SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is, among other things, about the positioning of the organic search (the ranking) or the positioning of a website for a particular keyword.
The higher a web page is ranked for a certain keyword, the higher the probability that the page will be visited by potential customers.
How do you achieve a good ranking in the search engines?
This is the most frequently asked question. And we think that there is no one in the world - except the Google people - who can give a 100% answer.
Search engines use certain search algorithms. These algorithms are kept secret. The reason for this: In times when the algorithms were even more transparent than today, website operators tried to outsmart the search engines. These "outwits" are to be prevented with the secrecy of the algorithms. Therefore, one also speaks of white hat and black hat SEO.
You are probably rightly asking yourself now how you can achieve a good ranking if the criteria are not known. That is really a good question!
We first orient ourselves on the temporal course of the algorithms
Ranking factor domain
We first look at which factors were relevant in the past. By former, we mean about 10 to 12 years ago. We can still remember that it was very easy to rank back then by simply choosing the "right" domain name. In other words, the essential keyword should be contained in the domain name. A war for domain names with the corresponding keyword began. This also resulted in nonsensically long domain names - the main thing was that the keyword was contained in the domain name.
Other "old" ranking factors
In the past, there was also the information that the keyword must be included at least once in the headline, then also in bulleted lists and in the body text - this in bold type about one to two times.
The result was text that was written specifically for the search engines - but not for the visitor to a website.
A good example of this is the SEO experiment from 2002 "Schnitzelmitkartoffelsalat". Unfortunately, the actual page can no longer be found today, only a Wiki entry about it. This experiment was a wonderful example of how you can rank perfectly with a generally nonsensical text written for search engines.
Also read the "unidirectional fairy tale" entitled "The Search Engine Robot and the Web Designer" by Woodshed. This also shows very well how search engines "tick".
Ranking factor PageRank
In our article "What happened to PageRank?", we explain PageRank. It used to play an enormous role. Today it still does. But the Google PageRank is no longer publicly visible.
Number of ranking factors
The number of ranking factors is several hundred, both in the past and today. Very few of them are known. And some of them were once known and are now kept "secret" for good reasons.
Number of links pointing to the page from other pages (has something to do with PageRank)
In general, the more relevant other websites link to your page with a follow link, the better your ranking will be. In turn, certain requirements must be met by the pages that link to your page. You should absolutely observe these! There are also backlinks that can negatively infect your page. Like a virus! And we all really have enough of that and don't need it. In such a case, your website would become "sick" and be "banned" by the search engines.
So which ranking factors are really important?
You are probably asking yourself now, how can you still do SEO at all if everything is secret?
We are now orienting ourselves to the ranking factor "content", the importance of which is constantly increasing
The ranking factor that has never lost importance is the content of a website. On the contrary, content has become much more important in recent years!
For us, "content" is the all-embracing and important ranking factor. This is true even in the age of Core Web Vitals.
What is meant by content?
The "content" of a website is, of course, the content of the website. The content must be interesting for people and provide an informative added value. If this is the case, then people will visit the website repeatedly and some will even bookmark the page. Under these circumstances, a good ranking is guaranteed. Now this reads very simple. But it is not that simple.
How do you produce good content?
The question of how to produce good content is a good one. There is probably no question that is not answered in many different places on the internet these days. The internet has become our all-encompassing reference book. So: how do you produce good content now?
We agree: we don't have to create, and certainly not optimize, content that isn't being searched for. For example, if you are a provider of workwear, you should not necessarily use the keyword "workwear". The keyword "workwear" currently has a monthly search volume of over 24,000, while the keyword "workwear" in German-speaking countries has a volume of around 2,500. So if you are a seller of workwear, you should also use this keyword in German-speaking countries.
We have an idea for a content. We then use a professional tool to check whether this content is even being searched for. With this tool, we also see the probability with which it can succeed in obtaining a "good" positioning. Good content is content that users visit repeatedly and, in the best case, "bookmark". Good content is content that is unique and that responds to users' questions.
SEO and the probabilities
SEO is all about probabilities, mathematically speaking. When we start producing content for a keyword, we can give absolutely no guarantee that the page will ultimately rank for that keyword. The reason: the search engines can change the criteria (algorithms) from one day to the next, a competitor is more aggressive than we are and many other reasons are conceivable why our efforts are not successful. So we should not be tempted to produce content for the search engines, but content for the people who are looking for it.
SEO is also a question of money / costs
Even if you can't buy a good ranking. But you can buy relevant backlinks. By this we absolutely do NOT mean the backlink selling exchanges. We mean publications about your site from sites that are interesting for the search engines.
OffPage SEO through press relations
Let's assume you are online with a new domain. This is absolutely unknown to the search engines. By this we mean a really unknown domain. Not a domain on which a website has ever been published! And it can be assumed that it will take a very long time until your site is registered.
A good way to get a very high-quality backlink in such a case is, for example, to publish a press release in a highly popular magazine/newspaper. This magazine should therefore have a very high and popular profile for your topic with the search engines.
Caution: Press portals
You should be very careful with press portals. There are some that have low prices, guarantee publication on many (hundreds of) portals and magazines. In our experience, this is rather counterproductive. Cheap is not good! The distribution list of such portals often contains publishers who have a "negative status" with the search engines. This is passed on in the case of a backlink to your page and has a negative effect. Furthermore, there are portals that guarantee publication, e.g. on Handelsblatt, but under a subdomain of Handelsblatt. This is absolutely useless! You can also throw the money out the window!
Press portals - Stinginess is absolutely not cool
On the subject of press portals: Stinginess is absolutely not cool. Look for a high-quality press portal like newsaktuell. Here you can really publish your press release on very high-quality online journals. The amount of publication is not even a tenth of the amount on cheap press portals. But the price is at least 10 times as much. But so is the effect on your SEO! The effect can even be a hundredfold for a new domain. Depending on the keyword, topic and competition.
SEO, press relations and the best press portal
Based on what we have said so far, you can see that we recommend newsaktuell - and only this provider. There are other providers who are also reliable. However, they are even more cost-intensive. newsaktuell is a subsidiary of dpa. So: if you want to invest money, then there. Otherwise, we have no other recommendation for you. The costs are quite reasonable. And no, we don't get any commission from newsaktuell. We have known this provider for almost 20 years and have had good experiences with it without exception. So don't throw your money out the window if you want to rank.
SEO through other backlink activities
You can also get high-quality backlinks in other ways. Look for blogs or influencers who are willing to publish your content and provide you with a corresponding backlink. Make sure that they are "follow" backlinks! However, this could well be a very costly action.
SEO, Google and the Core Web Vitals - it's all about speed!!!
Considering the fact that website operators have wanted to outsmart search engines since the beginning. But they have always found new algorithms to prevent them from being outwitted. Since this year, Google has made the Core Web Vitals a ranking factor. In short, the user experience now plays a major role. This user experience is essentially ALSO determined by the loading speed of a website. The higher the Core Web Vitals, the higher the ranking. However, content does not lose importance! Quite the opposite!
SEO and the Content Delivery Network
We explained what a Content Delivery Network is in our article "WordPress - fast hosting with CDN". In short, with a Content Delivery Network (CDN), load-intensive parts of the website are outsourced so that the page loads faster and the user experience is increased. At the latest since the Core Web Vitals, a website operator who seriously wants to rank well can no longer ignore a CDN. A good CDN costs money. We can recommend the inexpensive CDN from wprocket. But if you choose a hosting provider like Kinsta or WPDMU it is actually even better. These hosting providers have a CDN included in the package by default.
SEO and the limits of the Content Delivery Network
A CDN cannot do everything. If you upload images directly from your smartphone to your website, then even a CDN can't help. These images then require an inordinate amount of loading time. A CDN cannot compensate for this. In general, you should not do this. So upload unprocessed images from your smartphone. But not everyone has a good compression programme for images. In this case, imagify helps.
We at PR Agentur PRO are really good at compressing images. But imagify still gets something out of it. In other words, it reduces the size of image files immensely, with almost no loss of quality. This reduces the loading time considerably. Up to a certain limit, this service is free of charge. But: please get a paid account. It's worth it and has a direct effect on your ranking.
SEO and the speed of WordPress pages
In many different places we have already reported about WordPress. WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems. It has only one drawback: the speed leaves something to be desired. We have also presented ready wprocket. Already with the installation without extra settings, the speed can be increased. In our opinion, this is the best plugin for speeding up a WordPress site. With a WordPress site, you can't avoid a CDN or a service like imagy. WordPress is known for being free. A good WordPress site that needs to be found is not free. Unless you are a sole provider of information that the whole world wants to know.
What is our "knowledge" based on, you may ask?
Yes, on what do you think? We learned from blind programmers how search engines "see" websites. Since then, the criteria have changed considerably. But the essentials we learned from the blind programmers are still relevant today. If you have a tool now and run our site through SEO optimisation, you will find that this site does not yet rank well. There are reasons for this:
- The domain is relatively new
- The blog posts we published were initially non-specific. So we didn't specialise in one topic for the blog posts from the beginning, because we wanted to do something different with this domain at the beginning.
Nevertheless, we find our keyword history remarkable. Not least because the history does not change negatively due to Google Core Updates. The history is rising steadily.
The graph shows the development of the keywords with which this page ranks in the first 10 organic search results.
At "A" (26 February 2020) we have registered the domain. At point "B" (14 June 2020) we have put content online. The blue dots are Google Core updates. Since June last year, we have created about 198 blog posts so far. As I said, the topics were initially unspecific. It is clearly visible that it took several months until we were noticed by the search engine. Fortunately, since a few weeks there has been an almost vertical increase. Even the Core Update of 17.11.21 has not diminished the positive development. After each core update, the trend remains positive.
For our clients who hire us for SEO, we achieve good to very good results. We can prove that. Sometimes we are surprised ourselves at how quickly a measure works. But the older a domain is, the higher the probability that a ranking can be influenced quickly. Our SEO portfolio is small but fine. Ask for it!
SEO - there is absolutely no guarantee!
You see. SEO depends on many factors. On factors that take place on the website itself (OnPage) and also factors that take place outside your website (OffPage, e.g. backlinks). Furthermore, it also depends on the "volatility" of the search engines - i.e. how often and to what extent they change the criteria. And you can be sure: If you have fought for/earned a good position - you will not retain it without further action. At best, you will keep this position until the next update of the search engine. But at the latest then, you will lose your position if your competitors are also very active.
SEO must be seen strategically and permanently. Otherwise, you don't even need to start with SEO.
Now back to SEO and the probability of a good ranking
So far you have not received a real answer to this question. But we hope you realise that this question cannot be answered with a simple answer. In general, it depends on how big your budget is and how many stops you can and want to pull out. Of course, we recommend pulling out all the stops. The more you are willing to do, the higher the probability of a good ranking and the more costly the whole thing will be!
We do not disclose our clients in our blog posts. However, we have good SEO references. If you can live with probabilities, then we are your SEO contact. We do not guarantee you anything. But we give absolutely comprehensible probabilities with which you can rank if necessary. Talk to us!
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 017640783890.
Let's now take a look at the costs incurred for SEO
SEO and good ranking incur different types of costs:
- Costs for the person you hire for SEO or the SEO agency
- Costs for good hosting
- Costs for a CDN
- Costs for "external" image compression, e.g. imagify
- Costs for high-quality external backlinks, e.g. via a high-quality press portal
Conclusion: Operate "honest SEO
If you want to rank better, then do "honest SEO". Even if we wrote that SEO is a cost issue - which it is. With enough patience and time, but a low budget, it is possible to achieve good positions. By honest SEO, we don't mean outwitting anything - and certainly not search engines. Any kind of outsmarting could lead to you being completely excluded from the index. Then even the best and most expensive website is of no use. The lower your budget, the more patient you have to be. You then spend the costs not only for the SEO, which the agency does, but also for the technology and for external service providers such as high-quality press portals. The latter take up the largest part of the costs.
Read also our other articles on the topic: