Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide

Who is this guide for?

This guide is intended for anyone who owns, manages, monetizes, or promotes online content through the use of Google Search. It doesn’t matter if you’re the owner of a thriving business, the owner of a dozen websites, the SEO specialist in a web agency, or a self-taught SEO expert who is passionate about the mechanics of Search: this guide is for you. If you’re looking for a comprehensive overview of the fundamentals of search engine optimization according to our best practices, you’ve come to the right place. The information in this guide will not provide any secrets that will automatically rank your site first in Google, but by following the best practices, you will make it easier for search engines to crawl, index, and understand the information on your website.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is frequently achieved by making minor adjustments to various aspects of your website. Individually, these changes may appear to be minor tweaks, but when taken together with other optimizations, they have the potential to have a significant impact on the user experience and performance of your site in organic search results. The topics covered in this guide are likely already familiar to you because they are necessary components of any web page, but you may not be taking advantage of them to their full potential.

You should design a website that is beneficial to your users, and any optimization efforts should be directed toward improving the user experience. One of those users is a search engine, which aids in the discovery of your content by other users. Search engine optimization (SEO) is concerned with assisting search engines in understanding and presenting content. It is possible that your site is smaller or larger than our example site, or that it contains vastly different content, but the optimization topics covered in this guide are applicable to sites of all sizes and types.

Are you on Google?

Check to see if your website is included in Google’s index.

Make a site search: look for the URL of your website’s home page. If you see results, you’ve arrived at the indexing page. If you search for site:wikipedia.org, for example, you will get the following results.

If your website isn’t listed on Google, it’s a lost opportunity.

Despite the fact that Google crawls billions of pages every day, it is inevitable that some sites will be overlooked. Most of the time, when our crawlers fail to find a site, it’s because of one of the following reasons:

  • Because the site is not well connected to other websites on the internet.
  • Google has not yet crawled it.
  • Because the site is designed in such a way that it is difficult for Google to crawl its content effectively.
  • When Google attempted to crawl your website, it encountered an error.
  • Google is prevented from crawling the site as a result of your policy.

What is the best way to get my website listed on Google?

When it comes to search engines, Google is a fully automated search engine that employs web crawlers to constantly explore the web in search of new sites to include in our index; in most cases, you don’t even need to do anything other than post your website on the internet. Rather than being manually submitted for inclusion, the vast majority of websites listed in our results are discovered and added automatically when we crawl the web. Discover how Google discovers, crawls, and serves web pages by reading this article.

We provide webmaster guidelines for creating a website that is Google-compatible. There is no guarantee that our crawlers will find a particular site; however, following these guidelines can increase the likelihood that your site will appear in our search results.

Google Search Console provides tools to assist you in submitting your content to Google as well as monitoring your performance in Google Search. It is even possible to receive alerts from Search Console when Google encounters critical issues with your website if you so desire.

Here are a few basic questions to ask yourself about your website when you get started.

  • Is my website showing up on Google?
  • Do I serve high-quality content to users?
  • Is my local business showing up on Google?
  • Is my content fast and easy to access on all devices?
  • Is my website secure?

Help Google find your content

The first step in getting your website listed on Google is to make sure that Google can find it and index it properly. The most effective method of accomplishing this is to submit a sitemap. A sitemap is a file on your website that notifies search engines about new or changed pages on your site. It can be found in the root directory of your website.

Search engines like Google also find pages through links from other websites. Discover how to encourage people to discover your website by learning how to promote your website.

Tell Google which pages you don’t want crawled

  • Robots.txt files can be used to prevent unwanted crawling of non-sensitive information.
  • A robots.txt file informs search engines whether or not they are permitted to access and therefore crawl certain areas of your website. This file, which must be named robots.txt, should be placed in the root directory of your website’s root directory. It is possible that pages blocked by robots.txt will still be crawled, so for sensitive pages, use a more secure method of accessing the page content.

If you do not want certain pages of your site crawled because they may not be useful to users if they are found in a search engine’s search results, you can tell the search engine to ignore them. If you do want to prevent search engines from crawling your pages, Google Search Console has a user-friendly robots.txt generator that will assist you in creating the file you require. Remember that if your site has subdomains and you want to prevent certain pages on a particular subdomain from being crawled, you’ll need to create a separate robots.txt file for that particular subdomain.

Avoid:

  • Allowing Google to crawl your internal search result pages is a good idea. Users do not appreciate clicking on a search engine result only to be directed to another search result page on your website.
  • Allowing crawling of URLs generated as a result of the use of proxy services.

For sensitive information, use more secure methods

  • A robots.txt file is not an appropriate or effective method of preventing sensitive or confidential material from being accessed or copied. It only serves to inform well-behaved crawlers that the pages they are crawling are not intended for them; it does not prevent your server from delivering those pages to a browser that makes a request for them. A possible reason for this is that search engines could still reference the URLs you block (showing only the URL, no title link or snippet) if there are links to those URLs somewhere on the Internet that are not blocked (like referrer logs). In addition, non-compliant or rogue search engines that do not recognise the Robots Exclusion Standard may disobey the instructions in your robots.txt file, resulting in your website being blocked. The last point to mention is that an inquisitive user could examine the directories or subdirectories in your robots.txt file and figure out what URL contains the content that you don’t want others to see.
  • In these situations, the noindex tag should be used if you simply do not want the page to appear in Google, but do not care if any user who follows the link can reach the page. Make use of proper authorization methods such as requiring users to enter their password or taking the page completely off your website for real security protection.

Help Google and users understand your content

Allow Google to view your page in the same way that a user would.

A page should appear to Googlebot in the same way that it would appear to an average user when the page is crawled. Always grant Googlebot access to the JavaScript, CSS, and image files that are used by your website in order to ensure optimal rendering and indexing. If your site’s robots.txt file prevents our algorithms from crawling and indexing these assets, it will have a direct impact on how well your content is rendered and indexed. As a result, your rankings may be less than optimal.

Action recommended: Make use of the URL Inspection tool. It will allow you to see exactly how Googlebot sees and renders your content, and it will assist you in identifying and correcting a variety of indexing issues on your site. Using Google Analytics, you can see exactly how Googlebot sees and renders your content.

Create unique, accurate page titles

It is the <title> element that informs both users and search engines about the subject of a particular page. Installing the <title> element within the <head> element of an HTML document will allow you to create different title text for each page on your website.

Control your title links and snippets in search results

If your document appears in a search results page, the contents of the title> element may appear as the title link for the search result. If your document appears in a search results page, the contents of the title> element may appear as the title link for the search result.

It is possible to list the name of your website or business in the title> element of your homepage, as well as other pieces of important information, such as the location of the business’s physical location and a few of its primary focuses or offerings.

Provide an accurate description of the page’s content.

Select title text that is easy to read and conveys the topic of the page’s content clearly and concisely.

>> Avoid:

  • Text in the title> element that has no relation to the content on the page is considered inappropriate.
  • Using pre-defined or ambiguous text such as “Untitled” or “New Page 1.”

Create distinct <title> elements for each page on your website.

Make sure that each page on your site has a unique title that distinguishes it from the others on your site. This will assist Google in determining how each page differs from the others on your site. If your site has separate mobile pages, keep in mind to include descriptive text in the title> elements on the mobile versions as well as on the desktop versions.

>> Avoid:

  • A single title in all title> elements across all of your site’s pages or across a large group of pages is recommended.

Use brief, but descriptive <title> elements

Use <title> elements that are brief but descriptive. <title> elements can be both short and informative at the same time. If the text in your <title> element is too long or otherwise deemed unimportant, Google may display only a portion of the text in your <title> element, or a title link that’s automatically generated in the search result, if your title element is too long or otherwise deemed unimportant.

>> Avoid:

  • The use of excessively long text in <title> elements that is unhelpful to users is prohibited.
  • Stuffing unneeded keywords into the <title> element of your HTML document.

Use the meta description tag

The meta description tag on a page provides Google and other search engines with a concise summary of the page’s content. Unlike the title of a page, which may consist of only a few words or phrases, the meta description tag of a page may consist of a sentence or two, or even a short paragraph. It is similar to the <title> tag in that the meta description tag is placed within the <head> element of your HTML document.

What are the merits of meta description tags?

Meta description tags are important because Google may use them as snippets for your pages in Google Search results if they are included in the meta description tag. The use of the word “may” here is important because Google may decide to use a relevant section of your page’s visible text if it does an excellent job of matching up with a user’s query. The practice of including meta description tags on each of your pages is always recommended in case Google is unable to find an appropriate selection of text for the snippet.

Provide an accurate summary of the page’s content

Writing an informative and interesting meta description tag that would appear as a snippet in a search result would be beneficial to your website’s users. The text in a description meta tag can be any length you want, but we recommend that it is long enough to be fully displayed in Search (keep in mind that different sized snippets may appear depending on how and where users search), and that it contains all of the relevant information users would need to determine whether or not the page will be useful and relevant to them.

>> Avoid:

  • Composing a meta description tag that has no relation to the content of the page is a bad practice.
  • using generic descriptions such as “This is a website” or “This is a baseball card web page,” etc.
  • Filling the description with only keywords is not recommended.
  • In the meta description tag, you should copy and paste the entire content of the document you’re working on.

Make each page’s description distinct from the others.

When you have different meta descriptions for each page on your website, it is easier for users and Google to find your website. This is especially true in searches where users may bring up multiple pages on your domain (for example, searches using the site: operator). If your website contains thousands or even millions of pages, manually crafting meta description tags is unlikely to be a viable option. In this case, you could use a script to automatically generate meta description tags based on the content of each page.

>> Avoid:

Using a single meta description tag across all of your site’s pages, or across a large group of pages, can save time and effort.

Heading tags should be used to draw attention to important text.

In order to make it easier for users to navigate through your document, make use of meaningful headings to indicate important topics and to assist in the creation of a hierarchical structure for your content.

Consider the following scenario: you’re drafting an outline.

Put some thought into what the main points and sub-points of the content on the page will be, just as you would when writing an outline for a large paper, and decide where heading tags will be used appropriately to separate them.

>> Avoid:

  • Placing text in heading tags that isn’t necessary for defining the structure of the page is considered plagiarism.
  • Using heading tags when other tags such as em and strong may be more appropriate is a bad practice.
  • Moving from one heading tag size to another in an erratic manner.

Headings should be used sparingly throughout the page.

When it makes sense, use heading tags to break up long paragraphs. A page with an excessive number of heading tags can make it difficult for users to scan the content and determine where one topic ends and another begins.

>> Avoid:

  • Excessive use of heading tags on a page is considered bad practice.
  • Headings that are extremely long.
  • Heading tags should only be used to style text, not to present a logical structure.

Add structured data markup

Structural data is a type of code that you can insert into your website’s pages in order to describe your content to search engines, allowing them to better understand what’s on your pages. Search engines can use this knowledge to display your content in search results in a useful (and eye-catching) manner, depending on how it is structured. This, in turn, can assist you in attracting the exact type of customers that your company is looking for.

Consider the following example: If you have an online store and you mark up a specific product page, we will be able to tell that the page contains information about a bike, such as its price and customer reviews. When relevant queries are entered, we may include that information in the snippet displayed in the search results. These are referred to as “rich results.”

It is possible that we will use structured data markup to serve relevant results in other formats in addition to using it to provide rich results. A brick-and-mortar business might mark up its opening hours so that potential customers can find you at the exact time they require your services and know whether or not your store is open at the time of their search.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide

You can mark up many business-relevant entities:

  • Products you’re selling
  • Business location
  • Videos about your products or business
  • Opening hours
  • Events listings
  • Recipes
  • Your company logo, and many more

To describe your content, we recommend that you use structured data in conjunction with any of the supported notations markup languages. You can either include the markup in the HTML code of your pages or use tools such as Data Highlighter and Markup Helper to accomplish this.

The Rich Results Test can be used to double-check your markup.

Once your content has been marked up, you can run it through the Google Rich Results test to ensure that there are no errors in the implementation. You have two options: either enter the URL where the content is located or copy the actual HTML code that contains the markup.

>> Avoid:

  • Invalid markup has been used.

Make use of the Data Highlighter and the Markup Helper.

Using Data Highlighter, a tool integrated into Search Console that supports a subset of content types, you can experiment with structured markup without having to make any changes to your website’s source code.

>> Avoid:

  • When you are unsure about how to implement markup on your website, you should consider changing the source code.

Keep track of how your pages with markings are performing.

For each type of markup, the various Rich result reports in Search Console show you how many pages on your site we’ve detected with that type of markup, how many times they’ve appeared in search results, and how many times people have clicked on them over the course of 90 days. It also displays any errors that have been identified.

>> Avoid:

  • Adding markup data that is not visible to the end user.
  • Creating fictitious reviews or including erroneous markups.

Manage your appearance in Google Search results

A correctly structured data on your pages also qualifies your page for many special features in Google Search results, including review stars, fancy decorated results, and other special features, among others.

Organize your site hierarchy

Understand how search engines use URLs

Search engines require a unique URL for each piece of content in order to crawl and index that content, as well as to refer users to that piece of content. Different types of content (for example, different products in a shop) as well as modified content (for example, translations or regional variations) must use separate URLs in order to be displayed appropriately in search results, according to Google.

URLs are typically divided into several distinct sections, as follows:

  • protocol://hostname/path/filename?querystring#fragment
  • https://www.example.com/RunningShoes/Womens.htm?size=8#info

When at all possible, Google recommends that all websites use the https:// protocol. The hostname refers to the location where your website is hosted, which is typically the same domain name that you use for email. Google distinguishes between the www and non-www versions of a website (for example, www.example.com or just example.com). It is recommended that you include both the https:// and https:// versions of your website, as well as both the www and non-www versions, when submitting your website to Google Search Console.

The path, filename, and query string used to access your server’s content determine which content is accessed. Due to the case-sensitivity of these three parts, the word FILE would result in a different URL than the word file. The hostname and protocol are case-insensitive, which means that upper or lower case would make no difference.

In most cases, a fragment (in this case, #info) is used to indicate where on the page the browser is currently scrolling. The fact that the content itself is usually the same regardless of the fragment means that search engines will typically disregard any fragment that is used.

It is not necessary to include the trailing slash after the hostname when referring to the homepage because it leads to the same content (for example, https://example.com/ is the same as https://example.com/). If a trailing slash is present in the path or filename, it will be interpreted as a different URL (which could represent either a file or a directory), for example, https://example.com/fish is not the same as https://example.com/fish/

Navigation is important for search engines.

The navigation of a website is critical in assisting visitors in quickly finding the information they are looking for. It can also assist search engines in determining what type of content the website owner believes is important to include. Despite the fact that Google’s search results are provided at the page level, Google prefers to have an understanding of the role that a page plays in the overall picture of the site.

Navigation is important for search engines

Make a plan for your navigation based on your website’s homepage.

All websites have a home page, also known as the root page, which is typically the most visited page on the site and the starting point for navigation for many visitors. Unless your site is comprised of a small number of pages, consider how visitors will navigate from a general page (your root page) to a page containing more specific content. Would creating a page that describes the various related pages (for example, the root page -> related topic listing) make sense if you had a large enough collection of pages on one specific subject area to warrant such a page being created? Does your company have hundreds of different products that need to be classified under multiple category and subcategory pages? If so, we can help.

Making use of bread crumb lists

Visitors can quickly return to a previous section or the root page by using a breadcrumb trail, which is a row of internal links located at the top and bottom of a page. Many breadcrumbs begin with the most general page (typically the root page) as the first, leftmost link, and then list the more specific sections to the right of the first link. When displaying breadcrumbs, we recommend that you use the breadcrumb structured data markup.

Making use of breadcrumb lists

Users should be able to navigate easily through your page.

It is a simple page on your website that displays the structure of your website, and it is typically comprised of a hierarchical listing of the pages on your site, as shown in the example below. Visitors may use this page if they are having difficulty locating specific pages on your website. This page will be visited by search engines as well, allowing them to get a good crawl coverage of the pages on your site, but it is primarily intended for human visitors.

Create a hierarchical structure that is naturally flowing.

Create a seamless transition for users from general content to the more specific content they are looking for on your site as possible. When it makes sense, create navigation pages and incorporate them into your internal link structure as efficiently as possible. Inspect your website to ensure that all of the pages are reachable via hyperlinks and that they do not require the use of an internal search function to be discovered. When possible, include links to related pages to assist users in discovering similar content to their own.

>> Avoid:

  • Creating complex webs of navigation links, such as linking every page on your site to every other page, is a good example of this.
  • Doing an excessive amount of cutting and dicing with your content (so that it takes twenty clicks to reach from the homepage).

Text should be used for navigation.

When you control the majority of your site’s navigation from page to page through text links, you make it easier for search engines to crawl and understand your site’s structure. Make use of elements with URLs as href attribute values when creating web pages in JavaScript. This will allow you to generate all menu items on page load rather than waiting for a user interaction.

>> Avoid:

  • Having a navigation system that is entirely comprised of images or animations.
  • Navigation is made possible through the use of scripts or plugins that handle events.

Create a user-friendly navigational page, as well as a sitemap for search engines.

For your users, include a straightforward navigational page for your entire site (or the most important pages, if you have hundreds or thousands of pages). Create an XML sitemap file to ensure that search engines are aware of any new or updated pages on your site. The sitemap file should include a list of all relevant URLs as well as the dates on which their primary content was last modified.

>> Avoid:

  • Allowing your navigational page to become out of date by allowing broken links to remain active.
  • Constructing a navigational page that simply lists pages without organising them in any way, for example, according to subject matter.

Display 404 pages that are useful.

Users will occasionally arrive at a page on your site that does not exist, either as a result of clicking on a broken link or typing in the incorrect URL. If your website has a custom 404 page that guides users back to a working page on your site, it can significantly improve the overall user experience. Consider including a link back to your home page as well as links to popular or related content on your site on your landing page. If you are experiencing “not found” errors, you can use Google Search Console to track down the URLs that are causing them.

>> Avoid:

  • Search engines will index your 404 pages when they receive a 404 HTTP status code (make sure your web server is configured to return a 404 HTTP status code or—in the case of JavaScript-based sites—include the noindex tag when non-existent pages are requested).
  • The robots.txt file is responsible for preventing 404 pages from being crawled.
  • A vague error message such as “Not found” or “404” is provided, or there is no 404 page at all.
  • You’re using a design for your 404 pages that doesn’t match the rest of your website.

Simple URLs convey content information

In addition to assisting you in keeping your website more organised, creating descriptive categories and filenames for your documents can help you create easier, friendlier URLs for those who wish to link to your content. Extremely long and cryptic URLs that contain only a few recognisable words may cause visitors to feel intimidated.

  • URLs like the following can be confusing and unfriendly :- https://www.brandonsbaseballcards.com/folder1/22447478/x2/14032015.html
  • URLs like the following are User friendly & meaningful :- https://www.brandonsbaseballcards.com/article/ten-rarest-baseball-cards.html

URLs are displayed in search results

Last but not least, keep in mind that the URL to a document is usually displayed in some form in a Google Search result near the title of the document.

In general, Google is capable of crawling all types of URL structures, even those that are quite complex. However, taking the time to ensure that your URLs are as simple as possible is an excellent SEO practice.

Make use of keywords in your URLs.

Visitors will have a better experience navigating your site if your URLs contain words that are relevant to the content and structure of your site.

>> Avoid:

  • Using long URLs that contain extra parameters and session IDs is unacceptable.
  • Using generic page names such as page1.html is a good idea.
  • Excessive use of keywords such as baseball-cards-baseball-cards-baseballcards.html is discouraged.

Make a straightforward directory structure.

Make use of a directory structure that effectively organises your content and makes it simple for visitors to understand where they are on your site. In order to indicate what type of content can be found at a given URL, you should use your directory structure.

>> Avoid:

  • making use of subdirectories in a deep nesting fashion, such as…/directories/1,2,3,4,5,6,page.html.
  • Using directory names that are completely unrelated to the content contained within them.

Provide a single version of a URL to access a particular document.

Concentrate on using and referencing the same URL throughout the structure and internal linking of your pages in order to prevent users from linking to one version of a URL and others from linking to a different version (which could cause the reputation of that content to be split between the URLs). Setting up a 301 redirect from non-preferred URLs to the dominant URL can help you resolve this issue if you discover that people are accessing the same content through multiple URLs. Using the rel=”canonical” link element is another option if you are unable to redirect the page.

>> Avoid:

  • When pages from subdomains and the root directory access the same content, this is referred to as “domain.com/page.html.”

Optimize your content

Make your website interesting and useful by incorporating relevant content.

Creating compelling and useful content will almost certainly have a greater impact on your website than any of the other factors discussed in this article. Users recognise high-quality content when they see it, and they are likely to want to refer other users to it. The methods used to accomplish this could include blog posts, social media services, email, forums, and other methods.

Organic or word-of-mouth publicity is important in building your site’s reputation among users and search engines alike, and it rarely occurs without high-quality content.

Make your website interesting and useful by incorporating relevant content.

Know what your readers want (and give it to them)

Consider the words that a user might use to find a piece of your content. Do you have any suggestions? Users who are well-versed in the subject matter may employ different keywords in their search queries than those who are unfamiliar with the subject matter. If you’re a long-time football fan, you might search for “fifa,” which is an abbreviation for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, while a new football fan might search for something more general like “football playoffs.” Expecting and accounting for these differences in search behaviour while writing your content (using a good mix of keyword phrases) may result in positive results in the long run. Keyword Planner is a useful tool provided by Google Ads that allows you to discover new keyword variations as well as see the approximate search volume for each keyword. Additionally, in the Performance Report, Google Search Console provides you with the top search queries for which your site appears, as well as the ones that brought the most users to your site.

Consider developing a new, useful service that is not currently available on any other website. You could also conduct original research, break a breaking news story, or make use of your large user base to further your objectives. Other sites may be unable to complete these tasks due to a lack of resources or expertise.

Create text that is simple to read.

Users appreciate content that is clearly written and easy to understand.

>> Avoid:

  • Writing sloppy text that contains numerous spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Content that is awkward or poorly written.
  • It’s not recommended to embed text in images or videos for textual content because it makes it difficult for users to copy and paste the text and because search engines cannot recognise the text.

Make a clear division of your topics.

The ability to organise your content so that visitors have a clear understanding of where one content topic begins and another concludes is always beneficial. Organizing your content into logical chunks or divisions helps users find the information they are looking for more quickly.

>> Avoid:

  • Dumping large amounts of text on a page without separating it into paragraphs, subheadings, or any other form of layout separation.

Create content that is both original and fresh.

New content will not only keep your existing visitor base coming back, but it will also attract new visitors to your website.

>> Avoid:

  • Rehashing (or even copying) existing content that will provide little additional value to users is considered plagiarism.
  • Having duplicate or near-duplicate versions of your content scattered throughout your website is a bad sign.

Rather than optimising content for search engines, optimise content for your users.

In most cases, designing your website around the needs of your visitors while also making sure that your website is easily accessible to search engines yields positive results.

>> Avoid:

  • Inserting a large number of superfluous keywords that are aimed at search engines but are irritating or nonsensical to users.
  • Including blocks of text such as “common misspellings used to reach this page” that provide little value to users is discouraged.
  • Text is deceptively hidden from users, but is displayed to search engines in its entirety.

Act in a way that cultivates user trust

It makes users feel more at ease to visit your website if they believe it is trustworthy.

A website with a good reputation is one that can be trusted. Acquire a well-deserved reputation for knowledge and dependability in a particular field.
Please include information about who publishes your site, who provides the content, and what the site’s goals are in your bio. If you operate a shopping or other financial transaction website, make certain that your customer service information is both clear and satisfying in order to assist users in resolving issues. If you have a news website, make it clear who is in charge of the content and what their qualifications are.

It is also important to make use of the appropriate technologies. If a shopping checkout page does not have a secure connection, users will not be able to place their confidence in the site.

Clarify your level of expertise and authority

The expertise and authority of a website contribute to its overall quality. Make certain that the content on your website is created or edited by people who are knowledgeable about the subject matter. For example, providing expert or experienced sources can assist users in comprehending the level of expertise of articles. If there is a well-established consensus on a scientific topic, it is a good practise to represent that consensus in pages on that topic.

You should include an appropriate amount of information for your subject matter.

It takes a significant amount of time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill to create high-quality content in any of the following areas: writing, editing, and proofreading. Make certain that the content is factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive before publishing it. Instead of simply listing the ingredients or providing a general description of the dish on your page, you should provide a complete recipe that is simple to follow.

>> Avoid:

  • providing insufficient content for the page’s intended audience

Avoid advertisements that are too distracting.

We anticipate that advertisements will be visible. However, do not allow the advertisements to divert users’ attention away from the site’s content or prevent them from reading it. As an example, there may be advertisements, supplement contents, or interstitial pages (pages that appear before or after the content you expect to see) that make it difficult to navigate the website. Find out more about this subject.

>> Avoid:

  • Advertisements that are distracting are placed on your pages.

Make use of hyperlinks with caution.

Create effective link text.

The visible text contained within a link is referred to as link text. This text provides information to users and search engines about the page to which you are linking. Your page may contain links that are internal, pointing to other pages on your site, or external, pointing to content on other websites. It doesn’t matter which scenario you’re in; the more effective your anchor text is, the easier it is for users to navigate and for Google to understand what the page to which you’re linking is about.

Make use of hyperlinks with caution.

Create effective link text.

The visible text contained within a link is referred to as link text. This text provides information to users and search engines about the page to which you are linking. Your page may contain links that are internal, pointing to other pages on your site, or external, pointing to content on other websites. It doesn’t matter which scenario you’re in; the more effective your anchor text is, the easier it is for users to navigate and for Google to understand what the page to which you’re linking is about.

Create effective link text.

Users and search engines can both easily understand what the linked pages contain if the anchor text is written correctly.

Text that is descriptive should be used.

Create anchor text that provides at the very least a basic understanding of the subject matter of the page to which it is linked.

>> Avoid:

  • Using generic anchor text such as “page,” “article,” or “click here” is acceptable.
  • The use of text that is off-topic or has no relationship to the content of the page to which the link is directed.
  • In most cases, the URL of the page is used as the anchor text, although there are legitimate reasons for doing so, such as promoting or referencing a new website’s address, is not recommended.

Write concise text

Aim for concise but descriptive text—typically a few words or a short phrase—in your writing.

>> Avoid:

  • Writing long anchor text, such as a lengthy sentence or a short paragraph of text, can be difficult to accomplish.

Make links visible by formatting them in a way that makes them stand out.

Make it easy for users to distinguish between regular text and the anchor text of your links by using different fonts and colours for each. If users fail to notice the links or accidentally click on them, your content becomes less useful.

>> Avoid:

  • Using CSS or text styling to make links appear to be the same size and font as regular text.

Consider the anchor text for internal links, as well.

Although you may normally think of linking in terms of directing users to other websites, paying closer attention to the anchor text used for internal links can help users and search engines navigate your site more effectively and efficiently.

>> Avoid:

  • Using excessively keyword-heavy or lengthy anchor text solely for the purpose of ranking higher in search engines.
  • Adding unneeded links to a website that will hinder the user’s ability to navigate the site is prohibited.

Optimize your images

Use HTML images

To incorporate images into your content, use HTML image elements.

You can do this with the HTML elements <img> and <picture>

Images are found and processed more efficiently when semantic HTML markup is used. You can also specify multiple options for different screen sizes for responsive images by utilising the picture> element. It’s also possible to use the loading=”lazy” attribute on images to make your page load faster for users.

>> Avoid:

Displaying images that you want us to index with CSS is a good practise.

Alternative text should be used (alt attribute)

Please give your images a descriptive filename as well as an alternative attribute description. Because of this, if the image cannot be displayed due to technical difficulties, you can specify alternative text in its place.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide

What is the purpose of using this attribute? Users who use assistive technologies, such as screen readers, to access your website will benefit from the information contained in your image’s alt attribute.

Yet another reason is that, if you’re linking to an image, the alt text for that image will be treated in the same way that the anchor text of a text link would be treated. However, we do not recommend that you use too many images as links in your site’s navigation when text links can accomplish the same task as image links. The final point to mention is that optimising your image filenames and alt text will make it easier for image search projects such as Google Images to better understand your photographs.

Make use of filenames and alt text that are concise but descriptive.

Short and descriptive filenames and alt text, like many other parts of the page that are targeted for optimization, are the most effective type of names and alt text.

>> Avoid:

  • Generic filenames such as image1.jpg, pic.gif, and 1.jpg should be used whenever possible; if your site contains thousands of images, you may want to consider automating the naming of those images.
  • Creating filenames that are extremely long.
  • Stuffing keywords into alt text or copying and pasting entire sentences are examples of this type of behaviour.

When using images as links, make sure to include alt text.

In the event that you do decide to use an image as a link, making sure to include the alt text for the image will help Google understand more about the page you’re linking to. Consider the following scenario: you’re writing anchor text for a text link.

>> Avoid:

  • Creating an alt text that is excessively long and could be considered spammy.
  • Using only image links for the navigation of your website.

Help search engines find your images

An image sitemap can help Googlebot learn more about the images on your website by providing more information about them. This increases the likelihood that your images will appear in Google Images search results as a result. The structure of this file is similar to that of the XML sitemap file that you use to organise your website’s pages.

Use standard image formats

Use file types that are widely supported by browsers; for example, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, and WebP image formats are all supported by most browsers. Having the filename extension match the file type is also a good idea when creating a new file from an existing one.

Make your site mobile-friendly

Today’s world is highly mobile. The majority of Google searches are conducted through a mobile device. When viewing and using a website on a mobile device, the desktop version may be difficult to navigate and use. As a result, having a website that is mobile-friendly is essential to your online presence. Google has even begun testing the use of mobile versions of websites’ content for ranking, parsing structured data, and creating rich snippets. These tests began in late 2016 and are expected to continue in 2017.

Choose a mobile strategy

There are a variety of approaches to making your website mobile-friendly, and Google supports a variety of implementation methods, including:

  • Responsive web design (Recommended)
  • Dynamic serving
  • Separate URLs

As soon as you have completed the development of a mobile-friendly website, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to determine whether any of the pages on your site meet the requirements for being labelled as mobile-friendly in search results on Google. To identify and resolve mobile usability issues that are affecting your site, you can also consult the Search Console’s Mobile Usability report.

Use of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is recommended if your site serves a large amount of static content (such as blog posts or product landing pages) across multiple pages (Accelerated Mobile Pages). Using this special flavor of HTML, your site will remain fast and user-friendly, and it will be even faster thanks to the help of several third-party services such as Google Search and other search engines.

Configure mobile sites so that they can be indexed accurately

It doesn’t matter which configuration you use to set up your mobile site; just remember to keep these important points in mind:

  1. Inform Google when a page is formatted for mobile viewing (or has an equivalent page that is formatted for mobile viewing) if you use Dynamic Serving or if you have a separate mobile site. This enables Google to more accurately serve your content in search results to mobile searchers.
  2. For Responsive Web Design, you can use the meta name=”viewport” tag to tell the browser how to adjust the content based on the browser window size. If you are using Dynamic Serving, you can use the Vary HTTP header to signal changes based on the user agent being used. If you are using separate URLs, you should indicate the relationship between the two URLs by including the link> tag on the page with the rel=”canonical” and rel=”alternate” attributes.
  3. Maintain the crawlability of your resources. By restricting page resources, you can give Google a distorted picture of your website’s contents. This is frequently the case when your robots.txt file is preventing access to some or all of the resources on your page. If Googlebot does not have access to a page’s resources, such as CSS, JavaScript, or images, we may not be able to determine whether or not the page is designed to display and function properly on a mobile device. In other words, we may not be able to determine whether a page is mobile-friendly and, as a result, may not be able to properly serve it to mobile searchers.
  4. Avoid making common mistakes that cause mobile visitors to become frustrated, such as including unplayable videos.
  5. Page rankings for mobile pages that provide a poor searcher experience can be degraded, and mobile search results can be displayed with a warning if this occurs. This includes, but is not limited to, full-page interstitials on mobile devices that detract from the user experience, among other things.
  6. Full functionality on all devices should be provided. Mobile users expect the same functionality—such as commenting and checking out—as well as the same content on their mobile devices as they do on all other devices supported by your website. Additionally, ensure that all relevant images and videos are embedded and easily accessible on mobile devices in addition to textual information. Make sure that all structured data and other metadata—such as titles and descriptions, link-elements, and other meta-tags—are included on all versions of the pages for the sake of search engines.
  7. In order for your mobile site to function properly, make sure that all of the structured data, images, videos, and metadata that are present on your desktop site are also present on the mobile site.

Best Practices are those that are most effective.

  • Examine your mobile pages using the Mobile-Friendly Test to determine whether or not Google believes your website is user-friendly on mobile devices.
  • It is important to test both the mobile and desktop URLs if you have separate URLs for your mobile pages. This will allow you to ensure that the redirect is recognised and crawlable.

Promote your website

Despite the fact that the majority of the links to your site will be added gradually, as people discover your content through search or other means and link to it, Google understands that you’d like to spread the word about the time and effort you’ve put into your work. When you effectively promote your new content, it will be discovered more quickly by those who are also interested in the same subject. Taking these recommendations to the extreme, as you would with most of the points covered in this document, could actually harm the reputation of your website.

A blog post on your own website informing your visitor base that you have added new content or services is a great way to spread the word about new content or services you are offering. Other website owners who follow your site or subscribe to your RSS feed may also be interested in the story.

Investing time and resources into the offline promotion of your company or website can also be fruitful. For example, if you have a business website, make sure that the URL is included on all of your business cards, letterhead, posters, and other marketing materials. Sending out recurring newsletters through the mail can also be a good way to inform customers about new content on the company’s website.

If you own and operate a small local business, claiming your Business Profile will assist you in reaching customers on Google Maps and Google Search results.

Promote your website

Understand the use of social media websites.

It has become easier to match interested groups of people with relevant content as a result of the proliferation of websites that encourage user interaction and sharing.

>> Avoid:

  • Instead of attempting to promote each new, small piece of content you create, focus on larger, more interesting pieces of content.
  • Include your website in schemes where your content is artificially promoted to the top of search results on third-party search engines.

Make contact with those who are a part of your site’s related community.

You can almost certainly find a number of websites that cover topics that are similar to yours. When it comes to these sites, communicating with them is usually beneficial. It’s possible that hot topics in your niche or community will inspire additional content ideas or the creation of a useful community resource.

>> Avoid:

  • Sending out spammy link requests to all of the websites that are relevant to your topic area.
  • Purchasing links from another website with the goal of increasing PageRank is a common practise.

Analyze your search performance and user behavior

Analyzing your search performance

Major search engines, such as Google, provide website owners with tools that allow them to track and analyse their website’s performance in their search engine. Search Console is the tool of choice for Google.

Search Console provides two types of information that are extremely useful: Is my content discoverable by Google? What is my position in the Google Search results page?

Search Console will not assist you in getting your site preferred treatment; however, it will assist you in identifying issues that, if addressed, will assist you in improving your site’s performance in search results.

Website owners can take advantage of the service in the following ways:

  • Find out which parts of a website Googlebot had difficulty crawling.
  • Sitemaps should be tested and submitted.
  • Robots.txt files can be analysed or generated.
  • Remove any URLs that have already been crawled by Googlebot.
  • Choose your preferred domain name.
  • Examine the meta tags for the title and description to determine whether they contain errors.
  • Learn about the most popular searches that people use to find a website.
  • Take a look at how Googlebot perceives different web pages.
  • Receipt of notifications of quality guidelines violations and the ability to request a reconsideration of the site

Analyzing user behavior on your site

If you’ve used Google Search Console or other services to improve the crawling and indexing of your site, you’re probably curious about the amount of traffic that’s coming to your site from search engines. Programs like Google Analytics, which analyse web traffic, can provide valuable insight in this area. You can use them for a variety of things, including:

  • Gain insight into how users arrive at and interact with your website.
  • Find out what the most popular content on your website is.
  • Check to see how well your site has performed after making changes to its optimizations. For example, did changing the title and description meta tags increase traffic from search engines?

A combination of the information provided by an analytics package and the data from your server log files can provide even more comprehensive information about how visitors interact with your documents for advanced users (such as additional keywords that searchers might use to find your site).


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