When you are doing SEO is mainly to make Google happy, do you know about this Google SEO guidelines article?
Google is very relentless and vague about SEO and how to rank on the first page! But on this document, you can find a lot of important information.
In fact, what I have noticed is that Google doesn’t like useless stuff. Every single line of this article is important.
Google guidelines, in general, are very short. Magic tricks are never revealed.
When I saw this long article written from Google I said:
Damn, this is very long for Google, all the secrets that we want to know must be here.
And in fact, probably not all the secrets are there, but if you analyze it deeply you will find out that SEO is very simple.
Google wants users to be happy, and nothing makes users happier than finding exactly what they are looking for with less of the efforts.
If I want to know how to change the oil to my car, having a nice article with all the steps to take, tools I need and a video would be better than a technical document talking about how the oil cup works.
Google SEO Most Important Aspects
Google and search engines are considering more than 200 factors in order to rank a webpage!
But still, certain factors are pillar factors.
By pillar factors I mean that are factors that there is no need to read them somewhere to understand.
Most of the time common sense and doing things great will automatically comply with these criteria.
Here in this article, I will list some of the most important factors from the official Google SEO best practices file mentioned above.
I will add a bit of my experience and help you understand these factors a little bit better.
Getting Your Site Indexed
Google crawlers are discovering websites all day long and add them to the Google index.
If your site is not on Google, it’s just a matter of time and it will be on Google as long as you don’t block crawlers or doing something that can interfere with Google bots.
To help Google bots understand your pages you need to make sure that your pages can be crawled!
You can submit websites and URLs from the google search console, but this is not even necessary but recommended.
Bots are using computing power to figure out your site so you must minimize the https requests and improve the speed of your sites.
The robots.txt file is an important TXT file that instructs crawlers on what to crawl or not.
If you disallow from crawling certain links on your site but still link to them they might appear on the search results.
The only way to avoid a webpage to be shown on the google results is by adding a noindex tag to the webpage.
You should never block .js and .css files from crawling!
This will cause problems with the rendering of your webpages and you don’t want this to happen.
Google needs to understand and see exactly what a user will see.
The stuff that you see on the SERP (search engine result page) is the title, meta description, and URL of the page.
You should always add compelling titles and meta descriptions relative to what goes into your article.
Don’t stuff keywords nor create a URL that not resembles the content of the page.
You can study the CTR and bounce rates using google console or google analytics.
You should also decrease the pogo-sticking.
Google Search Console
Google is offering some of the most powerful SEO tools completely for free. More specifically these tools are the:
You should immediately create an account with the google search console.
Your job as an SEO is to study, read, and discover new insights from the console.
You need to optimize your site based on the reaction that your site has! The Google search console combined with google analytics is meant for that.
The performance report will tell you exactly the number of impressions your websites have for a specific keyword.
You will find out exactly the CTR and position on the SERP. These results are updated very frequently and you can not miss this.
The new search console has fewer options compared to the old console! The options available right now are enhanced and more powerful tho.
You can use the URL inspection tool each time you want to see what happens on google for that specific URL.
Meta Tags Optimization
Studying a bit of HTML language on freecodecamp is definitely not going to make any damage on you.
In fact, bots understand websites mainly from HTML code, which is the easiest programming language.
On a webpage, there are a lot of different tags that can be used. For instance, the title and meta description tags mentioned above looks something like this:
<title>This is a title</title>
<meta name="description" content="This is a meta description" />
Basically, you open a tag and then close it, and in between, you put the stuff that people wants to see on a webpage.
You can read this article that talks about how to read the source code.
Understanding why sometimes you need to add a noindex or nofollow tag to certain tags of your site is important!
In fact, I have recently noindexed a lot of pages on one of my sites and got extremely good results.
It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of content on your site but useless stuff on it.
For instance, if you index your category pages you might end up with pages on the SERP that will never bring any value.
These pages are good to create a structure on your site but not useful for people searching for stuff on Google.
rel="canonical" tag also is important and you should figure out when.
In order to decrease bounce rates and pogo sticking, you should keep your titles and meta descriptions appealing.
Something that Google and search engines are pushing a lot lately is adding data markup structure to your webpages.
Data markup tells search engines exactly what a page is all about using JSON files.
You can test the markup structure of your site with google structured data tool.
If you are on WordPress there are plugins that will take care of this since it’s not super easy to implement otherwise.
Images should be optimized as well! Adding an ALT text to describe the image content is important.
You can also add your images to the sitemap. The plugins mentioned before will do that as well.
Breadcrumbs can appear on the SERP as well and they are extremely useful for users browsing your site.
Creating compelling and useful breadcrumbs is a best practice.
Google mobile first is a real thing!
In fact for all the ones that don’t know what it is there are no wonders your sites are not ranking.
I personally hate browsing websites on my mobile phone, but that’s because I am too smart and meticulous.
Most of the people is not like me and love to browse, buy and use websites from their mobile phones.
In fact, mobile traffic recently surpassed desktop traffic. Look at this OMG graph!
From the 1st of July 2019 if your website is not mobile friendly you will be out of the game immediately and excluded from the index.
There are many techniques you can use to have your sites mobile friendly! Honestly, unless you have an old site build many years ago you should opt in for responsive design.
The responsive design will make sure that your site will scale and adapt to meet the screen size of your user device.
It’s not mandatory but also using AMP is something recommended with certain websites.
AMP (accelerated mobile pages) is useful for users that have slow internet and only mobile access.
AMP is hard to implement but if you are on WordPress you can install the AMP plugin and you will have it for free.
Certain websites like e-commerce stores or video streaming sites are not going to be ideal with AMP.
AMP is stripping some code from your pages and make sites load faster but on an e-commerce store, you can lose traffic and call to actions with it.
You can navigate your AMP errors from the google console as well.
A website is like a brochure and you must make it clear to navigate and easy to use.
Websites need to have a solid and easy to understand structure.
You can use SEO plugins like Rank Math and Yoast SEO to bring some structure to your sites! But still, you need to design them right.
For instance, having a nice menu, no misleading stuff on it and a very clear structure can help people finding stuff.
Having a search bar is important!
People want to search for stuff and get it fast. Using Algolia or WordPress search feature is recommended.
You want to exclude search results from indexing.
Creating a 404 page that goes to a 404 status error is important as well.
You should never create 404 pages just for the purpose of rankings or with misleading content on it.
The URL structure needs to be the shortest as possible and to the point. You should no index all the pages and stuff that doesn’t add any value.
For instance, if you go over my website sitemap you can see that I allow indexing only to posts and pages.
This boosted my rankings a lot lately for this website specifically. It might not work for others.
The sitemap is very important and needs to be constantly updated together with your content.
Rank Math and Yoast SEO on WordPress will take care of that.
If you have zombie pages with no traffic or outdated pages, you should either remove them and 301 redirect them to your new stuff or update them.
You will not rank on Google if you are not making rankable content.
Rankable content is optimized content around keywords that people search.
You can use free tools like the google keyword planner or even better SEMrush, which is a tool very similar to a god.
You need to avoid dumping many keywords inside of your content and stuff not related keywords to the main keyword of the article.
You should always optimize titles, headings, and paragraphs accordingly. You can learn how to do it by doing it.
You must avoid duplicate content, in fact, duplicate content even on your own site is a bad user experience and risk of penalty from Google.
Also one of the most important things is optimizing toward building trust for your brand and content.
In fact, your aim is to create sharable content that users gladly will link to their sites to improve their own content.
Make expertise and authoritativeness clear by adding valuable authors, their bios and adding people who know what is talking about.
Try not to put annoying ads, pop-ups and redirects, above the fold ads are also super annoying and might ruin your trust and user experience.
Optimize your site so that people will be glad to come back and find new information from you.
That way you can establish trust also under the eyes of Google and you will rank higher.
Promote Your Website
And last but not least, you should always promote your websites to the right people.
You don’t need to have websites talking about you not related to your stuff.
For instance, if you have a website talking about surfing you don’t want to have websites talking about knitting linking at you.
You need to aim to have people linking to you with the most related to your niche anchor text.
This practice doesn’t need to be forced, backlinks need to come naturally, and usually, it comes naturally if you add relevant content.
Having links from other sites linking at you will make indexing faster and you will gain authority in your niche.
Never ask for paid links nor promote your sites for money.
Google will find out and penalize you!
And now I want to write down some quotes from Google to summarize all of this Google SEO guide.
Following these practices will make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your content. Google
You should build a website to benefit your users, and any optimization should be geared toward making the user experience better. Google
Google discovers URLs by following links, by reading sitemaps, and by many other means. Google
Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here. Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media services, email, forums, or other means. Google
Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content. Google
I like these sentences because they are straight to the point and like everything that Google writes, very simple and useful!
You always need to create awesome content and follow the latest news and technologies so that you can optimize your sites.
You should also follow these blogs from Google:
There are also many other blogs you should read and learn from, you always need to stay in the loop with the new webmaster’s buzz.
What You Will Learn On This Blog!
Stay tuned and subscribe to my blog so you will get notifications on new posts. I will slowly break down these topics:
- SEO(Search Engine Optimization).
- Affiliate Marketing.
- Free and Paid traffic hacks.
- Coding and WordPress
- Make money with a computer and an internet connection even while you sleep.
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Much Love and Peace Out,