The Search Engine Optimization process to succeed in web search
Search engine optimization (SEO) is part of search engine marketing (SEM) and includes all steps which help to improve the rankings and visibility in free, natural and organic search results. In contrast to paid search ads SEO is a natural way to improve the positions of a web page. You’ll find more tips, trends and news of search enigine optimization in our SEO blog.
The SEO process:
The first step of search engine optimization is creating a detailled concept of the whole website. It is important to understand search engines, knowing their functions and how they actually work. Therefore you should study the Google Webmaster Guidelines before any other SEO process starts.
Basically, one divides the classic search engine optimization in On-Page and Off-Page SEO. The On-Page optimization happens, as the name suggests, on the website itself and includes in addition to the creation and maintenance of content some more technical aspects. In Off-Page optimization you knew a long time in essence link building. Nowadays, this part of SEO is built very much wider. Especially the handling, prevention and reaction with Google updates, so changes in the search algorithm, including how to work with search engines complex.
On-Page SEO for successful websites & contents
First On-Page optimization means creating a concept of site architecture and structe. This step may also include a plan of internal linking to pass value through your main content. Afterwards you should start creating all contents, such as text, images, audio and video media, as well as meta data optimized for your specific targeted group of users. Include the most relevant keywords and long-term phrases related to the given topics. When researching keywords and topics think about where and how your pages should be positioned in search results to get the most value, customer experience and conversions out of it.
As with all steps and activities of optimizing a website for ranking top ten or even number one in Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine, it can lead to misunderstandings and violations. These violations can extend up to a penalty which means a decrease of ranking or finally an exclusion from the search engine index. The most common mistakes committed by SEOs are “over-optimization” and spam. In terms of keyword density Google speaks therefore no longer of a percentage but of natural behavior. The most important issue of Google is ‘doing everything for a great user experience’. Keywords should be used as often as you need them to make the required statements “natural”.
The most important factors of on-page optimization:
- Meta data (title tag, page description)
- Permalink structure (keyword rich URLs)
- Performance & page speed
- Headings & content structure (<h1>, <h2>, …)
- Keyword placement in the first 150 words
- Content length & information density
- Multimedia content
- Social signal
- Inbound & Outbound Links
- Bounce rate
- Topic related synonyms
Off-Page optimization is an almost equally important part of search engine optimization, but happens not directly on a web page itself. The main target of Off-Page SEO is to make your contents known and connected on the Internet. When Google started using links as ranking signals in 1998 they announced to tread links from one page to another like votings from person A to B. If somebody would recommend you as an expert for a specific topic you earn much more trust and relevancy than without recommendations. That is the reason why link building still matters in the SEO world.
The targeted and thematically-appropriate placing of links is still a factor that can highly improve the ranking of a web page in search engines. However, nowadays just because a website contains the most links pointing to it doesn’t mean it still ranks number one. Link building is mainly based on quality, naturalness and relevancy of the link profile. If the main part of links pointing to your pages comes from weak, untrustworthy or even negative rated websites, it will affect your rankings in an unfavorably way and can cause violations and penalties. Similarly, search engines can very quickly get a false impression of a website which moves in the environment of negative links. This environment is called a “Bad Neighborhood”.
In construction of a link profile especially topic relevancy and quality play very important roles. Google itself says: “Ensure that all relevant sites know that your website is online”.
Technical aspects of search engine optimization
As already mentioned, the technical aspects of SEO and websites are also becoming increasingly important in order to achieve good rankings in search. Particularly controversial are the structure of the content and information of your website, clean encodings, language versions and alternatives, as well as server settings, loading time, performance, redirects and much more. A much debated issue is about canonical links, which means links with the rel=”canonical” attribute. When building websites or doing a relaunch those issues are very important to think about and pay attention to. Also redirects can have a huge impact on the evaluation of search engines.
After thinking about all these technical issues there is still something to do nowadays. This time you have to definitely care about mobile and mobile friendly websites and search behavior. If you don’t you won’t win the battle of search and online success against your competitors.
Read more about search engine optimization in our SEO blog!
Published by Daniel Herndler