For a giant such as Google, the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules might seem like a tough task to implement. Yet it believes it won’t be bearing the brunt of the complex set of changes. Instead, the digital giant believes the correct handling of consumer data is an “ecosystem challenge”, and that advertisers are the ones facing the biggest hurdles when trying to implement the new rules.
If you own, manage, monetize, or promote online content via Google Search, this guide is meant for you. You might be the owner of a growing and thriving business, the webmaster of a dozen sites, the SEO specialist in a Web agency or a DIY SEO ninja passionate about the mechanics of Search: this guide is meant for you. If you’re interested in having a complete overview of the basics of SEO according to our best practices, you are indeed in the right place. This guide won’t provide any secrets that’ll automatically rank your site first in Google (sorry!), but following the best practices outlined below will hopefully make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your content.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results. You’re likely already familiar with many of the topics in this guide because they’re essential ingredients for any web page, but you may not be making the most out of them.
You should optimize your site to serve your users’ needs. One of those users is a search engine, which helps other users discover your content. Search Engine Optimization is about helping search engines understand and present content. Your site may be smaller or larger than our example site and offer vastly different content, but the optimization topics we discuss below should apply to sites of all sizes and types. We hope our guide gives you some fresh ideas on how to improve your website, and we’d love to hear your questions, feedback, and success stories in the Google Webmaster Help Forum1
Steps to a Google-friendly site
Things to do
The Webmaster Guidelines provides a general design, technical, and quality guidelines. Below are more detailed tips for creating a Google-friendly site.
Give visitors the information they’re looking for
Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.
Make sure that other sites link to yours
Links help Search Engine crawlers find your site and can give your site greater visibility in Google search results. When returning results for a search, Google uses sophisticated text-matching techniques to display pages that are both important and relevant to each search. Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote by page A for page B. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.” Keep in mind that Google algorithms can distinguish natural links from unnatural links. Natural links to your site develop as part of the dynamic nature of the web when other sites find your content valuable and think it would be helpful for their visitors. Unnatural links to your site are placed there specifically to make your site look more popular to search engines. Some of these types of links (such as link schemes and doorway pages) are covered in Google Webmaster Guidelines. Only natural links are useful for the indexing and ranking of your site.
Make your site easily accessible
Things to avoid
Don’t fill your page with lists of keywords, attempt to “cloak” pages, or put up “crawler only” pages. If your site contains pages, links, or text that you don’t intend visitors to see, Google considers those links and pages deceptive and may ignore your site. Don’t feel obligated to purchase a search engine optimization service. Some companies claim to “guarantee” high ranking for your site in Google’s search results. While legitimate consulting firms can improve your site’s flow and content, others employ deceptive tactics in an attempt to fool search engines. Be careful; if your domain is affiliated with one of these deceptive services, it could be banned from Google index. Don’t use images to display important names, content, or links. Google crawlers don’t recognize text contained in graphics. Use ALT attributes if the main content and keywords on your page can’t be formatted in regular HTML. Don’t create multiple copies of a page under different URLs. Many sites offer text-only or printer-friendly versions of pages that contain the same content as the corresponding graphic-rich pages. If your site has identical content that can be reached via different URLs, there are several ways of indicating the canonical (preferred) version of a page. See More information about canonicalization.
It is our hope that this article has been of help to you. If you have more questions, please visit the Google Webmaster Page or leave us a comment below.