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Monday, October 17, 2005

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines: Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

Posted by @ 8:10 pm

A few members on search engine marketing forums have noted that Google appears to have updated its webmaster guidelines during the past month. This is a good occasion to go straight to the source and recap some of the advice Google itself gives webmasters about search engine friendly website design, content, quality and technical set-up.

Search Engine Friendly Design and Content:

  1. Create a site that is full of useful information for readers. The text on your website should make it very clear what your site is about. Remember you are primarily creating your site for people, not for search engines.
  2. Try to include the words that searchers would use to find sites like yours (if you need inspiration, check out ineedhits’ Keyword Starter).
  3. Include TITLE tags (meta tags) and ALT tags that describe your pages accurately.
  4. Make sure all pages of your site can be reached via static text links. A hierarchical structure is often useful to create a good navigation structure which is useful for both visitors and search engines.
  5. Include a sitemap which contains text links to all pages of your site.
  6. Make sure your HTML code is correct and does not contain any broken links (ineedhits offers this service as part of the Optimizer Kit PLUS).
  7. Do not include too many links on a page.
    More design and content guidelines from Google …

Search Engine Friendly Technology:

  1. Use the robots.txt file, which contains information for crawlers about which directories and pages should be crawled and which shouldn’t.
  2. Make sure a search engine spider can see all of your site. You can simulate this by viewing your site with a text browser like Lynx.
  3. Check if your web server supports the HTML header “If-Modified-Since”. If this header is being used, a search engine spider can tell whether your site was updated since the last crawl, and you save on bandwidth.
    More technical guidelines from Google …

Search Engine Friendly Quality:

This is all about not using any spamming techniques. Google does not like spamming, and it’s very likely that they will drop you from their index if they catch you spamming. So, make sure you avoid any of the following techniques:

  1. Do not create multiple pages, subdomains or domains with basically identical content.
  2. Do not use hidden text or links.
  3. Do not create pages just for search engines.
  4. Do not create pages with keywords that are not relevant to your site.
  5. Do not bombard Google with automated queries, e.g. for rank checking.
  6. Do not use deceptive redirects.
    More quality guidelines from Google …

If you have any questions or need advice on certain elements of your page, feel free to contact our search engine optimization experts here at ineedhits!

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