This is how our SEO expert describes the topic of search engine optimization. And if you start to deal with the topic, it quickly becomes clear: He is right! As soon as you think there is nothing left to optimize, Google changes its algorithm and the associated ranking factors again. In the following article, we explain the basic technical aspects on and outside of your website.
The Most Important On-Page Criteria (What You Should Optimize on Your Website)
The first question in search engine optimization should be: Does Google even index my website? If not, it cannot be found by Google. The following tips can make things easier for Google:
- Sitemap.txt: This file is a kind of table of contents for your website for Google.
- Robots.txt: This text file is used by Google as an instruction on which pages should be crawled. Important: Link it to the Sitemap.xml.
- Meta Robots: Here, you can define which pages should be indexed by Google and which should not
- Google Search Console: This free Google tool helps you keep an eye on important key figures for your website. Here you can also see, for example, which Google is already crawling subpages.
If Google already indexes your website, check it, including all subpages, for the following criteria:
The page title appears when you move the mouse over the tab of your browser.
- The page title should be between 55-60 characters. Caution: The decisive factor is not the number of characters but the pixel width (the page title).
- The page title is ultimately important for SEO. Relevant terms should be in front (e.g., the important keyword, the brand name in the back).
- Tip: Every single page needs an individual page title!
Google uses the Description for the search results. The Description is not a ranking factor, but of course, triggers the click incentive for the user.
- The Description should be around 139 characters (one SMS) long.
- Complete the Description with emojis, calls to action, and important keywords
- Tip: Every single page needs an individual descriptive text!
A good page structure makes it easier for the search engine to recognize what your website is about or what topic you are an expert on.
- Use H1, H2, and H3 headings to define whether they are main headings or subheadings.
- Every page needs an H1 – this heading tells not only your reader but, above all, the search engines what this page is about.
- In the future, users will talk to their devices more and more. This is also the reason why FAQ areas are again rated very positively by Google. What this means for you is that you formulate headings as the user asks their question, for example, “What are the most common SEO mistakes?”
- Tip: Page title + Description + H1 should be in a coherent context.
Visitors to your website expect texts. But the crawler also needs texts to understand what your website is about.
- Use bold letters, bullets, and, as mentioned, headings and sub-headings to structure your text.
- What about a text that can be opened? This function is pleasant for the reader because he is not overwhelmed by the content. However, you are also forcing him to interact (he has to open the text). However, from a technical point of view, the crawler cannot open the text and, therefore, has difficulties optimally capturing your content from an SEO point of view. Therefore use it sparingly.
- Tip: The text/code ratio also plays a role. WordPress themes, in particular, have many, sometimes unnecessary, plugins that not only affect your loading time but also reduce their text/code ratio with unnecessary source code. So take a close look at which plugins are loaded and which you need. A good value is around 25% text.
If you use the right terms on your website, you are more likely to find your topics on Google. Ask yourself the following:
- Which terms and words do your customers use? Companies and customers do not always speak the same language!
- There is no upper limit to the keywords used on a website, but the ratio of keywords to content has to be right. The more content your website has, the more keywords you can, of course, put on it.
- Make sure, however, that your website does not become too broad in terms of content to use more keywords. The rule here is class before mass!
- The following rule applies one relevant keyword per subpage.
- Tip: Google also recognizes synonyms. So you don’t always have to use the same terms. On the contrary: Google rates too high a keyword density negatively (“keyword stuffing”).
They not only reinforce the statements of your texts, but pictures are also a visual anchor for your readers and loosen up your texts. The search engine cannot see your images, but image SEO plays an increasingly important role in invisibility.
- The number of images: A website with images is generally perceived positively by Google because it is more pleasant for the visitor than a pure text desert.
- Use metadata such as alt attributes and alternative texts: this data is important for the search engine and visually impaired people to understand what is shown in an image.
- Filename: You can optimize your images when you save an image on your PC. Use important keywords for the file name if you like several, which you can separate with hyphens.
- Tip: Pay attention to the size of your pictures! Images, in particular, are often the cause of poor loading times. With open-source programs such as Gimp, you can compress the image size without losing quality.
- Technically, Google does not understand the content of your videos. However, it is crucial that users like to watch videos and that videos can increase the length of stay of your visitors. Conversely, this reduces your bounce rate. Google understands these signals and rates them positively.
- Tip: Host your videos on YouTube or Vimeo so as not to affect the loading time of your website, and then embed the videos on your website.
An important criterion that Google uses to evaluate your website is related to the user experience. Google rates them primarily based on the following points:
- Pagespeed: how fast is your website? You can test it here.
- Core Web Vitals: They consist of three values with which your users’ experience with the website is measured. The three values are LCP, FID, and CLS.
- Mobile-Friendly: How mobile-friendly is your website? You should take a critical look at older websites in particular.
Offpage Optimization (What You Need To Optimize Outside Of Your Website)
Backlinks are links from other websites that link to your website. Search engines perceive these links as a kind of “recommendation,” depending on which website these links came from.
- When building backlinks, watch out for slow, normal behavior. Avoid links from link farms or bought backlinks. The sudden growth of links has an unnatural effect on Google and is punished. Backlink building is, therefore, a very long-term thing.
- Check your backlinks regularly, as there are also toxic links that can negatively affect the ranking of your website.
- Tip: Make sure that links come from different domains and that the links do not only lead to your home page. At best, they refer to various subpages (so-called deep links).
- Use social media to increase the reach of your website. Unfortunately, Google does not reveal to what extent these social signals are included in the ranking.
- However, the fact is that more and more content from social networks is shown in search results. Recently, tweets from Twitter have even been indexed by Google again.
- Use the Open Graph on your website: This is used to share your content on social media as easily and optimally as possible. For example, Facebook automatically pulls the stored preview image + the defined teaser text when specifying a website link.
- Tip: Use the Facebook Debugger to test the preview of your links.
Optimizing SEO Ranking – What Are The Next Steps?
Have you now viewed your website critically and reworked a few things? Well! Because all of these factors have an impact on your ranking. But how do you proceed now?
- Our tip: Examine your website and find out which ranking positions your website already holds.
- Identify subpages that have already made it into the top 10. This gives you a good indication of where “low-hanging fruits” might be lurking because it is often easier to get a page that is already well-ranked on page 1 than to optimize a page without a ranking from the beginning.
- Make sure that ranked pages are also relevant to you (pages you want to be found). Unfortunately, experience shows that desire and reality do not always match.
- Tip: If you are not found for your relevant keywords, the only thing that helps is building up content and observing the criteria mentioned above.