Google’s Own SEO Advice

 Here are some quotes from the Google Guidelines found on the search engine’s website (www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html), regarding what you should do and what you shouldn’t do if you want to rank higher on Google’s PageRank.

“Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link” – this helps Googlebots index your page more easily. Not only that, but it gives readers a cleaner way of navigating. So by respecting this rule, you hit two targets with one shot.

“Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages” – again an advice that is useful both for human browsers of your page and for spider bots. The sitemap is a necessity for every major site around, since some can be so complex that visitors literally loose themselves on the site. It’s also the first place a spider bot looks, making it a valuable asset in the ranking process.

“Create a useful, information-rich site and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content” – the importance of clear text is major for any site that handles a good amount of visitors. If you make your visitors loose interest by using spamming methods, un-organized text, etc. you risk dropping in the ranks, as visitor numbers are also calculated in the ranking system. The general rule for any site is that if the visitors like it and find it useful the search engine will do that too.

“Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it” – The relevancy of the keywords you use is crucial, so take some time to put together a list of what you think relates to your site.

“Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in images” – We showed the importance of using text over images in the “General Tips” chapter. In some cases it seems almost critical to use an image rather than a text (for banners or site headers for example). You can however do a small trick that let’s you have a cool image as a banner and have the company name or other text, outside the image. If you have a pre-made banner with your company name inside, try to edit the picture and remove the text, than make a small table in the website (where the header used to be) of the exact same width and height the new empty banner has. Then place the empty banner as the background of the table and you can write whatever text you need over it. Just make sure the text is in the same position as it was before you removed it from the image. This works perfectly for keeping the same site design as you initially wanted and using text for the spider bots at the same time.

“Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive and accurate”. Don’t mislead the Googlebots and provide them with accurate descriptions of your page. Google doesn’t like to be tricked, so it’s a good advice to play by the rules in order to avoid being flagged, or worse, being banned. The “misleading” rule applies not only to Title and Alt tags, but also to accurate keywords, keyword spamming, invisible java text with misleading information, etc.

“Check for broken links and correct HTML”. Not only that in the visitor’s eyes, a broken link is a signal of negligence, but Googlebots or other crawler type bots can get mislead when indexing a page with broken links.

“If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a ‘?’ character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them small”. – The quote speaks for itself. Try to reduce dynamic code as much as you can.

“Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100)”. – Again, this advice refers to the Googlebots’ ability to quickly index a page. If a page is too complex or has an unorganized structure, not only it will take a lot more time for the bots to crawl through the site, they might sometimes have problems, getting stuck between links.

“Avoid hidden text or hidden links and don’t employ cloaking or sneaky redirects” – like I already stated above, Google hates to be tricked or mislead. The use of java cloaking or invisible text columns (with irrelevant information, used just to obtain a higher rank or to get more visitors to the site) is strictly forbidden by Google, using this techniques at a large scale, might even get your site banned from Google’s search engine (meaning your site will never show up on Google, no matter what your PageRank score would be).

“Don’t load pages with irrelevant words” – same as above; using irrelevant text and keywords or key phrases only to trick visitors to come to your site is combated by Google. The strictest measures regarding this matter apply to pornography sites, which use irrelevant words to attract viewers to their page, possibly attracting children.

“Don’t create multiple pages with substantially duplicate content”. Google sees this as another form of spamming. Don’t worry if you copy a few paragraphs and insert them to another link if that makes sense, just don’t duplicate whole pages for the sake of having more internal links and more keywords.

“Avoid doorwa pages created just for search engines, or other cookie cutter approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content” – another “DON’T” on Google’s list. Doorway pages break pretty much all the above rules, being pages flooded with keywords, irrelevant texts, cloaked text, duplicate content, etc.

“Make sure your web server supports the If-Modified-Since HTTP header” – This feature allows your web server to tell Google whether your content has changed since it has last crawled your site. Supporting this feature saves you bandwidth and overhead.

“Google may respond negatively to misleading practices like tricking users by registering misspellings of well-known web site” – well this rule could not only upset Google, but local or international authorities too…Misspelling of well-known sites or brands, is common on the Internet, so you can see web-sites marketing “PLIMA” sneakers, “Raebok” tennis rackets and the examples could go on and on. Misleading logos or banners are also common. The best example I found regarding this matter, was of a search engine named “Gogle”, which claimed to be the world’s most popular search engine (I didn’t include the link, for your own protection, as the site was crawling with Trojan viruses).

 

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