SEO checklist for your ranking What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a sub-segment of search engine marketing refers to measures that serve to make websites in organic search engine rankings appear in higher places in the unpaid search results (natural listings). The basis of this tutorial is the current state of knowledge in search engine optimization, as well as the guidelines for webmasters, which are provided by Google. All recommendations are based on an organic search on Google and different from paid ads. The competitor’s bing and Yahoo jointly serve only 3.3% of search queries in Germany. Therefore, the recommendations in this tutorial focus, particularly on Google’s search algorithms. The search engine Bing and also Yahoo, which uses Bing’s search technology, basically use the same technologies with slightly different priorities and are technologically and regarding data depth Google one to two years behind. As a result, any optimization measures implemented for Google typically have a positive impact on visibility in bing and Yahoo. What is a search engine In principle, a search engine is a program for searching documents that are stored in a computer or a computer network, such as a computer. B. the World Wide Web are stored. You create a keyword index for the document base to answer keyword searches with a relevance ranking hit list. When entering a search term, a search engine will provide a list of references to potentially relevant documents, usually with a title and a short excerpt from the respective document. Meanwhile, Google also integrates vertical search results, such as images, videos, news, shopping results or even authors Information in the so-called universal search. Display of search results The displayed search results, the so-called “snippets,” contain important elements of the ranking page and are intended to give the visitor an impression of the topic and the content of the respective page. As a result, they have a significant share in the so-called “click-through rate,” i.e., the ratio between impressions and actual clicks on the corresponding result. The snippet consists of the elements: Page title (space for about 55 characters) URL or breadcrumb path (green) Description (In case of sufficient relevance the meta-description is used here) Increasingly, snippets may also contain meta-information, such as ratings, appointments, lists, author information and the like, and with a very high click probability on the domain also so-called site links, so more short links below the snippet with other relevant entry points for the user. These forms of display, called “rich snippets,” typically increase CTR in search results and should, therefore, be used wherever possible. SEO as a continuous process On the side of the search engine, different search methods and algorithms can be used at any time, which is subject to constant change and continuous development. Therefore, all recommendations for search engine optimization are only valid as long as the search engines do not make any further changes to their algorithms. Search Engine Optimization examines the latest search engine techniques, which are not exposed by search engine operators and are frequently changed to make it more difficult for users to obtain relevant results. The unknown and secretive techniques are explored for opportunities by reverse engineering the search results. This means that it can never come to really secure knowledge and therefore also no guarantee of success. All changes happen at your own risk. Search engine optimization often makes it necessary to make small changes to parts of the website. Looking at these changes on their own, they may only make small improvements. But when combined with the other optimization measures, they can have a significant impact on organic search performance. The user in the center of the action While this tutorial often includes the word “search engine,” I’d like to point out that optimization decisions should be first and foremost about what’s best for the people who visit your website. After all, these are the true consumers of your content and use search engines just to track them down. If you focus too much on being at the forefront of organic search results without providing the visitor with the desired results, you will not create sustainable value and a positive search experience. While search engine optimization is about improving the site’s visibility into search engines, the overall goal must always be to get converting users to the site. The four elements of search engine optimization on-page optimization OnPage SEO Optimization includes all content-related customizations to your website. This includes optimizing the content of the page (including content) regarding content quality, formatting, headers, etc., as well as technical aspects such as headers and tags, as well as the internal link structure of the page. Keyword World To optimize a website, it is essential to know exactly what its keywords are, i.e., search terms that describe their products and services and which users search for in search engines. Keyword research and selection of relevant keywords should, therefore, be done at the beginning of each analysis as they form the basis for many other actions. Here is an example of a “perfectly” optimized side of a sports store over men’s bikes. The individual components of the page are described in more detail below: 1st-page title The HTML tag within the section describes both users and search engines what this page is about. Choose short and meaningful titles. The title of the homepage or homepage should be the name of the website or your company, as well as other important information, such as the location of the company or some of the focal points and offers. If your page appears in the search results, the content of the title tag usually appears as the first line of the result. Words in the title are printed in bold if they occurred in the search query of the user or are very similar (parts of words, synonyms, number, etc.). This is intended to help users determine how relevant a particular web page is for their particular search, and thus has a major impact on the entry’s click-through rate. Every page must have a unique title tag. This helps the search engines to recognize that the page is different from others on the same web page. Also, pages with the same titles often hinder the ranking because the search engine can not identify which of the pages is the right one and so the pages cannibalize each other. Tips Use of titles that effectively communicate the content of each page, including the relevant keywords Use unique titles for each page Use of short and meaningful titles 2. Meta Description The meta-description (description) is a summary of a page that can be displayed in directories or search engines as explanatory text in the hit lists. That’s also often the case in Google’s hits. However, if the search engine finds that the meta-description does not match the query, for example, because the searched word is not included, a relevant excerpt from the “normal” text of the page around that word is often displayed instead of the description. Adding a meta-description is always recommended in case Google can not find a good text snippet. Words that appear in the user’s search query are printed in bold in the snippet, so it’s a good idea to include a keyword in the meta-description. But beware: Do not use too many keywords. A meaningful text in the results display, which appeals to the visitor directly and may already lead to action (Call-To-Action) will attract more interested visitors to the click, as a meaningless “Keyword-Gestammel” in a better position. A guideline for the optimal length of the description is provided by Google itself in the result display: Each hit description consists of about 160 – 170 characters, depending on the distance, with a break in about half. In practice, this means that the meta-description can include 1 to 2 sentences or a short paragraph. The meta-description should not only contain the essential keywords in the front part (the first 70-80 characters), but also stimulate the click. After a break (dot, comma, call sign), the second part may contain the less important keywords, the USP, branding or image sets, or possibly the main keyword again. As with the title, it is recommended to use unique meta-descriptions for each page. Tips Use unique meta-description that describes the content of the page to improve the snippets. Meta-Description should inform and arouse interest! Use of meaningful keywords in the meta-description. Optimizing the meta-description is a good way to translate the experience from the AdWords campaigns into their ad text. Here also a targeted testing is possible. 3. URL structure Using expressive categories and file names on a web page can not only help to better organize the page, but also help make it possible for search engines to more effectively crawl documents. In addition, easier-to-assign “friendlier” URLs can be created for anyone who wants to link to you. Potential visitors could be deterred by extremely long and meaningless URLs with just a few comprehensible words. In addition, some users link to your page with the URL as anchor text. If the URL contains a relevant text, it gives the search engine more information about the content of the linked page. The URL is also displayed as part of the Google search result. In addition, words from the search query are shown in bold in the URL. Incidentally, the occurrence of the keyword in the URL alone is not a ranking factor! Therefore, it may be more useful to retain existing speaking URLs instead of retrofitting search terms with force. Tips Use speaking and meaningful URLs. Using a simple directory structure so that the user can easily see where on the website he is. Use only one version to get to the document. information architecture The information architecture fundamentally describes the structure of information systems: No matter if library, intranet or normal website. Such an architecture has every website. Often it is simple and unplanned and grows organically with the expansion of the website and the offer. An optimal information architecture ensures that both the user and the search engine crawler find their way around at any time. Although Google ranks every single page, it is advantageous for optimal indexing to know what role a page plays in the overall structure of the website. All websites have a home, root or homepage or page. It is usually the most visited page and serves as the basis for navigation within a site for many visitors. If your website has more than a handful of pages, think about how visitors get from this generic homepage to pages with more specialized content. Internal Linking The optimal internal linking of your pages is a compromise of two paradigms of usability: Short ways for visitors and the crawler. The more pages a user has to “click through” to get to his destination, the more dissatisfied he usually is. The decision for the next click must be as easy as possible to quickly reach the goal. While the first rule would lead to a homepage with far too many links to all subpages and therefore the second rule breaks, the second rule leads in extreme cases to pages with only one link, so that one can decide as quickly as possible, but far too many Clicks to the finish. In practice, the middle ground between these two paradigms is the ideal. According to the motto: “As little as possible, as much as necessary” should be on each page if possible, only the exact links that the user needs from exactly this page to find his desired destination. Tips Create organic, traceable hierarchies that make the user as simple as possible from general to specific content. Do not overdo it with the number of links offered per page, this not only confuses the users but also weakens the passing of relevance within your domain. Use text to navigate and avoid drop-down menus, graphics, and animations. link texts A link text is the clickable words in a link. It is inside the tag . This text informs users and Google about the content of the linked page. Whether internal or external links to external pages, the better the link text, the easier it is for the user to navigate and the better Google understands what the page being linked to is about. In internal linking, there is no overoptimization or devaluation due to too strong link texts in contrast to external backlinks! Tips Matching, descriptive link texts help to convey the linked contents. Use of short but expressive link texts. Integrate the keywords of the landing page in the link text! Choose formatting that emphasizes the linked text so that the user can distinguish this link from the normal text. texts In the first step, before the delivery of the results page, a search engine first forms a list of all web pages that contain the searched terms at all, or are linked with this link text. Only then does the sorting take place by the secret ranking factors. For an optimal placement in the search results, it is essential to use the targeted terms and term combinations on the respective page! Never write a text from the perspective of the search engine, but always for the reader. Then you can make sure that the key words are well integrated into the text and if necessary expand or modify some phrases to ensure the integration. The logical division of the text in headlines and body text with meaningful paragraphs helps Google to better understand the content of the page. Heading one should, therefore, contain your most important keywords, and synonyms and variants can be used in subheadings. If the user finds his search query directly on the page, he has the feeling to be right here and to find the content he is looking for. Keyword density Contrary to persistent rumors, the pure keyword density is not a ranking factor of the search engines! A statement about the keyword density of a document, as an isolated value, makes no sense from several angles. This can be illustrated by a simple example: A completely meaningless blind text in which the search term occurs several times would be relevant from the perspective of the keyword density. On the quality of the text, the keyword density alone can not make a reliable statement. Length of the text The text should also be a real added value for the user and have a certain length, so they are considered by Google to be relevant. The more content and therefore the added value you offer, the better. Specifically, this means that articles should have a minimum length of 1,000 words. One thousand five hundred words would be ideal, according to a study by SerpIQ. According to, the ideal reading time for an article is 7 minutes, which is about 1,600 words. This value can also be undershot on product pages and category pages, as they are more for orientation purposes and linger longer on the product detail page after the user has been selected. Good texts with relevant information also let the user stay longer on your site. In the best case, he finds exactly the information he wants and does not return to the search results. With this positive sign about the quality of your page, you can be more relevant to Google and achieve better rankings. Latent semantic optimization and WDF * IDF Lately there has been a craze for the little formula in the SEO world: WDF * p * IDF. Explanation: This function can be used to mathematically determine the ratio of certain words within a text document about all other relevant documents. Thus, the search engine can determine whether a text is intense on a topic, or only the keyword occurs in an otherwise irrelevant text. Also, it can be clarified whether the text broadly illuminates the topic, or provides only superficial information. Even meaningless texts, or over-optimization and spam can be relatively reliably identified by term frequency analyzes. In the case of a latent semantic optimization, the content of the website is textually designed in such a way that words are used that are generally mentioned in connection with the topic of this website, in most cases also on other websites. The approach to copywriting is not just to focus on a single key word, but readability and the benefit to the reader must be at the center of your efforts, not to adapt the text to a curve. The problem with many WDF * IDF tools is that they only use the top 10 ranked pages for comparison, but the actual formula works with a full body of all relevant documents. Thus it comes too superficially. But even with more sophisticated tools, the viewing is still very technical or mathematical, and the values output often do not help in practice to write a better text. Proof keywords The so-called proof keywords, which are frequently used in most relevant and well-ranked documents, indicate which terms the search engine simply expects on a particular topic. For example, the proof keywords: finance, account, and money to the keyword bank indicate that it is not a park bench to sit in, but a financial institution. When you research a topic that is thoroughly researched, helpful and useful to the reader, and then check the use of the correct keywords (proof keywords) with a good TF * IDF tool, you will get the readable and statistically ideal text. In practice, I find it easier to work with the W-Questions tool first. This often finds searched questions that users are looking for to your keyword. Thus, you can create really good content and respond to all needs and questions of visitors. Thus, you can easily find out what the searchers care about a term. With these questions in the background, it is then usually much easier to answer them in the text and to illuminate a topic comprehensively. In hindsight, you can then use a WDF * IDF tool to check if you have used the important proof keywords in the text. Tips First and foremost, write good texts with real added value for your users! Try to cover all aspects of a topic within the article. Avoid sloppy texts with spelling and grammatical errors. Avoid text in pictures. Search engines can not read this. Logically structure the text with headings and paragraphs. If possible, use keywords in the page title, URL, and headings 1 and 2. Important keywords should appear evenly throughout the text. This ensures that the search engine does not consider only a portion of the text as relevant content. Also, use synonyms and variations of keywords, as well as various declinations and conjugations. Avoid over-optimized texts that are no longer legible! Images in the search engines Google’s goal is to provide our users with the best and most relevant search results in both image search and web search. By following the best practices below and following Google’s usual guidelines for webmasters, you’re more likely to see your images appear in these search results. You can provide Google with additional details about your images and URLs of images that the search engine may not otherwise discover by adding information to a Sitemap. Avoid including important text, such as page headers and menu items, in graphics because not all users can access it technically. To ensure that users can access important text content as freely as possible, use regular HTML. In general, when it comes to pictures, SEO can be said: Provide as much picture information as possible. Give your pictures accurate, meaningful file names. The filename can refer Google to the subject of the image. Try to express the object of the image in the file name. “My-new-black-kitty.jpg”, for example, is far more meaningful than “IMG00023.JPG”. Meaningful file names are also helpful to users: if the search engine does not find appropriate text on the page where it found the image, it will use the file name as an excerpt of the image in the search results. Create a suitable alternative text! The alt attribute is used to describe the contents of an image file. This attribute is important for two reasons: The alternative text gives Google useful information about the subject matter of the image. Google can not read pictures, so it’s important to let Google know what’s in the picture. Based on this information, the best image is determined as the result of a user’s search in image search. Many users, such as those with visual impairments or those who use screen readers or have low bandwidth connections, may not be able to view images on the web pages. A meaningful alternative text provides these users with important information about the intended image. SEO Technique Technology plays a central role in search engine optimization. Ensuring the crawlability of content is therefore a top priority. Also, it is important not to let the crawler get to pages that you do not want to have in the index anyway and at the same time not overloading the index with useless pages. HTML source The use of the semantic elements offered by the HTML standard can help the search engine to better understand the most important terms of each page. In particular, the headings , , etc. should therefore be used. The element , i.e., the first order heading, should, if possible, only appear once on each page and should match the page title of the respective page. Also, particularly important page elements and terms with the tags and can be highlighted for the search engine. Recurring page elements From a semantic point of view, recurring elements, such as the sidebar boxes, should not contain headings, as they should not be sub-points of the page and therefore should not be relevant within the current document. HTTP status codes In the HTTP standard, numerous status codes are defined as the response of the web server to requests from a browser (client). The most important from the SEO point of view is: 200 OK – The page loads correctly and is included in the search engine index 301 permanent redirect – A permanent redirect that inherits PageRank 302 temporary redirect – A temporary redirect that does not inherit PageRank (avoid!) 404 error – The URL could not be retrieved and is therefore not indexed 503 maintenance – The URL is temporarily unavailable and will not be deindexed (recommended during maintenance) As a site operator, it is most important that error pages provide the 404 status code, redirects are always resolved via 301, and regular pages respond with 200 OK. Duplicate content and keyword cannibalization The most important principle in the URL design is: Each content may only be retrieved under a single URL. This URL is also called the canonical URL. If multiple URLs lead to the same content, there is a problem with so-called duplicate content and keyword cannibalization. Cannibalization in marketing takes place when different products of a company are in direct competition with each other, i.e. they work on the same market and rob each other market share. Regarding SEO, keyword-level cannibalization means that multiple sites are competing against each other in the ranking because they are too similar and target the same terms. This often leads to negative effects, so that none of the pages well, because the search engine can not decide which is the “right” or the best page for this term. Therefore, as a precaution, Google just does not wrap any of the pages. Duplicate content or near-duplicate content occurs when two or more pages (different URLs) show the same or almost identical content. Each content should only be searchable or indexable under a single URL. Duplicate content can negatively impact the search engine ranking of a website, as search engines filter duplicate content to prevent users from seeing similar or very similar hits that would degrade the quality of search results pages (SERP). Common causes of duplicate content Content is available with and without “www.” Content can be accessed via “http” as well as via “https.” Content is available both with and without “Slash.” Content can be called up with the displayed index file and without it Content is also available with tracking parameters Page is also available with session IDs Content is case sensitive Content can be accessed via multiple views Paginated pages Websites perform page numbering in different ways. For example, many pages divide very long articles into several shorter pages. Product websites and online stores usually divide the list of articles in a long product category into multiple pages. Similarly, discussion forums break long threads into consecutive URLs. If you’re using page numbering for the content on your site and want it to appear optimally in the search results, Google recommends one of the following three methods: Do not do business. Content with numbered pages is very common. Google is good at providing users with the most relevant results, regardless of whether the content is divided into multiple pages. Provide an overall view page. Viewers generally prefer displaying a complete article or category on a single page. If we can assume that the viewfinder prefers this, we try to display the overall view page in the search results. You can also add a rel = “canonical” link to the component pages to let Google know that the overall view version should appear in the search results. Use rel = “next” and rel = “prev” links to specify the relationship between component URLs. This markup contains a strong hint for Google that these pages should be treated as a logical sequence. This reinforces their linkage properties and typically directs users to the first page. You should, however, prefer the third variant, since it can not come to any misinterpretations. It is important to note as well: The Canonical tag may not refer to another page on the paginated page. Otherwise, the links on this page are not even considered by Google, which hinders the internal linking massively. Paginated pages Websites perform page numbering in different ways. For example, many pages divide very long articles into several shorter pages. Product websites and online stores usually divide the list of articles in a long product category into multiple pages. Similarly, discussion forums break long threads into consecutive URLs. If you’re using page numbering for the content on your site and want it to appear optimally in the search results, Google recommends one of the following three methods: EO checklist for your ranking Keyword research to find the terms users and potential customers are looking for, who have problems they can solve, or needs that will satisfy them. Analyze the search results to see what Google thinks is relevant. Create a trusted site with the content that will help the user to reach their destination. Is your URL crawlable and indexable? Can Google easily parse and index the content? Do you have an appealing title, apt description and URL for optimal click-through rate? Do you have the best content using meaningful minor keywords and proof keywords? Are you using meaningful entity honors using structured data? Do you have short load times, ideal display on all devices and secure encryption? Find supporters and multipliers who help spread the content. Tags: