Search engine optimisation, or SEO for short, is the development of an own website – its content and format – in such a way that search engines give it a particularly positive ranking and position the website at the top of their results list. This, in turn, ensures that many users are made aware of the website. An opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises to leverage effective online marketing even on a low budget.
Keyword analysis as a guide
Regularities and trends can be derived from the search behaviour of Internet users. Search engines, such as Google, analyse all the statistics. Based on this data, digital tools – like the Google Keyword Planner – can be used to find out which keywords and in which frequency they are entered into the search engine’s mask. The more precise a website can show that it can satisfy a certain search need (such as the answering of a question), the higher Google ranks its relevance – and the higher the website appears in the hit list for certain search requests. An option is the consistent use of certain keywords in the headlines and body copy. These signal to Google that this website contains content relating to a certain topic or a special need. If, however, the keyword appears unnaturally often (keyword stuffing), Google will “punish” the website.
Within the scope of search engine optimisation, the interest in the search is broken down more in-depth with the use of a keyword analysis. An enterprise can then build up its SEO strategy based on the insights gained from this. A main part consists of expanding the information about the online offer with a keyword set, using primary and secondary keywords. In this way, the website of a company can be found by a larger circle of users. The visibility of a company, its products and services, grows on the Internet.
The period during which the searches occur gives insights into users’ needs or user psychology as well as market mechanisms. This enables the enterprise to leverage the suitable optimised measures at an optimal time.
Consideration of content and cultural nuances
The proposals from the Keyword Planner must be critically reviewed before they are used. If there are synonyms – such as hub for airport or a wheel – a keyword combination makes sure the meaning is clear. At the same time, the meaning of terms can vary from region or within a language. If a British company uses the term “trainers”, it will not address the user who types in the keyword “sneakers”.
A good approach to keywords is looking at them from the user’s perspective: intuitively and without taking into account specialist or background knowledge.
SEO measures for a better ranking
Experience has shown that most Google users choose to visit a website that appears at the top of the results list. Hardly anyone scrolls down the list to the bottom or clicks through to the other pages. The goal of search engine optimisation is therefore to appear as high as possible in the list; in other words, to achieve the best possible ranking. The following measures are relevant in this case:
- Increase in the frequency of keywords and their appearance in important spots, like the headline on a page, in the sublines or in the meta title and meta description (these are short copy blocks which are found in the search engine’s hit list).
- Linking of the page with other subpages on the same website (internal links, on-page) as well as external websites (off-page). Google views the number of links as a sign for the relevance of the content.
- Updating of the text: when a website is regularly kept up to date, and therefore is shown to be dynamic and current, Google gives it a better ranking. However, this does not mean that the website should be frantically updated frequently.
Search engine optimisation: user experience first
The keywords given by the keyword analysis provide an important guide for the offer or description text on a website. The better the position of the keywords, the higher the chances are that the site will enjoy good visibility. However, this focus on the keyword mechanism of the search engine could be a disadvantage for the text, as it could be more difficult to read. The increased appearance of keywords, especially keyword combinations, is difficult to deal with in terms of style and can lead to redundancies or complex content. But the goal should be to present an easy-to-read text that takes the main keywords into account and is written grammatically correct. In the end, the user and his behaviour on the website is essential for the website’s success – and this is normally honoured by the search engine too.
All in all, it’s important that the content is based on the user’s intention and not only on the use of keywords with a high search demand. This also means: a website should be structured and provide the right information in such a way that the thirst for information is quenched and the user’s experience is supported. Much more relevant for an online shop could be product information and the provision of a filter, instead of putting lots of effort into general marketing talk about the product. If in doubt, you should look at meeting the user’s intention – not at spreading unnecessary keywords across your website. It is also important that you understand the need behind the keywords when optimising the page.
SEO takes time
Just like the development of effective marketing copy, effective search engine optimisation, with the respective SEO strategy, is a complex task. Important is the monitoring of measures well in advance, as it takes Google several weeks to register the adjustments, and the impact of the ranking therefore takes place relatively late.