What is important to consider when working with SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is about improving the ranking of a website in search engine results. There are a number of factors that are important to consider when working with SEO:
- Optimize the website for relevant keywords and phrases
- Have a good technical structure and navigation
- Have high quality content that is relevant to searches
- Think about how the website is perceived by search engines and whether it is easy to crawl and index
- Measure and track SEO progress to see what's working and what might need tweaking
By focusing on these factors, you can increase the possibility of improving the ranking of your website in search results and thus also attract more visitors and generate sales or leads.
Google has produced a short, easy-to-understand video explaining how Google indexes and ranks websites. Watch the video before reading on in this SEO guide if you don't already have a basic understanding of SEO.
If you want a deeper insight into SEO than this guide can give you, you can get a copy of our new SEO book. In over 100 pages, the book gives you a solid insight into what it takes to succeed with SEO.
SEO mistakes to avoid: 5 common misconceptions
There are many pitfalls when working with SEO. Some of the most common misconceptions and mistakes you can make are:
- Thinking that SEO is not important: Many people mistakenly believe that SEO is not that important anymore, because many search engines today also take other factors into account when ranking websites in search results. But while this is true in some cases, SEO is still an important factor that can have a big impact on how well your website performs in search results.
- Focusing too much on keywords: It's important to choose relevant keywords and phrases to optimise your website for, but it's also important to remember that the content on the website needs to be high quality and relevant to searches. If you focus too much on keywords and forget to think about content and usability, you risk scaring away your visitors and having a negative effect on your ranking in search results. That's why you should always remember to balance keyword optimisation and content quality.
- Overdoing keyword optimisation: it's important to incorporate keywords and phrases naturally into the content of your website, but if you overdo it and fill the content with too many keywords, it can seem unreliable and contrived. This can have a negative effect on your ranking in search results.
- Ignoring technical SEO: It's not just the content on your website that affects your ranking in search results. Technical things like website structure, navigation, speed and so on also matter. Ignoring these things can affect your website's ranking.
- Not following up on results: it's important to measure and track progress with SEO to see what's working and what might need tweaking. If you don't track results, you won't be able to see if your SEO efforts are having the desired effect, nor will you be able to make the necessary adjustments.
By avoiding these common misconceptions and mistakes, you'll be on your way to optimising your website and improving its ranking in search results. Remember that SEO is an ongoing process, so always be measuring and tracking progress, and don't be afraid to adjust your strategy if needed. SEO can be a challenging discipline, but with the right knowledge and effort you can see positive results and attract more visitors to your website.
The 8 steps to SEO success
In simple terms, a successful SEO effort can be summarised in eight steps, which are closely linked to the four areas of action shown in the diagram below. Below, I have prepared a results-generating 8-step SEO action plan that you can use as a starting point for your company's SEO efforts.
The action plan should be tailored to your business, based on initial analysis, so that you use your resources where they are most needed. For example, you may have a strong technical foundation but lack relevant content that needs to be prioritised above all else.
1. Make a technical analysis (month 1)
Google automatically indexes your website, which means that Google automatically collects information from the website in order to display it in search results. However, there may be technical issues that prevent Google from indexing your website optimally.
Make a technical analysis and correct any errors. An easy shortcut - if your ambition level is not high - is to search for site:ditwebsite.dk on Google. Google then returns all indexed pages on your website. If the number matches the actual number of pages, you know that Google can index your pages.
Then search for selected text fragments from your website written in quotes. If Google can find the text snippets, you know that Google can index your content. If Google can index your pages and content, the basic technical foundation is in place - but that doesn't rule out optimisation opportunities.
2. Do a keyword analysis (month 1)
The foundation of successful SEO is knowing your target audience's Google search habits. Both because it provides knowledge about what content can attract and engage your audience, and because it provides knowledge about what content holds the greatest economic potential.
Make a keyword analysis. The analysis results in a list of business-relevant keywords. For each keyword, the analysis shows what is most searched for (i.e. what content can attract the most potential customers to your website) and what your current visibility is (i.e. where you have a strong foundation).
There is no easy shortcut to keyword analysis. Writing content blindly without a solid understanding of your target audience is like throwing money out the window.
3. Choose your areas of focus (month 2)
The task of making your website visible on the keywords in the keyword analysis starts with a grouping of the keywords on a number landing pages. A landing page is a page on your website that is optimised for one or more related keywords. In some cases you probably have a relevant page already that you can work on, and in other cases the keywords require the creation of a new page.
One landing page can be optimised against multiple keywords if the keywords are related (for example, 'paleo', 'paleo food' and 'stone age food'). If the keywords are not related (e.g. 'company cars', 'family cars' and 'airbags'), you will get more out of optimising an individual landing page for each keyword.
Choose a limited number of landing pages to work with, so you have the resources to work on content, links and user signals. Choose pages based on three criteria:
- It is realistic for you to achieve keyword visibility.
- The keywords have a high search volume, i.e. can generate traffic to the page.
- It's valuable for your business that your target audience sees the site.
4. Write titles and descriptions for the pages (month 2)
Write a title tag and a meta description for each landing page. A title tag is a short headline that appears as a blue link on Google. A meta description is a short description that appears below the title. Read more about title tags and meta descriptions.
The title and description should summarise and create interest in the content of the page. They have a big impact on the page's ranking on Google and on the click-through rate, i.e. on how much of the users on Google click on your website.
5. Write texts for the pages (ongoing)
Write a text for each landing page. As a general rule, the text should be longer than the text your competitors have on their corresponding landing pages. Do a Google search for the main keyword you are optimising the landing page for to find out how long the text is on your competitors' landing pages.
The text on the landing page should be written using the keyword(s) you have associated with that landing page. A 500-word text should contain the main keyword 8-12 times and related keywords 1-6 times. A 1,000-word text should contain the keywords a few more times.
The main keyword must be included in the text main heading. Include keywords in a natural way, and use conjugations and synonyms as needed. On product pages, the body text can usefully include information on the physical characteristics of the product (size, shape, materials, colours, design, etc.).
6. Get people to link to the pages (ongoing)
The most important factor in how high landing pages rank in search results is the quantity and quality of linkspointing to the sides. An inbound link can be seen as a recommendation of your website, and links therefore give Google a strong indication of how good and relevant the pages are.
Build links to the pages our link building guide. In the past, the goal was to get as many inbound links as possible, but this approach to link building has little or no value now. Instead, you need to focus on getting links from relevant pages that are thematically similar to the pages you want to build links to.
Links can be built through guest blogging, outreach to networks and industry associations, outreach to partners (manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, etc.), sponsorship, press releases and content marketing.
7. Optimize user signals (ongoing)
User signals is a term for the behavioural patterns on your website that are part of Google's ranking criteria, i.e. that Google uses to determine the website's position in search results. This can include both user behaviour on the website itself and user interaction with your website on Google.
For example, if a user clicks on your website on Google, but returns shortly afterwards and clicks on another website, this is a clear indication to Google that your website is not relevant to the user on that particular search - and if many users have the same behaviour, your website will be ranked lower.
Optimise user behaviour on your website with our guide on user signals. The optimisation will typically include a mix of conversion optimisation and content optimisation, including optimising title tags and meta descriptions - in order to improve, among other things click rates, session duration and rejection rate.
8. Evaluate the work (ongoing)
Follow up on efforts and evaluate whether your actions are having the desired effect. If you don't do ongoing evaluation, you have no way of knowing whether you are spending your time and money wisely. Remember that SEO is a long-term process and you can only make a reasonable assessment of your work after at least six months.
The evaluation should be based on the measurement points and objectives of the strategy you defined in the initial phase. The evaluation may cover financial, tactical and operational objectives, and the objectives should be adjusted as necessary to ensure that they are always achievable and realistic.
If you work with an SEO agency, you should require monthly evaluation of both deliverables and results achieved. Good tools for evaluation are Google Search Console and SEMrush. Read more about evaluation of SEO.
Podcast about SEO
Listen to the podcast where our SEO specialist Henning Madsen meets Leif Carlsen from Social Selling Company for a chat about SEO at a level where everyone can participate - in the hope of inspiring you to work with SEO so that more of your potential customers see you and your business on Google.
The largest search engine in the Danish market is Google with a market share of 95 % according to StatCounter. Search engine optimisation is therefore in practice Google optimizationand the process of optimising a website is based on Google's evaluation criteria.
The same trend holds true in most of Europe, Africa, Asia and South America - with few exceptions. In China, Baidu has a market share of 73 %, and in Russia Yandex has a market share of 49 %. In North America, Google has a market share of 90 %, while Bing has around 9 % (Microsoft, the company behind Bing, claims a market share of 33 %).
If you compare the search results on Google and Bing, you will notice that they are different. In other words, the search engines' rating criteria are not identical. However, the correlation between the criteria is high and it hardly pays to optimise a website separately against Bing, given the search engine's small market share.
Other types of search engines
In addition to traditional search engines, there are a number of niche search engines based on different types of niche content. For example, Google offers Google Images, Google Videos, Google Maps, Google News, Google Books and Google Scholar.
Search engine optimisation can target these niche search engines - Google Images and Google Maps can be particularly interesting - although the potential is typically much smaller than on traditional search engines, where the majority of users are located.
In addition, there are many other types of commercial search engines, such as YouTube (videos), Amazon (products), PriceRunner (product comparisons), Trivago (hotels) and Bilbasen (car dealers). There are ways to optimise visibility on such search engines, but it is beyond the scope of this book to go into detail.
A distinction is made between organic search results and paid search results. Organic search results (also called SEO results) are the actual search results. These are typically text-based, but may be supplemented by a small image, a rating (in the form of yellow stars) and other keyword information.
Paid search results are ads - the search engines' economic livelihood - that can be bought through Google Ads and Bing Ads. Paid results can take the form of text ads and image ads (so-called shopping ads) as shown in the image below.
Google displays paid search results above and below organic search results for commercial searches. Google also displays ads in Google Images and Google Maps. Much the same applies to the Bing search engine, which has a slightly different layout.
When you work with SEO, you work exclusively with the organic results. Many supplement this with the purchase of paid search results, because this maximises visibility and often improves cost-effectiveness (more on this at the end of the next chapter).
Positions and click rates
Your position (ranking) in search results has a great impact on click rates, i.e. the percentage of searchers who click through to your website. We have analysed 11.39 million Danish Google searches across 5,828 different keywords to find the average click-through rate for each position on Google. Positions 1-10 are search results on page 1.
According to the analysis, which mirrors foreign analyses of the same kind, the majority of Google users click on positions 1 to 5 (the top five search results). In other words, the value is at the top of Google - an improvement from position 2 to 1 brings on average over five times more visitors to the website than an improvement from position 20 to 5!
This does not mean that you should always go all out to achieve position 1 in a given search. In many cases, the competition is so high that it will require an inappropriate amount of SEO resources, and so the return on investment is likely to be greater if you focus on the lower positions - or focus on achieving a good position on a less competitive search.
As a side note, it is possible to obtain multiple positions on the same search, but this usually only occurs for so-called branded keywords (i.e. keywords that include your company name or one of your product names) and for keywords with very low competition.
SEO tools you won't want to do without: a list of the best free and paid tools
There are a host of tools you can use to work with SEO. Some of them are free, while others are paid. Below is a list of some of the best tools you can't do without:
- Google Search Console: This free tool from Google gives you insight into how your website is performing in search results and helps you identify any issues that could be affecting your rankings.
- SEMrush: This is a paid tool that gives you insight into how your website is performing against your competitors. You can see what keywords your competitors rank for, what backlinks they have, and much more.
- Ahrefs: This is another paid tool that gives you insight into your own and your competitors' backlinks. You can see which websites link to you and which keywords these backlinks contribute to.
See the complete list of these tools here
SEO requires patience and dedication to see results
There are no quick fixes or shortcuts when it comes to SEO, and it's important to remember that results don't come overnight. It is therefore important to be persistent and continuously work on improving your SEO strategy. It can also be a good idea to keep up to date with the latest trends and developments in the SEO world, as this can help you optimise your website and get the best results.
Frequently asked questions about SEO
What does SEO mean?
SEO is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization. It is a term for all work aimed at increasing a website's visibility in search results, mainly on Google.
What are the tasks of SEO?
SEO consists of four areas: technology (the technical platform behind the website), content (the content on the website), links (inbound links to the website) and user signals (the behaviour of visitors on the website).
How long does SEO take?
SEO is an ongoing and long-term work process. In our experience, the profitability of SEO is greatest if the work is carried out over a period of at least 12 months.
Why is SEO important?
According to a study by FDIH, 8 out of 10 Danes start a planned purchase by searching for information on Google, and in 2019, the total Danish online trade turned over DKK 146 billion, according to Dansk Erhverv. Danes search Google over 8 million times - every single day.
What does SEO cost?
Most Danish SEO agencies charge a fixed price per month. Prices range from anything between DKK 1,000 per month up to full-time salaries or more. Read more about the cost of SEO.
What skills does SEO require?
A targeted SEO effort can involve everything from managers (to set direction and framework), web developers (for technical optimisation), copywriters (for content production), PR staff (for link building) and web specialists (for user signal optimisation).
Which search engines does SEO target?
The largest search engine in Denmark is Google with a market share of 95 % according to StatCounter. Search engine optimisation is therefore in practice Google optimisation, and the process of optimising a website is based on Google.