What you need to know about Google’s Guidelines and successful SEO.
Looking to start off on the right foot in SEO but don’t know where or how to begin? Try Google’s Webmaster Guidelines or as I like to call it: “The Hammurabi’s Code of Websites.” The guidelines basically give webmasters and search engine optimization professionals a very specific idea on how to design a website that will sit well with The Big G. Why Google’s guidelines and not the other search engines’? In case you haven’t heard, Google has 66 percent of the search engine market share. It’s almost five times as much second place Bing. Following Google’s recommendations will surely help any website with its SEO strategy and search engine results page ranking. Last time I checked, the end result of SEO is getting onto Page 1 of SERP.
What exactly is said on the guidelines? Google has been kind enough to separate them into three sections and each with a set of recommendations. The divisions are:
- Design and content
Design and content
It’s mostly about the user experience here. The search engines basically asks webmasters to have a site that is user friendly. What does this mean exactly? Google wants webmasters to:
- Make sure the visitor to the page can get to content through links and that they be in a hierarchical order and within reason.
- Post information that is of use to the industry as well as relevant and concise.
- Put themselves in the visitors’ shoes when creating content.
- Review that some essential HTML elements paint the best image possible of what the site is about without incurring in keyword stuffing (FYI. It’s frowned upon and could hurt SERPs rankings).
- Avoid broken links and code errors.
What this means to SEO: Content reigns supreme in the SEO world of 2016 and Google is giving it due. High quality content and easy to get around websites will be huge in rising in the rankings. Additionally, the keywords are determined by the users. They are the ones that dictate what information should be on the net. Finally, SEO professionals must be aware of keyword density more than ever. They must only put the necessary amount and not use the ALT attributes of HTML to go keyword happy.
These indications help webmasters and SEO professionals gain understanding into how a webpage is indexed by Google. Some of the technical suggestions for webmasters are:
- Ensure that the robots.txt file is up to date and setup to index the website properly. It must take into account what the crawlers can and cannot go through.
- Disable user authentication for the crawlers.
- Have If-Modified-Since HTTP header support on the webpage’s server to let the search engine have knowledge of changes you have made.
- Run the site on several browsers to make sure it loads correctly on more than one browser.
- Constantly use tools to check and improve the site’s load times. According to Google, a happy user can be linked to faster loading times.
What this means to SEO: Two things. The first is that SEO account managers must make sure the website runs as smooth as possible to make sure users come back. Secondly, the more Google’s crawlers can go through the site the better indexed it will be and the better chance of being trustworthy in the rankings.
These are perhaps the most important guidelines a webmaster and SEO professional must abide by. Google clearly states which practices will hurt a webpage’s rankings. Looking for ways to cheat the system could lead to a site being completely banished from SERPs.
- Be honest to the visitors and make pages for them and not the search engines.
- Stay away from black hat SEO.
- Find a competitive edge that makes the page different from the competition.
- Keep an eye out for spam and hacking on a regular basis.
Websites should not:
- Use automation techniques to create content and make queries on Google.
- Include hidden text in the content to fool search engines.
- Confabulate with others to build links irregularly.
- Keyword stuff.
What this means to SEO: Play by the rules and you’ll be fine. Don’t and say good-bye to the rankings. Google wants to do its part in eliminating black hat SEO and making sure that the information on websites is trustworthy, useful, and relevant to users.
SEO is a complicated world full of many concepts, tools, and techniques. Google’s Webmaster Guidelines give a very good notion on what SEO is all about in 2016. They tell webmasters that the user experience must be put ahead of the search engines results. Creating original content is one way to do this. Another is by making website navigation as easy as possible for visitors. Finally, using ethical practices to optimize search engine results will allow a webpage to be ranked well. Let the guidelines point you in the right direction to SEO success in 2016.