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Search engine optimization consists of two pillars: OnPage and OffPage optimization. Often, these areas are also referred to as OnSite and OffSite Optimization.
OnPage optimization revolves around all the adjustments you can make to your own website, in order to subsequently achieve a better ranking within the search engines. These measures are therefore also not influenceable by third parties. The optimization methods on the page can go in three directions:
In addition to these methods, it is also important that you optimize the internal link structure of your site, as this will improve user experience as well as crawlability and indexing.
There are several factors that have an impact on ranking within search results (SERPs). For this reason, there are some factors that can ensure the quality of websites and their content.
From this some basic principles can be derived:
From the basic rules, Google derives clear recommendations for action.
From this, you should urgently avoid the following methods:
So, Google compares all websites against each other according to these guidelines and evaluates which of the pages has the most relevant content for your search query. This is how the ranking is created. Through targeted optimizations of your website, you manage to send signals to the search engine
and it afterwards communicates the following:
The better you make the adjustments on your page, the higher your position in the organic search results.
As mentioned above, there are three overarching areas that you can influence through adjustments: Technical, Content, and Structural. However, Google does not officially confirm all influencing factors officially, which is why many aspects were determined by pure trial and error by SEO experts. There is also the possibility that measures overlap, since they are not always quite clear separable from each other.
Everyone knows it: you want to look at something on a website, but it loads and loads and loads. Of course, you don’t feel like waiting for that. The loading speed of a website is therefore a particularly important factor, because with it the bounce rate of the visitors stands and falls. There are several measures you can take to influence the speed at which your site loads.
Google has been weighting mobile adaptations since its mobile update in 2015. Therefore, make sure your website is also available in a mobile version or in responsive design. Again, it is important that the page load time is optimized, otherwise the bounce rate on mobile devices is even higher than on the desktop version. This is primarily due to the fact that data transfer via the mobile network is often worse than a transfer on the computer via LAN or Wi-Fi. So try to avoid unnecessary data and optimize all others to reduce loading times. This works by
To be able to constantly optimize your site, it is important to set up a well-functioning tracking that evaluates various factors. For example, you can not only find out at which point of your page the users bounce, but likewise learn whether you need to explicitly improve certain areas. Also, A/B testing is always very helpful when you want to find out which method is most effective for your site. This makes it easier for you to determine what adjustments you’d like to make.
Also, with the URL, there are some pitfalls you can avoid. For example, make sure that appropriate keywords are included in the appropriate landing page URL. Additionally, you should urgently avoid filler words, special characters and umlauts and separate words with hyphens. Try to build the URL structurally logical and provide intermediate directories. It helps if you make your URLs all uniform, and they have the same spelling throughout. It’s best to use static URLs, as the dynamic ones are more prone to being considered duplicates by the search engines.
If the URL of a resource changes, the old URL should redirect to the new one. There are different HTTP status codes for this. For you, the following two codes are especially important:
So, when using 301 redirection, you make sure that you don’t lose the trust you already gained with the one URL. In plain language, this means that already created, external links are not simply given away. You should always adapt internal links to the new resource (i.e. URL 2). Google itself also recommends this procedure.
“404 – Page not found.” This page is probably familiar to anyone who is often on the Internet. The meaning is simple: The requested resource is simply no longer available. It is particularly important that the status code 404 are transmitted to the browser and the search engines. Attempt to keep error messages as clearly and understandably as possible for the user as well. That helps them to always understand what went wrong.
Set a certain amount of humor to turn the negative user experience into a positive one, and create an appealing error page in case an error occurs.
You can design this page in a simple and effective way by:
Of course, the best thing to do is to avoid taking the user to an error page – even if it’s not always that easy. There are several tools that can help you track down and fix 404 errors on your website. Probably the best known is the Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tool). Here you can find the pages and content that have errors under “Coverage”. These can then be corrected or filled with new content and linked internally again.
When it comes to keywords, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. On the one hand, you should pay attention to the placement of the keyword:
In addition, you should perform a found keyword analysis to locate the optimal keywords for your website. Note that your web pages are not only optimized for main keywords. Side keywords, synonyms and long tail keywords are now just as important and increase your web presence. To increase the relevance of your page to a search query, it is recommended to perform a semantic analysis using WDF*IDF tools.
The most important characteristics of good SEO texts are:
Most of all, Google values the last point particularly strongly, since only user-oriented content can give searchers added value. Therefore, make sure above all that your content is high quality. The text must also be easily understandable and well-structured. Sentences should therefore not be nested, but short, concise and simple. Also, if at all possible, avoid jargon, hype terms or foreign words if they are not part of your keyword set. This will make it easier for your users to absorb content. Try to write in a varied and interesting way. In plain language, this means, that you can also use synonyms, plural or variations of the keyword. This will prevent you from sounding monotonous and repeating yourself too often.
The following steps will help you to create an optimized text:
The Search volume is not everything! Is your topic rather niche, the keywords are very specific. Make sure they fit the topic.
Have you considered these points, you can start with creating your text. If you don’t know exactly how to start or what content is fascinating for your users, you can do a SERP analysis of the top rankings. This will show you which content is relevant and appreciated by both, search engines and users. In addition, you can use Wh-question tools, such as seorch and answerthepublic, to find out what questions are most frequently searched for on a particular topic.
Last but not least, of course, make sure that everything is grammatically and spelling correct.
Of course, it is important that not only the texts are optimized, but the entire content of the page. Therefore, make sure that your media is compressed so that it does not have a negative effect on the loading time of your page. Also, significant is an appropriate naming of the media. Use here, if it fits, also gladly your keywords. In addition, you should store an alternative text for all images used via the alt tag. This helps the crawler to better understand the content of the image, as it receives the information about what the file is about via the alt tag. At the same time, you ensure accessibility on your website, because thanks to the alt tag, content can be read by visually impaired users through a screen reader, for example. It is therefore best if you try to describe the image as precisely as possible and again pick up on the keywords of the page. For videos, make sure you tag them according to schema.org.
Pure continuous text is too tiring for your users in the long run. Online users read differently than offline. Especially the following factors differ greatly:
Therefore, try to get some structure in your texts to get to loosen them up and make them attractive to the user. You can create this by paying attention to the following points:
You also need to make sure that the font type, size and color are legible. In addition, you can ensure that important content on your page is displayed “above the fold“. This means that you provide interesting content in an area where it is visible to the user at first glance.
Make sure that your page follows a logical structure that the user can follow.
The most important tool related to duplicate content is the canonical tag. It helps you link duplicates to the original page so that Google recognizes which is the original page. This way, content is not considered “duplicate”, but simply ignored. This is important for you especially in the following cases:
The best content is of little use to you if it is not designed and built in a user-friendly way. Boldface in the text helps to maintain clarity and highlight the most important parts. Additionally, when using icons, make sure that they are always unambiguous to understand. Link from one of your pages to an external one, you have to pay attention that the links work. In case of an error, you must prepare a corresponding error page, which explains to the users exactly, what is not working. For internal links, you have to make sure that they work as well.
Snippets are the short description of a website that are played out in search engine results pages. The content of the page and the USPs are summarized in a title and a description. This tells the user what to expect. A snippet always consists of three basic elements:
Title and description are also called metadata. Here you should make sure that really all the important data is specified. Beside the data for the extensions of the Rich Snippet you should primarily optimize the title and the meta description.
For the title the following features are particularly important:
There are also a few things you need to keep in mind when it comes to the meta description:
Besides this standard snippets, there are two special features: Featured and Rich Snippets. Rich snippets add value to your standard snippet – they expand or enrich it, so to speak. This can happen, for example, in the form of breadcrumbs, rating stars, images, price information, etc.
Featured snippets are highlighted in a box above the organic search results. They often consist of definitions or concrete answers to a question. You can use the following markups:
To submit this information to the search engine, you must mark it up in the source code to schema.org. Make sure this is complete.
On your website you can also use Social Sharing Snippets. This is a supplement that is not yet too widespread in Germany, which offers you the opportunity to incorporate social networks or the profiles there. This is especially useful since social signals, i.e. likes, shares and comments in social networks or blogs, have a continuously growing importance. As several studies confirm that there is a correlation between social sharing snippets and the ranking of your page. Even if this has never been officially confirmed by Google.
The following social networks can therefore be added to the Knowledge Graph:
Meanwhile, Google finds matching profiles primarily through the Google MyBusiness account. The search engine then adds these to the respective businesses. If you yourself are the officially authorized representative, you can also proactively suggest changes. Your social media profile will then be played out in Google’s Knowledge Panel, along with other information.
The page architecture has a great influence on how the search engine perceives your page. Through it, the distribution of internal linkjuice is determined. Only with a successful, logically comprehensible structure, the user will find what he is looking for. Therefore, roughly stick to the classic structuring of:
Make sure you make your most important pages available in one click. All other pages should be accessible in a maximum of four clicks. This way, you make sure that the user does not lose his orientation. A well-structured website navigation helps here. Also, the fading in of a breadcrumb navigation on the individual web pages gives orientation and supports the crawling of the search engines. Give your website visitors the possibility to get back to the start page from any point on the page. You can do this, for example, with a linked logo.
Similar to a good page structure, internal links also help to increase the usability of your website. You can thus provide your users with added value. This way you give your users direct access to topics that could also interest them, without them having to search for them.
However, there are some tips here as well that you should stick to:
A sophisticated navigation helps users find their way around your website. You should therefore structure it logically.
There are different ways you can build your navigation menu:
Whichever of these navigation options you choose, make sure to build in an additionally a Breadcrumb navigation on all your pages. This shows the users the path they clicked to reach the page. This way they can
easily find their way around the hierarchy of the domain and jump to previous places.
The XML sitemap is sort of a table of contents. Through it, you have a listing that shows which pages are available on your site. It serves as a signal to the search engine. An XML sitemap is essential for this, as it makes it easier for the search engine to discover and crawl all the relevant addresses of the individual pages. Via Search Console you can submit your sitemap including all URLs and then also test it. This way you can make sure that they work. Many CMS systems also offer you a function that automatically creates the sitemap. Plugins for WordPress can also make your work easier. The following are particularly useful:
It’s important that you don’t include pages in the sitemap that are on noindex, point to another URL via canonical tag or are blocked via your robots.txt. So keep only indexable URLs in your sitemap.
Now you have an overview of what all can be done. Maybe you’ve spotted a concrete problem on your site at the one or other point. Of course, there are a variety of tools that make it easier for you to find errors, which you can then carry out the optimization. Some of them will now be presented to you.
With this tool, however, only the URL that you enter is analyzed, not other pages of the domain.
Besides checking the regular desktop version, the tool also offers an area where you can test the mobile load time. Here, however, only mobile is checked.
If this has been analyzed, you will receive a detailed evaluation of:
This will make your site easier to find, even for more specific queries.
Of course, not all tools offer their service free of charge. Therefore, this is how the pricing for the individual tools looks like:
|Free of charge||Free, but limited||Chargeable|
|Seorch.eu SEO Spider||XOVI DomainValue||Dareboost|
|SEO Workers SEO Analysis Tool||Ryte Free||Pingdom Tools Load Time Analyzer|
|Sistrix Smart||Seobility SEO Check|
|Varvy SEO Tools||Screaming Frog SEO Spider|
|Google Search Console|
|Bing Webmaster Tools|
|Google PageSpeed Insights|
|WebPagetest Performance Analyse|
|JSON-LD Schema Generator|
|Google test for optimization for mobile devices|
|Think with Google|
These measures are a sample of all possible OnPage adjustments. Especially with the help of professionals, you can improve your site to the smallest detail. In the fast-paced online world, optimizing a page is not always easy. It requires a lot of attention, skill and time to react to innovations. But all the effort is worth it when your page ultimately ranks better for certain topics. In addition, a good OnPage optimization ensures that you have it easier OffPage. So it’s only logical that you do the OnPage optimization first and then the OffPage optimization. Only through a well-executed OnPage optimization can also be successful OffPage optimization.
OnPage optimizations can be divided into three areas: Content, structural and technical. In each of these sections there are possible adjustments. The most important of these include content, page load time, mobile adaptation and meta data optimization.
OnPage optimizations pursue two clear goals. The improvement of user-friendliness and the increase of rankings.
The difference between the two measures can actually be found in their names: While OnPage optimizations only take place onsite, OffPage optimizations are all methods that help you to do online PR. Therefore, OffPage measures are, for example, link building, social signals, public relations, etc.
Since you can only perform OffPage measures once you have created a page, OnPage optimizations are the first step. Nevertheless, both are continuous adjustments that, in principle, are never completely finished. Therefore, you should always make optimizations in both areas.
You want to learn more about how to optimize your website for search engines?