You may or may not be aware, but Google has released a list of SEO do’s and dont’s that you should follow if you want any hope of being indexed and ranked in the search engines. Most SEO information is disputed, but when it comes from the BIG G’s mouth, you know it’s probably very true!
Ok, so maybe this isn’t breaking news – and although it’s been out for a while, Google has a small guide on what to do and what not to do when it comes to getting ranked in their glorious index. Again, while these are some common sense items, you’d be surprised at the amount of people that do not read it, and end up either suffering a drop in rankings, penalized, or banned from Google’s index all together.
I want to sum up the Do’s and Don’ts of Google’s guidelines to SEO best practices (not all of them, because some are extremely basic, so just the ones that you may have forgotten)
Have other sites link to yours (quality, relevant sites).
Submit a sitemap using your Google Webmaster Tools account.
Submit your site to quality, high authority directories in the appropriate category.
Make a site with text links and a clear hierarchy, and make sure every page is reachable by at least one static text link.
Create useful, unique, and clearly written content. Relevancy is key.
Make sure your TITLE tags and ALT tags are”descriptive and accurate” (see, even Google recommends this – told you I wasn’t BS’ing!)
Maintain clean HTML code.
Keep the outgoing links on a particular page under 100.
Make it easy for search bots to crawl your site without error.
Make use of the robots.txt file to limit crawling on pages that aren’t useful to visitors.
Make pages for users, not search engines. (It’s fine to optimize your page, but don’t do nasty spammy things just to get the search engine’s to look for it)
Don’t have any broken links on your site.
Don’t use hidden text or hidden links (people, doing that is soooo 2002, and will get you heavily penalized)
Don’t cloak or use “sneaky” redirects.
Don’t load pages with keywords or keyphrases. This is spam, and Google knows it.
Don’t send automated queries to Google.
Don’t create duplicate content. (This will kill your rankings most of the time)
Don’t create pages that install bad things (trojan’s, viruses, malware, etc..) – kind of a no brainer anyway.
If you participate in an affiliate program, don’t provide duplicate, run of the mill content. Provide useful, relevant content for the user.
DON’T participate in linking schemes!!! Bloggers pay attention to that one. So many of those viral linking posts go around, and they are just not good for business.
That’s why you rarely see the bigger A-list blogs take part, because they know it’s bad for rankings. Resist the temptation to gain 30 extra links overnight (do you really think Google doesn’t know what’s up with that, c’mon….).
So, what you just read comes from the horses mouth itself, and I personally agree that you can’t go wrong by following the above advice. I take it for granted sometimes that people know all of this stuff, but I see it every single day that people will still try to keyword stuff, white text on white background, cloak, and all sorts of nasty things. Rarely, there are a few that get away with this and achieve good rankings, however, those rankings don’t last long at all.
Google is all knowing, and will catch you eventually. You can bet on that.
To read the entire paper from Google, check it out here.