What are Featured Snippets?

Over the years, Google has been adding more and more information to the search results, aside from the Adwords and organic search results, in order to enhance the search experience. The Featured Snippets are a format which is supposed to provide users with a concise, direct answer to their questions […]

Shelf space optimisation on Google

What are the two things that a search result page on Google and a supermarket shelf have in common? They serve a specific purpose. They only have limited space available (constraint) In both cases, the constraint is the limiting factor for the performance of the entire system. The supermarket might […]

SEO-Basics: Never relaunch a website without redirects

A “relaunch” is effectively a “reboot” and in our case means the fundamental revision of a web presence. A so-called “website relaunch” does not have to be limited to design changes only. Rather, it gives you the opportunity to review and redesign content, simplify the navigation structure or optimize the […]

Domain move risk and Google rankings

Theoretically, changing your domain name does not have to cause any damage to your rankings on Google – that is, if you strictly adhere to Google’s instructions. In the real word, we can find examples which make us suspect that a domain move may actually encompass a serious SEO risk. […]

Should the domain’s homepage rank first for a site:-query?

The site:-query (site:sistrix.com) displays the number of indexed URLs that a domain has within Google’s index. The question of whether the order in which these results are shown has any importance, is a regular topic for discussion. The last time we heard from Google about this topic was more than […]

The consequences of negative user-signals on Google’s rankings

The homepage of the German domain hotel-bonn.de offers a great example for how much influence user signals can have on Google’s rankings for a specific keyword. The domain is an ancient exact-match domain for the keyword “hotel bonn” and the two words “hotel” and “Bonn” (the former German capital) also […]

SEO Basics: internal link optimisation

Links are one of the most important ranking factors in Google’ algorithms. While there is much talk about external links (links from other domains to yours) and a lot of effort (money and time) is spent on obtaining these, internal links on a website attract relatively little attention – for […]

Crawling and Indexing for extensive websites

As soon as websites exceed the size of a typical private homepage, there are a number of new challenges that arise. One of them is that the existing content belongs in the Google index, as complete and up to date as possible. While this may sound easy, very large websites […]

How do I optimise my website for Google News?

We will use this Ask SISTRIX article to take a holistic view at both the questions of how to optimise a website and the content within, so that it will be admitted into Google News and how to achieve a good ranking within the Google News vertical. What is Google […]

What is the difference between SEO, Ads and Universal Search?

To better explain the differences between the three categories SEO, Ads and Universal Search, we best take a look at one of Google’s search result pages. Overview of a Google search engine result page (SERP) The typical search result page, also called search engine result page or “SERP” for short, […]

How should I handle my online-shop’s multilingual content?

Many online shops today are available in multiple languages. Most of the time, the different pieces of content (for example products and their descriptions) only differ slightly, depending on country or region. Often, the only real difference is the price being displayed in a different currency. To make sure Google […]

How do I correctly use the new x-default hreflang link-attribute for international targets?

If you have different language versions for your website or online shop, then you should use the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” link attribute markup – as is recommended by Google. The value “x” is the country code according to ISO 639-1. By using the hreflang attribute you are telling Google exactly which […]

Which headlines are SEO-relevant?

All of them. Headlines form the semantic backbone of every document and should be used according to their hierarchy. This does not only help your readers but also makes it possible for machines to better understand and work with complex documents, if the headlines are used correctly. Another advantage that […]

Which advantages as well as disadvantages do geoTLDs like eg. .berlin have?

A geographic top-level-domain, also called a geoTLD, should have a clear focus on a geographic-, geopolitic-, ethnic-, language-, or cultural-collective. Due to this, it would be possible to use these new, so-called geoTLDs to match a domain,or the content and the website’s users, to a regional and/or local searchmarket. This […]

How far would .tel domain’s have a positive or negative effect on the SEO-results of my website?

Using a .tel domain does not have a positive influence on being able to find a website, when compared to a normal gTLD or ccTLD. The domain ending .tel is a so called sponsored top-level-domain (sTLD) and is actually not supposed to make a website available but to display the […]

We get more and more specific domain endings. What influence do they have on Google?

Google knows of and differentiates between a number of top-level-domains (TLDs). The two most well-known and most often used top-level-domains are the generic top-level-domain, also called gTLD, as well as the country-code top-level-domain, called ccTLD. What is the difference between gTLDs and ccTLDs? A generic top-level-domain is not used as […]

Top-Level-Domain (TLD)

A top-level domain, TLD in short, is what a domain name ends with, like ".com". It is important to differentiate between different top-level domains (TLDs), as a few of them have a specific focus. What kinds of top-level-domains (TLDs) are out there? Google can differentiate between the following internet addresses: […]

Does it make sense to include the domain- or brand-name in the title?

The title element is one of the most important factors when it comes to a website’s OnPage optimisation. The website title, working together with the meta-element attribute “description”, can certainly influence a result’s CTR (Click Through Rate) on the search result pages. Should you use the brand- or domain-name in […]

If I have an XML-sitemap, do I also have to provide an HTML-sitemap?

It is indeed recommended to provide both an XML-sitemap as well as an HTML-sitemap. The XML-sitemap serves as a structured table-of-contents for search engines and helps them find new and deeply nested pages. Whereby the HTML-sitemap mainly serves the users, as it increases the usability of your website. But thanks […]

What do I have to keep in mind when creating a video-sitemap?

A video-sitemap is the basis for providing Google with the necessary information about the content of your videos. The video sitemap is an XML-file and contains your videos’ meta-data, like title, description, length, and source. Using a video-sitemap ensures that your video content can be recognised and indexed much faster […]

How do I safely move my website to a new domain name?

Changing the domain name does not have to be the cause for any (long lasting) negative SEO effects. As long as you plan the move carefully and do it correctly, you do not have to fear ranking losses. In order to move your domain, you should tell Google that you […]

Which meta-elements (meta-tags) are relevant for SEO and which are not?

We talk about SEO-relevant meta-elements if a search-engine crawler reads, processes and takes them into consideration for calculating the search result rankings, as well as for indexing purposes.

Which meta-elements (meta-tags) are there?

Meta-elements, often-times wrongfully called meta tags, are pieces of information on an HTML page (web document), which are only interpreted by web-browsers and search-engines. The attributes of a meta-element that are most relevant for the OnPage optimisation of a website are: description robots title (The title element is not really […]

Meta Element (Meta Tag)

Meaning / Use If you use the meta elements, also called meta tags, you can add information to your website which is solely interpreted by either web-browsers or search-engines only. There are a large number of different meta element attributes, although only a handful of attributes are relevant for the […]

How to correctly return the HTTP status code 404 for an error page

A 404 error page, also called an ErrorDocument 404, is, first and foremost, a page that informs the user that the requested resource does not exist. For example, if a user follows a link and the target page does not exist anymore, the webserver should show a 404 error page. […]

Why should a 404-error page return the correct HTTP status code and not be redirected, for example?

A 404 error page is a manually created error page that is returned when a nonexistent page is requested by a client. An example: if you request the URL https://www.sistrix.com/I-do-not-exist/, we have no content for that page. As the requested page does not exist and therefore has no content, our […]

How many 301 redirects in a row can I use?

If possible: none at all. Why? 301-redirects take time and users are often impatient. Depending on the server load and the way the redirect is implemented, it can lenghten the loading time by 0,1 to 1 seconds. The loading time of a page is a ranking factor that should not […]

HTTP Status Code

A HTTP status code, more commonly referred to simply as status code, is a three number code which is send from the webserver to the client (a web browser for example, or Google-Bot). It is an answer code from the webserver, send in response to a HTTP-request by the client. […]

Setting up a 301-redirect from the non-www to the www. domain-name

You should use a 301 Redirect to indicate the preferred domainname, in order to avoid problems with how the Google-Bot indexes your website and make sure no internal Duplicate Content arises due to canonicalization issues. Please also see: My website can be reached with and without the www. Is this […]

What is the optimal pagination for sites with a lot of content?

Google has published concrete recommendations on how to deal with the pagination of websites, which efficiently solve the classic problems that spring up when you are splitting page-content over multiple pages.

Title Element (Title Tag)

Meaning / Use The title-element, also called title-tag, is one of the most important factors when it comes to the OnPage optimisation of a website. Together with the meta-description, the website’s title can also influence the CTR (Click-Through-Rate) of a result within Google’s search engine result pages. The content of […]

PageSpeed Optimization: Improving your website’s loading times

In 2009, the loading speed, also called PageSpeed, was no direct ranking factor. But a fast website can lead to positive values when it comes to usability. That way, both the bounce-rate and the return-to-SERP rate can be decreased, the number of page views per user increases, you can extend […]

How can I check my website’s PageSpeed?

There are a number of ways and options available for you to check the PageSpeed of your website. Google PageSpeed Insights Google offers their own “PageSpeed Insights” tool, which helps you determine the PageSpeed of a website with a PageSpeed Score, a grading scale which can go from 0 to […]


The OnPage-Optimisation is one of the two pillars of Search Engine Optimization. You can differentiate between the OnPage- and OffPage-Optimisation (also known as OnSite- and OffSite-Optimisation). The OnPage-Optimisation deals with all internal adjustments on your website. It will therefore describe optimisation strategies that can be carried out by yourself and […]

Google PageSpeed – the loading speed of a website

In mid 2009, Google started their initiative for a faster internet “Let’s make the web faster”. This laid the foundation for another (new) ranking factor. We focus on speed as a key requirement in product and infrastructure development, because our research indicates that people prefer faster, more responsive apps. – […]

When does it make sense to use NOFOLLOW on internal or external links?

You do not gain any advantage by using the nofollow attribute for internal links. I would not use nofollow on internal links – Matt Cutts, Head of Google Webspam Team   When it comes to external links, the nofollow markup can be used to help prevent spam on interactive pages, […]

When does it make sense to use the meta-robots values NOINDEX and FOLLOW together?

Only search engine crawlers will interpret the values within the meta-element “robots”. In most cases, the values “INDEX” and “FOLLOW” are used to instruct the crawler to include the present page in their index and follow all links on the page. Your page may be added to the index and […]

Should I use NOFOLLOW on such pages as the legal notice?

Generally there is no advantage in adding the nofollow attribute to internal links. (Please also see: “When does it make sense to use NOFOLLOW on internal or external links?“). Internal references to pages like, for example, the legal notice, data protection, contact information etc. should not be marked as “nofollow” […]

Are there links that must be marked as NOFOLLOW?

Google will indeed require you to mark specific types of links with the nofollow-attribute. These restrictions can be found within the Google webmaster guidelines. Search engine guidelines require machine-readable disclosure of paid links in the same way that consumers online and offline appreciate disclosure of paid relationships (for example, a […]

nofollow attribute value

The nofollow attribute value, also called nofollow tag, is used to specifically instruct search engines to not follow one or multiple links on a site. This will cause them to not crawl the linked pages. The nofollow attribute value can be used both for a specific link, with the link […]

How do I return the correct HTTP status code for my 404 error page?

A 404 error page is basically a HTML document which you can design any way you like. With a self-designed error page, you have to make sure that the correct HTTP status code is returned. In our example, the HTTP Status Code is “404”. We return the desired HTTP Status […]

4xx Client Error (404 Error Page)

Webserver error pages and the HTTP status codes 4xx Error pages, also called error documents, inform the user that a problem has occurred and return a HTTP status code to search engines. The most commonly known error page is the so-called “404 Error Page” – file not found: If, for […]

How do I create a 301 redirect?

With a 301 Redirect, a webserver returns the HTTP Status Code 301 to the requesting web client. which could be Google-Bot, for example, or a users browser. This status code tells the client that the requested resource (a URL for example) has permanently moved and is now available on a […]

3xx Redirection

The status code category 3xx Redirection is divided into eight HTTP status codes. The status code category 3xx informs the inquiring client that additional measures are required in order to finish the request, as the target has been moved to a different location, for example, and can now be accessed […]

Does the same content in different languages constitute a duplicate content risk?

If a piece of content is available in multiple language versions, for example in German and English, it is not considered to be duplicate content. Nevertheless, it is still advisable to correctly mark the different language versions of a website using the hreflang attribute. Please also see: How should I […]

Do quotes constitute a duplicate content problem?

Using quoted text passages from other websites on your own site does not constitute a duplicate content problem and you will also not get hit by a Google Penalty because of it, provided you properly cite the source for the text in the source code. Correctly citing quotes in the […]

Is Duplicate Content responsible for the strong fluctuations in the indexed pages of my website?

If you notice continuous fluctuations in the number of the indexed pages over a longer period of time then the reason for, or a sign thereof, could very well be Duplicate Content. In order to evaluate these fluctuations and figure out whether there is a Duplicate Content problem, you will […]

Is it possible to identify Duplicate Content through the Visibility Index history?

Yes, a potential Duplicate Content problem can have a visible impact on the SISTRIX Visibility Index, as it can lead to a negative impact for a large part of the domain’s rankings. It is quite possible that the SISTRIX Visbilityindex will show the same ups and downs which can be […]

Are nofollow links harmful?

Internal or external links that use the nofollow attribute are not followed by searchengines, just as the name suggests. This means their targets will not be crawled. Nofollow links do not pass on any link power (also called Linkjuice), like the anchor text or PageRank, to their target website either. […]

Can I buy an existing domain to strengthen the backlink profile of my website through 301 redirects?

When it comes to the OffPage Optimisation and link building, you can use the link profile of another domain to increase and strengthen the link and domain popularity of your own website. The domain popularity is a strongly weighted factor among the Google Ranking Factors. 301 Redirections do not have […]