Ich helfe Menschen mit Blogs, Social Media und Google
SEO Germany -> seo-germany

German SEO - The Trip Back in Time

In Germany SEO is still an underdeveloped part of Internet marketing.

SEO for the German market is like a trip back in time. The German SEO industry as a whole is years behind the global market.
Search engine optimization was just a niche phenomenon for many years in Germany. There are countless SEO companies and freelancers by now. Nonetheless in case you take a look at most of the websites seemingly professional SEO companies have, you might think that they don't practice real SEO at all. They buy links instead to artificially inflate their Google rankings. You're not familiar with paid links? They are prohibited by the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Search marketing companies sometimes appear professional but in their portfolio they rarely show real results. Often they hide their clients on purpose. In Germany they can get away with it.
Many agencies offer optimization services like back in the days where PageRank and rankings was everything you had to take care of.
That's even more outrageous when you take into account that the German speaking population of approx. 100 million spreads over 4 nations
  1. Germany
  2. Austria
  3. Switzerland
and, what most people don't even know, Italy.

Many SEO specialists won't tell you anything about things like Conversions or ROI (Return on Investment). They won't speak about local SEO and when referring to social media optimization they will talk about submitting to dozens of social bookmarking sites for "free links".

There are many reasons for that poor state of German SEO. One of them is:
There's no real social news or discovery in Germany in the sense of Digg, Reddit or StumbleUpon you can write killer content for to get links.
So webmasters often are forced to stick with "old school" SEO. Even Twitter is not really popular among German speaking users. Facebook is the only social media hope now. It as by now millions of German users so that Facebook marketing makes sense by now as Google counts Facebook likes as a ranking factor.


You Do What?

When people ask me what I do for a living they first chuckle a little or do not understand, than they try to pronounce the German word for SEO. After that they start to wonder if I tell the truth. "Manipulating" search engine results appears to be magic to most of them.

Even Internet specialists like web designers often misunderstand my profession. On the other hand large parts of the blogosphere in Germany still assumes that SEO has something to do with spamming, especially with blog spam.

I always attempt to bring up the most easily understandable explanation saying something like,

"I'm the guy who makes your website show up on the first page of the Google results".
So either I am a magician or a spammer, but as I said before, that's no wonder. SEO in Germany is still largely in the phase the Internet was before the emergence of the Web 2.0. There are some successful social media projects in Germany though:
  • Facebook-clones have millions of users
  • at least one social bookmarking site have reached critical mass.
  • a LinkedIn rival is also strong.
  • Q&A sites have gained some footing
  • The blogosphere is small but lively
So while you can't write link bait articles for social news sites you certainly can reach people via more modern channels than Google search itself and gain links while at it.

Difficulties In Finding A White Hat In Germany

There really is a problem with so called black hat SEO in Germany. Most people, even most clients believe that SEO is about "manipulating" results and not

  • improving website usability
  • writing fresh, quality content
  • making it readable for readers and spiders

This misinterpretation goes so far that I sometimes have to disappoint potential clients when they ask me to use tricks. Many of them do not even think of real SEO before asking me for black hat techniques. Of course I refuse. I want to stay in this business for a few years more (I do since 2004) so I work on my image as the German specialist for white hat SEO.

I attempt to optimize fully compliant with Google's guidelines. It's sometimes difficult because Google never fully clarifies what's OK and what not. The guidelines remain very fuzzy and the criteria change unexpectedly without being declared as such. Some common sense allows you to predict or assess the outcome yourself though.

When you look for the German term for white hat SEO (ethische Suchmaschinenoptimierung) at you will me at #1 for years now. That's funny because I didn't really optimize for it. Does it mean that I am the only white hat SEO around here?

Indeed German SEO service providers themselves are much quicker to employ unethical black hat tactics that breach Google's guidelines.

Respectable clients new to this business often are unable to distinguish the black and the white hats because the line is even blurry for the experts themselves. Many even fall for services offering search engine submission to over 1000 search engines. They ignore one crucial fact:

On the German market only three search engines have a substantial market share. Google is almost a monopoly with more than 95% market share in organic search

Who do I write for?

You probably know me already from publications I write for or contributed in the past, most notably weblogs like

  1. SEO 2.0
  2. SEOptimise
  3. Hubspot Internet Marketing Blog
  4. Collective Thoughts
  5. Google Blogoscoped

I'm also active on Twitter.

Multilingual SEO Specialized on the German and Polish Market

In case you live in the US, you probably don't realize how different and disconnected the two neighboring countries Germany and Poland are. These two European nations are very distinct although from afar they might be perceived as more or less the same. In some cases it's true, Polish and German food for instance is very similar.

When it comes to the search engine market Germany and Poland differ substantially

In case you want to enter the European market I most probably can assist you. Do you need a multilingual SEO specialized in SEO for the German and Polish markets?

I'd be happy to assist your SEO for Germany or Poland.
Moreover, I also learned Spanish and French. It's maybe not enough to be a SEO copywriter but at least I can find one for you. Hasta la vista!

Sincerely, Tadeusz Szewczyk alias Tad Chef

Last updated April 29th, 2011.