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The Google SEO Starter Guide is a document that was originally designed for Google’s own employees but it was later made public as they felt that other webmasters could benefit from its content as well. Google wants websites to practice good SEO techniques and that is why they make this information available. Practicing poor or unethical techniques in SEO will put you at risk of being banned from the search engine altogether.
If you are interested in Google SEO guidelines but don’t feel that you have time to read the full 32 page document, here is our synopsis.
The Basics of SEO for your website include creating accurate and unique page titles for each page on your site as well as using the “description” meta tags effectively. Both of these are important because they can affect the way that your listing shows up in Google.
Page titles should tell both Google and your visitors what the page is about. Sorry, but “home” just doesn’t do that. The title for your home page could be the name of your business or some other relevant piece of information that includes some of your keywords.
The description meta tag can also be very important because sometimes Google uses that to insert snippets of information under your listing. When you see that certain words have been bolded in a Google listing, these are words that have been taken from a description meta tag.
This section is about how to make sure your URLs are effective as well as ensuring that your site is easy to navigate.
URLs should be as simple and user friendly as possible. This makes them easier to remember for users and also makes the site appear more trust worthy than if there were a lot of numbers or unfamiliar terms in the url.
A site that is easy to navigate will give your users a better customer experience but it will also improve your SEO as it will also be easier for Google’s crawlers to navigate. Some tips include having separate site maps (one for users and one for crawlers), and having a cutom 404 Error page that includes a link back to your home page so that if a user does click on a broken link, they can at least return easily to your home page rather than get frustrated and leave the site completely.
Optimizing your content involves writing quality content, improving your anchor text, optimizing images and using heading tags effectively.
Writing good web content involves writing both for your end readers – fresh engaging content that they will want to share with others; as well as writing for Google’s crawlers – making use of appropriate keywords without stuffing and looking spammy.
Using appropriate anchor text in links is better for your SEO than vague text such as “click here”. Images should be optimized through appropriate file storing as well as effective alt tags. Good use of heading tags will also improve your SEO and make your website more visually appealing to users.
Because your SEO success depends on crawlers you should be using the robots.txt appropriately and use rel=”nofollow” when necessary.
There may be certain pages on your website that you do not want crawled. If this is the case, use the robots.txt to alert crawlers to this. Note however, that you should not rely on this to protect sensitive information as there are also rogue crawlers on the internet that would ignore this instruction.
If you have a public comment section on your website or blog, also be sure to prevent spam by using the rel=”nofollow” when appropriate.
As more and more people are using mobile devices to search the internet, it is also very important to ensure that you have good SEO for mobile devices as well. If you have a separate website for mobile devices, you should notify Google of the site.
Also, it is recommended that you redirect users to your mobile site if it is detected that they are using a mobile device.
Promotions and Analysis
Finally, when you site is ready to be promoted, make sure that your promotions are ethical and follow Google’s guidelines. As you promote your site via blogs, social media and other methods, it can help to improve your traffic and your SEO.
And as you continue with your SEO and Analyze its effectiveness, make use of Google’s many free tools which can be of great value to you in improving your Google SEO.