SEO in Germany

Your guide to doing Online Marketing in Germany!

Search Engine Optimization is a topic with ever growing popularity in Germany, and for very good reasons. Think about it, most of us use search engines on a daily basis and even multiple times in a day to help us find websites relevant to our searches. Usually the websites we click on are giving us the answers to exactly what we are searching for. But how? How does Google decide what is the most relevant to our search?  

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization or in short SEO refers to the online marketing method used to increase a website’s position on search engine results pages (SERPs) on Google, Yahoo, or Bing for example. 

As 90% of people tend to click the first 3 search results the most, if you have a website, you will want it to be among those on top. What SEO can do is help you make sure that your site is structured and made in a way that will increase your chances of ranking higher above. To that there are many components and key players that come into play. 

A nice visual explanation of what SEO is, is demonstrated in the video by Google Webmasters below:

“The ultimate search engine would basically understand everything in the world, and it would always give you the right thing. And we’re a long, long ways from that.”

— Larry Page

Doing SEO in Germany? What to keep in mind!

With a demanding German local market, SEO experts in Germany agree that a couple of things have to be kept in mind when conducting your SEO or “Suchmaschinenoptimierung” (yes that’s the german word for SEO) in Germany. Which brings us to the first point:

1. Know Your Target Audience

Who?

Where?

What?

To better target and optimize your websites and content, we have to ask ourselves the famous W-Questions. Who are German users? Where do they like to search for information? and What are their broad preferences? 

Who are German users?

Let’s kick it off with the first and one of the most important questions. When planning SEO in Germany, it’s important to remember that German users like to be very well informed. A website is treated as a digital business card and with the SEO text that is written there, the users value clarity and transparency of information. No need to use heavy descriptive language and beat around the bushes, instead get to the point as fast as possible and be direct.

Where do most Germans like to search for information? 

It is no surprise here that mighty Google is the favorite search engine by an astonishing lead of 93%, the next in line is Bing with around 5% and anything else is not worth mentioning in this case as they are under 1%. This gives us a better understanding of the search engines that are important to optimize for.

What are the users broad preferences?

Certain styling elements can be different when conducting SEO in Germany. What has been used and implemented for English internet users may not be the best fit for the German one. Although there is a growing trend for minimalistic website designs, being too minimalistic may harm your chances in communicating effectively with german users as they like to be highly informed. This brings us to the next point

2. Speak their language!

“Hallo, wir sind netgrade! Eine Online Marketing Agentur…”

Although many speak English, when it comes to business they prefer to have it in German. The majority prefer sites that address them in their native language and even ones that have a .de domain

Remember that german is also the (co)official language in five other central-Europeans countries; Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. Due to the fact that so many speak German, many dialects are bound to exist. That’s why sticking to the standard german or the “high German” (Hochdeutsch) is advised.  

Not everything can be literally translated!

The German vocabulary is extremely rich and should not be taken lightly. Not everything can be translated literally from English for example, as things may sound weird or not make sense when translated literally and can be easily spotted by a native speaker. The extensive knowledge of the german language is a must and specially when doing one of the main SEO tasks; Keyword research

3. Keyword Research for SEO in Germany!

If you asked yourself “What is Keyword Research?” then the answer is; the process of discovering words and phrases ( “keywords”) that people use in search engines, like Google, Bing and YouTube.

Traffic Growth

Search Engine Ranking

Promotion

Lead & Traffic Quality

Link Building

Content Topics

To put it more in perspective here is a simple example of how finding the right keyword in german can be a challenge: Let us take the word “swimming pool” for instance,  it can be translated in 5 different ways: 

  • Pool
  • Schwimmpool
  • Schwimmbad
  • Schwimmbecken
  • Swimmingpool

So which word should be chosen in this situation for example? 

That’s where the keyword research comes in, after researching all the synonyms, the search volume for each word is evaluated and hence chosen as a best fit. The input of a native speaker can also be of huge help to recognize which word makes the best keyword fit. Another thing to pay close attention to when writing SEO content is the spelling. In the German language you can notice little dots over the vowels a, o and u! These dots are called umlauts (ä,ö,ü) and can change the whole meaning of a word. 

For example, Losung (Lotto) and Lösung (Solution) are two very different words in meaning. 

A way to avoid writing the umlaut is to add an “e” instead Lösung → Loesung

4. Mix with the German Public!

Having a vague idea of the concept of search engine optimization by now, it is important to remember that search engines like google also look at the links going to and from your website. 

So it is beneficial to include in your link building strategy links in the same language and that are also based in Germany in this case.  

This can also better your credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of the German users who, like many of us, trust our own people and production. Not only that but dealing with other German sites shows good inegration in the German online market. 

5. Short German SEO Checklist

To sum it all up and give you an easy to follow checklist when first starting to infiltrate this huge and fruitful German online market, here is a SEO Checklist to keep you in check:

Why choose netgrade to help you with your SEO in Germany?​

At netgrade you can lay back and let the experts handle it for you. With full transparency and more than 8 years of experience in both the german and international markets, netgrade is more than capable to guide you through the process of entering and winning over the German market. 

Contrary to popular belief, we are comfortable to do business in English as well and make communication for you easier , providing you with an overall satisfying experience. We know that not everyone understands every part of SEO, that’s why we make sure that our clients are also introduced to the topic and are clearly informed of the process.