Search engine optimization simply explained

What exactly is SEO and why do you need it?
What are the SEO basics?
What are your goals with SEO?
How do you manage to rank with your website within the search results?
Is SEO limited to Google only?
How much time do you need for SEO and what does it cost?
SEA vs. SEO

SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization – anyone who deals with the topic of online marketing cannot avoid these buzzwords. No matter in which form you encounter them, the meaning is the same for all of them: Measures that help your site to be more visible and to be found. Your own content should appear more prominently in search results and thus receive more attention.

What exactly is SEO and why do you need it?

If you have a website on the Internet, you have probably heard the term SEO more than once. It is an online marketing measure whose methods aim to significantly increase the visibility of a page and thus draw users to this page. Thus, they should be directed there – increase of relevant traffic is thus the main goal of SEO measures.

Classically, SEO is divided into the two areas, OnPage and OffPage optimization. But there are other measures that are part of the whole when it comes to concrete optimization within Google. This is because there are also different divisions within the search engine. For example, you can optimize for the image or news section or invest time in voice search SEO.

Google Image SEO

Image SEO can be directly assigned to the OnPage area. The aim here is to achieve a better positioning in the Google Image Search. Similar to the search results, it also counts here: The higher the placement of the images, the more visibility and attention they receive. The search engine takes various aspects into account when selecting the top positions:

So you can start with these points if you want to optimize your image files for search engines.

Google News SEO

You may be familiar with the Google News section in the form of the “headlines” that Google features directly above the organic search results. There is also a separate tab where you can explicitly search for news only. Through targeted SEO measures, it is possible to be included as a Google News source. For this purpose, Google employees manually check your page for general, technical and content-related criteria and compare them with the internal Google guidelines.

Google News-Sparte

Voice Search SEO

Long-tail keywords are the buzzword of the hour when it comes to voice search SEO. While otherwise the focus is on individual keywords, search queries are often posed to intelligent assistants in the form of entire sentences or questions. So it’s important to fill a page with semantic content that has a meaningful context. This way, the search engine understands it better and can identify the content as an answer to corresponding search queries.

What are the SEO basics?

The foundation of good SEO work lies in a reasonable basis. This means that you have to make sure that your site has a structure, makes a serious impression and impresses with good content.

Structured design

There are several influences that help you to give structure to your page. In the first place are the meta data, i.e. title and description. They are the short excerpt of your page in the search results of the search engines and show the user briefly and concisely what he can expect on the website. If the meta data is optimized, it has a great influence on the click rate of your page.

Another very important point is the page architecture. This means the structure of your page and how it is perceived by users. It also determines how the link juice of the pages is inherited. Make sure that the most significant information is available with just one click. A breadcrumb navigation is also helpful. This way, your website visitors will always know where they are on your website. Speaking of navigation: Your menu must of course also be logical and structured to prevent confusion.

Internal links are also part of the structure of your site. This gives your users additional information on certain topics by directing them to other areas of your website. This way they get an added value, which as a bonus also increases the user-friendliness.

Finally, you should work on an XML sitemap. It serves as a kind of table of contents for the search engine bots and makes it easier for them to discover and crawl the relevant web pages.

Serious impression

“Serious” clearly stands for various aspects that your website should include. It is about the fact that your site works technically flawlessly. The fact is: a page that loads slowly or crashes constantly is no fun for the user and only scares him away.

Therefore, it is important that you not only optimize the page load time in the desktop version, but also ensure that your site runs smoothly on mobile devices. Especially with the increased use of tablets and smartphones, it is important to ensure that users have easy access to the content of your website at any time, from anywhere.

Another point that definitely needs to be considered are redirects. If they are not correct or functional, this will cause your users to lose trust. Landing on error pages should also be avoided. Nevertheless, it is necessary that you have one. If the user lands on a page whose resource cannot be found, you need corresponding 404 pages that explains what went wrong. At best, this page will take the user back to a point on the site from which they can restart, or give them the option to search specifically for what they want to know via a search function.

Finally, be sure to include tracking on all of your pages to analyze exactly where users are bouncing, what should be improved, and which methods are particularly effective.

Good content

Keywords, keywords, keywords – when you think of SEO, you also think of SEO-optimized texts. For this, a decent keyword research is fundamental, because without it, you do not know what users are looking for at all. Better said, without it you don’t know how and with which keywords certain things are searched. The fact is, certain things tend to be searched for longer than others. Therefore, you have to find out in advance which keywords are relevant for your website. Important keywords here are again long-tail keywords. These should not be disregarded. They are not only interesting in terms of semantic search queries, but also because they are often accompanied by less competition than individual keywords.

But watch out: How good your text really is, is no longer determined by keyword density. On the contrary: Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past in SEO and is penalized by Google.

Besides optimized text, it is also important that you optimize your media. This means not only that they are all compressed so that they do not worsen the loading time, but also have a reasonable and appropriate naming. Through this, especially through the alt tag, you make it easier for the crawler to understand the image and provide accessibility for people with disabilities.

It is also important that you avoid duplicate content, i.e. do not put content on your website twice. You should also avoid pure continuous text. Texts are read differently online than offline, which is why you should maintain a clear structure that is subdivided by paragraphs, tables, infographics, etc. Both the font and the text size should also be easy to read.

What are your goals with SEO?

With SEO, you are clearly pursuing the goal of increasing the relevant traffic to your website. This is therefore what you are working towards with every measure and method. However, you will only succeed if your site is in the visible area of the search engines in the first place. You can only achieve this through SEO. In plain language, this means to be visible on page 1 of the search results and there best on one of the top positions quite far above. This is made clear by the following click probabilities published by Sistrix:

Almost 99% of all searchers do not click on page 2. 60% of all trust that they will receive the answer to their question directly on position 1 of the first page. Only just over 15% of searchers also take a look at the following 2nd place, and not even 1% pay attention to the 10th place.

The remaining 1% of all searchers are therefore on pages 2 to x. But from page 4 onwards, only really desperate searchers are likely to be found.

Visibility within the SERPs

Not for nothing is a common joke in the online industry, “Where do SEO experts bury bodies?” – “On page 2 of Google search.”

How do you manage to rank with your website within the search results?

Now that you know the goals, you are probably asking yourself the question: How does my page get to these top rankings? At best, you rely on a combination of OnPage and OffPage measures. There are different factors that you can optimize for the search engines. In the OnPage area, you can clearly influence the various methods and make concrete improvements. These can be divided into three main categories:

If, on the other hand, it is about OffPage, it is already more difficult to exert influence. The most important basis is a good OnPage optimization. It serves as a basis for further measures in the OffPage area. For this reason, OnPage is usually carried out before OffPage.

Elements of OffPage optimization are the following:

Of course, it’s up to you what you ultimately choose or whether you want to implement every method.

Is SEO limited to Google only?

Of course not. You also benefit from your optimizations in the search results of other search engines. Nevertheless, many optimize primarily for and according to the guidelines of Google, since it is the market leader. In the end, there are really no big differences between the individual search engines. As a result, any optimization you do for Google will also have a positive side effect on the other search engines. All in one go, so to speak.

How much time do you need for SEO and what does it cost?

After you have read all the points, you will surely notice that SEO is more complex than you might have thought. This refers not only to the implementation of the individual measures, but also to the fact that the success becomes visible. This does not happen from one day to the next, but takes time. SEO costs you nothing except your (working) time. Of course, only if you can implement the measures independently. If you decide to hire an SEO agency due to lack of time or other reasons, you will usually be charged by the hour. Depending on the customer’s wishes, type and scope of support, different budgets can be expected.

SEO vs. SEA

If you’ve already dealt with SEO, you’re probably familiar with SEA. That’s no wonder, since both are subareas of search engine marketing (SEM). Three letters that sound similar, but have completely different meanings. Written out, the acronym SEA means Search Engine Advertising. In other words, it refers to paid advertisements within the search engine. These are often displayed above or below the organic results and are therefore not evaluated like an organic top positioning. They can be recognized by the “ad” label.

Difference between paid and organic search results

With SEA, you get directly to the top of the search results. So the question that may arise is: “Is it worth optimizing or should you rather advertise – which is more effective?” It’s hard to give a blanket answer. What is clear, however, is that one decision is the wrong approach. Rarely is only one of the two measures sufficient. It is not for nothing that they belong to the big picture of search engine marketing and are only parts of it. A clear SEA vs. SEO therefore does not exist. You could certainly do without one of the two, but that would lead to the full potential of your website not being exploited. A good middle ground is often to identify the pages that bring the most traffic, sales, etc. and promote them monetarily. For all other websites with fewer conversions, SEO is a great help.

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