Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to actions that are used to make websites and their content appear in organic search engine rankings. By deliberately influencing the placement of web pages, images, videos or other content on search engines , their reach should be increased. The optimization includes all types of searches such as image, video or news search.
Search engine optimization is a branch of search engine marketing.
Searching and reading the content of web pages follows known HTML standards of the Web , which is why their compliance with the creation of web pages is the first step in an optimization. However, according to Google, the validity of an HTML page is not an influencing factor in their ranking. Nevertheless, pages that are particularly HTML-compliant can be loaded faster by browsers, which is well rewarded by search engines.
Search engine optimization in online marketing is roughly subdivided into two areas of responsibility: on-page and off-page optimization. This categorization is tied to the criterion of whether one's own page is edited or whether one influences other websites.
On-page optimization includes all content-related customizations to your own website. This includes optimizing the content of the page (including content ) in terms of 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. In general, offpage optimization is always preceded by on-page optimization.
The meta-element "keyword", which was originally designed for search engines, is no longer considered by Google. The same applies to the meta-element "Description". However, it may appear as a text snippet in the SERPs (depending on the search query) and therefore should not be ignored.
Another step is the selection of suitable keywords (keywords). For this you can use many freely available databases, such as a keyword database or the MetaGer Web Associator. Furthermore, it is useful to use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, which, in addition to related keywords, also lists the approximate number of monthly searches per search term.
Usually one page is optimized for one to three search words. Often, a large page is split into multiple pages to optimize for different search terms. The main and secondary keywords (including primary and secondary keywords) are specified for each page. The search words are combined with the corresponding content. One kind of optimization is done by landing pages . By clicking on the link, the user can access an optimized page for SEO purposes. Another method is to create Pillar content, i,e. to create one or more overview pages for important single pages.
In the course of SEO methods, a special style of writing has developed in this area which can be described as a search engine optimized style. This follows the "rules" of SEO, which are dictated by the search engines of the search engine. These are implicit rules because they are reconstructed based on the success factors of the optimization, because a search engine provider usually does not disclose its criteria for the qualitative classification of the indexed pages. Indicators of this style include keywords at the beginning of headings, sections and sentences as well as lists and highlighted words.
In search engine optimization, the techniques of web crawlers and sorting algorithms are therefore examined by search engines. These are only partially disclosed and frequently amended to make abuse more difficult and to deliver relevant results to the user. More unknown and secret techniques are explored by reverse engineering the search results. It analyzes how search engines index websites and their content , and how they are evaluated, collected and sorted by the search engine.
The specifications by the search engine for the content of pages can completely contradict the rules of classical text production. For example, grammatical rules hardly play a role for search algorithms. In this way, an often misspelled keyword can do more to improve the ranking than a technically correct term. However, this approach is decreasing since Google and other search engines are increasingly recognizing and assigning spelling mistakes independently.
Since these mechanisms are subject to development dynamics, this style of writing is also adapted many times to provide the best possible optimization result. This means that a page is never optimized only once. Rather, it requires a permanent review of the relevance of keywords used, as well as the user behavior's changes.
As part of the ongoing development of search engine algorithms, mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) are also playing an increasingly important role in search engine optimization. A website that is not adapted for mobile devices, especially in mobile search, is listed significantly worse than websites that have, for example, a responsive design.
The "Off-page optimization" takes place far away from the page to be optimized and designates all measures outside the website to be optimized.
It is not enough to increase relevance with OnPage measures alone. A good search engine listing and a high PageRank is influenced by the quantity and quality of incoming links to a website (called back link ). Offpage optimization is about building a link structure with other websites to better position themselves in specific thematic areas. In order to do this, they are looking for thematically appropriate websites in order to win them over for a link partnership . Another measure of finding possible link partners is the link analysis of competitors. Also, the use of so-called link research tools can be worthwhile to sift through the best subpages of a domain . In addition, the design of the link text of the references is essential for the placement of certain keywords. To examine websites for their potential, free web applications can be used. Often, small changes are enough to boost search engine rankings.
It is assumed that in addition to backlinks, the simultaneous generation of so-called "social signals" are also increasingly taken into account for the ranking. These are mentions of the site in the form of "likes", "shares", "Comments" ( Facebook ) or "Plus1" ( Google+ ) as well as "Tweets" and "Retweets" ( Twitter ). The background to this development is that search engines not only analyze the backlinks, but also algorithmically examine how intensively users communicate via a website within selected social networks such as Facebook or Google+.
Also collected by search engines are user signals which are taken into account for calculating rankings. How often a user clicks on a result, stays on a hit website or comes back to the results list, influences the ranking. For example, positive signals are generated for Google if the user lingers on a website for a longer period of time instead of leaving it directly.
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