SEO Basics for Better Ranking

The following article should be a help for all website operators who want to help their site to a better ranking on Google and other search engines. The basis is Google’s introduction to search engine optimization. Based on this guide, basic tips for achieving a better ranking in search engines are given. It also explains which points are not considered in Google’s guide.

Since the subject area of search engine optimization is very extensive, this guide is not an all-encompassing manual and above all no guarantee for a good ranking. Rather it is to be understood as a starting aid for successful SEO, with which the basic features of this discipline are to be clarified.

Found by backlinks

Links lead not only to subpages but also to external websites. If someone places a link to your website on already indexed pages, the chances are good that search engines will also send bots to your online presence at some point. Links to other sites are a way to make Google and Co. find you.

With good content, you can help other website operators become aware of you and link to your website. Backlinks are not only useful to be found by Google, they are also a good measure for better rankings (more under “advanced tips”).

In addition to the tips in the Google Guide, there are other things you should be aware of. Links from external websites can contribute to the ranking. So make sure you have a steady and organic link structure. Organic links are obtained through good content. Do without automatic link building. This method is recognized by search engines as fraud and can lead to strong ranking losses. Also, pay attention to the link quality. A few strong links are better than many weak links. Strong links are those that come from thematically relevant content and well-rated websites. Links from authority pages in the respective subject area are considered particularly effective.

If you consider our SEO tips, your website will not only appear in the search engine index. You start with effective search engine optimization for better rankings and visitor numbers.

The meta-title

Meta tags belong as metadata of a web page in the header (“<head>”) of the file. Google recommends that you create an individual and meaningful title for each page. This should sound natural and summarize the page content accurately. Advantageous, optional additional information is the name of the page or a company name and location as well as the focus of the offer.

A no-go, on the other hand, are headings without any reference to the content and generic titles, such as those created by editing programs when opening a new page. Although Google’s SEO introduction does not reject duplicate headings on different websites, it explicitly mentions the use of the same title on many or all pages of a site as “to avoid”.

Finally, in the section on meta-titles, Google discusses the length and warns against too long headings and overloading them with superfluous keywords. Google prefers to use the content of the title tags when listing in SERPs, but shortens or replaces them if they seem too long or irrelevant. The meta title should therefore not exceed a length of approx. 60 characters. Sistrix’s snippet generator helps to optimize snippets and shows how Google users see a search hit for that page.

Meta-Description: the chance for a free advertisement

The short page description in the Meta-Description is first of all addressed by Google’s SEO Guide with the remark that its quality can be checked with the search engine operator’s Search Console. It identifies excessively long or short meta-descriptions as well as too frequently copied entries. The SEO Guide then shows the advantage of using the optional meta tag, which the search engine uses as a source for snippets, and points to further contributions to optimizing meta descriptions and snippets.

Best Practices and No-Gos

In the best practices section, Google recommends formulating the tag’s content to inform and interest search engine users. More specifically, the meta-description should include a call to action and briefly inform the user about what to expect on the linked website. In the SERPs, it has the function of an advertisement, which is intended to induce the searcher to visit the website.

Furthermore, the guide deals with the length of the meta-description, the limits of which cannot be quantified in general terms, since these depend on the individual boundary conditions of a search query. In general, the maximum length that should be used is 300 characters.

The list of No-Gos for the meta description first duplicates the entries named in the meta title. In addition, it forbids contents of the meta tag that consist exclusively of keywords or duplicate the entire text content of the Web page. Finally, the guide also explains why the meta-description should be created individually for each web page if possible and warns, as with the meta-title, against using the same description for all or numerous pages.

More important tags for SEO

The header tags h1, h2, h3 and the like are not meta tags but are also important for search engine optimization. The Google SEO Guide recommends using these tags to create a hierarchical structure in the form of a web page text structure that reflects its main and sub-points in terms of content. On the other hand, he warns against misusing headline tags for text markups that have no relation to the text structure. For example, h tags should only be used for content and not pointlessly in the footer.

For headings, the weighting of the hierarchy is also decisive. The h1 has a higher weighting than the h3 heading, and so on. If possible, use an important keyword in the relevant headings.

Simple and rich snippets

The textual snippets displayed in SERPs are already mentioned in this Denver SEO Guideline in the Meta-Description. However, Google’s guideline also deals with another type of snippet, which is specified using so-called structured data. These also serve to specify metadata that can be evaluated by search engines, but offer further possibilities, in particular, the referencing of attractive multimedia content.

Google uses such rich snippets to enhance search results with additional information. However, they also qualify a website for special functions such as star ratings. Google offers several tools with which structured data or rich snippets can be checked but also tried out without changing the website source code.

With the free Rich Snippet Testing Tool from Google, you can check the rich snippets you have created.

What are keywords?

It is important to know that the term “keyword” describes two different things. First, meaningful words or phrases that describe the content of a text are called keywords. Second, a keyword is any word entered by a user in a search engine to start an online search.

Keyword selection

By targeting certain keywords using various search engine marketing techniques, website owners can improve their chances of being ranked high on search engine results lists. Basically, keywords are indispensable for a website to be indexed by Google on a certain topic and to be displayed in a search query on this topic. The choice of relevant keywords is a prerequisite for the highest possible traffic and consequently for the economic success of a website and the company behind it.

How do website operators find optimal keywords?

At the beginning of the keyword research, there is the determination of which goal should be reached with a website. It does not matter whether products or services are sold, or whether visitors should register for a newsletter or request information. All these can be goals of a website. It is always important that the keywords describe the content of a page as precisely as possible.

The second important step is to find out the search intention and user intention with suitable tools. This means understanding how and why search engine users search. The differences are important for Google. The search engine delivers different results on the same topic, depending on whether someone wants to buy something or is just looking for information, for example. Depending on the user’s intention, five types of keywords are distinguished.

Hardly any guide for search engine optimization mentions that webmasters have to consider regional differences in keywords depending on the orientation of the website. An example: in Berlin, meatballs are eaten. In the west of the country they are called meatballs and in Baden-W├╝rttemberg meatballs. In Bavaria the meatballs finally become meatballs.

Webmasters receive further valuable information for keyword selection through an analysis of the keywords competitors use to rank in Google search results. Free tools support SEOs and webmasters in keyword research and help to develop new ideas for an individual keyword strategy.