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What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

SEO or search engine optimization (“search engine optimization”) refers to measures aimed at placing the contents of your website in the first positions in the organic and thus unpaid search engine ranking of various search engines such as Google.

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 the security issue on the screen.

Since 2014, Google has confirmed HTTPS as a ranking signaland meanwhile Google Chrome even displays the following: “The connection to this website is not secure”. Would you trust such a website? Probably not. If you have not already done so, 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. Here you can read morefire blog exactly how to convert your website to HTTPS .

SEO rule 2: optimize loading times

People do not like to wait, search engines do not. Virtually every user expects a fast-loading page and will be disappointed if that expectation is not met. And here it looks similar to Google: Why waste valuable resources for slow pages? With a slow website you risk the success of your SEO work. Essentially, you should have the following items on the screen:

  • Reduce HTTP requests
  • Shrink file sizes
  • 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 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, these have a clear advantage when it comes to search engine optimization.

SEO Rule 3: Optimize Mobile Appearance

How important the topic of “mobile” is in the context of SEO should be clear at the latest with the statement that Google is moving to “Mobile First” and no longer wants to distinguish between 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, one should be prepared for it, rather too early than too late.

Rules of thumb for a good mobile usability and thus SEO basics are:

  • Fast load time (again)
  • Recognizable font sizes
  • “Sausage fingers” -Bedienbarkeit

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 of hierarchies 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: noindex.

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 (for sites under 500 pages even completely free) to crawl a website is the so-called ” Screaming Frog SEO Spider “:

If you realize 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, you will find further practical application tips for the Screaming Frog SEO Spider from the morefire 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
  • Do not use special characters
  • Use the minus sign as a separator
  • Use only lower case
  • Do not use filler words

SEO Rule 6: Optimizing Title Tags

Among the more than 200 different SEO ranking factors on Google, the HTML title tag still plays an extremely important role in the search engine optimization of your website. You can see the title tag of your website either in the browser, in the source code or in the Google search results.

Optimize the title tag of your website as follows:

  • EACH URL should have an individual title
  • The keyword should be as far forward as possible, ideally right at the front
  • The title should consist of no more than 70 characters
  • The title should animate the user to click

Example of a good title tag that encourages the user to click:

If you would like to simulate how certain SEO snippets look in Google’s search results, we suggest you check out the SISTRIX Snippet Generator .

SEO Rule 7: Optimizing Meta Descriptions

Meta Descriptions are not visible to visitors to your site unlike the title tags. The HTML Meta Description can only be seen in the source code or in the Google results. Although Meta Descriptions have no direct influence on your SEO ranking, they should be maintained individually for each page of your website. This is because search engines display the meta description within the search result lists. Thus, using an optimized meta-description, you can directly influence the click-through rate in Google results to drive more traffic to your site. An indirect ranking factor, so to speak, when it comes to search engine optimization and the organic visibility of your website.

The following rules apply to meta descriptions:

  • At least 80 characters, up to 150 characters including spaces. If you exceed this value, Google simply truncates the Meta Description and replaces the last characters with (…).
  • Keyword at the beginning of the first 80 characters and optimally again within the second 80 characters. The keywords are highlighted in bold in the search results.
  • Write advertising and informative. In addition, use a clear call to action to positively impact CTR on Google results.
  • Use special characters to draw the attention of the seekers to your snippet. As always, but also applies here: Do not exaggerate, otherwise we have spam!

Example of a good meta description that encourages the user to click:

As with the title tags, we also recommend working with the SISTRIX snippet generator for the meta descriptions .

SEO Rule 8: Optimize headlines

After the visitors clicked on your SEO snippets within the Google results, the user finally got to your website. As with the topic of usability and speed, it is now about fulfilling its expectations. The first landmark is the headline. It is important to stick to the hierarchy of h1 – h6. Logically, h1 contains the most important heading, while h6 is the least important. Decisive here is to note that you only use as many levels as it makes sense for the corresponding element. In practice, h3 often suffices as the last level. Adhere to the following rules and it will work equally well with the users and the search engine optimization:

  • Consistent with Title Tag and Meta Description
  • Short and memorable
  • Informative
  • Use keyword

A good example of a user- and search engine friendly headline is, for example, this one from the SEO tool manufacturer SISTRIX :

SEO rule 9: Provide content with added value

Since Google is (still) a text-based search engine in the first place, the first step is to write texts that hold the user on the website. When writing texts, follow these rules to be successful in SEO:

  • Every text should be unique on the web.
  • Each text should offer the user an added value.
  • Structure your texts meaningfully.
  • Talk directly to your visitors and use an identifying language with “we” and “us.”
  • Describe in your content how you can help your visitors. Avoid phrases like “We’re the best …” but write something like “… we’ll help you with that …”.
  • Last but not least: Include the appropriate keywords in your texts. However, do not cling to any key figures, such as the keyword density. Write texts that are easy to read for your visitors so they stay on the site long enough to complete the contact form or buy your product.

So content should not just be about your business as a business. Instead, put your potential customers at the center, delivering content with expertise and value! And so that your page does not degenerate into an unsightly text desert, it is just as important to provide additional content for your visitors in addition to good texts. Offer your visitors more than just your products. Provide studies, ebooks, checklists, white papers, videos and other content with clear benefits and added value.

SEO Rule 10: Earn backlinks

If you have followed all nine previous SEO rules, it should not be a problem to get your content linked from other websites. Because Google evaluates such a link (also called backlink) as a recommendation. Websites that have more good recommendations than others are thus logically classified as more relevant and generally have better SEO rankings. But when it comes to backlinks, it’s clear: quality over quantity. A link from a reputable and well-visited website is worth more than 100 links from threadbare rather dubious websites. If you’re trying to promote your content through referrals from other websites, ask yourself the following questions when selecting these external pages:

  • Would I entrust my website with my credit card number?
  • Would I recommend this site to friends or family?

Of course, you should also ask your own content about the same thing. And an important warning, never pay money for a link. Google’s Webmaster Guidelines forbid it to buy links , as Google views this as a manipulation attempt. Google’s crackdown on the issue has seen updates like the Penguin Update or manual penalties imposed on certain sites in the past. A well-known online store for furniture has been punished by Google for almost 3 years, as the following graphic shows. Anyone can imagine what that meant for the business. So be careful!


We hope that with our 10 SEO rules we have been able to show you that search engine optimization is not a voodoo or witchcraft. Good organic visibility on Google is always associated with a lot of hard work. One should always think about the user, who has the need to find something and to connect certain expectations with it. Maybe the term Search Engine Optimization is not up-to-date anymore and you should interpret SEO as Search Experience Optimization. However, if you meet user expectations, search engines will reward you with extremely valuable traffic to your website.