A service tailored to your needs
Germany has the fourth-largest GDP of any country in the world. They’re also technologically advanced, with over 80% of Germans owning a smartphone. This provides your company with massive potential by having a successful online presence.
According to some studies, Germans are the most demanding consumers in the world. They prefer to know as much as possible about features, comparable products, and environmental impacts before making a purchase. This makes it a challenging target audience, and one that is essential to approach in the right way. Learn how to succeed with your own German SEO.
As a multilingual SEO and web design agency, we can help with whatever stage of marketing your website needs:
- Translating an existing English website into German.
- SEO consultation to identify the best way to optimise your website for Google and improve the conversion rate.
- Building German backlinks, including guest posts on high authority, high TrustFlow sites. Sites will also have plenty of traffic, meaning your guest posts will be seen by large numbers of people. Google value these incoming links as highly as it values on-page content.
- Designing a brand-new German language website with the local audience in mind.
- Promoting your website offline through print marketing by designing and/or translating leaflets or brochures.
Succeed in Deutschland with each of these five services, as detailed below.
Optimising your site to rank well with Google
We start each SEO project with keyword research to ensure we’re targeting the best keywords for your target audience (either a specific country like Germany or Austria, or German speakers internationally).
When reviewing your website, we approach it from two perspectives:
1. On-Page SEO - The Human Perspective
We use our 15 years’ worth of experience in SEO and UX to determine how your website will be perceived by visitors. We then take steps to improve SEO, UX and conversion rates, looking at:
- How we can improve the site structure and menus.
- Ensuring content is sufficiently in-depth and provides all the information your visitors need.
- Writing additional content when beneficial.
- Analysing if the products or services are promoted in a way that will read well to German visitors.
- Determining how we can improve the user experience and conversion rate.
- Proofreading spelling and grammar.
2. The Search Engine Perspective
We also complete a German website analysis from a search engine perspective, reviewing factors like site structure, keyword balance, 404 or other errors, the title, description, hreflang Metatags, etc.
We provide feedback after completing this website SEO audit. We can also implement all of the recommended changes if your site operates on Drupal, WordPress, or certain other CMS systems.
Google value in-depth content. So, along with an SEO audit, it’s often necessary to expand the existing content on your site with well-researched, engaging German content. This might include expanded product descriptions (particularly for e-commerce sites), or a blog that illustrates your expertise by using subtler advertising messages (particularly for companies looking to promote a service).
Translating English websites into German
We translate content between six European languages - English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch. If your existing website is in any of these languages, we can provide a professional translation for you. Where required, this will include keyword-researched SEO translations to ensure that your translated content has a healthy keyword balance. We wade through 1,000’s of keywords to identify the best ones for your site.
As well as translating other content, we provide complete website translations including all the fiddly bits (e-commerce messages, footer text, etc.). Our graphic designers work with our translators to translate infographics or other images with a text element. We will also ensure that Metatags are the right length (this can be a particular challenge in German, where words tend to be longer).
If you don’t already have English content, we’re happy to research and write new content for you directly in German, with thorough research and proof-reading. All of our translators and copywriters are educated to degree level or higher, are native German speakers, and have prior experience with great references.
Read more about our English to German translation service.
High authority German backlinks and guest posts
As search engines like Google have become more advanced (via ongoing algorithm updates like RankBrain, Penguin and Panda), link building has evolved. So, for a German backlink campaign to be successful, the links must be high quality, relevant and from high authority German sites.
Links help your marketing campaign in two ways. First, they create direct traffic to your site by way of people reading guest posts, finding your site in directories, etc. Also, search engines index the links and move your site’s position up as a result of them. Basically, a quality link is seen as a vote of confidence by Google.
When completing German link building campaigns, we focus on writing unique, well-researched content and building links from high authority websites related to your industry. We recommend a range of different links to create a natural profile, and we can generate them in the following manners:
- Writing articles or blogs posts and adding them to related websites as guest posts.
- Designing beautiful infographics and other German images and sharing them on a range of social media and image sharing sites.
- Managing social media profiles and building links from popular social networks like Facebook (According to a recent study on social media use in Germany, 64% of Germans use Facebook, while only 22% use Twitter and 14% use LinkedIn. For German SEO, we therefore tend to prioritise Facebook).
- Submitting your site to the top directories in Germany with unique content.
We network with a wide range of German bloggers in different industries. Each blog has a high domain authority and a good amount of traffic, so when we provide a guest posting service, we will make the guest posts as relevant as possible.
Please get in touch if you’d like us to provide you with a no obligation link building quote.
If you’re looking for a new German website design, our talented graphic designers will create a theme for you with the German audience in mind. The most successful German websites tend to focus on facts and features rather than selling the benefits in exaggerated terms (an approach that might succeed in the US and possibly the UK). We reflect this in our designs too.
Once your site is designed, we configure all the required functionality in Drupal or WordPress. Then we code it to ensure that the site loads quickly, has an intuitive user-interface, and is mobile friendly.
We also ensure that important on-page SEO elements are in place. This includes structuring each page based on best SEO practice and writing keyword rich Title and Description Metatags to engage potential customers.
If you have content in English, we will translate it for you. Or if you prefer, we can write content for product or service descriptions directly in German.
The sample German site shown here is one we designed and translated for Wunder Etiketten.
Professional Print Marketing
In addition to being a full-service multilingual digital marketing agency, we also offer print marketing services. For instance, we write (or translate) and design:
- Corporate Identity
We understand the culture in Germany and ensure that your marketing material will have a colour scheme and content that appeals to target audiences. It will also be written by a fluent, native speaker.
An SEO agency in Germany with 15 years’ experience
As a German SEO agency with over 15 years’ experience, we’re delighted to look at your website or discuss your project with you and provide concrete recommendations on the best SEO and backlink strategy free of charge. Please get in touch for a free quote.
How to succeed in the German market
Anyone who has studied German in school or later on in life knows that it can be a difficult language to grasp. We see those difficulties replicated in SEO. It takes a thorough understanding of the language to fully grasp its many detailed nuances, but the risk of getting it wrong is also often underestimated.
Suppose you and your company are looking at expanding to Germany so you can take advantage of one of the largest language groups in Europe. In that case, you will need a deep understanding of a variety of subjects. As you will see, what works in nearly every other language will need to be done differently in German.
Much of this has to do with geography, grammar, and how social media is used. However, as any SEO company in Germany will tell you, backlinks are considerably more challenging to implement correctly.
Do I need a .de domain to rank well?
The first question many people ask when entering the German market is, “Do I need a .de domain name?”
The short answer is no. There are pros and cons of using a sub-domain, sub-folder or .de domain name, but one is not necessarily better than the other.
The two essential items to get right are:
- Do not use a sub-domain or sub-folder if your main domain targets a different country. So, if your main domain is indigoextra.co.uk, using de.indigoextra.co.uk would not work. That’s because the .co.uk domain extension tells Google and potential visitors that you’re targeting the UK. It’s bad for both SEO and user experience.
Differences in dialect between countries
The German language is one of the oldest, most spoken languages in the world. More than 130 million people speak it daily. It’s the first language in 6 countries and a minority language in 10.
These numbers lend credibility to your website as it caters to a massive group of people. It is also the first pitfall that you would experience when writing German SEO for your website.
Did you know the name for a “train ticket” in Germany can be Zugfahrkarte, Bahnfahrkarte, or Bahnticket? All three words are recognisable to German speakers and can be used as search terms. However, any Swiss website visitors would not search for this term. They would search for the Billett, which has French origins.
Another example is a “driving license” - a widespread and much-used word in daily life. You would expect it to be the same in every country. However, in Switzerland the name for a driving license is Führerausweis or Billet; in Germany and Austria, it would be a Führerschein.
These differences are not only present between Germany and Switzerland. In Austria, one would call “butter” der Butter, while in Germany it is called Die Butter.
These are small but essential grammatical details that exemplify some of the small and often overlooked differences that this fascinating language offers us. It should clarify how in-depth linguistic research and local language experts are necessary tools for implementing a successful local SEO.
How grammar affects your approach
There are hundreds of grammar rules in the German language. We’re not going to bore you with all of them. However, there are a few you’ll need to fully grasp how the language works.
Even most native speakers don’t know all the grammar rules of their language. Still, it is crucial to get the basics right. This brings us to why correct spelling and grammar are important to SEO.
Google use various methods to monitor how long people spend on a website and how many pages they visit. One of their main sources of data is via the 60% of Europeans who use Google Chrome. If your web page is full of grammatical and spelling errors, visitors will spend less time on your site. Google will notice this and use it as a red flag, indicating that your site isn’t credible or worthy of top search engine rankings. Your page will go down and down over time in the rankings.
This is one reason user-experience and SEO have become more closely related. A site with great user-experience and engaging content will gradually go up in the rankings.
Note - if your website uses slang or grammar that reflects how your visitors speak, that’s absolutely fine. If it works for your visitors, it will work for Google.
Adverbs are essential in SEO and matter most in long-tail keywords. For example: How to learn German quickly. English adverbs are usually relatively easy to learn. Nearly all of them end in ly: beautifully, manically, quickly, etc. In German, there is a time, place, and manner adverb for nearly everything. For example:
Adverbs Of Time
- nie/nimmer — never
- oft — often
Adverbs Of Place
Adverbs of place describe where an action takes place. Some examples include:
- drauβen — outside
- drinnen — inside
Adverbs Of Manner
Finally, adverbs of manner indicate how something happens and include words such as:
- allein(e) — alone
- eventuell — possibly
One of the more complicated (and possibly most difficult) aspects of the language to master is nouns. In German, words have genders. There are three different cases to choose from: masculine, feminine, and neutral.
Nouns in German SEO must be correct. Missing one or getting it wrong could change the meaning of a word, render the keyword useless, and make your website look unprofessional.
Compound nouns offer a prime example of this issue. Germans are fairly adept at combining words to create a new word. So, if you search for “Bekleidungsgeschaft” or “bekleidungs geschaft” (both meaning ‘clothing store’), Google will search for the same thing.”
The German language has no less than four cases. Articles (a/an/the) change depending on the case. This means that the article will change for a subject, direct object, indirect object, or possessive object. For example:
- Who or what is acting? - der, die, das
- Who or what is receiving the action? - den, die, das
- Whom? - dern, der, dem
- Whose? - des
You might also want to read some of the more advanced rules of German grammar.
One way that grammar affects both marketing and website design is in terms of lengthy words. German words are often far longer than English words.
Take Arbeiterunfallversicherungsgesetz, for example (a word for occupational accident insurance that all employers must have). If you’re designing a website to be translated into German, you need to build sufficient space for a 33-character word in your translated content. If you're using Arbeiterunfallversicherungsgesetz in a Meta Title, which should be a maximum of 57 or so characters long, you’re not given much space for other words.
Which Social Media sites are popular?
“Social media is the same everywhere, and we won’t change our social media strategy when entering a new country.”
Many companies have uttered variants of those words, and all were incorrect. In Germany, the social media landscape is vastly different from other European countries. Even amongst other German-speaking nations, there are differences in how social media is used.
Unsurprisingly, most local Germans feel that their data is not safe online, which is why Facebook enjoys significantly less market share (64%) than it does in the UK (73%).
Another example, and an essential tool for many companies, is Twitter. In the UK, Twitter is a popular social media platform with a market share of 45%; in Germany, this number drops to a mere 22%. There are many reasons as to why, but one common explanation is that words can often be too long to express anything useful in 140 characters, which was the original limit of a Tweet.
Building German backlinks
Now that we’ve got our geographic, grammar, and social media aspects under control, let’s focus on another key factor for SEO: link building. Google has made clear that link building is an essential tool for sites to rank high:
“Webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.”
Google’s search algorithms seem to be stricter on German backlinks than they are elsewhere. Your German link building portfolio must be built through an organisation that already has a well-established base and emphasis on quality platforms.
Questions to ask yourself when building German backlinks:
- Are the backlinks from German-language websites?
- Do backlinks come from a range of sources, including guest posts on related sites?
- Do websites have a high Domain Authority?
- Do websites have a high Majestic Trust Flow?
- Do websites have real organic traffic going to them?
- Do a healthy proportion of them come from .de domains?
Checking your results
If you’re an English speaker and search for a German keyword on Google, odds are you’ll see results that are wildly different from what people in Germany will see. That’s because the country and language a backlink are from play an important role in determining where a website ranks in the results. So, if you’re in the UK and have the default search set to English, you will tend to see English language results or websites with loads of links to them from UK based sites.
To check your results, you can do either of the following:
Change your location and language in Google.
On the bottom right of Google's search page, click Settings, then click Search Settings.
Scroll down to the Region Settings and click Germany. This changes the Region Google will show results for.
Next, click Languages on the left and choose Deutsch.
Use Google Analytics
Google Analytics lets you see how many people are clicking different keywords from different countries. It also lets you see the Click Through Rate and your current position for keywords.
Use a keyword research tool
Most of the free keyword research tools track keywords from the US. This means they’re not particularly useful for your German marketing campaigns. We recommend using a keyword tool like Semrush or Ahrefs, as both allow you to see where your website ranks in a specific country. These tools also provide suggestions for other keywords, showing you the search volume, how difficult they are to rank for, etc.
German SEO agency with over a decade of experience
As you can see, many aspects affect how your SEO strategy will change when you implement this in Germany. In many European countries, it’s highly beneficial to have a hands-on and knowledgeable partner to guide you through the process of creating successful SEO strategies.
Indigoextra Ltd. is a company capable of guiding you through the entire process. Whether you require a team to design a website, create new content, take current content and translate it from English to German, or set up a reliable backlink campaign - we’re up to the task.
We have over 15 years’ worth of experience as an SEO agency. We would be delighted to discuss your project with you and provide recommendations on the best SEO and German link building strategy free of charge.