Anyone who has used a search machine to research a specific topic knows that it’s sometimes not so easy to find the information that you’re looking for. In the following article, we’ll give you a rough overview of search engine optimization and how it affects search results.
With the advancement of modern media industries, the field of online marketing is developing further and further. A part of this is search engine marketing. Divided into Search Engine Advertising (SEA) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), an online presence is positioned in search machines.
SEA deals with paid text adverts (orange), whereas SEO is tailored to the organic search results (green). In the center of the graphic, you can see information from Google’s Knowledge Graph, which is used to answer search machine questions directly in the SERPs.
SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) refers to the page on which a search engine’s search results will be displayed.
Search engine optimization and Google algorithms
The abbreviation SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and includes all measures which increase website visibility in search machines. Optimization is based on the algorithms from search engines. Algorithms are computer processes and formulas that make it possible to turn your questions into answers Since attention is the currency of the 21st century, the goal here is to achieve the highest ranking possible in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). The biggest search machine Google, tries to evaluate which search result provides the most relevant information to the search query based on human reader’s criteria, in order to provide the requested information.
On an average search, there are thousands to millions of websites which contain helpful information.
The Google algorithm currently includes over 200 individual cues that indicate which results will be displayed Since search machines don’t publish their algorithms, it’s not always easy to determine which measures are relevant. Google itself has only named the top 3 factors; content, links and RankBrain, i.e. Machine learning algorithms. Online marketers analyzes displaying ranking factors, their weight and effect are significantly more helpful.
With search engine optimization, it’s important to know how Google works in the first place. Matt Cutts long worked as head of the Google spam team and can offer you a good explanation of this:
The process of SEO
The process of search engine optimization can roughly be divided into three areas: Keyword analysis, on-page optimization and off-page optimization.
The owner of a website must first consider which keywords they would like to use to bring in visitors to the site – and in doing so, they should always think from the perspective of the user searching. What are the intentions behind the search query? What is the person searching trying to find out? In order to answer these questions and to carry out an appropriate optimization, a keyword analysis should be carried out. Here, relevant search terms are grouped together, filtered according to search volume and compiled according to subject area. The goal is to be able to win over the user with the content on the site, so that they themselves engage with the site.
Types of search engine optimization
There are 2 types of optimization
On-page optimization is about taking measures and making changes to your own website In addition to many technical factors, content aspects and structural aspects, it’s also about integrating the chosen keywords into your own website. The search result is the first thing about the website that someone searching will see. Divided up into title and description, these lines must be enough to convince the person searching to click on the result in order to get further information from the website.
Once on the site, the titles should include the search topic using relevant search terms, in order to encourage users to read further. So-called headline tags (H tags) help to divide up the content of a web document into meaningful sections. There are 6 different types of tags, from H1 to H6 to label the titles. The numbers express how important a title is. With on-page optimization, H1 and H2 are especially decisive, since search engines give these greater importance.
An important point is the page load time. Google itself deems a value around 1.5 seconds to be a threshold between “good” and “bad”. You can probably known this yourself – if the page doesn’t load fast enough, then you’ll click back to the search results and choose a different site to find your information on. For website owners with a slow page load speed that’s causing users to click away, this one reason is already disastrous. Additionally, Google has confirmed page load speed as a ranking factor, which can then lead these websites to fall in ranking. To work against this, a first step for example is to minimize the size of integrated images (<100kb).
Images must of course be used to illustrate information on a website. For this, the Alt tag is used where you can leave text that accurately describes the image and its contents. Search engines use this in order to process the image content that they can’t read this directly from the image files. The Alt attribute makes images more accessible to blind users, as the Alt tag is used for example to read out text with a screen reader.
A further point is an SEO-friendly URL structure. These should be easily readable to humans. Optimization is ultimately for the user and not just for the machine. It’s more helpful to the user if the URL tells them what they should expect on the site. Short URLs that also contain an important keyword can increase the click rate. For example:https://magazine.magix.com/de/suchmaschinenoptimierung/
Algorithms count on high-quality context – they want to offer the person searching unique content with added value. For this reason, „Content is King“ applies.
Short texts with only little content should be avoided. As a guideline, this should be around a minimum of 300 words. Ultimately, you want the user to stay on the website and optimally generate sales.
Off-page optimization is about building a reputation for the website though optimization techniques that can’t be found on the website. Link building is used for this. Firstly, the website should be internally linked well enough so that the user can move quickly to all pages available and secondly, external links increase the website’s publicity (links from one website referring to another). The more links to your page, the more seriously Google will take the page, which then in turn increases the ranking.
There are many points to consider for search engine optimization, both from a technical point of view as well from an editorial point of view. The success of the measures taken will be analyzed and evaluated using different tools.
Search engine optimization is a continual, ongoing and long term process where it’s necessary to be able to change or adapt the SEO strategy at any time. For example, the approach must be changed due to an increasing number of mobile searches. A site optimization must be available, since a large portion of the traffic (search orientated activity on a website) is dependent on this. The goal of mobile optimization is the optimal display of web content on mobile end devices, and the user friendliness of the website will also depend on this.
Black vs. White Hat SEO
With the further development and commercialization of the Internet and search engines, methods of manipulation are also developing. Black Hat SEO predominantly uses spam methods, like for example keywords that are hidden on the page in the same color as the background (keyword spamming).
Ultimately, White Hat SEO is a good concept that decides whether you manage to permanently maintain the highest spots in the SERPs.
Search engines are working on extinguishing these methods, so that the use of Black Hat SEO can result in a penalty or a ban from the Google index (the website can no longer be found on Google).
SEO is a potential way to have profitable long-term traffic without generating high costs. However, the competition is constantly increasing in number, which in combination with the demands from search engines leads to high quality content, increasing the effort that needs to be made.
Ideal for your first website: MAGIX Web Designer. When creating your first website, you can already use the different search engine optimization aspects and observe your successes.