13 SEO basics that will still work in 2023

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an indispensable part of online marketing! It is considered THE key to success, because it is an effective means to draw the attention of consumers to your company. With the right SEO measures, it is possible for you to ...

  • improve the ranking of your website on Google, Yahoo and other search engines,

  • generate more leads,

  • Increase your sales,

  • attract more readers to your blog,

  • and any other individual goal with your website.

What is interesting among all SEO measures is that you do not have to reinvent the SEO wheel, because in 2023 the classic SEO basics still set the tone. These are the basics that have been known for many years. So this is what the SEO measures 2023 demand from you: No miracle cures and new super tricks for ranking improvement, but the disciplined adherence to the basics! For this reason, I have dealt intensively with the SEO basics for 2023 in the following article and collected all relevant information.

With the following tips and instructions I refresh your SEO basic knowledge. I will show you which SEO measures are necessary so that you stand out from the competition and achieve your individual goals with your website. With the help of the SEO basics explained in this article, it is possible for you as a beginner as well as a professional to realize your professional and private SEO goals. Let's go!

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For your web success: 13 SEO basics for 2023

There is no denying that Google regularly updates and changes its algorithm, but the core of search engine optimization remains the same. The situation is similar for the operators of other search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing.

As part of the updates and changes, the previous SEO principles are not turned upside down, but merely get a "modern twist"; moreover, the focus of SEO has shifted to the user experience (UX) in recent years.

If you apply the basics of search engine optimization, your products, services and web content will certainly find themselves in the spotlight of the World Wide Web over time. The following 13 sections will deal with this basics, the SEO basics for 2023. These basics are a concrete guide for all people who want to give their business and website the long-awaited upgrade in 2023.

Here is an overview of the aspects to which the 13 SEO basics relate:

  • Page structure

  • URLs

  • Technical ranking factors

  • Title tag and meta description

  • Keywords

  • Content

  • Loosening up the texts

  • Images

  • Backlinks

  • Brand authority

  • Innovations

  • Page Experience

  • Videos

Even if you are already familiar with some of the aspects, I recommend that you read the following topics carefully. You are sure to find suitable tips at one point or another.

If you are not yet familiar with the subject of search engine optimization and would like to learn more general information, then read our general knowledge sections on search engine optimization before studying the 13 SEO basics for 2023. [Attention: Insert jump mark to H2 "What is SEO?"]. through.

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#1: A good page structure is a must

Icon for website settings, shown as a cogwheel in a computer monitor.

As the saying goes, "The eye eats with you." What applies to food can be applied to websites: a website with a proper structure is easier to use and appears more visually appealing. A good site structure is also a ranking criterion for search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.).

A good navigation structure increases the user's motivation to spend a long time on the website. This reduces the risk of high bounce rates. At the same time, the probability of winning the user as a regular reader of the blog or persuading him to make a purchase in the online store increases.

How to achieve a good page structure? For this, among other things, the following SEO basics 2023.

  • Creating an easy-to-understand navigation: All pages on the website should be accessible via internal links with as few clicks as possible.

  • Establish a hierarchical structure: link the individual pages in the menu and in texts in such a way that a meaningful hierarchy is created and users can navigate from general to specific content.

  • Prioritize pages: Important subpages of the website should be accessible from the home page. This makes these pages more visible to users and search engines.

  • Brevity is the key: Use concise and precise text links. This makes it easier for users to find their way around. Search engine crawlers also have an easier time with shorter text links.

#2: Speaking URLs following the page structure

A good URL provides users and search engines with a clue as to what topic is covered on the target page. For this reason, it is advisable to use URLs that are short and understandable. Implementing the main keyword in the URL is the key. The keyword can be fleshed out with useful details.

General example: example-url.com/main-keyword/additional-keyword

For a concrete example, assume that a website is operated for the sale of jewelry. In the store, a separate category page is created for "bracelets", which has the topic or main keyword "bracelets". A secondary keyword for which a subpage with corresponding products is written is "bracelet white gold". So the following URL would be a good example:

schmuck.de/Armbaender/Whitegold [Attention: Do not insert as link, otherwise you will get a broken link to schmuck.de].

Avoid special characters, umlauts and spaces in URLs. Replace umlauts with "ae" (for "ä"), "oe" (for "ö") and "ue" (for "ü"). Hyphens are an easy way to replace spaces and join words. The slashes in URLs - i.e. "/" - are used to clarify the hierarchy of the pages.

  • After the home page, there is a slash that separates the main keyword or topic of the home page from the main keywords and topics of the category pages. Example: schmuck.de/Armbaender [Attention: Do not insert as link, otherwise you will get a broken link to schmuck.de].

  • The category pages, which are subordinate to the home page, are followed by other sub-pages on many websites. These are the second-order subpages. Here comes another slash, which separates the topic or main keyword of these subpages from the parent page: schmuck.de/Armbaender/Weißgold [Attention: Do not insert as link, otherwise you will get a broken link to schmuck.de].

  • So it goes on and on with the designation of the URLs, so that the page structure from tip #1 of the 13 SEO basics is ideally reflected in the URLs. In this way a very good URL structure with speaking URLs.

Stylized icon of a computer monitor with the word "TITLE" and three lines underneath, symbolizing text on a screen.

#3: Optimization of technical factors

An important ranking factor for the Google algorithm and the users is the loading time of the accessed page (Page Speed). If the content is not readable within a fraction of a second, there is a deficit in page speed. The longer the waiting time, the higher the probability that users will leave the website and visit the competition.

Various SEO tools can be used to measure the loading time. Several measures come into question for a load time optimization, the necessity of which is determined in an SEO test. Three examples of how a load time optimization could be accomplished are:

  • Acquisition of a security certificate for the website

  • Use of a small number of plugins

  • Compression of media elements

In addition to page speed, responsiveness is a key factor in technical SEO. All pages and content on websites should be readable on smaller devices. The majority of users nowadays perform mobile searches on smartphones and tablets, so mobile optimization is an absolute core criterion for the success of a website.

Whether on the bus, on the train, at work, at sports or at university: mobile search is high on the agenda! Consequently, the mobile-friendly design of the website is the be-all and end-all for every website operator. For such a design, it is important to either use responsive templates from the outset for WordPress, Joomla and other content management systems or to have the existing website designed responsively by an IT specialist.

#4: Optimize title tag and meta description

  • The SERP snippet is composed of the title tag (also incorrectly called "meta title") and the meta description.

  • "SERP" stands for "Search Engine Result Page", which means "search engine results page" in German.

  • "Snippet" means "snippet."

The SERP snippet with the title tag and the meta description is the users' shop window to the website, so to speak. If both meta data are well designed, they arouse the interest of the users and increase the click rate on the corresponding page. The Google snippet should contain relevant keywords and give the visitor a taste of the page's content. You can check the maximum lengths for title tag and meta description, which you should not exceed, with the SERP generator from Sistrix.

[insert "Attention" infobox]: Although the point of designing meta data is to attract users to your site, you should never lure them with false promises. This is most likely to disappoint users' expectations and make your business look bad. Since Google's Helpful Content Update at the end of 2022, there is even a risk that the website will be penalized if users are presented with misleading content.

#5: Keyword research and strategy

With the help of keywords, search engines are able to match the pages to the search queries. The texts of your website should be peppered with the most important keywords. To find out for which keywords you should create pages and write texts, you conduct a keyword research and identify the terms that are relevant for your target group. During the research you choose a main keyword, which is intended as the topic of the page. Starting from this main keyword, you find the other subordinate terms as secondary keywords.

After the keyword research, you create the pages and insert the keywords into your content: It is especially important to include the main keyword in the title tag, in the H1 heading, in the URL, in some subheadings, in the first paragraph of your text and several times in the body text. Secondary keywords should also be included, whereby some of the subheadings and the body text are suitable for inclusion.

Sometimes secondary keywords have such a high search volume that it is worth writing separate subpages for the secondary keywords and using these secondary keywords on the subpages as main keywords. By the way, this is how the page structures of websites are created: By analyzing the keyword potentials and realizing for which topics or keywords separate pages should be created.

[Insert infobox "Attention"]: While in earlier days keyword stuffing was used and in the course of this as many keywords as possible were used in texts, nowadays such practices are penalized by Google.

#6: Good content with added value

Users want to read texts that will help them with their request as soon as possible. This concern can be solving a problem (How do I make a certain type of document?), finding a good product (What should I look for when buying this product?) or other.

The content that helps the user most quickly and accurately with the respective topic is recognized by search engines today better than ever before. With Featured Snippets, Rich Snippets and a variety of other features, Google ensures that value-added content is already displayed in Google search results, without the user having to visit the website to find out anything useful.

In order to meet the high requirements of Google search and other search engines, and also to satisfy users, you are best advised to publish only high-quality content on your website. It should be unique content, with advice, tips and information that is helpful and informative. Research the 5-10 best ranked websites for the main keyword and see what the competition is doing right, and publish your own texts on your website that exceed the content quality of the competition - that's what your strategy can look like!

In order to maintain the ranking within the search engine, regular updates of the web pages are also useful. Therefore, always check your texts and other content for topicality, correctness and potential for improvement.

#7: Headline structure and other elements to liven things up

Good content that outperforms the content of the competition in terms of quality is not the only thing that matters in content marketing. It is also necessary to take to heart that the texts are well structured and clearly arranged. In accordance with the aforementioned motto "The eye eats with you." the user does not want to fight a huge wall of text on the page, but rather consume an easily readable article.

You can achieve an easy-to-read article first and foremost by using a clear headline structure that divides the article or topic into several subtopics. In this way, you also clarify the common thread of the article. Bulleted lists, tables, images and videos are also appealing and encourage reading. Bold markings are also welcome, although it should be noted that bold markings should be used in no more than every fifth line.

Furthermore, it is easy to add links to the content in WordPress or similar content management systems. Internal links ensure that visitors are directed to another page that provides further information. For example, if you introduce a sub-topic in an article that you explain in more detail on a page of your website, you can be brief in this article by mentioning only a few sentences about the sub-topic and linking to the other page for more detailed information.

#8: Optimization measures for images

Images enhance texts and websites in general. They breathe life into the content and attract the eye. In the context of SEO, it must be taken into account that media elements such as images must be prepared for search engines.Keep the following in mind when optimizing your images:

  • Choose the image name appropriately.

  • Integrate the main keyword into the title of the image.

  • The alt tag conveys the media content to visually impaired people using voice browser. Describe the image with a few words in the alt tag as accurately as possible.

  • The file size should not exceed the 200 KB limit.

  • Include only royalty-free images.

[insert info box]: Image optimization is a potential you should exploit - even if it won't improve your ranking overnight.

#9: Backlinks with quality

SEO efforts must not only revolve around content, structural and technical improvements on one's own website. Outside your own website there is a potential that is also one of the most important SEO measures of all: backlinks. These are part of the off-page optimization, because you get backlinks from other websites. So it's an SEO measure that you can't do on your own website, but that you get from other websites.

Backlinks are more or less recommendations: A third-party website operator places a link to one of your pages on one of his pages because he considers the content on your page to be helpful and good. Links like this are noticed by the search engines, whereupon they also assume that your page is particularly helpful - your chances of a good ranking increase.

The more links from other websites point to different pages of yours, the more likely the links will have a positive effect on your entire website. The external links create trust and are an indicator for Google of the competence of your website. You will benefit most from links that come from websites with high authority. Links from website owners whose website can only be found on the 20th page of Google search are better than nothing as a link provider, but a significant effect on SEO cannot be assumed here.

[insert "Attention" infobox]: Some website owners don't feel like building backlinks organically and buy links. If Google notices this, the affected page or even the entire website is penalized.

#10: Establish and successively expand brand authority

In the SEO field, much revolves around brand authority. If you stick to the SEO basics, you'll rise in the rankings and gradually gain the trust of your clientele. The wheel of success then sets in, because as traffic increases, your brand becomes increasingly well known: The moment users type your brand name into Google search and don't come across your company in a roundabout way is the moment search engine algorithms start to see your brand as an authority.

To build and expand brand authority, follow the 13 SEO basics for 2023 presented here, which will help you make your brand better known. In addition, it makes sense that you take further measures for brand authority:

  • In social media marketing, you can build your own profile, gain followers, and link to your website from your profile. You can also hire influencers to promote your brand and link to your website.

  • With Google My Business, you enter your company with an address, telephone number and, if necessary, other details. This way, Google - and other search engines with their business functions - recognize your company as an independent brand. If users perform a local Google search, they will be shown companies in the vicinity, which could soon include your company...

  • Search engine advertising: In addition to search engine optimization (SEO), search engine advertising(SEA) is another method for increasing visibility in search results. Here you place paid advertising to be displayed in the search engine results above the organic rankings. Although SEA does not directly contribute to the optimization of your organic rankings, it may do so in a roundabout way, because thanks to the increasing traffic - through advertising - you gain more awareness, visibility, traffic and brand authority.

#11: Responding to innovations

Society is in a constant state of flux, because technical progress does not stand still. New trends are constantly flooding the market and innovations are revolutionizing the usual way of doing things. It is true that the same SEO basics that were important years ago are still of utmost importance in 2023. Nevertheless, you should always take a look at the current developments and changes to meet the demands and interests of the clientele.

The SERPs serve as a reference point:

  1. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and go in search of exciting topics.

  2. Take a look at the competition and have a special eye on the top 5 websites in Google search results.

  3. If you find out why exactly these websites occupy the top positions, then you have discovered the recipe for success and can make adjustments to your website in order to surpass the quality of the competitor websites. This will improve the ranking of your website.

#12: Provide users with an experience through good page experience

User experience has been a top priority for Google at least since the Page Experience Update. It states that pages are to be adapted to the needs of the visitors . A clear structure, an appealing design and also content tailored to the target group are just some of the buzzwords in connection with the user experience. On February 2022, Page Experience was extended from mobile to desktop.

You should attach importance to these points:

  • HTTPs

  • FID

  • Optimization for mobile devices

  • CLS

  • LCP

  • Avoid interstitials

#13: Video content as the new secret weapon

The integration of images has become a standard part of content marketing and SEO. The integration of video content is also nothing too new: Already several years ago, many affiliate marketers and other Internet entrepreneurs made an effort not only to sell products, but also to provide their customers here and there with a helpful video tutorial on the product.

Recent findings indicate that more and more users prefer to watch a video rather than read a text. While embedding YouTube videos is better than not providing videos at all, all signs point to the fact that in the next few years the popularity of videos will increase so much that it will be worthwhile for many entrepreneurs and website owners to invest in creating their own videos.

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What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO), like e-mail marketing and social media marketing, is part of online marketing. Unlike the other two disciplines, SEO deals with ways and means of positively influencing the placement of websites in search engine results.

Over the years, search engine operators have developed their own algorithm to determine the order of search results. The best known and most important in the European area is the search engine Google. The Google algorithm is a well-kept secret, but Google is open with tips on how to improve website rankings and website owners have plenty of opportunities to improve website rankings through their own SEO measures.

How exactly does search engine optimization work?

When search queries are started, search engines focus on the words (keywords) entered in the search mask. These keywords serve as a starting point for understanding the user's search intention. With the support of independently programmed crawlers, the search engines comb through various pages for the appropriate keyword.

Pages with suitable content - depending on their relevance, quality and other ranking factors - are displayed in the search results (SERPs; Engl. Search Engine Result Pages). The positioning of the pages from position 1 down to the last position is determined by the algorithm of the search engine, which is based on ranking factors.

Overview of some ranking factors

Ranking factors include technical and content aspects of each page examined. Here is a brief overview of some of the factors:

  • OnPage optimization: website structure, keyword implementation, metadata integration, and more.

  • OffPage optimization: collecting backlinks, registration at Google My Business, and others

  • Technical SEO: improvement of page loading speed, no broken links, regular updates, etc.

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Why is SEO so important?

While people used to pick up the Yellow Pages, search through libraries or seek help from friends and family members, today's consumers have a much simpler and more reliable source of information: the Internet. Thanks to search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and the like, all websites can be browsed for relevant data in a matter of seconds. This makes it possible to locate the nearest restaurant, compare prices, order that urgently needed washing machine, or use DIY instructions for the next gardening project - to name just a few examples.

But the World Wide Web is not only very useful for consumers. For companies, the Internet is the place where the majority of the target group can be found. So if you understand how search engines work, you can take advantage of search engine optimization to lead customers specifically to your website. Since Google accounts for about 75 percent of the international market share and 90 percent of the German market share, it makes sense to focus on this search engine.

Even though companies are often mentioned in connection with SEO, SEO is just as important a discipline for sole proprietors, private bloggers and numerous other website owners: A good blog post that inspires readers. A product sale through the affiliate site. A new supporter for a political initiative. - All this and much more is best achieved by constantly working on the SEO of one's own website.

The problem

In the Federal Republic of Germany, more than three million companies were subject to tax in 2022. These strive to increase their own level of awareness in order to bring their products and services more strongly to the clientele. However, with the extensive range of products and services on offer with plenty of competition, it is difficult to attract the attention of customers on the Internet.

The solution

Consistently implemented SEO measures help your company to stand out from the crowd of providers and to move your website into the focus of users. Search engine optimization actively supports you in the following areas:

  • Visibility: With the right SEO strategy, your company will be placed prominently in Google search. Since users usually only look at the top search results, a placement in the top 3 should be your goal.

  • Traffic: High visibility also increases the number of visitors to your website. You generate more traffic.

  • Constancy: The flow of visitors does not decrease with well-designed SEO measures.

  • Sales: The higher the number of visitors, the greater the likelihood of conversions. Of course, your content and the page structure must be right for this.

How do the search engines work?

Search engines have built up a dense network of data over the past decades. With the help of crawlers, the Internet is regularly searched for information. The systems of hardware and software visit various websites and meander through the virtual jungle by means of links. Relevant information is transferred to the index, which spits out relevant search results in the course of a search query.

The order of the search results is based on a developed algorithm that determines the weighting of the SERPs. The website that meets the most criteria ends up in first place in the search results. Factors that influence the ranking are, for example, keywords, backlinks and the user experience of the website.

In general, all search engines use the same strategy: Based on the search intention, suitable results are delivered. However, Google is considered the absolute top dog in German-speaking countries and dominates the virtual search, so that in the course of SEO often only the search engine Google is mentioned. If you want to be successful within the national borders, you should pay more attention to the requirements of Google.

In addition to the classic ranking factors, Google has been focusing on the mobile-friendliness of pages since the Panda update in 2011. Accordingly, platforms, portals and all other types of websites should be designed in such a way that they are responsive and surfing with mobile devices is not a problem.

For whom is search engine optimization (SEO) worthwhile?

Although search engine optimization in online marketing is undoubtedly a powerful tool, I would like to point out that not all industries, companies and website owners benefit equally from the SEO measures taken. The SEO is worthwhile especially in the following areas.

  • E-commerce: online stores, sales platforms, affiliate websites

  • Services in the upper price segment: agencies, medical practices, real estate agents, coaches, lawyers, etc.

  • Modern B2B sector: software, consulting, etc.

  • Local businesses: Craftsmen, hairdressers, regional merchants

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