A Details Guide On SEO/Search Engine Optimization For 2020

In this article, I want to explain what SEO is? What are the challenges we have in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? And what optimization approaches will help you to get better results on Google in natural search?

What is SEO?

SEO or search engine optimization aims to make your relevant content appear in prominent positions. In addition to the position (ranking), it is crucial to what the match between the search term chosen by the user, the search result representation (snippet) and the relevance of the landing page, is.  Search engine optimization is sustainable if the user can efficiently solve his task (task completion) on the website.

What is meant by search engine optimization?

According to Wikipedia, search engine optimization is defined as “measures designed to make websites appear in higher rankings in search engine rankings”. You can leave it that way.

However, opinions differ very much in part as to which measures fall. And that’s exactly what results in the wrong opinion of some compared to search engine optimization.

There are always SEOs who try to exploit gaps or weaknesses of search engines (which are just machines or programs) to bring pages to the very front, which have to look for objective assessment nothing.

That’s why there’s also been a kind of cat and mouse game in which search engines are trying to provide high-quality and appropriate search results, while BlackHat SEOs are trying to get their pages as far forward as possible.

But we are not interested in such methods because whoever has good content can go far ahead with the allowed SEO methods.

We just want to prepare our pages and content optimally, so that Google and Co. get a perfect first impression of our blog. Almost the same as on the first date. 🙂

And that’s even Google right, but you’ve even posted tips on search engine optimization (link at the end of the article).

Onpage / Offpage = What is that?

One differentiates the SEO measures in on-page and off-page measures.

On page measures affect all optimizations that we make on our blog. So, for example, in our texts, title, metadata, pictures, alt text, keywords in the body, etc.

On the other hand, off-page measures include all optimizations that we make outside of our blog. Of course, this includes above all the link building of other blogs and websites to our blog.

If you are concerned with both aspects of search engine optimization, you will generally get better results than, for example, only performing on-page optimization.

The most important SEO tips for bloggers

I use the following tips myself regularly. These have gone into flesh and blood so that when writing a new article, I no longer have to work through my SEO checklist, but now do everything automatically.

And that’s my tip too. See search engine optimization not as a one-time action, even if some measures take place only once, such as the directory login.

Instead, it’s much better if you use these SEO tips daily and consider them as part of writing articles.

On-page actions

1 keyword per item

In my opinion, this is almost the most important SEO measure when writing an article. Focus per article on a topic or keyword (search term).

The reason for this is that Google is trying (automatically) to find out the relevance of a page to a particular search term. If your article revolves around a variety of different topics, then the article is simply not relevant for the individual search terms. If an article is just about a topic, then the article in Google’s “eyes” is usually more suitable.

That brings us to the keyword density. Not only write in the important keyword once but more often and preferably in all elements of the article. So in the headline, the title, the meta-statements (description and keywords), the text itself, of course, the subheadings, pictures, etc.

Title tag

The title tag is also very important because it appears as a heading in Google as a slightly larger link in the search results.

By default, the blog name is often specified first and then the headline. That is suboptimal.

I recommend the following structure: manually entered titles – categories – keywords

This title structure can be implemented, e.g. with the plugin “Yoast SEO”. After I changed my “title” to this structure, the Google ranking for my blogs has become much better. An important insider tip, in my opinion.

Meta-information

The meta-statements are ridiculed by many and that in my eyes wrong.

First, the description is still very important and appears, for example, in the Google search results.

The keywords may not be that important as a meta tag, but with the automatic inclusion in the title (see the previous tip), entering keywords is indispensable to me.

For both description and keywords, the main keyword must be at least once, better even 2x.

Loading time

This is certainly argued. But since my move to a server, the number of visitors has increased significantly. And other bloggers and SEOs report that fast load times have positive effects.

This may only be indirect in that the bounce rate of a page drops when the page loads fast.

You do not need a server right away. But the pages must load even with many simultaneous visitors still fast. In case of doubt, a cache plugin like “WP-Cache” will help.

Internal linking

Internal linking is also underestimated. It has 2 essential functions.

First, search engine crawlers must find all the articles in a blog. The more one internally links, the more possibilities one offers search engines, also really every article to find. There are useful plugins that link similar articles. But also manually, if it offers, you should link in new articles on older, thematically appropriate articles.

Secondly, you can give an extra push to individual pages by clever linking. If you have 3 or 4 articles on a topic, Google will (mostly) rank only one of them for a search term in Google. If you link from 3 articles to a fourth, this becomes more important for Google. With that, I have already brought some of my articles very far forward in Google.

If you set a link by hand, then you should pay attention to 2 things. First, you can give each link a title attribute. It should contain the most important keyword of the landing page. On the other hand, you should equip the anchor text, so the text that is marked as a link, with the most important keyword.

Article structure and formatting

On the one hand, the important keyword should be quite far in front of the article (several times) and not just at the end. In addition, it helps a lot if the keyword also appears in the subheadings (<h1> – <h6>) and sometimes (not every time) is highlighted, eg by the <strong> tag.

Images

Pictures are often underestimated. But especially blogs that use many pictures in their articles should necessarily give each picture an alt attribute. What is there in it, above all, in it? Right, the main keyword of the article. 🙂

Off-page activities

Force on the left

You should always push the setting of links by others.

The important thing is that you not only wait to get backlinks but become active.

Use blog directories

Especially after the blog launch, it is a way to register his blog in blog directories. These are not the killer links, but they bring Google on their track and do not hurt.

Anchor texts

Also with external links you should, as far as possible, make sure that the anchor text of the backlinks contains the respective important keyword, instead of link texts like “click here” or similar. However, you should not overdo it and like to use the domain again and again as an anchor text. If there are too many external links keywords as anchor text, Google can be very displeased.

Actively market

Social News Sites, Twitter, Facebook, etc. are very important. These bring on the one hand short term traffic but are also important from an SEO point of view. Because the more external people find out about your interesting articles, the higher the chance that someone will link them to their blog or website. And many good backlinks are an important factor in getting a good Google ranking

That’s what it should have been with the basic tips for Blogger first. I do not do much more. Of course, an SEO professional would do a lot more tricks, but that’s often not necessary.

Because blogging is about effort and results, the listed items are easy and quick to implement, so they barely extend the writing of an article. And you have the time for the essential: writing articles.

Why is SEO so important?

In the following, I would like to explain some reasons why the topic search engine optimization is so essential for many companies:

  • On the one hand, and this can be verified with our own web analytics data, Google is for many companies or search engines the most crucial channel for attracting users to their own websites.
  • Users who come through search engines usually have a high motivation on their pages to achieve the desired goal achievement. Finally, users entered a search term that took you to your website.
  • For many companies, search engines are the most important source to bring users to their own page via generic search terms. That is SEO is (often) the most important channel for new customer acquisition
  • Google is grateful: Sustainable search engine optimization usually leads to sustainable meetings. Once a position has been reached for a search term, it is generally very stable if the search engine optimization has been built in a sustainable and user-oriented manner.

The goal of search engine optimization

The purpose of SEO is, therefore, not just to be on top. Search engine optimization has the purpose to be represented with relevant pages on relevant positions in the related search engines for relevant search terms. 

These search engines can be, for example, apart from Google also search engines, such as Bing, Yahoo or Yandex, but also specialized search engines, such as Amazon (product search), Indeed (job search) or Trivago (hotel search).

The representation of the text available in the search engines (snippet)The aim is to motivate the user to click on the result to fulfil the expectation of the user in terms of content match between search term, text and content of the website. The prerequisite is clear and unambiguous access to the entire relevant website, which is optimally prepared for users, irrespective of the device (mobile-friendly).

Web analysis and information architecture as support for search engine optimization

The user expects the search term, snippet and content of the website to match. This substantive agreement can be analyzed using metrics that we collect in Google Analytics, for example. Good indicators are here, for example,

  • bounce rate
  • Average session duration
  • Pages / Visit
  • or conversion rates

Further support for a better understanding of search engine optimization can also be found in the information architecture – which helps to understand better what users expect from your websites. In the following graphic, you will find important elements of the information architecture and what measures you can take to improve the user experience.

The different areas of SEO

Typically, search engine optimization s divided into the following areas:

  • Keywording: Development of keyword strategies
  • Technical SEO: technical optimization, such as site speed, crawling and indexing
  • OnPage optimization: content, metadata, structure
  • Information Architecture: Sense of Place & Informationsscent etc.
  • Off-page optimization: internal and external linking
  • Content Marketing: Gain users about meaningful content
  • Mobile SEO: mobile optimization and mobile-friendliness
  • SEO KPIs: Measuring success using meaningful key figures

Note: If you are interested in content marketing, we recommend our article on the definition of content marketing. The expanded optimization of the presentation of results in the form of snippet optimization is also gaining in importance. For example, about rich snippets.

Definition SEO on Wikipedia

Search engine optimization, or English search engine optimization (SEO), referred to measures that serve that content websites, videos and images appear as in the organic search engine ranking in the unpaid search results (natural listings) on higher places. By deliberately influencing the search engine placements of, for example, videos on the platform YouTube or websites on Google, these can be better listed and generate new reach.

Demarcation and interaction of SEA and SEO

Search engine optimization ( Search Engine Optimization –  SEO ) is a branch of search engine marketing (Search Engine Marketing – SEM ). The second partial area in search marketing (SEM), the search advertising ( Search Engine Advertising – SEA ) such as Google Ads or the circuit of Bing Ads. Usually, one tries to reach over search engines, always users, who have a very concrete need. But the main differences between SEO and SEA are

  • Billing system: Google Ads has a variable billing model (cost-per-click). Search engine optimization is not free but differs in the billing form, which is usually project-related.
  • Effect: Google Ads is very performance-oriented and has clear metrics (impressions, CTR, CPC, ROAS etc.), at a reasonable cost. Search engine optimization is more like public relations. By bundling many useful measures, you increase the probability of getting the right positions, but nobody can guarantee you a top position.
  • Keyword strategies: The focus in SEO is on certain relevant search terms or search term clusters. With paid search, it’s also possible to bid on adjacent search terms, even if they have a terrible Google Ads Quality Score. In the end, the conversion counts here. An example of an extended keyword strategy: For us, essential terms are, for example, SEO seminar or SEO training, on which we optimize ourselves (SEO). Nevertheless, we extend the application (Google Ads) of our seminars on terms, such as SEO training, education etc. via Google Ads.

The 6R of Search Engine Optimization:

First of all, in a nutshell, our SEO definition :

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) includes all strategies and tactics to be sustainably represented for relevant search terms or topics with relevant pages on the optimal positions in the relevant search engines. To achieve meaningful conversions for the company.

Relevant search engines are not just Google or Bing. In addition to Google’s “main index,” vertical search services such as Google News, Google Images, or Google Maps ( Local SEO ) may also be relevant.

With suitable SEO tools  and analysis tools, search engine optimization regularly checks:

  • which are the right keywords ->  relevance
  • how visible your website is in the search results ->  Reach
  • at which positions you are with the relevant keywords ->  Rankings
  • What is the CTR in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) ->  Response
  • how users behave on the page based on the search terms entered ->  Reaction
  • whether all measures of search engine optimization also lead to a demonstrable achievement of economic values ​​->  Results

These six terms make up the 6 R of search engine optimization.

Relevance – Choose the right keywords and topics

The basis of any search engine optimization is research, evaluation, review and extension of relevant search terms or topics. In my opinion, this basis is often ignored too quickly.

Here are the different levels:

1. The search for search terms

The aim of researching search terms is to understand users as accurately and comprehensively as possible. In order to find the right keywords, they often come up with their own ideas, use keyword tools, and search competitors’ websites. In the first step, a search term list as extensive as possible is to be researched in this way.

Choosing the right keywords is a management decision: selecting the right keywords determines how users can be addressed at the right time in the right decision-making phase. Choosing the right keywords has a direct impact on

  • the probability of good positions.
  • the conversion probability.
  • Brand perception.

2. The evaluation of search terms

In the next step, the search terms are evaluated. To do this, you determine:

  • Quantitative analysis: how often the researched search term is searched on Google and other search engines.
  • What intention a user has when entering a search term. Is he looking for information (information orientation), a specific company or brand (navigation orientation) or does he want to buy (transaction orientation)?
  • Whether the term is an evergreen with consistently high search volume. Typical evergreens are “weather”, “route planner”, “online marketing”.
  • Whether the term is an event with regular recurring volume. Typical events are “CeBit 2018”, “iPhone 8”, “Football World Cup 2018” or “Annual Horoscope 2018”.
  • Whether the term is a current event, that is a search term that suddenly shows a strong increase. Typical current events are natural disasters and deaths.
  • In which purchase decision phase, the user is. If the user, even at a very early stage of the search, he is looking for comparative content or he is already close to a transaction.

Further criteria for the evaluation of a search term are:

  • volume
  • competition
  • Potential for optimizability (wording, CI guidelines)
  • Possible conversion rates (from SEM experience)
  • Plural or singular
  • Seasonal fluctuations
  • Strategic meaning
  • Synonyms (“Training”, “Course”, “Seminar”)
  • trends
  • Negative criteria: brand names of competitors, prohibited terms, terms with too many words or characters

3. The review and extension of search terms

It makes sense to check the list created in the previous step also regularly. Since Google has not been able to provide really accurate figures in its keyword Planner since June 2016, it may make sense to test your terms first with Google Ads for, particularly relevant search engine optimization terms.

For example, you want to find out:

  • What is the exact search volume for specific terms?
  • What is the CTR on different ad text?
  • which product features or USPs convince your users
  • How high conversion rates are for your search terms

Relevant metrics for an upstream Google Ads test to define your per keyword strategy are:

  • the number of impressions (what is the actual search volume?)
  • the amount of clickthrough rate (test product features and USPs)
  • the amount of bounce rates (are your users dealing with your content?)
  • the amount of conversion rates (do you want to buy your users?)

Google Trends for advanced search terms analysis

Even after initial optimization approaches, your own keyword set should be checked regularly:

  • What is the behaviour of users who have come to their own site using exactly these keywords?
  • What are the actual bounce rates?
  • Which search terms really lead to a conversion?
  • Are there any new terms that are interesting for optimization?
  • How is my visibility developing?
  • How is the number of search terms developing in the Top 100 (Potential) and Top 10 (Sessions)?

When answering such questions, these tools help:

Since October 2011, Google’s search results pages are encrypted. The consequence: In web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, you will no longer receive keyword data, but only (not provided) as a keyword. Of course, that’s a pity, so I recommend you Google Search Console for keyword search:

Search for keywords: strategic versus tactical

The search for keywords generally has two dimensions: strategic and tactical.

  • Strategic: For which terms do you want to be found overall?
  • Tactical: If, for example, you are producing a single article for your content marketing, then the question is for which search terms this single article should be found. In the process, tools like ubersuggest will help you.
  • Bottom line: Choosing the right keywords will help you decide how to engage your users on Google in the right decision-making phase at the right time. Choosing the right keywords has a direct impact on the probability of good positions.
  • the conversion probability.
  • the perception of your brand.

Reach – the visibility in the search engines

One could call the reach also in old marketing as “Share of Voice”. In search engine optimization, the term visibility has prevailed.

Visibility refers to two factors:

  • The number and volume of search terms a domain appears on Google
  • The positions occupied by these search terms

You can measure the reach, or the visibility, with tools such as Semrush. But even with the Google Search Console, you can see very well, how the impressions of your own domain have changed over time.

The SEO Visibility of a domain consists of the search volume and the positions of the keywords that grow for this entry. Semrush employs a factor to weight each position. It also takes into account whether they are keywords with a navigational or informational search interest.

For the  Visibility Index, the top 100 positions are analyzed for a broad set of common keywords for a country. Subsequently, the weighting is also made according to search volume and position. For example, a wrong position on a popular keyword pays more heavily to the index than a good position on a low-hit keyword. Here’s how Sistrix defines his own visibility and how you interpret it in detail.

Mobile Visibility:  As a ranking factor since 2015, it also counts whether your site is mobile-friendly. That’s why you can now use both tools to evaluate your mobile visibility.

The course is crucial

Unusual for the search engine optimization are not only snapshots but in particular changes over some time.

The question is: why did change happen?

Reasons for a change in the visibility process are:

  • own optimizations
  • the optimizations of competitors who influence their own visibility
  • new content
  • Loss/gain of external signals, such as links
  • successful or failed relaunches
  • technical reasons, such as the exclusion of pages/directories
  • technical issues, such as duplicate content
  • individual penalties by Google
  • general revaluation of  your site via signals, such as the Panda or Penguin update

Thus, the reach or visibility is a useful indicator to become aware of changes in the search result lists in the first place. In addition to clarity, real data, i.e. meetings and conversions (from Google Analytics, for example) should always be included in the analysis.