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Companies keep asking me whether I can optimize their websites for search engines. Recently, I have noticed that it is almost always the same measures that need to be taken. In the following article, I therefore present the most common optimization options.

1. no clear keyword focus

One point that always surprises me is that there is no clear Keyword strategy exists. Rather, landing pages are created without considering whether the specified content is searched for at all and, if it is searched for, how often the search queries are triggered per month. Of course there are subpages, such as the FAQ & contact page, which are created for the user experience and not primarily for the search engines. However, a clear keyword strategy is required at the latest when it comes to what content is described in your own blog or how the category pages are structured. The keywords should be analyzed according to the monthly search volume, the competition and the search intention. For product category pages, the focus is on transaction-oriented keywords (e.g. "iPhone 7 Vodafone contract"). Blog posts, on the other hand, are best suited to answering information-oriented search queries (e.g. "How can you cancel your Vodafone contract?"). Therefore, when creating each new subpage, the focus should be placed on a specific topic in order to be able to rank with the respective page.

2. long loading times

Another often neglected and for me incomprehensible point is the loading time of the website. Although every website operator knows the importance of short loading times, in most cases the loading time of a website is neglected. I repeatedly optimize websites with loading times of > 5 seconds and a website size of > 6 MB. In some cases, the website size is even > 20MB. Especially in today's world, where the share of mobile traffic is more than 50%, long loading times for pure online players are incomprehensible. In most cases, it is sufficient to compress the existing images and load them downstream. You can find out how I optimized the loading time of my website to less than one second here here.

3. missing SSL certificate

SSL certificates are used to encrypt the communication of data that is exchanged between the end device and the server. In 2014, Google announced that SSL-supported websites have a ranking advantage over websites that do not use an SSL certificate. However, an SSL certificate not only has a positive effect on Google rankings, its importance as a trust symbol for customers and users should not be underestimated. Especially when it comes to creating a new website, an SSL certificate should be implemented right from the start.

4. 404 error

A 404 error is a status code that indicates that the requested page or file (image, PDF, etc.) cannot be reached. There are numerous reasons why 404 errors occur. Online stores often have special offers that are limited in time. After the offer expires, the page is often removed, resulting in a 404 error. In most cases, 404 errors occur when links are not adjusted after a URL design. Not only Google does not like 404 errors, but also the visitors of a website, which is why all 404 errors should be corrected.

5. title tag & meta description not optimized 

Before a visitor lands on a website via the organic search results, title tags and meta descriptions are displayed. The meta description and the title tag serve to inform the searcher about the respective website content and to convince them to click on the search result. Although everyone searches the internet and knows the snippets in the search results, many webmasters miss the opportunity to make their own meta descriptions and title tags attractive and informative. Optimized title tags and meta descriptions are hygiene factors that must be fulfilled before thinking about other optimization options.

6. missing ALT attributes for images

Purely text-based websites no longer exist. Websites today contain images, videos and other content. It goes without saying that this content must also be taken into account in search engine optimization. Especially in online stores, there is a disproportionate use of images. ALT attributes should be used so that search engines recognize the content of images. Website operators use ALT attributes to explain the content of images to search engines. Many website operators are not aware of this, so ALT attributes are usually not filled in, leaving a lot of room for optimization.

The 6 points mentioned above are my personal observations. If website operators follow these optimization options, they are already better positioned than most of their competitors without professional SEO experts.

Tobias Dziuba

My name is Tobias and I am the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Adsmasters GmbH based in Düsseldorf.

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