the part of the Google algorithm that is generally known as penguin is simply ignored. In more serious cases, an inferior backlink profile can also lead to correct penalties by Google due to manual measures. For this reason, it is only worthwhile to rely on synergy effects through other marketing channels for the acquisition of links. B. Present in the local press through interviews, offer content that people like to share on blogs or get involved as a sponsor or cooperation partner.

# 10 Stay away from blackhat methods

There are all kinds of alleged SEO experts who immediately guarantee massive ranking success in dodgy offers. Our tip: keep your hands off it. Or would you trust something in other areas of life that promises too much for little money?

Many of the methods used are generally called Blackhat SEO denotes and harm your website in the long run. This includes methods that in some cases may bring short-term success, but are then severely punished by Google - up to and including the complete removal of your website from Google search. In addition, not all blackhat methods are compatible with German laws: The setting of links with commercial intent without the appropriate labeling as advertising can be warned, other blackhat techniques use hacking and automated bots to set links without the knowledge of the website operator.

Good SEO and sustainable (!) Ranking success are a product of the long-term commitment of time, money and passion, which has one main goal: to improve the experience for the user. So don't believe an SEO if he promises you top 3 rankings for strong search terms within a few weeks: he can't.

Conclusion

As you can see, in most cases you can already do a lot for the SEO of your website yourself. We hope that our tips and immediate measures have now made it easier for you to navigate the SEO jungle. Because ultimately it comes down to what has already been mentioned here in several places: Always optimize your page for your target group, not (only) for Google, Bing or another search engine. Because if the user is satisfied with your website, the search engines will reward that too.

If, after this initial optimization, you encounter challenges that are too complex or time-consuming, you can address them with us in a free initial consultation.

Get in touch with us, we will be happy to advise you.
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