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SEO basics: Search engine optimization for beginners

Whether Google, Amazon or Jameda: The ultimate goal of any company should be to be at the top of their search systems relevant to them. In order to achieve a good organic ranking in the long term, search engine optimization – SEO for short – is indispensable. We explain you the most important SEO basics for a high visibility.

What is SEO?

SEO is a sub-discipline of marketing and, together with search engine advertising (SEA), makes search engine marketing (SEM). Based on a needs-based information architecture, SEO ensures a barrier-free web presence.

In doing so, SEO pursues the goal of positioning the website’s documents relevant to the search engine high in the organic results.

SEO has long ceased to refer to the big, popular search engines like Google or Bing. Content should also be optimized for alternative search systems such as Amazon for product search, Pinterest as a source of inspiration or Jameda for physician search.

Here it is important to identify the relevant search systems for you, to familiarize yourself with their requirements and then to optimize your content.

How do search engines work?

Google bots (also called crawlers or spiders) scour the entire Internet, gathering information about all documents found. These crawlers are automated programs that move across links.

If a crawler finds links on a web page, it follows it on further sides, collects information there and follows there again outgoing links. The documents found will be included in the Google index, along with all information collected about these documents.

When a search query is made to Google, the Google algorithm instantly finds all documents relevant to the search phrase in the index and ranks them according to various criteria for relevance and popularity. This arrangement we then see as search results.

For a query, two things happen:

  1. Based on the keywords used, the content from the index is searched for, which could provide answers to the query.
  2. This content is then sorted into relevance and popularity order and played as a search result list (SERPs).

When interpreting search queries, semantics plays an increasingly important role. Search engines are getting better at understanding the meaning of terms, user intent, and the context of a search.

This can deliver more relevant and more appropriate search results. So it’s worth not just tweaking a keyword, but also looking at the entire topic area around a keyword and integrating it on the website.

Click ratio by position

According to a study by Sistrix , 60 percent of all clicks are attributed to the first result, only 15 percent to the second and only 0.17 percent to the first search result of the second page. It is therefore essential to raise as high as possible.

Most of the clicks are also attributable to the organic search results: According to Rand Fishkin , these are in Google’s desktop search in the United States about 66 percent, while paid for four percent results. Around 34 percent of searches are ended without result clicks.

Mobile search accounts for around 39 percent of the organic results, three percent of the paid results, and around 61 percent of inquiries are completed without clicks.

Relevance and popularity of a page are determined by search engines based on various ranking factors. These ranking factors are slightly different from search engine to search engine. Some of them are known, others are not. From known ranking factors, however, some SEO basics can be derived.

SEO measures: Onpage and Offpage

SEO measures are divided into on-page and off-page actions. Onpage measures include all actions on the website. These include, for example, the adaptation of the metadata (title and description), optimization of the content (texts, images, videos, etc.), improvement of the information structure, or technical search engine optimization (for example, faster loading times).

Unlike on-page actions, off-page actions take place off the page. For this purpose, off-page signals are generated, for example by backlinks or mentions.

Let us now turn to the basic on and off page measures as well as concrete application tips for you.

Onpage SEO: keyword optimization

Keywords are the search terms users use when searching the World Wide Web. These must be integrated into your own website, so that search engines can recognize which search terms the page can be displayed in the search results.

When implementing the keywords, it is particularly important to understand the intent of a search query and use appropriate keywords. Depending on the search intention, one differentiates between these types of keywords:

  • informational : information-driven searches, for example “seo definition”
  • transactional : transactional search queries, for example, “download seo guide”
  • navigational : navigation-oriented search queries, for example “youtube”

In addition one differentiates between Shorthead and Longtail keywords. Shorthead keywords are generic terms like “dress”. They have a high search volume and great competition. It’s extremely difficult for these keywords to rank higher in organic results.

Longtail keywords are usually composed of multiple terms. An example could be “long evening dress black off shoulder”. They are therefore more specific and less exposed to competition.

They have a comparatively lower search volume. All in all, the long tail keywords can lead to high and above all qualified traffic. Ranking on the top positions in the SERPs is easier than shorthead keywords.

Keywords should be used wisely and in the right place. In the meantime, search engines are very good at recognizing and rewarding high-quality texts, while penalizing websites with poor texts.

The times when you mention a keyword that you want to be found as often as possible (keyword: keyword stuffing) are long gone.

To research relevant keywords for your website and your audience, I ‘drecommend using Google’s autocomplete feature and tools like answerthepublic or ubersuggest .

My advice:

  • Also uses variations and synonyms of your keywords.
  • Optimized for long-tail keywords that are relevant to you.
  • Also use the titles of each document for your keywords. They are defined with the title tag.
  • Optimize your images with keywords to make it easier for search engines to read! The most important keyword carriers are the image title, the file name and the alt text. By the way: In pictures directly built-in text can not be read by search engines.

Onpage SEO: Page architecture and document outline

It is important that you clearly structure your website. So you can make sure that both your users and search engines get along well and understand exactly where they can find what information. This is helped by a clear navigation and suitable internal links.

To structure your documents (document outline), there are six H-headings (heading tags), labeled H1 through H6, ordered by relevance.

H1 is the most important headline, an H2 is made smaller and considered by users and the search engines as less important. But they contribute to the readability of the text and help to find information that is relevant only to specific readers.

My advice:

  • Do not forget to internally link from the editorial content or category texts.
  • When navigating and internal links, make sure that all relevant content can be accessed from the start page with no more than three clicks.
  • Uses H headings to structure the contents of individual documents.
  • Always uses only one H1.
  • Include your keywords in your headings, as they are considered more important than the rest of the text.

Onpage SEO: URL structure

The URL or Internet address of your website is often the first point of contact for users and search engines. That’s why it should be easy and quick to interpret. While one knows at the URL “http://beispiel-onlineshop.de/damenmode/kleider/abendkleider/” immediately, what it is about, this is the URL
“http://www.beispiel-onlineshop.de/?produktartikel = 16 & categoryID = 5 “not directly the case.

My advice:

  • Keep the URL as short as possible.
  • Adds the most important keyword for your site to the URL.
  • Writes everything in URLs small and connects single words with hyphens.
  • Avoid special characters like &,% or $.

Off page link generation

Search engines measure the popularity of websites, especially via links. Therefore, link generation is the most important offpage measure for any website. If another website links to your site, search engines rate this link as a direct recommendation for your domain.

The more people that link to your website, the more recommendable it seems.

This is especially true if the pages that link to you are trustworthy or even particularly popular. It is a great challenge to develop a continuous strategy for expanding your own backlink profile. Measures in this direction achieve sustainable results with regard to SEO.

My advice:

  • Generates high-quality content that your users want to share (expert tips, clear infographics, funny memes, etc.).
  • Use social media to spread your content.
  • Analyze who mentions your website online without linking it and asks if the operators post a link later.
  • Write your website in your e-mail signature, business cards and other informational material. The reach can not only be generated online.

Further SEO measures

There are a lot of other SEO measures that you should also take a closer look at:

  • Indexing Management:

    This is about allowing or disallowing search engines to index certain documents (see robots.txt, robots meta tags, .htaccess file).

  • Loading time optimization:

    The fast loading time of websites becomes more and more important. For example, avoids large files and unnecessary scripts.

  • Mobile optimization:

    You should be able to watch your website both on a large screen and on a tablet or smartphone (responsive web design).

  • Snippet Optimization:

    A snippet is the presentation of your website in the SERPs and therefore an important traffic generator. Snippets consist of the title, the URL and a description that you can customize.

Conclusion

If you want to be found in the different search systems, SEO is an important marketing tool. Identify the search systems that are relevant to you and optimize your content for it.

Small changes can have a big impact, but one-offs are not enough. SEO means that you have to work continuously on your content in order to achieve long-term good rankings.