Search engine optimization, in short SEO, refers to all measures aimed at improving the positioning of individual web documents in SERPs. Search engine optimization is a field of search engine marketing (SEM). Contrasting to this is the negative SEO.
The search within the WWW is becoming more and more important with the growing amount of information on the Internet. The past decade saw many search engines come onto the market. Prominent examples include Bing, Baidu, Yandex, and of course, Google by Google Inc. Google has managed to position itself as the market leader. The search engine giant from California has become dominant particularly through its unique features which include simplicity, speed, and high relevance. In addition to a powerful crawler, Google uses a complex algorithm to review the crawled pages and present these within the relevant context in the search results.
This algorithm is constantly enhanced to optimally adapt the search results to searchers and their needs. When optimizing for Google, there are numerous factors that should be given special attention.
As an online marketing channel, SEO is one of the most important disciplines and should not be neglected in the overall online marketing mix. The flow of visitors (traffic) that is generated by search engines is much more cost-effective compared to other channels. Search engine optimization is a permanent optimization process that often takes a long time before the results can be visible. Conversely, the optimization success is not sustainable when viewed from an economic perspective. Search engine optimization is not easily scalable. Since the functional principle of Google’s evaluation algorithm has been kept a secret, it is very hard for one to derive the exact measures that would directly influence the ranking. More information can however be gained through testing, cause-effect analysis, and exchange of experiences with other optimizers.
The actual optimization is done on the pages and is referred to as OnPage optimization. The popularity of the page can be improved through OffPage optimization. These two measures are described in detail below.
OnPage optimization deals with all measures on a web document itself. This focuses on the technical and content optimization of a page. Factors such as page architecture, internal linking, text, and metadata are essential for the evaluation of the relevance of a page by search engines. The usual approach in the optimization is the creation of a landing page for a special keyword (also referred to as search term) that is displayed in the search results pages (SERPs) when this term is searched. In the web document, important factors such as the placement of relevant content (text, images, and videos), metadata, and internal links are set in a manner that is compliant with the search engine. This facilitates crawling and the inclusion of the page in the search engine index. The proportion of the text and code can be monitored with the text to code ratio.
As opposed to OnPage optimization, OffPage optimization deals with the popularity of a page on the Web. Basically, this comes down to the reputation of a page based on the number and quality of external links (also called backlinks). These are links from other websites that point to a web document. OffPage optimization is a large part of search engine optimization and is usually a greater challenge for webmasters since one cannot directly influence the links from other pages. The Google algorithm places special value on certain ranking factors such as link popularity, trust, position of a backlink on the other pages, etc. According to Google, there are over 200 OffPage factors that can influence the ranking in the OffPage area.
Use of SEO software and tools
In order to make the success of search engine optimization measurable and scalable, certain tools that help analyze the success of the optimization are required. There are several SEO analysis tools on the German market, some of which are available free of charge. The most common include Searchmetrics Suite and Searchmetrics Essentials, Ryte, Sistrix Toolbox, Advanced Web Ranking, and Strucr. These tools can be used for both OnPage and OffPage analysis. In addition, webmasters should also use web analytics tools to monitor and analyze user traffic. Such tools help monitor one’s own ranking as well as determine appropriate optimization measures.