In addition to keyword research and content creation, search engine optimization involves a large number of technical aspects that need to be implemented in order for the rankings to work. In this article, we have therefore compiled ten of the most important SEO basics for you.
The following information is especially helpful for beginners who want to get an initial overview of technical SEO. Ideally, on this basis you can even start directly with the optimization of your websites.
Further articles are partly linked under the sections.
SEO Tip 1: Nobody likes slow websites
The page speed of a website is an important quality factor for Google and should therefore always be considered with care. The loading time of a page is also an indirect ranking factor because high user bounce rates send negative user signals that Google takes into account in the ranking distribution. Fast pages are also crawled more often by Google Bot than slow pages.
Operators are therefore well advised to constantly keep an eye on the loading time of their website and to optimize it. And last but not least: Loading times are also a decisive ranking factor in mobile searches, which are used more and more frequently, and ensure more conversions.
So: The shorter the loading time, the better! As a rule of thumb, a loading time of two seconds is sufficient to achieve a satisfactory user experience. If it’s less than a second, that’s even better. However, you should also pay attention to what kind of page with what kind of elements it is.
SEO tip 2: Added value through markups
No website operator should do without structured data anymore, because they transmit important information to search engines. You can change the visual appearance in search results and make it easier for search engines to better capture website content. This is where markups help.
Markups are not a direct ranking factor, but they can have an indirect positive influence on the ranking.
Markups trigger rich snippets, which provide the user with helpful information already in the search results and thus facilitate access to the site. These include, for example, ratings, search functions, breadcrumbs, price labels, contact data such as telephone number and address and much more. They increase the attractiveness of SERPs and lead to more clicks and better user experience. However, there is no guarantee that they will actually be played out by Google. Of course, their use increases the chances that Google will display them in search results.
Google’s structured data test tool checks markups of individual pages. During the implementation, care should be taken not to use too many awards or to restrict oneself to those that are really relevant for the respective document and offer the user added value.
Schema.org provides more than 600 types of markups that are implemented into the HTML code of the page using the appropriate vocabulary.
Reading tip: Detailed information on structured data can be found in this manual at Google Developers.
SEO tip 3: Use multilingual pages hreflang
International websites that offer content in several languages cannot avoid the so-called hreflang attribute. The reason: Many contents of multilingual pages hardly differ from each other (for example within the D-A-CH region). This creates the danger of duplicate content, which is known to lead to problems in search engine rankings.
The solution is the hreflang attribute. It informs the search engine that the contents of a document are available in several languages and are intended for different users, depending on the language and region. This signals to the bot that the contents are connected to each other. In addition, the attribute helps him to better understand the structure of the website.
The hreflang attribute is inserted in the head of each document. This can also be done alternatively via the sitemap. We recommend using only one variant in any case to minimize the error rate. In the document source code, this then looks as follows:
What do these individual elements mean?
The first information rel=”alternate” indicates that there is an alternative version of this document.
Under hreflang=”xx-XX” the language (xx) and optionally the region (XX) are entered using the correct ISO language code 639-1 and the region code 3166-1 alpha-2.
In addition, the value “x-default” can be used to define a default resource to which users are routed who have not been previously defined for the language/region because there is no language version of their own.
The attribute href=”URL” contains the target page of the document in the other language.
When using hreflang, it is important not to forget bidirectional referencing. This means that all equivalent contents are referenced to each other and to both sides.