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Optimize website (SEO compliant) – but how?

The question why you should optimize your website is almost self-answering. You want to be found and seen. Therefore, the topic of search engine optimization (SEO) falls into the category of marketing. Besides SEO, there is search engine marketing (SEA), which represents “paid” advertising on search engines like Google.

The way SEA works is similar to “normal” paid advertising. A company wants to get itself or its products to the top of the paid section of a search engine. One factor for SEA ranking is the amount of money paid per click (pay per click). Since a search engine wants to deliver relevant results, not only the highest bidder is at the top of the results list. Other factors such as the length of stay on the forwarded page or the general ranking of the website play a major role.

OnPage optimization

The overall ranking can be improved by optimizing the website. Here, a distinction is made between OnPage and OffPage optimization.
OnPage optimization refers to the structure and content of the actual website. Here one can distinguish between the technical (search engine) and the user view. These overlap, but should be considered separately.
In the following illustration, the technical view is shown on the left, and what the user sees on the website is shown on the right. This simple example shows that in the first case (a) the human eye can clearly distinguish between headline and text and in the second case (b) both are identical. The crawler of a search engine would clearly identify the headline based on the < h1 > tag in both cases.

Vergleich-technische-und-User-Sicht

Comparison technical and user view

Headings with < h1 > tag are very important and should reflect the content of the complete page. Other < h > tags are also “crawled” in a prioritized manner. Raises the question, “Why not have everything in h1 to h6 on the website and change the formatting for readability?”

–>Simple answer: because a < hx > tag must not exceed a certain length and there must be only a certain number of tags. Otherwise, it will have a negative impact on the ranking.

A key role in OnPage optimization is played by the correct use of keywords. These are elementary to even get a “match” between the search engine query and our website. In other words no keywords –> no match –> not in the search engine results. Therefore, everyone should deal with the following questions:

  • Who do I want to reach (target audience)?
  • What does my company stand for?
  • Which “product” do I want to offer on my website?
  • Where do I want to reach my target group (local, regional, global)?
  • What is my goal (increase awareness, sell products, etc.)?

From this, the context in which we want to appear in a search can be formed and the keywords determined. The defined words should now be distributed sensibly on the page. Especially in headlines, image descriptions, link texts, the meta description, < title > tag.

Other ways to optimize the website OnPage are the sitemap, robot.txt and generally “clean” source code. The performance and structure should also not be neglected. Therefore, the website should offer a responsive design or a mobile variant and unnecessary performance robbing scripts should be avoided.

In the article “SEO – Do’s and Dont’s on your Homepage” the topics and methods of OnPage optimization are described in more detail.

OffPage-Optimierung

OffPage optimization is about building the reputation of a website. Central terms in this context are so-called backlinks and PageRank[1]. Backlinks are links from other sources that refer to our site. The PageRank algorithm is the basis for identifying high-quality pages based on the incoming links in relation to the outgoing ones. In its original form, a website was considered based on the ratio of “incoming” to “outgoing” links (link juice flow).

The better the ratio of incoming to outgoing links, the higher the PageRank. The basic operation and the original algorithm will become a little clearer in the following with the help of the highly simplified illustration and the calculation with matrices:

link juce, PageRank, Berechnung Matrizen, offpage

Graphical representation of how the link juice flow influences the ranking of a page

Assuming each page has 100% “link juice”, then this is distributed evenly to all outgoing links (with one link = 1, with two links = 0.5, etc.). For the calculation, the share of each link is stored in a matrix. Thus for “b.ch” “a.de” = 1, since only one link goes from b to a. For “a.de” “b.ch” and “a.de” “b.ch” 0.5 each, since, from a 2 links go away. The developed matrix (1) is multiplied by the vector representing the “Random Surfer” (2).

The Random Surfer is assumed to randomly click on a link and land on the particular page that is referred to (since this does not really reflect reality, it was replaced by the Rational Surfer in 2010 to give a higher weighting to the placement of the links).

The result is an initial ranking (3a). This intermediate result is again multiplied by the matrix (1) and the same with the result (3b). This step is repeated iteratively until there is no more change in the ranking.

link juce, PageRank, Berechnung Matrizen, offpage

PageRank calculation using matrices

Since the publication of the PageRank algorithm, many adjustments and improvements[2] have been applied (more on this in the article Do’s and Dont’s on your Homepage). However, the basis is still as described in this article. Of course, PageRank is not the only criterion either, but it is a basic and easy to take into account when creating and developing your own website.


[1] The PageRank Citation Ranking: Bringing Order to the Web (1998)

[2] Some major Google updates in the SEO context: Rational Surfer (2010), Panda (2011), Penguin (2012), Hummingbird (2013), Pigeon (2014), Mobile Update (2015), RankBrain (2015)…

Author: Marco Weiß

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