On-Demand Webinar: Enterprise SEO

Enterprise SEO - or: how to optimize and monitor a customer project with 160 domains?

Here's what you'll learn in the webinar:

Problems, pitfalls and solutions for really big websites. How to scale SEO measures - and why you then fall flat on your face from time to time. Matthias Hotz talks about his day-to-day business with large clients and gives tips and advice on how to achieve results in this environment.

Watch online now (German only):

The speakers

Matthias Hotz is Head Of Technical SEO at diva-e Advertising and was previously team leader and developer at 1&1 Internet AG, responsible for DSL, mobile and hosting stores, among other things. He was a speaker at SEO conferences such as SMX and SEO Day. At diva-e Advertising, he develops SEO tools and supports customers in the analysis and optimization of technical SEO measures. In his spare time, he runs the free SEO tool seorch.de.
Matthias Hotz
Head Of Technical SEO diva-e Advertising
Christian Paavo Spieker is an entrepreneur and SEO evangelist. In 1995, he founded Concept Advertising in Munich, which he has developed into one of the leading web design agencies. In 2006, One Advertising AG followed part of the diva-e Family since 2017. Since then, Christian has been CEO of diva-e Advertising.
Christian Paavo Spieker
Founder & CEO diva-e Advertising

Transcript of the webinar: SEO Enterprise

Welcome & Introduction

Angela: A warm welcome. Today our SEO expert Matthias gives tips on optimizing and monitoring a customer project with 160 domains. And if Matthias lets him have his say, Paavo may also have something to say about it. That's your cue, and I'm now looking forward to our SEO experts Christian Paavo Spieker and Matthias Hotz. Enjoy.

Christian Paavo Spieker: Hello and welcome. Since we are a bit short on SEO conferences this year, SMX canceled, everything is complicated, and even our Meet-Up in Munich can no longer occur. We have now chosen this format to communicate with you. I hope it works pretty well this way now. Maybe a few words about myself, for those who don't know me: I am Paavo, Christian Paavo Spieker. Where does the Paavo come from? I always have to clarify. Briefly, my mother is Finnish, so I am half Finnish. When I started school in Germany, my mother wanted to hide the migration background and then chose Christian. And since then, I have lived in this name denomination Christian, Paavo, or just Christian Paavo. I listen to both. I am the founder and CEO of diva-e Advertising.

I've been doing SEO since. It says here 1997. Google didn't even exist then but since then. It started with AltaVista back in the day, SEO. I'm 49 years old, Pitt Glöckle said yesterday, "When you were doing SEO, Google stock was still $85." He's got the point there. That was in 2004, though, so they didn't even exist back then. Yes, I'm on the BVDW SEO Expert Advisory Board and have hobbies like that. Motorsports, karting, those who know me know everything quickly and what older men like to do. I'm not allowed to do any of that anymore. The only hobby I have left is SEO. That's why I'm even more pleased to be able to talk to you a bit about it today. I now have two children, so I'm a late bloomer, Annalena and Timo. And, yes, my email address is, if anyone wants to write me something, PAAVO@diva-e.com. Or, even better, on LinkedIn /PAAVO-Spieker/, where I'm about to break the 7,000 contacts mark. So, if anyone wants to add themselves who hasn't done so yet, feel free to do so here.

My vision statement always: If it ranks, it's SEO. If not, it's dumb. I was corrected once, sometimes. But that's why I still stand by it. And I'm happy to say a few words about diva-e Advertising. It's been around since 2006, then, of course, we won, or we're delighted of course, we won the SEMY Award for the best SEO agency, many times, and 2017, our credo has always been: if you want to do good SEO, you always need a damn good platform. Then we said, well, it would be pretty clever if we had a platform company. Founded that with One Commerce, it all didn't work out. In 2017 we said, well, let's team up with diva-e. They can develop excellent platforms without more detail on Adobe, Bloomreach, and SAP-Hybris. And since then, of course, we've been in a perfect position, and we immediately renamed ourselves diva-e, diva-e Advertising. We now have four units: diva-e Advertising, diva-e Platforms, diva-e Products and diva-e Datacenters in Frankfurt. And in 2018, we won the SEMY Award for the best SEO agency. That's a great honor for us, of course, that this has also been honored from the outside. And then, we also have a BVDW Enterprise certificate, and we can count 20 per cent of the German DAX companies among our customers or for whom we work. So what is the secret of our success? What is the secret source? In the last few weeks, I've always heard that they've been on the market for so long, they have mega Google connections, they know everyone well, and, well, of course, we've known them for quite a while. But our secret source, so, Matthias, is TnT. Yes, Talent & Tools, that's the trick. It's pretty simple, yes, and Talents, we have some. I always say we have the most effective SEO team in Germany, so many say: "Oh, is that for sure? Are you sure we're the biggest?" I'll put it this way. We are not the smallest. We have a vast content area and SEO developments. I said it initially. I don't know who's been in it. The female quota SEOs is over 60 per cent, so in that twist. So, women are slowly ruling us. I think that's great too. And next slide, please, and then, of course, we have the tools. We have our OneProSeo tool. We work with RYTE, which will also appear here in the presentation. Matthias will say something in a moment. We then have Qlik for reporting, but of course, we also use or use all the standard tools on the market. From the Search Console to SEORCH, Matthias' end customer product, I hardly know anyone who would combine talents and tools better than my colleague Matthias Hotz. And that's why I'm now taking over the slider from him, or instead he already has, and I hope you enjoy it, and I'm looking forward to your questions. Matts, step on it.

Matthias Hotz: Yes, I will. Hello, I'm Matthias, Matts, whatever you like. I'm a software developer. I spent years building content at 1&1. I was in charge of the webshops, the order lines. That's where I originally came from. So, I'm the HTML, Javascript, CSS guy. I can also develop backends, NoJazz, Hyphen, et cetera. And because I'm good at creating, I also do pretty good technical SEO. My hobbies: biking, mainly, building software, and listening to music. But now, I don't want to bore you further with me. Shortly to the critical data, what it's about here: I want to tell you something about Enterprise SEO.

Introduction to the topic of Enterprise SEO using a customer example

Enterprise SEO does not have a fixed definition. I have simply applied it to this project because it is complex and extensive. So, we have two global brands here. The car manufacturer has 100 billion in sales per year. Brand A has 120 domains with about 600,000 URLs, and Brand B has 40 fields with about 400,000 URLs. We have exotics like Reunion, Myanmar, and some Caribbean island networks with top-level domains and partly considered their markets.

The technical basis, i.e., what delivers the website afterwards, is Adobe Experience Manager. It used to be called CQ 5, which came from Switzerland. Adobe then bought it and renamed it Adobe Experience Manager. There is virtually no central support for the websites there. Of course, the basis is Adobe Experience Manager. That's where the websites are delivered, but the markets significantly influence their content. They can't sell other cars or other models, but when it comes to the design, yes, they have much leverage. They have their say. They can also actually take responsibility for many SEO parameters themselves. The technical implementation between the two markets, i.e. between the 120 and the 40 domains, is entirely separate. They both use AEM but in different versions, and some of them also work with other agencies. Parts are run in-house, while Brand B does not run anything in-house. And that's precisely the challenge we faced when we got the project. So, to put it that way, we have minimal control over the website and the content. We have much bureaucracy, adaptation, and change are in development cycles that sometimes take months. So, there was partially, so, we always scold so to speak, if-. I always complain if I don't get something implemented in a week as a software developer. Our customers celebrate when something is implemented in two to three months because some have had to wait 1.5 years for some things. We have to work with various departments, including abroad. So we have calls with Japan, we have calls with Spain, we have calls with France, et cetera. And then, of course, you meet different minds, different mentalities, and so on. And that's why in-house SEO would be a good idea if you've always worked in the embassy in Iran beforehand. So, the whole project is more or less the website's optimization. At the same time, you are permanently confronted with all kinds of processes, new processes, changes in the structure, political decisions, et cetera. And then we want to do SEO.

SEO basics and requirements

And now we start with the basics. When I take over a new website, the basics are technical SEO. The calculation is simple, 30 per cent of SEO is technical, 30 per cent of SEO is content, 30 per cent are external signals, and 10 per cent are John Müller's tweets or something. Anyway, without one, the other doesn't work. So without my technical base, I don't need to produce content. And that's why the first thing I have to do is to take a look at this technological basis, and if I find errors there, optimize them, or at least switch off the errors, according to the old 80/20. And those are the tasks that you have.

We have 160 Search Console accounts to monitor. We have a million websites to crawl. We want to keep an extra eye on the vital SEO pages, and we also want to monitor rankings in 160 countries. And then the client wants to see reporting and progress, and what do they get for their money? And that's dozens of contacts because the markets, Japan, or the Arab market, have their budgets, and they pay that partly out of their own pockets. Accordingly, we have to pick up and report to all of them; otherwise, they will say at some point that the German SEO agency is of no use to us so that we can work with our local agency again.

Automation of routine tasks

When I see all these prerequisites, I would love to have a gaggle of Minions to make my life easier. But unfortunately, it's not that simple. So, we need an excellent team, that's quite clear. We need many things that have to be done routinely processed. However, we have limited resources. We can't hire 200 SEOs now, especially since we can't find them. So, good SEOs are in short supply. We have noticed that in the last two years, we have staggered there. And accordingly, we also had many who may not yet have the skills for such a project and must first develop there, but we need capable people now. But we also want to create space for the team so that they are not overworked with routine tasks but can work on the SEO levers. As I'm sure most of you know, just throwing human resources at a project usually doesn't make it more effective. It makes it more confusing.

Then we thought, we have to automate away the stuff that nobody wants to do. The worst thing for a clever employee, who is perhaps well paid, is boredom with routine tasks. Nobody wants that. They want to do something exciting and see afterwards that they have achieved something. No one wants to click through 160 search consoles and see if they have problems. That's why we thought about automating all routine tasks. No one should do any more evaluations monitoring; no one should do any more of these everyday tasks. Because if you don't feel like it, you get bogged down, you procrastinate, and in the end, you have a terrible feeling in your stomach because you haven't done anything. The results from these routine tasks should be available as an action with the data that a person or a team needs to work through them. Be it developers, be it, project managers, be it business engineers or be it front-end people who maintain the high-end.

Crawling and reporting

But we also want to have alerts so that we don't get badly surprised on Monday mornings-"Shit hits the Fan"-and have stuff flying around our ears. Then we first dealt with crawling-there are various tools out there, but we decided on RYTE. There are a few reasons for that, this is not meant to be an advertisement, but with RYTE, we can set that up very precisely. They also created 160 domains for us. We crawl the domains partly weekly, partly in a monthly rhythm and then get all the data we need via the RYTE API. So, hardly anyone looks into RYTE, quite honestly, but only when something is peculiar. But we download, as far as I can always see, one to two gigabytes per week out of the RYTE API. And I'm always the one who notices when it doesn't. When times glitches, it usually works.

And we then process this data into a report, and the cool thing about the RYTE API is that the filter options that they offer in their front end can be copied out directly as an API method. In other words, I can map all the filters that I need because I might want to exclude URLs or somehow filter to a specific image size. I can map them all very precisely in the API, which of course, makes it very easy for us. You can see how such a report is created here on the right. Or rather, what a marketer sees outside and what a marketer gets out.

These are the different error causes here that can exist, a 404, a 500, a 302, anything that you don't want to have as an SEO. The change in each case is nowhere near the previous week, but we can also report several weeks. And then there's an Excel file attached to the data. This Excel file contains the action you need for this, so if I have, for example, a 404, then I need yes, from where is it linked, how is the link text, and where does it relate to, to fix this error. It is not good to list 404 errors if I don't know where it's coming from. There is an Excel file for each of these errors, which then goes to the respective contact persons. In the case of our customers located in India, they then process these lists.

So an example now, here we have internally linked redirects, now that's not a bad SEO error, but you just don't want to have it. Then we get the number of redirects or the source, so to speak, the source URL, the URL of the redirect, the destination URL, and the instructions for action because those who edit it later have no idea about SEO. So, we explain to them what they should do in the Excel already in there, there are still fields at the top, and then there is also a linked FAQ, where they can ask again in more detail or read up. And so we crawl over a million websites and create a report from it, which the stakeholder and the business manager and all the contact persons then receive. These Excel files are then sent in fine granular form to the various areas to be fixed. Because, for example, we don't fix 301 errors in India, but there's something else for that, et cetera.

Performance Reporting

In addition, there is then performance reporting, so we also want to monitor the 160 domains. Of course, Sistrix, Search Metrics, and what they're all called out are very good, but they don't offer 160 countries. That's why we built this ourselves with OneProSeo, so to speak, where we create all these crucial keywords and also enrich them with localized search volumes, et cetera, and then also track that partly on a weekly, partly daily. This performance reporting is in the sense of how the keyword ranks, how it changed, the position also goes out to all these markets every month. So it's completely automated. We don't do anything there. Say OneProSeo, which is our internal SEO tool, forms an API. When I create reports, I tap into that API, and it built those templates once, and just presses send once a month, and the pieces are sent out without anyone else doing anything. So, still looking over it every once in a while or fixing spelling errors. Exactly. So, funnily enough, this has led to creating a whole performance API at ProSeo, which is now used by all kinds of people for Power BI, Data Studio, Qlik.

We now also aggregate search consoles. Of course, search consoles also offer an API that I can use to extract all the errors and report them, so we also aggregate the data together. So, we also get the clicks, the impressions, etc. and can say that simultaneously. That's the topic of performance reporting.

Automated check of the robots.txt

But then there were lots of custom problems that you had. So, you can imagine that with a website - a website has a life cycle, some websites have a longer life cycle, some have a shorter life cycle. And there's a lot that gets left behind at some point or forgotten. We checked the robots.txt and the XML sitemaps for all 160 domains. Nobody wants to do that manually either. So, even if I say I could now throw an XML sitemap into some crawler and then check it, I don't want to do it 160 times. We have written such a script, so this is more or less a job that also resides in a server, which first fetches the robots.txt, checks the respective tags of all 160 domains, contains whether there are disallow rules in it, and then additionally extracts the Sitemap from it. If there is no sitemap, there is a pattern in which the Sitemap can be located. That is, you can link the Sitemap in the robots.txt or not. We check the robots.txt for validity the Sitemap for truth, all sitemap URLs are then queried and checked for their status code, and from this, a reporting is created. We found out that about half of the 160 domains had no sitemaps at all, and over a third had no robots.txt. And that is a global scale, where you can turn it off. In addition, by then checking the XML sitemaps and all the URLs for their validity, we found out that the sitemaps were generated at some point, but the AEM, so the CMS system, didn't have a process just to regenerate them or throw out old ones. So we found hundreds of pages that didn't exist anymore or responded with a redirect or a 404. That would have been taken manually. I don't know, days, weeks.

Redirect management via Akamai

I can trigger our script permanently, get a finished Excel out at the end, evaluate it, and filter on the values I want to have. Then we built another custom script or a custom job. All the redirects, well, who knows that, who works on a website that has been around for a long time, knows that there are hundreds, maybe thousands of redirects in the .htaccess, among other things, perhaps if you use a patch. And some of them redirect to themselves, some end in 404, create redirect chains, et cetera pp. Everything is no fun, and you want to fix it. And the customer manages his redirects via Akamai. There is such an Edge Redirector.

And what did we do? We took the old Akamai files the old server files, checked all URLs, in other words, all source URLs that you have and also checked the target URL. And looked at what responds with a 404, what with a 302, what has redirect loops. There were thousands of redirects, and then we checked where they came out at the end and created a new file that they could upload directly into this Akamai Edge Redirector. So we didn't have to touch any rules individually. Because that wouldn't have worked at all, it would have taken me or somebody weeks or months.

We checked this for entire market groups, i.e. ten markets at once, and uploaded the finished file to Akamai. Something can go wrong here; I once briefly shot down a customer's website because I had made a mistake, which was expensive, but it didn't happen again. Then, after we had swept through the basics, we now want to monitor URLs.

So, an excellent example: We now had a URL for the customer in France, i.e. for the market in France, where they ran a split test, AB test, variant test on it and forwarded it to a new URL. And the old URL, the URL that we want to have in the index, should also be there again after the variant test, they have switched off. What do you mean deactivated? It was kicked out of the index. Of course, it was still there, but since it now redirects, Google took the target URL, of course. We only noticed this when it was already too late. And then, we built a tool where we enter essential URLs that are highly SEO-relevant to us, have the most massive rankings, and act as a link hub. And we check those every 24 hours for all the parameters that we're interested in.

So, for example, an HTTP status, has the robots.txt changed, how is the time-to-first-byte, how is the title text, how is the Canonica. And here, on the right, you can always see if something has changed in the screenshot. There is a little red bump, where you can then display the diff. Exactly, here on the right, you can see such a difference if something changes. But the gag behind it is actually that we can build custom alerts. So, we can say if the meta description, so as a simple example, is in the character range between 30 and 160 characters, we don't want to be notified at all. If less than five per cent of the text on the page changes, we don't want to be informed. But we would like to be notified if more than 50 per cent of the text changes or if the time-to-first-byte is over 0.5 seconds. And only then do we get an alert. Then we can intervene quickly because, as I said, there are so many people working on this project that otherwise, you just don't get it.

You can't monitor everything if you don't theoretically have a single person for each market. That was once about the tool landscape that we now use. There are, of course, a few other things that play a role, but it is supposed to be enterprise SEO, and how do I monitor such a genuine large scale part and not just one domain, but many.

Tools as part of the big picture

But tools are not only. The device is only as good as the people who place the agency's requirements or evaluate the instrument. Accordingly, you can't solve this with tools alone, but you also need, yes, the SEOs, the people who work in this project, who know how to take this analytics or this tool and how to evaluate it. And we have also worked a lot on that. So, of course, we have clients who are really into SEO, which is not always the case. In any case, we are fortunate. People interested in it, and people who also want to learn something. What was in the customer's interest, and always encouraged by the customers, brought all stakeholders along. In other words, we didn't have to communicate with developers via business engineers or project managers. We were allowed to speak directly with developers. The developers were also allowed to come to us if they had specific questions, and so on.

We can communicate directly with the markets, so it often happens that a local SEO agency claims something that, from our point of view, could or should perhaps be interpreted differently. And then, we talk directly to the market and sometimes speak to the local SEO agency in a three-way constellation and find common ground. Because we don't want to leave scorched earth, we don't want to force anyone out. We want to be friendly citizens.

SEO impact and project communication

And we can only make progress with the whole project if we all want to do it, and if we don't start pointing fingers or blaming each other or doing anything else, that's not fun for anyone. Everyone knows what the overall goals are. That's very important. So, even the person in India who is now just fixing 404s should understand why. So without sense, no go, I always say yes. You also know who is responsible for what. There are clear contact persons who take care of a particular area. Of course, they can have insight into other areas, but they don't have to.

Communication is fast and without overhead, so we now use Jira and Confluence to track vicious issues, project proposals, and ideas. Confluence to store more significant parts or write handbooks, guidelines, and so on, FAQs. This is visible for everyone, and they are also maintained and expanded. Behind every detail is also the question of the SEO impact. So I'm constantly dealing with people who get a bit bogged down.

It's nice to get the 300-kilobyte image somehow down and make it small, but don't I have more important things to do beforehand? So, you have to ask yourself this question: What is the impact of the whole thing afterwards? So, let's tackle the big stuff first and see if we can make progress, and then we can always work on the small ones once they're gone. And all these tasks and ideas are created as a Jira ticket. You know Watcher, Jira, I hope, so ticket system developed, and in Jira, we have everything still separated by different areas. Technical SEO, strategic SEO, content SEO, open, in progress, done, etcetera, you know the drill. And then you can see in the swimlanes in Jira, if you then give yourself the complete overview, what is currently in progress, what is perhaps already done, what is on hold, what is not yet in there at all. This way, you can get an overview very quickly and see progress. And it's also a bit motivating when you realize that something is progressing, even if you sometimes have the feeling that you're taking a step backwards, which is quite normal in a project like this. Everything will never run entirely smoothly, but instead, we have the crabwalk, three steps forward, one step aside.

We then have direct agreements and regular jour fixes where we go through these tickets, discuss new ideas, and so on. We don't have any proxies in between, so, as I already said, the client, the executing entity, and everyone who has something to do with it talk directly to each other. And that makes it, of course, yes, well, anyone who's ever tried to debug JavaScript and has to speak to a project manager knows what I'm talking about because that doesn't work.

We do internal training and workshops on the customer side to enable them. We also want to teach them SEO and know what they get out of it, just why we want to do it that way and why that way and not differently. So, we also justify decisions. We don't answer, "yes, that's a secret SEO technique, it works, believe me".

But when I propose an SEO strategy or an SEO technique, I try, don't try, justify why I want it that way, and explain what the impact is. And then the client can decide if that's worth it to them. And that's the important thing, actually, for me. So, there is no chaos afterwards. Exactly, and now we're through, I hope.

Finally: project key figures

A few things now at the end that express the numbers a bit. About 40 people are working on the agency and customer sides. We have created over 200 Jira tickets so far, so the project has been running for about a year, a little bit less. We have our monthly report service, where you saw excerpts before. We have over 120 recipients. And currently, we have over 100,000 fixed errors fixed. I'll call it technical SEO errors now, where you can see here, for example, how we got in. We only started crawling all 160 domains in the fall. Before that, we kind of, it was a ramp up, so accordingly, I took the numbers from October, how we improved. And where you can also see how it was worked on, because if you look at it daily, you don't always see the progress right away. Exactly, but here is an example of over 10,000 404 errors that we could fix.

Angela: Regarding Jira tickets, a question came in now: Are Swimlanes the same as Kanban Boards in Jira?

Matthias Hotz: Exactly, that's just, well, you can theoretically do something like that in Trello, but I wouldn't recommend that. Because Jira is much more accurate, it's a bug ticket system. That's also suitable for something like that, I think. So, many things where many people have to work on, where there's a lot of time offset, a Jira is more suitable than a standard Kanban board.

A Kanban board is for ideas, visualizations, maybe to see the big picture. But if I want to go down and say, you have to fix the source code the way I like it, then a thread-style communication with screenshots, which I can also do there, of course, but where I can also assign statuses, on hold and so on, fixed things, is more suitable from my point of view. Then something like that doesn't work without an excellent team. And here we see now a part of the team. These are now the ones working on it on our side. But now only the SEOs, so no content people, project managers, or business engineers. And as Christian already mentioned, you can see the female quota here. But the team rocks it. Ralph is the team leader, and without these eight people, it wouldn't work at all. And of course, various more, as I already said, also on the customer side, content people who work in the back office make life easier for all of us.

That's it now, too, that was. I'm through that far now. I have no idea what time it is because I only see a screen in front of me. However, we are still available for questions, suggestions, et cetera. Otherwise, I would now hand it back to Angela.

Conclusion and open questions

Angela: Feel free to ask questions now, we still have a short time, and our experts have an open ear. Otherwise, feel free to send your questions to Paavo or Matts afterwards. They will be happy to answer your questions personally. And indeed, a few have to be out of the presentation in terms of time. But they all found it very good.

Christian Paavo Spieker: In any case, very efficient as always, you pulled it off. Thank you very much, it was great.

Angela: Thank you for the numerous tips and insights. Then we will be happy to answer the questions in the follow-up. Matts, feel free to click on once. Then I'll be glad to draw your attention to our other webinars. Next week we have Alexander Graf as a guest from Spryker. Please register here for next Thursday, then with Alexander Graf. Or just other topics we'll cover as well. Then thank you very much, thank you very much, Matts, respectively now another question came in. I will send it to you. Were all country pages identical in terms of content? Or could each country freely determine its content?

Matthias Hotz: Well, they are not entirely free to determine the content pages, which are also not identical, because the customer does not sell its complete product range in every country. So, the miniature models are not available in some countries, specific sports cars, et cetera. That was already a difference. And then, of course, service, spare parts supply are another matter. And accordingly, the websites were very different in some cases, and they still are. So, they have partly done their own thing there. They have started their campaigns. They have to take roughly in the master from the market, so the global master, if quasi a product comes new and can not change the properties. But how they do the marketing is their business to a certain level.

"How important are SERP snippets?"

Matthias Hotz: From our point of view, they are already significant, so title tag and meta description, in this case, I assume. Well, that's always. I always compare it with a shop window in a mall. No one is allowed to decorate their shop window. Everyone has to take what the mall says. So, I have a headline and a sub-headline, so to speak, that's what Google does, and accordingly, I'm left with just a few words to lure people in. Therefore, a good SERP snippet is crucial for the CTR, in my view. So if you know, with a precise keyword is no problem, if I want to the brand, et cetera, then that's easy. But if there are competitors around it, I have to give them why they should come to my site and not perhaps to a competitor or to a larger store that tells them much more than a small store in this case. Accordingly, we monitor this, on the one hand, so we have even built a custom monitoring that we the Japanese SERP snippets. Because the Japanese SERP snippets are two bytes per character while the German is one byte, the letter. There's more space available. Due to the lack of Japanese customers, RITE probably didn't cover that. We have built our own to monitor the length and content of these title tags and meta descriptions.

Christian Paavo Spieker: But SERP snippet, stop, is my super topic. I also have to repeat something about it briefly because the question is fantastic. Because this is a very highly relevant topic, because the CTR is an absolute ranking factor, you can already say at this point. So that means the more clicks I get on the SERP, the higher, the more stable my ranking becomes. So Google can evaluate that very well. That's a significant factor from my point of view. I always say from my point of view now. Then it's easier. And the SERP snippet is very individual, which means that I usually put the primary keyword in the meta description, then it takes the snippet around it with the frame, then it gets the snippet. But if I now have a URL, yes, a significant page that simply ranks for 1,200 keywords, yes, that no longer works. Because then Google will always extract the snippet from the text. So, you don't get the meta description anymore, but always precisely the removed space. That's why there are even some variants where the meta description is left relatively unoptimized by default. This is then simply the one for the main keyword, and the rest it then fetches from the text. And the ranking factor is high because that is also the CTR, as Matts has already said.

So that means, the better your snippet is, what is displayed in the Google SERP, the higher the click-through rate, the more stable the ranking is respectively it is a ranking factor. Because we already see that we have that, I think somewhere, then ranking factors are written on the website that is important to us. Get in the top ten no matter what. Because once you're in the top ten with your SERP, with your keyword, then, of course, you get the clicks on it. And only when you get the clicks then your ranking also increase. Yes, so it's quite a correlation. And you also know the bouncing, we always call it. So, that means that you are now in the top ten, then the thing drops back to 30, then you come back to the front, that's precisely that. So, in the end, Google is testing the CTR on this SERP. And for the CTR, of course, the snippet is very, very relevant. Therefore, in one sentence, in one word: The snippet is highly relevant, in my opinion.

"How do you handle the creation of titles and descriptions? Does that run centrally or decentrally?"

Matthias Hotz: We try to do that for the critical SEO pages. But we train because the markets are so independent, and we don't necessarily have to give them a title tag or a meta description. For example, we try to work out the importance. In many customer projects, this is done by our editorial team. When they write the texts, they also take care of them. But in this project, it's more or less a mixed bag. Some markets want to support, some don't, so we adapt.

"Do the reportings only refer to the Google search engine?"

Matthias Hotz: Currently, yes, but that is also being expanded. Of course, Google plays no role in China and less in Russia. In other countries, too, Google is theoretically the market leader. Still, in Slovakia or the Czech Republic, I think there is a search with Naver or something. No, it's Korea, search engine, which have a higher share. So, we will expand the reporting, at least for Russia and Japan-Russia and China in the future also Yandex and Baidu. In Japan, where I said, Yahoo still has a large share in some cases. But we're not quite in the clear yet as to whether we'll include Yahoo there.

"Are you working for Baidu with a Chinese agency, or do you have the expertise in-house? "

Matthias Hotz: Well, as far as technical SEO is concerned, Baidu doesn't behave much differently than Google does now for content. I'd have to talk to our people about that. But I assume that we will first work with a Chinese agency, or with native speakers, because we don't have anything like that at the moment, I think.

"Do you use Hrfelang, and how do you coordinate and control Hrfelang Edges or Tags?"

Matthias Hotz: Yes, Hreflang is right. But now you all know why I have no hair. Hreflang is broken, completely broken on the websites, unfortunately. It's nobody's fault. It's not broken on purpose. You have to say that the AEM does not provide a clean Hreflang implementation out of the box. This has to be developed. We are currently making a complete Hreflang implementation worldwide, which will be mapped via the Sitemap. Because it is so difficult for us to intervene in AEM, not that we can't develop AEM and so on, but the problem is that the structure in AEM is not stringent and-. So, there is just an older structure, there is the master, but the markets can also create their folders or rename folders. And then there is no reference to the master. So, I need to have a hreflang via the CMF because I need the connections. We're doing that through the XML sitemap, and that caused us a little bit of a headache, the customer as well. We've already found a pretty good solution for that, and we're currently testing that in some markets, and we've written our validation tool. I don't know. You might know one from DJane SEO from Australia or one in Sistrix, where the canonicals are also checked in addition to the Hreflang and the robots state, and the whole thing is also checked reciprocally. That's the important thing. I need to know whether my 160 canonicals are partly, well, not. One hundred twenty canonicals also reciprocally refer back to the source. That is in the making.

Christian Paavo Spieker: That's the huge advantage of the reciprocal link circles because if they are broken, Google is always so brilliant and throws away the whole process. So it's always ignored, thank God, because if a hreflang is set incorrectly, it could be fatal. That behaves actually like such a Canonical. So, then the indexing could be interrupted. Google is there but so bright, if they are wrong, then Google says he ignores the Hreflangs, therefore-.

Matthias Hotz: Yes, but the problem is, of course, that in similar-language countries, which is the case now, if I take French-language, I have French, or .fr search results in French-speaking Canada, for example, in Google.

Christian Paavo Spieker: The classic: USA, England. Because, of course, it takes such interpretations of the language. So, that's why Hreflang has a super high priority on it again.

Matthias Hotz: But you can also say that I haven't yet had a new customer where Hreflang was okay. That's also quite funny.

About Google Zero Position

Matthias Hotz: Do you want to, Christian, or should I?

Christian Paavo Spieker: Matts.

Matthias Hotz: Well, I'm ambivalent about that. Of course, Google wants, first of all, I think that the zero position is mainly, for me, the idea behind it was voice search, because these snippets can be read aloud very well, yes. Otherwise, it is just, as they want to keep the users in the search engine with so many things with Google. So, if it can't be avoided, you just have to go along with Zero Position. But I'm not a massive fan of it because it, yes, takes away users from me as a website operator. Accordingly, I have a conflicted relationship with it. But that is with M. - is also a Google invention - and me no different. Google can, of course, do whatever it wants with its search engine. But if they take away their sources quasi the users, that is just more than unfriendly from my point of view.

Christian Paavo Spieker: Yes, but the Answer Box or Zero Position is designed from the user's perspective. You can give Google credit for thinking from the user's point of view. And of course, especially in voice search, I'm sure many people have already noticed that the web page is now always mentioned in voice search. So, if you get a voice search on Google, you also get the website readout, I mean. On the page, so and so was found. They have already reacted a little bit. It's been a little longer. And my God, of course, it's clear, I can't get the user on my page now. So, you can also look at it positively. Google clearly says, if I can display the information directly in the search engine, why should I redirect the user to the page first? You also save server resources. Valid, of course, again, if there are a few million users. Do I have TKP advertising multiplication somehow on the side, clear, I understand already, like a newspaper or the like, then the whole thing looks quite different again.

There are many opinions about it. But at the end of the day, I think it's primarily aimed at voice search. Because voice search is nothing more than a string entered into the search engine. So, the spoken word is translated into the string that goes into the Google search, and the answer then comes back, is then readout. That is the current, simplified voice search. And of course, it always plays a significant role in how the questions are understood, and, as I said, I can't redirect to the website. That's why it makes sense, of course.

Angela: Great, okay. Then I would say that we'll end the Q&A now, and then any further questions we'd be happy to answer afterwards, personally from our experts. And thank you both, Paavo and Matts.

Christian Paavo Spieker: Great, it was fun. See you next time from the live and home office.

Angela: Thank you and see you next time. Ciao.

Christian Paavo Spieker: Ciao.

Matthias Hotz: Bye.