Gabriel Gelman is one of the co-founders of an SEO agency in Germany called ‘’Netzbekannt’’. He also runs ‘’Sprachheld’,’ a website where he helps German speakers to learn a foreign language. Earlier this year he spoke at one of our events and showed Langpreneurs how they can grow their businesses through Google and effective SEO. We know that talking about SEO isn’t the sexiest thing in the world and the topic can be a bit technical sometimes, but in today’s interview, we’re really going to break down the most important things that you need to know about SEO.
We make it as practical as possible so that after listening to this masterclass you can actually start implementing the SEO strategies discussed.
How important is SEO for an online language business?
SEO is not easy and it takes a lot of time to get it right. There’s definitely no quick trick to get a lot of traffic overnight. On the other hand, if you manage to optimize your SEO it’s something you can benefit from for a long time.
Good SEO is not going to save your company in most cases. If you get a lot of traffic to your site but you can’t convert your visitors into buyers, SEO is not going to save you. You need to have a business that’s already working. In that case, good SEO can bring you a lot of extra revenue.
Google is just one traffic source
It also depends on where most of your current traffic is coming from. If you have a big YouTube channel or a podcast and most traffic comes from there, optimizing your website for Google won’t bring you much more traffic. For bloggers on the other hand, who have many articles and who get most of their traffic from Google search, SEO can be very powerful.
Gabriel is also co-organizes Expolingua, an annual language exhibition which takes place in Berlin
The most important factors for good SEO:
#1 Content (about 60%)
If you want to rank for a certain keyword, your blog article should be better than all the other articles out there. Google ranks pages in order or relevance and quality. If you create a piece of content that is average or not better than the articles on the first page, Google has no reason to rank your article on the first page. That means that if you want to rank in first position on Google for the keyword ‘learn Spanish grammar’, you need to create the best piece of content on that topic.
If you want to rank for a certain keyword, your blog article should be better than all the other articles out there.
How does Google know whether your blog post is of high quality or not?
There is a lot of AI involved here. Google understands relationships between words. For example, if I want to write an article about cars, Google knows that good articles about cars should also include words like tires, steering wheel, and metal. If you don’t use some of these words, Google knows that you haven’t researched very deeply before writing, and might not consider your article as high quality. That’s just one way. Also, there is a good reason why Google invented Chrome, Android and many other tools. Tracking the activities that take place on their platforms gives Google a very good insight into how people interact with search results. If someone searches on Google, clicks on your article and clicks back two seconds later, Google knows that your article wasn’t relevant. If many other people do the same, Google will place you lower in the rankings.
How can you improve the quality of your posts?
First of all, you need to create relevant and helpful content for the keywords you’re trying the rank for. You need to go in-depth so writing long articles often helps.
Some people say that people don’t read long articles anymore. That might be true, but there are ways to make long articles look short, by structuring your article really well, for example.
You could improve the structure of your post by having a summary at the very top, for example, or by using subtitles, tables, bullet points, and images. Structuring your articles well gives the reader a good overview so that they can easily scroll through your article and read the parts they’re interested in. That way, the people who are looking for a quick answer can find it very quickly and the ones who want to have an in-depth answer will find their in-depth answer as well.
If you make sure that your article answers the questions for people who are looking for a quick answer as well as for those who want to go in-depth, the total time visitors spend on your website will go up and Google will rank you higher. Another way to keep visitors on your site for longer is by embedding videos. Videos are very engaging and if the videos are relevant for your visitors, they will watch them and stay longer on your site.
How do you know what you should write about if you want to be ranked on Google?
There are two ways to do is.
1. If you’re starting a new blog from scratch you could do keyword research. If you want to know what tools you should use for keyword research, check out the resources at the bottom of this article. 2. Those who already have a website can find out what keywords they are already ranking for. If you have a keyword you rank for, let’s say on the 8th page of Google, it means that Google already sees you as a (small) authority. If you have keywords that 100-500 people are looking for per month, then start writing on those topics in depth. You will always have a page that accidentally ranks high for a certain keyword. Most of the time these keywords don’t match with the topic of the article so the post will never rank much higher. If you write a new page on the topic of the winning keyword, your chances of ranking high are actually much better. That’s what you should do first.
Want to find out which of your articles are already ranking well on Google? If you use one of the keyword research tools mentioned at the bottom of this article, you can just copy-paste the URL of your website and you will see which articles rank high and for which keywords they rank.
Gabriel and his business partner Jascha
The most important factors for good SEO:
#2 Authority (about 20%)
Even if you’ve created the best blog post on the internet for a specific keyword, Google is not intelligent enough to know if you actually know what you’re writing about.
Google recognizes you as an authority, if: – Many people search for your brand name on Google. Let’s say you’re being featured on national TV, that will instantly make you an authority because people will search for your name on Google. Also, giving talks at events helps. – People talk about your brand on social media. Think about ways that make people talk about your brand. SEO and PR really come together here.
– You write multiple articles on a very specific topic. The more you niche down, the more likely it is that Google will recognize you as an authority.
– You get a lot of traffic. Every time you create a new blog post ,make sure to promote it on social media, for example, or send the link to your email list. When Google sees that your posts get a lot of traffic you will gain authority.
– You have a good internal linking structure. You can give your own blog post more authority by linking other posts to one main post.
– Other high authority websites have links to your website (backlinks). You can, for example, write guest posts for other websites with high authority. Another way is to cross-promote each other’s content or do video/blogging collaborations. The higher Google ranks you, the easier it is to get more backlinks. People will then start linking to your page automatically. It’s a snowball effect.
The most important factors for good SEO:
#3 Website optimization (about 10%)
Besides creating good content and building authority, Google also looks at the technical aspects of your website such as speed, formatting, broken links, internal linking, if you have an SSL certificate, etc.
Main SEO takeaways:
1. The most important SEO factors are content and authority, focus most of your work on these
2. It‘s better to writer fewer but better and exhaustive articles
3. Text is important but mix in other content formats, in the language niche videos work extremely well
4. Rather than writing 10 articles about different topics, write 10 articles about the subtopics of the same (example Spanish)
5. Promote your content, Google will honor that with better rankings
6. If you don‘t get the ranking you wished for improve your content & add more rather than starting over
7. Focus on search intent – how can you get the best match between intent and your result?
8. Do keyword research – don‘t create content nobody will find (and nobody is looking for)
9. One page = one main keyword, don‘t create several pages for the same keyword (keyword cannibalization)
10. Look at your best competitors (for a keyword you are trying to rank) and look at the search result to get a feel for what Google sees as relevant
11. Internal linking can go a long way, have good internal linking with keyword-rich anchor texts
12. Click-through-rate is a ranking factor, create good meta tags that people want to click
13. Keep at it: Success (in SEO) does not come over night
The next steps for you if you want to optimize your website for better SEO:
1. Find a keyword you rank well for (position 8-30) 2. Find keywords around that topic with ubersuggest 3. Find relevant questions on answerthepublic.com that you have not answered 4. With these keywords and questions, extend your content by at least 50% 5. Find 5-10 related articles and create internal links that include the main keyword(s) in the anchor text 6. Improve your meta title and description, use symbols, make them attractive 7. Shoot a video, upload it to YouTube, optimize the title and description for the main keyword, link to the article and embed it 8. Get at least 300 visitors to the article within 3 days by promoting it