Basic SEO Tips – Part 2
Many SEO criteria are already implemented automatically by content management systems. But many things every website operator has to think about independently. Every consultant who wants to win customers online should also deal with the criteria that make websites more visible.
The most important basics for all SEO novices to be rewarded by search engines:
1. Write for your audience, not Google
The decisive factor for search engines is first and foremost the user. Unfortunately, many websites are filled with poorly written, poorly researched and boring texts and inappropriate images. Search engines want to offer users added value and display search results that answer their questions quickly and competently. Search engines can interpret which content is relevant for users better and better. Therefore, the guiding principle for all online content is: Create your content for the people you want to reach. Without “tricking” search engines, a target group-oriented content strategy automatically increases the ranking in search engines.
Everything that meets the needs of your target group is also relevant for search engines. What questions do potential customers have and how can you help them with your knowledge? Offer them useful information in the form of How-To’s (instructions), application examples, tips & tricks (for example in the form of lists, because search engines love lists) for frequently searched questions.
Also, a certain regularity of new content and the updating of existing content is rewarded by search engines. Since the length of time users spend on the site is also becoming increasingly important, formats such as videos and podcasts can also be useful.
2. Avoid duplicate content
In the online world, copying is an absolute taboo. Duplicate Content” or also “Near-Duplicate Content” are contents copied 1:1 from other sites or slightly modified. Such identical or similar content can cause massive damage to the ranking of a page. All your website content should, therefore, be “unique”.
3. Optimize for mobile devices
It should be clear, but even today there are still sites that are not optimized for mobile devices. The majority of web users are on the move with mobile devices, i.e. small screens. Most themes (a kind of building set with a collection of graphical elements that determine the look and feel of a website) and content management systems are designed for mobile devices and support responsive design (reactive website design with flexible layouts; that is, the layout automatically adapts to the screen size). Before creating your website, you should nevertheless check whether the technical infrastructure is suitable for mobile use and align the entire layout of your website with the mobile appearance.
4. Optimize snippets and titles
“Snippets” are teaser texts that briefly summarize the content of a website and are displayed under a search result. They are one of the first things potential customers see in a search query. Therefore, they have a high influence on whether a user decides for or against visiting a page. The website descriptions are like a shop window that presents the goods of a shop.
In the backend of a website, snippets are called “Meta-Description”. If no description is created by the website owner, the content management system does this more or less sensibly or the search engine selects a text module of the page. Therefore, meta-descriptions should be created carefully and updated whenever necessary.
According to a Denver SEO company in Colorado, the page title (search engine optimized title of a page that is not to be confused with the heading (H1) of a page) must not be left to chance. It is displayed above the corresponding snippet in the search results and thus helps determine the success of a page. The perfect title should be short, contain the main search term (keyword), get to the heart of what the page is all about and be clickable. Find out more about the perfect page title in this article.
5. Missing alt tags in images
Images also have great relevance for search engines. To make them easier to interpret, they should be provided with Alt tags (alternative tags). Alt tags are nothing more than descriptions of images that are not visible to the website visitor. Here it offers itself to place meaningful keywords to which the page is optimized. Even more important, however, is the most accurate and meaningful description possible of what can be seen on the respective picture. Good Alt tags improve the accessibility of the page by being read to blind website visitors.
6. Use interesting headings sensibly
Concise, meaningful headlines attract potential customers to your site. A good headline is formulated as a click stimulus and makes you want more. The higher the headings are in the hierarchy, the more relevant they are to search engines. Therefore, you should also avoid marking important headings as H3 or H4. In the continuous text, H2 headings are the preferred choice. It makes sense to place important keywords in the first paragraph to show page visitors and search engines what it is all about.
7. Change your domain to https
Google has long recommended switching http websites to https (“HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure”). Https ensures the encryption of data between web server and browser. A change to https is not a beauty correction, but a must for every professional web presence.
All advantages of https at a glance:
- Data security
- higher confidence of the website user
- https is mandatory in Germany for contact forms & shop pages
- aster loading of the page
- possibly better ranking on Google
Here you will find detailed instructions on how to change your page to https.
8. Bypass error pages
Search engines and website visitors are anything but happy to see error pages. Above all the “404 error: page was not found” does not cast a good picture on website operators and frustrates visitors. This error usually occurs when a page is deleted and someone tries to access the former URL.
There are several solutions to make unwanted pages no longer retrievable without provoking a 404. The most uncomplicated of these is the so-called “Header Redirect (301)”, where the old URL is replaced by a redirect to a new one. If someone now clicks on a link on the old page, they are automatically redirected to the redirection destination. For such a redirection, it is best to choose a page that is as related as possible to the old one.
9. Insert keywords correctly
Keywords are keywords that users frequently search for on the net and are sometimes the most familiar parameter when it comes to SEO. Optimally, each URL has its own focus keyword. You can use keyword tools such as SISTRIX, ahrefs or searchmetrics to search for relevant keywords and keyword combinations with a high search volume (number of monthly search queries for a keyword). If you don’t want to buy a paid SEO tool, you can also determine search volumes and frequently searched term combinations via the search slot of search engines. But beware: With this method, you should definitely research in incognito mode, otherwise the results will be falsified by previous searches.
Keywords, synonyms and the most common keyword combinations should not be used in an inflationary manner. At least the focus keyword should appear in the title, in the meta description, in a subheading (H2) and at the beginning and end of the text.
10. Track current SEO trends and news
Search engines like Google regularly release updates and innovations that change the criteria of the search engine world. I do this mainly by following SEO news websites like searchengineland.com and by reading articles that outline what is to come, like the SEO trends 2020. To this end, every webmaster should adapt it to the most current SEO measures. Here are two examples to illustrate this:
Number of characters in snippets
Google shortened the number of characters displayed in snippets with an update in spring 2018. If 320 were still played out under a search result until then, nobody really knows how many characters are visible since the update until today. As a reaction to this change, website operators can, for example, react by making sure that the most important part of the meta-description is in the first half and thus safely played out.
In addition to the usual search results, the so-called “Featured Snippet” has also been available for a few months now. This appears in the form of a conspicuous box at the top of the search results, which is why the click rate is much higher. In such a featured snippet, for example, the answer to a frequently asked question is displayed in the form of a section of a website. There is no concrete guidance on how to appear in the box. For example, site operators are experimenting with a focus on a question-answer structure in their content.
Basic SEO Tips for a Better Ranking
Search engine optimization for shops and businesses is and remains an evergreen in online marketing field. But it also has a decisive disadvantage. Somehow you will never be quite finished with it. Google never gets tired of developing its technologies further, which always offers new opportunities to conquer one of the top places on its result pages. And in addition, small things can be optimized again and again in the own content. We have compiled very simple SEO tips for you for a better ranking.
Placing related search terms in the content
Of course it is great when you have succeeded in creating a product page, let’s say, black sneakers and optimizing the content. But perhaps people are not looking for black sneakers right now, but for “black sneakers”. Therefore, always try to include related search terms on your pages. Google will even tell you voluntarily which are a good choice here. Simply perform a search for the keyword for which you are producing content and look at the bottom of the results page to see what Google suggests to you as related terms.
Use your keyword
Someone once invented the term “keyword density” in connection with keywords. It is still used as a reference in plugins and other tools. Often enough, this results in texts that have been written solely for search engines. Have courage and free yourself from these rigid guidelines.
It’s certainly great when visitors end up on your site through the results pages of the search engines. It is counterproductive, however, if visitors consider you to be limited because your texts are simply not readable. Or, as will be the case with experienced users, the SEO cramp will be recognized as such.
Use the keyword frequently in the content. Of course, keywords are relevant for the search. But forget about strict specifications that work with percentages. You produce the content primarily for your customers. Not for the search engine.
Title under 60 characters
Strictly speaking, Google no longer limits the length of page titles in its results by the number of characters used. After all, many channels can now be used for search results. Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to limit the choice of page titles to 60 characters. In the vast majority of cases, this should ensure that the content remains below Google’s limit and appears legibly in the results. Regardless of which search channel the customer used.
Many user searches start with a “How can I? So you’re looking for solutions and instructions. Give the search engine a signal that you might have a suitable guide for the term you are looking for. Therefore, use numbering in your texts.
Don’t you occasionally expand your search on Google with terms that appear in addition to the keyword? For example “CRM Systems Overview” or “CRM Systems”? Underline the meaning of a page by adding exactly such terms. Of course, only where it is appropriate.
The checklist and instructions in particular can be of interest to retailers. Corresponding content is not particularly difficult to produce, offers customers added value and brings relevance in the search engine.
Use the keyword in the first 100 words.
That’s a bit old school, but it doesn’t hurt at all: Use the central keyword as early as possible within the content. As a ranking factor, this may be overestimated, but provides the reader with good feedback that he has landed on a page that actually deals with his search query.
Finding duplicate titles with the Search Console
You can score with Google if you actually use an individual title for each page and individual descriptions in the meta elements. And here, too, the search engine in its Search Console provides the right tool to identify duplicate titles or descriptions. Under “Display of the search” and “HTML improvements” you will find corresponding hints when problems occur.
Speed is necessary. This applies to the response times of the server and the page structure as well as to the content. Users want results as quickly as possible. If you emphasize that you provide them, this is also interesting for Google, because it also measures how often users have chosen one page instead of another. So pick up speed in your pages. If you have a quick solution to a problem, include it in the descriptions of the pages.
Use synonyms in subheadings
Don’t forget to use subheadings. This is about semantics, not optics. Using the appropriate stylesheet, a second level heading can look like bold. “Do not “overoptimize” your pages by stoically trying to include the keyword in the subheadings. Use synonyms and paraphrases instead. “Calorie-reduced” may be the keyword, but “sugar-free” may also apply.
Treat product pages like blog posts
Why do blog articles have such a high relevance in search engine results? This is due to the content. Almost always it concerns detailed contributions. And the longer the contribution, the easier it is to place keywords there, so that the reader doesn’t have the feeling of being beaten to death. Take an example and invest in detailed product descriptions. Not just a list of keywords or bullet points. It’s a detailed article that introduces the product and its benefits.
Use picture descriptions like a signature
Oh, yeah, the page element “old.” You will find a corresponding input option in every editorial system. And yet the element leads a shadowy existence, because in most descriptions for use there is only the hint that the browser displays this text if there is a problem with the display of the image. And since there will be no problem with you, limit yourself to a few brief keywords.
And you already underestimate this element. Because Google’s algorithm for image recognition is getting better and better, but it’s not so mature yet. Therefore use the file name and especially the alternative text of an image as you would use a caption in a document. This will help the search engine to find out exactly what can be seen on the image. This has the side effect that you will probably pick up your keywords again.
Use a number in headings or posts
Again something from the department “Because we write for people, not for search engines”. It may sound strange, but there are countless sources on the Internet and evidence that the click rate on headlines and articles on the result pages increases when operating with numbers. “The 100 best SEO tips” simply beat “The best SEO tips”. This may still have something to do with our past as hunters and collectors.
Using the Search Console to regularly search for problems
The Google “Search Console” included in the webmaster tools is probably the most underestimated tool to check the effect of SEO on the pages. Before you go to another tool, open an account there and look at the different sections. This is where Google gives you plenty of material. You can see what problems the crawler had. You’ll discover problems with the update. Google also gives you free advice on how to optimize your pages.
Get involved with AMP
“Accelerated Mobile Pages” is the latest prank from Google. An own technological extension, with the goal of accelerating the loading times of pages on mobile devices. The use of AMP is not yet a ranking factor, but it can be worthwhile to already deal with the technology now. It is not impossible that it will become a ranking factor after all. And on the other hand, in the past offers have always had an advantage if they have implemented new Google extensions or guidelines before all others.
Analyzing and fixing HTML errors
You don’t necessarily have to send your pages through the W3C validator, but bad HTML code will also be pointed out to you by Google in the console. You should definitely disable such HTML errors. Because bad code can prolong loading times or even lead to incorrect displays on the user’s terminal device. And technical problems or a faulty display will ruin your other SEO efforts.
This has become a ranking factor. Point. And it gives the user the feeling that you take security seriously. Your shop or homepage should therefore be accessible via HTTPS. And please do not use self-created certificates whose validity is then criticized in the browser.
Offer a glossary
A lexicon of technical terms is written quite quickly and is doubly useful. Firstly, you can place synonyms and related terms around the products to your heart’s content. On the other hand it is useful for the visitors. And that can also be a ranking factor.
Offer a free tool
Internet users still love useful free tools. Comparison calculators, product configurators, etc. The investment in such a tool quickly pays for itself again.
This goes in the same direction as the creation of a glossary. But many search queries start with “What is…” or “What means…” or “What is the difference…”. Offer such explanations to suit your products. The model railway shop can explain different gauges or the electric shop can finally explain what a heat pump is. The visitors will thank you and so will the search engines.
Let Amazon Suggest inspire you
Are you looking for synonyms and ideas for keywords in product descriptions? Then visit the Amazon homepage and start searching for a product you also offer. Amazon will then provide you with further ideas free of charge through its automatic suggestion function.