Inbound Marketing: An Introduction to Future Marketing

Inbound marketing turns classic marketing on its head: Instead of creating the first contact of potential customers with advertising , it is about drawing attention to yourself through high-quality content on the web. Classic advertising is only used in a later step. That sounds unusual, but it is viewed by many experts as the future of marketing.

Advertising has been the focus of all
marketing activities for as long as there was marketing. However, the acceptance and thus attention of advertising has
decreased in the past decades due to its mass, which affects
us every day . Nowadays one speaks of
an “advertising blindness”: Everything that smells like advertising in the first contact
automatically activates an advertising filter for many people. That is why it will become more and more important to emotionally charge brands and products in advance via content , before promoting a
further strengthening of the brand or the conclusion. Only then can advertising regain acceptance and
attention. The focus is on the emotional content
and initiates the first customer contact, not the advertising . This is exactly what inbound marketing is all about. After thought leaders such as Seth Godin and others / see source reference 3) laid the foundation, the term was first used in Germany in 2012 by SEOmoz founder Rand Fishkin at the SMX in Munich .

What is inbound marketing?

If you consider the term inbound marketing as a counterpart to outbound marketing, you would have to include all non-classic advertising measures (“below-the-line marketing”) both online and offline. However, Hubspot’s definition of inbound marketing (see source reference 5), which only takes online instruments into account, seems to be gaining ground. Inbound marketing, based on the Hubspot definition, includes the following (online) marketing instruments:

  • Content creation
  • Blogging
  • Public Relations (PR)
  • Social media or word-of-mouth marketing
  • Search engine marketing (SEO and SEA if necessary)
  • Landing page optimization or conversion optimization
  • Email Marketing
  • Web analysis
  • Customer Relationship Management

Inbound marketing: this is how it works

The individual phases of the inbound marketing process are divided into the following phases:

1. Inspire

In this phase it is important to create helpful and / or emotional content for the respective target group. These should be search engine-optimized and appropriately prepared for the target group, and they should be easily shared via social networks. The spreading of the content (“seeding”) can also be accelerated by targeting selected opinion leaders and distributing them via your own social media channels.

2. Interaction

In this phase, interaction should be encouraged that enables direct or indirect dialogue. At the latest when this phase is over, the online marketing specialist Karl Kratz says: “Welcome to the system” .

3. Graduation

The aim here is to turn interested parties into customers through dialogue or advice.

4. Loyalty / upselling

In the course of the fourth phase, the process basically starts all over again: The customer is inspired again by additional content and, of course, high-quality products or services and is convinced that he has made the right choice.

Define intermediate goals

Measurable intermediate goals should be defined for the individual phases. A long stay, low bounce rate, subscription to the feed, a tweet, like or share as well as a link through another website speak for a certain enthusiasm. This would have achieved the goal for phase one.

An entry in the newsletter, a new Facebook fan or even a request via a contact form by email or telephone complete the second phase of the interaction. From now on – if possible – more or less personalized communication can take place, for example via a CRM system.

Content creation

Everything starts with quality content. Sufficient time should flow into the planning before the actual content creation begins. The focus here is on target group identification and analysis.

The following questions need to be answered:

  • Which intermediate and main goals should be achieved?
  • Which target group (s) should be addressed?
  • What is interested in and what information is the respective target group looking for or what is linked?
  • How and in which process phase should the respective target group be addressed?

The question of the goals is important, since it can be used to record the success of the action and the achievement of the respective process stage of the interested party.

Which target group you want to address is determined, for example, on the basis of the group’s motivation to share content and / or the degree of networking. If backlinks are the main goal, the target group must be selected very precisely: The focus is on people who, through their familiarity, cause many new links (“linkerati”). If it is primarily about the social buzz that is to be generated, one can spread a lot “broader” when selecting and addressing target groups, since a lot of people are members of Facebook, Twitter and Co. In addition, it should be considered which process phase the potential customer is currently in. What is his level of knowledge? Is he doing research or does he already know what he wants? Was there already contact with the interested party? If so, in what way?


So-called seeding is used to distribute the content adapted to the respective target group. This can be done via passive seeding, such as publishing the content on your own blog, providing social media buttons and RSS feeds, on-page SEO such as WDF * IDF-oriented texts and internal links, your own social media Media channels and newsletters. The focus here is solely on the attractiveness of the content in order to create a word-of-mouth effect (mouth-to-mouth propaganda).

Another option is active seeding. PR attempts to address opinion leaders directly and, if necessary, to use paid advertising such as search engine advertising (SEA) to place the content on non-company platforms. If it concerns target groups whose contact details are already available, they can be addressed directly for active seeding. This also applies to prospects and customers who are already in the downstream process phases.

Turn prospects into customers

Especially when the interaction phase has been concluded with a lead in the form of a specific request, there seems to be an interest and basic trust in the offer. The task now is to build on this trust. In addition, the advertising filter has been removed from the potential customer so that he is more receptive to advertising.

The final phase is the only stage in the inbound marketing process in which you should actively approach the potential customer, as he is already emotionalized in relation to the brand. This can be done through sales or advice by email or phone. This also applies to the use of classic push advertising such as display advertising, TV spots or print ads.

Turn customers into promoters

If you have been able to win the prospect as a customer, the obligation is fulfilled. But that does not mean lying on your lazy skin now. The customer has placed their trust in you. Now it is time to prove that he made the right choice. The customer has to be delighted again. However, this is a little easier than in the first process stage because the trust has already been won. The customer is open to the information and may respond by promoting the content or recommending it. In addition, in the best case scenario, the customer is now registered in their own information system via newsletters, the Facebook fan page, RSS feed, Twitter, etc. and can thus be reached for the upselling process – regardless of paid measures or channels to which there is no direct administrative access .

The all-purpose marketing weapon?

The content and inbound marketing hype is in full swing, but inbound marketing is not applicable across the board for every company and business model. Above all, the inbound marketing principle must be firmly integrated across departments in the company and lived daily. In many companies, this requires long-term rethinking and radical restructuring. In addition, over the years a large number of new marketing channels and sometimes very complex new marketing disciplines have been added that require a high degree of specialization (including SEO, SEA, web analysis or related areas such as conversion optimization). The trick is to identify the methods that are relevant for the respective project and to use competencies in the areas of creation,

A major task will be to relate the individual marketing measures to each other and to record the contribution of each individual measure to the overall project. Getting to grips with these amounts of data and interpreting them will give the job description of the marketing analyst new weight (keyword: big data), as every marketing discipline has so far cooked its own soup.

Niche SEO: How to Optimize Videos, Products, and More

For some years now, search engines have been integrating relevant results from their niche search engines into the results of web search. The search results are expanded to include relevant multimedia elements such as images, videos or PDFs. Google calls this “Universal Search”. Special content types such as news, products or yellow pages are also displayed. If companies optimize these special media for the vertical niche search engines, they can generate additional traffic via the universal results.

There are a variety of search engines out there, Google’s web search is just one. There are also niche search engines which, as vertical search engines, cover special areas such as individual media types, industries or services. The three major search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo! offer vertical searches. In addition to web searches, Google also conducts vertical searches in the areas of video, news articles, products, images, places, scientific publications and books, among other things.

Universal Search: vertical search results in one place

With the launch of “Universal Search” in May 2007, Google integrated relevant results of its vertical searches into the search results page. The web search – previously actually a niche search engine exclusively for websites – is now becoming a universal search. The term “Universal Search” refers specifically to Google, while the terms “Blended Search” or “Enhanced Results” also refer to other search engines.

With the Enhanced Results, Google and other search engines are expanding their text results with multidimensional content from other media types. These include videos, images or PDFs. On the other hand, they summarize special content types and industries. This is the case with news, shopping results, yellow pages or the more recent hotel and flight searches.

Display depending on the type of search query

Which vertical search results Google integrates into Universal Search depends primarily on how closely they match the user’s intention of the search query. If a user is looking for instructions and explanations, videos or pictures are often found. If Google recognizes a regional reference, local search results are displayed . But the assignments are not always that clear. It is therefore advisable for website operators to check the potential of their universal search displays for the relevant keywords and to match them with the intention of the search query.

In December 2012, according to the Universal Search study by searchmetrics on Google, seven out of ten keywords led to a universal search result. The overlays of videos come first, followed by the results of the image search. Instead, shopping results, maps, and news are displayed less frequently.

Universal search types and their optimization

Universal Search is created by Google displaying various results from its niche search engines in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Positions). In order to be listed as a website in the extended results, good rankings in the vertical search engines are necessary. Only then does Google take the results into account when displaying the enhanced results. Website operators should therefore optimize the individual media types for their website accordingly .


Videos make up a large proportion of the advanced results. Search phrases in the context of previews, reviews, tutorials, instructions, tests or explanations lead to video results. Queries related to music or films also very often show video previews.

To optimize videos for Google video search , Google itself gives some advice . The main thing is to make it easier for Google to understand the content of the video. Ideally, there should only be one video on each page. Content that refers to the content of the video, suitable titles and awards via markups help Google to classify the video. A suitable preview image appeals primarily to the searcher. Where the video is hosted is also crucial for optimization. If a video is hosted on YouTube, Google is more likely to show it on Universal Search via the YouTube link. If your own website is the goal, it is therefore more advantageous to host the video on your own server.


Google also frequently shows images on Universal Search. This can be within the web results or in the information box of the Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph, introduced in 2012, bundles the most important facts in a central location, especially for informative inquiries (see figure).

When optimizing images, it is also important to convey the content and relevance of an image to Google. The ALT attribute, the image file name or the incoming links are important for this. The content in the immediate vicinity of the image also signals to Google which content can be found in the image. Images should therefore, at best, always be surrounded by content and not be in the sidebar.

Places / Local Results

Around five to ten percent of the keywords lead to Google Places entries. These are particularly important for regional providers and in the context of local SEO. A distinction can be made here between pure Places displays and the displays of organic hits with linked Places profiles. Using the search phrase “Keyword + Location” or the location determined, Google decides for which region it outputs the industry results as pure blocks of location overlays linked to Google Maps.

First, companies should claim and confirm their Google Places entry for optimization. By choosing the right business fields and providing an informative description, Google can better classify the business type. The ratings on Google Places and other connected rating portals also influence the ranking [8]. In addition, companies can optimize their own website for Places. The company name, the location and the industry should be used in the title, in the meta description and in the content. A focus should also be placed on this data in the off-page area. However, it is important to pay attention to naturalness and the correct use of the brand .


Google Shopping is the vertical search engine for physical products. Google receives the data for the products by means of a feed via Google Merchant (formerly: Base), which the shops send to the search engine. In February 2013, Google switched this search to a paid model in the form of Product Listing Ads (PLA). This means that companies have to pay for the clicks on the displayed products, which Google does with a link to AdWords.

In order to increase the display for Google Shopping, on the one hand, optimization through AdWords is necessary. This includes bid optimizations. The product data from the Google Merchant Feed determine whether Google shows the advertisements with product information. This is why the content of this feed must also be prepared. This depends on the product names, the categorization and the description.

This information should also cover the long tail and individual product specifics as well as common terms that users use to search for the product. It is also important to ensure that it is complete and up to date. In contrast to other ad formats with AdWords, only this data leads to a display. Keywords do not affect delivery in the SERPs.

Universal Search Opportunities for Websites and Businesses

Google draws attention to vertical searches with the advanced results. Website operators also benefit from this type of listing. By contrasting web search results, users also look at those results more often. With the display of additional content types, websites can achieve a multiple listing. This increases their presence on the search results page. Companies that publish these media in particular also have the opportunity to attract attention and traffic away from the pure niche search engines.

The possibilities of individual advanced results depend in part on the type of business. Services that, like the Places entries, focus on individual industries, limit competition to the specified area and thus increase the chance of being displayed. Even in highly competitive web search areas, the vertical results form a niche in which websites can be specifically positioned. Individual extensions such as book searches, shopping or news already specifically limit the products offered. The shopping search is particularly suitable for e-commerce companies. News displays, on the other hand, bring valuable traffic, especially for news sites and magazines.


Email marketing: 8 tips to get your emails read

Which factors determine the click strength of an email? And which age groups are particularly interested in newsletters? A new study on the subject of email marketing answers these and similar questions.

E-Mail Marketing: Study examines usage behavior in relation to electronic mail

For a new study, 1,000 English-speaking e-mail users over 21 were asked about their e-mail behavior. In addition, several hundred million emails from HubSpot and Litmus customers were evaluated. The study gives us an interesting insight into the behavior of users of different ages and income groups. In some cases the responses were also broken down according to the gender of the respondents.

For example, women are less likely to use special e-mail accounts that are only there to keep commercial offers away from the owner’s actual e-mail account. Even if the difference is a little less than 10 percent, companies whose customers consist mainly of women have, at least in theory, a higher chance that their emails will be read.

Email marketing: Men tend to use special email addresses to protect their actual account from advertising.

Regardless of the age or gender of the recipient, however, many people use filters so that they don’t even have to see unwanted advertising in their inbox. This applies most to the age group between 18 and 29 years. Here the rate is 63 percent. However, at 49 percent, it is still comparatively high even among users over 60 years of age.

The study also dispels the myth that certain terms or special characters such as the dollar sign are automatically kept away from users due to common spam filters. Neither “free” nor “!” Or “$” in the subject line have any noticeable effect. In addition, there is some information in the study that should have a direct positive impact on your email campaigns. We’ll tell you what these are in the following paragraphs.

Email Marketing: 8 Tips for Successful Campaigns

1. Even if users don’t admit it, more images hurt the click rate

The study is a good example of the fact that the statements made by users do not always correspond to their actual usage behavior. Almost two-thirds of respondents said they would prefer marketing emails made up mostly of images. An analysis of usage behavior showed, however, that the click rate goes down significantly the higher the number of images.

2. The larger an image, the lower the click rate

Email marketing: The image size has an impact on the click rate.

Not only the number of images, but also the size has an influence on the click rate. The higher an image, the lower the click rate. The width, in turn, had a smaller influence on the click rate. Images should therefore tend to take up less space in the mail.

3. Users prefer HTML mail

64 percent of the surveyed users prefer HTML mail. It should be noted, however, that the same question was asked by the authors of the study back in 2011, and the results have hardly changed. Therefore, mails should still be optimized for both types of readers. The older semesters in particular still seem to prefer plain text e-mails to a large extent. It is even the preferred method from the age of 60.

4. Emails should be short and crisp

Text that is too long has a negative effect on the click rate. According to the study, the best emails were those whose content was between 300 and 500 characters long. It is therefore advisable not to annoy your own customers with texts that are too long and to get to the point quickly.

5. The subject line should also be kept short

As with the actual content of the mail, the subject line should also be kept short. Our article ” Newsletter Marketing: With Better Subject Lines for Higher Open Rates” provides further tips for better subject lines .

6. The term “newsletter” in the subject line leads to a lower click rate

According to the study, the click rate is reduced by around 30 percent if the term “newsletter” is in the subject line. The authors of the study also have an explanation for this. According to them, the word suggests that the mail was only sent because it was time for the newsletter, not because there was necessarily something new to report.

7. The sender should ideally consist of two words

The sender should consist of two words.


In addition to the subject line, email clients usually display the name of the sender. According to the study, it should ideally consist of two words, as this will statistically achieve the highest opening rate.

8. Optimizing e-mails for tablets is worthwhile, especially for the 30+ target group

The older the user, the lower the smartphone usage in terms of receiving e-mail. The fact that the age group from 30 to 44 years of age reads their e-mails on a tablet significantly more often than the age group from 18 to 29 years of age is probably more surprising. In fact, those up to 29 years old are the least likely to read their emails on a tablet. Optimizing e-mails on tablets is therefore primarily worthwhile for companies whose target group is 30 years or older.

Content marketing on medium: This is how you use the publishing platform

The Medium publishing platform can also be used for marketing. We’ll show you what you should pay attention to.

Medium: The Democratic Publishing Platform

Medium was founded in 2012 by two Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone. In contrast to traditional blogging platforms, Medium functions very democratically in its own way. Decisive for the success of an article is not necessarily the number of Twitter followers or whether you are constantly producing new content, but only the quality of the article.

At least in the English-speaking world, this is ensured by an editorial team. She selects the best texts and presents the articles prominently on the page. In addition, algorithms should ensure that users see the best articles. Medium not only uses the number of clicks, but also takes into account whether the article was actually read. Lurid headlines like Upworthy or are therefore not enough.

In addition, users can create collections on specific topics themselves, which other users can in turn follow. At this point, however, it should be noted that Medium is still a primarily English-language platform and the number of German articles is comparatively small. Nevertheless, it could also be suitable as a field of experimentation for marketeers in this country, especially since the medium should still have some growth potential.

Advantages and disadvantages: Medium as a marketing channel

A big advantage of Medium over your own blog is that you are not constantly under pressure to produce new content. If you only want to write an article occasionally without having to concentrate on your own blog in the long term, Medium is an interesting platform for you. In addition, existing articles can be republished there, which can potentially increase your readership base.

In addition, thanks to the integrated analytics service, you can not only see how many people click on your articles or favorite them, but also how many people actually read the article in full. On the other hand, of course, you have no control over the platform and must first lure readers to your page via an additional link. Which is also the reason for this that many authors publish content that they have already published elsewhere.

Medium: The publishing platform is suitable for republishing content. (Image: Medium)

Medium and Marketing: This is how you use the platform

In the following we want to show you how your medium can best be used as a marketing instrument.

Publish content from your blog on Medium

As already mentioned, there is no shame in republishing existing texts on Medium. You can either republish the whole article, or you can do it like the fader and just publish an excerpt of the text. In this way you can also attract new readers directly to your blog.

Create a collection of articles on a topic that affects your company

In addition to your own articles, you can also put together texts from other medium authors in a collection, provided the topic is related to your industry. That way you can position your brand as an industry expert.

Also publishes visual content

Medium does not have to be used for long, in-depth articles. There are many examples of medium posts that consist only of images. You could also use the site to republish an interesting infographic of yourself. Ideally, this way more people will enjoy your work. It doesn’t cost you a lot of time and effort.

Always offer your readers added value

You should never forget that Medium is all about interesting content. You can publish a press release or purely advertising articles on your blog. Nobody on Medium will care. You should always deliver added value to your readers here!

Create a collection of your own articles

If you use the medium regularly, it makes sense to create a collection that only contains your own content. Readers will find your content faster and can be kept up to date on all new articles.

Put a link on your website or blog

At the end of your article or at a suitable place in the text, you should refer to your website or blog. You could also try a call-to-action like “Follow us on Twitter” or “Wear yourselves on our mailing list” at the end of the article. Don’t forget to use a tracking link so that you can measure your success.

Recommends posts that fit your industry

Users who follow you on Medium can see which posts you recommend. Use the feature to establish yourself as an industry expert and to be perceived as a source of good content.

Locally successful: with the local SEO guide in 3 steps to more visibility

Search engines instead of printed yellow pages, location-based mobile apps , check-ins in trendy cafés and shops – everyone is talking about local online marketing and appropriate marketing measures for local companies are inevitable. But how do you position yourself most effectively in local search results?

The need for local search engine optimization can be illustrated by a simple example: A person has had a toothache for two days. In order not to delay the problem, she enters “Dentist Frankfurt” in the Google search field. At this early stage, the person concerned does not yet have a clear idea of ​​which dentist to visit. First she would like to know which dentists are shown to her on Google.

But the search results are not as uniform as you know from conventional searches. In addition to one to three organic search results – some of which lead directly to the websites of different dentists, but some also refer to evaluation or industry portals – between three and seven inserted results are highlighted on the first Google results page and with location PINs from A. to G. What the search engine user sees here are the explicitly local search results, which Google adds to the conventional web results as a so-called “Universal Search” insert. These are subject to different ranking criteria than is the case with normal websites, and this example from everyday life already suggests

Optimize locally

Local companies basically have to use a “multi-channel” strategy in online marketing. Book Google AdWords? Offer vouchers at Groupon? Communication on Facebook? Recommendation marketing on KennstDuEinen? Actively tackle local search engine optimization? The answer to these questions is likely to vary depending on the service offered – local companies should ask themselves these questions in any case, because the area of ​​activity “Local Search Engine Optimization” includes different disciplines such as classic SEO, but also measures that are unique to local Segment can be applied. After all, consumers not only get to the information most frequently searched for when searching locally (telephone number, address, opening times) via the provider’s website,

Local SEO Roadmap

What could a strategic “step-by-step” roadmap look like for a local company in order to ensure more visibility on the web?

A sensible plan for structuring and prioritizing the local SEO activities should answer some important questions: Where does the company currently stand from the point of view of search engine optimization? Which SEO measures should be tackled with which priority? And how much effort does it take to be better positioned than the competition? Local search engine optimization can be divided into three phases:

  1. Collect data and analyze competition
  2. In-depth analysis and special research
  3. Document measures and track metrics

Phase 1: Collect data & analyze competition

In the first phase, you identify search terms for which you want to be found in the web search. The prerequisite for relevant keywords is that users who search for these keywords actually make contact. Various means are available for this. In addition to an initial brainstorming session with pen and paper, the traffic and conversion data on your own website provide important insights. These are supplemented by the use of the Google AdWords keyword tool, Google Suggest and the “Related Searches” category at the bottom of the search results. Chargeable resources include Google AdWords campaigns with conversion tracking and keyword databases from providers such as Sistrix, SEO Diver, Searchmetrics or Seolytics.

The result of the keyword research is a list of search terms that are also sorted in descending order according to approximate search volume – a value that some tools provide from different data sources.

The identification of competitors in the Google search results in relation to the search terms researched is also very important. Competitors can be completely different companies than those that are part of the real economy. All kinds of blogs, news and question-and-answer portals or even spam projects may rank better than the company website – domains which from a business point of view do not actually represent competitors at all, but which, with a better ranking, may have relevant visitors from their own website “keep away”. The most important competitors are determined by searching on Google for the keywords researched, searching on Google Places or using fee-based ranking query tools.

Relevant ranking factors

In addition, it only makes sense to include those ranking factors that can actually be actively influenced. On the basis of the important expert survey “Local Search Ranking Factors 2012” initiated by David Mihm in the USA, the following relevant ranking factors for Google Places search results can be recorded:

  • Optimization of the Google+ Local entry: verification, use of relevant categories, address and contact data consolidation, photos, additional information, link to the local Google+ page, collecting reviews – recently centralized with ” Google My Business “
  • Optimizing the website: technical and structural on-site measures, off-site links, content optimization
  • Local Citations: Update and expand company entries on relevant rating and industry portals
  • Customer opinions: Number of reviews on the Google+ Local entry and on external review platforms
  • Rating: Average values ​​of the ratings on all relevant portals

Phase 2: Analysis & Research

After creating an industry benchmark, the individual ranking factors should be examined more closely so that appropriate measures can be derived for implementation. The sub-areas of website audit, local citations, ratings and link building play an important role.

Website audit: on-site optimization

The creation of a website audit always makes sense from the point of view of search engine optimization. Regardless of whether this relates to the information architecture and usability, the internal link structure, simple HTML tags, meta information (robots tag, canonical tag etc.) or the content – there is almost always something to improve .

At the end, a list of the necessary on-site measures is the result of this work. On the basis of the on-site optimization, the effects of the other SEO measures also have a much more effective effect on the ranking of the website.

Local Citations: Creation of company entries on rating & industry portals

Local citations are an important component of local search engine optimization. These are company entries on industry portals such as yellow pages or rating platforms such as KennstDuEinen. Google crawls company information such as phone number, address or number of reviews and uses this as a ranking factor. It is important that a company presents itself everywhere on the web with the same company name, phone number, address and is entered in comparable, consistent industry categories.

Local citations also act as contact points for seekers. The following tools offer the possibility to find out more about the “status quo” of a local company on the web:

  • Google search with company name “XYZ”
  • Google search with “Industry + City”
  • Local SEO tool Whitespark Local Citation Finder

A comprehensive, free whitepaper about local citations and how to use them for local search engine optimization can be found in the WinLocal Blog .

Reviews: Referral Marketing & Online Reputation

The importance of customer reviews cannot be overestimated. In addition to the positive effects on the local Google ranking (reviews on Google+ Local, reviews on rating portals), customer opinions that can be publicly read by users on the web play an important role in acquiring new customers and determine whether a company is User is contacted.

Local providers that do not actively take care of their online reputation are still rated by users. Therefore, one should actively take care of this aspect and motivate satisfied customers to post an evaluation on a relevant evaluation platform online.

The sheer number of user reviews is also an important ranking factor in a number of industries, in which both reviews directly on the Google+ Local entry and on relevant review portals are used to calculate Google’s ranking.

Link building: Link building for local search

Link building is an important aspect of local search engine optimization. However, you have to keep in mind that depending on the level of awareness of the local company, hundreds of arbitrary links are not necessary, but rather harmful.

Content marketing measures can be instrumentalized for “natural”, because voluntary, external linking: In a “de-commercialized zone” (e.g. blog), high-quality content that is extremely relevant for a local target group is posted on the company website are. Such information is often shared on social networks.

Phase 3: Documentation & tracking

In the last phase everything revolves around the documentation of the local SEO measures and the monitoring of relevant data points. However, the question arises, which metrics are worth actively being monitored at all?

Basic metrics for local search engine optimization
Number of local citations
Number of links
Number of linked domains
Number of Google ratings
Number of external ratings
Number of actively used external review portals
Number of relevant keyword rankings in Google search
Website traffic through organic google search
Website traffic through links

In addition to this data, which provides information about the effects of the local SEO measures on the visitor volume via search engines, it also makes sense to deal more closely with the conversions. After all, as an entrepreneur, you want to know how many contact requests the ongoing SEO measures actually lead to.

Therefore, the following applies: No reasonable success measurement without conversion tracking. There are a few rules to follow for measuring success:

  • Measure channel SEM and channel SEO separately
  • Phone calls received due to SEO and SEM actions are counted separately
  • Evaluate contact requests using the website form
  • E-mail inquiries from the website’s e-mail address count

In order to prove the success of the SEO measures, it is important to document the metrics before the start of a project. Only then is it possible to determine progress and to relate this to the individual measures of local search engine optimization. The benchmark with the competitors should also be repeated regularly. Based on the information collected, you gradually adapt your measures to the current conditions.


With Local SEO, smaller companies and service providers in particular have a powerful tool at hand to attract more potential customers to their own site. Anyone who does SEO anyway has less work to do when optimizing their own web presence locally. However, local SEO includes far more measures than classic search engine optimization.

A strategic local search engine optimization comprises three steps: Firstly, the research for relevant keywords, an analysis of the competitors based on the search results and the documentation of the initial situation before the start of the SEO measures. The second step is to analyze and research your own online presence. The compilation and observation of relevant SEO metrics only follow in the third phase.

Tips and best practice: This is how corporate communication works on Facebook

With more than a billion users, Facebook is the largest social network in the world. B2B companies don’t want to miss this potential either. The following tips and best practice examples show which strategic fundamentals are important.

Originally intended as a communication platform for private users, Facebook has also been offering companies the opportunity to present themselves for a few years now: With pages, advertisements, locations, applications and much more. Contact with end customers (B2C) is therefore no longer new territory for social media managers. But what about communication between companies (B2B)? It works better than many think.

For a long time, many B2B companies concentrated more on pure business networks such as XING. The reservations about the mainly privately used social platforms are often still very high. But behind every company there are ultimately people who communicate with each other via networks such as Facebook – that is, who can be contacted by companies and excited about their products and services.

Online communication has also played an increasingly important role in the B2B sector in recent years. The fear of contact in this branch is decreasing, the positive experiences of the decision makers reinforce this trend.

Website and search engine marketing have already established themselves as essential pillars of marketing and in some cases even assume the leading function for further communication measures. The use of social media platforms has also increased significantly in the B2B area. Experts assume that this development will even intensify in the future. At almost 60 percent, Facebook is the most frequently used social media platform in the B2B sector .

Anyone who asks Tobias Ilg, who is responsible for social media at Liebherr-International Deutschland GmbH, gets this confirmed with practical experience: “Today we have been active in social networks for almost a year and we receive up to 30 inquiries about our products, service or career opportunities every day Facebook and YouTube. The volume of conversations about our group of companies has increased significantly on the social web, especially the positive traffic, ”explains Ilg. The strong growth of fans confirms his company’s social media activities, and a corresponding expansion is planned.

B2C versus B2B communication

Anyone who designs a corresponding communication strategy for the social web should also know the differences between B2C and B2B communication.

The structure of the target group

First of all, the target group of B2B companies is usually structured differently than in the B2C area. Depending on the orientation, a company addresses specialists and experts from the respective industry. Of course, this also has an effect on the conversations: The fans of a B2B Facebook page often ask very detailed questions or discuss subject-specific problems.

For a social media manager, this means that they should be very well networked in the company and have in-depth specialist knowledge. In this way he can quickly answer complex questions or refer to the right contact person in the company. In this way, the trust can be built up, which is essential as the basis for long-term business relationships and the usually higher investments in the B2B area.

The address of the fans

Another difference is the direct approach to B2B fans. For many B2C companies, it is customary to say goodbye to the fans. Decision-makers in the B2B area have to weigh carefully here. Many companies therefore do not use direct approach when posting to all fans. When communicating with individual fans, many companies heard them. With business partners or applicants in particular, it is important to keep a certain distance and not to communicate too confidentially too quickly.

Complexity of the content

Due to the complexity of the products or services, the B2B content for Facebook should be prepared very clearly. Professional images can help with visualization. But authentic photos of fans can also be used well to show the variability of a product. Important: B2B companies do not have to describe or explain all the details precisely. A B2B Facebook post should clearly convey the USP as a teaser, but the detailed information can then be found on the linked company website.

Interaction times

Studies show that Facebook fans interact with a fan page especially on weekends and evenings – regardless of the industry. In contrast, communication in the B2B area usually takes place during traditional business hours, i.e. Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. B2B companies should therefore not post important content on a Friday afternoon, as the interaction rate is likely to be lower outside of traditional office hours.

Of course, the differences between B2C and B2B communication cannot be generalized. Every company has a different range of services and thus a different target group. Companies should find out and address their habits and preferences individually.

Success criteria for the social media strategy

In order to develop a long-term successful strategy for a Facebook page or group, the goals must first be clear. These can vary greatly depending on the product and service. In the long term, corporate success is the top priority of most strategies. In the short and medium term, however, social media strategists should define specific and measurable sub-goals such as:

  • Increase awareness of the company and the brand
  • Maintain the image and generate branding effects
  • Strengthen customer loyalty and support
  • Support search engine optimization (social signals)
  • Build a knowledge platform and a feedback channel
  • Recruiting qualified personnel (employer branding)
  • Generate traffic on the company website
  • Increase customer inquiries and orders

Correctly delimit the target groups from one another

Depending on the goal, it is then a matter of defining the right target group and addressing them individually. Basically, there are five target groups in B2B communication: employees, applicants, (potential) customers, multipliers (e.g. journalists or bloggers) and other business partners (e.g. suppliers).

Many companies do not concentrate on one target group in their B2B Facebook communication, but address a combination of several target groups. Then when defining the measures, B2B companies should make it clear which target group has which priority and whether the focus of the activities is on a specific target group.

Perform analysis and monitoring

Before starting the derivation of the next steps, a social media manager should also explain their own industry (competitors, trends and much more) and their own company (such as strengths and weaknesses, budget, human resources, etc.) within the social Analyze the media environment. If you observe the competitors who are already active on Facebook, you will find it easier to assess relevant subject areas and the time required for community management.

With the help of social media monitoring, communication measures on critical topics can be prepared – an important prerequisite for being able to react quickly to negative Facebook posts from fans. Towards the end of the strategic considerations, the social media manager then has to derive the right measures, such as the postings, the integration of job offers via an application or the implementation of an employee competition.

When defining goals and developing a strategy, B2B companies should determine suitable key figures for the success of their Facebook activities. Because only with them can you actually determine the return on investment (ROI) for your social media activities and thus put your success in numbers.

Successful B2B communication in practice

The following two best practice examples show how B2B companies can use Facebook successfully. They exemplarily show how they can support their corporate communication and marketing as well as address junior staff. An article on provides further examples .

ROPA Maschinenbau: Brand communication in good Bavarian style

The Lower Bavarian agricultural machinery manufacturer for harvesting, cleaning and loading (sugar) beets, ROPA, has been active on Facebook since 2011 and has over 17,000 fans here. Authentic and uncomplicated communication is particularly popular with (potential) customers.

For example, a product video explains the operation of a machine in Bavarian language and is a useful addition to the company’s services. The varied combination of company information and unusual photos from international locations shows that ROPA is a competent regional business partner.

Krones AG: Branding and recruiting as a regional employer

Krones AG is the world market leader for filling systems and a supplier of packaging systems. Since 2010, the company has now gained around 75,000 fans on Facebook. The Krones AG fan page is one of the larger B2B pages in the German-speaking region . Krones does an excellent job of presenting the dry topic in a varied way with pictures and videos.

In addition, users can take a look behind the scenes and get to know the employees of the large corporation. A trainee blog integrated in Facebook shows young people, for example, which daily tasks they can expect in an apprenticeship and thus also supports the company’s recruiting. This authentic communication conveys a personable image as a regional employer and also as a competent business partner.


Facebook is also an important and successful communication channel for customers and future employees in the B2B sector. The examples mentioned show this very clearly. However, Facebook is only one way of supporting a company’s online communication. A good website and search engine marketing should definitely be the basis of a comprehensive online marketing strategy that goes hand in hand with classic marketing activities.

This is how much money companies pay for link building

A recent survey of American SEOs determined what part of their budget they spend on link building measures, what the amount is and in which tactics they invest the money. The creators have published the result in the form of a clear infographic .

Study: 81 percent of the surveyed SEOs increased their link building spending in the last twelve months

As in 2013, Skyrocket published a study on link building. A total of 315 consultants, managing directors and SEO managers were questioned. The creators have published the result in the form of a clear infographic, which you can find below the article. 81 percent of respondents stated that they had increased their link building spending over the past twelve months.

Interestingly, none of the respondents want to invest more than $ 50,000 per month on it. In the 2013 survey, it was 10 percent. Instead, the proportion of those who spend between 10,000 and 50,000 US dollars per month on link building measures has risen. In 2013 it was eleven percent, and in 2014 it was already 37 percent of those surveyed. For 51 to 75 percent of the participants, the amount that is spent on linbuilding corresponds to 40 percent of their entire SEO budget. Only seven percent of SEOs spent more on these measures.

SEO: Content and outreach are the most popular link building tactics

Study participants were asked which five link building tactics they use most often. Most mentioned content / outreach. Infographic promos come in second, and guest posts come in third. Interestingly enough, paid links came in sixth on this list. In another part of the survey, paid links were identified by many SEOs as link building tactics that are harmful to a website.

When asked which link building tactics were most ineffective, respondents most often responded with article directories, social bookmarks and profile links in forums. In the graphic below you will find all the results of the study presented graphically.


Videos in B2B marketing: which content makes customers happy?

In B2B marketing, videos serve as a first-class alternative to blog posts or white papers. Thomas Hartmann explains which video formats achieve particularly good results.

Almost every company today has a YouTube channel; it is diligently produced and uploaded. But when does what type of video make sense? What effects can an image film achieve and what are the strengths of the product video? To answer these questions, we have compiled our many years of experience and the results of our customers and try to provide an explanation in this article.

We distinguish between the three basic video genres:

  • Corporate film
  • Product film
  • Tutorial

1. The corporate film – the old iron in marketing

The corporate film is the veteran of classic communication. Mostly with little informative and very image-tinged content, emotional presentation and longer playing time, it shows its strengths in the area of ​​image, brand experience and brand positioning. In the concert of the three communication goals, however, he can only score affectively and emotionally.

The one-sided positioning is created by focusing on an emotional approach and long-term communication goals such as positioning, the emotional brand experience and changes in customer attitudes. These are goals in which the information content inevitably takes a back seat. On the Internet, information and real usefulness are in demand from the target groups, especially in B2B.

The corporate film is therefore important content, but not a “must-have” when it comes to perception, visibility, branding and economic goals such as sales promotion.

2. The product film – the stable all-rounder

A product film should arouse interest, convey information, maybe even create a little tension. In our opinion, he is the stable all-rounder who perfectly combines cognitive and economic goals such as brand awareness, product knowledge and direct motivation. The high information content makes it a welcome and valued information carrier; it only has to subordinate itself to the corporate film in terms of affective goals.

3. The tutorial – the strong, helping hand

Last but not least, the winner on points: the tutorial. Based on our evaluations, we have found that videos from this genre achieve the longest viewing time and the greatest reach in relative terms. This is also due to the fact that there is usually only one product film, but several tutorials. In terms of quantity, the tutorial is superior to the product film.

In terms of cognitive and economic goals, the tutorial is clearly ahead and shows the greatest possible benefit. It often results in immediate, short-term motivation of the viewer to seek contact and become a customer. The tutorial only has to subordinate itself to the other two genres when it comes to brand building and brand experience.

Video content is always customer service

There is no doubt that every genre has its right to exist. With media-friendly content designed for “pull” communication, product films and tutorials hardly give corporate films a chance in the fast-moving digital world. It is and will remain indispensable in the area of ​​emotional addressing, positioning and long-term image building.

The tutorial particularly stands out due to its high activation potential, as it offers the viewer immediate added value around the clock. It provides solutions to problems or answers to common questions, in contrast to corporate films and product videos. Tutorials receive a lot of and long attention because they are viewed in the context of an existing interest.

In terms of content, the tutorial does not really work for the image of the company, but indirectly, customer proximity and the feeling of availability can arouse sympathy in the customer, so emotion after all – one of the reasons for contacting the customer. Having the feeling of good service and a helping hand at your side is a decisive factor in establishing contact and, as a result, obtaining an offer. It binds customers through the service in the “after sales” area. Repeat buyers arise.

Success with tutorials, but how?

In order to explain in more detail how to achieve good results with tutorials in B2B marketing, we are constructing a use case. We use a manufacturer of industrial kitchen machines for gastronomy and large kitchens, whose products all need a lot of explanation and training. Questions that arise are: How do I have to set up the machine? How do I put it into operation and what should I watch out for in the event of a fault?

We assume that we have enough ideas and content for 20 small videos between 1:30 and 2:00 minutes in length. The videos can have different communication goals and address different target groups. For example, you can generate “awareness” and increase awareness in the target group.

Tips for more success with videos

With goals like this, it’s important to have the right keywords in the titles and descriptions of the videos. They should describe the product family and be sought after by interested parties.

Good support from the manufacturer is important for wholesalers. This can be a decisive criterion for getting interested in a new manufacturer. In order to reach this target group with suitable content, we should therefore also send tutorials with very specific assistance on the digital journey. You should also include the most important keywords in the title and description in order to communicate the direct benefit in the hit lists of Google and YouTube. The same applies to the target group of end users. You have specific questions about the operation and maintenance of the machines.

Accordingly, different content should be produced for both target groups, which can be placed for the corresponding search terms through clever optimization.

For tutorials to be successful, it is crucial to produce as many videos as possible, to optimize them skillfully and to distribute them on as many platforms as possible in order to generate high visibility in Google. In addition to the strategic work, the content distribution and the optimization of the videos, it is extremely important to really use every opportunity to be found by the target groups.

More platforms also mean more reach

YouTube holds around 70 percent market share, but giving away the other 30 percent would still not be a good idea. In addition to Vimeo, MyVideo, Dailymotion, Kewego and Businessworld are also relevant in the German-speaking area. The number of links is also crucial for a good ranking. With 20 videos on six platforms, we generate 120 backlinks for the company’s website – an additional benefit without any further effort.

When dealing with tutorials in B2B marketing, there are many variables that need to be considered. Taken together, they offer companies an extremely successful means of communication that fulfills all the parameters of a very important basic rule: AIDA. They offer “Attention” (visibility on the Internet), “Interest” (content for the target group), “Desire” (real help and answers) and “Action” (the possibility of making contact). With tutorials, companies can therefore gain market share and position themselves positively in the market environment in the long term.

Modern online marketing: step by step to becoming a growth hacker

Growth hacking is the topic of the hour in online marketing. The corresponding Google search queries have exploded in the last few months, the term appears in more than 450 short biographies on Twitter and over 1,000 job profiles on LinkedIn. But what exactly is behind the name? An Introduction to Growth Hacking.

The first to use the term growth hacking in 2010 was Sean Ellis , who helped Dropbox, among other things, to grow immensely. Ultimately, however, it was mainly Andrew Chen who started the current hype with his article “ Growth Hacking is the new VP Marketing ” in April 2012. Ryan Holiday’s book “Growth Hacker Marketing”  became a top seller on Amazon in 2013 immediately after its publication. There are already several portals in the USA dedicated to the trend. This includes  or . As so often, Germany is lagging about two years behind. But here, too, a small scene can be seen, for example on the portal .

What is growth hacking anyway?

First of all: not a single measure, but a strategic approach. The principle originally comes from the startup segment of the software-as-a-service industry and is closely related to “lean marketing”: the greatest possible marketing effect should be achieved with the least possible effort – in terms of time, money and manpower.

For example via a viral video or other measures that create a stir and thus increase brand awareness. Growth hacking goes beyond lean marketing and has long since ceased to be limited to startups. Today, corporations and the world’s most valuable brands employ growth hacking principles. Their goal is not only growth, but also a better understanding of their customers and users.

To understand the growth hacking approach, it helps to take a look at the development stages of a startup. Generally speaking, there are three challenges:

  1. Problem solving: The definition of the target audience and the problem to be solved. The startup’s product must relate directly to the problem and solve it as simply, precisely and efficiently as possible.
  2. Product-Market-Fit: It ensures that the product offered exactly fulfills the intended purpose – in the eyes of the target group. It is the basic requirement for successful company growth.
  3. Scaling: In this phase, the startup drives the number of users – and thus sales – up.

Growth hacking can only work on the basis of the right product market fit. Because only when the quality is right can the quantitative approach take effect, which takes up and reinforces the principle “if the product is overwhelming, I just have to get it out to the people”. The product market fit is the prerequisite for successful growth: If you neglect it, you may put your growth hacking measures in the wrong place and burn a lot of money.

Anyone who struggles with the product market fit should take a look at the bestseller “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries [6] , entrepreneur from Silicon Valley and author. There Ries writes: “If you have to ask whether you have Product-Market-Fit, the answer is simple: you don’t.” In other words: The solution must be so obvious that the question of whether the Product-Market-Fit is achieved, no longer represents. Anyone who tests their product on a test group and does not get excellent results has not yet completely done their homework.

The stages in the growth hacking process

Once the product-market fit has been achieved, scaling is “only” about one thing: growth, growth, growth – as quickly and cheaply as possible. This is essentially achieved through data-driven, quantitative experiments and systematic testing. Growth is measured by five metrics:

  • Acquisition: How do users find my product?
  • Activation: Do users have a good first experience with the product?
  • Receipt: Are users coming back?
  • Revenue: How much money do users spend?
  • Recommendation: does the product go viral?

The goal of a growth hacker is to support these metrics and drive them steadily upwards. To do this, he identifies concrete measures, implements them and learns in the process. This procedure is the so-called growth hacking process, which is divided into five steps: define goal, measure, test, learn, scale.

The goal definition

Goal definition is about accuracy: the goal must not be too broad. An example: Instead of “more sales”, which is an imprecise and therefore bad goal, a good target definition could be: “Double the sales per user within a week.” In order to know which goal you should work towards, you can approach the following hierarchy:

  • User growth
  • Increase in DAU (Daily Active Users)
  • Maximize user return
  • Increase usage rate

The order of these goals corresponds to their prioritization. That means: If the first goal is not fulfilled to a sufficient degree, it makes no sense to deal with goal number two. Only those who have enough users should be concerned with motivating them to use the service or product as long and as often as possible.

A wide variety of channels and formats can be used in each phase: social networks, e-mail, SEO, SEA, display, affiliate, videos, content marketing and much more. The possibilities are endless – and that means: the growth hacking process never stops. An important part of the target definition is the identification of a “lever” through which one’s own strengths can be optimally exploited.

For example, if you already have a broad database in the form of e-mail addresses, an e-mail campaign is ideal. If a talented designer works in the company, you could work with her to create a graphic medium, such as an infographic or a cartoon, that would be distributed virally across multiple channels. In order to be able to evaluate the results optimally, one has to find the right key figures and set up a functioning analysis system. If the turnover per user is to be doubled within a month, it is therefore important to measure the turnover and the time.

For example, it is important to determine whether the generation of sales equates to a conversion within a web analysis platform – such as Google Analytics or Adobe Site Catalyst – or to the outgoing e-mail for invoicing. This can make a huge difference. Different key figures can result from different web analysis platforms. Therefore, one must precisely define all the conditions for performance and success measurement.

Much sought-after growth hackers

Once the goal and the key figures to be measured have been defined, the planned measure can be implemented. For the sake of efficiency, a test is usually only carried out by the growth hacker. Staff from the specialist departments (product development, conversion optimization, design or SEO) are only rarely used for support. That’s why growth hackers are in great demand: They have a very diversified skill set (more on this in the section “What you can learn from growth hacking ”) and are able to make a big difference as a single force.

In the fourth phase it becomes apparent how exactly you worked in the first three phases, because now it is evaluated. If you have messed around with goal setting, measurement or implementation, you cannot learn anything from the attempt and it has failed. If the result corresponds to the expected objective, the experiment can be scaled up in the fifth step.

If this is not the case, the experiment is first optimized. Steps one to four are repeated with changed parameters: For example, you can select a different channel or address a different user base. If that’s not enough, the goal setting may be too high and should be corrected.

What you can learn from growth hacking

Growth hackers are particularly characterized by their ability to implement test chains completely on their own. Her knowledge spans areas as diverse as programming, design, online marketing, psychology, sales, product development and community management. Statistical knowledge and creativity also play a role, for example in correlation analyzes or brainstorming.

The Growth Hacker Skillset corresponds to the so-called “T-Shaped Model”: A broad basis of knowledge across all relevant areas and – based on this – special expertise in individual specialist disciplines. The first learning therefore means: Stand up broad.

The second important learning is: Make all decisions based on data. Growth hackers risk money and image to achieve growth. In order to secure your investment, your decisions are basically data-driven. The growth hacking process shows this very clearly. In many areas of the company, the principle of growth hacking could therefore be given greater consideration. Some big brands and companies have already done this successfully, as the following five examples illustrate.

Five legendary growth hacks

The following growth hacks are already legendary and give a good overview of what is possible:

  • One of the very first growth hacks was invented by the Hotmail email service in the 1990s. The trick was simple: every email automatically got the attachment “PS: I love you. Get your free email at “Hotmail” with a link to the homepage. This started a viral wave that brought the company 12 million new email accounts within a year.
  • Instagram is an example of effective cross-posting: Instagram users were able to share their pictures on Facebook very early on. The photo startup thus benefited from Facebook’s considerably larger user base, whose profile perfectly matched its product. Airbnb has also used this growth hack in the past to attract users: the startup allowed its users to automatically use the Craigslist advertising portal via a self-built interface and thus suddenly gained a lot of attention.
  • Through intelligent user analysis, Twitter found that users are most active when they have at least 30 followers. Therefore, the company implemented a suggestion function and multiplied the DAU (Daily Active Users) by more than four times in just a few months.
  • One of the best-known growth hacks is the suggested friends principle. Facebook, for example, learned through analyzes that the fewer friends they had in their network, the lower the activity of users. With suggestions for further friends, it helped its users to network more quickly and to feel comfortable. The result should be known to everyone.
  • A major factor in YouTube’s immense growth has been the ease with which the videos are distributed. With just one click, these can be embedded or shared on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit. YouTube videos were suddenly everywhere – and the platform filled with users very quickly.

Hype or growth driver?

Growth hacking is often dismissed as hype, which in principle doesn’t really bring anything new. Many critics also accuse growth hacking of a destructive nature that accepts growth “at any price”. Airbnb is often cited as an example, whose growth hack brought the startup tremendous attention, but was not compliant with Craigslist’s guidelines, which did not offer an open API for third-party providers.

However, the sophisticated approach in the examples and current developments show that growth hacking is no longer just a buzzword, but an effective approach for rapid growth. The entrepreneurial successes of the former startups that have made use of growth hacking methods – such as Airbnb or Facebook, but also Dropbox – are impressive.

Conclusion: Growth hacking is also becoming a trend in Germany

In Germany we will see more growth hacks in the future. Most of the developments in this area will probably continue to emerge from the startup scene, as startups are smaller, more flexible and less bound by guidelines – in addition, the employees there are often all-rounders and more broadly based.

In large corporations and corporations, there is only one way to grow hacking: autonomous teams of experts with the greatest possible authority. Because in order to achieve significant growth through growth hacking, the limits of politics, bureaucracy and hierarchy often have to be pushed to the limit or even bypassed.

Regardless of this, online marketers will position themselves more broadly overall, similar to what is already the case in the area of ​​SEO: Since the emergence of the content marketing trend, the areas of social, design and viral marketing have been expanding more and more.

This is how you protect yourself from SEO problems during A / B testing

We’ll show you what you should consider during A / B testing so that it doesn’t lead to problems from an SEO perspective.

Extensive A / B tests are an extremely important tool to increase the conversion rate. If you’re not careful, your test pages could have a negative impact on your SEO efforts. So that this doesn’t happen to you, we give you five tips to avoid any problems.

1. One page for the users, one for the Googlebot?

With today’s A / B test solutions, it shouldn’t be a problem anymore, but we would like to point out this danger to you. Based on the user agent, your server recognizes whether a visitor is a normal web surfer or a search engine bot. In order to get clean test results, you might be inclined to exclude the Googlebot from your test, for example, and to present it to another page – this technique is known as “cloaking”. However, Google explicitly wants to see what your visitors see. So if your A / B test solution does offer a possibility to use “cloaking”, you would do well not to use this function. In the end, you are only harming yourself.

2. But doesn’t Google index the wrong page?

You probably don’t want to find pages that you create exclusively for testing in the Google index. You have various options for this. For one, you could write the following two lines in your robots.txt file:

User-Agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /produkte/produkt-a-testseite.php

Alternatively, you can use a meta tag on the relevant page to specify that Google should not index the page. To do this, insert the following code into the meta tag in the header area of ​​the website concerned:

name=“robots“ content=“noindex“

If you suspect that your test page has already landed in the index because you didn’t think about the previous steps, you can check it by searching for it in the following way and typing it into Google Should it appear on Google, you can request the deletion of the URL via Google’s Webmaster Tools .

SEO: You can remove unwanted indexed test pages using Google’s Webmaster Tools.

3. The use of the canonical tag on your test pages

A / B testing different URLs can cause problems. From Google’s point of view, you put two almost identical websites online. Google could remove one of them from the index, after all, search engine users do not want to stumble upon identical content all the time. However, you should also tell Google which of the two pages you would like to keep in the index. To do this, you have to determine beforehand which of the pages it should be. The canonical tag is inserted into the other and refers to the “correct” page. To make sure you don’t make any mistakes, you should read our article ” SEO: The five most common mistakes with the canonical tag “.

4. Don’t just kick the losers in the bin

When you’ve completed your test and there is a clear winner, what should happen to the loser? If you delete the page including the images and videos used, this could be a disadvantage for you. After all, visitors could also come across your site via the image search, for example. If you delete the image, Google will remove it from the search index and you will lose potential visitors. It would therefore make more sense to leave the images on the server. A 301 redirect can be used for the actual page so that visitors are still directed to the winning page.

5. No A / B test should take too long

Your test should be ended when you have obtained a meaningful result. Even if you’re not exactly the math geeks, your testing tool should let you know in advance. If you let your test run too long, Google could see it as a manipulation attempt.

If we discover a site running an experiment for an unnecessarily long time, we may interpret this as an attempt to deceive search engines and take action accordingly. This is especially true if you’re serving one content variant to a large percentage of your users.
From the article Website testing & Google search on the Google Webmaster Central Blog

You shouldn’t let that scare you. You should never stop an A / B test prematurely. But if you have enough data, you should act on this information and adjust the test accordingly.

Conclusion: A / B testing and SEO

From an SEO perspective, there is no reason to be afraid of an A / B test. If you watch what you are doing, it will benefit you significantly more than it could even remotely harm you. If you need ideas for your tests, take a look at our article “ A / B test: 71 tips for more conversions ”.