SEO: 7 tips for onpage optimization

Good rankings are not only based on good content, but also on a clean structure of your website. Kevin Jackowski from explains which tricks you can use to gain advantages.

If you want to place your website successfully in search engines, you should try to get a deeper understanding of how it works. It should be seen as a privilege to get targeted traffic from the search results.

So that site operators can benefit from this privilege, they should make it easier for search engines to crawl their own website. Ultimately, they are interested in giving searchers the right answers to their questions. Questions that site owners prefer to answer with their own website.

What do search engines value?

In order for your own website to be found for the relevant questions or keywords, the search engine crawlers must reach the relevant subpages, interpret their content and process it correctly. Only then do they end up in the index and, if necessary, are delivered to matching search queries.

Nowadays, almost all areas are about energy and efficiency – including search engines. Each website receives a specific index and crawling budget, which tells the crawlers the estimated time required for a domain. Webmasters can make critical mistakes here by using existing budgets for the wrong resources. With the help of a few notes you can determine the relevance of individual content. Search engines understand these tips, set priorities based on them and can thus be controlled to a certain extent.

The instructions in detail

Webmasters who understand that they should manage the budget carefully can benefit from the resources that the search engine makes available to them. But what do crawlers watch out for? Which information are relevant for you and influence the processing of a website? My article aims to answer these questions.

1. Protect yourself from duplicate content

Many webmasters are unaware that duplicate content creates problems. On the one hand, search engines find it difficult to deliver the “correct” document for search queries. On the other hand, duplicate content wastes the existing crawl budget, so that relevant content may not get into the index. Search engines are getting better and better at identifying duplicate content and fixing the first problem. For webmasters, duplicate content still results in a waste of their own budget.

In some cases, duplicate content cannot be avoided. Under these circumstances, website operators should explain to the crawlers in the source code how to handle them. The following options are helpful:

  • The meta tag “noindex” : It ensures that a website is not included in the index. The meta tag is written in the <head> of the page and looks like this: <meta name = “robots“ content = “noindex“>. It helps to avoid the double indexing of “duplicate content”.
  • The canonical tag: It is used when there is little or no difference between pages. The “duplicates” of a page refer to the “original” using a canonical tag. Webmasters use it to explain to the search engine which sub-page should be included in the index and delivered in response to matching search queries. The canonical tag is also written in the <head> of the page and looks like this: <link rel = “canonical“ href = ““>.
  • Correct status codes: Site operators should pay attention to correct status codes so that search engines save important resources. The following status codes are particularly relevant for search engines:
    • Status code 200 – OK: It signals to the crawlers that everything is OK with this page and that a document can be reached. Important: If it is an error page that should actually receive the status 404, then this must also be marked as a 404 page. If this is not the case, one speaks of “Soft 404” errors.
    • Status code 301 – Moved Permanently:  If a resource is permanently available under a different URL, it should be redirected using status code 301. This status code ensures that relevant “link juice” is passed on. So if a forwarding is permanent and not temporary, always use “status code 301”.
    • Status code 302 – Found:  With status code 302, crawlers receive the information that a website is only temporarily accessible under a different URL. This means that no “link juice” is passed on to the new link target.
    • Status code 404 – Not found:  A 404 error tells crawlers that a document is not available at the specified URL – a bad sign. Webmasters should keep the number of these errors low. The webmaster tools help track down 404 errors on your own website.
    • Status code 500 – Internal Server Error: When servers detect an internal error, they usually output a status code 500. Crawlers often stop crawling at this point and come back at a later point in time so that the server is not put under additional load.
    • Status code 503 – Service Unavailable:  If the status code 503 is output, the server is overloaded or is being serviced. For crawlers, this is an indication that they should continue their work at a later point in time. With the help of the “Retry-After” header field, webmasters can specify when the server will be able to process external requests again.

2. Avoid forwarding chains

Forwarding chains (also known as “redirect chains”) rob crawlers of important resources. Webmasters should therefore avoid this as much as possible. The incorrect use of status codes can lead to the fact that “Linkjuice” is not passed on, which is why site operators should refer to new link destinations with the correct status code (usually 301). Search engines partially cancel the crawling of the redirect chains. They also ensure increased loading times on mobile devices.

3. Structure your website with sitemaps

Sitemaps offer the opportunity to give crawlers an overview and to set priorities right from the start of their work. They can be separated in terms of content and can also be separated according to data type. so there are sitemaps for:

  • Content,
  • Videos,
  • Photos,
  • News,
  • mobile content.

In order for it to be found, the sitemap should be in the robots.txt of the website. If the maximum size is limited, webmasters can create a master that contains all other sitemaps.

Site operators can also submit the individual sitemaps in Google Webmaster Tools. In this way it can be checked to what extent the sitemaps have already been processed by the search engine.

Webmasters can use the following attributes to provide the crawler with additional information:

  • <changefreq>: This attribute indicates how often the content of the document changes and when a recrawl is appropriate. The following attributes are available: always , hourly , daily , weekly , monthly , yearly , never . With the help of these attributes, website operators can, for example, identify individual page areas whose content changes less often; archives are a good example of this.
  • <priority>: Webmasters who want to differentiate between the value of individual subpages in the sitemap can do so with this attribute. It indicates how high the priority of an individual document is compared to all other documents. The default value is “0.5”, the entire range is between “0.1” and “1.0”. With the help of this attribute, webmasters can tell the search engine which documents are particularly important to them, so that the search engine uses more resources for this.
  • <lastmod>: The attribute indicates when a sitemap was last changed. Important: This is not about the content, but about the sitemap. The use of this attribute is only necessary after adapting the sitemap.

4. Make hard-to-crawl content easy to understand

In the past, crawlers sometimes had difficulties with Ajax-based content. Although the processing has gotten better now, webmasters should help the crawlers with the processing of all subpages. If Ajax is used to dynamically reload content, the following should be observed:

  • In order for crawlers to process the elements marked with Ajax, they must be marked. To do this, the crawlers must be provided with other URLs, as Google explains in a manual .
  • The URLs must contain a token in the hash fragments, which signals the Ajax content to the crawlers. For unique pages, the token is an exclamation mark.
  • The crawlers must receive an HTML snapshot from the server for each URL to be indexed, which contains all content visible to the user. So that the server knows which version to give the crawlers, it temporarily changes the Ajax URL. It replaces the hash value (#!) In “? _Escaped_fragment_ =” and asks for the snapshot.
  • For pages that are to be indexed without hash fragments (for example the start page or individual subpages), the following meta tag must be inserted in the <head> of the page: <meta name = “fragment“ content = “!“>. Here, too, an HTML snapshot is required for the respective page, which crawlers can request from the server.
  • The URLs that are to be indexed in this form should also be entered in the sitemaps.

As a webmaster, to be sure that the search engine was able to process and index all Ajax content, you should check it with the help of the Google Webmaster Tools. In the “crawling” area you will find the menu item “retrieval as by Google”. Here users only have to enter the URL with the hash value (#!) And click on “Retrieve and render”.

5. Take advantage of internal links


With the help of internal links, page operators can define the most important sub-pages of their website. The frequency with which a document is linked signals its priority to crawlers. Accessibility is also particularly important: the faster a subpage can be reached from the start page, the greater its importance. Site operators should therefore choose a flat hierarchy or make all sub-pages available using optimized paginations, link modules or sitemaps.

6. Create connections

Crawlers have problems recognizing the connection between two subpages, especially when it comes to paginated articles. Site operators can remedy this with the attributes <rel = “next“> and <rel = “prev“>. They are stored in the <head> of a website and thus create a relationship between several documents.

The attribute <rel = “next“> refers to the next parts of a document, <rel = “prev“> to the previous parts. Crawlers not only recognize the connection between two websites, but also their order.

7. Provide structured content

Structured data offer website operators another option to provide the crawler with additional information about the content stored on a website. They are integrated into the sub-pages by means of tags and partially affect their display in the search results. In this context, one also speaks of ” rich snippets “. They are available for the following types of information, among others:

  • reviews
  • Events
  • people
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Recipes
  • Products
  • Companies
  • music

In order to test whether this data has been correctly marked within the document, Google offers a ” test tool for structured data “.


Not only unique and high-quality content, but also an optimal technical infrastructure inspire the rankings of your websites. Therefore, always think of your two target groups: the users who want to read your content and the crawlers who have to interpret and process it.

They both want …

  • recognize contextual context,
  • get important information at a glance,
  • find thematically similar information with little effort,
  • read the selected document,
  • recognize a well-structured structure,
  • Receive as much relevant additional information as possible and
  • spend little energy searching for relevant information.

If you respond to these wishes, you will secure the sympathy of users and crawlers. And best of all, you will appreciate it.

Our article “ Onpage SEO: The Most Important Ranking Factors ” provides a basic introduction to the topic of onpage optimization .

Optimize SEO ranking through content personalization

Whether online shop, portal or news site – websites automatically personalize their content in order to offer their visitors exactly what they are looking for. But what do companies have to consider so that personalization also has a positive effect on search engine optimization?

Experts see the automated personalization of content as an important trend in online marketing . If websites only display the information and products that are particularly relevant for the respective visitor, this significantly increases both the conversion rate and user metrics – for example the duration of a visit or the number of pages viewed per visit. Amazon provides a good example of successful content personalization: The website evaluates user data so extensively that it can display precisely those products based on previous page views that are most likely relevant to the visitor.

But not only the industry leader Amazon is customizing its content based on user data. Since the costs of attracting (new) visitors are rising sharply, it is obvious that the shop operators attach a corresponding relevance to the conversion optimization and “pick up” the visitor in the conversion funnel in good time – that is, a “funnel” of conversion elements, which the Ultimately, it aims to guide website visitors to purchase.

The possibilities of automatic personalization are enormous. But how exactly should companies implement this technically so that it has a positive effect on search engine rankings?

Personalization versus cloaking

In its quality guidelines,  Google warns site operators against providing their visitors with different content or URLs than the search engine crawlers – a technique known as cloaking. Google’s negative attitude towards cloaking can be traced back to the early days of search engines, when website owners used this technique primarily as a means of deception.

At that time, websites gave search engines content for one reason only: to signal relevance for certain search terms and achieve good rankings accordingly. However, if a user clicked on the page, they saw completely different content – for example, content that was much less relevant, but wanted to push the purchase process with much stronger conversion elements. It is understandable that this form of misleading can neither be in Google’s sense nor in that of the user.

From a technical point of view, however, the suspicion of cloaking can also arise with individualized content. However, Google emphasizes that websites are primarily intended for users and not for search engines, so that personalized content makes perfect sense from the user’s point of view if well implemented.

The SEO- friendly personalization

Google itself therefore tries to take the fear of such a possible cloaking suspicion from website operators without malicious intent. Ultimately, they just shouldn’t show the Googlebot any content specifically aimed at it – and that’s exactly the case with typical content personalization.

In order to ensure that the individualization of content does not have a negative effect on the search results – i.e. there is no suspicion of cloaking – the content of a website should only be so highly individualized that personalized product content and static page content are in a balanced relationship to one another.

A fashion shop that is relevant to search terms such as “buy shoes” due to its content should therefore not only show shirts, but above all a suitable selection of shoes. Important: Content personalization when logged in has no relevance to search engine optimization, as the bots cannot read it.

No impact on SEO

Typically, the content customization has no direct influence on the search results. This is because the automatic personalization takes place on the user’s client – i.e. on their computer, for example using JavaScript. However, search engines evaluate the content of a website on the server side, since Google cannot access the corresponding client content.

Cookies are used, for example, to save which shop categories a visitor has called up during their previous visits. Even if Google could technically use these cookies, the search engine does not use them because this would significantly falsify the crawling results.

How customization influences SEO: length of stay and bounce rate

The technical implementation of automated personalization in relation to SEO is therefore all about avoiding errors that could negatively affect the ranking. However, the SEO can also be improved with the individualization of content.

The user metrics also ensure good rankings – in particular the bounce rate and the duration of visits per page view. The lower the bounce rate and the longer the dwell time on a page, the more relevant a website is for a certain search term according to Google’s algorithms – after all, previous visitors seem to have found exactly the content they expected.

The better the automatic personalization and the more relevant the content is for the page visitor, the greater the likelihood that the user will navigate the page and not jump off directly. Not only online shops can use this – for example, by showing users the categories they have prioritized. News sites can also benefit from the possibilities. For example, by showing their readers only the posts that have been added since their last visit.

In order to increase the length of time a visitor stays on a page, website operators can show returning users not only the articles they are looking for but also further information. For example, if a user searches for “apps for smartphones” and has previously selected a lot of content on the topic of “Apple iPhone” on the same page, the assumption is that he is looking for apps for his iPhone despite his rather unspecific search query. Online shops can also offer their visitors refill materials or add-ons for products that have already been purchased, for example, or present inexpensive upgrades for purchased software.


Of course, websites and the corresponding solutions can only achieve these effects if a user has already visited the website several times and his interests have been evaluated accordingly. Only through the history of a user does a website operator know which categories, products or articles are particularly relevant to him.


Those who stick to a few rules of the game with automated content personalization and avoid suspicion of cloaking do not have to fear any penalties with regard to SEO. On the other hand, there are opportunities for optimization through the individualization of the user metrics, length of stay and bounce rates, which as Google ranking criteria increase the relevance of a website with regard to certain keywords. In this way, personalized content can help websites rank well in search results.

Marketing automation: 7 examples of how to get started

After years of being declared dead, email is more alive today than ever. We bring you seven tips from the Internet World trade fair, which will show you how to set up better e-mail marketing campaigns in line with our “Theme Week Marketing: Content, SEO, CRM ”.

7 examples of marketing automation: how to boost your e-commerce

Email marketing is one of the tools that helps to achieve set goals relatively inexpensively. In addition to the completely new channels such as Snapchat and Co., the classic route via email should not be neglected. When it comes to newsletters, companies should primarily focus on individualization – which is not always as difficult as it sounds. With relatively simple means, campaigns can be created that convert well and address each user individually.

However, there are two important points to consider: You need a proper database that can be built up gradually and a proper connection to the e-mail system in order to keep the effort as low as possible. It is of course also important to ensure that the opt-in is obtained from the recipient in order to send further information that does not directly affect the customer’s purchase. Shop operators should therefore ensure that they obtain this as early as possible.

In his lecture at the Internet World Fair, Jörg Arnold, Managing Director of the email marketing provider mailingwork , showed seven simple examples that lead shop owners to great success with little effort.

1. Welcome series

A customer is happy to receive emails in which you thank you for registering. This mail can also be used to collect further data for later automatic customization of the mails to the customer. In addition, the first sales can be generated with a test offer or a voucher. Arnold’s recommendation: The emails could initially be sent every three days, then less often. He also provides another important factor: Even the opt-in e-mail should be stylish and, above all, designed in the company’s corporate design – small lever, big effect, says Arnold.

2. Product recommendations in the newsletter

Arnold’s practical example and tip number two are product recommendations in newsletters. Here, too, e-mails can be personalized with relatively simple means, starting with recommendations based on gender or other characteristics that one receives from the customer.

3. Transactional emails

Transactional emails are particularly popular with users. What happens to the order, what is the status and when can it be expected? The opening rates are extremely high and so these emails also have a high potential – although the double opt-in must of course also be observed if advertising is to be placed there. In addition, according to Arnold, the personal “signature” is an important factor. Emails that come directly from the customer advisor generate more attention.

4. Cart abandonment emails

So-called shopping cart abandonment e-mails are increasingly being used in the shop area. Many large shops already rely on reminding customers of the abandoned purchase process. Again, of course, nothing works without the consent of the recipient – but if you have this, Arnold recommends shipping within 24 to 48 hours after canceling the purchase.

5. Loyalty campaigns

Like the ancient voucher inserts in order catalogs, vouchers for loyal customers also work wonders. There it is important to get creative and find suitable occasions. Birthdays and the Christmas holidays are a bit worn out. It is worth looking for alternatives. For birthdays, for example, you could send a suitable email a few weeks in advance containing offers for planning a birthday party.

6. Reviews

Reviews are extremely important to online retailers. Email is a great way to get them from customers. This type of automated marketing email also attracts a lot of attention and makes a positive impression on customers.

7. Reactivation emails

The majority of your own newsletter subscribers are silent, you don’t get any feedback from them and they haven’t bought a product from you for a long time. Here, too, there is potential for email marketing. If you manage to get these customers to order again with automated and personalized reactivation emails, you have already achieved a lot. This works, for example, by giving away vouchers.


E-mails are easy to implement, there are many services that support you in sending newsletters and that also enable customization. These services take over a large part of the campaign management and the click and conversion rates are a lot higher if you rely on personalization – a huge advantage over normal newsletters.

SEO without backlinks: nonsense or future?

For every SEO, manipulating links is one of the strategic goals. Search engine operators, on the other hand, are trying to curb the abuse of backlinks more and more. Could it soon be the case that links no longer have any influence on search engine ranking? As part of our “Theme Week Marketing: Content, SEO, CRM ”, author Darius Erdt tries to answer this question.

Links between websites have always been one of the most central ranking factors in search engines. For this reason, manipulating links and influencing link structures are crucial strategic goals in search engine optimization. For many years a website could be promoted to the top positions in Google search results with a high degree of probability through targeted link building.

Now that Google has been regulating the topic more and more through algorithmic and manual penalties, building effective links has become much more difficult. At the same time, Google is increasingly taking into account the actual content, semantics and user signals when developing the ranking algorithm.

At the latest since SEOkomm 2014, when Marcus Tandler, Managing Director of GmbH, prophesied the death of the links in the next two years, this topic has been increasingly discussed in the SEO scene. So what role will backlinks , once one of the most important building blocks for ranking, play for search engines in the future?

Back to the beginning: Google and the backlinks

First a look back: Larry Page and Sergey Brin managed to make Google the most successful search engine in the world. Based on the reference information in scientific documents and the basic principles of bibliometrics, they developed a search engine in which links between websites became an important ranking factor. Since then, these have been used by almost all common search engines as an important support for determining the relevance of documents. From their original point of view, they are always to be understood as a means of navigation and reference to a further source and thus as a kind of recommendation.

Limits and problems

As the following examples show, it is not possible to assign this original meaning to every link on the Internet. Much more were and are basic content limits with regard to backlinks. And yet, Google has made links a central component of the ranking algorithm.

1. Negative reporting

For example, when companies are involved in a scandal and react to it with good PR, mentions and links are often created. However, these are not to be understood as a reference or recommendation.

2. Partnerships and sponsorship

For example, if companies are part of a group or an alliance, or if the corporate strategy relies heavily on sponsoring, there are often strong links between them. Strictly speaking, these are not recommendations in the strict sense of the word.

3. Possibilities for manipulation

Since backlinks have been a ranking factor on Google, SEOs have taken advantage of this and tried to find ways to build links. Link building has always been a kind of cat and mouse game between SEOs and Google. In the past few years, Google has done a lot to combat manipulated link building, which has created great uncertainty among advertising companies. Nevertheless, from Google’s point of view, this problem has not been completely resolved and not all manipulation attempts can be clearly identified.

4. Linkbaits and content marketing promotions

With linkbaits, it is important to critically question whether the links generated by it really meet the ranking criteria that Google originally had in mind. For example, what does an advisory e-book that was designed to collect links say about a domain’s worth of recommendation? And what does a linkbait say about the relevance of the website doing it?

Example: This linkbait from Kaufda generated over 200 backlinks, many of them from fire department sites. To what extent these links fit into the core service and are in the spirit of Google remains questionable.

In view of such excesses, Google has done a lot in recent years not to distort the ranking results too much. On the one hand, the group has switched to changing the weighting of the backlinks compared to other ranking factors. On the other hand, Google has manually punished link networks, link buyers and sellers in the past and rolled out the Penguin update. However, the manipulative influences of links cannot be completely controlled. Will Google ultimately forego this factor entirely?

Yandex as a pioneer

Ever since the Russian search engine Yandex announced at the end of 2013 that it would no longer consider links in commercial search queries in the Moscow region, this topic has moved more and more into the focus of the SEO scene. Based on this, some SEO experts postulated the imminent death of links as a direct ranking factor. In March 2015, Yandex surprised the SEO community with the news that in the future they will be relying on backlinks to assess relevance.

After all, Yandex’s change of course in 2014 caused many companies, according to the search engine operator, to devote more attention to paid search engine advertisements, content and the usability of their pages in order to increase their traffic and conversions. Instead of buying links, a process has been initiated that has led website owners to focus more on their users. Ultimately, however, a number of SEOs that were too large for Yandex still seemed to be investing in the purchase of links, so that the operators ultimately decided on the same path as Google: evaluating links as a positive and negative ranking factor .

This U-turn and, above all, the official justification was quite surprising: If you are so firmly convinced that a search engine without backlinks leads to the best possible results, Yandex shouldn’t really have cared whether search engine optimizers in Russia continue to build links or not. After all, these links would have no effect on the rankings. So is it not possible without backlinks?

Google tests algorithm without links

Google has already practically worked through the idea of ​​excluding backlinks as a ranking factor. In February 2014, Matt Cutts , then head of Google’s web spam team, stated that the quality of the ranking results would be “much, much worse” if this factor were to be avoided altogether. At the same time he heated up speculations about the future of the search algorithm with a vague formulation that backlinks “at least until now” are still an important factor for determining the relevance of websites. So is Google also working on a future of ranking without links? In any case, three observations make it clear that in addition to backlinks, other factors are playing an increasingly important role in positioning in Google rankings.

Other positioning factors

Time and again, examples of “landing pages” attract attention, which were able to achieve very good rankings simply through their holistic content preparation and without backlinks. These pages rank so well because they take up all conceivable questions on a topic and are therefore a holistic document on the Internet. One of the most prominent “linkless ranking” examples is the over 5,000 words containing the landing page of the online marketers Karl Kratz, .

At SEO round tables and conferences, individual phenomena are also reported in which website operators were able to achieve some top 10 rankings for projects for a short time without any special impact. So far, this has been explained by the fact that Google initiates testing here independently of external factors such as backlinks. First, it checks how users react if the website in question ranks for less contested keywords. If this test is successful, i.e. hardly any users jump back to the Google results page, the website secures the chance to achieve better rankings even for more competitive keywords .

In addition, a method was presented in February 2015 in the research report “ Knowledge-Based Trust ” by Google, which evaluates a website independently of links. Here, one concentrates on the correctness of the content of the published facts and measures the trustworthiness of the site based on the number of errors. This principle is currently only a study and not yet included in Google’s search algorithm.

However, the often mentioned “linkless ranking” examples are often very specific with regard to their topic, competitive environment and user intention. It is doubtful whether these individual phenomena allow conclusions to be drawn about all keywords and the future of the search algorithm. At the same time, it is questionable whether an expansion of the content is always a sensible way from a conversion point of view for every topic and every page type. Are holistic websites necessarily the better sites? And if a large number of website operators do their on-page homework, isn’t an additional external instance still necessary to put websites in a meaningful ranking order? Aren’t backlinks still the best way to do this?

The importance of links in transition

The importance of links in the search engine algorithm is changing and is no longer the strongest SEO factor. However, it is currently not foreseeable that Google will do without it in the future. Link building will continue to be a relevant part of search engine optimization. Nevertheless, it is advisable to see offpage optimization more and more as a tool for building reputation rather than just as a supplier of ranking-relevant backlinks. It is also advisable to check which link building options are really useful for each topic and project. A fashion or travel brand, for example, has more opportunities for cooperation than a financial or B2B company due to the existing linkerati, and a brand that does a lot of PR and marketing,


Local SEO: Comprehensive checklist and free white paper help you optimize your website

Local SEO can be seen as a useful method with which SMEs can position themselves at the top of the Google search. The search engine experts at MOZ have now developed a whitepaper including a checklist that can help small businesses with this.

You run a restaurant in Berlin, a bike shop in Münster or a café in Hamburg, but your websites are not easy to find on Google? With this you block your potential customers, because the web search is often used before going to a store or a shop. According to a study by Google (PDF) , 80 percent (as of 2014) of users search online for local shopping options. If you can be found at the top of the search results, you can likely win new customers.

With marketing measures with which you optimize your internet presence for local search queries – also called local SEO – you can improve the findability of your website. To optimize the local visibility of your presence, you can carry out various steps that MOZ has summarized in a clear infographic.

Apart from the special advice for different types of company, MOZ also provides various tips that are universally applicable. This includes, for example, technical requirements, special local content and a lot more. In addition, MOZ offers a comprehensive white paper that you can have sent to you by email.

Social Media Marketing: This tool finds the right contacts for your content

Rebel Discovery is designed to serve as a CRM for social media managers. With the tool you should find exactly those Facebook pages and Twitter accounts that are interested in sharing your content.

Rebel Discovery: Tool is looking for multipliers for you

With Rebel Discovery, the startup RebelMouse has developed a new tool that companies can use to track down exactly the social media accounts that are interested in their shared content. The underlying idea is simple: there are usually dozens of Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for almost every topic. In turn, they are constantly dependent on new content. Rebel Discovery wants to help you find them and get in touch with the makers.

Rebel Discovery suggests a series of keywords for each of your social media posts. Depending on which one you choose, the tool will choose from the 75 million Facebook pages exactly those that deal with this topic. In addition, you will of course be shown the number of subscribers to the respective page. At the same time, the tool also tries to determine the website operator’s email address. If that doesn’t work, you can also research it yourself and save it in the tool.

Social media marketing: contacting possible multipliers via Rebel Discovery

Once you’ve identified enough potential multipliers for your content, you can contact them directly via Rebel Discovery . You can do this either by email, Facebook or Twitter. According to the manufacturer, the first tests among users of the tool should have resulted in an average increase in page views of 20 percent.

Rebel Mouse is currently conducting three-month test phases with its customers. If you think the tool could help your brand, use this form to get information about a product demo. You can then use it to obtain details about the prices, which unfortunately are not openly communicated.

Content Marketing Strategy: 5 Practical Solutions to Get Started

46 percent of German companies are planning to set up a content marketing strategy – a sensible decision when you consider that over two thirds of consumers find out about products primarily on the Internet.

The expectations of consumers are clear: 61 percent would like to be made aware of products and companies in their online research via relevant content instead of disruptive advertising. 84 percent of potential customers even leave the websites they visit if there is excessive advertising.

There are more reasons why it makes sense to implement a content marketing strategy in the company. Three quarters of online users have more confidence in companies if they provide high-quality, helpful background information. Those who create and market their own content contribute to the generation of visitors via the organic search engine channel, to building up their own expert status, to generating the links that are still essential for the Google ranking and to expanding brand awareness within the target group. In addition, companies that work independently and sustainably when ranking in the search engines are releasing themselves from the dependence on expensive clicks, such as B. Google Adwords.

The figure shows how short-term pay-per-click ads are linked to the invested budget, while content marketing represents a cumulative channel. As plausible as these arguments in favor of content marketing sound, and as much as there is talk about it, many companies are still unaware of how and where to start. We present five practical recommendations for action with which a content marketing strategy can be developed and implemented as easily as possible:

1. Research: How do I find suitable content?

Content campaigns primarily deal with an existing demand in the relevant target group. The aim is to satisfy the users of Internet search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo directly in their search interests. This requires an in-depth study of the needs and problems of potential customers on the basis of their most frequent search queries, i.e. researching relevant topics, search terms and questions. If you know the search terms (keywords) of the target group, you can produce tailored content, such as B. helpful, topic-related product and service information, instructions, how-to articles, FAQ directories or checklists.
If you want to achieve a higher online visibility of the company website, you have to weigh the search volumes between individual keywords and have current developments on the topic on your screen: What is the current demand, what are related search queries, how high is the interest in Google Trends or the others Search engines? On which other pages, be it a large online magazine or a private blog, do people prefer to talk about my topic?
The analysis of the content of competitors who are already ranking successfully for the relevant keywords can also serve to inspire and optimize your own content.
Research forms the basis for creating the best content on a particular topic, because only that is likely to:

  • represent a large proportion of long-tail demand,
  • has the chance to generate good links,
  • can be actively distributed via online PR, depending on the presentation.

2. Planning: How can I keep an eye on projects?

It makes sense to divide the content marketing strategy into three categories and define different goals:

  • The systematic development and publication of requested and target-group-relevant content within your own blog, magazine or guide. The aim is to increase the visibility of certain search terms, the positions on Google and the organic visitors.
  • The implementation of entertaining and particularly informative campaigns such as B. Videos, infographics, expert interviews or the publication of extensive blog posts. The aim of this content can be seeding, i.e. distribution on other relevant online media, the success of which can be measured in the form of generated links and mentions on other websites or the reach in social media.
  • The creation of content products (including content assets) such as B. white papers, webinars or newsletter series. In addition to the aspects mentioned above, the aim should also be that visitors can be converted – e.g. B. through a download, a subscription or even a purchase.

The planning stage of the content campaign also includes the allocation of responsibilities within the team: who does the research, who writes the first draft, who proofreads it, who gives the approval, who then takes care of the distribution and maintaining contacts? Since successful content marketing is teamwork, a central communication platform should be created and an editorial plan should be set up and coordinated with all parties involved.
The traffic potential of a content idea can serve as the basis for prioritization. To do this, look at the search volumes of the associated keywords and the pay-per-click prices of these keywords on Google Adwords. The higher the search volume and the price-per-click with Adwords, the higher the demand in the search engine and thus the potential of the content. If you compare this potential with the cost and time required to create the respective content, you can easily calculate whether it is worthwhile for the company to research and create the content.

3. Creation: Which content works best?

Once you have decided on one or more content ideas validated by keyword research, the next step is to create the most personalized and relevant content possible. This requires someone who can present boring or complicated processes and instructions in a fresh, lively tone in order to attract and keep the reader’s attention. The same applies to the creation of other media formats, such as infographics, white papers, tutorials, case studies or videos.

The best way to support the creator of the content is to add interesting resources to the content idea. That would be B. Thoroughly researched sources on the topic in the form of URLs or documents (PDFs) to enrich the text with background information. In addition, an author briefing must be prepared with all relevant framework conditions (style, structure, target group / persona, etc.).
Every page on the website should have a direct or implicit call-to-action that is directly related to the content of the page.
In order to enhance content within the above-mentioned content marketing goals, it can make sense to use aids such as the “W-question research”, a “WDF * IDF analysis” or the “analysis of internal links”.

4. Distribution: How do I generate more reach?

Once the author has submitted the finished article, after a final approval by the content manager, the publication can begin. Attention can only be achieved through a targeted distribution of the content to the target group. The owned media channels, such as B. Facebook, Twitter or newsletter, on the one hand and the earned media channels on the other. The following websites should be researched, listed and informed about the exciting new content:

  • Pages that refer to similar content from the competition,
  • Blogs with brand mentions and backlinks for my competition in the same subject area,
  • Websites that fit my content thematically.

This is a particularly time-consuming process that can be managed using constantly updated Excel tables or dynamic, less time-consuming contact management software solutions. The effort is worthwhile in any case, because the chances increase that the high-quality content will be picked up, discussed and recommended by influential media and multipliers from the topic area. These are signals that the search engine recognizes (in the form of links, visitor numbers, brand mentions, social signals, etc.) and rewarded accordingly with higher placements for the relevant keywords.

5. Analysis: How can successful content be measured?

Ongoing monitoring determines the success of the content researched, created and shared in this way. In the first step, this can be the current rankings, the increasing number of backlinks, and social media mentions. In the second step, it should be checked whether the organic visitors (e.g. via Google) and the referral traffic are increasing. A good and meaningful measure of the success of a content can again be the representation of the traffic in Google AdWords CPC value. To do this, it must be analyzed which search terms generated which number of visitors per month and how the respective CPC prices on Google AdWords are set for this. In this way, a content marketing ROI can be quickly identified and optimally reported internally and externally.

But no matter how much visibility you build, the conclusion on the target page on which the content was published must be clear. During the reading process or at the latest at the end of the reading process, the website visitor should receive a request for action or a recommendation that takes them further – e.g. B. to download a larger content resource for which he leaves his contact details. This can be a white paper, a presentation, a webinar, an entry for the newsletter or something similar. You convert the attracted prospect to a lead that the company’s product and service recommendations will later reach.
In order to be in the picture about the far-reaching effects of larger content campaigns, it is advisable to implement various monitoring processes in the follow-up. So you should regularly check whether you are ranking for the previously defined keywords with the published content or whether other relevant keywords are included in the keyword monitoring.
Following the implementation of content campaigns, controlling and process optimization begin. Regular reports on links, brand mentions and ranking developments are just the beginning and should be repeated at least after each content campaign.

Once you have understood the processes and created best practices, many of the work processes can be automated and greater efficiency in workflow and team performance can be achieved.


Content marketing makes it possible to open up new and sustainable visitor channels that do more than just perform, are not always directly linked to a budget and offer unique selling points in communication. Creativity, expert knowledge and a strengthening of the brand online play an essential role in this. New performance campaigns may help meet the quarterly targets. Content marketing helps to grow continuously and sustainably over the next few years via the online channel.

Opinion makers: 10 rules for successful influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is currently on everyone’s lips. But what do you have to consider when advertising with opinion leaders? Anke Herbener, CEO of DigitasLBi AG in Germany and Switzerland, has put together the ten most important rules for the colleagues at HORIZONT Online.

1. Define the target group and compare it with the influencer community

Before companies invest in influencer marketing, as with any marketing campaign, the target group must be precisely defined. It is worth thinking outside the box, because companies may find some new target groups that have not been addressed in the previous discussion. Addressing these leads using influencers can prove to be particularly worthwhile.

2. Plan dedicated budgets for fees and external campaign costs

It is well known that nothing is free in the world of marketing, so that influencer campaigns can only develop a verifiable advertising effect for brands with monetary expenditure. If you don’t pay, you won’t win. Influencers are becoming more professional just like the marketing industry. Therefore, communication and marketing decision-makers should make sure that they reserve their own budget for this specialist discipline.

3. Define goals and determine results for the influencer campaign

Together with the influencers they address, companies should define individual phases of cooperation. The results to be achieved must be clearly named and it must be made clear which content the influencer should develop. The definition of goals ensures that there is no unnecessary effort and that the campaign result is actually right for both sides in the end.

4. Identify influencers and check for compatibility with your own brand

Digital opinion leaders really have to fit in with their own brand. After all, they appear as brand ambassadors and advocates for a product world. The targeted research for the right influencer therefore requires time and a sure instinct, because only if the influencer and product are a good match will YouTube videos, Instagram photos, Facebook posts and blog articles convert into leads by the respective fans.

5. Align the selection of influencers according to key figures and engagement of their fans

Companies have to validate their campaigns and should determine the corresponding key figures using various online tools and monitoring services. In the end, it is not just the reach that should be decisive for choosing the right influencer. This depends on networking with your own fan base and community as well as interacting with other influencers. Companies should therefore consider all influencing factors for evaluating the advertising impact of individual influencers in order to lead campaigns to success.

6. Include agencies and networks as partners in the campaign

Influencers want to be seen by companies as equal partners. They are not supplicants and often reach a larger audience than some prime-time spots. Many influencers are therefore represented by agencies and networks that offer artist management and PR advice as well as ad bookings and the entire media business for influencers. Companies should trust in this expertise of creative and digital service providers because they have already successfully implemented campaigns with influencers.

7. Validate the interaction of the target group with the content of the influencer

Make sure you understand how followers and fans actually deal with the content of the influencers. Also check in which way, but also in which tonality influencers express themselves on the advertised content. So do not operate influencer marketing via pricing models that only target the bare numbers of networks and channels. Rather, pay attention to actual engagements and ideally incorporate this data into your final evaluation.

8. Protect the credibility of influencers and companies

As a rule, articles, pictures and videos from influencers appear more authentic than a staged brand world with staged recordings. Companies should be careful right from the start not to weaken the authenticity of the influencer with unsuitable products and advertising materials. Brands should allow influencers a certain amount of freedom in how they communicate content and brand messages to their fans – with the influencers’ own videos and selfies.

9. Maintain legal security in influencer marketing

Before companies work with influencers, they should ensure legal security for their brand and for the influencer. Surreptitious advertising must be avoided, even if it is all too tempting. Companies must ensure that advertising content is clearly identified within the influencer’s posts. Because the legal limits for advertising do not stop at influencer marketing.

10. Evaluate influencer campaigns and measure their success

Companies should examine the references to the advertised campaign page using analytics tools. The careful analysis of an influencer campaign is a prerequisite for whether the collaboration can be rated as a success. Companies should always use the evaluation of their campaigns to learn from possible mistakes and to use the findings for future measures and influencer campaigns based on them.


Influencer marketing works with an intelligent strategy that is influenced by numerous factors from public relations, marketing and the media business. Rely on long-range and attention-grabbing concepts and activate your network to identify the right influencers. Influencers should not appear for a campaign solely because of their reach and awareness, because sometimes a large number of smaller opinion makers generate significantly more advertising effects than the one-time number with the digital superstar.

The entire world of influencer marketing is developing into a new ecosystem from which the marketing and advertising industry as well as the entire economy can benefit. Anyone who steps in now and communicates with influencers will be able to stake out the claims in good time and put the brand on the road to success.

Consumer goods brands: Give your own channels more time and love again

In the digital world, brand reach means everything. However, many marketers fail to recognize the importance of their own communication channels. However, this is where users look for product information.

The market for paid media, i.e. paid advertising, is an unrestrained growth machine in the digital world: According to Statista Digital Market Outlook As of July 2019, the current expenditure forecast for Germany this year is around eight billion euros – plus 36 percent over the next four years. This is noticeable, among other things, in the fact that the marketing departments of consumer goods manufacturers, also known as Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), whip their creative agencies from one campaign to the next, while the media agency claps loudly in the background. Because in the race for customer attention, the saviors of marketing are non-skippable pre-roll, story ad with swipe-up, selection ad on Snapchat or expandable medium rectangular banners. But what comes after the jump? Right, usually your own channels.

Don’t neglect your own channels

Brand managers should not get this wrong now: Media is important! Very important, in fact. But the part of the purchase decision path on which customers walk on foreign channels ends with phase 1 – attention. However, when it comes to information, purchase consideration and loyalty building, the brand’s own channels come into play: website, shop, blog, app , customer club and newsletter. For example, Unity Media found out in a survey that almost every second German receives newsletters on the subject of beauty and care. For topics related to food and nutrition, it is even more than half.

In general, the Internet, with all the services and sites to be found there, is an information and entertainment medium – that will not change either. Many users find out about all kinds of topics there. Usually – as is very nice to observe with food – even directly at the manufacturer. In order to win over customers, the owned touchpoints, i.e. their own contact points such as the brand website or newsletter, of the respective brands must convince directly and without compromising in terms of content and design.

Investments are worthwhile

Many brand managers still shy away from the high costs of their own channels. If you look at the classic performance indicators soberly, you can understand this reluctance: To show around a million people the new packaging design of a shower gel, you only have to invest a four-digit amount on Instagram – including production costs. The investments for regular website maintenance, on the other hand, are much higher – with often lower visitor numbers. What most marketers forget, however, is the quality of the contact. This means the intensity of employment with the brand and the products, which in turn contribute to the purchase decision.

More efficiency through the right channel focus – paid and owned

Are ten three-second views on Facebook now worth more than a four-minute session on your own product pages? Is a like with the advertising influencer less relevant than an additional newsletter recipient?

The answer is: It depends – for example on the objective, the content or the costs of a campaign. In any case, it is extremely important for FMCG brand managers to develop a strategic solution for the use of their own and external touchpoints, to implement them stringently and to link the two with one another:

1. Understand target group behavior

In order to be able to correctly classify the behavior of the users, brand managers should first analyze which channels are fundamentally relevant for communication with their customers and then define these firmly for the further strategy. It is also important to understand what users use these channels for in everyday life – for example, to contact customer service or give feedback to the brand. Furthermore, it should be taken into account how the visitors are made aware of the channels and whether there are typical “suppliers” such as newsletters. These insights then form the basis for all further concepts and measures.

2. Assess and prioritize channels

The next step is to incorporate the defined communication channels into your own strategy in a meaningful and valuable way – regardless of whether it is Facebook and Co., influencers, brand websites or newsletters. Reach and linked marketing goals play a decisive role when choosing a platform. And last but not least, it is important to consider the costs of operating and maintaining the defined channels.

3. Make the relevant channels fit and keep them in shape

Then those responsible should develop a content strategy. The focus is on how which channel is used by the users. This is crucial for the design of the individual content and measures. Only content that addresses the wishes of the user but is also “on brand”, that is, contributes to the brand goals and takes corporate identity into account, ultimately works. Whether this is the case is ideally checked with a stringent monitoring and tracking approach. This not only ensures efficient use of resources, but also fast response times. In addition, the information collected in this way provides further pointers for continuously optimizing the strategy.

Tried and tested tools and methods exist for all three steps: For the analysis of target group behavior , it has proven useful to use profound persona concepts in order to recognize all aspects of individual groups of people and to draw useful conclusions. In order to prioritize the channels, those responsible can fall back on detailed touchpoint role analyzes. The next step is to convince the target group with good content, an excellent user experience design and sensible personalization. If these points are met, there is nothing to be said against a generous media budget.

On the way to greater reach, FMCG marketers should not only concentrate on – admittedly – reliable paid formats and concepts, but also make their own channels fit for the future. Because only the combination of paid and owned will lead to long-term success.


Why you need a core story for your content marketing

With a good core story, daily storytelling via marketing channels and social media not only becomes easier, it also remains congruent with the company’s goals.

In times of social media, product, services and communication are merging more and more. The forefathers of content marketing saw the discipline as a kind of Trojan horse. You create content that people find exciting, and you hope that far-fetched company messages can be conveyed in this way. “Three companies did it differently,” says Susanne Harnisch, the founder of XO-Projects, an agency specializing in content marketing.

We’re talking about Guinness, Dr. Oetker and Michelin. The brewery put conviviality and events at the center of its brand strategy and the hunt for absurd records fits perfectly into the picture. Dr. Oetker recognized the value of “assisted” cooking at an early stage, as it allows even less well-trained cooks to produce exciting dishes with little effort. The public recipe system for Oetker products was born. And tire manufacturer Michelin soberly calculated that the more car owners are on the road, the more tires are bought. So they were sent to the best starred restaurants.

Framework first

It is not that easy to find your own core story and derive appropriate and relevant communication from it. This can easily be observed with FMCG products , which offer few specific product advantages over the competition. There is not much communication left than the creation of (sometimes artificial) worlds of emotions.

But we don’t give up that easily. There are basically two important levels of communication. The content either helps in some way or it entertains. Both levels can be considered quite broad. Content is also helpful, for example, if it makes the user smarter or more informed. Nerd content can be entertaining in this target group. Everyone else may find photos of asphalt milling machines at work on motorways (google Wirtgen) rather boring.

However, what underlies any professionally operated content marketing is a framework. This maps the structure of the processes and above all ensures that everyone involved is talking about the same thing.

Harnisch uses the storytelling canvas in her agency. The work always begins with the goal setting. This not only applies to overarching meta-goals such as “more traffic for the website”, but is also deepened for each campaign in the most concrete possible goals such as:

  • Deepen customer relationships
  • Deepen the experience of the company or product
  • Gain new clients
  • And many more goals

With the help of this simple template, content marketing can be structured in a targeted manner.

The core of the exercise lies in the following sentence: “For whom do we do what, to achieve what and why?”.

Target groups are more than demographics

The second step is to describe the addressee as precisely as possible. Classic demographic characteristics such as age, gender or place of residence are a start, but fall short in the long run. “In Generation Z we find extremely different types,” says Christian von den Brincken from the marketing giant Ströer. For example, he sees many people with a high need for security in this young target group.

The comparison of Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne has already achieved a certain cult status in marketing. Both have very similar demographic characteristics, but are unlikely to be enthusiastic about the same stories.

So you have to go deeper when describing the target group. The living environment of the potential addressees can be mapped with personas , for example . This is also a target group description, but more according to types than demographics. Is a person extroverted or not? Is he ready for risk or rather cautious? The persona questionnaire depicts the target group’s environment. Most companies define between five and ten archetypes that they address. The US media company Vice has defined such types for editors so that they know who they are actually writing for.

The media company Vice gives its editors a clear idea of ​​who they are writing for.

Needs, fears, pain points

If you combine the persona description with your own industry or even the product, it quickly becomes clear where there are stories to be told. Just showing problem scenarios creates a direct connection to the target group, for example with a manager who has to travel by train at short notice, but has never booked a ticket himself, because otherwise the secretary would do it. If that were a scenario for content marketing at the railways, one could show that he can relax and buy a ticket from the conductor on the train. It will be more expensive, but – according to the persona description – that is not a problem for him.

How do you get these insights? Content marketing professional Harnisch describes four scenarios:

  1. Questions : Classic market research
  2. Counting : Analytics
  3. Observe : It used to focus on laboratory tests with subjects. This is now also possible via remote software, and specialized online services also provide the software and access to target groups.
    Social media analytics is a mix of counting and observing. The automatic evaluation of comments, ratings and forums can show which problems certain user groups have with an offer or what they find particularly good.
  4. Interpret : This discipline naturally transcends the survey methods mentioned above. However, it also allows external experts who have experience in a specific segment to be called in.

An interesting tool, especially for workshops, is mapping the customer journey . Where does a user take advantage of an offer, where does the need arise, how is his interest sharpened and what may decide the purchase. Not to forget that the journey continues afterwards. Aftersales is often misunderstood as a service function. Today we know that customers like to know beforehand what will happen afterwards. So part of this communication becomes a marketing issue.

An example: If an app says that it is particularly user-friendly and easy to use, this can also be illustrated with the tutorials, which are typically only displayed after download and installation. Why not show the real operation of the software instead of stylized graphics.

The story

Harnisch introduces the so-called Golden Circle here. Once you have found the content of the communication by analyzing the pain points, the question arises as to which means and how to communicate it. So in the middle of the circles is the why, then the how and then the concrete what. It’s not just about the story itself, but also about choosing the right format (video or text) and then choosing the optimal channel for it.

And how do you tell a good story?

One possible pattern is the hero’s journey. This is a classic concept that is taught at every script school. The hero is initially in his familiar environment, then comes a challenge. At first he refuses, has doubts, but then a mentor appears and advises him. He sets out, has a lot of minor skirmishes and setbacks, until he finally defeats the dragon in the decisive battle and returns home with the “Elixir of Wisdom” and tells his loved ones about it.

The UX expert Enes Ünal removed the Airbnb marketing from the concept of the hero’s journey.

This is how it may sound like at first glance, it is quite simple to transfer to purchasing processes and to fill it with life. Airbnb bases its communication on this model. The “mentor” appears, for example, in the form of reviews from previous customers who advise booking a certain accommodation.

The story construct of the hero’s journey doesn’t just work across an entire customer journey. Even within the individual piece of content, a cognitive dissonance, i.e. a perceived contradiction, is a good introduction to attracting attention. The approach is similar to the hero’s “refusal”.

Susanne Harnisch lists seven archetypal narrative constructs, which in this and similar form almost always make up the backbone of good stories:

  • Overcoming the Monster – Harry Potter
  • From dishwasher to millionaire (Rags to Riches) – Cinderella
  • The Quest – Lord of the Rings
  • Voyage and Return – Alice in Wonderland
  • The comedy, e.g. mix-up (comedy) – some like it hot
  • The Tragedy – Romeo and Juliet, Titanic
  • The Rebirth – The Frog King, Beauty and the Beast


The development of a content strategy based on the content requires more effort at the beginning than writing “from the gut”. However, in permanent operation and especially with changing teams, such a construct proves to be helpful and relieving. And when the core story is in place, people can also be searched for in personnel planning who represent this story and are thus intrinsically motivated and in line with the company’s goals.