Understanding the ins and outs of Google can seem like it’s about as easy to understand as the inner workings of a matter/anti-matter conversion chamber (no, those don’t really exist). When a website ranks on Google, it isn’t based on random, intangible reasons—it’s all based on a structured algorithm.
The specifics of the Google algorithm are still one of life’s mysteries, but there are tools based on Google guidelines that can help.
As with anything in life, there are rules to be followed. The same is true when creating a website (especially if you want it to rank on Google). Google does have general guidelines for the broad aspects of website development which are delineated in their Google Webmaster Tools. These aspects include design and content, technical and quality.
Design and Content Guidelines
Obviously design and content are the bread and butter of any website. Building a website to rank high on a Google SERP is important, but useless if the site has no valuable information for potential customers. For this reason, Google created a list of guidelines that include everything from the obvious to the complex including things like:
- Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
- Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.
- Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in images.
- Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site.
Exactly how you create the design of your site and fill it with content is up to you, but what Google is looking for through these guidelines is a site with quality content and a user-friendly design.
As with any website, there are always technical issues that need to be resolved. For success on Google, these technical aspects not only need to be addressed but also follow guidelines that include things like:
- Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site, because most search engine spiders see your site much as Lynx would
- Allow search bots to crawl your sites without session IDs or arguments that track their path through the site.
- Make reasonable efforts to ensure that advertisements do not affect search engine rankings.
- Use robots.txt to prevent crawling of search results pages or other auto-generated pages that don’t add much value for users coming from search engines.
Sound complicated? It is. The reason Google has these guidelines is to ensure a properly functioning site. If you put all of the design and content work in, you want to be sure it functions properly and ranks.
Once your site is up and ranking, Google wants to ensure the best user experience possible. That’s why quality guidelines were put into place—websites must maintain high levels of quality. These guidelines include things like:
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
- Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking.
- Don’t use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc.
Not only are these intended to keep only high quality sites ranking high, it also discourages black hat SEO tactics in an effort to give every business an equal opportunity at providing quality to attract customers.
If reading this synopsis of Google Webmaster Guidelines confused you or gave you a headache, don’t worry! Quality SEO companies know what Google is looking for inside and out and can create your business’ website in accordance with these guidelines. Because the world of SEO and ranking can be so complicated, it’s a job that you don’t want to try to attempt by yourself—you may inadvertently do more harm than good! But with quality SEO services you can increase your chances of search engine success!