SEO – On-page and off-page optimisation

Anybody operating a website is, of course, interested in attracting as many visitors as possible. A high ranking in the search engines will ensure that interested users and customers can find you easily on the web. The website should therefore be optimized not only from the point of view of the visitor, but also and especially from the point of view of the search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) can be divided into two areas: on-page optimization and off-page optimization.

On-page optimization

On-page optimization covers all those measures required to optimize a website which are implemented directly by the website operator on the website and are not influenced externally or by third persons. These measures are divided into content, structure and technical measures.

Content

You know your target group and what is important for your potential and existing customers. If you are providing them with current and relevant content, you have already completed the most important step towards search engine optimization. Today’s search engine crawlers are able to recognize good and useful content and evaluate this positively. High-quality content, which includes pictures, videos and infographics, will make users browse longer on your site and result in a low bounce rate. From the point of view of SEO, it is also important that your texts are easy to read. Use short sentences, avoid passive forms and do not use overly complicated words. Although keywords also play a role, it is not a good idea to fill a text with meaningless keywords – this could lead to a lower ranking.  It is much more important to place the right keywords strategically, for example in the title.

Structure

Search engines prefer well-structured content. Give your texts a clear structure with paragraphs or lists. Mark your titles with headline tags such as h1 or h2 so that the keywords they contain are recognized as being important by the search engines.

Internal links on a site also influence the ranking of your website. User-friendly and well-thought-out navigation is another important factor for the search engines and will be rewarded with a good ranking.

Technology

Background technology has a huge influence on the ranking of a website by search engines. First of all, it is important that your site is crawlable for the search engines. If the search engine crawlers do not find access to your website, it will be ignored and will not be indexed. Make sure that your settings allow search machine crawlers to access your pages.

Fast page load times are important for the success of a website. A waiting time of just one second greatly increases the risk of the user immediately leaving the site. Although page speed has little influence on search engine ranking, it is important to be aware that pages which load very slowly are crawled less.

It is also vital that your website has a mobile design, a design specially for mobile gadgets such as smartphones or tablets. Since the introduction of Google’s “Mobile First Index”, websites are evaluated solely on the basis of their mobile version. If a website only has a desktop version, Google will give it a low rating.

Werkzeuge

Off-page optimization

Off-page optimization covers those SEO measures which are implemented outside your website. Everything which increases the reputation of your company also leads to an increase in users who search for and find your website on the web. Off-page optimization mainly consists of link building, building backlinks from other websites which direct users to another website. However, it also includes further measures which increase the reputation of a website. Social media presence and professional brand marketing both play an important role here.

Link building

The more external links there are to your website, the better is your ranking in the search engines. Theoretically, at least. In reality, this is unfortunately not that easy.

Quality over quantity. Your rating will be better if large, well-known websites direct users to your website than if the links come from unknown sites.

From the point of view of SEO, it is also important that the sites linked with each other have similar subject matter. If your website is about sport, for example, it is not a good idea for it to be linked with websites with totally different subject matter such as tool manufacturers or estate agents. Increasing the number of links by buying them or link farming is not to be recommended. Search engines recognize these artificial link structures and punish them with a lower ranking.

Social media

Signals from social media also have an influence on search engine ranking. The number of likes or retweets can play a role here, as can reviews of a company in different places or comments on articles. Experts are undecided as to whether there is a direct connection here. However, one thing is clear, the more people who show interest in your product and recommend it on social media, the greater the reputation of a brand and therefore its website will become.

Brand marketing

Search engines prefer strong brands. Everything which leads to a company being regarded as the authority on a subject is good for ranking. This can also mean classical marketing measures such as poster advertising, adverts in the print media or events such as trade fairs and exhibitions. If users spend a long time on a website and it has a low bounce rate, this shows that visitors are investing a lot of time there to do detailed research because they value a brand or a product.

The search engine operators do not publicly disclose all the factors which influence the ranking of a website. These factors are also constantly being adapted to current developments. If you concentrate on your users and consider what they want and what will be helpful or relevant for them when implementing both on-page and off-page measures, you cannot go wrong with your search machine optimization.

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