Google's SEO Starter Guide - TL;DR

Incremental changes could have a noticeable impact on UX and organic search results. 

 

Many of these topics are likely familiar - but they are essential, you may not be making the most out of them.

 

Basics

Unique, Accurate Page Titles

Description Meta Tag

 

Site Structure

Improve the structure of your URLs

Make your site easier to navigate

 

Optimising Content

Offer quality content and services

Write better anchor text

Optimise your use of images

Use heading tags appropriately

 

Dealing with Crawlers

Make effective use of Robots.txt

Be aware of rel=“nofollow” for links

 

SEO for Mobile Phones

Notify google of mobile suites

Guide mobile users accurately

 

Promotions & Analysis

Promote your website in the right ways

Make use of free webmaster tools

 

 

GO

 

Basics

Unique, Accurate Page Titles

Title should be in the tag

Unique title for each page on your site.

Can list website name, business or other bits of information

Titles should accurately communicate the topic of the pages content.

Do not - use vague titles or words unrelated to the content

Avoid keyword stuffing, or using lengthy titles which are unhelpful.

 

Description Meta Tag

Description should be in the tag.

Words in the description snippet on search results pages are bolded when they appear in the user’s query.

Description tags should both inform and interest users if they saw it on an SERP.

Avoid unrelated, generic, keyword-stuffed descriptions. 

Use unique descriptions. You can automatically generate them for large sites.

 

Site Structure

Improve the structure of your URLs

Descriptive categories and filenames for documents on your site leads to you being more organised and sites crawling your documents better. It also creates easier friendlier URL’s for people who want to link to your content.

Use words in URLs.

Avoid lengthy URLs with parameters and session IDs, generic names like Page1, excessive keywords.

Name directories so they do not go to deep and remain understandable.

Avoid capitalising in URLs

Avoid multiple URLs showing the same content - set up a 301 redirect or canonical if you cannot redirect.

 

Make your site easier to navigate

Use breadcrumbs lists to allow users to quickly navigate back to a previous section or the root page. 

Allow for the possibility that a user removes part of a url e.g /news/2010/baseball to try and see either all news, or all news from 2010. Will they get a 404?

 

Prepare two sitemaps

One for users who are having trouble finding pages on your site - group these links by subject and avoid broken links!

one for search engines (XML Sitemap).

 

Try to avoid a navigation based entirely on dropdown menus, images or animations. A user should be able o reach all pages on a site via normal text links.

 

404 page

Have a custom 404 page that kindly gives users a way back to a working page on your site. 

 

Optimising Content

Offer quality content and services

Users know good content when they see it. Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build a site reputation with both users and google and it rarely comes without quality content.

 

Anticipate differences in users’ understanding of your topic and offer unique, exclusive content. 

 

Best Practice

Users enjoy content that is well written and easy to follow. Do not make spelling and grammatical mistakes, do not embed text in images. Users may want to copy and paste the text and search engines can’t read it.

 

Stay organised around the topic. Breaking content up into logical chunks or devisions helps users find the content they want faster. I.E. Use paragraphs, sub headings and layout separation.

 

New content will not only keep your existing visitor base coming back, but also bring in new visitors.

Don’t rehash or copy existing content as this brings little value to users.

Avoid having duplicate or near-duplicate versions of your content across your site.

 

Do not keyword-stuff, have blocks of text like ‘frequent misspellings used to reach this page’, or hide some text from users so that only search engines can find it. 

 

Write better anchor text

Links on your page, internal or external, should consistently link the same text to the same pages, so that users and google know what the page you are linking to is about.

 

Avoid ‘click here’, anything generic, using the page’s URL (unless you are promoting a new website address).

 

Make it easy for users to distinguish between regular text and the anchor text of your links. Content becomes less useful if users miss the links or accidentally click them. Avoid using CSS or text styling that makes links look like regular text.

 

Only user internal anchor links when they help with user site navigation, and do not fill the anchor text with keywords.

 

Optimise your use of images

All images should make optimal use of a filename and alt attribute for those using a screen reader. Another reason is that if using an image as a link, the text for that image will be treated similarly to the anchor text of a text link. Don’t use too many images for links when text could serve the same purpose.

 

Put all images in one folder to simplify the path to your images. Have the extension of your filename match the filetype and use JPEG, GIF, PNG and BMP image formats whenever possible. 

 

Use brief descriptive filenames and alt text.

 

An Image Sitemap file can provide googlebot with more information about the images found on your site. It’s structure is similar to an XML sitemap file for your web pages.

 

Use heading tags appropriately

Use heading tags to emphasise important text. There are six sizes from h1 to h6, 1 being the most important and 6 just more important than normal text. Heading tags are usually visual cues to a user that this text is important and could help them understand something about they type of content underneath the heading text. Multiple heading sizes are used to create a hierarchical structure for your content - making it easier for users to navigate through your document.

imagine you’re writing an outline

Put some thought into what the main points and sub points of the content on the page will be and decide where to use heading tags appropriately. Avoid placing text in heading tags that wouldn’t be helpful in defining the structure of the page. 

avoid use headline tags where other tags like and may be more appropriate. 

avoid Erratically moving from one heading tag size to another.

 

Use headings sparingly across the page

Too many heading tags on a page can make it hard for users to scan the content and determine where on topic ends and another begins. Don’t use them excessively, throughout the page or put lots of text in heading tags. Do not use heading tags for styling and not presenting structure.

 

Dealing with Crawlers

Make effective use of Robots.txt

 

Be aware of rel=“nofollow” for links

Use nofollow for comment spam links, comment columns and message boards. Also use it to warn people

 

SEO for Mobile Phones

Notify google of mobile suites

Guide mobile users accurately

 

Promotions & Analysis

Promote your website in the right ways

Make use of free webmaster tools

 

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