Our goal is to provide every honest webmaster with SEO know-how so as not to get in the way of a messy SEO agency. If you’ve internalized our 10 golden rules for search engine optimization, no dubious provider can fool you and sell you something that you do not need at all, or even harm you. Violations of the Google Webmaster Guidelines are usually penalized for permanently losing your SEO rankings, your organic visibility and thus a valuable part of your traffic.
What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is translated in German with Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a sub-discipline of search engine marketing (Search Engine Marketing or abbreviated SEM); the second discipline is Search Engine Advertising (SEA) in the form of Google Ads Ads or Bing Ads.
Due to the outstanding market power of Google, SEO is usually about optimizing this search platform.
Delineation SEO & SEA: These are the differences
A search engine – we will stay with Google below – usually provides the user with two types of results after entering a search term: on the one hand the organic search results and on the other hand the ads matching the search term. For the ads, the advertiser has to pay Google – each click will pay a price determined through an auction mechanism.
In Google’s organic search results, Google’s algorithm provides the web pages that it believes best fits the search term you enter and displays it as the search result. For this, the operator of the website does not have to pay Google.
Why is SEO important?
Search engines and Google, in particular, are the gateways to the Internet. Many users have Google as their browser home page, and almost all online sessions start with a search query. For website owners, this means that even the greatest website with the most useful content will give away potential if Google does not find it. And for commercial vendors, business success crucially depends on placement in organic search results – the farther up, the better, but definitely on the first page. For what is it said that the best place to hide a corpse is page 2 of the Google search results.
The different areas of SEO
Search engine optimization can be subdivided into different areas:
- Keywording: This is about identifying the most important keywords (keywords) to which the website should then be optimized.
- Technical SEO: This means all measures that ensure that the Google algorithm can read and understand the contents of the page.
- Onpage SEO: This applies to the components that are implemented directly on the page: For example, meaningful meta-data, internal links and enrichment of the page with multimedia content (such as videos) ensure a better ranking.
- Mobile SEO: More and more people access the Internet with mobile devices like smartphones. Therefore, it is important that the website is optimized for mobile viewing.
- Editorial content: The Google algorithm is increasingly aware of whether a page provides useful content for the user. That’s why high-quality content is a must.
- Offpage SEO: This is primarily about external links. Thus, the number and quality of externally linked pages can have an impact on the organic ranking.
Important SEO KPIs
KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator, in German: Leistungskennzahl. The success of SEO measures can be measured via the KPIs. These are the most important key figures:
- CTR (CTR)
- Keyword ranking
- loading speed
- Search Engine Traffic
- bounce rates
- Dwell time on the page
The goals of SEO
The goal of search engine optimization is to bring more visitors through the organic search of Google and Co. on the website to be optimized. To achieve this goal, the status quo of the KPIs should first be determined in order to then improve them through targeted SEO measures.
Important SEO tools and software
In achieving the SEO goals, special tools and programs can be helpful, for example:
- Sistrix: Determines, among other things, the visibility of the website
- Ryte: Provides, among other things, detailed analysis of the status quo of a website and relevant OnPage measures
- ScreamingFrog: Scans the page through a crawler and provides helpful data such as external links, meta-keywords or server and browser errors
- SearchConsole : Returns many bug reports and site statuses directly from Google
- io: Helps in keyword research
- PagespeedInsights: Analyzes the loading speed of a page and helps with optimization
Just as helpful as the use of these tools is the following 10 golden SEO rules:
SEO rule 1: Ensure safety
In the meantime, websites with SSL encryption are a fixed standard that must be observed when it comes to search engine optimization. People also take this for granted. A site with an SSL certificate clearly states something about the site operator, namely that he has security on the screen. Take a look at this screenshot:
Since 2014, Google has confirmed HTTPS as a ranking signal meanwhile, Google Chrome even displays the following: “The connection to this website is not secure”. Would you trust such a website? Probably not. So if you have not done so already, make sure you switch to HTTPS, sooner rather than later. By the way, Google sees it the same way and could penalize your SEO efforts by downgrading your rankings and thus organic visibility for lack of security on your site.
SEO rule 2: optimize loading times
People do not like to wait, search engines do not. Just about every user expects a fast-loading page and will be disappointed if that expectation is not met. And here it looks like Google: Why waste valuable resources for slow pages? With a slow website, you risk the success of your SEO work. In essence, you should have the following items on the screen:
- Reduce HTTP requests
- Shrink file sizes
- The correct order of resources
An initial overview can be made with the Google “Mobile Website Speed Testing Tool” :
The beauty of this Google tool is that you get clear recommendations for action to make your site perform better.
Also, take a look at the free webpagestest.org worthwhile to look at the website once roughly under the hood:
Especially important: take a close look at your competition. If your competitors have faster websites, they have a clear advantage when it comes to search engine optimization. You can find more information about faster websites here or here.
SEO Rule 3: Optimize Mobile Appearance
How important the topic “mobile” is in the context of SEO, should be clear at the latest with the statement that Google is the step to “Mobile First” and no longer wants to distinguish between the desktop index and mobile index. Tool providers like SISTRIX are also catching up and analyzing a special visibility index for mobile devices. When this actually takes place is not certain yet. However, you should be prepared for it, rather too early than too late. Also, the good old Pagespeed Insight meanwhile test site and looks like this :
Rules of thumb for good mobile usability and thus SEO basics are:
- Fast loading time (again)
- Recognizable font sizes
- “Sausage fingers” -Bedienbarkeit
If you want to deal with search engine optimization and a little more with the topics of mobile and usability, we recommend you stop by here in our blog.
SEO Rule 4: Making content accessible
People should find specific content, so make it as easy as possible for them. Again, search engines like Google want exactly the same thing. Make sure your website is clean and a flat hierarchy will definitely have a positive impact on your SEO results. In practical terms this means:
- Share content with search engines
- Make every content accessible with 3-4 clicks
As banal as that sounds, check if your site is even approved for search engines. Often it is only a small hook to set or forget and already flies the page from the Google index. Keyword: index.
Help can be a so-called “site query” on Google:
The 77,000 results displayed here are the number of pages in the Google index. If this number differs roughly from the number of pages that you have stored in your CMS or shop system, then you should go one step further and crawl your entire website. Crawling means using a tool to try to follow every single link on your site. With a crawl, you can also find out the depth of clicks on your website, that is, how many clicks your content can reach. A very good and cheap tool (with websites under 500 pages even completely free) to crawl a website is the so-called ” Screaming Frog SEO Spider “:
If you find that a majority of your content can be reached on average with more than 3-4 clicks, you should optimize your internal linking. Incidentally, a good example of internal linking to SEO is a typical Wikipedia article that links to other important content within the same site:
A flat hierarchy and a well-structured information architecture through internal linking increases the chance of a successful search engine optimization and thus on happy visitors many times over. Incidentally, here are some practical application tips for the Screaming Frog SEO Spider from the more fire blog.
SEO Rule 5: Use clean URLs
The important thing here is that you use “talking” URLs. So-called talking URLs consist of readable words or keywords instead of long ID numbers or cryptic characters. The advantage from the SEO point of view is higher click rates within the Google results, which describe pretty well what the searcher expects on the website. In order to successfully run search engine optimization, you should follow the following rules in addition to speaking URLs:
- Keep your URLs as simple and short as possible
- Use keywords
- Dispense with special characters
- Use the minus sign as a separator
- Use only lower case
- Do not use filler words
So this could be a user-friendly and SEO-compliant URL: